Showing posts from 2014

Chasing fish on Black Friday while I initiate my $250 kayak

While most of the country was chasing deals on Black Friday I was chasing fish.

For a couple years now, Washington state has closed a handful of lakes the week of Thanksgiving and stocked them with larger trout. The lakes and ponds open on Black Friday providing a chance to skip the shopping crowds and catch some fish.

I was looking forward to the day because if offered the chance to catch some nice trout while initiating my $250 fly fishing kayak.

My destination was Kress Lake outside Kalama. There were a couple small lakes close to Portland but because I had never fished Kress, I decided it would be a perfect location to spend a couple hours while testing my latest kayak project.

I woke up a little later than expected and drank my coffee while watching the rain poor down. Oh well, I thought to myself, it was the Northwest and I had everything to stay dry. Besides, the rain may reduce the number of anglers on the water.

I loaded up the kayak and within 90 minutes was on the lake. Wit…

Having fun with the Klamath Country Fly Casters

October found me down in Klamath Falls, Oregon for a few days with the Klamath Country Fly Casters. This long-established fishing group invited me to talk about kayak fly fishing and offered a few incentives to get me to drive 5 hours for a couple days of fishing.

The invitation came from the group's president Dale Zemke. Dale is a kayak fly angler who has roots south of the Oregon border and has fished with the great Jim Sammons, a pioneer in kayak fishing.

Dale contacted me in February and plans were made for a three-day trip that included a presentation to the group and some fishing on the Williamson River. The Williamson is a storied river and since I had never fished it, I jumped at the offer.

I looked forward to the trip for more than a month and found myself researching flies and fine-tuning my presentation. The day finally arrived and I left Portland in the first rainstorm of the season. On the way down, I stopped in at Odell Lake to fish for Kokanee. The wind and rain cu…

One "willy" big bass and the first on the AOTY board

Okay, the headline is bad, but the fish was big.

A recent trip on the Willamette River near West Linn Oregon netted a nice smallmouth bass. The trip was a first for me in the kayak in these waters. I have fished them several times for coho in one of my many previous boats but never the kayak. An added bonus for the day was taking nephew Travis out for his first kayak trip in a Hobie.

The weather was great with little wind and warm temperatures. We took out early in order to have time on the kayaks without the powerboats. Since this was expected to be the last weekend of the summer with temps in the 90s, I was certain we would see several boats. 
It took us little time to gear up the kayaks and we were underway by 8 a.m. We crossed the river and I started fishing close to the shore while Travis started snapping photos with his iPhone. 
It didn't take long to get into a bass and I quickly brought in an 8-inch smallmouth. I showed it off to the camera and started back at it. I was t…

Back to my roots and building a kayak on a budget

Moving into our new home has meant change. Mostly good with new remodeling challenges, more space and the joy of living with big trees. The new home also meant returning to a tighter budget.

My family spent 10 years getting our previous house fixed up allowing me more time and money to spend on fishing. Since I spent most of the money from the sale of my aluminum fishing sled, I have to returned to a limited budget until we get through the big house projects.

The challenge reminded me how I started out with my Old Town Otter and seeing how I could make it into a fishing kayak. Because I traded one of my kayaks for some work on the new house, I was in the need of a fourth kayak so we could take friends out on the water. I decided this was the perfect reason to create a video series on building a budget fly fishing kayak. The series would also be a nod to other kayak anglers, like Zoffinger, sharing their tips on fishing kayaks.

My goal was to spend as little as possible to build a qua…

Here they come - the kings!

This year promises a record run of salmon on the Columbia River. Follow the record sockeye run earlier this summer, more than a million chinook salmon are expected to make the journey inland to spawn and die and hopefully create a new record run.

According reports, the majority of fish are headed for the Hanford reach and Idaho tributaries. Although the Columbia may be experiencing good chinook runs, our neighbors in Alaska are not, at least the late run Kenai salmon.

In preparation for the run, I picked up a new 10-weight fly rod, floating line and a reel (all for less than $150) that I am hoping to test on a strong chinook. And I want to catch it while standing up on the Hobie PA14. I figure I have about three weeks to accomplish this and I hope to a have successful report soon.

Stay tuned for more.

Out and about and dreaming of Hawaii

This year my spring fishing was severely limited as my family moved from the house we spent 10 years fixing up to a house will are likely to spend 5 years fixing up.

In addition to the move, the house has proved a bigger project than anticipated and so far we have removed wallpaper in nearly every room, painted nearly every room, repaired ceiling tiles and drywall... Ok you get the point.

With the majority of projects completed, we are starting to get out and back to our normal life. Recently, this included meeting a number of people from Maui Visitor's bureau. In a speed-dating style event, I met representatives from Maui as well the neighboring islands.

I had about 5 minutes with each person to learn more about their resort or activity and tell them about what I do. Because I had been to Maui before, I was familiar with the Island. I had even kayak fished off the island, although it was in January and not the best time for kayak fishing.

Most of the folks very curious about kayak…

Yes you can spey cast on a Hobie Pro Angler

Sunshine and the threat of drought do not make an ideal winter day in the Pacific Northwest. But, it was all we had to work with on my latest kayak adventure. The trip was slated for a Sunday in mid January and the clear skies and lack of rain had the Clackamas River running at summer levels in both volume and clarity.

Michael Rischer and I pushed our Hobie Pro Anglers into the clear water and headed downstream in search of winter steelhead. My goal was to see how well the kayak handled in the river and see if I could accomplish my next major goal - spey casting from a kayak.

The first riffle was simple and fast and after floating through a calm stretch at the end of the riffle, we headed into a more complicated chute that caused anxiety in the approach and endorphins at the exit. It may not have been major whitewater, but it did prove the PA could handle some rough water. The next couple river miles proved fairly easy and fun and the PA continued to prove its stability and comfort.


Kayaks - the most versatile boat

In December 2013, I realized that the most versatile boat was not made of metal, wood or fiberglass. No, the most versatile boat was made of plastic (and fiberglass, but mostly plastic).

I started this post because of a recent kayak trip down the Clackamas River in my Hobie Outback. It was the second to last test in determining if I had made the right decision is selling my sled and have my only boats be kayaks.

My boat obsession started with a 12-foot Klamath Fishmaster I picked up for $200. A lifelong fly angler, my fishing exploits changed with the arrival of my son. I knew a different approach was needed and with a limited budget I took a chance with the $200.

I refurbished the boat, sold it, bought another and continued this upgrading process in order to minimize the impact on the household budget. Neither my son, nor my wife, truly enjoyed being in the boats so I made a selfish goal to work my way up to a jet sled. I reached that goal within four years when I got a screaming dea…