Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Products I Use

I decided after the first of the year to give my honest, unbiased opinion on these products, but I feel like I have short changed some equally valuable items prior to this.  There are products I have had for a while that I use and would recommend.  This post is dedicated to these items.

 Marsh Works – Chris and the team in the Deep South do a bang up job. 

Plastics - Their plastics (Killa Squilla, Bayou Thumper and the Ripple Shad) have become my go to plastics.  They are extremely well made, durable and most importantly they work.  Sure, you can by similar products at a discounted price, but you get what you pay for.

Popping Corks – This has become my favorite way to fish for the SE slam (Reds, Specks, and Flounder).  They HOLD UP to repeated abuse from STRONG fish.  I had one cork rigged all fall and look forward to starting the spring with the same one.

Other items – They make a great spinner bait that will blow the Redfish Magic out of the water.  They use split rings, so you do not need to worry about the fish pulling the jig off.  The Buzz baits are loud, they can be worked fast or slow while staying on the surface and they have a great feel.  Their jig heads hold up to repeated abuse from Oyster Bars, Pylons, and the abuses that saltwater dish. 

Marsh Works also have other products that I look forward to trying this summer.

The next product was designed by Cory Routh.  It is the Crate Pak, made by Precision Pak.

Crate Pak – This product might seem simple, but it actually has a lot of moving parts that increase its functionality.  Take your standard milk crate, a staple in kayak fishing.  Add a durable outer shell that has pockets, a three rod holder and loops to attach a easy carry sling to.  Top it all off with a mesh top with a pocket.  All closures are made from Velcro which allow it to stand up to a harsh marine environment.  The crate easily accommodates everything a standard crate would, with the extra space to keep your favorite lures, tools and radio handy.  This was my first season with it and rest assured, I will have a complete second set up for my other kayak.  Great job guys!


Wild River Outfitters Kayak Light – This was the first light I purchased for my kayak.  This was also designed by Cory.  It is a durable light, small diameter mast and light which helps reduce wind resistance.  It has a scotty base, which is great if you have a mount at the area you want the light, but if you do not, it requires extra rigging to make it work properly.  The price was right around $40, which makes it a economical choice for those strapped for cash, or just getting in the game.  I recommend this for entry level kayakers, as it is a good product, but it does not have all the bells and whistles that other products have.

Yak Attack – Yak Attack has really hit the market strong with the Visi Pole.  I use and recommend the standard Visi Pole.  It has a super bright light, SOLARIS reflective tape and an attachment for a flag (which all products come with).  You can get a bare, Scotty, or Ram base, and it has a foam collar near the base which makes it perfect for a rod holder on your crate, or a recessed holder in the kayak.  At approx. $60, it is the logical next step in regards to lighting.

Their next product is the amazing Visi Pole Carbon.  It runs around $85, but everyone I have spoke to said it is well worth it.  It has the same light as the standard Visi Pole, but a collapsible carbon rod for the mast.  It all fits in a bag that seconds as a flag.  Weight and space are kept at a minimum with this product and rest assured, this will be my primary light come the summer.  My friend Rob Choi over at Angling Addict has recently reviewed this product.  Check it out!


Petzel E+Lite – I made the mistake of using this as my primary headlamp on the water.  It is a good product because it is light weight, and easily fits in the smallest pocket of my PFD, leaving no reason to be on the water without a headlamp.  It makes a poor primary headlamp though due to the battery life an loss of illumination over a sustained period of time.  With safety at a paramount, this $30 investment might be a good choice for someone with the disposable income to make the purchase.  I am lucky in the fact that my mistake in the initial purchase actually enhanced my safety on the water.

Coleman Multi Color LED Headlamp – I made this purchase this fall and it has been a godsend.  It has setting for low, medium, and high output white light as well as a blue and a red light output.  It uses 3 AAA batteries that have lasted me about 2 months.  I have replaced the batteries once and with the built in warning light, it tells me they will need to be changed soon.  It is comfortable for me to wear without a hat or it turned backwards, but looses much of its effectiveness with it forward.  It’s a better primary light at $30 than the E+Lite was.

Measuring Devices

See previous review of the HOOK 1 Hawg Trough.

Anchoring Pins

See review of the Stick It Pin and its comparison to the Capt. Dick Stake Out Pole.  In short, the Capt. Dick product is good, but the Stick It Pin outperforms it hands down!


Werner Carbon Fiber, Bent Shaft Camano – After summer of paddling, I thought I was conditioned for longer fishing trips.  Even though I made these trips with very little problem, I found myself extremely fatigued the next day.  After a discussion with many of my friends such as Mark Lozier and other experts in the sport, we narrowed the problem down to my paddle.  I was using a Bending Branches Angler paddle which was a nice product (which I will review next), it was the cause of pain on trips in excess of four miles.  After trying a few paddles, I narrowed my choice to a carbon fiber AT paddle, and the Werner Camano.  My choice to be honest came down to local availability.  I found the Werner at a local shop and made my purchase.  At $415, it is an awfully expensive purchase, but you get what you pay for.  I am my propulsion system on the water ant the extremely light weight of approx. 27oz (a little over a pound an a half), combined with the ergonomically correct shaft helped reduce my fatigue.  This purchase was the right one for me, but I recommend testing the paddle (if possible) you are looking to purchase before you pull the trigger.  Besides my Kayaks, this was the next best purchase I have made.

Bending Branches Slice Angler – This paddle appeals to the fishing masses.  With a built in measuring device and a hook remover on the paddle what is not to love.  For me it was two things.  First at 35oz, the weight was noticeably more than my Werner.  Second, it was the straight shaft (which is something I think I will never go back to).  The product is extremely durable, and I am sure it is the right paddle for some people, just not for me.  It is hard for me to recommend this to anyone, due to my love for the Werner, but as I said before, if at all possible “try before you buy”.

Guide Services

Ruthless Kayak Fishing – Here is my disclaimer.  I am friends with both Cory Routh and Mark Lozier, and I have not been on a chartered trip with either of them.  I am writing the following paragraph based on my experiences, observations, and professional interaction with both of them.  I am truly OBJECTIVE starting now.

Cory and Mark are two extremely knowledgeable anglers and kayakers.  Cory has a degree in Marine Biology and works in the field here in SE Virginia.  He is the owner and operator of RUTHLESS fishing and a Native Kayaks endorsed guide.  He also wrote “Kayak Fishing: The Complete Guide”  If you are reading this, I am sure you own, or have at least read a copy of this book.  Mark has been fishing in Hampton Roads since before Jesus was born!  He has worked in a number of tackle shops in his tenure, and currently, in addition to his position with Ruthless, he is a representative for both Marsh Works and Team Diawa. 

Back to my SUBJECTIVE view.  Ok, I guess my joke’s about Mark’s age were a tad bit subjective, but the point is that he is definitely a fixture in the Chesapeake Bay fishing community.  After fishing with both Mark and Cory, I can say that it took me years to learn what I could have in a few trips with them.  I would be comfortable chartering a trip with them, and I will charter one for my father if he makes it back out this way.  Professionally, they are tactful, thoughtful, educational, and enjoyable.  They are not stiff, and I will put my name and reputation on the line when I say you will be pleased with your experience.

Well, this is about it for me this time.  I want to clarify that I am not currently affiliated (at the time of publishing) with, or received any products for favorable reviews of any of the above products/services.  My reviews are based on my experiences alone (with the exception of the Visi Pole Carbon). 

My next review will be on my Malibu Kayaks, NRS PFD, TiCA Rods, Diawa and Shamano Reels, TFO Fly Rods, Lamson Fly Reels, and local paddling shops.. 

Tight Lines!


Monday, February 21, 2011


With a long week in the books, and a beautiful change in the weather, I decided it was right time to have a full out fish-a-thon.  It was to start out at the “Ditch” fishing for specks.  That evening, I met up with a few friends and had a good ‘ole PBR.  When I get home, I find a package form the VA Saltwater Fishing Tournament.  This was my second citation for 2010 First was a Sheepshead, and this one was a release citation Speckled Trout).  This seemed to be the setting for a great night, until I got on the road and was stuck in traffic for over an hour.  Once I launched, I noticed the water was COLD.  After further investigation, I learned that the power plant was not pumping any warm water out.  This threw the fishing off, even with the pre-frontal conditions.  I managed 10 or so specks to 15” but could not find any larger fish that night. 

So, I make it home at 1am, and apparently got in just in time, because Saturday was blowing a good 25 mph sustained with gust to 45mph.  Definitely not a day for fishing.  Sunday morning arrived and with it a lot less wind, but a lot cooler temperatures.  After getting the yak loaded, I arrived to one of my Freshwater spots around 10am.  After getting unloaded and set I was off.  I found the fish and hooked up with approximately 30 Yellow Perch ranging anywhere from 7” to 11”.   The blitz happened for about two hours and it did not end until my friends Tom and Tripp arrived.


I also picked up a nice little Pickerel, a Bowfin, a Bluegill, and a Crappie.  Not a bad day.  As it ended, Tripp and I saw a guy who pulled at least 3 Perch to 15”.  The last time we fished this area, we saw some nice fish being picked up.  I guess I have found my new “Go To” spot for some nice fish. 



The day ended with a nice amount of filets, contributing to my dinner this evening!


I was invited to go out and harass the “kids” at one of the local bridges.  After a long, internal debate, I decided against it.  When I woke up this morning, what do I see?  Good ‘ole Justin ended up with a nice 40” striper, and I am not sure how Rob ended up.  Good job guys!

As I write this the wind is blowing, but the yak is still on the car.  Unfortunately, I have class tonight, but you never know what is going to happen. 

Until next time, fair winds and following seas!

Monday, February 14, 2011

This is why nothing gets done around here!

So, after yet another long and busy week at work, school, and home I was feeling a bit blue.  You may ask yourself, "How does one correct this feeling?"  I correct this with fishing.  Saturday was meant to be a day full of writing papers, laundry, and a party that night.  After lacking the motivation to do anything like that, I found myself loading up the yak and hitting a local wintertime fishery.  After arriving around 4, I almost immediately found the specks with the same pattern I used last week.

Rod: 6' BPS Extreme Spinning (Light)
Reel: Shamano Stratic w/ 2lb flourocarbon
Lure: 1/32oz jig head with a 2" Crappie Assassin paddle tail

Small specks (under 14") were the norm.  After the sun went down and the tide died, the bite shut down.  I was trolling around, waiting for my honey hole to open up.  This time I started picking up some larger fish with a similar, but super-sized presentation.

Rod : 7'6" Tica Inshore Spinning Rod (MH power, Fast Action)
Reel: Diawa Coastal 3000 Spinning Rod W/ 40lb Power Pro and 5' of 20lb flourocarbon leader
Lure: 1/4 oz Marsh Works Bull Red jig head, 3" Bayou Thumper with a rattle inserted.

Large fish was about 18 1/2".  Not huge, but definitely a good night.

The following day, I needed to get out and enjoy a lower sodium pursuit.  After getting a number of reports of the Yellow Perch (one of my favorite freshwater fish) bite was off the chain, I decided to head out and try my luck.  I guess I made it out a day to late, because it was slow for everyone.  At the end of the day, I hooked into some Crappie up to 11" as well as a few perch up to 8 1/2".  I managed to hook into a near citation sized fish that I lost at the boat (Stupid Me!)  I also tried something new with the Stealth on my way in.  I expected to slay the fish, which did not happen.  I wanted to reward my guys at work with a fish fry, which will happen soon.  I tried a few spots quickly on my way back, and didn't want to keep 4 lively fish, so I removed the plug in my bait well and let them swim around.  This kept them lively and plenty of fresh water kept them healthy.  I will do this next time and carry my minnow bucket with me.  On the paddle back, I got a phone call  from my friend Mark.  Mark and his Girlfriend were talking about meeting up with me, but decided not to.  He blamed it on work, and being tired and every other excuse in the book.  Little did I know, this was the day that he had planed to propose to Kris!  Hearing this news, with both of them being great friends and the sunset behind the Cypress trees set the tone for a great paddle in.
Largest perch of the day.
When I am sitting in the yak, the water level is higher
End of the Day!
It was nice seeing my friends Tripp and Jason on the water, and I am sorry for those other friends that I was trying to fit in this weekend.  Sometimes a man just needs a mental health break, and this weekend was one of them!  With the weather turning nice, and the tone of this week, I cant wait to get back out and chase me some fish this weekend!

Friday, February 11, 2011


Check out our my new Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Coastal-Kayak-Fishing/109847959092297, or click the "Like" button on the right sidebar.  I will be posting other pictures and hosting discussions here.  As always, my reviews, reports and other musings will be on this site.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Product Review–Hook 1 Hawg Trough

Last week I had the pleasure of placing my first order through Hook 1.  They are a great company that is designed with the kayak angler in mind.  Their prices are fair and the shipping is super fast!  I placed my initial order on a Wednesday evening, and found the package, shipped from SoCal on my door step that Saturday.  The shipping was very reasonable. 

The Hawg Trough is a molded plastic measuring device that is light weight and reasonably buoyant.  It is 30 inches in length, and its concave design helps cradle the fish for easy measurement, especially in the kayak.  It also has a vertical piece that aids in the accurate measurement of fish by ensuring the front of the fish is right at the 0 mark.    They have also made an improvement on the design prior to shipping by ensuring the numbers are colored in so there is no question to the length of the fish. 

They make the device in either Hi-viz yellow or white.  The only modifications that I feel like making is adding some expanding caulking to the side groves on the bottom to help aid in further floatation, as well as drilling a hole at the end to attach a lanyard.  It was easy to measure and photograph feisty Speckled Trout, while getting a picture and returning them to the water unharmed.  This product is a must have for any serious CPR fisherman and I highly recommend it.  At $16.99, the product, shipping and customer service cannot be beat, and it is well worth it for an accurate measurement that could result in taking home the prize. 

Until next time,


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Muddy Buddy Slider

This is my take of the Muddy Buddy Slider minus the Mohawk.  Didn’t turn out too bad.


Here is the step by step…

Hardcore Fly Tying 12 from chase hancock on Vimeo.

Come on Spring!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Product Review - Stick it Anchor Pins

The more you fish, the more you need the latest and greatest piece of equipment.  Some of us start out making our own equipment, while others are given old items from friends.  It seems like a rarity that we can find a product that will last a lifetime on our first shot.

I started using a anchor pin that I made out of PVC on my X-Factor this past summer.  Even though the pin held, it was way to flexible to keep me anchored in current.  That PVC went back in the garage for future projects.

Then, my buddy Mark gave me a Capt. Dick Stakeout Pole.  This was definitely an upgrade, but I found a few issues.  First, it was too rigid.  If I tried to anchor in a stiff current the pin would not hold.  Next, the diameter is too large.  This causes problems when you try to anchor in a hard bottom.  Finally, at five feet, it was a little bit to short for my tastes.  It is a quality product, it just was not what I was looking for.

I ended up finding a Stick it Pin at the Richmond fishing expo.  At $70 for a 7 foot pin system, I jumped on this, as it saved me a few bucks and I did not have to pay shipping.  My first thought was the quality of the materials and the solid construction of those materials.  It has enough weight to let you know that it will last, but not too much to make using it uncomfortable.  It also has multiple lengths, I opted for the 7' model which is maneuverable and gives me the ability to pin the normal places I fish.  It is a compromise between the PVC and the Stakeout pole.  It has enough flexibility to keep you anchored in current, and not pull out.  It also has a small diameter, which allows you to easily anchor in hard bottoms.  Environmentally, it is better than using an anchor, because it does not destroy grasses, tear up the bottom, or destroy oyster beds.  It also doubles as a skinny watter pole, which from my yak, allows me to pole the flats and anchor up then I spot my target.
I would definitely recommend this product to anyone who anchors up in shallow water.  Check them out at http://www.stickitanchorpins.com/index.html.

Tight Lines!