The Changing Tides

As a freshwater guy I don’t know much about tides, tidal charts, moon phases or anything else that could leave you high and dry and out of the fishing when you hit the salt. However, what I do know about tides is that they change. Change is good and we need to evolve in what we are doing in order to constantly grow. Think of it like this, when Gordon Gecko was walking in with the brick cell phone in the early ninety’s who would have thought that a few decades later we all would have more power in our hands than was on the Apollo 13 trip to the moon. Like I said change is good and evolving is paramount. Here is the new publishing schedule for Kayak Bass Adventures.

The blog will publish three days a week: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. I feel that there is enough content across the industry to keep it fresh and conversational. Here is a menu of how the days will break out and what will be covered:

  • Tuesday: Interviews with people within the fishing community. These could be fellow kayak anglers, FLW Pros, BASS Elite Pros or people in the Outdoor Retail sector.
  • Wednesday: I will talk about fashion, gear, new baits or some type of fishing related product. I like fashion!
  • Thursday: This will be a free for all with guest hosts, video blog or some sort of wacky life advice.

As you can see there is going to be a ton of action across Kayak Bass Adventures. I feel that the tide is rising for all of kayak fishing and especially kayak bass fishing, so jump on and ride the waves. I look forward to your comments and suggestions. As for tidal reports and conditions on the big water I leave that to my friends at 30 Miles Out and Yak Fish TVIMG_1023.

LIVE THE ADVENTURE!

 

Why I Kayak Fish

Stalking Shallow Water Bass In Silence

Stalking Shallow Water Bass In Silence

There is something about getting up before the sun and heading out to the lake. For me it really doesn’t matter if the fishing is hot or cold, but what matters are the surroundings and beauty of what the morning brings. People ask me why I kayak fish. Here are three reasons why kayak fishing works for me.
First, the kayak I use is the Hobie Pro Angler 14 and the way that it glides across shallow water is critical for my style of fishing. With the mirage tucked against the hull I can cruise some pretty skinny water. Kayak fishing allows me to stalk the fish in pure silence. It allows me to see nature unfold in slow motion waiting for the moment of impact.
Secondly, kayak fishing keeps you in shape. Whether you decide to paddle or pedal it doesn’t matter, you are active and burning off the bad decisions from the start of the week. By loading, unloading, standing and sitting it builds your core muscle and helps with balance. Those few things there contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
Third, the moment of impact is why I kayak fish. When you are working a grass line with a top water frog or stripping an Xcite Baits Ubershad through grass or pads the blow ups and violent strikes are out of this world. Pure Adrenaline!
We would love to know why you kayak fish and what you’re doing to support and grow the sport. Feel free to leave a comment and continue to do the great work of promoting a healthy life style that is awesome on the environment.

 

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM!

Secrets of the Squarebill

Everyone knows that Xcite Baits produces world class soft plastic baits. More people are learning that Xcite has launched into the hard bait world with XB-1 and XB-1S. Today we are focusing on the XB-1 Silent squarebill crankbait. The only way to get the latest tips, tricks and insider information on using the XB-1 is to speak with BASS professionals. This week we hit the road and spoke to Randy Sullivan and Tim Cline. Hold onto your rod because you are fixing to get the full skinny on these great baits.

Sitting down with any professional you can learn quickly that they want consistency. Touring pros have no time to fine tune or try new baits when dollars are on the line. Sitting with Tim we looked at the XB-1S and he said, “To perform at a top level you have to have consistency in the baits that you throw. Xcite Baits made the XB-1 silent perform in the same as the, original, XB-1. Just minus the rattle!” Consistency is the name of the game and the reason why this bait is consistent is due to the testing that goes on with each XB-1 that is shipped. These baits are tuned and tested, making them out if the package ready.

One of the great questions we are asked is when do you use a silent crankbait? Randy Sullivan says he determines it by the amount of fishing pressure that the lake is receiving.  Both Tim Cline and Randy Sullivan both agree that you need to use these baits when you fishing clear water. Clear water calls for the subtle presentation. Randy told us, “The XB-1S delivers that subtle action that big bass can’t pass up on.” Tim likes using this tactic on clear, blue bird, days. Tim says silent running baits are deadly with post frontal conditions, “You get more bites on these baits when the bass are in a bad post front mood.”

Randy says, “Hit something!” Put yourself in the best position and target timber, rock, or the shallow bank bottom. The pro always has the bait in contact with something and that is what triggers the strike. Another thing to think about is where your bait is in the water column and you can affect the depth by using lighter or heavier line. Our pros prefer to use 15 – 25 pound. Tim says that he uses the heavier line in shallow situations to keep it from digging in and hanging it up.  Randy was telling us that speed plays a big role in your success. All agree to use the stop and go retrieve for maximum result. However, both pros say if that’s not the ticket try different speeds.

Learning is a huge part of bass fishing. Xcite Baits is committed to teaching and showing our customers techniques that best suit our baits. When you decide to use Xcite Baits you are part of the family and our goal is to give you the information that you need to bring Xcite-ment right out of the water. Thanks to Tim Cline and Randy Sullivan for sitting down and taking the time to visit with Kayak Bass Adventures!

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM! 

 

Great Times On Lady Bird Lake

I spent eighteen years in the Austin area. All of those years were spent doing everything but fishing “The Bird”. As I always say, it’s better late than never. This day trip to mecca of urban fishing started early and had the glow of anticipation.
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I want to say thanks for those that gave me some direction as to tactics and places to start fishing. Without a community of good people giving great advice the trip would have not turned out as well as it did. Thanks to the Keep Austin Fishing Group, Guillermo Gonzalez and Ken, who I met at the AHS launch.
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What I enjoyed most about my time on Lady Bird Lake was the people jogging, bike riding and hanging out on and around the bridges that span over the river. At one point I was fishing under the bridge with a group of no less than 75 people looking over me. I thought to myself what a great time for a giant hook set and on cue it was delivered. The crowd went wild and for a split second I felt like Randy Howell fishing the classic. That experience was cool!
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All in all it was an awesome time and I would encourage those that are thinking of making this trip to do it. There are some giant bass in that lake and the scenery is unreal. I have had a ton of great fishing experiences and this one rates with the best of them. Looking forward to heading back down sooner rather than later.
KEEP LIVING THE DREAM!

Let’s Talk Tackle!

plano

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!

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!

Valentine’s Day – No, It’s Pre-Tournament Day!

Heart Image

These are some of my most favorite days of the year. I am not talking about Valentine’s Day, but pre tournament day. I realize that the entire free world is celebrating the good fortune of their love life today and I as well will pay tribute to my wife and family; who without their support none of this chasing the dream business would be happening. So to my family, thanks! To my fellow competitors I wish good luck on stop #2 of the Capital City Kayak Fishing Tournament.

Pretournament days are always fun because I spend the majority of it thinking about strategy, reviewing maps and mobile apps. I fill my brain pan with so much information that it’s bubbling over with anticipation. The only problem with filling you head with so much detail is that it causes the ever present second thoughts and is this strategy right? For example early this week, while the polar vortex was upon us I was greatly concerned about water temperature. Well, as the sun has warmed our souls and made us feel that bedding fish are upon us my concern is still water temperature. Yeas, the sun is nice, but it’s going to take a string of bright sun to warm up the familiar structure that these big bass enjoy hanging out in. So confusion will be a great part of the strategy. You then mix in this week’s edition of Bassmaster Magazine and review what the pros are throwing and it leads to more second guessing and concerned thoughts for this weekend’s action. I love articles, because you never know the real context of which they were written. It seems I only pay attention to the double digit picture and assume the strategy will work for me, in Texas on Lake Lewisville in 40 degree water. Can you say hopeless!

Confidence breeds’ confidence and skill is the name of the game. Whatever your reading and whomever your listening to make sure they have local knowledge of what is happening in the area that you will be applying your craft. One thing that can’t be overlooked is the quality of your equipment and the support of your team who stands with you. Whether you are an army of one or you stand with the top names in the industry everyone is equal when the gun sounds tomorrow morning. I always feel blessed to have a great group that keeps Kayak Bass Adventures on the water and in tip top shape. These folks are: Mariner-Sails, Brute Outdoors, TFO Rods, Supernova Fishing Lights, Hobie Fishing and Columbia Sportswear. What’s great about these partners are that they are not an exclusive club, but friends to every kayak angler on the water. Be sure and support their efforts, because whether you know it or not they are supporting you.

So if you take nothing else from this post remember this: Don’t stay up to late celebrating your Valentine’s Day because over celebration can lead to a long unfocused ay on the water. Lastly, remember that we are all out as a community to support kayak fishing. SO if you see a first timer, share the love and spend the time showing them the tournament ropes. I always remember the great folks who took the time with when I first started and they are now some of my closest friends!

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM!