Learning to Fish the Hard Way!

Brad and Grandpa Fishing

The Early Years

I have found that most people who enjoy the outdoors as adults were exposed to the joys of nature at an early age through a grandparent, uncle or parent. I however, was lucky enough to experience it with all three. I grew up hunting and fishing and enjoyed it all the way until I turned into a baseball obsessed teenager. After I discovered baseball, nature took a backseat. I had found a new passion and let that take over all of my time.

After high school I went to a college in East Texas (Go Kats!) that happened to be near a great state park and a wonderful lake. I spent many a class periods in the woods and along the shores of Lake Raven redeveloping my love of the outdoors. Unfortunately for me, not many of my fishing lessons from my childhood held over.

Back At It 

Brad Fishing @5

I quickly realized that I wanted to get back into fishing so with a credit card and a dream I made my way to a nearby big box store. While shopping I called on my past experiences with two of my grandfathers – Grandpa River (a fisherman) and Grandpa Tractor (a farmer). I fondly remember fighting reds and speckled trout with my Grandpa River, my mom’s father, and his advice when it came to line. “Hardheads will eat your line if you let them” he always said as I clung to a long rod with a heavy line attached to even heavier sinkers. “Big bait gets the big fish” was another favorite of his and everyone knows that a child will always want the biggest! So with these memories in mind, I headed down the fishing aisle of the store and purchased some familiar look fishing gear. I made my purchases and walked out carrying a brand new long, heavy and strong fishing pole, thick as steel line, and some mean looking hooks. I also grabbed some heavy sinkers, bobbers, and other “essential” fishing items. “Yep.” I thought walking out, “Grandpa River would be proud!”

After my successful trip to get my gear I headed out to the lake where my buddy and I planned to go out fishing. When I pulled up my buddy gave me a funny look and laughingly asked if i planned on catching a gator. I asked in confusion, “No, why? Are there gators near by?” I found it both funny and odd that he was laughing at me but continued to unload my gear regardless. I finished unloading after about fifteen minutes- within that time my buddy had landed two bass and a cat! I then began to fix up my rig while he laughed again at my expense as I fumbled around with my new toys.

After a few more minutes of rigging I was finally able to get my bait- worms! – in the water. I remembered that I was fishing fresh water and that dead shrimp was not the best choice for the lake- well that and the store didn’t have any. As I waited for my bobber to sink I glanced over at my buddy’s pole and gear as well as another fellow’s gear who was fishing nearby and noticed that their poles were much smaller than mine. I began to wonder why when I felt a tug on my line- not much but it was something! I jerked the rod back causing me to lose the fish. “Oh well.” I thought to myself as I re-baited and got back in the water. This time I decided to keep the bait closer to the dock and use a giant worm wrapped around my hook. I was not going to miss this time!

I slowly reeled the worm in towards the dock and let it sit almost right about against it and then WHAM! My line took off. I tightened down the line and gave it a good strong pull back and before I knew it I was yelling DUCK! That fish took off like a rocket- flying out of the water faster than you could snap your fingers. My buddy once again, could not stop laughing.

You see, what I didn’t realize was that I was drawing on memories of fishing with my Grandpa River on the Texas Coast – not a shoreline dock in East Texas lake! I had always gone saltwater fishing with heavy rods and reels made for salt and offshore fishing; hence my earlier purchases. Needless to say, my 7 ft heavy action spin reel, much like a broomstick for offshore fishing, and 60lb mono line, which might as well have been rope, was a bit overkill for catching bass and cats off a dock. That cat took my bait in what was probably about 3 feet of water and had no idea what was in store for it.

Passion Rekindled

Brad with fish

After having a good laugh with my buddy over my flying cat, I decided then and there that I needed to consider some fishing lessons and reconsider my choice in gear. I quickly realized my buddy wouldn’t be able to stop laughing long enough to re-teach me how to fish but thankfully the gentleman on the other end of the dock was more than willing to share his fishing tips and knowledge. After a short conversation with him even my laughing buddy was was taking notes. After he gave me an hour long lesson, my passion for fishing was rekindled and I had a good idea of the new gear I needed to go purchase. I had a plan and I was going to dive head first in! Before that however, I was in need of a road trip- to the coast.

Author: Brad Martin, ACK Employee

 

Kayak Bass Fishing Texas Open

There’s Never Been a Better Time for Freshwater Kayak Fishing in Texas

Bobby Clark snagging a nice bass from his kayak.
Bobby Clark snagging a nice bass from his kayak.

A few years ago you would be hard pressed to find a kayak fishing tournament in Texas for freshwater anglers. Certainly they existed, but mostly hidden among forums or in the minds of those in the know. Today, it’s a different story, with multiple tournament series holding monthly events and one-shot events popping up left and right. And ya, the best place to find Texas kayak fishing tournament information is still going to be local forums like Austin Kayak FishingTexas Kayak Fisherman or Texas Fishing Forum.

Kayak Bass Fishing Texas Open Joins The Scene

The most recent of these events to appear in the Texas scene is called the Kayak Bass Fishing Texas Open. What’s exciting about this event is that it aims to unite a widespread demographic of Texas anglers, separated mostly by region in the state.

“I’m hoping it will bring three big segments of Texas kayak anglers together for one big event,” says tournament director Bobby Clark, “You have your Austin and Dallas guys already competing regularly in tournament trails and events and then there’s those of us in Houston just now putting stuff together. The goal of this event is appeal to all of these people.”

And Clark has picked a perfect venue to do just that, Houston County Lake, which resides pretty close to the middle of all three major metropolitan areas.  Already, he says it’s off to a good start with nearly 50 pre-registered competitors when I checked in with him a week ago.

Supporting a Good Cause

Another great thing about the Kayak Bass Fishing Texas Open is that it will be supporting a good cause as 10% of all the entry fees and 100% of all raffle ticket proceeds will be going to the Texas chapter of Heroes on the Water. And with raffle prizes ranging from an ACK donated kayak, a custom engraved BlackPak from YakAttack, fishing gear and more, there’s plenty of reason to help raise money via the raffle!

Lots of sponsors, including ACK, have signed up!
Lots of sponsors, including ACK, have signed up!

Interested in competing? Here’s what you need to know:

Date: Oct. 5th
Time: 6:00 AM Launch Time and 2:00 PM Weigh In, with a mandatory 5:30 AM Captain’s Meeting
Location: Houston County Lake Crockett Family Resort
Registration: $75
Big Bass: $10

Competitors will be required to bring a Hawg Trough measuring device as well as a PFD, to be worn at all times. See complete details in the official tournament rules.

Hope to see you there!

 

Which Predator Kayak to Choose: 13 or MX?

Predator Kayaks

The Predator 13 and Predator MX,  from Old Town Canoes and Kayaks are sleek and innovative fishing platforms that offer a lot of great features for kayak anglers of all types. Saltwater bays and marshes, open ocean, freshwater lakes, streams, rivers, or small ponds, the Predator kayak can do it all. What is the point of offering two different models, you might ask? Well, let’s take a look at both boats and focus in on some distinguishing characteristics and differences between the two new models.

Predator Kayak - 13

Predator 13:

  • Designed for Larger Bodies of Water – With an elongated bow keel line, the Predator 13 is able to take on the more adverse conditions you may encounter on larger bodies of water, such as larger wind chop or surf, due to its superior tracking ability. Large lakes, bay systems, and the open ocean are the perfect playing grounds for the Predator 13.
  • Rod Pod Storage Hatch – This elongated hatch that is found in the front deck space is only found on the Predator 13 and is designed to give you the ability to stow away smaller rods and reels while out on the water. The top of the hatch offers multiple mounting locations for electronics, rod holders and other accessories.
  • Large Bow Hatch – A perfect place to store larger items that you’d like to take with you on your trips. It is fairly easy to take off the hatch and store items such as tents or folding camp chairs in the large cavity found in the Predator 13’s bow.
  • Rudder Capable – To help increase the performance of the Predator 13 on larger bodies of water, you have the ability to mount a rudder on the rear handle. With this essential piece of equipment, it will be much easier to tackle strong crosswinds and currents that you can experience in wide open areas. The Predator 13 Rudder Kit is available at ACK.com.

Predator Kayaks - MX

Predator MX:

  • Designed for Smaller Bodies of Water – Unlike the Predator 13, the Predator MX does not feature the elongated bow keel line that is needed for those long paddles on large, open areas. Instead, the MX has a more rounded hull that helps make it more maneuverable on bodies of water that are smaller and have more moving water. Small lakes, gentle rivers and streams are where this boat shines.
  • Uncluttered Deck Space – With nothing on the floor of the deck, you will find a large space to move about freely and stand facing whichever direction you care to without having to be mindful of anything tripping you up.
  • Maneuverability – At only 12 feet long, the Predator is perfect for navigating tight quarters where the ability to turn easily can be key. Couple the shorter length with the rounded hull design and you have a kayak that can pretty much explore all the little nooks and crannies you always wanted to access, and still be able to turn around and get back out easily.

As similar as these two boats are, they are still two very different kayaks suited to various types of fishing and water bodies. No matter what conditions are out there, you can rest assure that one of these two awesome new fishing kayaks will tackle whatever you throw at them!