Monday, October 22, 2012

A few fishes...

I was able to get out one night last week to chase some Striped Bass.  After getting home late, and an impending sinus infection, I slept all day Friday and decided to have a low key weekend.  This meant staying close to home and avoiding the crowds in order to get on some hot fall fishing action.  I ended up with a few decent red's to 18", and over 30 speckled trout in the 16-24" range.  Here are a few of my larger specks.

Now, with an amazing forcast, and a patteren established, I have Speckeled Trout on my mind.

Heres to outdooing my Personal Best Speck.  Come on 26"!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hurricane Update

Here is my trip report from the EPIC day on the water with Seth, Rob, Justin and Alex a few weeks ago.  It is reported from the Hurricane Kayaks Blog.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Long Time Coming

Well, I can say that it has been a busy summer, and thus a lack of posts.  I'll try to put everything in order, but might get mixed up a bit.

In SE Virginia, the summer brought a long period of sustained warm water, which I am sure contributed to some amazing fishing.  I was not able to fish as much this summer as I have in the past few years, but I was fortunate to get some solid catches, and hit a few new species along the way.

First was chasing one of my favorite saltwater fish, the Sheepshead.  This summer started off a bit slow for some of the bigger fish, with a number of fish right under 24" landed.  This all changed in the middle of June, right before I left for a mini vacation to Colorado.  I patterned the sheepies, and found that the best bite for me was from about 4pm to 6:30pm.  I took advantage of this, and along with my buddy Tommy, we made a few attempts at getting him on his first Sheepie.  Unfortunately, he did not hook up, but I was able to catch my first citation in a few years.

It just so happened that by the time we got off the water all of the tackle shops to register this fish were closed, and I had a flight to catch at 5 am the following morning.  However, I was able to register this fish for a citation on my last day of eligibility. 

Speaking of my flight, I was able to make it to Western Colorado to see my father, Alex, be inducted to the Colorado Trapshooting Hall of Fame.  It was a proud moment for my family and I was happy that I got to experience it with him.  He is the man that instilled in me the passion for the outdoors, and I know without his passion, I would not be where I am at now.

I was able to slip away for a few hours back home though and hit some fine trout waters with my new 2wt.  I have loved to fly fish from a young age, and this experience was one of my most memorable.  The hunt was on for a Grand Mesa slam, and once I caught one, I was going for a super slam.  Unfortunately, the Brook Trout, Splake, and Grayling eluded me, but I was able to catch a Colorado River Cutthroat, Rainbow, Cutbow, and Brown, for 4 of the 7 species available on the mesa.  I was also able to spend the day with one of my favorite people (my mother), which made it extremely special.  It also didn't hurt that all of the fish were caught on dries!

A view on the north side of the Mesa
Bowed up to a 'Bow on the 2wt
A 'bow (or slimer)
Colorado River Cutthroat

A nice little pool

A little brown
After the trip back home, my focus shifted back to the salt.  First off, I was able to catch, land, and release, my first Cobia from a kayak.  It wasn't huge, but I was expecting a bigger speck, so it was sporty to say the least!  I will say, that my blood was pumping more on this fish, than ANY other fish I have caught to date.
Cobia release
I also caught some other great fish in the salt, and even had a couple of what Kayak Kevin refers to as "Spadefish Surprises".

My biggest Spade to date at 17.5"
I have also fished quite a bit more freshwater this year, mainly with my bro Tommy.  Some nice bass have been caught by both of us this year.  I am not going to call myself a "Bass" fisherman, but it has given me the urge to chase some smallies from the yak soon.

A solid post-boondoggle bass

Love catching nice sunfish on the 2wt

Kayak bass (fly)fishing
Good bass on the 4wt
My PB (21.25") Largemouth

I also had what one might call an "Epic" day on the water.  I wont talk about it too much, as I have a blog post I sent into Hurricane for it, and not to mention I had 3 other friends that wrote about it.  Here are a few pic's and a couple links to their blogs.

Rob Choi - Going Big in the Wide Open
Seth Goodrich - Bull Ridn'
Justin Mayer

The surf was actually pumping at 4-6', and we were all a bit nervous

47" red (photo by Seth Goodrich)

47" red (photo by Seth Goodrich)

47" red (photo by Seth Goodrich)
 Needless to say, with 3 citations, and all 5 of us hooking up to reds over 40", it was an EPIC day!

Now I have been fishing in a few tournaments this year.  First off was the Hook Line and Paddle, TJM Celebrity Tournament.  This event was the event that I won the Speck Division in last year.  This year, My buddy Matt and I decided to fish together.  We did have a large group of anglers (Seth and Kam, Alex, and Chip & Drew Camp) that were sharing info, but unfortunately we were all close, but just out from placing.  However, it was nice to chat with Chris and Ryan, Kaleb, Nathan, and all the other Carolina folks!

A 25.5" tournament day red
Next, we had the Catchin for Kids Tidewater Club Challenge.  TKAA has always had a strong showing in this tournament, and this year was no different.  Now, a few days prior, I had 3 or 4 people drop out on us, but we were able to make up some ground with a few phone calls and fielded 18 of 20 possible anglers.  We had teams at the HRBT, Back River, and the CBBT.  I don't quite remember all of the details, but we took 2nd in Sheepshead, and swept the Spadefish.  I think we took 2nd and third on the specks, and placed high up in the croaker division.  I was able to manage some small spades and a few Tog that were just short.  Overall TKAA took 3rd place, which was our best finish yet!

Finally, the 8th Annual TKAA Charity Tournament.  We had a record 275+ anglers and when it was all said and done, we raised over $15,000 for Heroes on the Water and Project Healing Waters.  The weather was supposed to be half decent, but as luck would have it, a front blew in about 12 hours early, which brought with it a solid north wind and rain.  That didn't hamper spirits, or the fishing.  There were 11 slams entered for the day between 47 and 54 .5"  I ended up fishing with Matt, Seth, and Kam.  Seth did a great write up for the tournament, so I wont go to far into details, but all four of us placed.  Kam was also the first woman in tournament history to turn in a slam.  I will go from last to first in my listing below:

4th Place Striper- William Ragulsky (the last 4 years, I have been 1/4 to 1/8" shy, and I finally broke into the top 4!)

3rd Place Red - Seth Goodrich

3rd Place Woman - Kam Owens (the women's division rules are being re-written so next year, if a slam is caught it will win the division)

2nd Place Flounder - Matt Greschek

Now I would be wrong not to add this in here.  Andy Backowski ended up catching a slam and due to a mistake, his 18 1/4" Redfish was not initially taken into consideration.  Andy ended up bumping Seth from 2nd to 3rd place with his Red.  I will say this, both Andy and Seth were amazing sports and are both stewards to the sport. 

        Andy, I got your back anytime brother, and congrats!

Now not to forget why we hold the tournament, Rob fished with HOW/PHW, and compiled a sweet video on his site.  It was definitely a successful day for all involved.

I am waiting on some pics from the Boondoggle up here this weekend, and am getting ready for the NCKFA Oak Island Classic.  I hope to have a report up on both of those events shortly!

Until next time...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Thursday, March 1, 2012

HOW - My Experience

Here is the link to an article I recently did for the Tidewater Heroes on the Water chapter.  I decided to link to it because I am extremely proud to be a part of HOW, I want those that are thinking about volunteering to see what I see, and finally help Tom VanderHeiden, and all the Tidewater HOW staff some blog likes!

Check it out at:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rigging a Hurricane Phoenix 140 with Yak Attack products

Well, the weather has been less than desirable, but fortunately for me, my schedule is now going to allow me to take advantage of good weather when it comes to me.  With that being said, I have amassed a plethora of products from Yak Attack.  This entry will be a two part post, with the second part being published on the Hurricane Kayaks Blog.
Prior rigging was designed to get me on the water with a greater level of functionality, but the final stage on this kayak is to get me ready for a busy tournament season.  Initially I used products from Yak-Gear to set up a paddle/stake out pole holder at the bow of the kayak.  The next step was to develop an anchor trolley that was functional, yet complimenting to the looks of the kayak.  To do this, I purchased some basic trolley materials from Hook 1, as well as some 3mm Blue Niteline.  This, in addition to simple products like a Scotty Extender and a Triple Rod Holder mount got me on the water and fishing in fine fashion. 
Rigged with Anchor Trolley and Paddle Holder.  Ready to Fish!
After fishing the winter, I realized that when fishing with both fly and conventional gear, I was handicapped by the use of the Scotty mount between my legs.  I also heard many complaints from the boaters in Hampton Roads that kayakers can be extremely difficult to see when fishing the bridges at night.  For both of these reasons, I turned to Luther and the crew at Yak Attack for solutions.
The first product was Yak Attacks Gear Trac.  I opted for a 16” track that will run on both sides of my legs, giving me options to mount a PanFish , MightyMount, or Scotty Base.  All products can easily stow when I’m chasing fish with the bugslinger.  The next product was Luther’s second generation NiteStripe in Blue.  This is to help enhance visibility at night, while keeping with the natural aesthetics of the Phoenix series.
The final outcome of the rigging can be found on the Hurricane Kayaks Blog shortly, so stay tuned.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Getting Ready for 2012

Well, its the time of year that we all dread.  The cold is setting in, and you know spring is right around the corner, but it never seems to come soon enough.  What do you do?  Here are a few tips to ensure that your 2012 season is a season to remember.

Get Involved
This is always easier said than done.  Many of us have hectic schedules that don't always allow us to get out and relax on the water, as well as get involved.  However, there are some simple things that you can do to help the sport grow and prosper, while allowing your schedule to maintain the time that you need.

  •  Check out Heroes on the Water.  You can either volunteer on a normal fishing day to take out veterans in your area, donate to the national organization (allows chapters to grow or come to fruition), or talk to your employer about HOW.  
  • Support your local Kayak Fishing Organization.  Remember that site that you always lurked on, gathered information to increase your chances for success on your next trip?  Chances are there are a number of people behind the scenes keeping the latest information flowing, organizing events, and donating to groups like how on the behalf of their membership.  To help ensure that these things continue, show your support and get involved.  Involvement is as simple as attending meetings or outings.  You may just find that the information that you get from these events is better than anything you could get from a website.
Get Ready

  • For those of you who fish throughout the winter, this is the time to start any new rigging for the year.  Im sure that I am not the only person who has installed something just to find that once I have my winter gear on, I am unable to access that great new product like I could in the summer.  Ultimately, I do not fish with that product throughout the season.  If you measure and look at new rigging now, you will be able to use that new tool throughout the year.
  • Maintaining your equipment can be a daunting task.  Who really wants to spend the day replacing rusted troubles on a mirrorlure?  Well, if you are watching the game, or stuck indoors searching the web, you have the time do do something as simple as this.  Other things to look at are flipping/replacing line from the previous year, servicing rods and reels that might have had issues throughout the year, or organizing your tackle.  These are all simple things that can make that first trip of the year a success or a failure.  For me it seems that the first trip has a major impact on the remainder of the year.
Start something new

  • In 2011, I started a fishing log.  I tried a number of things from spreadsheets, to programs, to notebooks, but I never really kept up with any of them.  That was until my family sent me a fishing specific journal from Fishpond.  It is nice, has just the information I need, and the quality of the product encourages me to keep it up to date.  These journals really come in handy when you are trying to plan around that annual run of Bluefish, or an EPIC Croaker bite.
  • In 2012, my new start for the year is to have at least one trip each month where I only fish from the fly. Just as my journal has helped make me a more complete fisherman, I am hoping that dedicating the time will make me a more complete bugslinger.
Some Housekeeping
  • For those of you looking for a guide in the Tidewater region of VA, check out my good friends Mark and Kris Lozier with 1st Landing Kayak Fishing Services.  Both are quality people, and Mark is one of the most complete fishermen I know.  Their website is
  • Check out the Tidewater HOW Chapters blog at  There are going to be some very exciting announcements with the chapter and HOW in general in the coming months.  Don't miss a thing and follow them.  As I wrote about earlier, this is yet another way you can stay informed, and even your periodic visits help.
Finally I want to thank the staff at Hurricane Kayaks!  I must say that they have a product that I have no problem fully getting behind.  Not only that, but the staff are some of the friendliest, and most knowledgeable people you would ever want to meet.  Check them out at

Until next time...