Archive for May 2011

Kayak Rig for Fishing

Ever tried to fish from a kayak? It can be downright maddening if you’re not rigged correctly.  Here’s how I’ve done it…if you love to fish and you’re looking at getting a kayak or if you already have one, here’s some stuff you can do to make your rig more fishable.

Start simple then build.  The first thing I would do is add some paddle holders to the yak.  Below, only one is in the pictured…top left.  My paddle holders came from the Home Depot, I think they are some sort of towel hook or something.  I just screwed them straight into my yak.  As with every modification you make, you must keep in mind how it will affect your other modifications.  If your going to add outriggers as I have,  make sure the paddle is held forward enough not to be impeded by the outriggers.  My paddle is held on the left side of the yak and the forward holder doubles as my anchor tie off point.   If my paddle was held on the right it would be in the way of my tolling motor…something to think about.  If i had it to do over again i would keep paddle left and motor right.  Also pictured below is a deck board.  The deck board is most useful if you can stand, and usually you will only spend time standing if you have outriggers.  So if you’ve got riggers or are going to have riggers soon make sure you use a deck board unless the standing area is already flat.  If your yak is like mine…its sheer hell to stand in the little cupped space your ass would usually  be.  My next deck board will likely be cut longer so as to increase walkable space forward and help keep my vest and everything else out of the water.  With all of the weight in the yak water comes up the scupper holes and fills much on the area below the board.  In a perfect world I would use  some sort of 3/4 inch  plastic, but plastic sounds dirty… stick with ply wood and recut another piece when you need.  This piece has lasted over a year.  Remember to think ahead and think logistically.  On second thought I might keep the board the same length as its already hard to fit everything in the trunk of my suv.

kayak fishing rig fly fishing

If you want to fish from a kayak I would highly highly  recomend you make some adjustable outriggers, its a little bit of work and money but you will be paid back in full.

kayak fishing outriggers fly fishing

What I’ve got here is a 1 1/2 pvc frame shifted right for the trolling motor, connected to 4″ styrene? drain pipe.  The pvc is held to the yak with electrical conduit hold downs and the same for the the 4″ pipe to the pvc.  t joints next to the yak were for storing the riggers up for going through tight places, I rarely use that method anymore because it’s a dangerous pain in the ass when your on the water to do that, especialy with a motor and battery on board.  the riggers are either screwed or glued everywhere accept at the t joints.  Simply remove either side at the T and youre ready to rack up the yak and transport the riggers in the back of your ride.  Every situation is different, when doing your riggers you need to keep in mind that when your on the water you will sit lower in the water and your riggers should be adjustable up and down to get the proper support.  adding a battery in the rear will change that and you want to be able to adjust.  I simply allow the  electrical conduit hold downs to rotate around the 1 1/2 ” pvc and then drill an extra hole through the conduit hold down and add a screw.

 

 

Extra scew added for height adjustments

 

exta screw added to keep main assembly oriented properly

Notice the orange bungy cord here.  This is essential or the riggers will easily work out of their couplers…it must be tight.  The tighter the better.  What I’ve done is pre drilled for a large eye bolt to got through the left outrigger arm.  Then attached a my bungee and streched to maximun and positioned a lag bolt just beyond that stretch point.  Because its a bolt head not an eye i can get the bungee tighter than if it was an eye.  If thats confusing…take my word for it.

 

 

 

 

 

Below is the how i mount the motor… a minnkota endura.  Take special note here! The power cord for the motor is short, and I burned up my switch using an extension chord patch trying to place the battery forward.

I had been placing the battery box right where you see the soda cans below.  It makes a nice seat right there but the yak has all the weight in one place and wants to spin like a top.  I have managed this for a long time but trust me…you want to put the battery forward.  I used a $10 set of jumper cables from wall-mart as my new chord and haven’t had any issues, I actually think I’m getting more power despite the added length, I’m maxed out on cable size as it was a real job just getting the chord into the main housing for the connections and was barely able to get the copper into the  female crimp connectors. It can be done!  after twisting the wire and forcing it in, only the central core was inside the crimp…do the best you can.  If you burn your switch up its $40 replacement.  Try to monitor for any burning smell when testing and after your first day on the water using full speed take the housing apart and look for signs of melt on the switch…if no melt then you should be good to go.

I place the battery up in the front hold and leave the battery box right where you see the soda cans for a seat.  you can use a square bucket or other seat as well, whatever you want!  Be careful placing your hand on the edge of an empty box and putting your weight on it as you go to sit down…you might have a nasty accident!

Fully loaded minus the battery…must have taken it back to the car.  you’ve got room for a some soda’s a back pack to help carry your anchor and your vest and rod up front.  Moving this stuff around is a real job, Im 34 and fit and it can be a bitch, but I love what i do so its manageable.  I have a hefty nylon rope up front and always take a glove or shirt to wrap around my hand for hauling.  I usually drag the yak with everything but the battery and anchor…just too much work and mud to try and do anything else.  Believe it or not I often get compliments on my rig from the local cat fishermen i encounter.  Its stealth  as hell for sure.  Best wishes and good luck.

Opportunity strikes

It was a beautiful day from the get go.  The severe weather let up for a day and I made the best of the situation.  The water was almost like chocolate milk, but i figured visibility might be better down towards the river so i made my way quickly down the creek, stopping occasionally to check a couple productive spots on my way.

Despite the falling water forecast, there was little indication of falling water.  I happened upon an overflow creek branching off the lower creek going through grass land along the levee.

This Creek forms along the levee when the missouri river rises above 25 ft in St. Charles, MO

 

He's headed where I am...

 

 

... down there

 

Numerous common carp were having a blast down there so i carefully waded in.  Mindful of snakes and snapping turtles I proceeded with caution.  I tied on a weedless brown Missouri Bugger.  The water was shallow and weedy, so i made use of a weed-guarded fly.  The carp ignored my downstream presentation completely.  I began to wonder if the carp weren’t entirely preoccupied with mating.  Having walked down the temporary creek a fair way  I cast back upstream and retrieved slowly back down with the current.  Within a cast or two I had a fish on.   Followed by two more before everyone wised up and the creek was nearly devoid of fish.  Common carp are the exception on these waters and not the rule, I was happy to to have landed two nice fish out of the three hooked.

weedless carp fly

Weedless Missouri Bugger

 

fly fishing carp

fly fishing carp

As I made my way back to the kayak, i noticed some XL sized grass carp poking around, so i tied on the jack of all trades, the Black Op size 8.  He always produces…Here’s a nice grassy.

carp fly

Size 8 Black Op...a go to fly

 

fly fishing grass carp

 

Add in a couple pesky gar and a missed grass carp or two and that was my day.  It felt good to be on the water this beautiful spring day.  There was a noticeable sense of gratitude as i head back up the creek.  I’ve done this 100 times before, but every time is somehow like the first time.  I hope this dream never ends.

Something I’ve never seen before…

Another Day another Fish…Today it was a big Goldeye.  The largest goldeye I’ve ever caught, pushing 16+ inches long. I grabbed him and brought im into the yak.  I noticed something strange squirming in his gills.  I inspected and determined it was about 3-5 leaches.  I can conclude only one of 2 things.  He’s been eating a lot of leeches or the leeches are feeding on his gills.  I flicked on with my finger and it fell out into the water leading me to believe that the fish had been eating leeches and caughed up a ball of them.  I had no idea any one fish could be eating so many leeches.  I’m starting to realize what I’ve been missing with the strict catch and release fishing for the last 15-20 years.  I think any biologist worth his salt would at least be pumping stomachs if not opening them by hand.    The underwater world is so mysterious and captivating.  I can’t get enough.  No wonder the black ops flies produce so well.  I’ve noticed in the past that when i tie on a small black fly i seem to catch goldeye.  Don’t overlook the importance of leeches in a fishes diet.  When I learn more about leeches I will be sure to post.

Oxbow Fishing outside St. Louis, MO

 

Got the yak on the water just as a storm was rolling through.  I had to hide in the channel going from the “creek” to the lake while I could hear and see timber coming down all around.  Perfect day for fly fishing…NOT!  The storm blew through but the wind remained 10-30 mph constantly, in other words it was WAF (windy as …).  Needless to say I’m suffering from WIFF, or wind induced fishing frustration.  Its a real condition, I have it!  Actualy I have SWIFF, the more sever form of the condition.  If only 10-20mph in the weather reports meant 10-20, but they insist on consistanly low balling the estimates.  I couldn’t even stay in one spot on the lake without being blown off anchor.  Enough complaining.  Catfish were present…Not in the size or quantity I was looking for but the water is only 70 ish and its early.  I expect that in the next couple of weeks things should be looking up.  I mainly fished Black Ops flies sizes 4 and 6 and a  flesh bunny stabber to start things off.  The way things usually happen for me is I get fish in the shallow back of the lake or around the timbered edges.  Sometimes wind is a critical factor for both stacking food in one area of the lake and in creating faux currents.  Look fot the cats to be sitting in protected water near where wind is forcing water by.  Bites are typically instantaneous or withing 3-4 strips.   I will fish heavy rabbit strip patterns in white and/or not so heavy patterns in brown and black depending on response and fish size.  Play around with it.  A brown or black fly  is a standard go to producer, sometime white is better, depending on what the fish are keyed on.  Today was an OK day with about 10 fish to hand, most under 16 inches.  I have had a 30 fish day on this lake in the past with the majority around 20 inches and hooked into some real pigs that day and on other occasions.  I recall one outing on the lake when i had the follow of a lifetime.  I never saw the fish but i knew it was there by the massive wake it was pushing.  Timing and water level are key factors.  I don’t have it figured out.  If you ever get a chance to fly fish to catfish you won’t believe how hard even the smallest fish can fight.