Category Archives: Conservation

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!


To obtain your copy of the latest edition of Kayak Angler Magazine or subscribe, click here!

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

How to Tag a Fish, with the Louisiana Dept of Wildlife & Fisheries

I spent a day on the water with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, recording how to properly tag a fish and becoming familiar with the Tag Louisiana conservation program.  Video originally published in Kayak Angler Magazine.

Thank you to The Backpacker of Baton Rouge and the Fairhope Boat Company for providing use of kayaks during the day in beautiful south Louisiana.

Copyright 2012, 2013 by 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:

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved

Seeds That Sprout

Seeds that Sprout 1

Our pursuits of catching that trophy fish are focused out on the water.  Yet, those dreams would not be possible without healthy habitat within and surrounding the fishery.


This weekend began with an evening of fly fishing in the yak along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay.  Then, thoughts turned inland to participate with my family and Cub Scout pack in the 26th annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup.


Spending a few hours removing debris from the marsh not only benefits the watershed, but also plants seed in young lives that sprouts excitement to care for the environment God blessed us with.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved

Eat More Shrimp!

Eat More Shrimp 1

The boys and I got outdoors for a local cultural tradition of blue crabbing along the beautiful coast of Daphne, AL today.

So many times on our walks along the piers of Mobile Bay we have witnessed the very effective technique of using chicken quarters mixed with raspberry sauce or well prepared turkey necks to catch blue crab. The chicken and turkey are typically baked in the sun for hours to attract blue crab to the rotting scent of poultry. Something to think about is spoiled chicken and turkey are known to produce protein toxins and bacteria that are certainly not native to estuaries that blue crab reside in.

Considering the risk, I have been wanting to find another way of effectively catching blue crab with my boys without having to use the same types of bait. So, my boys and I made a trip to our neighboring seafood carrier and picked up two dozen locally caught shrimp. We rigged up the crab net with a two-drop nylon leader rig that enabled three hooks to be attached. After all, blue crab are opportunistic feeders and they are attracted to shrimp as a native food source.

Eat More Shrimp 2

Eat More Shrimp 3During the course of the day we had some onlookers that detailed their guaranteed recipe for success, but we enjoyed sharing the idea of using a native food source and were able to demonstrate it can be a successful method of crabbing.

Eat More Shrimp 4The blues we caught today were not large, but we had a great time and the boys learned another good lesson in conservation. That is, to release those of the catch that are undersize. What a great day, taking in a local tradition that we can share as a family.

Eat More Shrimp 5Eat More Shrimp 6

Copyright 2013 by 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:

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries:

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory:

For info on Kayak Kevin Whitley and his great instructional material, click here:

Copyright  2013 by All rights reserved