Tuesday, November 26, 2013

10 Holiday Gift Ideas for a Kayak Angler

Here are of few gift ideas put together by Shane and I for any kayak angler, beginner or pro. Forward the list to your wife and family members and you'll be all set for the 2014 kayak fishing season!!


Overboard Rods

Of course we are big fans of Overboard rods!! We truly feel they are the best value on the market. You can get a standard cork split grip built to your specifications for around $80-100 and you can get the floating Bobber series rod for $120, or customized for a little extra.

Tackle Webs

Another awesome product made by a company based in Florida. Capt. Mike Ortego has solved the issue of storage for the kayak angling population. They offer packages built for specific kayak models and individual storage options to allow you to customize your storage options.
Price Range: $24.99 - $44.99

Kanan Lures

Some of most killer lures to break onto the market in the last year or two. My Kanan Aqua Relic Fatty swimbait single handedly help me solidify my finish at the 4th and Final MAKBF event, where I was eventually able to garner Angler of the Year honors. Use the code "FAT15" and save 15% of Aqua Relic Fatty Lures (Regular price $14.95). Also, all you snakehead and Potomac River Rats check out the newest addition to the line up, Top water Frogs!!!
My personal favorite Kanan Lure. The Aqua Relic Fatty "Blaze Shad".

AFTCO Transom Bibs

The bibs are absolutely one of the most useful pieces of fishing gear/clothing that I own. Whether it is cold, raining, or snowing I wear these bibs on almost all of my fall through spring fishing trips. Extremely comfortable, breathable, and durable. Also, have some great pockets for storage.
Price: $149.99

Dizm Sunglasses

Dizm is an awesome eco friendly company that puts out a great product. All there sunglasses are polarized and they have a number of different models. Price: $95
My buddy Morgan, from TLTFF, here rockin' his Dizm's.

Bust 'Em Baits

A local Pasadena, Md company that makes fish catching plastics. They make the #1 jerkbait for stripers in any color imaginable. Also, they make 3.75" paddle tails that are killer for stripers and speckled trout!!! Brandon and CJ are also avid kayak anglers so support your fellow plastic pirates.
Price: $3.50 for a 6 pack

The new 3.75" Paddle Tails from Bust 'Em Baits

12 WT Gloves

The best light weight fishing gloves on the market. They offer a SunWt and a WorkWt model, with the WorkWt having added grip protection on the palm.
Price: $29-$39

Astral Buoyancy Kayak Shoes

Both offerings, the "Brewer" and "Rassler," are great choices for a paddle shoe. They can also be worn for all other tasks like walking or hiking with their lightweight and durable features. Also, be on the lookout for Astral's new fishing PFD set to hit the market early 2014.
Price: $99-120


 The Fish Grip

A perfect stocking stuffer!! You can never have too many either. Come in all different colors and they are easy to use. Grip strength is top notch and they truly help you not lose the fish before you get the picture.
Price: $11-$15

State Flag Headwear

Another item made by a fellow kayak angler. These are custom buffs with the Maryland Flag logo, and everyone know Maryland has one of the coolest state flags. They offer both the UV and the Polar Buff.
Price: $23-$28

  Happy Holidays from The Hobie Life Crew... be sure to click the links and check out the products...


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Deep Creek Weekend

This past weekend Annie and I loaded up the kayaks and headed to stay with her family at Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland. We stayed at a family friend's lake house that has a great location right on the lake. It's a beautiful Timber frame home with artistic detail in all the woodwork.

Last time we were here was in June of 2010 and I got skunked the one day I fished so I wanted redemption. My room was overlooking the lake on the bottom floor of the house and it fit me perfectly. It was completely fishing themed from the bed spread, to the hand painted trout sink.

Saturday morning came fast with my alarm set for 5:45a.m. I waited for the sun to come up for at least 45 minutes and rigged my kayak until it was light enough to see how I was going to get down to the water and shimmy the Hobie over the wall at the water. I went directly across the lake to a cove I had scouted out. I had some minnows left over from pickerel fishing in the Severn and used them on an 1/8 ounce jig head paired with a 6' Overboard light rod and a Shimano Sahara 2500 reel. Within about 5 casts to the wooded shoreline I got the skunk off the yak with my first pickerel from deep creek!
Over the next 2 hours I caught a few more pickerel and got my personal best from the yak at 22.5"!
Before I went in for breakfast I got a small yellow perch which was a first for me on the Hobie. During the afternoon we went for a hike to swallow falls state park which was an easy 2 mile hike only about 15 minutes away from Deep Creek.

Later in the day four of us headed out on our kayaks for a late afternoon peddle and paddle and I couldn't help but cast a line in for about 30 minutes. This time I was throwing a 4 inch pumpkinseed tube on a weighted tube hook. I was able to hook into a few more pickerel and then I got a bite that felt different from all the rest, it didn't feel huge, just different. As soon as I saw it close to the yak I knew it was a good sized yellow perch. I brought it aboard for a quick picture and then released the 12.5" perch.
The next morning was daylight savings time and I took advantage of sleeping in a little bit but still getting a few hours of fishing in before packing up to leave. My biggest pickerel was 21" which is a pretty solid sized pickerel after usually catching smaller ones in the Severn. I really wish I had more time to explore other areas of lake and target different species. I never tried the medium depth ledges and mainly stayed towards shorelines in 10'-4' of water. Target species for next trip are walleye, more perch, and hopefully a pike! We'll be staying at the house again for a week in June so I'm sure the bass will be in the shallows and I'll have to find some new patterns!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pick'n Paper

Shane and I had really been itching to hit the water lately, but we've both been super busy with work and school, respectively. We decided on heading out for a local reconnaissance trip to Weems Creek to see if the Fall/Winter Pickerel bite has heated up with all this cold weather.

Neither of us were really sure what to expect as we haven't targeted pickerel this early in the fall. We hit the water at 1:30pm and fished the falling tide until about 4pm. We used live minnows on a 1/8 oz jig head and fished the ledges, fallen timber and docks.

It wasn't the hottest action, but we both were able to get a little pullage. And we both think that within the next few weeks the bite will really turn on.

Shane started the day off with a fish around 20" that flopped off the hook as he pulled it in the kayak. I followed suit a short while later with a 15.5" fish, that I hooked in about 5 feet of water.

Then.... I got the hit I had been waiting for ever since I caught my 1st pickerel 2 years ago in another Severn River tributary. This was a bite that was much more ferocious than the average 15"-19" that are caught regularly in our local waters. I fought it cautiously as I always fish for pickerel with my Overboard Rod 5' Ultra-lite, the extremely soft tip helps to prevent from setting the hook too hard and pulling it from the fish's mouth. 
As I fought the fish I yelled over to Shane letting him know a big one was hooked!! I saw it surface and knew it would come close to a trophy size fish, so it made me even more nervous getting it to the net. After some patience I netted the fish and brought it aboard. As usual the hook popped as soon as the fish was in the net.
Photo Credit: Shane Clift

24.25" Maryland "Paper" Pickerel!!!
Photo Credit: Shane Clift
I think she's smiling at me!
Got the measurements and took some photos then she was released to be caught again.
This was my highlight for the day, I had one more 16" pickerel at one last stop before I got back to the launch.
Shane ended  up with a few more fish.

Shane with a Weems Creek "Chain"

Smile for the camera.
Oddly there are still some jellyfish in the creek. I would have thought they would be long gone with the colder weather now. Also, there are still a good amount of minnow schools. Once the local minnows dissipate and go wherever they go in the fall and winter, then the pickerel will have less to feed on and we become extremely aggressive. If your looking for a fun type of fishing and a relatively safe trip with this colder weather, then you should plan a day on one of the Severn Tributaries. Weems Creek has its own launch at Tucker St Ramp or you can launch at Jonas Green Park which provides a relatively short paddle to a number of other creeks. I personally like live minnows, they are hard to beat, but pickerel can be caught on an assortment of small artificials (spoons, spinners, grubs, and flukes).

Go Get Em!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Speckled Trout Two Ways

One of my favorite things about fishing is keeping a few fish for the table. Most of my fish go back to swim another day including my biggest Maryland Citation trout shown below at 26.5''; but there are days where I keep one or two and don't really fish to keep my limit.  Cooking my catch has become a great way for me to experience making new recipes and trying which ones work best with each species. Here are two ways I prepared the speck filets from the trip a few weeks ago. These were both made with Trout but can really be used to fry or bake any fish of your choice.

Fried Trout Tacos

- 2 Filets of a white flaky fish
- Frying Oil
- 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 Cups Beer
- 1 Egg Beaten
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon J.O. Spice or Old Bay
- Flour Tortillas

- Lettuce or Shredded Cabbage
- Tomatoes
- Corn & Black Beans
- Shredded Cheese
- Salsa / Hot Sauce


Wash the filets thoroughly. Slice the filets into small bite sized pieces. To make the beer batter; whisk together the flour, beer, beaten egg, pepper, garlic powder, and Old Bay in a medium sized bowl.

Heat the Oil in either fryer or Pan. Dip the pieces into the batter and make sure they're thoroughly coated. Place battered pieces into the hot oil and cook until the are golden brown on all sides. Remove fish from the oil and place on a paper towel covered plate until all of the pieces have been fried.

Heat up the tortillas and prepare the toppings. Place fish in tortillas and top with lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, corn, and anything else you want to add. I usually go with Franks Red Hot sauce to spice it up a bit. 


Baked Trout

This one is super easy and really good with any white fish you have!

- 2 Speckled Trout Filets
- Gourmet Garden Parsley Blend
- Ground Black Pepper
- Butter
- Olive Oil
- Onions
- Asparagus
- White Rice


Preheat the oven to 350. Rinse Filets thoroughly. In a glass baking dish put some non stick spray or olive oil in the bottom and place in filets. Apply some ground black pepper and  the Gourmet Garden Parsley Blend Generously over the top of the filets and spread evenly. Use a few slices of butter and put it on the top of the Filets as well.  Chop the asparagus and onions.

Cook the rice in a separate pan if you want to pair it with the fish and Asparagus. Sauté the the onions and Asparagus about 10 minutes before the fish is going to be done. Bake the fish at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the filets and it will flake with a fork when fully cooked. 

Pair with your favorite beer or wine and Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fish 4 a Cure Tournament

Coming up the 1st weekend of November Team All Tackle will be taking part in Annual Fish 4 A Cure Tournament.

The proceeds from the 2013 tournament will go to support the Cancer Programs within the Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

It just so happens that the Anne Arundel Medical Center is where I work as a Nursing Assistant while I'm in Nursing School. This a a great event that supports a lot of  families in our local area. Take a moment to look at www.fishforacure.orgAlso, please support Team All Tackle by making a donation to our boat. We hope to challenge for the fundraising champion as well as the fishing Champion. 

Donate HERE!!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Speckled Trout Video First Post

Matt, Dave and I had a great few days on Maryland's Eastern Shore fishing for Specks. I have been filming with my GoPro since Annie got it for me but haven't really put together an edited version of one of my trips yet until now. The action came in flurries and there were no shortage of large Trout caught with 7 Maryland citations between our group! Look out for a few speckled trout recipes made this week as well. This video shows a portion of the action and also shows my disappointment after losing a big one!

Ever since getting my first kayak, I was instantly hooked and fishing on a Hobie is a great experience! I really look forward to sharing more information about one of my passions in life, Fishing. Thanks Matt for the platform of The Hobie Life to do so! Stay Tuned!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Speckled Trout 101

Speckled Trout have become my favorite fish to target here in Maryland. I think primarily because I have already caught most of the other species here in the mid/upper bay regions. Although I'm still chasing a big striper from the yak, which is a goal for later this fall.

I'm going to cover some of the basic tackles, lures, and techniques for targeting these beautiful fish here in Maryland. This will definitely give you enough intel to get out there and try it yourself. You may not tear them up right away, but half the battle is putting in the time and learning the hard way.

Tackle Choices:

I suggest a 6'6" - 7' Medium to MH rod with fast action. You want a rod that will give some when the trout hits providing less resistance allowing the fish to eat the bait and not be deterred by the stiffness of the rod. I use two 6' rods just because that's what I have, but they would be a little bit better if they were 6'6".

I personally use:
7' Medium Overboard Bobber Series Casting Rod with a Shimano Curado 201E7 (Trolling and Casting)
6'6" Medium Heavy Overboard Soul Pole Rod (Casting)
2 - 6' Medium Overboard Bobber Series Spinning Rods (Trolling)

Perfect example of the rod I use, paired with a Shimano Stradic Ci4 3000 w/ 20lb braid. I also like to use 3-5 feet of fluorocarbon leader tied with a Half Albright Knot. I tie the leader to the hook with a Canoeman's Loop Knot

It is important to have a reel with a smooth drag. Trout have a soft mouth/jaw structure and tend to head shake a lot. A smooth drag will allow the fish to take line easily when it decides to run, which they do often... and not rip the hook from the fish's mouth.

Lure Options:

I've come to be a firm believer in the Saltwater Bass Assassin 4" Paddle Tails. I own almost every color and have had success on most colors. Some days certain colors work better, that is why I work 3 rods initially with 3 different colors, then adjust from there if I notice any pattern. I also like 4" curly tail grubs from time to time as well, mostly when the bluefish aren't around, because they are more easily chewed up. The Zman plastics are a great option if bluefish are present to minimize the amount of lost baits, but personally I like the slightly smaller sized Bass Assassins the most.

4" Bass Assassin w/ 1/8oz jig head

4" Bass Assassin w/ 1/16oz jig head

I strictly use 1/16 - 1/8 oz jig heads or weedless hooks (w/ weighted shank and screw for plastic) for trolling. I personally like pink painted heads the best, then red or chartreuse.

For casting lures I like 1/4oz jig heads or weedless hooks as they allow for great casting distance. I also like to add a spinner arm to my jig heads to add a different look than the baits that I use trolling.


Trolling - Trolling is simple... set out two rods with lures like suggested above and pedal/paddle as slow as you can while keeping your lures from snagging the bottom on grass, oysters, mud, or rocks.

Casting - This is the funnest because you actually get to set the hook on the thump of a trout bite. I cast when there are fish breaking the surface, while fishing around points with moving water and structure and working the shoreline near small outflows of creeks and grassy islands

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stacking Trout....Paper!!

Shane and I left for a two day excursion yesterday morning at 0415 to head to somewhere over the Bay Bridge and on the Promise Land of the Maryland Eastern Shore to chase my personal favorite fish the Speckled Trout.

I truly think they are the prettiest fish that resides in the Chesapeake Bay, I even have a Trout print hanging on my bedroom wall.. and may soon employ a local talent to make an original piece for me after this weekend.

We arrive to the launch loaded with Overboard Rods and all the soft plastics necessary to rip some lips of the mysterious Maryland trout. We launched at sunrise around 0630 after unloaded the yaks and meeting our buddy Dave at Wawa. There was a full moon this week and the lunar tables were very favorable for fishing yesterday and today so we hoped to have an EPIC day.
Sad, Fat Trout...

The day got off to a good start with the three of us consistently hooking up throughout the morning. Dave was the first to add to his stack of Trout papers (AKA Citations). I was next....then.. Shane... then me.... and then me again. To say the least Friday was the bomb!!!! I caught 16 fish that scored for Kayak Wars with the average size fish close to or over 22".

#1 - 24" 'Paper' Trout  -  Photo by Shane Clift
#2 - 27.5" 'Paper' Trout  -  Photo by Shane Clift
#3 - 24.75" 'Paper' Trout
Double hookup with a 27.5" and a 23" trout!! Photo by Dave Adlington
Shane's #1 - 24+" 'Paper' Trout  -  Photo by Dave Adlington
Dave's #1 - 25" 'Paper' Trout  -  Photo by Dave Adlingtion

Between the 3 of us we caught close to 40 fish on Friday, it was one of those days you live for and always hope to have the next time you head out on the water!
Lunch Break on Friday... Photo by Shane Clift

Saturday morning came just as quickly as Friday ended. Shane and I hit the water today only to be met with a slow bite from 0630 til 1130. But it wasn't all bad.... I was able to stack some more paper!!! I only caught four trout today but 2 were citations 25.5" and another 27.5" Gator!!!!

Don't let the picture deceive you... same fish as the next picture... Photo by Shane Clift
Now that's more like it!!
#4 - 27.5" 'Paper' Trout  - Photo by Shane Clift
Big Daddy Trout  - Photo by Shane Clift
#5 - 25.5" 'Paper' Trout  -  Photo by Shane Clift
Shane with a few trout that unfortunately were gut hooked while fishing today, so they came home for dinner.
What an awesome two days, look out for a video post from Shane in the coming days and a Speckled Trout Fishing 101 in the near future as well that will include necessary tackle, lures, rigs, and fishing styles.