Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lake Berryessa Trout

With the weather forecasted to be in the 70's I decided it was a great day to go fishing yesterday. I got to Lupine Shores at 7:45 and was on the water by 8. 

I started off trolling with a Dodger and a rubber worm. As I turned the point I run into Ken Jan an NCKA member who had been on the water for a while now. I asked him how he was doing and he said that he caught one right when he launched but wasn't having anymore luck. We went on our own ways and said we would meet up later. I hit all the spots that I had gotten bites from the Presidents day weekend but had no luck. So I decide to go back to the launch and see if I could get any bites there. I decided to put a spinner on one of the rods to see if that even had a fighting chance. There were fish jumping but none of them were biting at the spinner.

At this point I see Ken Jan getting back into his boat from the launch and heading toward me. I asked him if he wanted to go further out and he said sure. So we headed out the main body of water, Ken Jan paddled in front of me while I made a change in bait. This time I decided it was time to have a night crawler behind the Dodger on at least one of the rods. During the time I switched baits, Ken Jan had hooked another fish. He was killing it in his sit inside kayak. 

When we turned the point there were fish jumping everywhere. So I started to troll and hoping to get a bite. Not very long after I see that I am getting some good bites but nothing is sticking. This is the most action I have gotten all day so I keep trolling, and then Bam fish on. As I bring the fish to the boat, I grab my net and as I am about to net it and the fish gets loose, it was so close it even touched the kayak. :smt012 It was my bad on the netting skills. 

So at this point I am thinking this whole basic setup of the Dodger and the night crawler is working great, and I need to set up both rods the same. I troll all the way to the shore and begin to circle around to repeat the same thing. As I am going back on my route I realize that there is boat coming straight at me and I decided to just keep trolling and I will be able to pass them and get my lines out of the way. They are about 15 feet behind me when I here one of my rods just let loose, so I go to pick it up and start reeling, the boat yells out "don't worry you don't have to move your line" not realizing that I had a fish on. Then all of a sudden as I am reeling in the line, the other rod starts tapping and fish on. The fish on the first rod ends up snapping the line but its ok, I still have the other rod to work with. This time I was able to land the Trout and it was my first Kayak trout. It felt good to finally get one on the boat :smt007. At this point I felt confident in my setup and it was working great. I quickly rigged up both rods to keep on trolling. 

It was already 1 in the afternoon and I was supposed to leave at 12 to let my dog Melo out, so I decided it was time to head back to the launch but I would still troll on the way in. Right as I was about to turn the corner the line goes again and its fish on. This time I am able to get the fish in the net fairly easy and it ends up being bigger then the first one and measured in at 15.5". Even though I could have kept fishing I was already late and decided to just pull all the lines out of the water and paddle in. 

The whole day was awesome and it was great to be able to Paddle with Ken Jan who lives in New York and visits California part of the year. I had met him at the fish and chill this past weekend and it was great to fish with him again.  He got his limit by the time we got off the water.  

Lupine Shores is a great spot to Launch a kayak from. They don't have a boat launch fee just a day use fee which is $3.15 per person or per dog. The one downside of Lupine Shores is they have no potable water so make sure to bring some and they have portable bathrooms. 

When I got home Melo was so excited to see me and ran to the door before I could even ask him if he wanted to go out. 

-Victor Woolworth

Here are some more photos of the Day:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review Of Jackson Kayak Cuda/fishing Presidents Day weekend

I showed up to pick up my rental for President's Day weekend and it turned out that I was in luck, the Cudas had come in. I had enjoyed paddling the Coosa so much on the Mokelumne that when Dan mentioned there was a longer version he might have, perfect for the trolling I was going to try over the weekend, I couldn't help but get excited.  At first glance I saw how long the kayak was and asked," will that fit in my truck bed?" Dan's reply was, "let's find out." So we strapped the 14 foot long Cuda into my 7 foot long (with the tailgate down) truck bed and made sure to attach the handy included Jackson Kayak Red flag to the end. Miraculously the strapped down kayak was stable enough to go down the highway. Now all I had to focus on was getting up to New Melones and catching some trout while trolling from a kayak, which was a totally new experience for me.

I arrived on Friday evening and couldn't wait to test out the boat. My buddy and I carried it down the bank and dropped it into the water. I grabbed my fishing gear and was ready to roll. I was very pleased with all of the storage found in the Cuda. The center hatch I found particularly sweet because you could stow a fully rigged extra rod in it and with a little work be able to access it while out on the water. I made sure to put the seat in the high position. As far as I'm concerned that is a major selling point of these boats. They're like kayak recliners. Another bonus of the seat is that you can store items that you may need quick acces to right under you so they are easily reachable. So off I went for an hour long troll.

My first impression in the boat is that it does not have the rock solid stability of the Coosa. That being said, even with my limited experience in Kayaks and even with the seat in the hi position I never felt at any point like I was going to fall out of the boat. My next thought was how easily the boat was propelled along, probably thanks to the fact that the Cuda is narrower and therefore less stable than the Coosa. The trout were rising on the surface of the water so we spent the weekend trolling with no weight. At most I would take 3 paddle strokes and then glide for sometimes half a minute, in order to keep from going too fast and having my lure break the surface of the water. I went to bed that night skunked, but looking forward to playing with the Cuda more tomorrow.

I was enjoying paddling the Cuda. In the hi seat position I couldn't have been more comfortable while still getting exercise. We made it out onto the main body of the lake and I knew this is where the true test of the Cuda would happen. There was a bass tournament going on over the weekend and since there wasn't any wind, Bass boats blasting past me at 65mph would be the only waves I would see. I took wake from every angle possible and never felt even close to flipping, despite having a higher center of gravity in the high seat. The only dowside to the entire 4 hour paddles was that despite switching to every lure I could think of I still had yet to catch a trout.

Finally I had to do the ultimate test. Jackson Kayak says that the Cuda is stand up stable, they even include a littl strap to help pull yourself up with. I made sure to do this test close to shore so if I fell in, it wouldn't be the end of the world. I grasped the strap and stood up. The first thing I noticed was that while I can stand up in the boat, I wouldn't exactly call it stable. As I was standing I was definitely teetering from side to side trying to stay in the boat. Keep in mind that I am 6'1'' and about 180lbs, so I'm not exaclty built for stablity. The long and short of it is that I could stand up and not flip the Cuda in flat water, but I certainly wasn't going to cast in a standing position. My thoughts on standing in a kayak are this: It's a kayak, it's made for paddling, not standing.

Overall I would definitely recommend the Cuda to anyone looking for an extremeley comfortable boat for trolling and doing other open water activites.

Not to be forgotten, I did catch a limit of trout over the weekend.

Hello Headwaters fans. My name is Bill. I am the latest addition to Headwaters Kayak Fishing Team. As Dan mentioned on his facebook page I work here in the central valley as a Fisheries Technician, collecting data on salmon, steelhead, and some of the other fish that inhabit the river. In addition to working with fish, I love to fish for recreation. My preferred method of capture is via fly rod, but I'm happy to use whatever method is working to catch fish at the time. While I am not new to fishing, fishing from a kayak is a totally new experience for me and I have to say I love it! I look forward to sharing my kayak fishing adeventures with you all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thule Xsporter Review

One of the big questions when purchasing a kayak is how am I going to transport it. There are so many options that one can feel overwhelmed. When it comes to Transporting Kayaks on a truck, one of the racks that comes to mind is the Thule Xsporter.

Thule Xsporte Rack shown with Thule Hull-a-port

The Thule 422XT Xsporter works great with compact trucks and full size trucks as well. The rack can hold up to 450 lbs and can even be set to 5 different heights with locks on each side of the rack to keep them locked in position. This rack allows for kayaks to be carried on top while still allowing space for gear, bikes, and other cargo that doesn't fit inside the truck.

The Rack is easy to install and the bars can be removed while still leaving the inserts attached to the bed when not in use. One of the issues with the Tacoma Crew Cab is not being able to put the rack in the lowest position due to the wheel well. When using this mount on a Tacoma an adapter kit needs to be purchased to attach the rack to the rail system. With most other trucks it just clamps in without having to drill. 

Kayaks can be carried upside down or with any other Thule accessories.

On a recent trip of delivering kayaks I was able to put three kayaks on the rack without any problem. I have also been able to in the past to put two on top and two in the bed. This rack is extremely versatile and is a great option for those looking to carry their kayaks around in their truck. 

*** If you are interested in this rack, please call Dan at The Headwaters at 209-224-8367. Anybody who mentions this post on the blog will receive 10 % off their purchase of the Xsporter.

-Victor (vwool)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fishing the Lower Mokelumne River

 The crew arrived at Headwaters Kayak shop at 7:00 to carpool and grab and last minute supplies. We piled all the gear into one truck and made our way up to Stillman McGee park. From there we all piled into the Headwaters work truck and drove to the day use are at the Mokelumne Fish Hatchery. The weather was mild and overcast, but the river was low and clear. After a short walk we got to the river. We did a brief per trip talk for the guys who were new to kayaking on rivers and from there we hit the water and worked our way upstream. The beginning of the trip was all about getting the crew familiar with paddling in swift current. We worked on pealing out into the current, catching eddies, and ferrying across the current. Everyone caught on quick and it wasn't long before the lines were wet! 3 out of 4 of us were using spinning gear, and one guy (Bill) used his fly gear.

We bounced down stream across shallow gravel bars, stopping to fish whatever holes we could find. I quickly realized that our 4 hour float was going to more like 6 or 7 hours. The second big hole we got to was swift and had a nice deep pocket. I threw in my worm rigged up with a 4 lb leader and sliding weight, and hooked up after just a few cast. As soon as I got it into shallow water it broke off. This is when I learned the lesson that if you are targeting big fish use a heavier weight leader. DOH! After a dozen more cast we decided to head down stream to another woody hole. Again we parked the kayaks and casted from an island so we could position our bait right behind a big snag, and let it drift with the current. After just a few cast I hooked up with this nice 13" Rainbow Trout.                                                            

Next thing I know I see Victor untying his spinner and grabbing for the worms. As I started paddling down stream I pass Ed, who also hooked up to a small trout. We all got back into the boats and floated some more down stream fishing from spot to spot by side drifting int he current.
I took this shot while fishing an island, and you can see everyone else drifting down the river. We hit one more spot called Cow Beach. From what the local guide says, if your going to hook a big Steelhead, this is the spot. The river makes a bend and all the current gets pushed right into fallen tree. In order to get your bait to the fish you run a high risk of snagging up. Well we must have been fishing hard because we all had to retie a half dozen times. On one cast my worm dropped under the tree and I thought I got snagged again. I reeled hard to release the snag and then the snag started taking line. "Oh s%*t its a fish! A big fish!" I fought hard and prayed my leader wouldn't break. I yell to Victor to grab his net. We could see him just a few feet in front of us. He was well over 18 inches which puts him into the Steelhead category. Just as Victor gets in place to net him SNAP! He gave us the wink and swam back under his log. Broke me line and broke my heart. Moral of the story? Next time use at least a 6lb leader. 

The rest of the trip was just a fun laid back float. There was one instance where a low hanging branch snagged a pole and caused Ed, to take a dunk, but we quickly got him out of the water and got him to shore. He did however lose one of his poles. Which was a reminder to me to not get complacent, and always leash down my rods when I'm not using them. Thats one thing I like about my Jackson Coosa, There are nice Rod Stagers on ether side where I can easily clip my rods and still have easy access to them.

I hope we get some rain soon to dirty up the water and make the fishing a little better, but the great thing about kayak fishing is even if you don't catch a single fish, you still had a great paddle. Thanks Vwool, Ed, and Bill for making the trip.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

2012 Crabfest at Doran Beach

2012 Crabfest
Written by Victor Woolworth

2012 Crabfest was a blast. The weather was perfect, crabs were being caught and the food was in abundance. Who could ask for a better weekend?

On Saturday when I arrived there were already kayaks all over the campground, it was such a great sight to see. The Headwaters had a variety of kayaks out for people to demo. I was lucky enough to have Dan take me out by the Bodega Head and teach me some rock gardening and then had some fun in the surf zone. After a great day on the water there was plenty of food to be had all over the camp, I didn’t know where to start.

Sunday morning arrived and it was cold and windy, but people were already up getting their kayaks ready. At 6:30 in the morning there was already a line at the day use area. The derby started at 7:45 and the kayakers were headed out to drop their pots. Throughout the day all you could see was kayaks on the water, which was so exciting. There were a total of 93 registered participants and many more kayakers who did not crab. 

The potluck was a hit, there were sliders, tempura, chicken wings, chowder, hot dogs, crab, noodles, adobo and much more. Thank you everyone who helped make the food for the potluck.

There were some big crabs caught for the event, every time I thought I had seen the winner a bigger crab would come in. Here are the official results:

Biggest Rock Crab went to Scott Carlson  with a size of 6.19” and a weight of 1.27 lbs.

The 2nd place Rock Crab went to Martin Bennett with a size of 5.97’ and a weight of 1.11 lbs.

And now for the biggest Dungeness Crab…..

1st place went to Glyn Jones with a size of 7.41” and a weight of 2.23 lbs. Glyn took home a  brand new Cobra Navigator kayak donated by the Headwaters.

2nd place went to James McGrew with a size of 7.19” and a weight of 2.38 lbs.

The Raffle for the Greenfish CPR mount raised $350 for the NCKA Pay it Forward Account. Thank you for all who donated.

A special thanks goes out to Dan Arbuckle from The Headwaters kayak shop. You definitely made this event awesome and helped take it to another level. Look forward to working with you again next year.

A big thank you to the following sponsors: The Headwaters Kayak Shop, Promar & Ahi USA, Swift Paddles, GreenFish,  Sports Authority of Concord, Spike & RTM Kayaks.

Crabfest in my eyes was a huge success and I look forward to next year.  

                                                                   Crabfest Banner
                                                                   Dungeness Crab
                                                   Coming in to measure their Crab
                                                                  Kayaks on the water

Stacked with Traps

Group Photo

Friday, February 3, 2012

Welcome to the Headwaters Fishing Team Blog! 
Check back here for up to date fishing info, the local kayak fishing scene, and trip reports.