Sunday, 27 July 2014

8 Year Old Benjamin's First Kayak Fish

The weather was spot on for a launch the day before the 2014 Oxwich Kayak Competition. Light winds and 24 degrees saw perfect conditions for a young one to get started. Port Eynon was the venue.

The Ocean Kayak Frenzy was the chosen vesicle supported by myself in my Ultra 4.7xt
We tied off together and dropped down some Sabiki's in 7m of water. It wasn't long before he was showing me up! Nice little Grey Gurnard.... Benjamin's first ever fish!
I was then into some Mackerel, seconds later, so was Benjamin.
He couldn't believe quite how three fish on at once made such a fight. Great fun!

One very happy chappy...


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Old Town Predator XL

Meet the new flagship Predator in Old Town's Premier Angler Series. Incorporating all the pioneering features of the original Predator, including the Element seating system, customizable, high-strength mounting plates, Exo-ridge deck and Tri-Hull design, the Predator XL adds a 45lb thrust, saltwater-grade Minn Kota motor and a foot-operated rudder system to deliver an unrivaled hands-free fishing experience and pinpoint control.

Stealth quiet and supremely stable, the Predator XL was developed and fine-tuned through exhaustive consumer research, input from the Old Town Dealer Panel and Design Council, and the combined experience of the Johnson Outdoors pro-staff and Watercraft Design Team. The result is a premium, customizable, purpose-driven fishing machine that retains the best features and benefits of the original Predator series, while adding integrated, adapt in-a-snap consoles including the Minn Kota system.

The XL's Minn Kota Console system is a fully enclosed modular unit that provides fast and convenient plug and play performance. It includes a speed dial with forward and reverse functions not available on many other hands free boats, battery level indicator, USB charging port, sonar mounting plates, as well as battery and cable storage for sonar equipment and other gear. The Consoles' Quick-Kick Stand™ allows the user to lift and stow the motor unit with one hand, and lower it again with the flick of the foot, an inspired technology that helps avoid prop collisions with water hazards, and quickly raise and clear away and weeds and debris.

At just over thirteen feet long and thirty-six inches wide, the Predator XL delivers an amazing carrying capacity of 600 pounds of angler, gear and fish. The foot-controlled rudder system for hands-free operation in forward or reverse set the Predator XL apart from the competition, helping to control the boat confidently in wind and current, when fishing in tight spots or where fish are holding close to structure.

"The Predator XL will set a whole new bar in what consumers expect in a fishing kayak," said David Hadden, Brand Director for Johnson Outdoors Watercraft. "With the Predator XL we wanted to bridge the gap between fishing kayaks and bass boats and shallow water skiffs. The game changer is the combination of the Minn Kota motor and foot controlled rudder system, which allows you truly hands free fishing. Now you can work your local shoreline like a tournament BASS angler, moving and casting at every dock, stump or over hanging limb without taking your hands off the rod to reposition your boat. We guarantee you will fish more and catch more fish!"

The XL will be available in a number of models for maximum adaptability. The base model will feature Old Town's Utility Console, engineered with sonar equipment in mind. The Minn Kota version comes fully equipped with a foot-controlled rudder, battery box and Minn Kota Console. The third console, the Exo-Ridge Deck, provides a flat floor for standing, providing the perfect platform for poling and casting. The Predator XL is designed to work with all 3 consoles, allowing the user to adapt their ride in a matter of mere seconds.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Post Runswick Comp Pollock Session.

With a few days off after the comp, I thought it would be rude not to go to a mark just south of Whitby for a chance of a Pollock or two.

Arrived about 11am and made my way down the big hill. Stunning place and the sun was out!

I started towing a plug and was straight into a Mackerel. Greedy thing as the plug was nearly as big as him!

Set off again and caught two Pollock about the 3lb mark then, BANG! fish on!

Stripped line off the spool and settled itself firmly in the kelp. It took over 20 minutes to bully him out but I won the battle of the wills in the end! Not sure of the weight as didn't have any scales... I'm estimating 6lb but he sure fought well.

Had probably 10+ Pollock and 4 Codling with a few kept for the table.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Fitting Humminbird Fish Finder to OK Ultra 4.7

There is a specific boot/fitting kit to install Humminbird Fish Finders to OK Ultra Kayaks. The kit also comes with a battery bag, but on this installation I won't be fitting it. This is a very easy job and should take about 1 1/2 hrs.

The transducer with the tie rod and boot fitted.

Thread the cable through the designated transducer hole and also through the rotatable hinge point and use the wing nut to secure the transducer.

Wrap the excess transducer cable and stow it inside the lid. 

16mm hole in the lid and pass through the two leads. I used a grommet and some sealant to prevent water ingress into the cavity (where the transducer cable is stored) This is not essential.

12mm hole and another grommet for the battery cable to pass into the hull.



Fed up of removing your RailBlaza Rod Holder to spin it around?

I stumbled across these a couple of months ago and they have made a massive difference.

No need to remove the Rod Holder out of the StarPort to rotate it, the RailBlaza SwivelPort spins 360 degrees.

Enough said....

Saturday, 29 March 2014

A Fresh Approach by GB

A Fresh Approach by GB
3rd trip of March was at the annual Llangorse Kayak fishing Competition.

I have been looking forward to this trip for a long time.  Its been 7 years since I was last at Llangorse and I was going to make the most of the weekend and fish 3 days.  However due to a work commitment I was unable to travel early enough on the Friday to fish and I had agreed to deliver a kayak back to Pembrokeshire on the Sunday for Simon Everett so was unable to fish the Sunday.  Never mind I would enjoy the competition enough on Saturday.

The journey up on Friday was a breeze and after the usual greetings around the campsite I wandered to the local watering hole to meet up with everyone.  I got soaked through on the way but soon dried out only to get rather wet on the inside.  Much beer and laughs later I headed for the van and left the hardened party animals to it.

The morning came frozen stiff I headed to the lake to get a parking spot, the first one there I got the breakfast and coffee going whilst setting up the kayak.  People started to arrive and it wasn’t long before we where given to nod to launch.  The weather at times was simply atrocious with rain, hail snow and force 8 squalls running down the lake but there where plenty of settled spells and sunshine mixed in to make it a comfortable day.

I had opted for the Ultra 4.3 as I had the fishfinder installed and it’s a camo boat which kinda fitted in with the whole fresh water theme.  I paddled out and stuck a lure out to troll for a Pike.  With 5 mins I had a jack onboard.  I was using a Rockfish Ultra Light rod with a mini fixed spool loaded with 4lb line.

 Such good fun especially when after  only another 5 mins  I hooked into a better Pike.  It gave a good account of itself, I could be heard chuckling like a big kid from across the lake and after a quick pic I slipped the fish back and headed for the shallow part of the lake to try for some Roach and Bream.
I fished hard with the method and the pole for a few hours but I just could not find another species. 
I upped sticks and decided to have a troll around the lake and visit some of the other anglers on my way. 

Paul with a Pike caught on one of his very own hand crafted lures.  

Ocean Kayaks very own Ian Pickering with one of his Pike.

Much chatting to various lads soon chewed through the competition time. 
I decided to head up to the boat ramp and give it one last go for a Perch.  On the way I trolled a lure and managed another 4 Pike, before changing to a Mepps to have a chuck about for a Perch.  First cast resulted in Pike number 7. 

It was time to put away the lures as its such a distraction on a species match.  I headed to the Cranog and clipped to the marker buoy close by and started feeding maggots around the pilings. Dave aka Starvin informed (or misinformed) me that his team mate Ian had bagged a Perch to go along with his baby Pikelet, it was game on now if I wanted a chance at the trophy I had to get another species. I fished for a little under an hour when at 15.55 last knockings I hooked into a tiny Perch on the waggler rod.  The fish dropped the hook just shy of the kayak much to my dismay.  A good bit a swearing later I packed up and headed in.  On arrival back on dry land I discovered that Ian had not caught a Perch that day.  Starving had got the wrong end of the rod.  It appeared that only Pike had been caught so I was still in the running for a podium spot with an 80cm Pike.

The Garmin fishfinder was definitely key in catching the fish on the day, it showed the weed perfectly and enabled me to present a lure just above it where the Pike had an easy meal to chase in the cold conditions.

After a hot dinner at the van I joined everyone else in the clubhouse for the weigh in and presentation.  I didn’t know how well I had done until 3rd place was announced.  I was delighted with that.  Not bad for a salty old dog like myself.  I was even more delighted when 2nd place went to my Kayak wars team mate Mike and over the moon when 1st place went to my other kayak wars team mate Colin.  A clean sweep 1st,2nd and 3rd for team Plastic Dragons.  If we had entered as a team we would have cleaned up good and proper, but that title went deservedly to team HOW made up with 2 of our veterans Martin and Neil and joined by Martin Hurst.  Well done to them for all catching in such tough conditions.

 I enjoyed a couple pints afterwards but inevitably, I was in bed by 10.30pm, I am such a lightweight after a day afloat.  Sunday morning seen the weather much better than the previous day allowing everyone to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and social gathering while packing up for the weekend.  As much as I enjoy my fishing I go to the meets for the social side of things.  It was great to meet up with old friends and to meet a few new people.  I am already looking forward to next years event.

I have to say a huge thanks to Martin Hurst, Ed Gibson, SWKA and Gus at Escape Watersports for organising such a great event and putting up a fantastic prize table.

Fishing against the odds. By GB

Fishing against the odds. By GB

Trip number 2 for March on the 13th was last minute due to an unexpected weather window.  I had wanted to target some early Pollack on a wreck and a few different rock piles all a couple miles out from Stackpole which I used to fish on the boat but not tried on the kayak.  I transferred the marks from my fixed gps to the handheld via the pc ready for the morning launch.  I would need a fishfinder for this trip so I soft fitted the new Garmin 301DV onto my existing kayak the 4.3.  I decided against using one on the kayak since I sold my Trident 15 so this would be a good time to get to grips with the new technology gains in the last few years.  I must say it is a joy to use and the definition in down vue is incredible. I am looking forward to installing and using the new Humminbird on the 4.7 this season.

The morning came and the whole trip was a series of setbacks from the off.  2 flat tyres on the c-tug and to my horror my pump was burned out thanks to my over zealous son and his football buddies.  New pump purchased after the school run and I was ready to go, until I had a call from the wife telling me her car would not start.  A quick detour back home to sort it out meant another 45 min delay. 
Finally I pulled into the carpark almost 2 hours late.  I got rigged up and dressed only to discover some heavy perishing in the heels of the latex socks on my very tired dry suit.  Some duct tape would have to suffice for now after all my boots are pretty tight and should hold it fairly watertight (not).  The harbour beach was in a hell of a state and much of the small pebbles and shingle had been sucked out to sea leaving large boulders and bedrock to negotiate.  Not easy on your own but at least I would be coming in over high water and straight onto easier ground.  To much time in the water negotiating the rocks left me with damp feet before I had even launched.

Of I paddle out into the bay when the fog rolled in around the headland.  It wasn’t there when driving down into the carpark only 30 mins prior.  Visibility was around 50m.  Nevermind I enjoy fishing in the fog as you get left in peace as few people venture out in it.   

I scrolled through the waypoints only to find I did not have the marks on the gps.  I later discovered I had put them in the wrong folder whilst using homeport, my own fault for not double checking.  I decided to head for the Spring Tope mark instead, a bank of the headland.  The mark had suffered the weather and extreme tides of late too as there was a lot more rock showing through the bank than previous years.  I stuck it out for a couple hours and getting dogged out I headed for the beach for a pitstop.  There was a good size surf and I got a soaking coming in but managed to stay upright.  Time for a nice hot cuppa soup, or maybe a cold cuppa soup.  Another flask in the scrap pile.  A bite to eat and back at it.  Time to try a new mark for Spurdogs, and as luck would have it there was a pot buoy over the rock pile for me to latch onto.  I was straight into Dogfish again but at least there was something to occupy my mind in this all encompassing fog.  The silence was broken by the sound of an engine which turned out to be a local potter.  A couple blasts on my mini fog horn and a few exchanges on the radio kept me safe from the passing boat.

Around 4pm the sun decided to burn some of the fog away and almost immediately (coincidence or not?) I had 2 failed runs on the Tope gear in 5 minutes.  I sussed it was Spurs attacking the bait so I reeled in and changed hook size down to 6/0 and cut the herring bait nice and small.  Hey presto a run and a good connection.  A spirited fight on the new 12lb class Suveran rod but it aint no Tope so it came in quick enough.  The fish was into double figures and in excellent condition.
The fun started as I tried to photograph the fish next to my species comp card which took a swim with a flick of the fishes tail before I could get the shot.  As I reached for the card the fish managed to drag the hook clean through the leg of my suit.  As I sorted that it managed to spike the other leg of my suit.  Not happy I took a quick pic and got it back in the water before it managed to spike me proper. 

I fished on for another half hour before calling it a day with only dogfish for company, the Spurs must have run through on their way to some other feeding grounds unknown to me. 
I was somewhat damp and cold and ready for a hot cuppa back at the van.
A great day out and the reward made even sweeter after all the bitter distractions presented to me.  It was reminiscent to a trip up channel in January where I battled through obstacles to be rewarded with a personal best kayak caught cod.  It pays to be tenacious.