Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A new life for a classic kayak

 Hello my name is Dan, and I'm a Kayakaholic....  :smt044 For those that don't know this about me, I tend to have a soft spot for old kayaks and canoes. There have been so many incredible designs over the years that went out of production and fallen by the wayside. Kayaks like the Necky Looksha Sport, Mariner Coaster, Perception Super Sport, Scupper Pro, etc have always held a place in my heart. So when a guy came in with an old beat up Necky Dolphin to sell at the swap, the kayak geek in me jumped at the opportunity to buy it. $150 for a kayak like this was to good to pass up. I have always thought of the Dolphin as a real paddlers Kayak. It responds well to edging, it surfs like a dream, has good capacity for touring, and in the right hands and with leg straps it can even be rolled. I thought fixing up and rigging an old kayak like this would be a fun project and something fun to blog about, but more than that I thought it would help pay tribute to the angers, and the kayaks that came before us. So fallow along as I revamp my Dolphin into my version of the ultimate coastal exploration/ fishing craft! 

Your idea's and input are welcome and encouraged. Thanks for participating. In fact the first question I'm facing is weather to do a Rudder Kit, or just Have a metal skeg that drops down. Any thoughts?

Here are a few before shots.   
Here is the cockpit. 
Beautiful lines, Ugly boat :)

Looks like some rental numbers on the side. Lots of sun damage on the hull and all the buckles. 

Here are a few updates!

New side carry handles

Sea Dog Foot Braces and accessory tracks.

Yak Attack Pan Fish with Go Pro mount. 
Lots more to do and lots of great ideas. Check back soon to see the progress. As always please submit ideas in the comments section below! Thanks.

Update 3/29 Seat is now complete. I used the back band out of a Necky Vector. The seat dropped right in and only took 4 bolts to secure it nicely to the yak. I used a Valley Sea Kayaks pad for my bum.
Clean and updated! 

Bungee Keeps the seat nice and upright.

Cockpit is almost complete! 

Time for the fun part. Today we installed some of the fishing gear including, rod tip covers, Hummingbird fish finder, tackle box and more. Check out these photos.
We took a blow torch to the kayak today to clean up all the scratches and loose burs. Its amazing how nice it came out. 

Simple Bungees hold on the tackle box. 

Couple of rod holders mounted to the tackle box makes for an adaptable ride. 

Shot of the rod tip cover I installed off of a Jackson Cuda. This allows me to store my rods flat on the deck and keeps them from getting snagged on thules and low hanging trees. Also you can see the Mad Frog transducer arm sticking down. 

The Hummingbird was a super clean install thanks to the Yak Attack Mighty Mount and Screwball. The whole fish finder and transducer can be taken off in a matter of minutes and all you have is a small black plate. Props to Yak Attack for thinking outside the box! 

I also added a deck bag strait off of  a Necky Vector 13. This made for clean easy storage on the deck and a place to store my extra transducer wire. 

Another shot of the upgrades we did today. Not finished yet, but getting closer. 

March 31 - April 1st 
I took the new and improved Dolphin up to a Fish and Chill Weekend in Redding with the North Valley Slayers kayak fishing club. The first day we hit Whiskeytown Lake and the second day we floated the Sacramento River from the Sundial Bridge to South Bonniview boat launch. The first day I had it rigged with the fish finder and scotty rod holder on the front for trolling. Everything worked great except for the lack of fish. The lay out was simple clean and easy to use and work around. I never felt as if I was hitting my gear with the paddle or snagging my poles on stuff. The kayak was fast and spunky. It handled great in the wind and I did not feel the need for a rudder. 

Day two on the Sac River I set it up for river fishing. No depth finder and instead of rods and nets sticking up I used the rod stagers and tip cover to stow my rods, and tilted my Scotty Rodmasters low and out the back to hold my net. I also was sure to lash everything down to ensure nothing got lost in the case of a capsize. I actually tested this out just to make sure everything was going to work like I planned. The whole deck layout was secure and easy to get back into. As far as the boat goes, all I can say is WOW! This things rocks! This is the first sit on top that I felt I could paddle like I would in my sea kayak. It caught eddies with ease, surfed anything and everything. The bow is incredible while in a wave. It never dove or shot off corse. Even without thigh straps I was able to do some pretty bumpy water and even make it look stylish. The cockpit fit is so secure. I may be going over board with this statement, but if I had to choose only one kayak to paddle I think this would be it. Thank God I don't have to choose! 

Here are some photos from our trip. 

Such a beautiful Lake. Great moment in the AM. 

Loving the look of this new yak! 

End of the day! 

Happy paddler.

Here are the shots from the Sacramento River Float. 
Epic place to fish

My river set up. 

Surfing the river! 

Sitting side saddle. 

Lining up to surf a wave under the Cypress bridge. 

The roughest water of the day was this boily hole below the Cypress bridge. 

Great day great boat.

One last thing! Major thanks to Rich at Snap Dragon Designs for these custom hatch covers. This boat is BONE DRY after hours of play on the river. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fishing the Moke 3-7-12

What a great day to be on the water. The weather started out chilly and windy, but then the wind died down and gave us a awesome day of Fishing. On this Trip we were joined by Joe and Jeff visiting from the Headwaters Adventure Company up in Redding. Donna and Ron joined for the day which was a great surprise these two are usually found in their sea kayaks. The gang met at the shop at 8:00 and we all headed towards the hatchery.

Right at the start of the trip Dan hooked up with a nice size trout while standing up on the Native Ultimate. This kayak is great for standing in, and it showed while Dan brought in his catch. Shortly after Joe caught a trout as well the day was getting off to a grand start. Joe and Jeff were paddling the Jackson Coosa and it was amazing to see how fast they could turn with minimal effort. Both of them were helpful in spotting fish from their high positioned seats.

We arrived at Cow Beach where Dan and Donna would be departing the fishing trip for the day. Someone had to get back and run the shop. At this point I was thinking is the Moke going to skunk me again? Dan wished me luck and headed on his way back to the store. I told the guys we could shore fish for a bit and when they were ready we would head back down the river. Shortly after without catching anything we decided it was time to hit the river again.

We floated down the river, hoping things would pick up when all of a sudden my line starts coming out and I think "oh no not a snag". Well this snag came loose and put up a small fight and at that moment I knew it was fish on. I screamed out loud "fish on", I was so excited that I was able to get the skunk off.   The fish made a small jump and I was able to bring it to the kayak and net it with no problems. The fish was a small native trout, but it sure felt good to have a fish on board. I had Joe snap a couple pics and it was time to let the little guy go.

On the way Down the river Jeff was able to find a nice little pocket where he was able to get his first fish, a little guy also, but he decided to hit the spot again and had a feeling that this was the spot. After giving it a few shots he has a fish on and brought to the boat a nice Native Steelhead about 16-17", the color on the fish was amazing. We were so excited that we didn't even look at the time to see if it was a native or not, we later confirmed with photo of the fish.

At this time Jeff decided that we should start paddling so that they could get going, they still had the ride back to Redding. I decided that I wanted to try the pocket myself and see if I could get a bite. Not even 10 seconds went by and it was fish on again. Got the fish to the kayak and it was another little guy but was still entertaining bringing it to the kayak while the current kept trying to turn me in circles. After this fish I caught up to the rest of the group hanging out by an area that backed up by some houses. Joe, Jeff and myself caught three small native trout at this spot. We fished about 15 minutes hoping to catch a nice steelhead. We were getting bites every now and then so we knew that this was a good spot. All of sudden I feel a big tug on the line and I am thinking this is going to be a nice fish. Its got some weight to it and the rod is bending, Ron even states that it must be big. We all thought that I was going to bring a big steelhead up to the kayak. As fast as my face lit up when I felt the bite it turned sour. The fish surfaced and it was a giant Sacramento Sucker fish. It was still fun bringing it to the kayak, even though it wasn't a steelhead. After this we all called it a day and headed to the takeout.

It was such a beautiful day and the weather was pretty favorable to us. It was great to be able to fish with the group and it was great to see Ron on a Sit on Top kayak. I am looking forward to hitting the river again soon. The season ends at the end of the month, so I will try and get out there a few more times. If you are interested in making this float down call Dan at the Headwaters for information. Even if he can't make it out with you he can give you some great pointers.

Here are some more photos:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Personal Best Steelhead on Moke River

My sled for the day was the trusty Jackson Coosa!

I'm stoked to be writing this report. A few days ago I got a email from a NCKA brother from Santa Cruz saying he had saw my post about fishing the Moke and wanted some more info because he was coming up and wanted to float the river. I told him all the info about put in's take out etc. Then I got to thinking maybe he wants some company, so I invited myself along and he agreed. We got a late start due to some unforeseen shuttle issues. If felt so good to be out on the river again. The sun was shining and the water was super low. I was using my spinning gear and throwing a worm behind a slinky weight. The other two guys (Jim and Mark) were using fly rods and throwing Nymphs. At the first hole I broke the ice with a nice 15+ trout from my yak. Then Mark followed right up with a huge Steelhead that snapped his line right at his boat. The three of us leap frogged down the river. Jim pointed out a nice overhanging tree that he thought would be a good spot, so as I drifted by I threw out my worm. It bounced a few times and then wham! It was off to the races. A beautiful buck launches strait out of the water. The fish took a ton of line before I could tighten down my drag enough to hold him. I was using 4 lb test so I wasn't in any hurry to horse him in. He fought for a good minute or so before I got him to the boat, and thats when I realized I had lost my net. Quickly I yelled to Jim to come toss me his net. The fish continued to charge the boat and then take line. Finally I got him in the net and got to shore. My personal best steelhead! Right out of my own backyard. He was super red and tore up from being in the river for a long time. He was a Hatchery fish, but I wan't about to keep him. Jim took my photo and then we revived and released him. Such a great time. After that we continued fishing and hooking up. Total we hooked 15-18 fish and landed probably 10 including one carp. Those guys are going back out again tomorrow but I have to stay back and run the store. I'm looking forward to guiding some customer down the river again next Friday. Hopefully we do as good. 
Dan A.

We ran into Bill from guiding two clients. 
First fish of the day was a nice trout. 
He was almost to big for the net. 

So happy I landed this fish from my kayak! 

Reviving before the release.

My favorite hole in the river. 
The Carp I caught. 
Really nice shot.