The Secret to Fishing the Guadalupe River

  Written by ACK’s Fleet Sales Manager, Juan Carlos Andreu

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The beginning of winter marks the kickoff of a very special fishery hidden in the Texas hill country; Guadalupe river rainbow trout. Every year Texas Parks and Wildlife and other private organizations like Trout Unlimited, stock the Guadalupe river with thousands of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and hundreds of fisherman take their shot at hooking this amazing fish. The breathtaking background of the Texas Hill Country, with its cliffs and dramatic colors add character to this challenging but rewarding type of fishery.

On December 12th I made the scenic and anticipated drive thought the Texas Hill Country in search for my first Rainbow trout “on the fly” (Fly fishing gear) with friend and Austin’s Store Assistant Manager Ryan Schaper. It was a beautiful day with ideal conditions, and the trout could be seen swinging up and down the river. Everything seemed to be in place for an amazing day. Continue reading The Secret to Fishing the Guadalupe River

A Kayak/Canoe Race Beyond our Borders

I recently had the pleasure of meeting with a very interesting individual, a man who not only is passionate about paddling, but one who has immersed himself and his passions into a region that seems to only get nothing but negative attention from the media — the Texas border to Mexico. His name is Eric D. Ellman, Executive Director of the Big River Foundation whose mission is to teach communities to value the vital role rivers play in the web of life. He is also quite the activist promoting conservation and recreational paddling along the Rio Grande River with his actions catching the attention of local and international governments, conservations groups and the media.

Eric filled me in on a race that will be happening in Durango, Mexico in just a few weeks. It is known as the “Rio Nazas Regata” hosted by the Durango Canoe Racing Association in conjunction with the Big River Foundation. The 3-day race runs through the scenic Sierra Madre of Central Mexico’s Durango State. Despite its history of 49 years, most Americans and many Mexicans are oblivious to the fact that this race even exists, but Eric is on a mission to change that and is reaching out for help.

The event this year is July 5-8 and, while we are not affiliated with this race, we thought it would be great to help communicate the details and to shed some light on more positive and relevant happenings south of the border.

Participating in the Rio Nazas Regata costs $20, which includes camping accommodations by the State of Durango, hot showers, 3 meals/day, massage, pro wrestling (?!) and all sorts of prizes. Of course, I couldn’t help but ask about security and transportation. Eric informed me that they are organizing a government-escorted caravan from the American border to the race destination.

For information about how to participate in the caravan and for details about the Rio Nazas Regata, call Eric Ellman at the Big River Foundation, 956-236-4985.

Roland @ACK

Kayak Fishing…Baja Style!

ACK Employee Jerron takes us on an adventure he’ll never forget?

Beautiful mountain range greeting us upon arrival.

It all started back in spring as I met up with fellow kayak angler and Necky Kayaks Team member, Jeff Herman. He simply stated that I needed to pack my bags because we were heading to Baja to go fishing with Jim Sammons. I can only imagine how big my eyes appeared as I immediately thought to myself, “How am I going to explain this to the wife?” Without hesitation, I picked up the phone to call her and to my surprise she quickly responded with a “HELL YES!” Now, mind you, this was in early March and the trip was not even slated until June but from that point on, I was in full gear-up mode.

Hotel Punta Colorada

The days and months slowly crawled by leaving me more and more anxious as the trip of my dreams drew ever so close. As June arrived, we grew concerned about Hurricane Beatrix but she quickly sputtered out giving us a clean window of weather. SCORE! On the morning of the trip, my wife and I loaded the car up and made our way to Bush Intercontinental Airport. Upon arrival I was greeted with odd stares by other travelers. Apparently very few had ever seen an 8-foot rod tube. One lady even asked me if it was a weapon as I made my way to the TSA line. 

Upon arriving in Cabo San Lucas we noticed the mountains surrounding the airport. The scenery is absolutely beautiful. We loaded up into our transfer van, grabbed some cervesas and made our way down to the Hotel Punta Colorada. The drive took about an hour and a half, but the sights were awesome along the way. Upon arriving at the resort we were greeted by Jim Sammons and Sean White (our other guide). We quickly got set up in our rooms and of course it was off to the bar for some refreshments as we discussed our game plan for the next day.

A great catch by my lovely wife!

The morning of our first attempt to go fishing yielded some higher than expected winds, but it did not deter our group from hitting the water. We picked up some bait on the way including sardines and mullet. The action that day was slow, but my wife scored her 2nd kayak caught fish, a silver Pompano.

Shortly after that, birds started to target our baits, so a change of location was necessary. We made our way around Punta Arena to a place where Jim said that big roosters like to hang out. Our group trolled for several hours but still didn’t catch much. Jeff and I made a move with Jim, only to hear over the radio that a member of the other party that stayed behind caught a 35lb Rooster and then another. Unfortunately, our day was almost over so we decided to just head in. The good news is that we were treated with an awesome dinner and discussed our plans for the next day.

Waking up to an amazing sunrise.
My first 40lb+ Rooster!

On day 2, we woke up to an awesome sunrise as we ate our breakfast. Soon after, we were gearing up our kayaks up for launch and made our way to Punta Arena once again. After about 10 minutes of trolling I noticed that my bait was starting to dance all over the place, but I kept paddling like instructed — that is until I heard the line screaming off my reel. I looked behind me to see a massive Roosterfish slam my mullet and slice across the top of the water. I slapped the drag down and held on for dear life. The kayak did a complete about face very quickly and off to a Baja sleigh ride I was! I will be the first to admit, our local sharks and such have nothing on Pez Gallo! These things are absolute freight trains! For every 5 yards of line I gained it would strip off another 50. It was back and forth for a good solid 30 minutes. Soon I had color and then the landing process began. I could only describe these fish to be extremely thick and HEAVY! This one was about 40-50lbs.

Jeff landed this 60lb monster.

Soon after landing my first fish, Jeff’s line takes off and he is off to the races. Mind you, he is fishing in a scupper pro too! The fish had his way with him for about the same amount of time that mine did, weighing in at about 50lbs. Little did Jeff know his next fish would take him to the limit and back, by a much bigger fish. I reeled in and started to follow him for support. For a while there, the fish was pulling him so fast that I could barely keep up. It easily had him cruising between 4-5 mph and finally got to where he could not gain any more muscle on the fish so I stepped in to help him reel it in. Once we landed the fish, we could see why it took so long to get it in. This was easily a 60lb fish. — a pure beast.

Back to trolling and BAM, my bait gets slammed again rendering another titanic fight. From that point on it was fish on for everyone! Of course, all good things come to an end. As the fishing slowed down, we made a move where one angler caught a 25lb Dorado. Another fine dinner and drinks ensued.

Max landed this beautiful striped Marlin.

Next up on day 3, Marlin! We made the necessary gear changes that consisted of 100lb fluorocarbon and 100lb ball bearing swivels along with 10/0 circle hooks so that we could troll Ballyhoo. While in a group, the key to the Marlin process is to form a line and then paddle at the same speed to maintain a virtual wall of bait.  Jim calls this the “wall of death.” Not 10 minutes into our troll, Max (from Quebec) hooks up to a striped Marlin — crazy! We all scrambled to get our baits in and support Max. As the fish pulled Max farther away from our group, Jeff volunteered to keep up with him to assist him with landing the fish. The rest of us reformed the line and continued trolling down the Baja coast. We had several strikes and follows from Marlin and a good run by a Dorado but no hook ups. Later on, we heard that after a long one and a half hour fight, Max finally landed it. Needless to say, Max was spent for the day.

The Wall of Death

On day four, we formed another “wall of death” and began the troll. We trolled, trolled some more, trolled a little bit farther, trolled a wee bit more and did I mention we trolled? After a lengthy trolling session the wind had picked up considerably, so some of us made a move back over to Punta Arena. We were determined to catch something on our final day so we began trolling for roosters again. I quickly hooked up but not with a rooster. Instead I was tussling with a large needlefish! Estimates have this thing between 4-5 feet. As soon as I let the monster go Jeff gets a screaming run and hooks up with his final rooster of the trip. Shortly after, I was rewarded with a nice Jack Crevalle and again, another Rooster.

Goodbye Baja!

This marked the end of our last fishing day in Baja, so I was happy we made the move!

 The meal that night was the best yet with everyone reflecting on the most amazing trip we had all taken.

This by far was the best fishing trip I have ever experienced in my life. Jim and Sean are two of the coolest guys I have ever met, and am proud that I can now call them my friends. I will never forget this trip as long as I live and am already planning for the return trip next year. Billfish or bust!!

Thanks again Jim and Sean, you made this trip more enjoyable than I could ever have imagined. If you ever get a chance, this is an experience of a lifetime and I highly recommend it.

Jerron Wosel
ACK Houston