Showing posts with label NTKBF. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NTKBF. Show all posts

My Goals for 2013. What are Yours?

Welcome to 2013! The Mayans were wrong. We're all still here and we need to keep moving forward. The last four months of Payne's Paddle Fish has been a great one and I sincerely thank those who have visited and keep visiting the site. I couldn't have predicted what has become this truly great experience. I have met so many bloggers, fishermen, kayakers, interested onlookers and outdoors types since August and look forward to meeting, fishing and paddling with many more of you in 2013.

I have, for as long as I can remember, been against making a resolution on New Years. When I think about what I would resolve to do, it's often things I don't want to do in the first place and it becomes counter productive. They are great for most people, just not me.

Instead of resolutions, I like to set goals. I try not to make them too lofty but also not too easy. For 2013 I have several. A list of goals helps me forecast the year, see progress when it is made and refocus energies when necessary. If you don't yet do this, I encourage you to pick one or two things you really want to work on this next year and write them down. Even better yet, make them public. When others know what you are working on, they will often provide encouragement, ask about progress and keep that fire stoked to push through the slow times.

Without further ado, my goals for 2013.

1. Sponsored Fishing Partnerships-

As of today, I don't really have any fishing sponsors. I work with a couple of really great vendors and do some gear reviews etc but the long and short is, I pay for almost all of my stuff. Reels, rods, boats, paddles, pfd, fishfinders and other gear comes out of my pocket. I feel I have a lot to offer as an ambassador to the sport of kayak fishing. I have a platform that is both informative and has a worldwide reach to those into kayak fishing and just curious onlookers with many questions. I would love to be able to travel to trade shows and talk to more people about kayaks, rigging, finding the right kayak for each individual person, fishing in both fresh and saltwater, gear, gadgets and more. I'd like to be able to pair with a company that feels the same way I do about the sport, wants to grow the sport as much as I do and in the end, I can refer people to this company and know they will be taken care of individually and not just put in a boat. Ideally the company would be able to furnish a kayak or two for me to demo with people and then refer them for purchases. I know these opportunities are few and far between but you dream big to achieve big.

2. 300% Growth in Monthly Visits-

The site is still in a growth pattern but has averaged a few thousand visits per month. I'd like to grow that number to 100,000 visits for 2013. It's an aggressive number but I think that as our sport grows more and more people are searching for content, instruction, humor, recommendations and answers. I hope that I can be one of those places that are sought out. I also hope that visitors will visit the sites that I read. Alan, Pat, Bert and others do a great job of providing fresh new content. You can see their newest posts linked on the right column of any page.

3. Participate at Three Trade/Boat/Tackle Shows-

Helping others understand the intricacies of kayak fishing is important. Finding the right boat fit, rigging and gearing up are all important aspects of kayak fishing that are done too hastily and too cheaply at times. Being a 10 year alum of the School of Hard Knocks with a major in Kayak Fishing has taught me many things (and cost me lots of money). If I can save just one person the headaches and money pit that I endured, it would be worth the trip. This is a venue (or 3) that would allow the largest reach for a live audience.

4. Instructional Videos-

I will produce 12 instructional videos over the 2013 calendar year on different kayak fishing topics. Some people just don't like to read column after column on X or Y. They want a 5 minute video showing them what they need to know so they can go on about their business. I want to reach that market in 2013 and give those folks what they are looking for.

5. My First E-Book-

I have been working on and plan to release a kayak fishing book in the late spring. It will be an E-book so I can offer it for free. It will have some stories, some instruction, some insight and really highlight the fun and adventure kayak fishing can bring to anyone's life. It's not so much about a budget as it will give options regardless of available cash flow. I hope everyone enjoys this book and it becomes a resource for teaching others why we love this sport so much.

6. Tournament Fishing-

I plan to fish 8 tournaments this year. I won't be able to start fishing them until March so it will mean some cross trail fishing but that's okay. In fact, it will allow me to meet more people who share the passion. This year won't be about placing as much as fishing and networking. I look to fish in the NTKBF, NTKT, PKAA, KATS and KBF events this year. The NTKT will be a primary focus for me.


Maybe these goals seem out there to some or too easy to others, but the important thing is, they are out there now. If we cross paths on the water or at a trade show, ask me about them. I hope to meet even more of you on the water this next year. If you would like to partner with me on any of these goals please send me an email : paynefish@gmail.com.  Have a great 2013!!!

Always Have a Backup Plan

Over the years I have often needed to change from Plan A to Plan B. This weekend may have been the first time I have used Plan C.

The November Tournament for the NTKBF Club was scheduled for Saturday at Mineral Wells State Park. I had been prepping, modifying, tinkering and organizing gear for at least a month though it felt like longer. Of course, Mother Nature decided she would unleash Big Bad Wolf style on the North Texas area Saturday. The tournament directors rightly chose to postpone the tourney to a later named date. I had already planned to drive up to the Dallas area to stay with my brother so I activated Plan B. I called him and we made a plan to fish a south shoreline, somewhat sheltered from the wind, at a local lake. I would load up, follow the same travel schedule, fish and then return home. No big deal. I'm flexible.

Fast forward to a few hours later. I was attempting to load the kayaks on top of my SUV and the Big Bad Wolf made her presence known. I loaded the Coosa and strapped her down which wasn't too bad. Lifting a 70 pound kayak over your head in the wind is never fun but it went fine. The next task was to load the Cobra Tandem on top of the Coosa and strap them both down. I have done this before but never in the wind and especially not in 30+ mph wind. Four times I got the Cobra up and almost in position when out of the south a demon wind would rise up and remove the kayak from its perch. Luckily no damage was sustained but after the fourth time I just sat down in a chair in the yard. The Cobra weighs in at 80 lbs and the angles and wind and spinning and lifting wore me down. My body said no more. My mind told me this was an omen. Mother nature was telling me this trip was a no go. And so died Plan B.

I was mad. Upset. Disappointed. My wife pulled into the driveway and saw the melee in the grass. She saw the disgust in my face. I asked her to help me re-rack the kayaks in the garage and we talked about a conversation she had with my soon to be 8 year old. He really wanted to go fishing. I thought about the Leon River but the strain of the dragging and loading just deflated me. I told her I would think on it and we finished the unload.

I was reading the forums looking for ideas and then a light bulb radiated in the front of my mind so bright I could have lit the block! I know a place! It would take a phone call and a little good luck but I knew a place where my son and I could both go, the wind would be an advantage and we could make a real memory or two. I made the call and it was a go. We were going to do a Father-Son outing with one of my good fishing
buddies and his son. Plan C was alive and well.

We all piled into my small SUV and made the hour trek to a place we call Dave's. It's a lake with a few acres, hungry bass and in a valley where the south wind is a big help in casting. We all four fished for a while and then the two boys went traipsing through the underbrush looking for grasshoppers, Devil's Claws and any other insect that could be caught. We only spent three hours at Dave's but it's some of the best time I've ever spent with my son.

The time was great. Plan C worked. I learned a lesson. We ended the day with over 30 fish, a container full of finds and great times. I couldn't have asked for a better day. Sometimes, a backup plan to your backup plan is the best plan of all.


Firsts with the Jackson Coosa

This weekend I was able to buy my first Jackson Kayak. I chose the Coosa, an 11'2" river kayak that was designed for river running, rapid shredding, stand up fishing and all around versatility. It was new to me but had been fished some before. It's been quite a while since I have purchased a boat that wasn't used. Fishing mojo is transferable you know.

Sunday I had the opportunity to scout a stretch of river that has had little to no activity from humans for the better part of 40 years. There is a project  I am working with that is looking to make this land a public access take in/out for kayaking on the river. I'll have more on that later in the month but I wanted to set the scene of how special this outing was for me. Sunday was the first day in a new boat on a virtually untouched river. My Coosa was the first kayak in that river in a very long time or possibly ever. It is really hard to tell but it was special either way. I learned a lot about the boat, the river and myself. The latter two will have to wait a bit. Today I want to talk about the Coosa.

I have spent the better part of a year reading about different kayaks. I owned two already but knew I wanted to upgrade. In September I fished a kayak bass tournament on Purtis and saw what I wanted. I fished around a Coosa a good part of the day that a friend named Chris owned. He was seeing things I couldn't see and fishing standing up, sitting down, sitting elevated. After that weekend I started reading everything I could on the Coosa. Many folks encouraged me to also look at the Cuda, which I did, in both 12 and 14' models but the Coosa just fit what I needed. I had several offers to test boats out and just couldn't make the connections work out; (it flash flooded for the three days I had available). I watched all the videos, asked tons of questions from Jackson team members, Jackson owners not affiliated with the brand and to the general internet audience. I received dozens and dozens of answers, questions and thoughts. I found a good deal from a friend on one of the forums I frequent and we set up a meet. I bought the boat and headed home, breaking all my own rules and unloaded a kayak I had never sat in, paddled  or fished from. I had never even been in the brand much less the model. It was scary but I had to trust my research.

Sunday came and in true river runner fashion I dragged my kayak through the overgrowth down to the edge of the water. It was clear immediately why the replaceable keel guard was so important. The water had a lip to it and in 50 degree air temps I didn't want to get wet so I put the boat in the water parallel to the bank, with the Elite Seat in the high position and made my move. With a swift move I was in the seat and on the river. I paddled around like a puppy the first time they see water just to test out how it handled. It was amazing. I could 180 with a single paddle stroke. The "tippy" feeling I had heard so much about in the high position was so much of a non-factor I chuckled a bit. I didn't see what the issue was. I suppose it is a balance thing for most folks and understanding the core and the center line balance but after having a 14' Heritage kayak that was only 26" wide, this thing was a surf board. It just felt right.

I could instantly see more than my counterparts who were now in the river. I would point at an underwater landmark and they couldn't see it. At this point, I needed to try "it", a selling point for Jackson Coosa: almost everyone can stand. I have seen this done. I just had to get up the courage. I pulled on the strap and there I was, towering more than six feet above the water looking down on fish like a hawk in the sky. The feeling quickly turned serious as I realized  I didn't yet have my sea legs. I was wobbly. Think brand new baby horse, or giraffe. I kept my balance but there was some wobble. I wasn't trusting my feet and I later learned they weren't in a good spot. When I widened them out to the edges and rested my heels against the low position molding I gained a significantly more stable posture. With the excitement just beginning I sat back down and started paddling up this peaceful, resting river. I fished, I paddled and took in the views. I wanted to try different things.

The things I noticed that hadn't been talked about were evident quickly.

The Coosa is a shallow drafting boat. I was skimming over water 5" deep with no issues. The kayaks that were with me, a Hobie Outback and Heritage Redfish had a little more trouble. I was also the heaviest of the people on the trip.

The turning ability had been talked about but the ability to hard stroke once and 180 was not talked about much. My guess is this is a more advanced paddling technique or strength issue or some sort to where this is not a-typical but not typical either. Regardless, I loved it.

All of the videos I remember seeing that talked about rod stagers showed casting rods, not spinning. Spinning rods don't fit well in the rod stagers or the rod rest on the sides. I had to flip the reel skyward to secure it down on the side and the downward facing eyes on a spinning rod don't sit on the v style stagers. A groove in front of the stagers could accommodate those of us who like spinning gear on the river. It would cradle one of the eyes on the rod and keep it from sliding everywhere. I have seen another fix for this but it means hauling extra gear. I don't want to do that.

Storage was a huge surprise. The Coosa has vast caverns inside of it just begging for a camping trip. When I opened the hatches I felt like I could keep a dog or a cat in there it was so big. As I am rigging the boat out, the reach toward the back will be so much easier. It resembles a cargo plane on the water. I love that.

The handles were also nice. They are wrapped in a fabric cover but underneath is a very hard handle, great for getting the boat up a hill or onto the car. I appreciated the rigidity at it didn't fail when I needed it.

All in all, the Jackson Coosa exceeded my expectations. That is saying a lot. I can't wait to get to paddle it again this weekend and more next week. Hopefully soon, we'll be able to have everyone down to discover this river with me and see what beauty a virtually untouched river can hold.





A Tourney Ready Hawg Trough

Earlier this week I confessed some rookie mistakes I made at the NTKBF Tournament at Purtis Creek. One of the things I vowed to fix was my Hawg Trough measuring device. It was hard to keep the fish on it, hard to measure and hard for the judges to judge a proper length. I was using it as it came and in most cases this would work fine but for tournaments, I needed to do some modifications. My friend Bryan, a seasoned angler and kayaker, showed me his mods and I was blown away. So simple but so useful. Bryan was kind enough to send me some pictures and give me permission to, in essence, copy his design. I changed the mods slightly but this is very much inspired by Bryan's design. Without further delay I present the New and Improved Hawg Trough.

For this project you will need a Hawg Trough. These can be purchased many places in different colors. I got mine at Austin Canoe and Kayak with a Texas Kayak Fisherman discount for about $15. You will also need some bungees with ball ends. I got these at WalMart in the camping section. 6 bungees for $3. You'll need a Sharpie, a knife, a drill with a drill bit, some packing or duct tape and some type of styrofoam or pool noodle (for floatation).




The first step is actually the most tedious. If you notice in the above image, only the numbers are marked. Each Hawg Trough has ridges to mark each quarter inch but as you can tell, seeing them in pictures is difficult. Let's help the judges out and run the Sharpie down each ridge to mark the quarter inches and allow the judges to see a more accurate measurement. See how much clearer this is?!



Next we need to lay out the bungees where they are going to go and mark the spots we need to drill. You will have to drill on both sides (a total of six holes). On most of these troughs there is a double ridge that runs along each side. You only want to drill through the outer most ridge, not both. You hole size should be just enough to get the bungee through tightly. This smaller hole and single ridge will provide a friction point to keep the bungees in place.




After you drill the holes, thread the bungees through. It should look something like this. Your selection of hole placement is preference really but I am planning on catching some fish over 20 inches so I put the last bungee at 18 inches. 



Next you'll need to cut a piece of styrofoam or pool noodle to float the board. I used styrofoam and chose to wrap it in tape so it wouldn't shed all over my kayak. This is less necessary with a pool noodle. 


It is pretty easy at this point. Slide your float between the bungees and trough and voila! You can vary the thickness on the float but I wanted it to float and sit up off of my lap a bit. 


Hopefully this will help a few folks avoid some of the foibles of kayak tourney fishing that I committed last week. This rig should float, keep fish attached to the board better and keep those judges from having to guess at your lengths. 

If you like the idea, please share it with others. Thanks Bryan Row. This will be a huge help next time for me!


Rookie Mistakes in a Kayak Fishing Tourney

Yesterday was a first for me. I fished my first official kayak bass fishing tournament with the North Texas Kayak Bass Fishing Club. I had a great time with these guys over the weekend and would do it again in a heart beat. And while these guys are great, this is not a piece on promoting the NTKBF tourneys (though I need to do that). This is a piece to confess mistakes, make some lists and hopefully pass on some knowledge to future tournament kayak anglers.

ACK Hawg Trough
Ruler Board/Hawg Trough
Most kayak tournaments use the Catch-Photograph-Release (CPR) technique to determine a winner. If you buy a hawg trough from one of the many retailers like Austin Canoe and Kayak, they come marked every inch. They do have ridges so you can measure up to 1/4 of an inch but they are the same color as the board. You quickly find out at "weigh-in" that those 1/4" lines are very important and very hard to see in a picture. Take a sharpie and run over those ridges and the judges will never have to guess. But to even get a picture, you have to keep the fish on the board. This is a dexterity challenge while floating in a kayak with a paddle, a fish with hooks in him trying desperately to stab you with the hooks, a trough and camera, not to mention the required identifier that has to be in the picture. A friend, Bryan Row, had a great idea and attached three small bungees to the board so he can strap the floppy slime rockets to the board for a picture. It was ingenious and I had to pass it along. It must work because Bryan placed second this week!

Confidence Baits and Techniques
Hag's F4 Tornado
You know them and use them. They are your go to baits and styles. These are usually the first thing you go to when a new method or bait is failing after the first 10 casts that you tried it. Mine is a drop shot rig with a F4 Hag's Tornado. I can catch fish out of a dry sewer line with this setup and yet I didn't fish it on tournament day until an hour before weigh in. Why? I over thought the lake. I had never fished Purtis Creek before except for pre-fishing the evening preceding the tournament. In that time I tried what people told me would work, different locations, depths I normally didn't fish and it hurt. At 12:30 I had two fish out of five and I caught those in the first 30 minutes of the day. When push came to shove, I switched back to my confidence setup and was rewarded with the three fish I needed to round out my limit. They were not huge by any stretch of the imagination but five fish on tourney day is never a given. The lesson here? Don't deviate. After talking to the winner, rodmaker Walker Nelson, my thoughts were reaffirmed. He said he stuck to his game plan and didn't deviate. Congrats on a great win Walker! 

Planning and Homework
I spent the better part of the last two weeks planning for this event. I scoured what topographical maps I could find and used overlays from satellite maps to determine the most likely places I could catch fish. I prefished the day before and did okay but felt lack luster about it. At dinner that evening I got some tips on where some fish were. After a slow morning I abandoned my plan and spent the next three hours chasing someone else's plan. That did nothing for me. In the time I left my prep work and techniques at the door, not a single fish came into the boat. Not a single, solitary fish. When I abandoned other plans and went back to my own, I caught the rest of my fish for the day. Lesson learned. If you doubt this, go back up a paragraph and read Walker's comments. 

Always Be Prepared
You just never know. It will creep up on you when you least expect it so pack accordingly. Not all of these things happened to me but some unexpected events at the tournament this weekend produced a bit of hilarity, some panic, some disgust and even some hunger. 

Raccoons will steal your food. All of it. 

Branches barely sticking out of the water get caught in scupper holes. Have a plan. And a saw.

The sun doesn't rise until well after 6AM this time of year. Have what you need to be legal on the water.And a light to see the dangers.

You can get sunburned even when it's raining.

Cameras fail. Have a backup plan.

The weather is like a good woman, usually beautiful and complex but she'll lose control every now and again and you should be ready for how you'll handle it. 
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Until next time, keep your food in the car and stick to the game plan.





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