Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tidal Pickerel are Heating Up!!

The tidal pickerel are starting to become active and really start to feed in the creeks and tributaries around the Severn. Get out and catch a few.  Also, MAKBF is hosting an Online Pickerel Challenge for the month of November.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

CCA Maryland Red Trout Catch and Release Tournament Recap

The second annual CCA MD Red Trout Catch and Release Tournament was held September 20-21 out of Crisfield, MD. This is a unique tournament to Maryland because it is only targeting Speckled Trout and Red Drum. These species have made a good showing the last few summers in Maryland waters, which are generally the northernmost of their habitat. The trout fishing was the best it's been all summer but the Reds just weren't there. The tournament matches kayakers fishing solo against teams on boats competing for prizes for biggest overall fish, Kayak Division Top 3, Light Tackle Top 3, and Fly Division Top 3. To earn a spot in the top 3 of a division you had to have the largest 1 day aggregate in inches of your four biggest fish. This tournament is run how most should be because all fish were released to swim another day.
 Image Courtesy of CCA MD

 Friday Night's camp site, close to where we were going to fish the next day, South of Cambridge, MD.
 Saturday morning fishing started at 6am per tournament rules. Dave, Matt, and I all started catching pretty quickly using light jig heads and paddle tail soft plastics. My first four fish ended up being good enough for second in Total Inches in the Kayak Division, which was second in total inches in the whole tournament. Dave edged me out catching a 22" speck as his biggest later in the day. He took 1st place in the Kayak Division which was the largest aggregate of fish in the tournament.

 My 4 fish totaled 70.75 inches.

The next morning Dave and I headed out on a much more cloudy and windy day only to find water clarity had deteriorated over night. On the initial pass my rod got hit and drag started screaming. It was a nice steady pull with not many head shakes that are the tell tale signs of small stripers or bluefish. I knew this was a good trout. For about 5 minutes I would gain some line back only to have the fish run away with most of it as soon as it got close to the Hobie. I saw it surface in the distance  and knew it was easily the biggest trout of my weekend. After being wrapped around my other line I netted it and let out a huge sigh of relief. It ended up being 24" on the dot.

Knowing that we both had a shot at winning the tournament, Dave and I headed off the water around 11. Pictures had to be sent in by 1 and the awards started at around 1:30 at Captain Tyler's Crab House in Crisfield, Md. We had a little bit of a drive but got there right around 1 and had already submitted our pictures via email.

After Making it to Captain Tyler's Tony of CCA MD was there to check in our pictures. Dave soon was put up as the leader for the kayak division. He also listed my 24" fish as the leader for biggest fish. It was a tense few minutes waiting until Tony gave me the good news that there hadn't been a larger fish caught over the two day tournament. 

The biggest fish prize was the Calcutta for Biggest Trout so I walked away with a nice stack of cash in my pocket. Since Dave had First Place in the Kayak Division and the biggest aggregate overall, he got his choice of any Costa Del Mar sunglasses he wanted or a sweet Yeti Roadie Cooler with the CCA logo on the top; he chose the Yeti. For second I got the a YakAttack Black Pack which I'm excited to try out on my next trip. We also got some other swag from Costa.

Overall, it was a great tournament and awesome for Dave and I to take the top two spots not only in the Kayak Division but also in all categories. Catching my biggest trout of the year couldn't have come at a better time and I'll definitely be looking forward to this event again next September. 

CCA Maryland did a great job of running the tournament and I would strongly suggest joining them as they really have the best interest of the bay and the fish in mind.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

CBKA Tournament & E.S. Camping

This past weekend was the annual CBKA tournament based out of Camp Wright on Kent Island, MD. It was a great event benefiting CCA Maryland and The Make A Wish Foundation. Like Matt mentioned in the post earlier this week, I won the crab division with a 7.25" big boy. Friday night Matt's buddy Tyler brought some Oysters up from True Chesapeake Oyster Co. for the Captain's meeting. They were dipped from the bay less than 12 hours earlier and were delicious. Oyster photos credit: Mike Soudee. Tournament fishing was decent with a lot of fish caught but not any sizable ones for me. My biggest striper measured 15" and I also caught a 16" needlefish which was a first for me from the kayak. It hit a slow trolled Z-Man paddle tail. It was great to get to test out my new Hennessy Hammock on Friday night. The set up was super easy and it was pretty comfortable. We came back Saturday afternoon during the rain and the rain fly did it's job and kept the hammock nice and dry. I can't wait to take this thing on more trips. Saturday night, Dave Adlington and I headed to the Eastern Shore to pre fish for this coming weekend's CCA Red Trout Catch and Release Tournament. Overall, fishing was pretty good in the Manokin River and it also gave me the chance to test out some more wedding gifts. The Kelty Tent, Marmot Sleeping Bag, and Therma Rest pad all worked great and the setup on a remote beach was awesome.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

CBKA Tournament Wrap Up & Shane's 1st Place Crab!!

While the fishing wasn't the hottest this past weekend at the 4th annual CBKA Charity tournament we were still able to have a great time and win a few things. Shane and I were both able to put our hammocks to test as well.

The crabbing wasn't hot and heavy but Shane was able to manage one crab that just so happened to be big enough to win the Crabbing Division at 7.25". 

Also, our good buddy Noah, the son of the owner of Hard Head Custom Baits swept the Perch Division and the Youth Division with two Citation Perch!! Shane and I have both been trying to catch one of those for some time now. Nice Work Noah!!

Some more top finishers included our Kayak Wars teammate Ryan as he took 2nd in the perch division behind Noah. 

And last but not least our other Kayak Wars teammate somehow figured out how to catch spanish mackerel north of the bay bridge from a kayak. Nice Fish Wayne!!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Kayak Crabbing

A few pictures from last weeks outing.... video and more to come soon. The big crabs are out and the females are loaded up... make sure you release your females to ensure the future of our crabs.

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Photo Credit: Shane Clift

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Photo Credit: Shane Clift

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Photo Credit: Shane Clift

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Product Review - Astral Buoyancy - Ronny Fisher PFD

Both Shane and I have been putting Astral Buoyancy's newest fishing PFD the "Ronny Fisher" through its paces over the last half year. Yesterday I was finally in a situation were I got to use the one of its many features, the rain visibility hood, so I now feel like I've tested all the ins and outs of the PFD.
First and foremost this vest is made by one of the most respected companies in the whitewater kayaking world. So think about this.... Their vests on the backs of some of the craziest professional whitewater kayakers that are dropping in on 50 foot plus waterfalls and when they turn to company to entrust their lives with.... it's Astral Buoyancy.
Astral created a lot of buzz this year in the kayak fishing world with their release of their first "fishing first" PFD. This means the Ronny Fisher well thought out, efficient, and "Will" save your life if you need it to.
Thin-Vent™ Back compatible with all seats and offers breathability along the user's back
Multiple front pockets for easy access storage
Stowable drink holder
Quick Access Knife Tab
Reflective Trim
Pre-shaped foam offers a great fit for women
Stowable Rain Hood in the Neck Collar
Mesh Liner for Added Comfort
Additional Tool Organizer

 What We Think

Comfort - I find the PFD very comfortable. One of the key features important to me is the flat back on the vest. I fish out of a Hobie Pro Angler with a High Back seat, so most PFDs with a high back feature will not work for me, so this is the perfect option. The PFD is formed just right to fit to anyone's body and for us we don't feel like it rises up on you like many PFD's do.
Style - The vest comes in two colors, grey and lime green, so if your a conservative kayak angler then grey is for you or if your a bold lure slinger the lime green option has you covered. The Lime Green also provides a little more visibility for those anglers concerned with high boat traffic on the bodies of water they fish.
Price - $159.95 - While we know everyone out there likes the cheapest option they can find, we truly believe you get your moneys worth here. Also, if there is anything you want to spend good money on it should be on a PFD, which we hope you never truly need.... but could save your life some day.
Features - The features seem never ending... The one we were somewhat skeptical of was the hi-vis rain hood, would it fit right or block visibility, etc. We are happy to say it might be the best feature in the vest even though you won't use it every time out. It fits just right, the Velcro chin strap keeps it from flying off in the wind, it creates no visibility limitations, it stows away very easily ,and of course it keeps you dry. There are plenty of times you'll be out fishing and a pop up rain storms comes out of no where and you never remember you raingear, now you be covered...
We also think this is the perfect tournament PFD. The two front pockets provide perfect storage space for your phone or camera and that ever so elusive photo identifier that seems to get misplaced on the kayak by just about every kayak angler at some point.
And you can't go wrong with a PFD that can save your life and also save your beer!!
Overall - 9/10 - This PFD is a winner!! Shane and I both think it is top notch and built to last. My only knock on the vest is the front pockets and floatation are a little bulky for just a quick afternoon trip when I don't need to carry much stuff.
I've even worn it fishing a boat tournaments in which the weather was a little less than ideal.

The vest fits well over layers of clothing or simple over a t-shirt.

The hood fits just right, after the rain we were treated with an awesome rainbow.

You don't even notice the hood is there when stowed away.