Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Plea From the Impractical Fishermen

Please stay safe this holiday weekend, if you are going to drink do it once you get off the water and if you have had a few before hand stay off the water.

Too many preventable accidents have happened already, please don't add to it.

You can do the right thing and prevent hurting someone.
Hope I don't read about any of you in the papers or see you on the news.

Enjoy the weekend safely and as always thanks for reading,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Frustration on the Lower Kings River

Sunday was a tough day on the river, fished with Ed out of his boat from about 6 AM to 11 hoping the bite would be turning back on. I started out throwing a buzz bait and Ed was chucking a frog, the thought of a top water bite was too alluring. Ed got some blowups on his frog, mostly little guys and after an hour we both switched tactics. I ended up with 3 caught on a PB&J Stankx Slug on a drop shot rig, I lost a decent one as we were heading in but they were pretty evenly spread out through the day. Ed ended up with one on a drop shot and one on a LBS Midnight Blue Jig, mostly caught next to reeds or rocks near drop offs.
Little guy tried to inhale that Slug
The most maddening thing about this river is it seems to be backwards from most fishing situations;
High water means poor fishing
Moving water means poor fishing
Low, almost still water means good fishing.

It is against about everything I have ever read about Bass fishing and don't get me wrong this river is not a raging torrent by any means, there are lakes with more current. I have caught Largemouth in much faster current and colder water. The Kings river is an anomaly, a freak river with weird conditions. One thing I do like about it is the fishing is best when the weekend anglers and most of all jet skiers are off the water, for this I can definitely forgive this weird river system.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Black Widows All Around Me!

I have always been fascinated with nature, more precisely the creatures and the weirder, rarer or more dangerous the better. Growing up catching bugs, keeping them in a jar with some grass an a few sticks for the joy of learning about them and just being close with nature. The infamous ones, the poisonous ones were always what excited kids of our kind. Telling stories about poisonous monsters in bushes and sheds retreating before anyone else could spot them. Tall tales making up bigger and bigger lies so we had exciting things to tell each other.
"My dad killed a scorpion last night, it's stinger almost got my little sister"
"I saw a Taranchula in my basement, it is a queen and is starting to lay eggs."  
"I saw Black Widows Crawling all over the shed, they are not there now, but they will be back." 
Mind you I grew up in a suburb of Chicago so pretty much all of these sightings were highly improbable, school yard tall tales and I would be confident to bet none were true. 

Now I live in California and have new neighbors... I see these ones a lot. 
Black Widow that lives under my hose reel, the one that lives near the back porch light was photo shy as was the one near the spot light and my neighbors fence
Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Slick Rock Rec Area Day Hike

Took two of my daughters out to Slick Rock Recreation Area near Three Rivers, California on the Kaweah River Sunday evening. It was beautiful and I thought I would share some pictures.
She found a nice seat
Kaweah River
A Toad my daughter found

The water was so clear and beautiful
Climbing like a mountain goat
The sun started to set
A Bullfrog she found
The sun went down and it was time to go, this place is just an hour away and for whatever reason I have only been there twice. Might have to see start using that Geocash account and see if I can find any in there. $4 parking fee, some gas and a bottle of Gatorade made a great summer evening out with my daughters, now that is value.  

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cayucos Kayak Fishing, 18 August 2012

I woke up with the alarm buzzing at 3:25AM sliding out of bed slowly to avoid stepping on a kitten, dog or disturbing my wife. I made my way out the front door into the rain, I could tell it had just started to rain. The two kayaks were already loaded in the truck along with the rest of my gear, with all this planning I still forgot my GPS unit, a Towel and my dry bags. There was little traffic as I drove down rt 41 to 43 to the 1 and into Cayucos. My buddy Jeff was there waiting to receive his kayak, he let a friend borrow it last weekend and I helped him out by picking it up from Fresno so we could get out on the water.
I arrived and there the sun was coming up and patches of colored sky peered through the cloud cover, as we got our boats ready an staged them on the beach another CCFK member Will showed up.
The surf was light and pretty predictable, all three of us got into the water without dumping. The weather was awesome, I can't believe I planned this trip with Jeff 2 weeks ago and the weather cooperated, that about never happens.
We started paddling out towards the buoy looking for marks on the fish finders when Jeff started having problems with his kayak. His kayak started feeling tipsy, hard to turn and sluggish, he popped open his hatch and saw he was taking in water. He turned back to see if he could fix the problem, Will and I fished where we were and watched him as he went in. After a while we assumed he was safe and moved out a little.

I saw a nice spot on my graph and dropped my line when I hear Will say "He is no in his boat anymore"
I assume that means he is on the beach but as I turn to look his direction I see him in the water, boat over turned and he screams my name. We got over there and found he had so much water in his kayak it couldn't hold his weight, thank God Will had a bucket. After several minutes of bailing Jeff was back on his way in. He was about at the pier when he started having trouble and flipped again, we flipped him and I gave him a few good pushes into shore. There were quite a few fishermen on the pier and a lot of people on the beach, enjoying the free show. He got in safely.
(Photo taken from Jeff's Facebook)
Once he got on the beach he found the culprit, the o-ring that seals the hatch on his 2005 Ocean Kayak was pinched. 

Update 19 Aug 2012: Jeff called me, his right side seat well scupper hole was damaged, it explains a lot including why it did not fill as fast the second time when he had scupper plugs in it. 
(Photo taken from Jeff's Facebook)
While Jeff was back on the beach Will and I were out fishing kelp beds. Will got the first fish, a Black and Yellow Rockfish, when he was grabbing his stringer the fish flopped out. I finally picked one up fishing a small kelp patch, a small Black and Yellow. I was taking a picture of it while jigging my Rockcod rig and got a good hit, happily I pulled up a nice Quillback.

Just started hopping kelp bed to kelp bed, Will picked up another fish on his "Fish Trap" rig and things looked like they were cooling down. Will had to get to a BBQ and I figured it was nice enough and there were enough people around for me to say out a while solo. Right as he left I nailed a small Black and Yellow  on a Stankx Tube.
Right after I caught that fish I saw a yellow kayak with a blue paddle and figured it was Jeff I paddled a little closer and it was, his kayak was riding much higher than it was. We said "good bye" to Will and started to paddle out to the kelp when Jeff started feeling his kayak start to get tippy again. He looked in the hatch and saw the water was back. I followed him in and he made it back on land without further incident.

As I was paddling back out I found a interesting spot and dropped my rig, I was bit immediately. I pulled fish after fish off the structure, they just loved the Tubz. I caught 5 and was 2 away from my limit when I looked back to the beach and saw that Jeff and Will still didn't even have their kayak's loaded on their cars. I dropped again and got a nice Black and Yellow. I dropped again and didn't have anything for a few minutes of jigging, I looked back and say their kayaks were on their vehicles now. I was about to give up when I felt a hit, I set the hook and the drag started peeling. I felt the fish run into the kelp, I held it steady until it came out and pulled out the biggest fish of the day.

I had my limit, got to meet a new fishermen, no one got hurt and I didn't get wet or loose anything. The only thing Jeff lost was a cheap spinning setup he had for a back up. The Grips Lucid Fishing sent me worked out well, it is nice to get a grip on the fish while it is thrashing around and making it less likely a fish plants one of my own hooks in my ankle.

(I am sure it looks funny but since the last time I ended up in the water I have worn my life vest really tight.)

I have a few pretty good complaints about the day but it is nothing I can change, no one got hurt and that is what matters. Will, you are the man. Jeff, I wish things could have gone better for you.

Ended up with a nice stringer too. :D

Thanks for reading

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Operation Kayak Drop

I ha to run up to Fresno to pick up my buddy's 15' Ocean Kayak for him so I could bring it down to Cayucos Saturday morning bright and early for we can get in on some fishing. My trusty dog was game to accompany me, it was not a long journey but with traffic and the hectic week it has been at work it had it's challenges. 
 I got there right at nightfall, strapped it down and made it home with out incident. Not how I wanted to spend a Thursday evening but it is one of the things you have to do sometimes to get on the water sometime.
Now my buddy can enjoy the weekend as well. Helping each other out is just what kayak anglers do, Jeff can't wait to hit the water with you Saturday. 

Thanks for reading, 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Kayak Angler Magazine

Check out the newest issue of Kayak Angler Magazine for me! 

Got featured with my personal best (so far)  next to another Central Valley Angler.

As well as a feature by Ric Burnley, I was super excited to be contacted by him seeing as his book helped me pick a kayak and get on the water safely. One funny side note they called Travis Crossman the owner of Stankx Bait Co, Travis Coleman. Must have been auto correct, hopefully it was not my mistake.

Check out the magazine, you can order an issue for your E-reader pretty cheap and they offer a free e-subscription for everyone who buys a paper subscription. Been reading this magazine for over 2 years and super proud to be a part of it in some way.

Thanks for reading,
Dan Rick's Blog
Ric's Book

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tough Day on the Kings River

Things have been tough on the river since June when they opened up the dam up river, the water temperature  dropped, and all the water is way up into the reeds. Most of the people I have talked to have either been skunked or pick up an odd fish or two. I just picked up some new Jigs and got an order of Stankx PB&J Drop-shot worms and chunk trailers so that was all I decided I'd bring. I have never put much time into drop shoting and figured the only way to learn is to do it. The last few weeks have been extremely busy and I have had little time to myself let alone getting out to fish. My wife decided to take our daughters out to get hair cuts so she told me to load up my kayak and take it to work so I could get out. The minutes seemed to drag by as I sat at my desk knowing my kayak was in the back of my pickup waiting for me. At the end of the day I wen tout to my truck to get my shorts and flip flops and to my horror they were not in there. I forgot them at home and would have to wear black jeans and argyle socks under my waders, this is going to be hot. On a positive note the one thing I did not forget was my sunblock, I am still peeling from the last time.

As I drive past the first put in I see about 9 jet ski trailers on the shore and about 11 of the annoying water shaking machines buzzing around in circles, all I could do was pray the water was high enough that they could not get under the bridge back to where I was going. I get to my spot and as I am unloading the kayak I hear that distinct annoying whine that could not be anything but a jet ski. I launch and get out to the first spot I want to cast to and screaming around the corner comes a girl on a blue and white two seater. Her wake rocked me back and forth and ripped through the reeds I was trying to fish, if this kept up I was pretty sure it would not be a fishy day. She wasn't alone I heard music and my fears were true a 18 foot wake boat blasting music and towing a tuber comes blasting through, it almost beached me. Luckily he decided to move on to another area but a family with 3 jet skis must have figured I liked them because they stuck around buzzing me and swamping out the bank.
 The picture does not really do justice to how close they were getting to the wake I had to deal with on this small river. I started with my worm about 9 inches above the weight and lowered it to around 5 inches, I was in about 7 feet of water next to some structure when I felt the thing swimming away, so I set the hook and pulled up my first dropshot fish ever and my first King river Bass since June.  That peanut butter Jelly Slug did his job.
 I had a few more hits off the shore, most of them went like this; cast to the shore, feel a small tick, miss a fish and a jet ski buzzes past... I was out for about 2 hours and my wife called seeing if I was eating dinner with the family. The sun was starting to set and the jet skis were being packed up but it was time. I don't know if I was just exhausted from the week, or dealing with the Jet Skis but dinner with the family seemed like the best way to end the day. I beat the skunk, caught my first drop shot fish and it was good. The water seems to be warming a bit and hopefully the fishing will pick back up soon.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fishing as an Addiction

People keep telling me I have a problem with fishing, I hear things like “You fish too much” and “All you ever talk about it fish, but what makes it a problem. 
“Alcoholism is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing.”
So why not add fishing in place of alcohol and take a look at it that way?
“Developed in 1971, the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST) is one of the oldest and most accurate alcohol screening tests available, effective in identifying dependent drinkers with up to 98 percent accuracy.
Questions on the MAST test relate to the patient's self-appraisal of social, vocational, and family problems frequently associated with heavy drinking. The test was developed to screen for alcohol problems in the general population.”
I developed this version in hope to help my fellow anglers.
The MAST Test (revised for anglers)
The MAST Test is a simple, self-scoring test that helps assess if you have a drinking problem. Answer yes or no to the following questions:
1. Do you feel you are a normal fishermen? ("normal" is defined as fishing as much or less than most other fishermen) Y/ N
2. Have you ever awakened the morning after fishing the night before and found that you could not remember a part of the evening? Y/ N
3. Does any relative or close friend ever worry or complain about your fishing? Y/ N
4. Can you stop fishing without difficulty after one or two strikes? Y/ N
5. Do you ever feel guilty about your fishing? Y/ N
6. Have you ever attended a meeting of B.A.S.S.? Y/ N
7. Have you ever gotten into physical fights when fishing? Y/ N
8. Has fishing ever created problems between you and a near relative or close friend? Y/ N
9. Has any family member or close friend gone to anyone for help about your fishing? Y/ N
10. Have you ever lost friends because of your fishing? Y/ N
11. Have you ever gotten into trouble at work because of fishing? Y/ N
12. Have you ever lost a job because of fishing? Y/ N
13. Have you ever neglected your obligations, family, or work for two or more days in a row because you were fishing? Y/ N
14. Do you fish before 6AM fairly often? Y/ N
15. Have you ever been told you have “Bass Thumb” or tendonitis of the wrist? Y/ N
16. After heavy fishing, have you ever had delirium tremens (DTs), severe shaking, visual or auditory (hearing) hallucinations? Y/ N

17. Have you ever gone to anyone for help about your fishing? Y/ N
18. Have you ever been hospitalized because of fishing? Y/ N
19. Has your fishing ever resulted in your being hospitalized in a psychiatric ward? Y/ N
20. Have you ever gone to any doctor, social worker, clergyman, or mental health clinic for help with any emotional problem in which fishing was part of the problem? Y/ N
21. Have you been banned from  more than one fishing forum due to your conduct? Y/ N
22. Have you ever been arrested, or detained by an official for a few hours, because of other behavior while fishing? Y/ N
Scoring the MAST Test
Score one point if you answered "no" to the following questions: 1 or 4. Score one point if you answered "yes" to the following questions: 2, 3, 5 through 22.
A total score of six or more indicates hazardous fishing or fishing dependence and further evaluation by a healthcare professional is recommended.
I hope you enjoyed my sense of humor, there is no judgment here.
Thanks for reading,
Just remember your fishing affects others...
Poor Kid
He does not approve...
Sources:National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of the San Fernado Valley. "Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST)." Retrieved July 2007.Alcohol Concern. Primary Care Alcohol Information Service. Retrieved 2007.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Adding a Power-handle to a Bait Caster

I bought an Abu Garcia Ambassador 5000 from my friend Russ Lowe  almost 2 years ago, I brought it out saltwater fishing and found it to be an awesome reel for rock cod fishing. Last weekend after getting buying a cleaning kit and preforming some much needed maintenance on my low profile bait casters I decided to work my magic on the red Abu and it was another great transformation, but it was still missing something.

I was looking at reels to replace the Shimano I lost my last ocean trip and kept looking at reels with power handles, after a few clicks I found one at a decent price and thanks to Amazon Prime it was waiting for me on the door step after I got home from work. 
 Only took a reel wrench, a screw driver and a pick to make the switch, the new handle even came with a sweet Abu Garcia shield cover for the nut that secures the handle to the reel.
The new handle is only a little bigger than the original but you can feel the difference in your hand without even being rigged. I had some trouble reeling in ling cod the last time I was out and I think this is going to really help get the fish up better and faster, at least that is what I hope. 

Thanks for reading,

Update 20 August 2012: Got it out on the water an it makes a huge difference, it fishes like a new reel. I recommend this reel mod to anyone who likes fishing saltwater with light bait casting gear. Check out the results HERE.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Maintenance Does Wonders

On last Sunday's trip my Diawa Veinto started making a weird sound, Ed said "sounds like that thing could use some lube". I got online and ordered the Ardent Reel Butter Pack from Tackle Warehouse.

After a day of waiting it was on the counter when I got home. After spending almost two days researching proper reel maintenance on Youtube and various forums I got right to taking the Revo SX HS apart, scrubbing it down and lubing it up. I spun it back up with 15lb Seagaur Floro and sprayed it down with the Line Butter conditioner. Tied a jig on and I have to say it casts better then it did new.

After dinner, chores and picking a bicycle up I found on Craigslist for my girls I got to the Diawa. That reel is like a Chinese puzzle box to take apart and put back together (if you are cleaning the same reel make sure you have time to do it right). Took me about 30 minutes total and the hardest part was snapping the left hand case back on. It feels smooth and free and lacks that noise it was making so I deem it a success.
My kitchen counter setup with white paper for contrast
If you have never taken apart a baitcaster before only take apart what you are comfortable with, if you are not comfortable with it at all turn it in to a pro. There is a night and day difference between a reel that has been serviced and one that needs it.

Thanks for reading,