A Bad Day Fishing….

So, there’s a saying that “A bad day fishing is better than a good day working” – that may sell t-shirts, but whoever came up with it, never had a day fishing like I did.  About the only thing that could have gone worse would have been if I had rolled my kayak and went for a very cold swim.

For starters, I overslept by about an hour. Then, in my haste to eat breakfast on the go, I spilled coffee all over myself.
I get to Don Carter State Park and go to unload my boat only to have one of the ratchet straps jam. It’s not bound up with twisted strap, it just won’t budge. I struggle with it for about 15 min, including tapping it with a hammer before it finally decided to release. I still have no idea what jammed it.

So, I hit the water almost 2 hours later than I wanted to. The wind in the main channel is really rough, but I struggle to one of my favorite coves and drop anchor, sheltered from the wind and waves.

Everyone keeps telling me that I’m wasting time with my 30+ year old, Zebco 33 reels, despite how well they work. Keep getting told that, considering I mainly throw crank-baits and jigs with the occasional artificial worm/lizard, I should switch to a bait-caster.  Well, with some trepidation, I picked up an inexpensive, Pinnacle rod & reel bait-casting combo @ Walmart for $41 yesterday. (Hey, I’m on a budget and I hesitate to spend a lot on an experiment.)

I read up on how to use one last night..  All the tricks on adjustable magnetic brakes, the friction control, casting holding it sideways with my thumb on the spool…  After all that I decided I was loading BOTH of my Zebco 33’s as backups!

So, back to the cove where I’m anchored. It’s a nice, large, hidden “bay” that you have to paddle back through one cove, down a narrow passage to find.  It’s about a half mile across and I’ve had good luck back there.  Not to mention, there is plenty of room to practice casting the new reel.  After about 20 tries of plunking the lure in the water less than 15ft from the boat, I hit the “Sweet spot” on the resistance and magnetic breaks and the lure sails out about 50 yards.  I do about a dozen, almost perfect practice casts and decide to toss a real cast towards the point where I know there are usually some hybrid bass hanging out. I let ‘er fly towards the point and…..

20140302130903743 (Custom)I’m sure that the stream of profanities that I bellowed out echoed along the lake to the ears of some fisherman, a mile away who thought to himself “Someone must have just tried casting a new bait-caster… Poor bastard!”

So, birds nesting a reel isn’t the end of the world.  I tossed this one in the back of the boat and pulled out one of my good old 33’s.  Spent about an hour trying various lures around the coves covering about 2 miles from Don Carter north.  NOTHING!  The wind was horrible, bouncing my boat around as I went from cove to cove.  Somehow, my landing net must have shifted… and, on one nice cast, my crank-bait snagged the net and flipped it over me, landing it in my lap and conking me on the back of the head as it went over!

Again, some fisherman, a mile down the lake, heard a stream of profanities and thought to himself “Poor bastard!”

I sat there for a good 15 minutes, trying to untangle my lure from the net.  Every time I would get one treble hook unsnarled, and start on the other, the 1st one would get tangled again.

Somewhere down the lake, that fisherman heard me and just said a prayer for the sanity of the poor, poor bastard that was cussing up a storm.

I finally gave up and put back in to the ramp at Don Carter.  I wound up having to cut the barbs off the treble hooks with my angle cutters to get it out once I got back to my car.  I’ll have to replace the hooks before I can use that lure again.

Maybe, in a few days, I’ll take the bait-caster out, tie some washers the line and practice with it in the field beside the house.  Either that, or blow it to bits with the shotgun… I’m not sure yet.


Rod Holder Modification


So, as I mentioned last, I needed to relocate my built in rod holder. As you can see in the top left image, Pelican decided to put it way down at our feet (past the feet for shorter people). I couldn’t even touch it with my fingertips.

My solution presented itself with the use of some leftover pvc pipe and fittings. I did have to shave down the end of the pipe to fit it in the hole. But, I made no changes to the rod holder or the on board mount.

I picked up some Krylon Fusion paint for plastic to make it look better. And, while I was at it, I painted my PVC kayak cart and my paddle blades (they were black).

Yak Improvements…


Ok, 2 of the 3 problems I have with my Yak are the low seat back and lack of access to the internal space in the stern…  I fixed those today. (The 3rd is that the forward swivel rod holder is too far forward…  I’ll fix that next.)
As you can see from the top left picture there are 2 flat areas that could support a hatch; behind the seat and behind the well.
The higher priced version of mine comes with a 4″ hatch behind the seat. But, there is more room than that. I picked up a couple of 6″ hatches at Academy Sports for $12 each.

I also needed to remove the plastic seat back for the stock seat. It was held on by 2 rivets I would have to cut off from inside, so I started with the space behind the seat. I’m glad I did. Once I got the hole cut, I found there is a large styrofoam block that runs all the way to the stern. So, there is no need for a hatch on the stern as the space is filled and unusable back there.

Cutting the hole wasn’t easy. I traced the circle, went around it drilling 3/8th” holes, then cut it out with a keyhole saw. I then spent 30 min with a rasp trying to smooth and round out the hole. A bead of Silicon around the base before bolting it in was the easy part.

I also had to deal with the holes for the rivets I removed to get the seat back off. I decided to use 2 of the extra #8 bolts, with washers on both sides (coated with silicone), and a lock washer inside.

The new seat fits like a glove, has a 20″ high back, and a storage pouch on the back. Much better on my bad back than the stock seat that only came up 10!

Aching for the Water

It’s been way too long since the boat has hit the water.  Mainly, because it’s so cold here, and the only way I have of launching my Sit-on-top is to wet-foot it.  My buddy John suggested I get some waders…. So, I think I will.

My problem is finding them in my size, that won’t much and be uncomfortable when sitting in the boat.  I’m about a 46″ waist right now.  I don’t need insulated as I have sweat pants I could comfortably wear under them.

Anyone got any good suggestions on Brand/Style that don’t cost a fortune?  When I get paid this week, I plan on visiting Bass Pro, Dick’s & Academy Sports… I won’t bother with REI as I can’t even afford to walk in the door of that place!

Comment with suggestions!

Making An A.T.K. (All Terrain Kayak)

Being that my boat is 12′ long and weighs 60 lbs, it can be hard to get from the car to the water by myself.  Not to mention that I have to make multiple trips to get it and my gear transported.

Now, they sell doilies you can strap under the back (Called Portage Carts), but they aren’t cheap, I am!  Besides, I like making things.  With a little PVC pipe, some fittings, a couple of lawnmower wheels, a metal rod and a pool noodle from the dollar store, I made my own.

If anyone is interested in making one, I can write-up a part’s list and directions.  It really shouldn’t cost more than about $25, depending on the wheels.  (Much cheaper if you can salvage the wheels from something else!)

I’ve used it a couple of outings now and it has worked like a charm (I did trim the height down and cut the kick-stand off… Trial and error!).  I can strap the dolly to the back, load all my gear in the boat and make one trip to the water.  Once there, I can take it off, take it apart, and store it in the back of the boat with my cooler for when I get where I’m going.

PhotoGrid_1379588941651 CameraZOOM-20130921150924062~01 (Medium) CameraZOOM-20131004174150325~01 (Medium)

My First Real Boat

Well, Saturday morning I stumbled into a deal I couldn’t pass up on a 12ft, sit-on-top kayak.

What did I get?  A Pelican Icon 120 – Bought it new Saturday morning and had it in the water within an hour!

Now, Pelican has a bad reputation.  Over the last few years the boats they’ve put out have been more akin to barges than kayaks.  However, I’ve heard they have undergone some management and design team changes.  The Icon line is supposed to be the first from their new line.  I can tell you, it’s not the slow, hard to control, tipsy boat they have a history of putting out.

Here’s my thoughts after one ride:

  • The boat rode great and stable. I do sit a bit higher than in the inflatable, so it took me a while to get used to it.
  • The tracking was great and I really don’t see that I would ever need to put a rudder on it… but, there is a place to mount one on the stern if you want.
  • The paddle holder is behind you.  Not too far, but it was a little awkward at first.
  • They included quiet a few extra pad eyes for lashing things to the boat.  I could see myself adding a few more.  Mainly for thigh straps and for an anchor trolley.
  • As I’m on the heavier side and close to the max weight limit, the suppers didn’t do as they should.  Instead of helping the boat being self bailing, they tended to bubble up a little.  Looks like I’ll need to plug them until I lose some more weight.
  • There is plenty of storage with a large well in the rear and a watertight hatch in the bow.  The hatch in the bow opens up the entire hull of the boat where you can put your fishing rods and tent poles fully in the boat.
  • Behind the seat is a raised, flat area where my watertight box sat nicely.  However, I could see myself installing a 6″ day hatch/dry bag there.
  • There are grab handles on each side, at the bow and on the stern.

I’m really pleased with it, especially at the price I paid for it.

Click Images for Larger Versions

CameraZOOM-20130622123800326 (Medium)CameraZOOM-20130622114512977~01 (Medium)I will need a good roof rack.  But, blue on blue looks good!