Tuesday, March 18, 2014

KATS Bass Tournament #4 by Ray Martinez

Well, Alright alright alright... It seems I'm not as bad as I thought at this tournament thing. Tournament number FIVE...well actually number four, (I had to miss one due to a wedding I was in.) was held  at Lake Bastrop just 30 mins east of Austin. I have fished this lake once before with decent luck. This lake is known to have a lot of bass and fishes well year round. The water temp stays rather warm due to the fact that this is a power plant lake. That being said, many other anglers came out as well to try there luck on such a fishy lake... No pun intended... lol. There were 74 registered to be exact.
this fish was the heaviest 4lbs. she was THICK
We did the normal check-In and rules review as always, and set out. I had a particular spot in mind. Hoping no one else would trek out that way it being rather close to the boat ramp. Although this "AREA" is kind of a known spot, there was no one headed out with me or even there when I arrived. YESS!!!  Once I positioned myself, I began to fish a square bill crank bait to search for fish; third cast in I get a slap at my bait right at the Frontier. Immediately cast back out to the same location , and bang! FISH ON!. Measured her on the ol' hawg trough at 16 inches, snapped a pic and started fishing again. Several casts in I hook up with 2 more fish both in the 17-18 inch range. Things are loooooooking GOOD. The bite turned off for a bit, but I stayed confident in this spot.

Personally I didn't want to move as it was on a small creek channel protected from the hard winds on the main lake. Took a glance behind me just to find....you know it....three bass boats headed my way. It appeared there was another tournament  going on but with motor boats. Each of the boats kindly positions themselves around the same area. It was quite the site. All of us almost fishing in a circle. Each boat was able to catch a fish every now and then, but none over 14 inches. I was slinging in quite a few fish of size on my personal favorite and go-to texas- rig brush hog. It was a great feeling to know that I wasn't just doing well but doing better then other fishermen around me. The only unfortunate thing was when I switched back to a square bill crank bait I lost three very nice fish well over the 18+inches range. I was more than crushed to see the three good fish go away and not in my boat. Time was running low and needed to head back. I fished around for a bit on the way as it wasn't to far from the launch location. Quite satisfied with my bag but was sure if it was enough. I really could have used the three shallow hooked missing fish... lol. All and all this was a much better venture than the events before.
After turning in my top 5 of the 13 fish I caught. We all gather around to hear the winning total. When they announced 94 inches to fifth place I kicked myself ,but was glad to see that I had done well over all. My five fish totaled right at 90 inches. The winner of the event totaled 98 inches. Cool thing was it was a friend and fishing buddy of mine. Over all I finished 8th of 74. Not a bad day in the books. The NuCanoe strikes again on another exciting day on the water.

  Until the next time out..... keep fishing and tight lines.

2014 Kayak Bass Fishing Open by Kevin McCullough

The 2014 KBF Open was close to a repeat of the 2013 KBF Open. I didn't make it past the first day. Fishing was tough with a post cold front bite. Some folks caught fish but it wasn't me. Based off the people I talked to it sounds like you needed to find some gators to find fish. Everyone who saw an alligator caught fish it seemed. I fished some areas that looked like a gator should pop out but none did. The same for the bass.

I started practice on Thursday on Lake Moultrie. The area I saw on a map looked like it was a cove with a creek coming into the back of it. The wind was blowing hard but based off the wind prediction it seemed the cove would be out of the way. Well either I can't tell direction or the wind direction was different from the prediction because I think the wind was in my face the whole time. The NuCanoe Frontier handled the wind good but it would have been a lot nicer paddle without the wind. I packed up and headed to the diversion channel area. Once I got there I knew this was where I was going to fish. It looked awesome.

Friday morning started the tournament with a temperature of around 30 degrees. It was cold but warmed up pretty good. I fished some cut throughs on the diversion channel for a while with senkos, shakey heads, and crank baits. No bites being found I moved to the other side of the diversion channel and fished a back water area with some swim baits and chatterbaits. Again it looked awesome but the bass boats thought so also. The Rayavac Series was going on at the same time so bass boats were coming and going a lot. I fished my way back to the ramp hitting any Cyprus tree and brush I could find with a senko or shakey head. I packed up to see how everyone else did. Long story short a lot of guys had a hard time. I think out of 112 fisherman only 37 turned in a fish. A couple of big bass were caught and some guys did get on some fish.

I got up Saturday with only a hope of a big bass for the daily big bass prize. I fished some back water pond and boat docks with chatterbaits, senkos, shakey heads, crank baits, and swim baits. The day was very pretty but I still couldn't find the fish. I retired a defeated man. The guy who won had a 2 day 5 fish total of 100 inches. It sounds like he fished the same 100 yards with a lipless crank bait and caught some great fish. As usual it sounds like I tried to cover too much water and didn't fish one area good enough. The bass may have been there but I didn't give them a chance to bite who knows.

This was the first tournament of the year for me. Overall I had a blast and met some really cool folks. Hopefully I'll keep in touch with some and my luck will get better as things warm up for my next tournaments. I hope to fish some local stuff and some River Bassin Trail stops. I'll let you know how it goes.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

KATS Bass Tournament #3 by Ray Martinez

Round III ... Lets just say I was more than excited to fish this one. The tournament was another roadrunner but with a twist; we had the option to fish two different sister lakes, both along the Colorado river to form Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake, in of course Austin TX. Each lake is known to put up BIG large mouth bass....I should know I recently caught my first DD on Lake Austin 10.5lbs  !!!! along with many fish over 5lbs....... but enough with the bragging ;) back to the fishing.
The keeper ..hahaha.
 Personally, I wanted to fish lake Austin due to the larger bass being caught there recently, but I knew of another bass boat tournament being held there that morning. I felt equally confident with both lakes so it was no big deal. I arrived to the check-in to see a ton of vehicles there early. I already knew what that meant, and I was right ......the largest KATS tournament EVER!  There were kayaks and anglers everywhere. Just a little over 100 anglers is what they mentioned at sign-in, that certainly changes the fishing a bit.
My Baby!
The horn is blown and we all set out. Sadly for me, we meet at my launch spot and things took a while to launch and others were able to capitalize on a head start to the go-to spots. I'll admit it, I was a bit worried about that. The first two hours were dead and filled with paddling along with slow fishing. I finally got to a somewhat decent spot and pulled out my senko and went to work. Sure enough on the second cast I get the tap I was looking for. I set the hook and started reeling... I could tell it was small but hoped it would meet the line. After boating the fish I pulled out my measure board from under my oh so nice/ NEW and convenient  Rigid360 seat base...... No surprise, the fish was only 13inches, and too bad he was kind of a football, fat belly fish... lol. Proceeding to fish I continued to pitch my senko and picked up two more small non keepers. Time now was running out and I had yet to catch a fourteen inch fish. After not getting any more bites for a while I moved off that spot to find another location. I headed towards a laydown in 5-8 feet of water. Thankfully I pulled 1 fish after 10 mins on this one spot. Moving quickly I measured her up and got a few more cast in before I had to paddle back to the launch spot.

 The ride back was a windy one and took a while. Fortunately I made it back in time to submit my card, and attend the raffle. It was quite a day but very fun. The largest fish caught that day was 26 inches long and over 10 pounds. In case anyone was curious about these lakes producing big fish. Another great NuCanoe adventure in the books.
Tight Lines !
down town Austin from Lady Bird Lake

Monday, February 24, 2014

Gear Review: Yak Attack CellBlock and Sidewinder‏ by Kevin McCollough

I have had the opportunity to try the CellBlok out a few time and still feel the same as when I first used it. I really like it. Before a received the CellBlok I had two Mighty Mounts in the front of my kayak that I used for my Lowrance Elite 5DSI on the right and my transducer on a RAM Transducer Arm Mount on the right. The battery sat in my hatch up front. This worked out fine but in order to change anything on the depth finder I had to stretch a bit. Now I have everything all together in arms reach. The set up is out of my way and I can rotate the screen easily to see it while standing. I've attached a couple of pictures with both before and after set ups.

While I have not used the SideWinder as much I carry it with me every time I am out. I was using a dog bumper with line wrapped around it as my anchor line. With the side winder I clipped the dog bumper to the hole in the Sidewinder and it works a lot better as far as not getting line tangled. I use the Sidewinder both with a float for quick disconnect and on the sidetrack if I am not worried about quick disconnect. I also use the 8' stake out pole a lot in shallow water instead on anchoring. On the stake out pole I have a RAM ball mounted so I can put a GoPro camera on it. The Sidewinder allows me to control a distance to stake out from the camera to record video from a different angle. Since my GoPro can be controlled by remote I can turn it on and off from a distance. A couple of the pictures attached have the Sidewinder shown in them.

I hope to put both YakAttack products to good use in the middle of March at the KBF Open in Santee Cooper SC. Stay tuned for results and hopefully some good pictures and video.

Monday, January 13, 2014

KATS Bass Tournament by Ray Martinez

First off let me start by saying that I am an extremely proud Nucanoe owner ! I love it; its stable, balanced, roomy and customizable. I love it so much I've opted to use it as my tournament boat of choice this year in the 2014 KATS bass tournaments. KATS is a 10 tournament series here in Texas with a Classic to name the Champion of it all for the year. I currently have fished in two of the ten events already. The first was Lake Decker located near Austin TX and the second was on Lake Conroe just north of Houston, TX. I did a little travling for both as I live in San Antonio TX. That's a whole lot of Texas already.... with more to come! But no complaints by me, as Texas has some of the nations best fisherys.

Lake Decker

This tournament was quite the turnout with 84 kayak anglers total. I personally have never fished this lake before so I was leaning on luck and skill.We all paddled out to our 'go-to' spots as the horn is blown to start the event. This is one of the best parts for me as I get to paddle stride for stride against other kayak brands/models and show that even though the Nucanoe has size, she can still be quick with the right paddler. I have accessorized my Frontier a bit...3 tube rod holders, transducer mount, and Lowrance fish finder mount all made by RAM Mounts which helps make the fishing comfortable. The mounts also allowed me to use all six of my rods without tangles. I used my electronics to read depths and structure but had no luck finding the fish all day. Fished a crank bait along with a jig most of the day and not even a nibble. This wasn't an easy day of fishing due to the hard 15mph wind on the north side of the lake, not to mention all the fishing pressure that day... in the month of January. Personally have not had a skunked day of fishing in months or maybe longer. As an avid angler, I know these days can happen but it hurts when there's the opportunity to win brag rights on the line. I personally want to be the better angler of the day or among them. I will admit, I was pretty sick most of the day but I committed myself to fishing this event in hopes of a good result or simply just to gain angler points. Over all it was an awesome opportunity along with a tests of the Nucanoe's ability to be fished for eight hours on the water.  A day on the water is better than a day at work.... I'll take it.
Hawg troughs up... all 84 !!!

lucked out and got shot of me on the Frontier.

Lake Conroe

Round 2 was a cold one! 24 degrees coming off a hard cold front for Texas. The wind wasn't a big help but not entirely bad as the day progressed. The show of participants this time around was quite less, but was definitely a show of the ELITE  anglers in the series. The forty-three of us meet for check-in and a group photo then set out to our roadrunner boat ramps to unload. My Frontier and I stayed local in the early morning around some submerged wood in the middle of the channel. Fishing was slow. I looked around only to see everyone else was having the same luck. Again, I scanned and scanned .... fished and fished...nothing! Moved off the beaten path and headed out for the big lake, out side of the large cove we launched from. Found some activity on my graphs and a nice set of timber on a gradual drop so I grabbed my jig rod and got to work. I feel a small tap and immediately set the HOOK!  Feeling the small vibrations of a fish shake on my medium heavy jig rod, I slung in this poor little ten inch bass. Relieved and very grateful for the catch as that was my only fish of the day. As you all may know, it takes fourteen inches to count on the board. I paddled quite a bit hunting and beating areas with my lures. I needed to get back, but, not before I hit  my original spot just to find four other kayaks all around it. "Bummer" No one was having much luck at all...only one person caught a limit, while only one other caught more than two, with the majority not catching anything at all. All in all it was anybody's  day that day. Another great Nucanoe experience in the books.

It was so cold... ice was forming on my line. "burr"
ready to freeze and fish

Always nice to win the raffle after a long hard day.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weapons Training by Ed Wagner

Recently I just returned from weapons training in Michigan which for me was very relaxing and a chance to do some fishing non-pressured lakes on military installations.  As soon as the bullets stops and the arty ends you can head out and find some nice fish.  I found more than fish on this trip but I am getting ahead of myself.

Everyone making sight corrections before throwing more lead down range, notice the guys in the "red" hats, they are the instructors.

Sitting on a top of empty 50 cal shell casings...there is not better stress reliever!

After all this hard training was done it was time to do some fishing!

Monday, July 29, 2013

B.G.Y.M. Beaver Lake Tournament July 27, 2013 by Joe Maione

The July B.G.Y.M. event had a schedule change because of high water on the Licking river. The event got moved to Beaver Lake and Taylor and I decided to camp there for the weekend which would allow us to pre-fish and spend some quality father/daughter time together. We loaded up the yaks and camper on Friday morning and hit the road. By 3:30 we had the camp site set up and had a late lunch. We hit the water to practice from 4-8pm and Taylor couldn't figure them out and I didn't do too much better but brought a half dozen smaller fish in the Frontier. We headed back to camp and grilled out some burgers and relaxed around the campfire roasting marshmallows. It was a really fun night!

Tournament day... registration at 5am. On the water a daylight in a light rain. Taylor is now fishing most tournaments from her own kayak and she three to the boat with in the first hour.. but unfortunately they all flipped off the hook as she is still learning to get fish in the boat all by herself. One was a really nice 15-16" fish. She soon got the hang of it an had a limit by lunch time all on her white grub. I only had one fish in the boat on a drop shot by about 2:00pm and finished out my limit in the last hour using the same grub Taylor was wearing me out on. It was definitely one of my more frustrating tournaments and the first one this year were I truly struggled to put fish in the Frontier. Taylor caught fish with regularity all day long but just couldn't find the big ones. She did lose another really nice 16+ inch fish on a jump toward the end. Taylor ended up beating me and finished in the top 20 and winning the youth division.

Anthony Thompson finished first with a 3 fish limit going 48.5". Second place went to T.J. Strong with 47.5" and Bob Brown rounded out the top 3 with a 43.25" total. Even with the rainy morning and the change of venue there were still around 30 members showed up to fish this stop. A fun time was had by all and I am looking forward to the next event I will get to fish in August. I have to miss the next event for my anniversary and I wish everyone luck.

Although I had one of my worst tournament performances in a very long time it was a great time! I really enjoyed camping two nights with my daughter and she absolutely loved the whole experience of tournament fishing along with camping. Definitely something we plan to do again!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Elkhorn Creek Fishing Series - July 13 by Joe Maione

The Elkhorn Creek Fishing series hit the creek July 13th for the third tournament in the series. A rainy summer has continued and the creek was up and moving. Even with the high water the fish were hungry and a great time was had by all. Registration began at 5:00am and I was able to hit the water by 6:30. Taylor took another tournament off to go see her new baby cousin and that was probably a good call with the high swift moving water.. more on that later.

Participation was a little down with the higher water but although the creek was high and swift it was pretty clear - slightly stained but definitely not chocolate milk. I was able to catch fish on a stick bait and a tube with my best three fish coming on the tube. My best 3 fish were 36.5" which was good enough for 7th place. My biggest on the day was a 13.25" smallmouth. Top three in the standings were first place - Matt Schaefer, second place - T.J. Strong, and 3rd place - Allen Bullman.

So the more on that later part.... found out today you can actually flip a NuCanoe Frontier although it was totally user error. About 3/4 way through the float is a riffle called the claw which is a little tough but usually easily manageable. I was going through it just fine, but I have an orange strap loop on the front of the boat I use to drag or attach when I get out to wade which had flipped out and was hanging out the front of the kayak. Well as I was passing the really swift part with an under cut bank the strap got caught on a root under the water while I was leaning over to get under a branch. The caught strap instantly stopped the Frontier and spun it slamming it into the bank while I was leaning the other direction - boat flipped and I was in the drink. The good news - the Frontier was easy to flip back over and in a matter of seconds I was back on the Frontier accessing my situation. Most of my gear was floating quickly down stream but I gathered what I could. There was another member right behind me who also flipped his Coosa. We broke down his paddle and each used half a paddle as we continued down stream hoping to find my paddle, crate and other items. We continued down stream and another kayaker had retrieved my paddle and empty crate and also a few of my plano boxes. I did end up losing quite a bit of tackle my crate was un strapped earlier and I had forgot to strap it back up. Remarkably I only lost one rod - and it was the one that was strapped in go figure! The three rods that were laying on the floor with only the butt ends under the seat base remained right in the kayak so I guess it could have been much worse! At the end of the float it was nice to see that the Frontier after the flip had very little water in it do to the water tight design of the hatch.... the Coosa on the other hand was at least 3/4 full of water on the inside

Despite the flip, lost rod, and lost tackle I had a great time on the creek and learned a few things about keeping my gear secure. Even with the higher water there were a lot of fish caught and I am looking forward to rest of the series and chasing those bronze backs the rest of the summer!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blugrass Yakmasters/Elkhorn Creek Fishing Series - twice the fun!!!!!!!!!

        The third regular season event of the Bluegrass Yakmasters took place on Elkhorn Creek June 8th.  It was run in conjunction of the other series I fish the Elkhorn Creek Kayak fishing series.   Both tournaments were held in conjunction with each other which was pretty cool.  Two entry fees, one registration and weigh in location (photo - CPR format), and twice the opportunities to win.  
        Taylor and I hit the creek in the Frontier 12 and found the fishing to be quite good.  Many fish were caught throughout the day, but the larger fish were hard to come for most of us.  I ended up catching close to 30 smallmouth bass but most were in the 10" -12" range.  Taylor was trying some new hooks the first part of the day and hooked up with several fish that came un- buttoned before she could pull them into the Frontier... including a big large mouth in the 4lb range.  She switched back to her normal hook after lunch and was able to land two smallies to finish first in the youth division in both series events.  I ended up in a tie for 12th with a 3 fish limit 36.5".  
        33 anglers participated in the BGYM event and all but three brought fish to the photo weigh-in.  The top 3 finishers in the event were:  Tyson Peterson 46.25", Matthew Schaefer 45.75", and Keith Brown 44.75".  Most people decided to sign up and fish in both events with 24 anglers also fishing the Elkhorn Creek Series event. 

 However the winner of the yakmasters event did not sign up for the EKFS thus moving Matthew Schaefer into first, Keith Brown finished second, and moving into the top 3 Cameron Debity with 43.5".
        It was a great day to be on the creek and Taylor and I had a blast.  Looking forward to the next events in both series.  The Blugrass Yakmasters will fish Stoner Creek on June 22 and the Elkhorn Creek Fishing series will hit the creek again on July 13, 2013.  The days event ended with a cookout at Canoe Kentucky with plenty of food and fish stories to go around!

Friday, June 28, 2013

On A Whim

On A Whim
My buddy Kenny, his boy and I decided to hit the lake this evening, with storms passing it seemed like a good enough idea.

Worked some larger crank-baits on the channel ledges with no success. I moved on too worming the back side of a small island off the main channel, the water was 85 ish with lots of shade and seemed like a good spot but still no fish so I switched to a top water buzz bait. First cast I got a small 12", 2nd cast the same, 3rd cast yielded a 14 or 15" bass, this went on for another 10 minutes before they shut off.

Moved on down a bit and started worming some structure in deeper water where I found a few 2 and 3 pound fish, a 4.5 and a few other smaller ones. Kenny did well pitching tubes on the structure as well. At one point he was doing so well he said he may have lost his his biggest fish ever.

Like I said, seemed like a good enough idea.




Chuck Conder