Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ponce de Leon Park Fishing and Kayak Trails

With some winds out of the East I had to pick a spot that would be protected from gusts. I wanted to try something a bit different, as most of my spots I frequent during an East winds are places I have fished a dozen times or more. Off to Google Earth I went to scope out a spot.

Ponce de Leon park is a 10 acre park on Charlotte Harbor at Ponce de Leon Inlet, with a boat ramp, boat trailer parking, two fishing piers, a playground, a man-made beach, shelter, restrooms, and picnic tables. Also on site is the Peace River Wildlife Center. Whats special about this park is the entire waterfront community of Punta Gorda Isles is supplied through this inlet, meaning there is a TON of water flow. All of the inshore slam species reside here this time of year. For kayaking it is best to get out early and on a weekday as the park can get pretty busy. Also, there is no charge to park or to use the ramp, which is always a nice perk.

Unfortunately my fishing day started out slow and ended even slower. In between I had a twenty minute window of a hot topwater trout bite, managing 5 fish to 20 inches. The tannin-stained rainwater pouring out of the Peace River made finding fishy water pretty difficult. I resorted to throwing topwaters in 4-6 feet of grassy bottomed water, as for me that almost always entices trout to strike.

The stained river water makes for some dark trout!

After another hour or so of fruitless fishing, I chose to call it a day and explore the Ponce Canal, which is a Kayak trail tailored from old mosquito ditches and the barge canal that was used as a passage way for construction/supply boats during the building of PGI. This is a very interesting place and can get very tight in the tunnels at times. It was quite easy to follow, but I would reccomend a smartphone with GPS to aid in navigation as it could be a long paddle if you make a wrong turn. The barge canal itself is now closed off to boat traffic on both the harbor side and the PGI side, but now exists as a deep cut surrounded by mangroves on all sides. This is a very intriguing place that is pretty much only accessible by kayak, and it may be a place to consider fishing after a cold front. I did manage to catch a micro sized snook in the canal and suspect his big brothers and sisters might visit him in the winter. 

This was the view found through most of the tunnels.
I had a great time launching out of this park and have a feeling it may become a winter time go to spot for me. How great is it to be able to write off a difficult day of fishing and turn it into a leisurely paddle through fantastic scenery? Until next time, keep those rods bent!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fly Rodding for Bream

There is something to be said about the simplicity of fly fishing for bluegill. I love tossing a popper, letting the rubber legs quiver and being greeted by that classic slurp. If you were ever looking to get in to fly fishing this is surely the way to do it. Any rod from a 3-6 wt is proficient, and it doesn't have to be technical. I have been known to use a straight section of 6-10 lb test monofilament as a leader, no tippet involved. Yet time after time, I have success, but more importantly, I have fun. This morning was no different.

I started out slow, only catching one small bluegill before daylight. It took my Bea Bea Bug after I placed a cast on top of the seawall, and tugged it to land very lightly in the water. It wasn't a big fish, but a good start. After sun up though, it was like a switch flipped. I paddled on over to a spot that is oddly consistent for me. It has no distinct features that are visible from the surface, so I am suspicious of some submerged structure. Anyways, almost immediately I hooked up to the biggest gill of the day. 

He measured in at a touch over 9 inches. A few yards down the shoreline I had a perfect cast into some vegetation. I was greeted by a much bigger pop than the usual bream kiss, and the subsequent jump gave away this largemouth's identity. He really inhaled the bug, and put a solid bend in the rod.

This particular canal that I fish is laid out in a very urban setting. It is part of a water management area, and serves as a drainage system for quite a large area. As a result, it provides excellent fishing in the late summer months. The rainwater flushes out the canal, oxygenates and cools the water, yet pours over a spillway into a larger bottle of water before the levels can get too high. Another benefit of being part of a water management area, is that many retention ponds and storm drains flow into this canal by way of culverts. After any period of steady rain they begin to flow and where they flow, the bass like to lurk. I tossed a popper under the first culvert I saw and was instantly greeted by a second bass for the day. This one was about the same length, but had a much fuller belly. 

I managed to wrestle this fish out of some lily pads with a 6 pound test leader. I must say, I don't understand typical bass fishing rigs. I don't have any need for 50 lb. test on a baitcaster when I can catch a nice 2 pounder on a size 10 fly. After this fish, I began working my way back to the launch. On the way back I caught two of the most colorful, beautiful shellcrackers. I was surprised to catch them on a topwater, as most of their food comes in the form of snails and other mollusks. They also put up quite a different fight, making fast runs where a bluegill will tend to turn to its side and use the natural drag of its body.

This fish, the larger of the two, went just over 10 inches. The smaller was right at 9. The colors were amazing, and this picture barely does it justice. I rarely catch these in this canal so catching two nice sized specimens in one day was quite a thrill. The Bea Bea bug slowly became less appetizing to the fish, so I switched to a bead headed nymph to wrap up the day. I tend to catch more fish with the nymphs and today was no different, however the quality of fish is slightly less. I attribute this to the smaller fish being more aggressive and getting to the fly quicker, where with topwater flies there are many times a smaller fish will peck at it but not be able to get it inside of its mouth. Anyways, to finish off this post here is the largest gill I managed on the nymph...

Not a great fish but a fun way to end the day. I have a feeling I will be sitting down and tying a few scuds for a few more trips coming up! Until next time, keep those rods bent!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Recent Fly Tying

I have been in a good groove tying some flies lately. I have been focusing on saltwater flies almost exclusively for the first time ever. I tend to be more comfortable tying bass and panfish flies, likely because just about anything that looks hairy or buggy attached to a hook gets eaten. Also, I have really been favoring craft fur recently. It is a great material in that it is simple to use, readily available, comes in a laundry list of colors, is cheap, is very consistent in shape and size being synthetic, and has a great action in the water. Here are three successful patterns I have been tying...

The first is loosely based off of the Feather Craft Sand Shrimp. It is fished as a shrimp or crab imitation by stripping it slowly over the bottom, however can pass as a baitfish imitation with a quicker retrieve. 

  • Tail: White craft fur, barred with a sharpie marker, plus a couple of strands of Krystal Flash 
  • Body: Palmered Estaz in a "tan" or "natural" color
  • Eye/Weight: Lead dumbell eye in desired weight. 
  • Wing: Craft fur in a similar color to the estaz body.
The second is the famous Crystal Schminnow. It is fantastic when fish are feeding on smaller baitfish, as is generally the case around docklights. I recently caught my first flyrod snook and first flyrod redfish in the same night off of this fly. I have also had success with this fly on the beaches and flats. A great all around fly that is simple to tie. This fly can cover just about any water column by varying the weight of the eyes. A mono eye will result in an extremely light fly which is perfect for delicate docklight applications. A beadchain works well for all around fishing, while a dumbell eye can bring this fly to the bottom which can be deadly on redfish.

  • Tail: Maribou clump. Cut to roughly the length of the hook shank (I prefer a slightly longer tail).
  • Body: Palmered Estaz or Pearl Chenille
  • Eyes: Mono Eyes/Beadchain/Dumbell Eyes
The third fly is a whitewater clouser, as originally perfected by Bob LeMay. I chose to tie some with craft fur instead of the usual bucktail and I am very pleased with the action this fly has. I caught my spillway snook on this fly, and the carp picked this fly up off the bottom while I was distracted as well. The dumbell eye is attached first with red thread, and a thread base is layed back to about the bend of the hook as a sort of "throat" or "gill." The fly is whip finished, and a chartreuse thread is then used to tie in the wing and form the head.

  • Eye: Dumbell eye attached with red thread to create "gill"
  • Wing/Tail: Craft fur (or bucktail) Lighter color for underbody, darker color for back.
  • Head: Build up with thread and coat with head cement or epoxy of choice
As you can see, the recurring theme with all of these flies is that they require a minimal amount of materials and are relatively quick to tie. I don't have any desire to spend 20 plus minutes and take 15 or more steps to tie a fly that will likely be torn to shreds after a handful of fish. I hope you found this helpful, now have some fun tying and keep those rods bent!

Afternoon Spillway Fun

After running some family to the airport yesterday I found myself in close proximity to some spillways. With pretty consistent rain recently I was delighted to find water flowing at a steady rate. Within a few casts I hooked up to a small snook on a craft fur clouser I had tied up recently.

Unfortunately that was all the action I could muster in the 20 minutes or so I had to fish. I did manage a hookup with a pretty large carp on the fresh side of the spillway that spit the hook after showing his face. I am now 0/5 on carp on the fly, and every single hookup has been by accident. They tend to pick up my fly off the bottom the times that I make a cast and get distracted by something that makes me delay my retrieve. I believe most if not all have been grass carp, as many of the local freshwater canals and ponds are stocked with them for vegetation control. Also, they have hit flies with chartreuse or green marabou or craft fur on every instance, which could be taken as a "grass" imitation. Maybe there's something too that, I wonder if I should tie a few grass flies?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Morning on the bay

Just a quick report from Lemon Bay. I made it out early with intentions of hitting some docklights. This time of year its quite possible to catch a slam out of these docklights, especially the ones with close proximity to grass flats. I managed a couple of snook, a trout, and a ladyfish before the sun came up. I missed a good amount of hooksets however.

Any day that starts off with a snook on the fly is a good day in my book. After the docklight bite shut down I went in search of a red to complete the slam. I couldn't quite find them, they had moved on from where I found them a couple of weeks ago. Irregardless I managed a few more trout, a nice mangrove snapper, and a massive sailcat that chose to fight exactly like a redfish until it showed its face. It's funny how a fish can peel some drag and be exciting, but immediately become a burden by showing it's face, or should I say its whiskers. Anyways, it was a beautiful much needed morning on the water. Let's hope Isaac doesn't leave us with any ill effects on the fishing for the next few weeks!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fun Fishing

Beach snook are a blast on light tackle!
Had the opportunity to spend a weekend with my buddy Jared and we fished pretty much the entire time. Beating the heat was the name of the game, so we took the opportunity to walk the beach for about an hour around sunset with an inshore trip on the boat planned for the morning. The beach snooking was decent, not tremendous, but we both had some success with our trusty DOA shrimp. We managed to beat the floating grass by fishing a nice stretch of shoreline on the harbor side of the lighthouse beach on the south end of Gasparilla Island. We hadn't caught anything until we saw a blowup in a small pod of bait, and managed a few hookups out of that commotion. Surprisingly there weren't as many fish holding to the structure as usual. After a few fish we decided we couldn't beat the mosquitoes so we called it a night pretty early.

The next morning we had ambitious plans of being on the water by 5:30, which turned into rolling out of bed at 6:30. Having already felt like we wasted a good hour of fishing, we got right on our way. Right off the bat I hooked up to a small snook on our first drift over a grassy area at the base of a mangrove island. A second drift of that stretch yielded nothing, so we moved right along. The next spot is somewhere we can ALWAYS catch a few trout no matter what the conditions, and my largest yet was caught here in the middle of the day on a DOA shrimp. Two drifts didn't even yield a hit, and we were both shocked. I began to say I was surprised that we hadn't caught a trout yet, but before I could finish my sentence Jared hooked up. It was a nice 19 inch fish that found its way to the cooler. After another fishless drift over this spot we moved on. Our next spot yielded a very interesting array of species, in a matter of a few minutes I caught a baby grouper, a little mangrove snapper, a grunt, a pinfish, and a trout. All of those fish took a Yo-Zuri 3D Minnow. Unfortunately we couldn't find anything with good size on that flat and the sun was getting high, so we decided to start exploring.
They're bigger if you hold 'em out, right?
We pulled up to a shoreline that neither of us had experience fishing, and I must say this will immediately become the shoreline we fish first from now on. A school of redfish was working around a school of mullet, and two of the biggest snook I have ever seen were cruising around an oyster point just off this shoreline. The redfish weren't hungry for any of our plastic offerings, but the snook were happy to play along. Nothing of great size came to the boat but they were still good fun. I managed 4 snook, a trout, and a funky array of grouper snapper and grunts for the day. All came on either DOA shrimp or the 3D Minnow.

Steinhatchee Scalloping 2012

If only they were all this easy to spot!
The annual pilgrimage to Steinhatchee to gather up a scallop dinner, while tough at times, was an overall success. Everyone had fun, nobody got hurt, and scallops were had. We did not find quite the numbers we saw in 2011, but we managed a few meals worth. The water was dark for the first 4-5 miles north or south out of the mouth of the river, but cleared up beyond that point. Unfortunately that put most of the scallops and most of the boats in a relatively small area compared to most years. We discovered late in the week that they were buried deep in the grass, where in years past they have almost been sunbathing right on top of the grass. We didn't manage to reach a limit on any of the days, but we came close twice.

The inshore fishing was all but non-existent with the fresh water dumping out of the river from all of the recent rains. There was also a very large amount of floating grass. Despite the lousy water conditions we still managed to have a great time. Our condo was fantastic, the drinks were cold and the pool was refreshing as ever. Sometimes its not the catching that matters but the memories made with family and friends!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Should I stay or should I go?

A night trip with Jared had been in the works for some time. Busy lives and an inherent lack of sleep had been seeming to get in the way lately though. All of the same questions came up again prior to Thursday night's planned trip. "How's the radar look? Tides? Should we just get to bed for an early start tomorrow? What if the docklights aren't on?" Planning for night trips seems to always walk the tight rope of "Should I stay or should I go?"

Luckily this time, the motivation of chasing my first fly rod snook outweighed the desire for sleep. After some coffee and approval from the wife, which I am suspicious was silent barter for dishes and laundry later in the week, we set off. The plan was to hit an area with good water flow and a significant number of dock lights within paddling distance to avoid getting shut out by the potential of lights being off.

Armed with my 8 weight, and Jared with a handful of D.O.A. shrimp, we got the kayaks wet around 11:30 P.M. From the launch, we could see at least a few docklights illuminating the water. Now all we needed to know is if they were holding fish. After a quick paddle across the channel, we were welcomed to the sound of surface busting. 

A few casts in and Jared had hooked up. The fish stayed low in the water column, which was a blessing as it didn't disturb the fish feeding in the light. After a quick fight, both of us were surprised when we found out the reason this fish stayed low in the column. It was a red! A solid 21 inch red to start off the night would prove to be a good omen.

Envious of Jared's good fortune, and delighted by the prospect of not only my first fly rod snook but also the potential of a fly rod redfish, I began casting like a mad man. Almost immediately thereafter, I had hooked up on the fly. The quick strike and enthusiastic aerial acrobatics almost immediately gave the fishes identity away. A large ladyfish had come to play with one of Steve Gibson's DT Special's. Dejected that it wasn't a snook, but happy to have the skunk off my back, we continued on.  

There's a funny thing about fishing docklights. The visual aspect of seeing the fish, especially when they are grouped up by the dozen, has such an alluring draw. I made the mistake of switching to a topwater fly to make it an even more visual game. I had so many follows but no strikes, I failed to match the hatch of glass minnows they were feeding on. You can't make the fish eat what you want them to, you have to feed them what they are eating. 

And eating they were. Jared's next fish was a nice cookie cutter snook, that promptly regurgitated almost a dozen 2 inch glass minnows while he unhooked it. That was my sign to switch to the docklight standby fly, the crystal schminnow. I had tied a few up to keep handy for docklights and beach snook fishing and I am glad I did. I almost immediately had a hookup. I missed the hookset only to have another. Also a miss. Patience is a virtue.

Knowing how close I was to finally catching a fly rod snook, I took a deep breath, and slowed down. A few more casts and another hookup, wait for it, wait for it... and it was set. What a hell of a run. As most smart fish do, it took me around a piling. Having had the same thing happen earlier in the week and losing my first snook on the fly to a barnacle shredded line, I took it slow. I let the line go loose, and chased it around the dock. It did not want to come out from under, at least not on that side. It bolted in to open water on the other side of the dock. Knowing what I had to do, I dismounted my kayak light and tossed my extra rod over to Jared. Determined not to lose this fish, I let it drag me under the dock and out the other side. This was an incredible series of events that will bring a smile and a laugh to both of our faces for years to come.  Luckily on the other side of the dock, the snook was just about as worn out as I was. He posed for a quick snapshot of the memory and I let him on his way. Not a giant fish by any standards but a giant step for me in my fly fishing exploits.  

A slight drizzle and no lighting made for a terrible picture, but the memory remains. We proceeded to hook up at least every other cast at that dock for another 30 minutes or so. The fish were so actively feeding it was incredible. If you want to know what it sounded like, throw a bag of Orville Redenbacher in the microwave and listen. Surprisingly enough, just like popcorn, the action came to an almost immediate halt. Within a matter of a minute, it went from almost a pop every second to a pop every 5 seconds to no pops at all. Before the action stopped though we each had 4 fish to the boat, Jared with the redfish and three snook, and I with three snook and a ladyfish.

As it was getting late, we chose to try one other docklight that was on the way back to the launch. Earlier in the night as I was retying my shock leader, Jared had paddled over to this light and hooked a snook on his first cast. He said he lost it, and all of the fish went deeper when it jumped. We paddled up and the fish were there, but not very active. A few casts yielded some follows and a missed hookup, and just like before, all of the fish seemed to move deeper after the disturbance. Almost ready to head in, we decided a couple of more casts letting our presentations sink a bit before starting the retreive would suffice. That proved to be very successful for me, as the first cast I hooked up. This was a very interesting fight, and I mentioned to Jared a few times during that it felt like it was a bigger snook. We also noted however, that it didn't make any jumps or break the surface at all. This fish was strong and had a few runs in it. Not wanting another situation like before with much more difficult docks to navigate, I couldn't afford to be as light and patient with this fish. I managed to keep it turned and was only a few feet from losing it to not only a dock but a moored sailboat as well. Once I got it to the side of the kayak, I was ecstatic. It was a red, and I had just caught my first red on the fly. A solid 22 inch male that was drumming loudly as I unhooked him. After a quick snapshot, he swam off to fight again another day.

Again not the best picture, but the memory will last forever. I normally don't write so much about a fishing trip, but what happened in this one is something I will look back on with a smile for the rest of my life. Not only am I excited about these firsts, but I am excited for the many seconds to follow!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Quick Kayak Fishing Report

For the first time in too long I was able to take out my kayak for a fishing trip. I chose a stretch of coastline to launch on with about 15 docks spread over about a half mile. I like this area because it isn't uncommon to catch an inshore slam off of one dock. Unfortunately however, that wasn't the case today. 

I got an early start, launching the kayak when only the mosquitoes were awake. I had about an hour of night left to work with so I headed on over to some docklights. As luck would have it, only one of the usual 6 lights was on, and it was the farthest of the bunch to paddle to. I made it to the dock with about 45 minutes left before sunrise, and was excited to see some silhouettes roaming in the illuminated water. I tossed a freshly tied crystal schminnow into the mix and had three consecutive casts where snook and trout were literally fighting each other for the chance to get a taste of estaz. My fourth cast yielded a solid slot size trout, but unfortunately the battle spooked all of the remaining snook out of the light to their daytime haunts. 

I moved along as the sun came up to some docks that tend to be productive after sunrise. I hooked up with a small snook on a DOA shrimp along with a few small trout. While that was fun, my desire to expand my "species caught on fly" list came into play and I fished almost exclusively with my BVK the rest of the day. 

I switched to a fly that fishes a bit deeper and began blind casting around a dock that has held redfish for me in the past. It was also the dock that I caught my first ever saltwater fish on the fly a couple of months prior. Almost on queue, my second cast yielded a bent rod. The fish headed straight down and fought hard. I reeled in my slack and by the time I got the fish to the reel it was headed for open water. I was ok with that so I pulled my anchor (a sight to see, bent rod in one hand trying to keep tension on the line with a hand behind me pulling the anchor) and set off. I fought this fish very delicately, I wanted to at least get it close enough to see it. I was almost positive it was a redfish until I saw it. It is an odd feeling when the adrenaline rush of your potential first redfish on the fly is flushed away at the sight of a catfish. I wasn't sure if I should be upset that I was fooled by what some may call a junk fish, or if I could still appreciate the fish for the sport of the fight as much as I had before I saw it, back when I thought it was a redfish. 

Any way you look at it, I did have an exciting fight and added a new species, while not necessarily a sought after one, to my list. A few more trout came to the kayak, but nothing worth noting. Until next time... 

Catching Up

The fishing has been inconsistent of late. That's not to say the fish haven't been biting consistently, but more to say I haven't been able to wet a line as consistently as I would like. In my defense, the fishing time has been cut back because a few good things have happened recently...

Anyways... onto the fishy stuff. I recently picked up a Peak Rotary Vise from Flying Fish Outfitters in Nokomis. I have only tied a dozen or so flies on it so far but I can tell that this vise will be with me for a long time. It is my first rotary vise and just that detail makes many of the flies I like to tie so much easier. It was a steep purchase for a novice like myself, but I do feel like this could potentially be my last vise I will ever need to buy. Lately I have really begun to get the saltwater fly rod itch and as a result tied up some baitfish imitations. Here are a few examples...

I like the final result of the EP baitfish, but I haven't become very quick or proficient at tying them. The Crystal Schminnow is a very simple tie and also a very effective fly. The Bendback is a pretty easy tie and does a great job simulating the small almost translucent baitfish that snook love to key in on on the beaches this time of year. These are all pretty basic saltwater flies with many different step by step instructions online. I like to see a few different ways to tie a fly, and then tie my own combining my favorite parts of each person's individual style. As Steve of Gibbys Fishing Blog says, "A good fly is easy to tie and catches fish" That advice is something I will definitely be sticking to in my fly tying endeavors. 

Some blog news now, as you can see I have added a Twitter button that will link you to the blogs Twitter page. I will tweet all of my new posts there along with some articles and links that go along with the fishing theme. Also, now that the wedding has passed and life is settling back down to normal, I expect to post a bit more frequently. I really enjoy recapping my trips and having a log to look back on, and sharing tips, tricks, fishing reports and product reviews with anyone who reads is an added bonus. Look for more posts and a possible layout change in the near future! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Great News For Snook!

News Release

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Media contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted to keep the recreational harvest of snook in Gulf of Mexico waters closed for another year to offer the species additional protection after a 2010 cold kill detrimentally affected the population.The decision came at the June 28 Commission meeting in Palm Beach Gardens after staff presented an updated stock assessment that showed snook populations are improving in the Atlantic and are not in biological jeopardy in the Gulf. The next assessment is due in 2015.“If we have a bad winter this year, we will benefit from this caution; if we don’t have a bad winter, we will let all these breeding fish come through the slot,” said Vice Chairman Kenneth Wright, referring to the snook slot limit of 28 to 33 inches in Gulf of Mexico waters. “We’ll really have done something good and we’ll have protected some of these fish.”The recreational snook season was closed in Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic waters by executive order on Jan.16, 2010, after the cold kill. The FWC manages snook in both state and federal waters, though the species tends to inhabit the shallower, near-shore state waters. The effects of the cold kill were less severe on the Atlantic coast, where the normal season reopened for harvest Sept. 1, 2011.The Gulf of Mexico recreational season was to reopen Sept. 1, 2012, and now is expected to reopen Sept. 1, 2013. Catch-and-release of snook will be allowed during the closure. In the Atlantic, the season will remain unchanged. Annual closures in the Atlantic are from Dec. 15 through Jan. 31 and from June 1 through Aug. 31.There is no commercial harvest for snook in Florida.Snook are one of Florida’s premier game fish, and anglers often practice catch-and-release techniques when targeting this species. When planning to release snook, proper handling techniques ensure the best chance of survival. This includes returning the fish to the water as quickly as possible; using wet hands to handle the fish; supporting its weight in a horizontal position when the fish is out of the water; not holding the fish by the gill plate, eye or jaw; and reviving the fish if necessary by running it through the water head-first to allow water to flow over its gills.Learn more about snook by visiting and clicking on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snook.”
This is outstanding news for snook in Gulf waters. Lately the numbers of snook have been slowly increasing, and over the past few months more and more reports of slot size and above fish (the big breeders) have been coming in. Another year of protection will provide as a great buffer if the 12/13 winter is harsh one, and if it is mild a good number of slot fish should grow out of the slot and become protected breeders by the time the harvest is reopened. The outlook is very positive after the the harsh 2010 winter. For more info on that winter, check out this video by The Snook Foundation:

Let's hope for a mild winter and a very strong snook population come September 2013!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hat Mounted Kodak Playsport Camera

As a birthday gift this year I was lucky enough to receive a Kodak Playsport camera. It was given to me with the intention of it being my go-to camera for all of my outdoors adventures. The main reason being that it is waterproof and shock resistant, two very important qualities for what I will be putting it through.

The primary function I am using this camera for is capturing high quality still photos to document my catches as well as to share on this blog. Already I have been pleased with that aspect of the camera as you can see with these stills.

The main draw of this camera to the average consumer however is the capability to take HD video. I wasn't quite sure how to take advantage of this feature on my kayak as my hands are always occupied with either a pole or a paddle. Obviously I would need a mount if I wanted to shoot film. After some tinkering and a $1.50 trip to the hardware store, I was able to modify an old ball cap into a hands free camera mount.

A 1/4x20 threaded bolt, two fender washers, and a nut to match. I chose stainless since it will be inherently exposed to saltwater. With the size and shape of the playsport, it will definitely take some getting used to as far as the proper angle to hold my head to capture what exactly I want the camera to see. Today was the first trial run and I was lucky enough to have a snook guest star in my first short film.


As you can see I did have a tough time aiming the camera where I wanted to, but I assume with some practice it will become second nature. I have also been toying with an old monopod, mounting it in my milk crate behind me in the kayak for an interesting perspective. My ultimate goal is to be able to accumulate a series of video highlights to string together with still photos each year as a sort of digital scrapbook of my fishing trips. I hope this post was informal and if anybody has any experience with camera mounting for kayak fishing please feel free to share!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Day of Firsts

For the first time since January, I was able to take my kayak on a fishing excursion. For the first time in saltwater, I brought my 8 wt TFO BVK along for the ride. For the first time ever, I caught a saltwater fish on the fly. For the first time this year, I caught a redfish. Firsts all around. And hopefully many seconds to follow.

I nicknamed this fish the Gargantuan. I must have looked like a lunatic celebrating the catch and release of a piece of "bait." My first salty species on the fly, and hopefully the first of many.

My first saltwater game fish on a fly, although this one didn't play that game too hard.

I switched over to spinning gear once my arm became tired and my fly casting mechanics began to suffer. A few more trout fell for my soft plastic offerings, but none of them were of very impressive stature. This redfish that barely cleared the 20 inch mark turned out to be the highlight of the day. My first redfish of 2012, and in all honesty, my first fish of 2012 that was a worthy opponent for the drag on my Stradic.