Category Archives: How To

In Fall Edition of Kayak Angler Magazine – Trophy Hunters

A few weeks ago, I received a surprise message.  The inquiry was from none other than Ric Burnley, Editor of Kayak Angler Magazine and author of the book “The Complete Kayak Fisherman”, asking if I’d answer some questions for an upcoming article on trophy hunting for fish species.  First, I’d like to say thank you to whomever nominated me for the feature.  Second and reason for surprise is, although I’ve caught some nice fish species on the fly, there are many of you out there who I find myself envious of who land some ridiculously mean and large fish on a regular basis!  So to have my name thrown in for consideration of this feature…well, I’m honored.

Kayak Angler Magazine selected five anglers for the feature, including Brian Cadoret and Tom Fucini from the New England region, Kerry Flowers from the country of New Zealand, Josh Dolin from Virginia, and yours truly.  We share our view on what defines a trophy catch, toughest accomplishment, our favorite fish story, some advice, how we celebrate, and what we seek to catch in the future.  There’s some other great content in this edition too including Ben Duchesney’s account of a challenging trip on water in the Adirondack Mountains, so pick yourself up a copy and get your read on!

You can find the 2016 fall edition of Kayak Angler Magazine on newsstands and in kayak shops around North America, or buy a subscription online!

kayak angler mag fall 2016

 

Kayak Cockpit Rod Storage in Jackson Kilroy

1-Rod Ready to Go_300

When floating rivers in a drift boat upon first learning to fly fish, one of the very useful aspects  I liked in that type of watercraft was a rod storage system with secured tip protection.  One of the most important features to a fly angler fishing in a kayak is a clean layout where everything has its place, not imposing on fly line management.

Normally, I carry two or three fly rods rigged up with different scenarios for reducing time spent changing out flies.  Carrying multiple rods maximizes the number of casts to fish while on water.  Getting a little older, my shoulders remind me they don’t like reaching 180 degrees behind seat to release a rod from atop a milk crate.  When shopping for a new kayak a year ago, the Jackson Kilroy’s very efficient rod stowage system intrigued me.  This system, designed much like what I’m used to in a drift boat, allows the angler to store up to four rods along the inside left and right cockpit hull walls, where the rod tips are also stowed securely.

Rod stowage secured along side seat (image taken from rear of kayak)

Rod stowage secured along side seat (image taken from rear of kayak)

Rod tip stows securely inside hull of kayak

Rod tip stows securely inside front hull of kayak

Upon viewing the system for the first time, I was suspect as to whether extracting the rods could feasibly be accomplished while fishing.  Yet I found that when the seat is in the highest position, which I prefer, the rear bungy location can easily be reached without twisting torso, and stress on my shoulder is no more due to the low position of fly rod in storage.  Sliding the rod tip out of the protective sleeve is also a smooth operation.

But I normally like to have one extra rod where I can change out in a matter of seconds very quietly, and as of late hadn’t yet found a solution for this additional need, even in the Kilroy.  As an engineer, I prefer simple solutions to problems.  Taking a little closer look to the options on the current design of the Kilroy this past week while fishing, I realized by simply utilizing the forward bungy strap location of the existing stowage system, the fly rod could be secured backwards!  Securing the rod in this position enabled me quick access to the rod, set a low profile angle for stealth compared to using a rod holder positioned on a milk crate or on top of the kayak, and reduced risk of tip getting caught up in forage behind the kayak due to minimal tip length projecting beyond stern.  Problem solved!

Using the front bungy location of cockpit stowage system to position the rod backwards for quick access.

Using the front bungy location of cockpit stowage system to position the rod backwards for quick access.

The next question that came to mind is whether to use the top or bottom position when carrying another rod on same wall.  Testing with another rod in stowage, I found the rod positioned rearward tucks nicely in behind one positioned in the design intended forward direction when bungied in on top.  When trying the bottom bungy position of the rearward facing rod, the reel protruded into the cockpit, reducing foot room.  Therefore, I recommend utilizing the top position for most efficiently storing the quick access rod in rearward orientation.  Removing the reel from behind the additional rod when needed was a snap.

5-Rod Sleeves Reel_300

I’m really excited to stumble upon such a practical way to utilize an existing feature on the Jackson Kilroy for an additional purpose.  This alternative way to stow a quick use rod will free up space elsewhere for other functions, and make the fishing experience a simpler one that my shoulders will thank me for later!  Are there multi-use features on your kayak?  I’ll bet there are utilities there just waiting for your discovery.

Rear of kayak shown:  Fly rod positioned rearward, using front bungy position within hull just forward of seat.

Rear of kayak shown: Fly rod positioned rearward, using front bungy position within hull just forward of seat.

 

MJ OluKai_300

Copyright 2016 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved

Installing a Kayak Anchor Trolley System

Trolley Assy 300Over the years I’ve learned that an easy to use and quiet anchor system is key to successfully closing the deal on an approach to feeding fish or settling into position for searching a potential spot.  It’s difficult to beat an anchor trolley system as it provides options for a stake out pole or anchor on a line.  The system made by Hobie provides all working parts including the screws and washers.  The installation takes about an hour and a half.

Supplies 300The directions are easy to follow, right down to drill bit size for holes.  Drill as few holes as possible through the hull of your kayak, but when doing so adds value like this assembly does make sure and squeeze silicone into the holes of the pulley bracket and onto the screw shaft for good measure.

Silicone 300There’s different philosophies of how far forward to assemble the front pulley bracket, but I put mine about 24″ from the tip of bow although the instructions advise twelve inches.  However, I do follow directions on assembling the rear pulley twelve inches from stern.  With assembling the front pulley farther aft, I can be assured the anchor rope will be underneath surface of water before plane of the nose so I don’t clip the line with my fly or line when retrieving from a cast.

The other day I fished with Jackson Kayak Pro-Staffer Justin Seiffert.  He recommends installing the front pulley at the mid-kayak/cockpit region.  The reasoning behind this, according to Justin, is to minimize the risk of a fish getting caught in the line when fighting anywhere out in front of the angler’s seating position.  Another idea that Johnson Outdoors Pro-Staffer Blake Walters utilizes is an anchor and rope that is coiled onto a floating buoy.  Blake disengages the buoy assembly from the trolley ring when he catches a fish.  This is a great idea for the angler who wants to drift away from the risk of being wrapped up in an anchor line while fighting a fish, and then able to re-unite with the anchor by visibly locating the small buoy.

Screw in Trolley Pulley 300Once the pulleys are in place, thread the line back through the pulleys to required length for your kayak.  It will be important to tighten the rope prior to securing onto pulley system, as it will stretch a little over time.

Trolley Up Close 300The anchor rope will feed through the trolley ring and you can store the excess rope underneath, beside seat, or in a netted pocket if available.  I prefer to use an 8 lb polymer coated dumbbell as an anchor.  A metal claw anchor works well, but they make a lot of noise inside the kayak and as they hit the floor of the water column, they become great conservation tools (scaring fish away)!  It should be noted that I don’t recommend using an anchor if fishing big open water or flowing rivers for safety reasons.  In the case of expansive open water, large swells can lift and then flip the kayak if an anchor is deployed, making for a bad day.

Anchor 300A cleat is a nice addition to secure the rope for easy operation of maintaining anchor depth or quick release when retracting line.

Cleat 300

If there’s one accessory that will increase enjoyment of kayak fishing, it’s adding an anchor trolley.  The Hobie anchor trolley system is easy to install and a feature of your kayak that will be used often.  Check it out at your local kayak dealership!

 Copyright 2015 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved

Tri Narrow Logo 300

Similar Fly Fishing Tactics Catch Speckled Trout & Bass

Approaching quiet water on a warm and muggy Gulf Coast morning, early risers in brackish backwater are slashing at pogies.  Instead of observing the aggressive behaviour of bass feeding near and on top, I overcomplicate the strategy and focus on baitfish skipping for their lives.  After an hour of failed attempts with minnow fly patterns, I switch over to a topwater foam fly.  By the third cast, the line is tight with the first of several small to medium-sized bass.

Bass on PopperFast forward six weeks to a 40F cold November morning.  The water is silent.  No sign of fish feeding.  The anticipation isn’t quite as high, but I know bass are close by, and maybe even a salty species since I spied blue crab on the feed in shallows the day before.  Topwater and dry flies are my favorite method to catch fish, and since dawn is breaking, and the water I am fishing is relatively protected, I tie on a bass popper fly.

Popper

Bass popper fly chewed on by saltwater speckled trout

The fish seem almost sleepy, but as the sun rises the water slowly comes to life.  The first sign of activity is the increasing frequency of nervous minnows rippling the surface.  Then as it often happens, I’m distracted from my current retrieval pattern while scanning the water for the next cast.  GULP..tight line…then it goes limp.  It’s one of those mornings when every bite counts, and that may just have been the one I regret.

Not long after, I make a short cast to structure at the mouth of an outflow, twitch the fly erratically, and let it rest.  CAWOOOM!  Fish on, and it feels like a heavy bass.  A real good bass!  But then I catch a glimpse of the light blue and silver hues and realize this is no largemouth.  What might just be the largest saltwater speckled trout I’ve ever hooked is putting up a fight that I fear may be over quickly.  Speckled trout have relatively thin facial cheek skin behind lip, and yet I need to put some serious pressure on this fish or lose it in the wood.  She runs underneath my kayak, and for several reasons I’m not in a position to cross over to other side of the vessel to continue the battle.  The only choice is unfortunately grabbing the leader by hand, and encourage the fish to turn and run.  I somehow lose tension and the fish runs.  She’s still on!  After two more runs, several head shakes, and teasing views of the trout just beneath surface, I am in near disbelief upon netting a fat 23.5″, 4.88 lb saltwater speckled trout on a topwater popper fly!

Speckled Trout 23_5

Author, Aaron Rubel, with a 23.5″ saltwater speckled trout caught on a bass popper fly

“Walking the Dog” is a popular technique for luring saltwater fish to topwater on the Gulf Coast.  It is not a tactic that I have been able to emulate with a fly.  So, after a couple years of futile effort trying to do so led me to re-think the strategy.  What I began to contemplate and eventually experiment with changed my perception that saltwater speckled trout and freshwater bass are species worlds apart.

Speckled trout are aggressive when on the feed.  Bass feed angry on topwater.  Speckled trout also like it on top early in the morning, especially on glassy water.  So, I tied some red and white gurgler flies that I had caught bass on prior.  On a November evening a couple of years ago, I cast to structure just like I would to bass.  This time though, it would be in the open salty waters around abandoned piers of Mobile Bay.  Fishing that evening wasn’t on fire, but I caught three trout, with one going 19″.  On a gurgler topwater fly!  The method used was by twitching the light fly with finesse I typically use to target bass.

Since then, the theory that speckled trout will react to smaller than typical patterns on top like those used for bass species have proved effective.  Next time you venture out to target sea trout, take along a two inch popper or gurgler fly, add action that evokes a predatory response to a struggling life form on the surface, and be ready on every cast to connect with a nice salty speck!

For more details on this technique and the exciting day that resulted after catching this personal best speckled trout, visit a story run on Kayak Angler Magazine at link: http://www.rapidmedia.com/kayak-fishing/categories/departments/4017-fly-guy-beats-them-all.html

 

 Copyright 2014 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved

 

 

Kayak Loading Made Easy

My back and neck aren’t what they used to be.  I have to admit that after a few car accidents affecting my back in combination with shoulder reconstructive surgery, loading and unloading a kayak isn’t my favorite part of a fishing trip.

Step one was to lower the height of transporting my kayak.  Although I prefer a relatively low profile and cost efficient vehicle, loading up onto the roof still required lifting above the shoulder.  This effort put stress both on my shoulder and neck.  Days following fishing trips made my chiropractor very happy, but left me feeling regretful in pain.

After some time, I changed to a Malone trailer with a Thule Glide and Set 883 pad system.  In my opinion, this has been one of the best investments, albeit not cheap, that I have made since starting in the sport of kayak fishing in 2006.  The lower height of the Malone trailer limits lifting to below the shoulder, virtually eliminating stress on my neck and compression in my shoulder joint.


The concept of the Thule Glide and Set 883 system uses a pair of felt pads on the aft bar of the trailer that are manufactured with a flexible joint.  This flexible joint takes on any shape change of the kayak hull as it is pushed up onto the trailer.  The thick felt on the pads allows the kayak to glide effortlessly into position.

Aft mounted Thule Glide pad

Aft end of kayak on Thule Glide pads

For the front bar of any trailer, Thule has designed an adjustable set of pads that feature a rubber material and articulating joint that allows the angler to change the fillet arch, matching that of any kayak hull shape.  The rubber resists fore/aft movement of the kayak in combination with tie-down straps.  Even in wet weather on long trips, I haven’t had any issues with the kayak sliding out of position.

Thule Set pad

Front mounted Thule Set pad

Front side hull of kayak on Thule Set pad

So, if you’re looking for a way to ease the effort of kicking off or concluding a kayak fishing trip, check out the Thule Glide and Set 883 system in combination with the Malone trailer at your local kayak shop.  I’ve had this system for two years now, and I love it!

 Copyright 2014 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved

Grab Your Fly Rod & Let’s Go Snorkeling!

River  640Thank you to the publisher of Great Days Outdoors Magazine for granting permission to post this article to my blog that I originally wrote for the June 2013 edition of the publication.

It was a warm June night a few years ago along the shore of a productive Midwest trout stream.  I was resting in between a spinner fall of spent wings and the hatch of duns during the fabled Hexagenia Limbata mayfly emergence.  These mayflies are famous for blanketing the river surface.  Large trout like to feed upon them.

I caught a few trout on dry flies over the span of two nights on the river.  However, another memory remains vivid from the first evening.  There was a couple sitting alongside me on the bank enjoying the quiet night, interrupted only by brightly twinkling stars and the fluttering sound of large mayflies.  They had fished one bend upstream of me.  I asked the gentleman what they had caught that night.  An hour before, I had heard some excitement from upstream where the couple was fishing.  He told me a story about catching a 23” rainbow trout that fed in the exact location where he had seen it the week before.

His answer intrigued me, so I prodded a bit more to understand how he had discovered the specific location of the large trout.  This was a rather wide and winding river with a lot of woody debris on the river bottom.  Not a river that easily gives up life that’s underneath what only eyes can see from above.

View the Body of Water as a Fish Does

The gentleman told me of his enjoyment of snorkeling and decided to put it to use to benefit his second love in life, fly fishing.  Typically, the June water temperatures of the northern climate I was fishing are much colder than our body temperature.  So the week before that glorious night of catching a large trout, he decided to put on a wet suit and snorkeling equipment to have a look under the river’s surface.  What he found was nothing like he had imagined.  He saw fish holding in current, aquatic life moving about, and the structure and cuts that dotted the river bottom.

There’s nothing more thrilling than watching a fish pluck a fly from the water’s surface.  But if I were to add up all the fish ever caught on my fly rod, I would have to guess that 95 percent of those fish were caught with a subsurface fly.

Whether we are fishing in a stream full of aquatic insects, crayfish, small baitfish, or an estuary populated by shrimp and crab, the vast majority of marine life remains suspended underwater.   Even when fishing a stream that has bugs visible on the surface, just imagine how many more insects, minnows, crayfish, and other life reside within the volume of the water in depths below.

Fly Rod Reel Clouser

Finding the Aquatic Food of Your Local Watershed

We as humans find refuge in our homes.  So does marine life.  Next time you’re in a river and see a piece of wood or rock that appears to have been in the water for a significant amount of time, pick it up.  Turn it over to look underneath.  Let the sun warm the rock or wood for a minute.  The once sterile looking piece of structure will come to life with wiggling insects.  When putting it back to rest in the water, be sure and place it in the same position that it laid in prior to lifting it from the river bottom.

I’ll always take advantage of fish feeding on top, but my first go to fly is subsurface.  So next time you go fishing, grab your snorkeling gear, fly rod and reel, and fly patterns that swim and crawl.  Uncover the mystery that resides beneath and you’ll catch more fish.

 

Copyright 2013, 2014 by icastinayak.com and Great Days Outdoors. All rights reserved

The Foundation of Fly Fishing

 

Foundation 1jThe following was originally published in the April 2013 edition of Great Days Outdoors Magazine.  Thank you to the magazine publisher for use of article.

The Foundation of Fly Fishing
by Aaron Rubel

One of my favorite aspects about the pastime of fly fishing is learning from those I accompany on fishing trips as well as casual contacts along the way.  Sharing what I’ve learned with others through my experiences is always rewarding.

There was a point in time when I wanted to start gaining detailed knowledge about fishing.  A friend suggested I consider fly fishing.  While researching, I found a lot of information available that was practical and creative.  I also liked how fly fishing enthusiasts regard the importance of watershed conservation and giving back to the resource.

I didn’t know anyone who fly fished at the time.  To get started, I purchased a video on how to cast, along with a starter fly rod combo.  Fortunately, the video was effective in demonstrating the basics.  During my second year of fly fishing, I was introduced to an organization named Trout Unlimited.

The roots of Trout Unlimited are based in conservation of North American coldwater fisheries habitat, and many members fly fish.  After establishing some relationships with a few of the members, my knowledge of the sport gained by leaps and bounds.  If certain skills are an art form, then fly fishing has to be one of them.  I began to think of fly fishing as art.

The first piece of advice I’d recommend is to connect with an experienced fly angler.  In our region (southeast USA), the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) is a great organization with the goal of educating anyone interested in the sport.

Your local International Federation of Fly Fishers club can recommend a qualified casting instructor who provides expert one-on-one advice.  Books and videos are good sources of information to supplement fly fishing knowledge.  However, personal relationships with people who can spend time on the water with you are invaluable.

Are you an experienced fly angler?  Then seek out someone who has shown an interest in learning the art.  Spend some time with them.  After all, introducing a beginner to the basics of fly fishing doesn’t require a certification in fly fishing.

As a mentor, you’ll even become a better caster and angler.  You’ll spend more time on the basics.  Plus, you’ll study methods so as to demonstrate the mechanics of fishing techniques.  It’s invigorating to watch a protégé develop.  It’s like seeing an art form reborn.

The greatest compliment to a teacher is the moment when the student starts contributing to the knowledge base of the mentor.  Besides, all of us need a few fishing buddies.  Art imitates life via fly fishing.

For more information on how you can subscribe to Great Days Outdoors Magazine, check out their website:  http://www.gdomag.com/

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Copyright 2013 by icastinayak.com and Great Days Outdoors Magazine. All rights reserved

Beyond Becoming an Outdoors-Woman: Kayak Fishing

BOW1Kayak fishing enables everyone an opportunity for experiencing the beauty of nature.  Today was a special day, facilitating a class aimed at introducing nine outgoing women who were registered for the Beyond Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program sponsored by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Foundation.

Elana Carson ClassElana Carson, area kayak angler, shared what she most enjoys about the sport and told a great story about catching a 26″ redfish during her first trip out on a kayak.

Hayes AndersonJohnson Outdoors Pro-staffer Hayes Anderson contributed to the effort of combining classroom instruction with an on the water experience by sharing his kayak setup and expertise from 30 years in pursuit of bass.

Launch BlogThe classroom setting is great for establishing a foundation to build upon, but the real reason some of the women drove four hours to the 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center in Spanish Fort, Alabama was anticipating their initial launch into a new adventure beyond where they have been before.

Hobie Mirage DriveAn individual present at class brought a cool ride that goes back a few years…the Hobie Mirage Classic!

 

Brian CarsonMobile Bay Kayak Fishing Association President, Brian Carson, also joined us and mentored the participants with practical tips.  Two eager women even caught nice bass during the event.   

Bass in BOW

Many states throughout the country have the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program, including a kayak fishing class.  Whether you are a woman who is interested in taking up this great way to experience the out of doors or maybe someone who can be a mentor, visit your state sponsored Conservation and Natural Resources Department website for more information.

 

Copyright 2014 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved

How To Make a Fish Measuring Board

Fish measuring board 1Having a good measuring device on board the kayak is important to me.  There a few features that are great to keep in mind when making your own.  A white background for easy viewing of fish in pictures is key.  If you are going to participate in online tournaments, having black measurement dimensions against a white background makes it easier for you as an angler to take a photo that will be accepted by the tournament staff.  Select a floatable material, because you will drop it overboard.  Selecting a widely recognized measuring tape to assemble is paramount if you plan on using it for tournaments too.  Lastly, identification tokens that are given to the angler for tournaments are lost all the time.  Purchase a lanyard and insert the ID token.  This will guarantee the token is always on your board and because the board floats, you need not worry about it sinking to the bottom if you drop it.  Additionally, it will decrease the time the fish is out of water because you won’t need to look for the token when a fish is landed.

Below, you can build your own measuring board with step by step instructions.  Also included is a way to make efficient use of space in your kayak by a method of hanging it on a milk crate behind your seat.
Fish measuring board 2Supplies: Approximate cost at time of blog entry, not including tools is $29.50

Fine tooth saw
Metal white primer
Goop – Clear, waterproof
Fourteen #8 x 3/4 stainless self piercing screws

Tape measure
180 grit sandpaper
Right angle for scribing
Pencil
One piece of 8′ x 5 7/8″ x 5/16″ white FLT Trim board sold at Home Depot
1.5 hours of time
Fish measuring board 3

This is the FLT Trim serial number to look for at Home Depot that will serve as the body of the measuring board.

Fish measuring board 4Measure first cut at 40 1/4″.  Feel free to make it as long as you like, but I chose this dimension because of the storage length available behind seat, avoiding interference with rudder deployment / rotation.

Fish measuring board 5
Clamp and cut.  Cut second piece same length.

Fish measuring board 6After every cut, sand edges.  Thinking ahead to next step, you want to assemble smoothest surface inside where fish will be measured.

Fish measuring board 7 Apply waterproof Goop to edge of interface. 

Fish measuring board 8Secure ten screws along interface.

Fish measuring board 9Size nose plate.
Fish measuring board 10Scribe line for cut of nose plate.  This is the time to also make sure and strip cut your vertical wall for appropriate thickness of the largest fish that you normally target.

Fish measuring board 11Add radii for exposed corner of nose plate.

Fish measuring board 12                           Fish measuring board 13

Screw in nose plate of device, after adding Goop adhesive.

 Fish measuring board 14Spray screw heads with white primer for added protection from salt.  Assembly of device complete!  See next step for info on measuring tape.

Fish measuring board 15Add a measurement tape to device along bottom plate, using inside vertical surface of nose plate as datum.  Measuring tape secured with clear packing tape.  A widely recognized tape can be found at http://www.321fish.com/pages/store

Fish measuring board 16Rubber bands wrapped around end of measuring tape is useful to pinch tail while taking photo for optimum length.  Slide off rubber band from measuring tape, then slide onto tail of fish to pinch.

When you’re at the hardware, also purchase drawer knobs for securing measuring board to crate.  I chose a ball type knob so to make it easy to slide board on and off from crate, while at same time providing a secure hanging method.  I’ve used this for a year and a half and the board has never fallen off.  When you arrive home, screw the drawer knob to the milk crate and assemble nut.

Fish measuring board 17This is a view of the finished product, hanging on the crate.  The 12″ bungee shown at front and rear are dual purpose.  They hold board onto crate, but also help to keep fish in board while measuring.  So often, fish flop out of the board and into the water from kayak.  This helps to keep them in, but avoiding squeezing the fish.  Be careful to position front bungee so that it doesn’t slide into gill of fish.

Fish measuring board 18To assemble to crate from seating position on kayak, hook rear bungee to rear knob.

Fish measuring board 19Then swing front into ball and wrap over.  It works easily while seated in kayak.

Fish measuring board 20View from rear of board.

Fish measuring board 21

Now that you’ve got a great measuring board, get out there and catch some fish!

 

Copyright 2014 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved

Let’s Make Some Noise!

Lets make some noise 1Angler: Aaron Rubel with a 23″ redfish caught in a seam of water flowing off a peninsula.
Photographer: Jameson Redding

The past couple of weeks along the north central Gulf Coast has been, like much of the country, blustery weather.  Temperatures have dipped as low as 15F accompanied with stiff north winds.  As fronts pass, wind direction changes, and as a result water clarity vanishes.  During the past few seasons of fishing the Mobile Bay and Pensacola area, I have found that January is the time to put the fly rod in reserve, and instead experiment with spinning and baitcasting techniques.

Another thing I have learned is during periods of dark water, the angler needs to be a little more strategic about where to spend effort seeking fish.  Look for water that is still moving, yet out of the main current such as a seam flowing off a peninsula from a tidal river.  A seam is anywhere you see faster water flowing along slower or slack water.  The friction between the two different speeds of water creates a visible “seam” on the surface.  The fish will often reside on the side of the softer, slower water.  Holding in this position decreases the effort they exert as the fish wait to ambush food drifting by in the faster water.  I always position myself on the side with quicker water and cast to the seam.  This way, there is less of a chance to line the fish you’re casting to.

Find a choke point that maintains a current and yet has structure protecting it.  The protection combined with the pinch point will assist in optimizing clarity through increased speed of water and obstructing or absorbing matter.  Subtle differences are what you are looking for as fish are seeking even a small advantage to the food source and reduced turbidity.

Fish can taste, smell, feel, touch, and see.  When using artificial flies or lures during tough winter conditions, sight is limited.  I typically use techniques that don’t trigger the sense of smell and this presents an even greater challenge to catching fish in these tough conditions.

Lets make some noise 2

In this case, triggering the sense of feel is important.  A lure or fly that emits vibration is key.  Fish feel vibrations through the lower part of the inner ear combined with a lateral line running the better part of the length of their body.  On January days when winds have blown water turbid, I tend to go to a lure like the Badonk-A-Donk SS.  This will swim subsurface, and the two balls rattling inside the head create vibration in addition to the lure movement in water.  Force it to swim erratically to create maximum vibration and evoke nervousness of a baitfish.

 

Once the fish has engaged on the sense of vibration and flight of lure, sight must close the deal.  Color choice is important in darker water.  My go to preference for color in saltwater or an estuary that is stained during daytime is blue.  The color blue has a short wavelength of light which means it is not absorbed as fast as other colors with longer wavelengths of light.  Selecting a color like blue or purple seeks to gain every advantage to lengthen the distance the fish can initially focus in on your lure or fly in cloudy water.

Don’t hesitate to venture out on the water during the height of winter.  There will be fewer anglers to compete with.  Avoid cotton clothing and opt for wearing synthetics.  Select good neoprene foot protection with wool socks inside to keep dry and warm.  Make sure to have a high quality pair of polarized eyewear like Maui Jim Sunglasses to cut glare, protect your eyes, and help prevent headaches.  Finally, find a choice lure that creates vibration and utilizes colors of short wavelength of light such as blues and purples to bring out the predatory instincts of your target fish.

Copyright 2014 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved