The Ripple Effect

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There is one thing I love about kayak fishing more than anything else; hitting the water, at first light, is the top of the mountain. The wind is down, the water is like glass and you and the kayak move effortlessly through the water. You roll up to your favorite spot and take your first shot of the day. The bait goes flying through the morning air and softly lands on the water. There’s just something beautiful about the ripple effect. That got me to thinking about what ripple effect are we causing in our sport?

The ripple effect is defined this way, a spreading effect caused by a single action or event. It can be also thought of as the domino effect. You’re probably asking what does this have to do with kayak fishing. I say it has a lot to do with our sport. With the spring fishing season upon us I am hearing from and seeing a bunch of new people getting kayaks and asking for advice. Most of the folks I’m dealing with aren’t as hardcore as the rest of us, but getting into the sport nonetheless. These guys are eager to listen, learn and try out what they have learned. They also need folks to fish with and take an interest in putting them in the right fishing situation so that they can have an enjoyable experience. I know that most of us always take time for the new guy and to encourage, listen and teach what we know. That’s the ripple effect I’m talking about; paying it forward to new people in our sport and supporting them in what they are trying to do. I get excited to see new Facebooks groups, bloggers and videos. I try to reach out to those guys and let them know we all appreciate their work. The more folks we have talking, blogging and videoing kayak fishing the better the content will become. Positive ripple effects, just like the bait thrown in the exact spot produces an excellent and rewarding result.

Sometimes you have to ask the hard questions. First, am I taking more from the kayak table than I’m bringing to it? Second, am I the type of person that is welcoming to new guys and encouraging what they’re trying to do? Third, Do I always fish with the same crowd? Lastly, Do I enjoy helping out and seeing others reach goals and milestones? These questions are things I ask myself weekly, because if you’re not careful you find yourself pushing potential people away instead of bringing folks closer, while focusing more on what you are trying to achieve.

You know those pictures above the dentist chair, the ones meant to relax you? The other day I saw this quote above the chair, “Your thoughts and actions are like stones dropped into still waters causing ripples to spread as they move outward.” This season take inventory of yourself and be that better person, the guy who is a friend to all and walks in line with promoting one of the fastest growing segments of the fishing population. Take time to say thank you to the folks that brought you into the sport, thank those that are following and supporting your fan pages and videos. Also take time to apologize to those that you may have offended, disagreed with or grown apart from. What kind of ripple effect are you having on people?

Those are my thoughts. Feel free to agree, disagree or share a story about what you are doing to further the sport. I look forward to hearing from you

Keep Living The Dream!

Let’s Talk Tackle!

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Let’s talk tackle! It is well documented that I have a tackle addiction. All I have to do is look at forums, facebook ads or any fishing magazine and I have to try it or at least acquire it for my collection. This leads me to another problem. Tackle organization, what to carry with me on the trip and how to store it. If I have learned one thing from tournament fishing is that you have to be organized and have a plan. When I first started fishing tournaments I had my tackle everywhere. You can call it inexperience, but my kayak was a mess. When I first took up kayak fishing I wasn’t fishing in a platform that allowed me much storage or much stability. The old yak was much like a counter balance system, anything that was added needed to be added with equal weight to the other side. I never knew what they might be interested in so I carried a little of everything. As you would figure out whatever I had the least of is what the hot action was on and thus once that bait was gobbled up the action for me went cold.

The start of the 2013 season found me in the Hobie Pro Angler 14. This kayak has ridiculous amounts of storage. Hobie thought forward and included a compressed tackle deck at your feet so now I could keep things organized. Yak-Attack came out with the Black Pac so I could really be organized. However, old habits die hard and I found that my tackle was in the same shape it was when I was paddling the big box store kayak. Yes, I once paddled. Even though I had great resources for a management system I failed to act and spent more wasted time digging thru my new organizational system to find anything. This equaled less fishing time, less fish and more frustration. Yes, I had a great tackle collection, but that’s all it was. I decided to research how the top guys organized themselves and why they organized themselves. With that information collected a change had to be made.

This off season I spent several days taking all pieces of tackle: soft plastics, hard baits and terminal tackle out to formulate a plan. I found out that for me to be organized I needed to use the Plano water proof boxes, that come standard on the Hobie Pro Angler 12 & 14, as my terminal tackle boxes. This gives me quick access to hooks and weights and C-Rig set ups. I then turned my attention to my Black Pac and organized the hard baits by size and function, clearly labeling the Plano boxes. The giant hurdle was the soft plastic situation. What on earth am I to do with the several dozen soft plastic bags? Enter the Plano Molding 3600. This roomy soft sided tackle system afforded me enough room to place all my soft plastic, separated by bait type in zip lock bags – thanks Mike Whitaker for the tip. It also affords me the ability to carry extra terminal tackle. This tackle bag is loaded with pockets, Plano boxes and has helped me conquer the tackle organization situation that I needed. With all things organized I found myself with more tackle so I went further and broke it down by season. So now when I hit the water in the Spring I’m not loaded with my winter or summer gear. We’re keeping it simple in 2014 and so far it’s paying a great dividend.

Final note, last week my brother asked me about where to find fishing information in the Austin Area. I directed him to the Keep Austin Fishing Facebook group. I spoke to him this morning and he referred to it as his fishing church. He wanted me to say thanks for the information and tips on the local lakes, as well as welcoming him to the group. That is what this community is all about!

KEP LIVING THE DREAM!

Spring Bass Crazy

This is the time of year that we suffered through the long winter for. Just a few weeks ago it was thirteen degrees and we were in the firm grasp of the Polar Vortex. That Vortex may have pushed back the spawn across the country, but with warming trends around the North Texas area I just could help myself. I managed to work my schedule, allowing me to be on the water most days by three o’clock. This is the time when it can be on at any moment I decided I needed to be more prepared and ask for a little help from the big man.

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The Spring season gives me a sense of confidence! It could be false confidence, but confidence nonetheless. It allows me to pull the Hobie Pro Angler 14 up shallow and use the Parking Pole, from Yak-Attack to set upon my favorite area and begin to mediate on just the right presentation to make the big girl bite. My current fishing condition is still pre-spawn, Thank You Polar Vortex, but I have found a bunch of little males up shallow which can only mean one thing. It’s about to be on.
Ray Roberts Checking It Out

Where ever you find yourself this weekend, whether its on the tournament trail, private water lakes, skinny water ponds or crappie camp I hope your board is loaded with plus 20″s. Yes, it’s time and it’s time to go big, dust off the kayak from it’s winter hibernation and hit your favorite water hole. Should you find yourself in need of the latest kayak gadget don’t forget to check out Mariner-Sails. The guys there have stocked up for the Spring and are ready to receive you.

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KEEP LIVING THE DREAM!

Hopkins Outdoors Update 3/8 – 3/9 Gilbert Complex

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The Spring is heating up with pre-spwn bass being caught all over the area lakes. The prespawn is also heating up on the Gilbert Complex for Hopkins Outdoors. Over this weekend I had the oporuntiy to spend a lot of time on Stump Patch, Spring Lake and Cold Water Lake, here are the results.

Saturday:

Lake: Stump Patch

Weather: 45 Degrees, Winds From The North 15 – 18 mph

Water Temp: 51 – 52 Degrees

Technique: Chartrusse Square Bill Crank Bait

Area Fished: Timber Near The Dam bouncing the bait ff the timber in 6-7′ of water. Fence Line Near the duck blinds produced fishing the weed line. Made our way back shallow and found a fish on isolated timber in 3′ of water. Overall 3 fish with the largest being around 3 pounds.  

Lake: Spring

Weather: 45 Degrees, Winds from the North at 18 – 20 mph

Water Temp: 49 – 50 Degrees Saturday , 50 – 52 Sunday

Technique: 3/4 oz Carolina RIgged With 17# Main line and 6# leader using a #3 straight shank hook on ZZ Custom Bait Threadfin Shad. Also used Chartrusse square bill crank. Due to current water clarity I didn’t use aything over 12 test line. Water Visibility at 5′.

Area Fished: Fished the reed lines on the North side with the square bill running it on the outside of the reed line. This technique produced 4 fish from 2 – 4 pounds. Fished the South Side of the lake focused on throwing up to 3′ and bouncing it down the drop offs from 8′ – 10′ the fish came on the first drop. Sunday, 3/9, fished the square bill again with similar results. Sunday, as the sun came out I fished the rock piles to the right of the ramp. These rocks are in 3-5′ of water and it drops to 12′ shortly in front. Had great sucess with Carolina Rig in the rocks positioning the boat on the pump house side and throwing toward the ramp.

Lake: Cold Lake / Sunday Only

Weather: Blue Bird Sky & 63 Degrees

Water Temp: 55 – 57 degrees / Cloudy

Technique: Deep Diving Rapala DT 16 / Red, Carolina Rig ZZ Custom Threadfin Shad, Texas Rigged V&M Bait Swamp Hog & 1/8 Shakey Head w/ Trick Worm.

Areas Fished: USed the deep crank as a search bait on the Northwest side of the lake. The bottom is up and down with depths from 7-15′, lot of good drops, Fished the area where they are releasing water into the lake with the craw and missed 2 bites. Moved to the rock piles on the South end and fished the deep side from 4 – 9′. This area looked the best but had zero result with shakey head or c-RIg. Moved to the pump station and pitched the walk way, barge and behind the barge with the reslut being 1 15″ bass. The bite was real light, due to conditions. I know this lake will heat up once the water level rises and pumpimg activities cease. it’s difficult to catch bass when the water level is in a constant state of flux.

General Thoughts: These are excellent lakes that will produce quality largemouth bass. Larry and Mike are deadset on managing these lakes correctly. It is up to all of us to measure the fish and record yyour catch. By dong this we will have accurate reports that will lead to big bass. Every fish I caught was in excellent condition and were pre-spawn. I look forward to meeting each one of you out on the water and if i can be of assistance to you don’t hesitate to ask.

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM! 

Classic Thoughts!

Bassmaster

 

Getting up on Sunday morning I felt that someone had rolled back the calendar into January. I had great anticipation of having some warm, predictable, weather to work with in trying to locate some of those big female pre-spawn bass. However, with ice on the ground and wind chills in the single digits I logged onto the computer and landed on Bassmaster. to review footage from the classic.  This year I decided to follow the classic live thru their online presentation via blog and GoPro live camera’s on the pro’s boat. It’s amazing what we can learn these days from online videos.

People often ask who your favorite angler is.  My response is that I really don’t have one. I enjoy following the top pros through social media and enjoy seeing how they are catching their fish, plugging the sponsors and just what it takes to be a full time touring pro at the elite level. With the technology of the day the arena of social media puts you up close with the pro in the boat on the water. I pay close attention to what they are saying and even closer attention to how they are modifying their baits to coax that big fish to bite. These guys are tough and stay out on the water long past dark, sometimes not in the most hospitalable conditions. I know the guys preparing to fish the Southern Open this week found themselves in some of the harshest temperatures of the season. The remarkable thing about these anglers is that they demonstrate the ability to catch fish in any condition. Every time I have grand thoughts of myself as a pro I just look back to lakes like Grapevine and Lewisville to remind me that I am nowhere close.

The most important take away, for me, was mental toughness. I will admit that mental toughness and confidence in what I am doing play a large role in my tournament fishing. If most of you are like me you can get mired down in second guessing, sticking with a failed strategy to long and throwing dead. What I mean about throwing dead is not having the confidence in each cast and just chunking and winding. My goal for 2014 is to surround myself with “Classic Quality People” that I can observe and learn from so that I can begin growing more confident and understanding why things are the way they are. I also have to remember that I can put myself around the fish, but if the fish chooses to be locked down due to weather conditions I must change the presentation. Should changing the presentation not work, I just need to realize that today’s not my day and hold my head high as I enjoy nature and hanging out in the Hobie Pro Angler 14. It’s also important to be a “classic” type person. There are thousands of people who bass fish and they are at every level. When you are active in the social networks be mindful of the folks watching you. Take time to answer their questions, share your tips and take the time necessary to include those that are new to our sport. I would be nowhere today without the guys who took an interest in me and answered the dumbest of my questions.

I think the following dialogue between Harry Hogge and Cole Trickle, from Days of Thunder, sum it the best.

Harry Hogge:      What do you know about stock car racing?

Cole Trickle:        Well…watched it on television, of course.

Harry Hogge:      You’ve seen it on television?

Cole Trickle:        ESPN. The coverage is excellent; you’d be surprised at how much you can pick up.

Harry Hogge:      I’m sure I would.

Take advantage of all the avenues that are afforded to us in this age of information enlightenment.  Watch those videos, make friends with a pro, take someone under your wing and bring them along. Bassmaster showed us how you can take a fishing tournament and bring it to life with real time updates and access into the minds of the top pros. To be better we must pay attention and be willing to learn; you never know the tip you see today could boost you in the AOY standing in your local scene.

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM!

Mariner-Sails: Leading the Southwest In Everything Kayak!

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It is a well established fact that I have a tackle, gear and gadget addiction. I also know that there are many like me in the kayak fishing community. As most, I am an impulse buyer, meaning I’m at a place of business and see the product, purchase the product and then use the product. I get real frustrated when I make a purchase and have to wait the fourteen days for free shipping. Heck, with my track record I may have forgotten why I wanted the stuff in the first place. I am also a huge last minute guy. As tournaments or appearance draw near I always need that one last thing and there is not time for ordering. What a kayak bass angler to do when he’s impulsive, in a hurry and doesn’t have the time or knowledge to install items correctly? He goes to Mariner-Sails.

I want to spend a segment and tell you why Mariner-Sails, in Dallas Texas should be your one and only stop for kayak fishing merchandise. Yes, they carry every name brand under the sun and are knowledgeable about each product they represent, but what separates them from the rest of the pack is that they have it in stock. When you walk into the shop you are overwhelmed by the scale of kayaks and supplies they have to offer. I have deemed them the largest, most knowledgeable kayak supplier in the Southwest. For all those folks reading in the Southwest this is your one stop. For those of you that are out of town they have an excellent website that’s easy to use. This site gives you pricing, specs, sizes and all the information that you need to make an informed decision. You may ask what if I have a question. Well pick up the phone and call, (972) 241-1498; make sure you speak to Shaun Russell or Dave Potts. These two guys are lights out when it comes to answering your questions relating to any kayak fishing product.

So, if it’s not enough to have the largest stock in the Southwest or to have an available help line to discuss you questions you can add service and warranty. Mariner Sails takes those two items to the extreme. You can search all over fishing forums and see the testimony of all the folks who are not only satisfied, but are raving fans of Mariner-Sails. I have seen the team jump hurdles and crawl under wire to satisfy customers in a warranty situation. The great thing is your never alone wondering what’s up. Mariner-Sails offer excellent follow up and communication so you know exactly where you are in the process.

I say the above 448 words to say that not many people go to the lengths to satisfy, support and educate their clients. The shop offers numerous support seminars that educate you from water safety to catching a limit of crappie and everything in between. When you are looking to make that kayak or kayak accessory purchase make sure you call the team at Mariner-Sails.  These guys are the only people I trust with my Hobie Pro Angler 14’s.

Remember that when you are in a hurry and feeling impulsive and need over the top service call Mariner-Sails. You will not be disappointed and heck you may see me in there loading up another basket of greatness. I have learned that when you’re doing business you want to make sure you’re dealing with folks who know what they’re talking about, treat you fairly and have it in stock!

 

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM