Friday, September 27, 2013

The Cambria Slam Down II

      Saturday was an amazing day on the water over one hundred and twenty kayak anglers hit the water at the same time for Central Coast Kayak Fishing's Cambria Slam Down Two. An event months in planning and highly anticipated.

Leffingwell Landing
          I got off work on Friday at four o'clock and tried to drive home without speeding. The night before I was in Walmart and got recognized by a member of the forum. What got me about this encounter was how stoked he was and that he was taking off work Friday to get a day on the water to scout it out. Sometimes I forget I am not the only one obsessed with fishing, and it struck me how big this site I joined a little over a year ago had grown. I got home with out wrecking or getting a ticket and loaded what I thought was everything. We were on the road for about fifteen minutes when I realized I forgot my stringer, Hawg trough, and a warm shirt or sweater. I turned back and got those items completely forgetting a large grey lockable box with all of our food and my wife's text books...

        We got to the camp site at around eight thirty and got set up with the help of a few friends. I feel extremely blessed to meet these people. There just doesn't seem to be a lot of people out there willing to be kind and lend a hand these days, so I try not to look past them when they come into my life. Speaking of awesome people, Ed of Four Season Angler Custom Rods did me a solid and whipped together an amazing rod, for a great price, and got it to me in time for the tourney (I will do a review of it some time soon). After getting setup we sat around the fire listening to Joe Koenig play the guitar and sing. I didn't get to the tent until late setting the alarm on my phone to five a.m.

Photo via Fisheye Channel
     I thought there would be a traffic jam with that many fishermen trying to get ready, but it turned out to go rather smoothly. Seeing how my wheels were out of condition I just drug my kayak through the grass from the day use area to the beach. It was great meeting guys from the site I have interacted with on the forum but never met in person. The swell was tame and people were eager to get on the water. It was amazing watching people leave the beach heading out of the bay into open water
Via Fisheye Channel

    I stayed back on the beach for a few minutes, there is no rush getting into the water a minute or two late. Watching people get in was interesting, some guys slid into the water the got onto their yaks in a smooth motion and others not so much. One guy drug his yak to the water and sat down only to be left back in the rocks, he sat and waited for three more swells until he slowly paddled away. I was in awe because most launches like that end up with a wet guy that has to pick up some gear. It was perfect conditions for all the fishermen involved to get off the beach quickly and safely.
       Willy and I got on the water and we decided to start fishing kelp patties. Occasionally we'd drop down on spots in between when we spotted marks on our fish finders. The wind and rain were not treating us well though. Besides being blown around the rain made it hard for Willy and I to see through our glasses. We got blown around tangled in the kelp for about an hour and a half before I got my first fish. A grass rockfish ate a polliminner.   Not a real big fish but it was good to break in the rod. Willy had the next fish when he managed to snag a lingcod in the side with a jigging iron. Most of the radio chatter was people complaining about how weak the bite was. We got to a spot a little deeper in between two dense patches of kelp an I saw some strong marks above some rocks. I dropped down and immediately hooked into a ling. I pulled up the reddest ling I have ever seen, but he was just above the legal limit so he went back down.  I dropped my rig in the same spot and had a hit after a few jigs and pulled up a twenty-seven inch ling.

Yard sale photo Fish Eye channel (not me)
We kept on fishing catching small rockfish here and there but it was not a steady bite. We moved out deeper to fish reefs, but there was nothing out there besides sand dabs. We started hearing reports about rough surf at the beach and chalked it up to people not used to Leffingwell. There were a few yard sales reported, for those of you who don't know a yard sale is what happens when one wipes out on the beach. Gear gets spread out like it is on sale.  Seeing how a lot of people were heading in and I only had two species Willy and I decided to stay out a bit longer and take our time heading in.
Willy paddling in 
Photo via Fish Eye Channel
   Willy and I got onto the beach about twenty-five minutes after final check in. No reason to rush because I saw bigger fish on stringers while I was fishing. Being out of the contest helps me relax and enjoy the day more. right as we came in the sun started burning through the fog and breaking up the clouds. If only it would have lasted.

   The spread for the potluck was pretty ineradicable. There was crevice, fresh panko fried fish, fruit, desserts, pasta salads, and all sorts of amazing stuff. Everybody was so nice and cool the food tasted great. I am not sure there is more one could ask for. Raffle tickets were sold and prizes were handed out.

Congratulations Ricci. I hope you enjoy your new Outback. Photo via Fisheye Channel
2013 Cambria Slam Down. Picture VIA Fisheye
    It was an amazing fun day to get out meet new people fish and enjoy my favorite way to fish. Thank you Ryan Howell for all your hard work and dedication in getting this event together and running it as smooth as it went. Thanks Mike and Amy for splitting a campsite with my wife and I. Thanks to the guys pulling people up off the beach making sure no one got hurt. Thank you people who made it to the tourney as well as the members of Central Coast Kayak Fishing for being just awesome. Thank you Fish Eye Channel for the photos (I can't wait to see the video). 
Time to start planning for next year. 

Thanks for reading,

Check out the forum here:

If you need a new rod contact Ed here:

Visit Fish Eye Channel here:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Dove Breasts

           I have been wanting to get into hunting for some time now. I never really had guns around growing up, and not a lot of my family hunts. Being a thirty year old hunting virgin is really taking its toll on me. I want to be comfortable around guns, and I want to hunt, but jumping in is not as easy as it sounds. Safety precautions, rules, regulations, seasons, split seasons, special seasons, public land, private land, hunting clubs, the NRA, Friends who hunt but can not take anyone for some reason or another, safety classes, permits, tags--it is all a little much. The big thing is the cost: guns, tags, permits, classes, gear, and ammo all costs money. I don't want to make a rookie mistake. I am just getting by as it is without buying the wrong gun. It all makes my head spin.

      Reading Hank Shaw's book, Hunt Gather Cook, gave me a better idea of what I wanted to do. I needed a shotgun, a safety class, and a licence. Things did not line up though. I decided I would start with dove, the most prolific game bird in the California's central coast. September first was the opener and I could not scrape together the funds to make it this year. Though I did bring the dog to the range and find she is not gun shy. So my sites are set on next season.

         The good thing about sportsmen is we tend to take care of each other and are normally willing to share. So I traded some rockfish I caught last trip out to a coworker who is an avid hunter. I got nine beautiful birds to try out. I breasted all but two of them to see how they were whole.

The dark meat was tender and very moist looking. I used a fillet knife to remove the meat from the thick breast plate leaving me small tear drop shaped medallions.
 I added pepper and wrapped them in bacon as per my friend's suggestions. I used half a strip per medallion; I wish I would have used a quarter strip instead to speed the cooking time up.
And on the grill they went until the bacon was crispy. Make sure the grill is very hot. Dove is safe to consume at medium rare, but it you go to well the meat turns to mush and looses a lot of its nice flavor. Needless to say I over cooked mine but still enjoyed it.

A side of red beans and rice and sauteed brussel sprouts completed the dish. I really enjoyed it. My wife thought it had a liver taste and texture, but said she's eat it again. Hopefully next year I will be in a position to start hunting, and then I can get my own birds.
Plucked WholDove

Thanks for reading,


Hank's blog:
Hank's Book:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Saga of the lost Princess Rod

             A few weeks ago I posted about a buddy losing a fishing rod. I would rather look for a needle in a haystack than a rod in a lake. It could be anywhere. Brandon,The Fishing Doctor, puts up some pretty enjoyable videos to watch but this one is an instant classic in my eyes. Fishing with kids can be trying on one's patience, and I am glad this story had a happy ending.

I can only hope I can be so lucky when it happens to me. She clearly threw the rod, but hopefully it does not become an expectation it will come back every time.

Thanks for reading,


Check out Brandon's blog here:

My last lost rod post:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pouring Baits

Haven't been doing much lately but pouring baits and playing with colors. 
Been doing a lot of two tones for the fishing tournament I will be attending later this month. 
I also copied some swimbaits using plaster of Paris and they are turning out decent.
Been obsessed with the metallic powder dyes lately. The greens and blues look so good in the water. Next thing on the list is a DIY Jig head but what will have to wait for another day. 

Thanks for reading,


Monday, September 2, 2013

My Lures Work! Kayak Fishing at Leffingwell Landing.

My arsenal
         The best part about designing lures or modifying existing lures for your own use is the satisfaction of catching fish on them. I designed the Polli-Minner in my living room one day because I wanted something that wasn't on the market. Originally it was supposed to be more eel-like, but ended up being more tadpole-like.  Casting a Wild Eye Goby as a baby ling imitation just seemed right to me. After many nights of pouring different colors I was chomping at the bit to try them out. Sunday morning I was able to test out my new lures and see what colors the fish like. 

The first fish of the way was a kelp greenling that hit the metallic green baby ling. 
The brown rock fish liked the babylings as well. 
It was an amazing day to be on the water. It was awesome getting out with Mike, Amy, Tim, Cory, Andrew, Kory, and Micheal. It was a beautiful day and about the easiest surf launch and landing I have ever had.  
I got my first vermilion on on a dark blue Polli-minner.  
The beauty of the bait is the subtle action combined with the large profile. Despite the large profile the tail is soft and thin enough most fish can get it in their mouths.
This is a tree rockfish--my dad always joked about hooking tree fish, but these are not what he was talking about. 
I got snagged on a rock as a seal was getting up nerve to get closer to me. I gave the rod a good jerk and my pole snapped. The crack scared the seal away... or was it my swearing? either way he was gone, and the funny thing is when I grabbed the line to cut it the rig was free. I grabbed the other set up I had, a medium action trolling rod with a spinning reel and 10lb test Fireline. I had three fish that snapped the line before I got the drag set right on the cheap reel, including a large ling I got almost to the surface until he torpedoed to the bottom. 
I did manage to find a school of browns that really liked the baby lings though. 
My last fish of the day was this small kelp greenling. They are beautiful little fish and great lingcod bait. I just wish I had more time to try him out. 
The swell was so tame I could have come in sideways if I wanted. It was a great day to go out and catching fish on lures I made made it even better. 
I ended up catching around twenty fish in total mostly small coppers, browns and blues and taking home nine fish for the freezer. I filleted the greenling and pan fried in coated in panko crumbs in butter, the wife thought it was really tasty.  

Thanks for reading,


Check out how I made these lures in the links below.