Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring Bass Fishing at Paradise Point

I was long overdue for a little delta water therapy, so when the newest member of the Headwaters Kayak staff, Matt Guthrie, invited me out fishing I jumped at the oppurtunity. Our plan was to check out Paradise Point Marina, to scout for the upcoming Western Kayak Bass Series tournament.
Matt with his topwater bluegill.
 Matt and I arrived pre-dawn to hopefully catch a few fish on topwater. We launched our yaks and paddled out to the first spot. Instantly Matt had a fish on. I worked my way around to the opposite side of the point that Matt was fishing and flung out my crease fly, a low profile topwater popper. On my second cast, I got a swirl and fish on! A little 9-inch male. Nothing quite like catching fish on top.The next whoop came from Matt,who had hooked about a 9-inch bluegill on his Zara Spook! We took a couple photos and then back to business. As I fished my way down the tule island, I saw a decent bass jump. I got into position and cast out my fly. Strip, Strip, fish on! this time it was a nice 13+ inch female. Perfect contender for our upcoming tournament.
A nice 13.25 inch bass caught on top with a crease fly.
After that the topwater bite died off. We switched to subsurface, with me throwing a wooly bugger and Matt fishing a Senko. Right after I switched, I hooked up with a fat 14+ inch bass. What a blast on a fly rod!

My best fish of the day.
I finished the day with a 9.5 inch bluegill. Matt had to one up me on his last cast, with a piggish 18 incher.
A 9.25 inch bluegill. A personal best for me.
The trip was a great start to the season. Looking forward to this years Western Kayak Bass Series. For more info on the tournament series, give us a call at the shop at 209-224-8367.
Matt with his 18 inch pig.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Crabfest 2015

Well we are at it again, kicking off another year of kayak tournaments. We always start the year with Crabfest, a crabbing tournament hosted at Doran Beach. This years tournament could not have come soon enough. The Central Valley has been pretty dreary as of late, with most days being cloudy and cold. This type of weather doesn't exactly get me excited about fishing, so I have been spending more time with the family as of late, leading to some major fishing withdrawals. Thankfully, Dan graciously let me go early on Friday, so I could spend all weekend at Crabfest.

I arrived about 9:00pm and spent a little time with a few folks I knew getting the crabbing report and telling tall tales. Evidently there had been some big tides earlier in the week that had pushed the crabs around and catch was down as a result, but I hit the hay hopeful for full pots over the weekend.

They ended up being too small to keep, but still cool to see.

The next morning I awoke early, excited to get on the water and start some crabbing. I got my gear together and rigged up while I waited for the day use area gate to open. Right as I got parked, I saw Victor, the host and tournament director for Crabfest. I went over and greeted him and chatted a bit about the weekends itinerary. I think the nicest thing about all of these tournaments isn't the fishing, but getting to see all of the familiar faces and catching up with friends. It's a good thing I enjoyed the comradery so much because the crabbing was slow. I soaked one pot most of the day for one rock crab. Other people I talked to had similar results, but that as they say is fishing. The other bonus of the day was the weather was gorgeous! Sunny, warm, and no wind. The finale for the day was the potluck at Glen's campsite, good company and good food.

Victor, the tournament director, making a crabby face.
The morning of the tournament I woke up to The Headwaters van rocking from side in the wind. Not a good omen. I drove over to the entrance gate for the day use area to get in line. I got out of the van. Freezing! I got into the day use area and started setting up for registration. Normally we put up a couple of easy ups, but those would quickly blow over in the roughly 25 knot wind that was blowing. We decided to set up shop in The Headwaters van and Dan's Sprinter van.

Too windy to go out.
Even though getting out crabbing was not looking likely, we still did registration. We encouraged people to not go out on the water because it was not safe, but to register for the event because just by registering their name would be entered to win a 2015 Eddyline Caribbean 12 kayak, no crab submission necessary. We spent the rest of the morning telling fish stories and hoping the wind would die off.

Brr! Dan and I trying to keep warm in the Sprinter, handing out raffle tickets.
The wind finally laid down just in time for the end of the tournament and the beginning of the potluck, which is an event in itself.
Plenty of people attended and we had lots of goodies to raffle off. Proceeds benefited Diabetic Youth Families.

Huge thanks to Eddyline for donating an Eddyline Caribbean for the event.
Yummy! NCKA potlucks are the best!
Already looking forward to going back next year.

The winner of the Dungeness Crab Winner Sonny.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fishing from Stealth Kayaks in Kauai

Nice mahi mahi
Aloha, had a nice break in the winds and had some awesome adventures on our Stealths last week great family day on the duo to the secluded beach of kipu Kai, surfing the duo playing with dolphins snorkeling crystal clear water, also saw our first humpback of the season.

Stealth Duo on the beach
giant trevali
Next day out with uncle Bobby had some fun with some small mahi mahi until a very frisky tiger shark came up to me when's right under the kayak swooped back around and nudged the boat. I high tailed it out of there paddled my ass off for a few minutes until right behind me guess who? Tony again! He quickly lost interest after I took the bait tube in, needless to say I counted my blessings and headed in. The next day uncle and I had some fun with some more small mahi and a nice giant trevally who swallowed the hook so he made some nice smoked strips for the holidays. Now wind is back so gotta get some domestics done so we can go get some action next weekend! Mahalo for the epic boats. Aloha Adam King Kauai HI 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fly Fishing for Rockfish at the 2014 Albion Open

By Bio-Bil1

While all fishing interests me, anyone who knows me knows that my passion is fly fishing. I have spent the last 3 years honing my craft in a kayak. This year I signed up for two year long competitions through Nor-Cal Kayak Anglers: Fly Angler of the Year and Angler of the Year. As I write this I am currently in 2nd for Fly Angler of the Year and in 17th out of 80 for Angler of the year. I am solely fly fishing for both competitions. It is safe to say that I am fully immersed in kayak fly fishing.

Last week my boss (Dan Arbuckle of the Headwaters Kayak Shop) said, " So, want to go to Albion?" My reply was an emphatic yes. I had been wanting to go to the coast for weeks to see if I could score some points for Fly Angler of the Year, but safety dictates the buddy system for fishing out of a kayak in the ocean, and I had not found anyone who was off on Mondays like me to go fishing, let alone fly fishing. Dan mentioned to me at the end of the week that I had been in a particularly good mood ever since learning I would be attending Albion.

I left Lodi Friday afternoon for Albion, California, full of anticipation. There were four possible categories that I could score in: Rockfish, Lingcod, Greenling, and Surfperch. I would be happy with a quality fish from any of these categories.

I arrived at 9pm and the wind was blowing and the fog had not come in. Not good signs for the next days conditions. I spoke with several people that Saturday may be too rough to go out. I stayed hopeful that the weather would change. I awoke the next morning with high hopes. I loaded all of my gear into the kayak, and headed out. As I paddled out with the tide I could see sizeable swell rolling into the cove. As I got further out not only was the swell sizeable, but the sets were close together creating a lot of confused water; water going in all different directions. I was not going to make it out of the cove. Fortunately there is still fishable area inside Albion Cove, and given the direction of the swell the north side of the cove was the most protected, so I headed over there to try my luck. My first stop was a series of wash rocks, which are rocks that protrude up out of the ocean and "washed" by incoming waves. There is often kelp near them and rock crevices for rockfish to hide in. The other nice thing about wash rocks is the habitat that they create is shallow, making it easier to target with a fly rod, since even a quickly sinking fly line sinks rather slowly in comparison to a 6-10 ounce jig bar or swimbait.
First Rockfish of the day.
Biggest black rockfish of the trip.

After about 20 minutes of fishing, I hooked up. Nothing huge, probably just a small blue or black rockfish, which are very common among the type of habitat I was fishing. Then ,"wham," my rod doubled over. I reeled in to find the small black rockfish I had caught with a hitchhiker lingcod attached. Often times when a small rockfish is hooked, it frantically swims around trying to free itself and ends up acting as bait for larger rockfish like lingcod. Unfortunately I had no net, only Boga Grips, so it was unlikely I would land the lingcod, but I tried anyway, to no avail. I kept working the rocks, hooking small black rockfish here and there. So far not a bad day. After about an hour of fishing, I cast out my clouser minnow right next to a large wash rock. I did one strip of the fly and then needed to reposition my kayak, so I backpaddled a couple of strokes. My rod then double over and the drag on my reel sounded with the "zzz" that all fisherman love to hear. I battled with the beast for about 5 minutes waiting with anticipation to see what it was. Finally I got it to the surface. Lingcod! A legal size one to boot. Now the next problem was landing it. I had my Boga Grip, to grab the fish by the lip, but for those of you who have seen a lingcod, you know that they have a lot of big teeth. Also I had hooked the fish squarely in the jawbone, so it had full use of its jaw and it was not happy to be hooked. On about the fifth attempt to grab its lip with the Boga Grip, I finally got it without the fish snapping at me and then diving. "Wahoo!" The 4 anglers around me were congratulating me, impressed that I had caught a lingcod on a fly rod. I snapped several photos, dispatched the fish and put it in my hull for fish tacos later.

All in all I ended the weekend with 15 blue and black rockfish and three lingcod. What a weekend!

Biggest lingcod of the trip.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Headwaters Kayak 2014 - Yellowstone Fishing Trip

Headwaters Kayak (Dan) and I have teamed up yet again for another Yellowstone fishing trip! The fishing, scenery and overall experience last year was absolutely amazing so I decided, what the heck, let’s do it again.
Last year Headwaters sponsored our trip by supplying a Cuda 14 and a Go Pro for pictures, this year they will be doing the same by supplying a Big Rig and a Cuda 14. I fish off of the Big Tuna shown above (purchased from Dan), my brother (Mark) will paddling the Big Rig and my brother-in-law (Jack) will be riding on the Cuda 14.
This trip will include multiple days fishing as we cross the Yellowstone Lake to where the Yellowstone River enters the lake (Approx 17 miles). Once we hit the river we will hide the kayaks and start the backpacking portion of our trip. We will hike approximately 15ish miles into the backcountry fishing the river as we go. Then we will turn around and make our way out of the backcountry to the kayaks and paddle our way back to the starting point. The overall trip is about 35 miles on kayak and 35 miles hiking.
When we get back I will work with Dan to set up a presentation/Potluck so that we can share our fishing stories, backpacking Stories and the differences between the three Kayaks. I will bring all my kayak, fishing and backpacking gear to share with everyone. I am an avid fisherman and backpacker, I have in the last two years integrated kayaking with my trip and am loving the experience of fishing from a platform.
I hope to see ya all then!
The Fishing
There is only one way to explain the fishing on both the lake and the river……..absolutely phenomenal!!!! On the lake we catch lake trout and cutthroat trout. Unfortunately the lake trout is an invasive species and fish and game are trying to exterminate the population before they take an even larger toll on the natural cutthroat trout. The river only has Cutthroat, they go up the river to spawn.

Lake Trout:
Last year was the first year I have actually fished the lake portion. I found that trolling at about 1.5 miles per hour and at a depth of 30 feet produced good results. The largest lake trout caught was approximately 12-15 lbs but there are ones quite a bit larger that have been caught in the lake. The largest picture I have seen was one about 51lbs!!!
-       Gear Used
o   One trolling rod with 10lb test and an old penn 940 reel rigged with:
§  Diver to get me down 30 – 60 ft
§  Flasher
§  Lure –  I like the little Cleo but most the of the lures I brought produced fish
o   Second trolling rod with 10lb test and a Abu Garcia line counting reel
§  The line counting reel helps you get down deeper by identifying how much line you have out
o   I will also be trying out using 1-3 ounce weights to get me to the bootom while trolling. We will see how this works out.
o   Fly Rod with sinking line and various black fly’s
§  my best fly has been a black wooly Bugger
Cutthroat Trout
-       Gear Used
o   On the lake see above gear
o   On the river I primarily use my fly pole
§  Sinking black lures
§  I have tried others but black sinking lures like the wooly bugger has been the only consistent producer for me.

Interesting Note:
Fishing regulations on in the park state that you cannot use any lead products other than large weights > 4lbs with downriggers to catch the lake trout. Last year I went through a painful process of trying to get all Non-lead products so that I would not break any of the rules!!! When Mark and I got to Yellowstone, we stopped to see if the store was selling any lures and what they had. The store was selling lead based lures!!!!!! I asked the store manager about the lures he was selling and he told me that those are the ones approved by fish and game. You can do with that as you will J . Here is a list of lead free products I found during my research for the 2013 trip
-       ACME fishing lures are all lead free – who wudda known…..They include
o   Spoons
§  KO Wobblers
§  Kamlooper
§  Little Cleo
§  Phoebe
§  Thunderbolt
§  And More
-       Kastmasters – not my favorite but hey they are not made out of lead

-       Rapala – Most of the divers are balsa wood and lead free
-       Eco – Makes Tungsten spinners
-       Dave’s Tangle free steel weight
-       1oz, 2oz and 3oz Steel with a plastic covered weight
Here is one of the Cutthroat that I have caught on the river:

Trip Details
The drive is going to take us approximately 14hrs (881 Miles). We will start driving as early as possible on July the 30th and arrive sometime on July 31st . When we arrive we have to stop at the ranger station, check in, get our boats inspected, get our boat permits, watch a safety video and get our fishing permits. We will launch out boats from Sedge Bay and start the kayaking portion of our trip sometime Mid afternoon on the 31st.
From Sedge Bay (5K4)
-       7/30/2014 Start Driving – drive all night only stopping for gas and restroom J
-       7/31/2014 Kayak and FISH to 5E9
-       8/01/2014 Kayak and Fish to 5L9
-       8/02/2014 Kayak and Fish to 6A1
-       8/03/2014 Beach Kayaks and Hike to 6C2
-       8/04/2014 Hike and Fish to 6D1
-       8/05/2014 Hike and Fish 6Y6
-       8/6/2014 Hike to Kayaks and Fish to 5E2
-       8/7/2014 Kayak and Fish to 5E6
-       8/8/2014 Kayak and Fish to 5H1
-       8/9/2014 Kayak back to truck and start driving


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Lake Berryessa 5/4/14

Lake Berryessa

-Victor "vwool"

We made it to the lake around 11, we were aiming for 10 but I can't complain. Halfway through the drive Ari vomited in the back and I though our trip was over. We figured we would keep going and keep an eye on her. When we got to the lake I was amazed, I had seen pics but wow the lake was low. The lady at the gate told us our best bet would be to drop the boats off at the ramp. She wasn't joking, all the spots that used to have easy access to the water were gone. We parked at the day use area unpacked the truck , and got the kayaks rigged.

Our friend Lisa came with us and came along to paddle. So setting up the kayak for her was easy, it took me a few minutes. This morning when getting the gear in the truck, I ripped the cable to the battery on the fish finder. I was worried not having the fish finder but all worked out. There were a few other boats on the water but they were off to the main lake. As soon as I launched I headed the across to see what I could find. About 10 minutes in I get my first hit and I landed a 12" smallmouth bass. I was excited to get a fish that quick and the weather was great. I hung around the area and found some more, plus a crappie. 

I came in for lunch and was amazed how fast the time on the water was going. After lunch Narisa, and Ari came out on the water for a short time. It was nice to be on the water with the family. Ari loves the water, she kept splashing around by the ramp. After lunch the bite seemed to slow down, but I was still able to manage a couple more around 14". 

At around 4:15 I decided it was time to get in and pack the items we bought. I never knew a child could require that much stuff. I could have been out there longer but we had some stuff to do and our friend Lisa needed to get back also. 

I was sad I missed the Slam, but I am glad we were able to make it out to the lake. It is really nice what they have done. We will be back, I miss the days of the $2 entry but $15 isn't to bad. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Feelfree Lure 11.5 initial thoughts

Hi all ....
Dave Fowler here from The Headwaters Fishing Team with my review of the new FeelFree lure 11.5. 

With the weight of this kayak at around 75lbs the wheel in the keel is a great design. It rolls great on flat ground back and forth to the launch ramp with no problem, however if you had a long walk to a remote launch you might want to bring some regular kayak wheels. I was able to take the Lure out this past weekend to Lodi Lake with a good breeze on the water. I caught a break in between storms which was perfect, so I headed straight out to the main body of the lake and with a chop on the water this boat did great it cut right through. The boat tracked surprisingly well and the bow offered a very dry ride lifting and rising over the chop. I was thinking there was going to be a bit of a drag with some off tracking due to the wheel in the keel design, but I was wrong! The Lure 11.5 cruises right along with very little yaw. One option that I would consider for the lure is the rudder set up just to keep yourself on a nice angle to drift along those banks on windy days.

I started out the day with the FeelFree gravity seat in the low position. With one hand I was able to pick the seat up and raise it to any level. The seat has some crazy adjustment. Something like 10 different levels that is can be adjusted to. I was also able to raise and lower the seat with one hand. Right up to the highest position and had no worries of feeling tippy with a higher center of gravity. At 36in wide this boat is super stable I was able to turn myself around while standing to access some gear in the back without falling in the drink or having to grab the rails to regain balance. The lure has a padded deck for standing and feels fabulous on the feet after standing on its platform for some time.The lure also comes stock with uni-track that runs down the rails on both sides of the yak from the center hatch to about the seat. It also comes with a set of tracks in the back with a convenient tie down that allows you to securely hold a small cooler or tackle box.

This is a great boat with a lot of options. The unique uni-bar that hooks securely on to the tracks that allows you to hook up anything from a fish finder to rod holders or whatever else your heart desires. A feature we added on to this lure is a stand up bar, but with the stability of the lure11.5 I found myself not really utilizing it too much. 

I do believe this boat is going to make a big splash in the kayak fishing world and its a great addition to the FeeLFree line of kayaks. You will see me on this ride again! Thank you for taking the time to read my review of the FeelFree lure 11.5. I hope I was helpful in adding some insight on this kayak and to how well it handles. Now its your turn to get into The Headwaters and try it out for yourself! I guarantee you will not be disappointed. 

David Fowler Headwaters Team Paddler: 
Currently paddles a Jackson Cuda 12. 

Rigged up and ready to go. 

Low Seat