Monday, February 18, 2013

Stanislaus River Trout

When I heard Dan had a Stanislauls River float planned, I was immediately jealous because I was of course, unable to make the trip. So I planned my own trip.

Of the rivers in the valley that I work on, the Stanislaus is where I spend the bulk of my time. Because of this I have had the opportunity to fish the river a lot, before and after work, perfecting my technique. The trick is this: wait for high flow, take size 6 or 9 (depending on how high the flow is) all metal Panther Martin spinners in silver or gold, and side drift the river, casting upstream to likely spots and reeling the spinner slowly back to the boat as you float down. The key to this trick is the all metal body spinners, which have enough weight to sink to the bottom where the fish tend to hang out.

The day of my float conditions could not have been better. The river was running at 1,500 cfs (nice and high), and it was partly overcast and the forecast was a warm day, perfedct for insect activity to put the trout on the feed. I had my Coosa, newly rigged out with thigh straps and an anchor system by Dan, a spinning rod, and of course since it's me, a fly rod. My float mates for the day, were a co-worker and his son.

The first spot of the day was right where we put in at Knight's Ferry. There was a nice eddy on the far side ot the river. No luck. We continued our float down, hitting likely spots with both fly rod and spinner, the river proving to be to swift and deep for very effective fly fishing. At about the 3rd likely trout lie as we floated down, a nice current seam, I hooked up on the spinner. Hooking up while floating down a river at high flow, presents several challenges. First and foremost there is the fish darting for cover. While trying to fight the fish you also have to look out for obstacles in the river and then steer around them, all with rod in hand. Fortunately I had my new anchor system. Once hooked up, I floated about 10 yards, caught an eddy, dropped anchor, and successfully battled my fish into the boat. Not only was the skiunk off now, but it was a beautiful 16 incher, (my personal best on the Stanislaus is 17 inches so this was a great catch), making it a steelhead. I took some photos, successfully releasing the fish with a grin on my face. At this point I could end my trip a happy fisherman, and we weren't even an eighth of the way done with the float!

A 16 inch wild fish!
We contined to drift down without much activity for the next hour or so, enjoying the river and all of its surroundings. We floated through Russian Rapids, which at 1,500cfs is no joke. I was happy to have my new thigh straps, allowing me to be one with my boat and giving me the ability to lean into turns way farther than I could before.


 

 

Some beautiful scenery on our float.

A smaller, but equally pretty trout.

Artistic shot.
Coosa with the anchor deployed.
 
By the end of the day we had hooked 7 trout and landed 3. The trout of the Stanislaus are no dummies. All of the fish I hooked did a lot of jumping and head shaking, making it easy for them to spit a barbless hook. All in all a terrific day. It's hard to beat a float trip.


-Bill aka Bio-Bil1

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Adam the Trout Whisperer


No it's not photo shopped. No it's not a planter. It's just Adam Koons doing his thing at this favorite trout hole. 22'' Rainbow trout weighing in at 6lbs! Adam refered to this as a Large Mouth Bass in a clown costume.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Home Made Jackson Cuda Scupper Transducer





After seeing the new Lowrance scupper transducer mount work so well on Jackson Kayak, a customer of mine decided to figure out a cheap way to do this for other fish finders. In this case we installed a Garmin transducer.

Step 1: Use an 8" piece of electrical grade PVC pipe with threads on one end. Cut the pipe so the threads would just stick up above the deck and the transducer is just tucked into the scupper so it wouldn't drag.

Step 2: Drill a 1/4" hole in the pipe and bolt the transducer to it. The wire runs right through the pipe.

Step 3: Cut a piece of pool noodle to fit around the pipe. This keeps the system snug in the scupper hole.

Step 4: Next install the electrical deck plate to on the top of the scupper. Ours came with a nice foam gasket that helped keep the system quiet and clean.

Thats it! Less than $20 for a super easy clean install for any Jackson Kayak. The expenive part is buying the Jackson.  :smt003 It works great, and its easy to take apart and clean.

We installed an eyebrow fitting to run the wire through and backed it up with some silicone.

So there you have it. Enjoy  :smt006




Threaded PVC Pipe with Transducer bolted on. 


Rubber washes help keep the Transducer from rotating around. 


Threaded fixture plate with gasket. 

Screwing the Transducer into the scupper hole. 

Clean baby! 

Sunk in just enough to not hit as you run it aground.  





Thursday, February 7, 2013

Crabfest 2013






Despite the windy weather, the kayakers arrived on January 27, 2013 to Bodega Bay, Ca for the second annual Doran Beach Crabfest. Around 99 anglers/kayakers gathered to crab from kayaks and hang out with other Northern California paddlers. The sun was out, but the wind blew all day, reminding us why the town can be called blow-dega, Bay.

Participants signing in. 

Rey "Lapu Lapu" getting his AI ready
Kayaks on the Beach



The event started at 7:30 and kayakers were given information on how to stay safe on the water. Many chose not to go out and just hang out with all the others who were there for the event. In total there were near 99 registered kayakers competing for the biggest Dungeness crab. At one point 80 kayaks were counted on the water. The rules were simple: Maximum 4 Traps/Rings per person, no overnight soaks, kayaks only and no Motors Allowed.  For many the crab traps of choice were Promar collapsible traps and Promar ambush nets.

Kayaks on the big blue.

Just hanging out on the beach.
John with a nice Dungeness Crab.

Staying warm and having fun.
Crabbing on the Eddyline Caribbean 14
I Pinch.

Throughout the morning crab were brought in to be measured and it seemed the crab kept getting bigger and bigger. Many of the crab that were caught were donated to the potluck that started at 12:15. The potluck consisted of many different items, such as White Sea Bass Chowder, apple cobbler, and fresh crab.

One of the winning Crabs
        
Crabfest is an event for the Family

Bringing in Crabs in a Promar Trap

Be careful they pinch!

Each participant received a raffle ticket for entering the event, which gave him or her a chance to win many different items donated by all the sponsors. There was also a raffle for the new GoPro Hero 3 Silver with the proceeds being split between the Mooch LPA and the Diabetic Youth Foundation. A total of $800 was raised, from the GoPro raffle.

As for the winners of the event here are the details:

Biggest Dungeness Crab-

1st - Chuck E.  with a Dungeness measuring in at 7.21”
Prizes included a Thule Hullivator, Promar Heavy Duty Crab Trap, a.Bacahar Dungeness artwork, and Outdoor Pro gift certificate.

2Nd – Kim Garo with a Dungeness measuring in at 6.93”
Prizes included Stohlquist Fisherman PFD, Promar collapsible Trap, and Outdoor Pro gift certificate.

3rd – Sonny Nguyen with a Dungeness measuring in at 6.74”
Prizes included Bending Branches Angler Classic paddle, Promar Ambush Net and Outdoor Pro gift certificate

Biggest Red Rock went to Ken Sund with a giant measuring in at 6.58”
Prizes included Promar Ambush Net, and a Outdoor Pro Shop Gift Certificate.


Eddyline Kayaks donated Caribbean 12 kayak  for the Grand Prize Raffle and the winner of the kayak was Joseph Velho.


Crabfest was such a great success and it was all in part to the sponsors and all those that came to hang out, eat and crab.


Thanks to Dan at The Headwaters Kayak Shop, once again your sponsorship of Crabfest was greatly appreciated in making this event successful.

A big thank you to the Sponsors: Eddyline Kayaks, Promar/Ahi USA, The Headwaters kayak Shop, Seattle Sports, Thule, GoPro, Stohlquist, Grundens, A. Bachar, Bending Branches and Headwaters Adventure Company and Outdoor Pro Shop.

And as always, thank you to all of NCKA for making this an awesome event! Can’t wait to see everyone at Crabfest 2014.

For more information on kayak fishing in Northern California visit NCKA.org, and headwaterskayak.com


Thank you,

Victor Woolworth aka "vwool"


Thank you!






Photos Provided by Victor Woolworth and Joe Arbuckle




River Float on the Stanislaus River

Monday, my friend Terry Gowen and I took our JAckson Coosa's down a stretch of the Stanislaus River from Knights Ferry to Orange Blossom. The flows were perfect at 900 CFS, but for some reason the fishing was slow. I would highly recommend this run for a semi experienced paddler looking to a mild class I-II section of river. The parking was free at both the take out and launch, and both parks had someone ether living on site, or working so your stuff is secure. The trip took about 4-5 hours (We were having so much fun we lost track of time) and could be made shorter if one wanted to focus on just fishing the top section. 

In the first quarter of a mile you hit the first and only major rapid. This spot is called Russian Rapids. It's a class II with very minimal consequences if thing go bad. I swam this rapid multiple times while trying to surf a standing wave. The rapid can also easily be portaged for those who would rather watch and stay dry. The rest of the river winds through rolling hills and along beautiful canyon walls. There are lots of riffles and swirly eddies, so don't let your guard down. Also there are some strainers that could really do some damage, but can be easily avoided with good stokes and by keeping your head about you. I could see some drunken tubers having a really bad time in these areas though. Here is a little video I put together from our trip. Only one fish, but the paddle was absolutely delightful. 



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Jackson Coosa River Anchor

So after 3 season of using a drift chain on my Coosa I finally broke down and got a pyramid anchor setup. I looked at a lot of ideas for anchor setups, but the none of them would really work well on the Coosa. I started looking around the shop for things that I could make work and I came up with this idea. Using a 8" Yak Attack Track to mount on the flat part of the stern. From there I installed a Scotty Mount using two Yak Attack Mighty mounts on T slots. This created a pretty secure way to add an anchor, and also a system that was easy to slide on and off in the matter of seconds. After toying with the anchor I decided to add a Scotty Mini extension to raise it up out of the water more, and then I added a line to secure the system and to prevent to much torque on the Scotty system. I then added a few guides, a pulley and a cleat to make it easy to raise and lower. Very happy with how it came out. I will take it out this weekend and let you know how it works.







Saturday, February 2, 2013

Jackson Coosa: Best Surfing Sit on Top?


When Dan suggested that we go surfing while at Bodega Bay for Crabfest I immediately agreed. Even before I became a kayak fishing junkie, I always loved the water and any activity that invloved it. I have body surfed, boogie boarded, and even used a surfboard at the beach, but I had never surfed a kayak. When I asked Dan what boat I should paddle for surfing, he immediately replied,"Your Coosa!" I then pictured me in my sit on top catching a wave not quite in the right postion, being tossed from my boat, and then having the boat crash down on top of me. Dan was confindent in the Coosa though, so what the heck?


Not bad for a newbie.
 
Saturday morning we had a window of opportunity befor the safety class that we were hosting, so Dan and I decided that surfing would be a great way to pass the time. We paddled down the beach to a spot were the break seemed mild, so that I could get the hang of catching a wave. Dan provided excellent coaching on when to begin paddling to catch a wave. On about my third try, I was able to accelerate fast enough that I caught a wave. In my excitement I forgot to use my paddle as a rudder and before I knew it it was time to bail. I remembered Dan's advice to not fall in such a manner that boat would roll on top of me (I was of course wearing a helmet just in case) and in my roomy sit on top I had no problem falling off the side of my kayak into the breaking wave, keeping the boat in front of me and out of my way. I enjoyed the fact that in a sit on top that was all there was to it, just fall out. No spray skirt holding me in the boat. I was then easily able to flip my boat right side up. Then there was the task of paddling back out through the breaking surf. Again I saw visions of catostrophic end over end back flips and me getting tossed around like a rag doll. I tried to time getting into the boat between waves and was easily able to accomplish this, another plus of the sit on top. The Coosa is particularly easy to re-enter, with its wide beam and open deck. No matter how I flopped myself into the boat, even throwing my body across the width of the kayak and twisting and rolling into the seat, while the current pushed and pulled from the action of the waves, I never felt like the boat came even remotely close to flipping. Okay now I'm in the boat paddling. I quickly realize my timing is just off and I'm about to hit a cresting wave, but it's too late to do anything but keep paddling strong and pray. I continue paddling, waiting for a rush of saltwater up my nose. Instead the bow of my Coosa pitches upward goes right over the wave and crashes down, much like a Coast Guard cutter on tv. Sweet! Feeling more confident I become more daring. I try paddling through a wave that has just broken. The wave washes over myself and the Coosa, but the huge internal volume and rocker of the hull prove unstopable and I maitain my momentum and blast through the whitewash easily. No matter what I do paddling the Coosa out into the surf, so long as I can stay in my seat with water rushing over myself and the boat, I manage to come out unscathed. My greatest feat was paddling over about a 6 foot wave while it was curling. The Coosa responded as expected with the nose of the boat staying dry and splashing down on the other side.





Dropping in.
Looking like a pro.
We continued to surf when we had free time throughout the weekend. I managed to get the hang of reliably catching waves and surfing in a kayak. Down swell the the buoyant Coosa proved equally amazing. The amount of volume in the bow saved me time and time again. Rather that burying itself in the surf, it would plunge down for maybe a second and then pop right back up to the surface and I'd be surfing like a pro. If I had caught the wave at an off angle I was easily able to rudder with my paddle. If I was way off angle, I had no problem ruddering until the wave broke and then side surfing in after that. That's right a total kayak surfing virgin, side surfing in a sit on top without thigh braces, and in a fishing kayak to boot!
Side surfing
Dan shredding a wave in a whitewater kayak.

After last weekend I am truly a believer in the amazing design qualities of the Jackson Coosa. In my opinion it is the most versatile sit on top kayak available today. I can't wait to try some big white water or to surf some bigger waves. A big thanks to Victor and Dan, for being the gracious hosts of Crabfest and introducing me to kayak surfing.

-Bill