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Jose Chavez

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13 Fishing Concept C Field Test

I recently managed to get my hands on 13 Fishing’s new Concept C baitcasting reel … it made on heck of a first impression.  

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The reel is sleek and very comfortable to palm.  The cork handles are large and very comfortable to grip.   Like everything else in their product line, it is obvious that a great deal of time and effort was put into maximizing comfort and ergonomics when designing the concept c.

The reel sits very low and close to the blank which makes it very easy to palm

The reel sits very low and close to the blank which makes it very easy to palm

 

Large septon style cork grips are very comfortable

Large septon style cork grips are very comfortable

Another aspect of the reel that jumps out at you when it is in your hand is that it is very light, weighing only 6.1 ounces.  Despite being light, the reel does not have a cheap and plastic feel.  After a couple turns of the handle, it is apparent that this reel has a very solid and well connected feel.  There is also no perceivable play in the system, when the handle moves, line is instantly picked up.

I tried casting a variety of lures, from plastics to plugs.  With only a couple adjustments of the centrifugal brakes, the Concept C casted everything I tried with ease.

 

I knew the Concept line of reels is rated for 22lbs of drag and I was anxious to spend some time with it on the water for a real world test.

I know most saltwater anglers, especially those in florida equate baitcasting reels with bass fishing and believe that baitcasters have no place in the saltwater world after the introduction of braided lines.  I would agree with them that for many situations on the flats, a spinning  reel is hard to beat; but I still believe that there are a few situations in saltwater where a baitcaster is a better tool…given that the angler can proficiently use one.   One of these scenarios is when pitching baits in tight quarters where I need to use heavier lines and need stopping power.  And that is why I chose back-country snook fishing as the real world test for the Concept C.

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It only took a couple of hours on the water before I hooked up to a snook that would really put this reel to the test.  One of the things I have noticed in some of the lighter reels I own is that their frame will flex when the drag is tight and I am engaged with a big fish.  This was not the case with the Concept.  Its aluminum frame kept the reel feeling solid as a rock the entire time.  I had the drag tightened down to pull the fish out of cover as it is important to create as much distance as possible between the snook and structure when you first hook up, especially in heavy cover.  The drag worked flawlessly, even though it was set pretty tight; when snook surged, it smootly ceded line avoiding a break off.

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Overall I am very impressed with this reel.  I currently own a couple other reels that are 100-200 dollars more expensive than the Concept, but they are heavier and do not come even close to having the fish stopping power.

I give the Concept a snookthumb up in my book.

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T-Bone Bed Extender

If you own a truck and kayak fish, chances are that you use a bed extender.  I have opted for a bed extender for years because it makes loading and unloading very simple.  One of my frustrations about bed extenders is that I have to replace them every 2 or so years because they either rust through or break when they bottom out while pulling into a driveway.  Fortunately it looks like the guys at Boone Dox have finally provided kayakers with a solution that should put an end to rust through’s and driveway bottom outs:  The T-Bone.

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The T-Bone is like no other bed extender on the market.  For one, it is aluminum powder coated which means it won’t rust.  It’s ergonomic design curves away from the road, eliminating the possibility of bottoming out on driveways or when going up steep inclines.  It is very compact when it comes to storage, the extender slides into itself requiring about half the storage space of a traditional extender.  It is very light weight at 15 lbs (~less than half the weight of other extenders), but it is still very strong.

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At 189.99, some might think its a bit pricey, but for the last bed extender you will ever have to buy, its a bargain considering most other bed extenders cost between $70-$140, especially since they only last a couple of years.

To recap the benefits:

  • Does not rust
  • Will not bottom out on driveways or on other steep gradients
  • Strong Construction
  • Light Weight (~15 lbs)
  • Smaller foot print

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I bought mine from Economy Tackle/Dolphin Dive in Sarasota, but you can find them at the following locations in Florida:

Inshore Kayak Mothership Trip with JMSnookyKayakCharters.com

Kayak mothership trip… the words can evoke a variety of emotions and feelings depending on your views of kayak fishing.  Some view it as a waste of time, regressing to a primitive form of fishing especially when a boat is available, but this could not be any further from the truth.

Just to provide a little background:  Kayak fishing offers anglers an incredible degree of stealth on the flats,  enabling them to sneak up on fish that never knew they were there thus making it possible to get fish highly pressured, lock-jawed fish to eat when at times they seem to not want anything.  It also makes it easier to keep the bite going when you find a school of fish because you are able to pull a few more fish out of the school without disrupting and alerting them of your presence.   Additionally, it provides anglers a great amount of independence because they are not bound to the same craft as other anglers.  Each kayaker is able to fish a flat independently of each other without overwhelming the flat and shutting down the bite.

Like anything in life, this choice has its tradeoffs.  Typically when you kayak fish an area you are committing to that area, good or bad, you are there.  The good news is that the small footprint left by the craft should keep the fish present relaxed and eating, the bad news is if there are no fish there, then it will require a significant amount of time and effort to relocate.  Mothershiping kayaks on a boat allows anglers to make big moves if fish are not present and explore areas that are too far of a paddle for a day of fishing and fish the area you can never get to.

That being said, you can imagine that we were all excited when Jason Stock, Cameron Schurlnight, Mike Torregrossa, and I got together for a mothership trip on Jason’s 26ft Hanson bay boat.   Jason is starting to offer mothership trips as part of his charter business and wanted us to come along to use us as guinea pigs to work out the logistics.   Thankfully there was not much to figure out because the Hanson is a perfect boat for carrying kayaks.

 

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All of our equipment fit nicely and we had plenty of storage to spare

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Now this is where the mothership really paid off because it was only a few minutes boat ride to get to areas that would not be practical to paddle to in a day trip.

 

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 Mike and Cameron roughed it out on the bean bag

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When we arrived near the flat we wanted to fish, we used the trolling motor to ease our way in closer.

 

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Unfortunately, the first location we checked out was a bust, so we tethered the kayaks together and towed them behind the boat to the next location.


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This time, we were on the fish.

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Turned out to be a fantastic trip that I can’t wait to do again.

If anyone is interested in more information on how go on a similar trip, contact Capt. Jason Stock on his website jmsnookykayakcharters.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Fishing Envy Rod Review

13 fishing Envy 7’3″

Medium Heavy power
Extra Fast Action
Lure wt. 3/8- 3/4 oz
Line wt. 8-14 lb

Retail: $250

 

13 fishing’s Envy line of rods is the companies highest offering in their product line.  Priced at $250 dollars, it breaks into a category where refinement and attention to detail is expected, and 13 fishing does not fall short in any way.  The rod has every bit the appearance of a Japan Domestic Market (JDM) rod well above its price point.   The rod is equipped with a downlocking  real seat that is very comfortable to hold and leaves no exposed threads to the touch.  I tested the reel seat on a variety of reels (Shimano Stella 4000 FE, Daiwa Ballistic 3000, Quantum EXO 30) and all reels fit securely. The rod handle is built with a combination of cork and EVA foam.  This combination was quite pleasing to the touch.  The cork did have some signs of pitting after a couple months use, but still felt like quality cork, perhaps not the highest grade but still one that would be acceptable for a rod at this price point.

The rod handle is garnished with various winding checks and carbon scrim accents that add to the aesthetics of the rod.

The hook keeper is located on the top of the rod, opposite to the guides of a spinning rod.  The hook keeper held baits well and did not get in the way while fishing.

The rod has a split grip and the butt of the rod is made out of EVA with a couple different winding check accents to add to its visual appeal.

 

 

The thread work and epoxy is very clean on this rod.  The guides used are black recoil guides finished with a titanium tip.   While more elaborate thread work could be possible, overall, the workmanship is of very high quality.

 

I was not able to weigh the rod to see how heavy it is, I can say that it is a  light weight rod.  It is not the lightest rod out there, but it being heavy is not something that comes to mind when holding it and it kept fatigue at a minimum while spending the day throwing lures on the water.

Now to the real world tests…

I tested this rod over a couple of months in brackish water targeting bass.  The rod performed well when casting baits in the  3/8- 3/4 oz range that it is rated for.  I first started using this rod to throw jigs into heavy cover that was submerged at a depth of about 10-20 ft.  The rod proved to be very responsive and sensitive and was able to tackle resident bass out of the structure with ease.  While fishing, we occasionally bumped into snook which proved to be a greater test for the rods power.  Again the rod performed well and we were able to pull the fish out of cover.

On a different occasion we found some fish concentrated in deep underwater structure that were readily eating plugs.  While not ideal for this application due to its extra fast taper, the rod still performed well and was able to pull the fish out of structure.  Although we did loose a few fish to “short” strikes and fish going airborne and throwing the plugs.  This would be a problem mittigated by using a model with a more moderate action than this extra fast stick.

Perhaps my favorite application for this rod is throwing large frogs into lily pads and brush using 20lb braid. The rod proved to be excellent at casting frogs and even more so at pulling them away from trouble.

Overall, the Envy line of rods does its name justice because its “JDM like” styling is sure to turn some heads.  That coupled with good performance and many features will make this rod a contender in the industry.

 

Sailing the revolution 13

I recently took my wife out sailing in Ft. DeSoto.  She had never sailed before and was excited to hear my feedback of just how nice it was to sail now that I had the Hobie sidekicks installed on the kayak.  I had sailed a few times without the sidekicks and it worked just fine.  The only downside is that every time there was a strong gust I would have to quickly lean in the opposite direction to avoid getting blown over.  The sidekick totally eliminates the need to balance yourself to avoid ending up in the water.

Now that I had the sidekick rigged, I felt comfortable hitting the water with my wife on a windy day to let her try it out.  She has not had any major sailing experience.  Thankfully the setup on the revo very intuitive and easy to use.  It only took a couple of instructions on the beach and within a minute, she had it down and sailing away.

The only downside to letting her use the sail is that I never get to use it anymore.  I am saving up for a second sail and set of sidekicks so we can make the most out windy days where fishing would be difficult.  It is really nice to be able to spend some time with her on the water.  Typically I have a really hard time just going kayaking and not fishing but early mornings and fishing are not really my wifes favorite activity.  Sailing on the other hand is a great activity we both enjoy doing and for once I am actually not disappointed when there is windy day.

Here is the video:

 

Fishing in the Bohemian

I met up with Richard and Chris for a quick trip on the Bohemian.  We hit the backcountry to hide from the wind and managed a few small fish to complete a slow morning on the water.

Even though fishing was slow, I had a great time and was very impressed with how well this boat performs and poles.

Hard Core Kayak Angler’s 2012 Tournament Series Presented by Hobie Kayaks

 

Tampa, Florida – February 23rd 2012 – The Hard Core Kayak Anglers Club, one of the largest Clubs in West Central Florida, has announced the dates for the five events of their third annual tournament series which will take place in a variety of locations along the West Coast of Florida. The series aims at promoting the sport of kayak fishing and conservation through its catch, photo, and release format with 100% of the $20 entry fee paid out to the event and series winners.

 

Hobie Fishing, the series title sponsor, will award the Series Angler of the Year with the top prize: A Hobie Revolution 13. In addition to a kayak, the Series Angler of the Year will be awarded a trophy and cash prize. Second place Angler of the Year will walk away with a trophy, and a HOOK1 Slam Pack (Est. $500 value) a consisting of a variety of products carried by HOOK1 KayakFishingGear.com, the web’s one stop kayak fishing resource to kayak angler’s world-wide. Third place angler of the year will awarded a YakAttack Slam Pack (Est. $500 value) consisting of a variety of YakAttack’s industry leading accessories for the kayak fisherman in addition to a trophy.

 

 

Individual events will pay out cash prizes to first, second, and third place determined by the largest slam. Each event will pay out 100% of the entry fee’s collected with collected with 50% for first place, 30% for second place, and 20% for third place and sponsor donated contingency prizes will be awarded to the largest redfish, snook, and trout.

Other event sponsors prizes and gift-cards include: Wang Anchor, Aqua-Bound Paddles, O’brien’s Irish Pub, Aqua-Dream Living Spoons, Pro-Cure Scents, Aquateko, Crank-Bait-Coverups, Skinny Water Culture, Breathe like a Fish, Action Watersports, Economy Tackle, Canoe Country Outfitters, Masthead Enterprises, and Dogfish Bait and Tackle.

Event dates and locations:
Event #1 – March 24, 2012 – South Shore of Tampa Bay
Event #2 – April 28, 2012 – Weedon Island and Upper Tampa Bay
Event #3 – September 15, 2012 – South of the Skyway
Event #4 – October 13, 2012 – St. Joseph Sound and Northern Counties
Event #5 – November 10, 2012 South Shore of Tampa Bay

To sign up and for more information regarding the event, please visit http://hckac.freeforums.org/hckaclub-tournaments-f17.html

 

VisiCarbon Pro Review by Rob Appleby

I’ve had my kayak for over four years now and it’s been suitably modified from day one. One of the first modifications I fitted was a stern light powered from a 12v SLA battery mounted within the kayak. The majority of my fishing tends to either be at night or from day into night.

It’s a legal requirement for a kayak to be fitted with a fixed white light that provides 360 degree light and is visible for 2 miles whilst navigating/anchored at night. At that time there was very little available within the UK with regards to kayak lighting, little has changed to be honest. The Scotty light springs to mind, though to be honest its performance left a lot to be desired. I ended up fitting a detachable light designed for small boats and yachts with an uprated LED light.

A few weeks ago I read a couple of online articles where a new kayak light was mentioned, namely the VISICarbon Pro manufactured by YakAttack in the USA. Normally I’ve read any available reviews in advance of handling new tackle and equipment, though in this instance I hadn’t, hence I had no pre-conceived opinions. The unit arrived quickly and was neatly packaged, also enclosed was a RAM mounting kit.

With the unit out of the packaging it was time to have a close look. There was the light assembly, flag, product guide/instructions and a YakAttack sticker, though what really impressed me was the presence of a credit card sized customer service card with full contact details. That wasn’t something I’d really across before, nice touch.

Construction


The light assembly is a four piece affair, the lower three sections are of a similar length with the final section being the light itself.

The lowest section is similar is design to a rod butt, foam covered and approximately 1 3/4” in diameter. The design of the lower section allows the VISICarbon Pro to be fitted to most ‘rocket’ type rod holders. At the base of this particular model (CP2) is a 1.5” ball which also allows it to be mounted to a 1.5” RAM ball (Kit RM2 required).

A Scotty ready model (CP1) is also available with a Tallon flush mount. The lower section will also fit to many standard flush mount rod holders.

Above the lowest section is an elastic lanyard that serves two purposes. It allows the unit to be secured to the kayak to prevent loss should the kayak capsize or the unit be inadvertently dropped overboard. Secondly, with the unit collapsed it can be used to bind the unit together keeping it compact, it also aids stowage.
The centre two sections of the VISICarbon Pro are of carbon construction, similar to what you’d find at the lower end of a light spinning rod. The finish is good and there are a couple of graphics to compliment the appearance. The narrow diameter will keep the drag effects of wind to a minimum. The upper section is the light itself, more on that later.
What have the four sections got in common?, well, they’re all connected with an elastic shock cord that passes from the lower ‘butt’ section to the light, passing through the two middle sections.

The cord is under tension and allows the sections to either be quickly locked into place, or to be broken down into a compact size for easy storage. The principle is the same a used on many lightweight tent poles, though applying it to the light was most intuitive. When snapped together the unit is 48” long which when mounted vertically will comfortably put the light above head height.

Stowage, this is where yet again the unit proves to be most innovative. The red flag, which measures 18” x 6”, also doubles up as a stowage pouch.

There is a opening at one end, secured with Velcro, this allows the collapsed unit to be slipped inside and secured.

In this configuration the unit is very compact (14” long) and can be stored within a rear mounted crate or large centre hatch/rod pod with ease. It also fits into my dry box which is just perfect. As a result you can take the light afloat and fit it as required. It also allows the unit to be removed and stowed prior to a potentially difficult surf landing.

Getting back to the flag, attaching the flag is simplicity itself. The VISICarbon Pro uses ‘Silent Snaps’ to allow the flag to be attached to the light in seconds, it really is that simple. The ‘Silent Snap’ system comprises of two small elastic loops with a plastic tab on each. Pulling on a tab allows one end of the flag to be inserted.

The process is repeated on the other end resulting in the flag being securely attached to the light.

It’s very secure, the flag will not blow off and it’d happily survive a capsize. That being said, I’m not going to put the last statement to the test anytime soon!
That leaves the light itself.

The light unit has been custom made for the VISICarbon Pro and sports of section of reflective SOLAS tape with high visibility orange tape positioned at either side. The tapered clear lens houses the LED module. As standard it comes with a two LED module, though additional modules can be purchased to enable this to be changed to either a one or four LED module. Clearly this will vary the light output and battery life as a result. Again, this is an option I’ve not seen made available on any other kayak light.

There’s no on/off switch, operating the light requires a simple twist of the clear lens in order to make the internal contact. It’s simplicity in itself and by removing a mechanical switch it has removed a potential point of failure. The clear lens is removed by unscrewing it from the light unit.
The lens itself contains a twisted diffuser to provide enhanced 360 degree light coverage. Two O-ring seals are present at the top of the light unit, neither of which are likely to fall off whilst changing batteries/LED modules. The LED module lifts out to expose three AA batteries housed within the unit.
These are easily removed and replaced as required.

Performance
YakAttack claim a battery life of approximately 100 hours with the 2 LED module. Clearly this would be dependent on ambient temperature as I’m assuming those figures were attained at room temperature. However, even if battery life was far less than quoted it’s still very impressive and would easily last several trips before replacement was required.

The light output itself is impressive for a two LED system. It wouldn’t be fair to compare it to my current light as that utilises an 18 LED (21W equivalent) bulb, though it’s certainly very useable and will easily surpass the UK requirement of being visible for two miles. There is the facility to slide the flag over the light to reduce light output. Whilst this may not be particularly legal or advisable in open water situations, it may be prove useful when fishing close to structure to avoid spooking fish.

The light unit is claimed to be waterproof to 1000 feet. I kept it fully submerged in the sink for one hour and the initial results were encouraging with no water penetrating the light unit.

The VisiCarbon also floats, trust me, I’ve tested it!
So is it value for money?. Well it’s certainly not cheap, though I’m a big believer that you generally get what you pay for in this world, and I certainly believe that this light is no exception.
Clearly, an awful lot of thought has gone into its design. What with its collapsible mast, multi-purpose flag, multiple lighting/mounting options and excellent battery life it’s well ahead of the competition. Though that’s not all, it has full spares backup where virtually every part can be purchased individually direct from YakAttack.
Conclusion
In my opinion the VISICarbon Pro is a high quality innovative kayak light that’s well ahead of the competition. Sure it’s not cheap, though with its superb functionality and unrivalled product support it should last many years with the correct care.

A good day of redfishing and testing out the Hobie Sail

I had a great day on the water with Matt, Chris, and Timmy.  One of the things I really love about fishing is that the learning experience never seems to end… I learned something new about a place that I felt I had pretty dialed in.

It took 3 hours of pushpoling the flat to figure out what these fish were up to but in the end my efforts paid off. 11 reds for the day, I sighcasted 10 of them.


This little guy was the epiphany fish… The day was looking grim, even thinking I might get skunked. I am so glad I snagged im in the face.

 


#8 of the day. A super fat 25 inch red.

 


The fatty of the day in the 32-33 inch range. He was busting a school of mullet. Hooked his big brother later which ate my plastic only a few feet in front of me, unfortunately the hook pulled. I am going to start hammering them when I set the hook from now on, I was very disappointing to have lost that last fish.

 


I also brought out the sail for the first time and man, what a difference it made. A usually fatiguing peddle turned out to be quite pleasant. I will be putting this sail to work much more often. I am really disapointed I let it collect dust for months.

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