Category Archives: In the Media

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

 

Ever Wonder How Kayaks are Made?

Plant 300I recently had the unique opportunity to go inside the Jackson Kayak manufacturing plant to learn how these paddlecraft are made and write about it in YakAngling Magazine.  It was interesting for me as I hold a black belt certification in Lean Six Sigma (fancy term for someone who sat in a classroom for way too long learning how to rid waste and reduce variation in a business process and now applies it 9 to 5).

The Jackson Kayak facility really did impress me, but the great people who work to build us anglers these great fishing platforms will remain as the lasting memory of the tour.  Get the inside scoop on page 17 of the 2015 October/November Edition of YakAngling Magazine at link below!

http://magazine.yakangling.com/

 

Tri Narrow Logo 300Copyright 2015 by icastinayak.com.  All rights reserved

YakAngling Magazine Available Online!

YA Logo

When Andrew Cameron and Miguel Pandich launched YakAngling Magazine this past summer, they weren’t expecting the rapid growth in popularity received since.  After the first two issues released in the last half of 2014, YakAngling Magazine was awarded runner-up in category of Magazine of the Year in the annual Kayak Angler’s Choice Awards.  Votes were submitted  by kayak angling enthusiasts from 23 countries around the world.

In 2015 YakAngling Magazine is going monthly.  The magazine has assembled a knowledgeable, enthusiastic team of writers and photographers, bringing the sport of kayak fishing to life at the turn of a page.  If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, take the time.  Just to name a few topics in the January 2015 edition, there’s advice on getting the best out of your camera setup, a striped bass fishing adventure, skinny water angling, understanding black crappie, a deep south recipe, and if you’re participating in the upcoming Kayak Bass Series you’ll want to check out the down low on the iAngler Tournament App that will be used to enter your catch.  Speaking of tournaments, my good friend Stacey Martin writes about preparing for these events before arriving at your destination to get the most out of your time available.

So now, go check out this very practical publication that has…well…hit the water paddling!

Click here to read YakAngling Magazine!

Cover JanCopyright 2014 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved

YakAngling logo and magazine cover image courtesy of YakAngling Magazine

Tri Narrow Logo 300

The Next Phase?

Yakima River WA

Yakima River Valley, Washington

The angling experiences I’ve had during the past three years have been some of the most rewarding as a Hobie Fishing Team member.  A little over three years ago, the thought of being endorsed by a revolutionary company like Hobie never crossed my mind.  Then one conversation about fly fishing and my love of kayak angling led to another, and long story short the partnership was born.  It has been an honor to be a Hobie Fishing Team Pro-staff member since.

Like the lively character of high altitude headwaters that change into varied runs, riffles, and pools in valleys below, so does life.  As much as I love the Hobie brand for its’ superior design in coastal and open water fishing environs, the new opportunities for writing that would result from not being aligned with a kayak sponsor are steering my decision to enter the next phase of my angling adventure independent of a kayak endorsement.

In 2015, I have some really exciting public speaking events scheduled, an upcoming announcement for a column I’ll be writing for a great publication, in addition to the quality print and online media I’ve contributed to in the past.

From a personal point of view, I will always maintain a Hobie product in my kayak line-up, as I love the hands free fishing and stability for fly fishing that it provides.  However, I also desire fishing inland rivers teaming with smallmouth and coldwater trout.  As an independent angler, I will have the freedom to explore these beautiful watersheds using brands of kayaks with designs intended for flowing current.  I can then be more diverse in bringing these new adventures to life in photography and text.

Thank you to the Hobie Fishing family and the Fairhope Boat Company for embracing me over the past three years.  I am thankful for the opportunity to have represented such a great line-up of products.  Best of all though, I’ve made some great friends who I look forward to continue fishing with in the future.

 Copyright 2014 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved

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

 

 

Reef Madness in Kayak Angler Magazine

I am thankful to Kayak Angler Magazine for extending the opportunity to share a view of the article I wrote in the 2014 Summer/Fall issue of the publication with those of you who read my blog.  I hope you the readers will take the opportunity to either purchase a copy for yourself at a local newsstand or online at the link below.

While reading the article, you will learn how kayak anglers are joining up with local conservation efforts across the country to restore oyster reefs that are so vital for marine habitat preservation.  These improvements in turn benefit the quality of fishing opportunities!

KAv8i3-26Kayak Angler Magazine offers some great deals on subscriptions too, so check it out!  In this issue there are skills tips from some of the most knowledgeable anglers on the water, and even a story about kayak fishing in Scandinavia!

KAv8i3-1-1

To obtain your copy of the latest edition of Kayak Angler Magazine or subscribe, click here!  http://www.rapidmedia.com/read-the-current-issue-ka.html

Photographs shown protected Copyright 2014 by Rapid Magazine Inc.  All rights reserved.

Kayak Fishing World Record – Skipjack herring

Skipjack herringSometimes disappointment needs unwrapped to discover something so much better.  Monday, I was fishing Mobile Bay in my Hobie Outback kayak.  As I mentioned in the last blog entry, January is not the month I lead with the fly.  So, upon a routine cast of a white soft plastic curly tail on a 1/8 oz jighead with my 7′ Medium TFO Signature Series baitcasting rod, a sudden thud rushed anticipation through my left arm and into my recently reconstructed shoulder.

The fish leaped in the air and gave a good long fight until finally brought into the kayak.  When I lifted the fish out of the water, my first impression was focused on the silver colored sides and hook jaw that resembled a juvenile tarpon.  Could this be my second baby tarpon caught in waters of Mobile Bay in last year and a half?

SilverSkipjackherring 2After a few pictures and release of fish, I went on fishing and was already thinking forward to a story of yet another tarpon caught and released in home waters.  After arriving home later and sharing the day’s events, I had some feedback that the fish didn’t look quite right for a tarpon.  So, after receiving input from friends, I made inquiry to the knowledgeable folks at the Alabama State Marine Resources Division.  After being convinced by friends I hadn’t caught a tarpon and doing some further research, I wasn’t 100% sure whether I had caught a Skipjack herring, Alosa chrysochloris or an Alabama shad, Alosa alabamae.  A quick reply gave definitive feedback that the fish I had caught was the Skipjack herring, Alosa chrysochloris.  The first of a new species on my list of fish caught.

Upon review of the Kayak Fishing World Records, managed by YakAngler.com, it was clear that I may have an opportunity at claiming my second record.  Indeed, after submitting application with accompanying photos, I received notification today that I am the new Kayak Fishing World Record Holder for the species of Skipjack herring, Alosa chrysochloris!

Link to record: http://www.yakangler.com/length-record-list/item/2860-herring-skipjack

 

Skipjack herring 3

“There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number – living things large and small.”  –Psalm 104:25

Today, I am thankful for a small creature that gave me a big smile and a story to tell.
SmileSkipjackherring4

Thank you to Kayak Angler Magazine for also running this story:  https://www.rapidmedia.com/kayak-fishing/categories/news/2322-kayak-fishing-world-record%E2%80%93skipjack-herring.html

Copyright 2014 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved

Fall Tournaments On the Fly

Fall Tournaments on Fly 1Photograph by: Marty Smith
Angler: Aaron Rubel

An unusual award for an unlikely species.  Recently, I participated in a couple tournaments that benefited great causes.  In early November, the Mobile Bay Kayak Fishing Association held its’ annual fall tournament to raise funds and awareness for Heroes on the Water.  Following that up, I fished in the inaugural Kingfisher Classic.  The tournament’s goal was to raise awareness for the great work the Weeks Bay Foundation is doing to preserve and expand natural habitat as well as contribute toward educational and volunteer opportunities along the bay coastline.

Fall Tournaments on Fly 270 competitors signed up to compete for a $500 first place prize in five categories which included redfish, speckled trout, flounder, bass, and bream.  When I heard about the tournament, I was shocked and excited that $500 would be offered to the winner of a bream category.  There was only one problem.  The engine block in my kayak car had cracked days before and was in the shop being replaced.  That meant, I had no plan to transport my Hobie Pro Angler 12 to the water.  That is, until my wife generously volunteered her mini-van.  So, out came the seats and in went the kayak!

 

The rules stated that waters were limited to tributaries of Mobile Bay, which heightened the competitiveness of the bass and bream categories.  The salinity of Mobile Bay tends to challenge growth rates of area bass and bream.  However, I had been catching some relatively nice bream in previous weeks on the fly.

Fall Tournaments on Fly 3Low tide and peak feeding window that morning surprised me.  The fish fed better at low tide than when current was moving, and their location were predictably centered in river.

Fall Tournaments on Fly 4Fortunately, the cloudy day made for some great bream fishing and I was fortunate to place second in the category.  I was the only kayaker and fly angler among the 70 anglers in the tournament.  That was probably the most rewarding feeling of placing high in standings.

Fall Tournaments on Fly 5All fifteen bream caught during the tournament were on a black, chartreuse, and red top water fly.  I had tried various other color combinations of different fly patterns, but on this day they were turned on to the darker colors.

Fall Tournaments on Fly 6Pictured from left to right: Aaron Rubel receiving 2nd place award, Jeff Dute (Mobile Bay Press Register Outdoor Writer), and Ben Raines (Executive Director of Weeks Bay Foundation)

Thank you to the Weeks Bay Foundation for running this story in the Winter 2013 edition of the Pelican Post: http://www.weeksbay.org/pelican_post/pp-winter-low-res.pdf

Official results of all categories in the Kingfisher Classic as reported by the Weeks Bay Foundation:
Speckled trout:
1st place:  M. Wilson, 6.16 lbs
2nd place:  O. Harrison, 5.23 lbs

Redfish:
1st place:  J. Mann, 6.99 lbs
2nd place:  K. Olmstead, 5.95 lbs

Flounder:
1st place:  O. Harrison, 2.68 lbs
2nd place:  M. Foster, 2.02 lbs

Largemouth bass:
1st place:  W. Miller, 1.17 lbs
2nd place:  A. Dobson, 1.12 lbs

Bream:
1st place:  T. Nelson, .39 lbs
2nd place:  A. Rubel, .32 lbs

Copyright 2013 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved

Red October

Angler: Landon Rubel, with Chuck Fisk
Photographer: Aaron Rubel

Fall colors peak along the Gulf Coast in October.  The color red, that is.  After enduring a long and muggy summer, the angler is rewarded with great opportunities to find redfish as fall sets in.

An effective way for the adult fly angler and child to enjoy a day on the water together was introduced to me by good friend, Chuck Fisk.  We brought both fly rods and conventional fishing gear to the beach.  Chuck and I started the day by wading in the shallows and catching ladyfish on clouser minnow flies.  The ladyfish went into the cooler.  Later, they were transformed into cut bait and drifted just beyond the surf on conventional rods to entice bull redfish.  Bull redfish are adults of the species that have grown on average above 26 inches and made their way out of the marshes, into the larger bays and open waters of the Gulf.

Red October 2Ladyfish on the fly

The technique of combining fly fishing and conventional tackle proved successful as Landon caught a tremendous redfish on the coast of Mobile Bay.  We also had the opportunity to teach him that although we sacrificed one species of fish, releasing another is important to the preservation of future generations of game fish.

Chuck Fisk, Gulf Coast Council Conservation Director of the International Fly Fishing Federation,
demonstrates proper release of a redfish.
Photographer: Aaron Rubel

Do you want to seek more secluded water in search of Redfish?  Close encounters with big reds are possible in backwaters by use of kayaks specifically designed for fishing.  The low profile construction enables opportunities for sight fishing and short casts.  The kayak also serves as cushion to the tension of line between angler and the strength of Redfish.

Angler: IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Champion, Benton Parrott, with a nice Mobile Bay area redfish
Photographer: Aaron Rubel

Whether you enjoy the breezy beach or tranquil marsh, Red October is the time to reach the water for one of the Gulf Coast’s favorite species.

A Mobile Bay area marsh redfish on the fly
Angler and Photographer: Aaron Rubel

Thank you to YakAngler.com for running this story:  http://www.yakangler.com/kayak-fishing-techniques/item/2631-red-october

Copyright 2013 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved

Conservation Articles Published in Kayak Angler Magazine

Conservation Articles in Kayak Angler MagLast Christmas I entered a writing contest upon viewing an ad.  The winner was to be published in a second quarter print edition.  I drafted an essay and submitted the paper by the New Years Eve deadline.

A week or so later I received an invitation from the publication to make a query for an upcoming edition.  What a surprise!  Upon inquiring to the Editor about the contest, he laughed and informed me there was none, but that I could consider myself the winner anyway!  I had evidently submitted the entry to the wrong publication, or maybe not.  Funny how things turn out sometimes.

Conservation ranks equal if not higher in my book, to that of fishing.   In the early summer edition of Kayak Angler Magazine, I have the honor of sharing two conservation articles.  I am thankful to have spent some time with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and one of the top tagging anglers in the country, Kayak Kevin Whitley, for developing content on the subject of fish tagging programs.  Check it out on page 30.  Also, on page 12, read how a small tarpon caught in Mobile Bay is big news for conservation.

Find the print edition of Kayak Angler Magazine at your local kayak shop.  The digital version can be found at the following site:
https://www.rapidmedia.com/kayak-fishing/categories/news/item/1252-kayak-angler-digital-edtions.html

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries:
http://www.ccalouisiana.com/cca11/fish-tagging-program

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory:
http://www.usm.edu/gcrl/

For info on Kayak Kevin Whitley and his great instructional material, click here:
http://www.kayakkevin.com/home.html

Copyright  2013 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved