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Big Water Break Wall Drum

Posted: 07.31.2015

kayak fishing

Just west of my home town on Lake Erie there are several sections of submerged break wall with their tops just under the waters surface.

When the winds kick up and drive the waves in from the north, big citation award sized freshwater drum park themselves on the downwind side of the submerged wall sections waiting to ambush prey items as they get washed over with the waves. This makes them susceptible to lures that are tossed into the incoming waves as they break over the wall. On this particular day, the winds grew very heavy and forced me to basically put my Commander 140 right in the breakers in order to make accurate lure presentations. I'm pleased to report my trusty C-140 handled the chop just fine, and I was able to catch several fish including 16 to 19 inch smallmouth and two of those big citation award winning drum.

by Wade Nichols









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Father and Son Fishing

Posted: 08.10.2015

kayak fishing

In my 51 years of fishing I have caught many trophy fish ranging from gator trout, reds, stripers, and bass.

I fish several days out of each week year round and lately it has just become routine for me. In the past I have loaded up my son and taken him out between soccer practices, boy scouts and basketball. Recently I purchased his own kayak for him and he has loved being out on some of the ponds and lakes that grace our region. However, today we were going out on the big water, the York River. All week he was excited and couldn't stop talking about it and telling his friends. The day we picked was perfect, light winds and an overcast sky combined with an incoming tide. As we unpacked at the ramp, he could hardly contain himself. His excitement was contagious. It reminded me of when I was his age and went off my dad and granddad on their fishing trips. Soon I found myself just as giddy as he was. It was a magical feeling that had somehow abandoned me in my adult life. 
As we paddled out of the protected creek leading to the river, he commented on everything he saw, from the mansions that dotted the creek banks to the tall ships at the marina. As we entered the York River, schools of jumping mullet entertained us on our paddle out to our "secret spot". We anchored up and cast our lines, a Gulp and shrimp combination. From our first cast to our last we reeled in countless numbers of croakers. Considered by many to be a lowly fish, to him each one seemed to be a prize fish. We spent the next couple of hours talking about fish, sports, school and watching a wide array of minnows, crabs and all sorts of jellyfish swim by in the current. As the moon rose over the river and the current came to a halt, we pulled up anchor, collected the dozen or so 12"-13" croaker we kept for dinner and paddled back through the stillness of the night.

Back at the ramp he surveyed our catch and picked out the ones he caught and commented on how his were bigger then mine. He helped me load up and as we drove home he became quite. I looked back and he was sound asleep in the backseat. As I carried him upstairs, I wondered, did I teach him a little about fishing today or did he teach me how to rekindle that excitement that had escaped me since I was a boy.   

by Forrest Short

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How Do I Get My Wife to Fish?

Posted: 08.11.2015

kayak fishing

Let me start out by telling you my story and how I started to fish.

To be honest when I started, I had no interest in fishing. All I wanted to do was paddle around and look at wildlife. I also like to look into people's yards. We are in Virginia Beach and are able to kayak in areas where many very rich people have the most beautiful yards right on the water. Back when Mark and I were still dating, we went out on the water, and while he was fishing, I paddled around and did my wildlife watching and admired the beautiful real estate and landscaping.

One of the reasons I was not interested in fishing was that I knew nothing about it. The idea of catching a fish and having to kill it just did not appeal to me. I had no idea that you could catch a fish, take a picture and let it go. I believe on our third trip out together, Mark asked if I wanted to wet a line. I figured worst case would be me not catching a thing. But the fish gods smiled on me that day and let me hook into my first Red Drum. The entire experience was incredible. Even now I can close my eyes and remember all the feelings I had. The heartbeat I felt in my hands along with the low drumming of the fish. I was hooked! The tug is the drug.

One of the most frequently asked questions I hear is: “What did Mark do to get you interested in fishing?” Another is, “What can I do to get my wife to go fishing?” Let me ask you this, does it matter if she fishes? Or would you be content just spending more time with your partner? Here’s my two cents. First of all you may need to educate your significant other about fishing. Maybe just a few basic things. For instance, there being no need to have to handle bait. Offer her an artificial lure alternative. Trust me on this one, most women don’t want to handle stinky dead bait if they don’t have too. 

Emphasize the fact that she will not have to kill anything! Catch, photo and release is a great way to conserve our fisheries. On the other hand depending on your style of fishing you may want to play the reward card. It is rewarding to catch a fish for the dinner table. Tell her she can catch it and you will provide the filets for her to cook. She doesn't have to do the ‘dirty’ deed.

Just don't push the fishing issue. Start by offering to take her along. I have several friends that are happy to spend the extra time on the water with their partner. Some wife’s even bring along a nook/kindle to read. Others have partners with cameras ready to shoot wildlife and even capture the trophy fish pic for you. We also have friends, where the partner crabs of the kayak. In my mind there are many ways to spend time on the water with your partner. Find a beach and enjoy a picnic lunch together, then go for a swim.

Fishing is not for everybody. Respect that and be ready to offer alternatives. Last but not least, if there is no interest on her part, let it be and just go fishing alone. You can offer to meet for dinner after. Remember take your children fishing, they are our next generation.

by Kris Lally Lozier

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The One That Got Away - "What Muskie?"

Posted: 08.13.2015

If a picture is worth a thousand words, than would a thousand words be worth a picture?

I think we are all very fortunate to live in the age of social media. Everyday moments and encounters can be quickly captured and broadcasted with just a few swipes on our smart devices. Throughout the world, anglers are able to upload photos and quick captions about the fishing in their area. If the fishing was bad, you can almost bet on a few pictures of the sunset. If it was good, you can rest assured it will be posted with quite a few hashtags attached to it.

I spent this past weekend like many others, fishing. I was pre fishing for a tournament for the MidAtlantic Kayak Bass Fishing Series. I am fairly familiar with the waters but didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Most of the day was spent paddling and graphing. I would find a spot that looked promising and fish it hoping to get a quick bite. If I got bit, I would set my way point and move on. If not, I would make a note of it and maybe try it again later in the day.

I knew a few guys that were on the lake that day pre fishing for the same tournament. One of them was my good friend and longtime fishing buddy Chuck Bieller. We started kayak fishing together in 2005 and every time we hit the water, there is always a little friendly competition. Fellow Wilderness Systems Pro Staffer Jeff Little was also there. We stayed in constant contact trying to figure out what the fish were doing.

The fish have been relating to sparse grass on points in about 17 feet of water. After fishing at that depth for quite some time, I think we all realized they have moved a little deeper. Around 11:00 am, we all met up on a large island in the middle of the lake. This particular island has a good grassy point that has deep water all around it and usually holds fish.

I believe Jeff was throwing a black chatterbait, Chuck was fishing a drop shot and I had a swing head football jig tied on with a Gene Larew Biffle Bug trailer. I started casting from 18 feet of water in to deeper water on top of the point. As time went on I inched my way out deeper and deeper.

I was sitting in about 25 feet of water and was casting into about 40 feet of water and slowly dragging the bait back to my Wilderness Systems ATAK. Jeff broke the silence by commenting on a fish he marked on his depth finder. “That’s a musky that has to be a musky down there” Jeff said with certainty. I looked over at him and then got back to dragging my Biffle Bug along the bottom.

Minutes after that comment, I hooked into something huge! “There he is,” I yelled with excitement. The fight was on. After a few minutes, Chuck began to pedal closer in curiosity. The fish was pulling me around like it was nothing. I was hoping for a monster bass but as the fight went on I started to think maybe it was a catfish.

I finally got the beast to the surface and see it was neither a bass nor a catfish. It was a musky. As I struggled to land the beast, Jeff paddled over to give assistance. I have never caught a musky before so I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was a good fish when Jeff commented that this fish was over 40” and fat.

As we attempted to land the fish, it thrashed its head and wrapped my fishing line around my anchor line. As the fish attempted to swim back to freedom, I could hear my fluorocarbon grind around my paracord anchor rope. I slowly reeled the beast back up and I was astonished to see him come back to the surface. It was only a matter of time before the friction would render the fluorocarbon useless and it would just snap.

Jeff quickly got into position and attempted to apply his Boga Grips to land the fish with ease. As he reached down to grip the fish, it lunged at him and headed back down into the lake. There was no way I was going to get this fish back up without snapping my line. I was wrong again.

The fish surfaced one last time and Jeff was finally able to get his grips on the fish. We were both able to take a breath before starting the photo process. This was a good fish and my first musky so getting the picture was the only thing on my mind. We transferred the fish to my grips and got set up for a few good pictures. I wrapped the bungee strap around the grip handles to ensure they wouldn’t open. I do this with my bass as well so I can allow them to swim and there is no risk of the grips to open.

As Jeff pulled his camera out of his dry bag, the fish made one last head shake. If I close my eyes, I can watch the whole event unfold. It was like everything happened in slow motion. The beast came loose from my grips and paused in the water for a moment. After a few swipes of its tail, the fish was headed back down to the depths below.

I sat there in shock. For the rest of the day I just wondered how I tell this story. Fish stories are told every day. Some are true and some are not. We believe most of them and the ones that are hard to believe are usually missing one thing: A photograph. I finished out the day fishing with Chuck. I would bring the musky up from time to time and couldn’t stop thinking about not getting that photo. Chuck couldn’t do anything but look over at me with a smile and say, “what musky?”


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