Tag Archives: Kayak Angler Magazine

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


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.


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!


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.

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 icastinayak.com. All rights reserved

Chain Pickerel in the Grass

I went out for a different kind of adventure on the fly in Hobie kayaks a couple weeks ago.  The Chain pickerel is definitely a fish I will be pursuing in the future.

Click here to about it in an article published by Kayak Angler Magazine Online entitled “Snakes in the Grass”

Copyright 2013 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved