Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer Funk

Sorry for the lack of activity on the blog. I have no good excuse. I've been making getting back in shape a priority. Watching more what I eat and making an effort to get more active. I'm starting to see positive results. The weather has been so hot it's distracted my mind from fishing. I've also found a group of people in the same boat I am. Older dads trying to get back in shape. We've organized a small mountain biking group. The group has been on a few rides so far but they have been very fun and I hope the rides become a consistent thing. I'm sure I'll fish soon and I'll post a decent report. 

If you can get out tonight try and check out the Perseid Meteor shower. I went with the family last night to a local lake. We saw an average of a meteor a minute after 10pm. I also saw something I've never seen in my life. While I was watching the kids play on the playground and waiting for it to get dark I saw something fall from the sky and land on the sand. It looked like a large leaf but there were no trees close by. My first thought was that it looked kind of like a bat. I saw my kids running over and I could tell from their body language it was something alive. I ran over and sure enough there was a bat laying in the sand. On closer inspection, you could see there were two bats. 
I guess they were mating. After I snapped a few pics the top bat flew off then the bottom one took to the air. The kids will probably remember this more than the meteors that fell.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Fishing in San Diego

The family just got back from San Diego on Wednesday evening. I don't think we recovered until yesterday. The trip was a whirlwind of activities. Visiting family, Disneyland, San Diego Zoo, Comic-Con, The Safari Park and much more. It got to the point by day 5 that when I told my kids we need to get going they just ignored me. I couldn't blame them the pace we were going was frantic. I didn't bring my fishing stuff because I figured my schedule wouldn't allow it. My uncle and cousin are just as into fishing as I am. They were hoping to get me out at least one morning to fish off the coast. A friend invited us to use his boat and even though I was exhausted I felt like I couldn't pass up the opportunity. 

Riding out from the docks was amazing. San Diego really is a special place. While getting bait we watched seals swim hoping to get scraps and dolphins popped up here and there. It was a scene right out of a movie. The weather was an unusual clear morning. 
San Diego is known for its perfect weather but what most people don't know is the coast is clouded most of the time. The hot temperatures of the inland and desert block the cold air coming from the ocean creating a marine layer. This usually results in a cloud bank that often hands out from the beach to 5-10miles inland. 
I was surprised at a number of boats that were out. You can see the boats in the distance and there were just as many surrounding the boat. If you hooked up some idiot would punch it as fast as they could to drop a line in your location. I had never seen such a lack of etiquette. I guess that was the norm because I seemed to be the only person that had major issues with it. 
We were tight lining live mackerel and waiting to feel a hit. It took me awhile to get the hang of it. I couldn't tell if the fish was just running or if a bigger fish had taken it. The seals and seagulls were constantly surrounding the boat. Several times seals took our bait and seagulls tried as well. It's crazy to see your line go from the ocean up into the air then you see a seagull stuck in flight. They usually dropped the mackerel which my uncle called relocating my bait. The seals made reeling in fish interesting. If you took to long you just gave the seal breakfast. Even with all the boats and other obstacles we managed to catch fish.
This fish looks similar to an albacore that is caught on the east coast. It's actually called a Bonito. Very hard fighting fish.  It put an L in my rod when I was bringing it in. I thought I had hooked a seal. 
We all had success catching calico bass, bonito and yellowtail. It was a special day and I'm glad I was able to spend it with family. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lake Fishing

Over the last year, I've been trying to become more familiar with the local lakes. I'm still pretty clueless but every now and then I learn something.

The Hook Set
Many times a fish will swim towards your boat making it difficult to get a good hookset. I've found to counter this I make a hookset like I'm trying to yank the fish out of the water. Even doing that at times doesn't work. If you can do it, strip set. That's your best chance at getting a good hookset.

In a kayak you don't have a ton unless you're anchored. Fish under a pound can't do much but a fish of substantial size can really affect your kayak. Imagine hooking a 5lb weight in a swimming pool while you're on a raft. If you pull hard on the rod the weight might move some but you will definitely move towards the weight as well. This creates a constant battle of keeping leverage while managing slack in your line. What I've found works best is to keep as much pressure on the fish as I can. This may sound crazy but I try to put so much pressure that I figure either my rod will break or the fish will come to me.

A Little Paddling Goes A Long Way
It took me quite awhile to realize it doesn't take much paddling to move your kayak. I found countless times where I made an approach towards an area and I was going too fast. I wouldn't notice this until I was about to cast and I would be almost right on top of my target area. I'd have to paddle to back myself up or slow myself down which most likely spooked anything in the area.

The Wind Can Be Your Friend Or Enemy
Similar to the comment above if you don't pay attention to the wind you can be pushed faster than you like. This can work out in your favor if you want to drift a certain direction. It can be good for trolling over a certain area.

Secure Your Stuff
If you have something you really don't want to lose put a lanyard on it or something that will make it float. It is really tempting to just lay something on the edge of your boat. It just takes one unexpected wake or bump of your elbow to send that tool, knife, or rod you love into the drink. If you can only secure one thing make sure it's your paddle. If you lose your paddle on a big lake when it's windy you're going to have a rough day.

Line Management
If you have something in your boat that can get tangled it will. I enjoy having neat rod holders and attachments that make my kayak look cool as the next person. The problem with those things is they make casting more of a chore. I try to have as little in front of me as possible. Get a cheap collapsible waste basket to use as a stripping basket.

Keep Your Rod Tip Down
I still have issues with this. You have better contact with your line and fly when your rod tip is down. My rod tip is usually touching or under the water when I fish. Your rod tip should always be pointing towards the fly. Especially when fishing streamers. You want to feel the resistance of the water when you strip. My hookups went up 10 to 1 after concentrating on this.

Noise Control
When you're approaching a location make sure you have an idea of how you're going to lay your paddle down and grab things in your boat without making noise. This is a lot easier said than done. I've found laying the paddle on my lap keeps it from hitting my boat. I can also use one hand to dip the paddle in the water and help me steer. I try to keep my paddle in the water as little as possible when I'm approaching a target. The fish don't seem to care about the kayak but they do care about the disturbance from the paddle or my casts.

Hopefully, these tips can help anyone starting out.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Recycled Waders Wallet

I have always hated the bulge my current wallet puts in my pocket. I don't carry that much stuff and hardly ever carry cash. Even with the small amount of things the wallet is large. Recycled Waders is a company that repurposes old fishing waders into products people can use. I spied their wallets a long time ago and decided to try one as a solution to my problem. When the wallet arrived I was concerned that it might be too thin.
I also wondered whether the cards would stay in the pocket.
I've been using the wallet for about a month and I love it. The cards stay secure and the side pinch pouch for cash is a great feature.
You can barely tell when the wallet is in my pocket. That was actually an issue at first because I kept thinking I had forgotten my wallet. After using this I can't see myself ever going back to a big bulky wallet. I'm also impressed with the build quality of the product overall. If you're looking for a wallet, small bag, or pack, check out Recycled Waders.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thank You Smoothie Girl

This last week was spent with a lot of internalizing. The weather made fishing tough. The beach was sandblasting me with 20mph sustained winds. The shells underneath my feet made wading the surf like walking on glass. I put in the work but was only rewarded with a sunburn. The rest of the time was spent with family. Napping and eating great meals while listening to random comments about the amount of white in my hair and the size of my belly. Gone are the days when I receive second glances from cute 20 somethings or people mistaking me for a high school or college student. My one last attempt at the beach was met with a girl selling smoothies from a cooler. I asked how much they were knowing full well I wasn't going to buy one. After some small talk, I was offered a free smoothie. I'd like to say it was my good looks or charm that had this encounter end with me getting a smoothie. In reality, I'm sure it was just a nice gesture or maybe she felt sorry for me as I limped with cut feet and a sunburn. In a week of knowing I know longer have "it", on this day I got a free smoothie and it tasted amazing.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Not Your Day

When you fish with friends sometimes it's just not your day. It's still fun to see others having success and enjoy the moment with them. Yesterday Troy and I hit a local lake in search of monster bass looking up. We really only had one good opportunity and Troy made the most of it. There was a large swirl near the reeds and we knew it had to be a good sized fish. A few casts later Troy hooked up and it was hard to tell what he had at first. The fish swam right at him putting a ton of slack in his line. Troy was able to take in the slack quickly and put some pressure on the fish. The bass shot out of the water and we both looked at each other and at the same time said "that's a nice fish!" It's weird seeing a 6 plus pound bass sky out of the water. It shows how powerful a fish's tail is. After several jumps and a good fight, the fish came to hand.
The stealth bomber was inhaled.
The fish was a great break to the otherwise slow morning. Troy has always been kind enough to invite me along and share his boat and fishing knowledge with me. He's one of the few people that I believe likes fly fishing even more than I do. In the end, I can't emphasize this enough. Fly fishing is fun but not as fun as fishing with friends.