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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Super Stick Push Pole review by Bill Howard

Super Stick Push Pole

Ever wish you had a push pole you could use on your boat as well as a kayak? Something that was very portable and easy to stow? Well look no further, the Superstick is what you are looking for.  I tested one of these push poles for several days and I have to tell you, it’s a pretty slick product.

I tested the push pole out recently on the flats of Tampa Bay in my Malibu Stealth 14 kayak.  I found it easy to manage once extended.  The telescoping feature allows you to pick the length that you want to use, which comes in handy in tight areas such as creeks or mangrove tunnels.

Superstick Push Poles are fiberglass, telescopic, and available in two sizes: the Superstick 9-17 (which can be locked at any length from 9 feet to 17 feet), or the Superstick 6-12 (which can be locked at any length from 6 feet to 12 feet). With a flip of the patented positive locking device, you can easily select the length of the Superstick.  I tested the 6-12 model.

The Superstick comes as a kit which includes the following, Superstick Push Pole, universal gig attachment, detachable duck foot, two storage clips, spike end cap and a Superstick decal.

Another unique quality of the Superstick is the detachable foot.  It has a simple push pin that once depressed allows you to remove the foot and attach a variety of different attachments ranging from a spare paddle blade, a threaded scrub brush adapter, even a flounder gig.  Check the website out for the full line of attachments available.  www.thesuperstick.com

The traditional style foot made it just a little difficult to store when not in use though. I found that I could slide it up between my seat straps and the rear bungee cords in my tank well.  You could always use your paddle bungee to hold it in place.  This traditional style foot also caused enough drag to slow my forward progress down while poling, but I wouldn’t think it would be a problem in a heavier boat where you have more mass going through the water.  A more streamline style of foot would be just the ticket for a kayak. The Superstick has a pointed end as most push poles do, so it could double has a stakeout pole if need be.  It comes with a rubber cover for this end, which is what I used while in the kayak.  I was able to pole along at speeds of around 3 mph which is pretty good in a kayak, especially while poling.

Overall I was very pleased with the Superstick.  it’s a great product and would make a great addition to any anglers arsenal.  Look for it online or in your next Cabelas Spring 2010 catalog.

Aliens in Islamorada

Large wandering eyes, big silver bodies, sickle cells on their backs, an uncanny sense of pissing off anglers world wide… Aliens, Professors, Jacks with PH.Ds, A-holes, or whatever nick name is given to the Permit, it is still one of the toughest most prized species to catch on the shallow flats.  Very few things get the blood pumping like a tailing permit.  I am not talking about a permit finned out on the surface, cruising down an edge, or sitting on top of the water over a wreck… I’m talking about water less then 2ft deep and a big sickle and fork in the air while the A-hole is rooting in the sand or grass making a storm of a mud, slapping the surface of the water in it’s quest to dig up whatever crustacean it’s large eyes have picked up.

I called Sam up earlier in the week and asked him to meet me in Islamorada this past Saturday for some permit fishing.  For as long as I’ve known and worked with Sam on Saltyshores, this was the first time I took him fishing.  The morning came and I passed by Don’s Bait and Tackle in the morning to pick up the permit food (half dollar size crabs) and was off to meet with Sam.  We hit the water at sunrise and 20 minutes into hitting the water, we were staring down our first tailing permit.  Sam served him a crab and we had our first permit of the day… a respectable 15lb fish.  I had Sam pole me down the flat and I had close to a dozen shots at tailing permit on fly but could not capitalize… frustrated, I gave Sam the bow and a live crab again and told him we were going to move to another flat to throw at bigger fish.  On the next flat, we stared down the tail of a HUGE permit as it was moving down the flat, tailing up a storm digging for crabs…moments later we connected.  As we fought this fish, it took a while to dawn on us that this was a really big fish.  30 minutes later, we photographed the slob…it was well over 30lbs.  To this date, that is the biggest permit caught on my boat.  This was certainly a stellar morning of permit fishing…

Permite #1... small feesh

Permite #1... small feesh

permit #2... the slob

permit #2... the slob

We were joined up later by my buddy Henry and proceeded to do look for some bonefish and try to get my buddy his first on fly.  We had about a dozen or so shots towards the end of the day but couldn’t connect.  The fish were acting a bit strange so we left and rode home watching the sun set.

Dinner

Dinner

Good fishing isn’t over yet… stay tuned for more fish porn…

Gheenoe LT 25 as reviewed by microskiff

Small, efficient, affordable are ways to describe Unlimited Glasswork’s Low Tide 25 or LT 25 for short. Based on father Harley Gheen senior’s original design from the late 1960’s. Son Harley “Pugar” Gheen Jr. produced unquestionably one of the most popular microskiffs on the market today. Along with a following of supporters as passionate about their boat as the family building them.

Harley Gheen Sr. was a senior designer with Bendix Launch Support Systems at the Kennedy Space Center in the late 1960’s. He spent his off time carving one-eighth-scale boat models and used the family bathtub as his test facility. Four years later Harley Gheen Sr. found his perfect design. Crossing the efficiency of the canoe with the stability of a wider beamed small boat, the Gheenoe was born.

Growing up in the Gheen family “Pugar” Gheen tended to be the family maverick. In 2003 Pugar took a side path and started Unlimited Glassworks, developing his line of Gheenoes including the LT 15, LT 25 and NMZ 15’ 4” (no motor zone).

Construction follows a tried and true method for cost efficient boats. Due to its shape the mold is two parts. The two mold halves are bolted together and then the construction process starts with a line of tape down the keel. This is simply prep for the next step. Gel Coat is applied then chopper glass is blown into the mold. Finally the false floor, decks, hatches and storage boxes are glassed into the finished boat. While the process may not be the latest and most hi-tech process it has a proven track record. Today combined with father Harley’s original Gheenoe brand there are approximately 45,000 boats emblazoned with the “Gheenoe” moniker according to Pugar.

I met up with Pugar early AM near Unlimited Glassworks test facility, the famous Indian River Lagoon in Titusville. In tow was a classic example of what the average customer purchased. The 2009 LT 25 “Standard” included only the most basic of essentials to fulfill a successful day on the water. Average package including trailer and motor is in the high $7000 range depending on customer build requirements.

The standard LT 25 included their front low deck, center storage box, rear seating and poling platform. Power was supplied by a new four stroke Tohatsu 15hp tiller outboard. This package along with safety gear, tackle box and rods would hit a top speed of 23.1 MPH WOT on an OEM aluminum 9 pitch three blade prop and two persons.

Designed mainly for streams, rivers, lakes and protected salt waters like marshes and lagoons. The LT 25 has very predictable handling characteristics. Though in tight turns the skiff will heal over on it’s side.  For folks who have never driven a skiff like this it might take a little while to get use to but once mastered the handling feels organic.

Stability is superb due to the hulls incorporation of the Harley Geen Sr.’s outrigger theory. The design was an answer to the inherent instability of canoes. Still it’s best to walk the keel line when moving about the boat.

Once up on the platform the skiff’s lightweight and relative shallow draft lent to a skiff that was easy to push. However would crab sideways and not track well in a light breeze. Spinning the boat from the poling platform was more work than I had hoped also. Instead of rotating on its axis it tended to slide while spinning. While easy to move it was hard to keep on tract and I worked harder than I had hoped. This was the only blemish I could find in an overall amazing package.

Popularity of the Gheenoe brand is undeniable. With boats plying the Alaskan waters halibut fishing or cruising through Belize, Chile and Japan Gheenoe has fans worldwide. A testament to their desire to build small, efficient, affordable boats without hyperbole.

Cheers,
Capt. Jan

Unlimited Glassworks
625 Childre Ave., Titusville, Fl 32796

phone: 321-269-9093

web site: customgheenoe.com
SPECIFICATIONS AS SUPPLIED BY MANUFACTURE

Specs:
BEAM – 56″
TRANSOM WIDTH – 44 & 41 1/2″
LENGTH – 16′
FREEBOARD TRANSOM – 16″
FREEBOARD CENTER – 11″
FREEBOARD BOW – 13″
DRAFT – 5″
MAX HP – 25
CAPASITY – 3
FUEL – Portable/Built In

MSRP: $7000 depending on build.

Fishing in the Keys, Diving, Yellow tail snapper, Bonefish, turtles

Sept 8th 2009

Spent the holiday weekend in the Keys.. Islemorada. The fishing was slow but we a manage a 12.5 bonefish which made the day. Had a tough time taking photos as it was raining on and off constantly or was poling while the action was unfolding. Moving around to get cameras etc while on the flats fishing for spooky bonefish is tough if you are  planning on catching any.

Today I drove down to big pine to do some snorkeling with Innerspace Dive Center. Very cool outfit .. easy going and friendly. We went about 4miles and was on Loo Key reef. Once I jumped in the water, life was teaming! Since I was just snorkeling my range was limited but there were plenty of life to go around.

The yellowtail snapper were all over me along with tons of other species I don’t know the name of. Parrot fish, nurse shark, grouper, mackerel, cudas. The captain threw in some food and they were all over it. If you wanted to you can hand feed these guys. Since Loo Key Reef is protected no fishing zone, the fish were very friendly.

The only uncool part of this trip was after the 3rd snorkel I got sea sick. Terrible feeling… puking all over the place..lol. Yep my breakfast was chumming up the water.

What to expect in Alaska in September.

Here is my attempt at writing a short to the point cliff notes version of what to expect in Alaska, if you do decide to take a trip there. Not that I’m a big expert in Alaska all of the sudden but I wanted to share my experience with those who wish to know. I took the trip with a friend of mine (Captain Brian Epperson) who was invited up there by one his client(Chuck), who happens to enjoy fishing in Alaska as well. I tagged along to take photos and share the experience with everyone.

We did not stay at any fancy $3500.00 a week lodge. We did not have our hands held and a guided tour every where we went. Not that it’s a bad thing, just that no one offered to foot the bill. Smiley

We just booked the ticket, look some stuff up on the internet, made a few phone calls and let the rest fall into places. Basically we planned on flying into Anchorage Alaska and head south to meet up with Chuck(the local) and spend a couple days fishing the famous Kenai river. Then head south to do some steel head fishing and halibut fishing in Homer Alaska.

Transportation

   The airfare was quite standard. We flew coach and the tickets were about $700.00. If we didn’t have any lay overs the flight time was about 11 hours. On our trip there we flew Tampa to Houston then to Anchorage. On the route back we flew through Minneapolis then to Tampa.
   
   The transportation once we got there couldn’t be any easier. The Alaska roads are very well maintain and looked mostly new. This time of year you don’t need anything but a regular car. We rented a medium compact which ran about $300 for the week we were there(Budget rental). The pathway from Anchorage to Homer which is about 230 miles away the roads were nicely paved and well marked. If you drive straight through it will take you about 5 1/2 hours as it is pretty winding and through a load of mountains. There are plenty to see while you’re driving as well. There are snow capped mountains, streams and lakes running along side the road ways. You will drive by many scenic over look. They are marked with a camera sign and has a nice pull over for safe parking.

Note: Gas in Alaska is about $3.50 which is $1 more than it is in Florida. Yes I know they pump a bunch of oil up there but I guess they don’t’ much refineries up there.

The Weather

   The weather for the time of year we were there were 35 degrees at night and about 50 to 60 during the day. It might sound cold but it’s actually pretty mild. The key is to dress in layers and once you get hot(yes you will get hot), you can just start taking layers off.

I recommend wearing mostly fleece. It’s very warm and dries quickly if you get it wet. Do NOT wear cotton. There’s a saying “Cotton Kills” for a reason. Cotton feels great until it gets wet. Cotton is very slow to dry and at times can ice up and form an ice jacket which is very very bad.

Communication

   Believe or not, Alaska these days,( at least for my Verizon phone,) I has great cell service. I was able to make and receive calls pretty much the entire time. The only time I did not get service was when we hike to the Russian River falls.

Food

   In Anchorage it is like any city. They have the standard stuff like Chilies, McDonald. If you’re like me I do my best to eat at the non franchise stuff. I try to eat at places that is unique to where I was traveling.

   I highly recommend Cafe Cups in Homer Alaska. That place was awesome. The Honey Habanero salad dressing was excellent. The seafood etouffe was phenomenal.

   I also had a chance to eat Caribou burgers, moose brats and Reindeer sausage links. This was not at a restaurant, Chuck’s buddy was kind enough to hook us up with some.

Accommodations

   There was not a shortage of places to stay in Alaska. It’s very much geared towards the outdoors man. There’s plenty of lodges and hotels along the way. Yes, sometimes it can be many miles between towns but once you are near one it not hard finding a place to stay. The first 2 nights we slept at the cooper’s landing campground. Being it was off season there wasn’t even a charge for camping.The campground had usable bathrooms, plenty of room for a fire pit and parking.

   The third and fourth night we stayed at Best Western in Homer Alaska for $89.00 with my triple A discount. This was a pleasant surprise. The rooms were clean and comfortable. The hot showers at the end of day was well worth it. The last day we stayed at Economy Suite in Anchorage. The place had plenty of room but seemed a bit run down. However for $65 it was a bargain. We checked a nice fancy hotel down the street and they wanted like $150 night. No thank you.

Outfitting

   If you forget your gear you won’t be missing out. In Anchorage there’s plenty of sportsman stores. In Anchorage, Sportsman’s warehouse is one of the bigger ones there along with Sports authority and of course Walmart.

   If you need gear outside of Anchorage have no fear. Pretty much all the hardware stores have fishing and hunting gear and they are pretty well stock. I mean the one we went to was better stock on fishing gear than Sports Authority in Florida. The Tru Value in Homer Alaska had waders, rods, reel, fly gear, offshore you name it.

Note: I will adding more  helpful information here and hope to get people planning on visiting a well rounded experience.

Dolphin Gator Mullets

Sept 4th 2009

Today I made the drive down to the Everglades National park again.. this time just to take some photos and HD video of tarpon crashing bait. I got there way too eary and the tide was not moving very much. I did see some tarpon and even jump one on a top water plug but for the most part activity has been down since a couple days ago.

I was by myself with no gps so I really didn’t do much exploring today. When activity died down I noticed a dolphin feeding on mullets in 1.5′ of water. I motored right up to him and he didn’t seem to mind at all. I took some HD video of the activity and a few photos. Well actually lots of photos as he never did stop. I followed him around for about 40minutes. It was pretty cool being so close to it all. Even a 7′ alligator showed up to see what all the activity was about. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an alligator and dolphin withing a few feet of each other in such shallow waters.

Photo notes: I got a few full frame shots but most of these has been cropped down.

Red fish, finning Tarpon with Captain Benny Blanco

Sept 3rd 2009

Yesterday I got up at 1pm to make the drive down south to fish Flamingo (Everglades National Park) with Captain Benny Blanco. We got there right around sun up to launch the boat and of corse the famous Flamingo mosquito were there waiting to drain our blood. We were, for a change.. Blessed with gorgeous nice calm day finally!

We hurried the process as much as possible they still got us. It wasn’t too bad but still it’s never is a pleasant experience. Benny ran the boat to our 1st tarpon spot. We expectted to find baby tarpon but this morning there we tons of big tarpon blowing up bait every where.

Benny and I hurried and rigged up as they were rolling all around us and eating everything in sight. Benny tied on a Rapala plug and I used my Sebile Stick Shad. If we made a good cast the plugs were inhaled by tarpon 40 to 80 lbs. This was great! However… us not expecting to run into this kind of action only had 10-15lb braid. We got our ass kicked pretty much on every hook up. I think the number was 10 big tarpon jumped, all on plugs and zero landed.(yes we lost a few plugs… it was painful$ but  it was worth it jumping big fish on plugs..)

The bite subsided after the sun was up and bright the tarpon stopped rolling and moved on. Benny ran to much shallower area and we immediately started to see tailing red fish. They were tailing all around us.. most singles and doubles and they were feeding in like 1′ of water. Benny and I used the Flapping shad and Berkley Gulp rigged weedless and landed 5 nice redfish before that bite ended.

We moved over to find big snook. While I was tying up Benny hooks up to huge snook on the Flapping shad in a foot of water but his 10lb braid for whatever reason snapped.! After that we spooked a few more fish but got no eat.

Since I’ve been up since 1am.. I took a 15minute nap on the bow while Benny sight fish from the poling platform as I rested. I hear thrashing and awoke to see Benny with another large redfish. This woke me up with more energy immediately. We spotted a large finning fish in the near distance. It was a large 70lb tarpon in less than 2′ of water.
I took a couple of photos and grabbed the spinning rod(I knew it was no match if I hooked it) and made a few cast but he was in no mode to eat my flapping shad.

We ended the day about 3pm as the bite slows the afternoon rain was approaching. I will never for get the Tarpon bite was had that morning. It had to be the best artificial big Tarpon bite I’ve ever been on. Thanks Benny.. you’re one hard working guide!

Big 70lb class Tarpon in less than 2′ of water. I don’t see much of this in Tampa..very cool!

Sebile Soft Plastics catches a Tarpon with Captain Jay Withers

Sept 1st 2009

Today I was up at 4am to make the drive down south to meet with Captain Jay Withers and Capt. Justin Cauffman. Both these guys areon the team Sebile Lures and wanted to catch some fish on the the new lures this year.

We were going after Tarpon on artifcials. We had a slow bite with Jay missing a bite near the boat on the stick shad. A couple hours go by and all we caught were lady fish and catfish as the Tarpon were not very agressive today.

After a move Jay hooks a nice fish on the Stick Shad Hallow soft plastic.(not available yet). After some nice photos he hooks another one on the Soft Plastic Magic Swimmer(also not available yet), but after one jump the fish came off. The fish were rolling all around but we just could by another bite. We headed in about lunch time and called it a successful day.

I have to be up at 1am to make another early trip in the morning so I’m heading to bed. If all goes well I should get some really cool photos the next couple days.