Thursday, May 21, 2015

MSSA Kayak Division Sweep May 1-3

Photo Credit: MSSA

Trophy Striped Bass season comes every Spring to the Chesapeake Bay. Every time you hit the water there's the chance to catch a trophy Striper. Needless to say, I was excited to fish three straight days in the MSSA Championship in the Chesapeake Kayak Division, and have a shot at catching some nice fish.

The MSSA Kayak Division is a CPR (Catch Photo Release) Tournament and the only division in which releasing the fish is mandatory.  To document their catches, each fisherman took a picture of each fish on an official MSSA ruler. The aggregate of the two longest fish per fisherman determined the winners. I like how the MSSA and other tournaments are progressing toward catch and release to support conservation of species.

Matt's dad, Dave, and I launched at daybreak on Friday to cool weather and rain for the first few hours. Winds averaged 15mph and it gusted easily to 30+. The bite was on from lines in at 6am and I caught about 15 fish on Friday and gave myself an early lead in the tournament. My two biggest went 31" and 26".

31.5" Striped Bass

Saturday brought nicer weather and Matt, Dave and I all launched with high hopes. On our first pass Matt and I simultaneously hooked in to solid fish. After giving each of us the run around we both boated quality fish that ended up being our two biggest fish of the tournament. Mine went 33.25" and Matt's at 31.5". 



The hottest bait for me was a ZMan 4" soft plastic on a jig head slow trolled. Saturday seemed to be the day for bigger fish and I caught 4 over 30 but none bigger than the 33. Matt, Dave and I all caught a fish at 31.5" so they were all running around the same size in the school. After the flurry of action in the morning the bite slowed down.  

I was cruising, ready to make a change to find the fish again. I took one hard peddle and my mirage drive popped. I could instantly tell it was not peddling properly and the propulsion was gone. I pulled it up and saw the problem: the post that held my front fin in had snapped and the top piece was still in the drive. After trying to remedy the issue for about 30 minutes and paddling for another 30 hoping for 1 more bite, I decided I needed to get it repaired. The closest Hobie Dealer was Delaware Paddlesports, about an hour and a half away. Although the tournament allowed fishing until 5 pm, I got off the water around 12:30 so I could get the mirage drive repaired, give me a shot to upgrade my fish on Sunday morning.

The guys at Delaware Paddlesports were great and they immediately busted out a work table and got me all the tools needed. Chris Erby jumped in and helped me adjust everything and a second set of hands was super helpful. After replacing the sprocket and hurdling a learning curve while reassembling the chain on the Mirage Drive, I was back in business. 


Saturday evening brought the good news after the 6 p.m. email check in that each of our fish that day had put me in first, and had Matt and Dave tied for 2nd!

Sunday morning came. Matt, Dave and I had lines in right a 6 a.m. While we each caught fish, my biggest was 27" which wasn't enough to upgrade my lead. We were fishing hard as we knew a 39" fish had been caught by Rob Griffith the day before, and it wouldn't take much for a second one to be caught to take one of us out of the running.

At the end of the day we got off the water with high hopes. Finally that evening we got word that we had swept the top 3 spots in the tournament, each earning a nice cash prize.

Kayak Division



Place
Captain
Aggregate of 2 Longest Fish




1
Shane Clift
64.75




2
Dave Baden
61




2
Matt Baden
61











Kayak Division $25 TWT – Single Longest



Place
Captain
Length (in)




1
Rob Griffith
39








Dave Smith and MSSA did a great job of organizing a fun tournament and I'll certainly look forward to fishing it again next year!!!

If you want more information on the MSSA Tournament series or to learn more about the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association check out their website: http://mssa.net


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Lake Anna Bassin

The first stop of the MAKBF Series was at Lake Anna, VA this past Saturday. The game plan was to fish the warm side of the lake since the cold side was frozen solid. The 'warm side' is used to cool the power plant and is also the private side which means we had to rent a few houses on the lake to gain access. The house was right on the lake which made it so nice to just wake up and fish on Saturday.


It was smooth sailing for Matt running the tournament until one angry neighbor called the cops on some guys launching kayaks at the community launch since they were leaving their cars there. Dave and I were already fishing by that point so our main goal was to stay warm and catch some fish. The bites were slow and came on soft plastics presented very slowly near the bottom. Overall I hooked into 4 and landed 3 giving me a total  of 42.5". My last fish decided to smile for the camera:

Lake Anna VA from Shane Clift on Vimeo.


42.5" was good enough to give me 4th place out of 44 guys fishing and I just edged out Dave who had the same total length with my 16 incher being the biggest out of the bunch. To see the complete results and for more information about the tournament check out: http://makbf.blogspot.com/p/aoty-standings.html

It was a great start to the series and nice to finally get back on the Hobie!!

Photo: Matt Baden

Friday, January 30, 2015

Tournament Success Tips



Shane and I have both had a great amount of success in many of the fishing tournaments we have participated in over the last couple of years on our kayaks. We both feel that "Luck" can win a tournament, but consistency equals true "Success". Also, Shane and I were both collegiate athletes, we definitely take a lot of the competitive nature and lessons we learned from playing lacrosse and baseball, respectively, and apply them to fishing.

Left to Right: My Dad, Shane, and I 
After we won the Fish for a Cure tournament as the only kayak team in a 75+ boat tournament.

Consistency noun
  1. 1.
    conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, or fairness.

Success noun
  1. 1.  the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.


Preparation is the word that comes to mind when we think about what helps achieve the two words above. Preparation can equate to spending as much time on the water as possible, reading reports and books, watching videos, practicing new techniques, and listening to just about anyone willing to talk fishing. 

When we go into a tournament we like to feel ultimately prepared and confident in our specific game plan for that event. We fish a lot of tidal water here in the Mid-Atlantic for both freshwater and saltwater tournaments. So the tide plays a big factor in determining our game plan and schedule for the events. A lot more goes into each event than just going out and fishing as many spots as you can. We create timelines for where we want to be at certain times of the day, based on where we have found fish feeding previously during certain tides. This type of scheduling also involves knowing how long it will take to paddle from place to place. As you can see a lot goes in to preparation.

Here are our Top 10 tips to improve your results in your next tournament or tournament series.

10. Pre-Fish as much as possible. Be willing to go out of your comfort zone during these practice days as you mind find something that will add more success for tournament day. This includes fishing some new styles and new locations.

9. Be comfortable in your kayak. Know your limitations of what you can and can't do in it. Be organized, take the rods, lures, etc that you know you need! Have a system for landing your fish, this may be the difference in 1 fish or no fish.

8. Be attentive to your surroundings. Watch for bait, birds, currents, eddies, etc. Also, you can watch other anglers. Some tournaments don't allow talking between anglers, but for those that do ask around. Most guys won't tell exactly what they're doing but they'll give you clues.

7. Have a tight group of friends that you trust to share information with before the event. Don't always be the guy asking for information, be willing to put in some time so you can be an integral part of the group as well.

6. Keep a fishing log and then use it to compare reports, time of year, temperature and all that good stuff. Once you build a solid source of information, you will will know if the wind blows from a certain direction then certain locations and launches will be more productive than other.

5. What's your goal? Do you plan to try to catch the limit first then upgrade or do you plan to target big fish all day.

4. Because most kayak tournaments are CPR you have to consider being very efficient at this process. Too many times I've heard guys say how they lost a big one while trying to get a picture and it would have put them in the top 5 have it not flopped off. Don't let this be your excuse, every fish is important on tournament day.

3. Create your game plan and write it down. I keep notes on important information on my phone: tide times, where I want to be at certain times and what has worked for me at the location previously. 

2. Google Earth is a fisherman's best friend, even when you can't make it out on the water before an event you can do a lot of your homework from the comfort of your own home. You can scout the locations, measure distances from point to point, and in some cases even look for grass beds and other structure in the water.

1. Be confident, fish confident... and generally fish in the style you have the most confidence in. For me that means fishing crankbaits or other action baits for bass. I believe in the motto More Casts = More Chances at catching fish.

We feel these ideas will not only improve your "Success" in tournaments, but also every time your out on the water. Like most kayak anglers, we all have regular jobs, so what we all really want is to just be more productive each time we are able to get out on the water.... Isn't that what its really all about.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015!!

Hope everyone is having a stellar start to their new year!! Shane and I are stoked for what is to come this year. I just purchased a new to me Canon DSLR, so look forward to some way better pictures this year!!

Also, our big goal for The Hobie Life in 2015 is to produce a documentary on our local Speckled Trout fishery here in Maryland. We hope to enter it into one of the fishing film festivals if it turns out to our liking.

We also hope to have some more time for fishing, since I'm finished with school and should have a little more free time.

Here are a few shots from the first photo shoot with today's snow here in Annapolis, MD.




Friday, December 19, 2014

2015 Baltimore Boat Show Info **Free Tickets**

Best in Boating Returns to the Baltimore Convention Center for Summer Fun January 29-February 1, 2015

Progressive Insurance Baltimore Boat Show grows 20 percent, features boat loads of fun and education including new Progressive Boat School, chance to try stand up paddle boarding indoors, and “Wicked Tuna” appearances

 The 2015 Progressive Insurance Baltimore Boat Show drops anchor at the Baltimore Convention Center Thursday-Sunday, January 29-February 1 with an additional 32,000 sq. ft. of floor space, featuring more fun for all ages and more boats to shop for every budget and lifestyle.

The annual boat show hosts hundreds of new boats, from luxury cruisers and fishing boats to family runabouts and pontoons, plus dozens of booths boasting the latest in marine accessories and electronics.

Additional highlights of the 2015 boat show include the new Progressive Boat School led by the Annapolis School of Seamanship, featuring free interactive boating education; a new area providing visitors the chance to try the latest fitness craze, Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP); and dozens of DIY seminars from Fred’s Shed Interactive Learning Center. The Kids’ Zone features daily activities for the smallest of sailors and boaters.

When:                  Thursday, January 29 through Sunday, February 1, 2015

Where:                Baltimore Convention Center
                                One West Pratt Street
                                Baltimore, MD 21201

Hours:                  Thursday, January 29      11:00am–9:00pm
                                Friday, January 30           11:00am–9:00pm
                                Saturday, January 31      10:00am–9:00pm
                                Sunday, February 1         10:00am–5:00pm

Tickets:                $12 for adults; FREE for children 15 and under (when accompanied by an adult)
                                
Advance tickets can be purchased at BaltimoreBoatShow.com.

Phone:                                 410-224-7633

Web:                 
For tickets, show news, discounts and giveaways, visitBaltimoreBoatShow.comFacebook and Twitter - #BaltBoatShow.

Media Info:        Contact Tony Fazio at Himmelrich PR at tony@himmelrich.com or 410-528-5400.


The first 10 people to comment below with their name, city and state and their favorite fish to catch will get a free ticket to the show that you will be able to pick up at will call.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Hoo-rag : The Better Bandana



Sun protection is of utmost importance in our sport and Matt and I have found a product that really helps us out every time we fish. Hoo-rag is the next generation of sun protection bandanas and they are always coming out with cool new designs to set you apart from the crowd on the water. I was able to test out a few of these over the past year from spring and summertime fishing for Stripers and Specks, to cool weather Pickerel fishing recently. Any time of year, a must have piece of gear is my Hoo-rag.

Today 12/1/2014 is Cyber Monday and all their products are on sale here: http://www.hoorag.com

I have the Spot Spectrum, Inshore and Offshore Slamo Rags pictured below:


Some of the Product features include:

-UPF rating of 20-30 depending on specific style
-Free Shipping on Every Order!
-Many different ways to rock the rag
-Over 100 Different styles to choose from
-A great price point, which makes getting a few of these affordable while not sacrificing quality (usually $5-$10 lower than most of the competition)
-Custom Hoo-rags available for your specific company or design

Oh yea and I've caught plenty of fish rocking them:




Do yourself a favor and get a few!