Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Flies

I got a chance to tie up some flies today. Some electric chickens, several killer bugs, some egg flies and one chartreuse sabiki. The sabiki was killing it! Same cast of characters - bluegill of all sizes and some smallmouth bass. On one cast, I had hooked onto a pretty sizable bass - splashed up a bunch of water and threw the hook. Needless to say I'll be tying up more sabiki flies - I might even try to fish them on the Potomac and land some of the migrating shad. I am also going to get the kids their own fly rods - really short tenkara rods from - they are ready to catch on better equipment.

Tackle Direct - In Person

On the way back from a business trip this week, I stopped by this place. While I was at my last duty station, this place took good care of me - quick shipping, awesome selection and a willingness to ship USPS to FPO addresses. It was good to stop in and see the place in person. If you need anything fishing related, give Tackle Direct a ping, you're likely to find what you are looking for at a really good price.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Underwater Crop Circles
Made by the male of this little species of puffer.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Catching on the Amphibious Assault Craft

We went fishing off the kayak this afternoon at the lake behind our neighborhood. Yeah the Amphibious Assault Craft is really that long - just over 14 feet. The Surf Taco's bed is just over 7' - so it is hanging out there in the wind. Our drive was only 2 minutes (going really slow) so I didn't want to load it on the top racks. Out of the bed, the kayak was pretty easy to handle. To me this thing is a SUP on steroids - I stood up the whole time while Marlon and Noe sat down up front. The anchor chain works great! I'll probably still rig a small 3 pound claw anchor so we don't swing in the wind. We caught today! I used the Soyokaze and ended up with two Smallmouth Bass - the first was 8" the second was probably 3" - and several Bluegill. Marlon caught his first Smallmouth Bass and bunches of Bluegill. We reconfigured the chairs while on the water and started throwing the fish in the live well - all caught and released. I recommend painting the inside of the tank with gray spraypaint and drilling holes in it like Drew did on the youtube videos. That will definitely help with seeing whatever you've thrown in the tank - bait or catch. If you have kids that like to fish, you need one of these Big Tunas. The kids both said repeatedly - "I can do this all day!!!" I know what we're doing next weekend ;)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Make Sure to Watch "Off The Hook" on Sunday

From the commercials running, it looks like Eric and crew will be in San Diego for the episode airing 9/16/12. There is a guide over there that takes folks fly fishing for Makos. And the Makos put on an air show that makes Tarpon look like amateurs. In all the episodes that have run so far, I haven't seen EY pick up a flyrod yet - I'm interested in seeing if he can cast or if they'll have to teach him (which will probably add to the entertainment value - similar to how they show him wrestling to get a 2 piece wetsuit on). Can't wait!!!

Drag Chain Instructions for the Big Tuna

It's on the Youtube video (Jackson Kayak's Big Tuna Walkthrough) but I couldn't find specific instructions on how to rig an anchor system. It was not hard to do - get yourself the Flexi size small CORD (not tape) dog leash, 2 feet of 3/8" chain, some duct tape and some 550 cord. Tape up the chain links - first using half-width strips of duct tape to tape up the middles of each link then overwrapping the chain twice. This will prevent the chain from piling up on itself and getting stuck in the rocks. Next, fish out the end of the cord from the connection point of the leash (where the ballistic loop meets the end of the cord looped in the plastic housing). Untie the knot in the cord - you could also cut the cord at the point it goes into the plastic connector, but I gave all the parts I didn't use intact to La for other projects and I wanted to keep as much of the 16' of cord that the leash has. Next take 60" of 550 cord (parachute cord) and tie it to the leash cord together - I used a hitch on the 550 and a bowline on the thinner leash cord - whatever you use, make sure it is low profile because it has to go smoothly through the anchor system fairleads. String the 550 through the fairleads, stuff the leash handle in the midship handle well with the buttons facing upward and the cord exiting towards the stern, then tie a bowline with the bitter end of the 550 cord around one end of the drag chain. There should be a little pigtail left in the 550 (the minimum distance from the end of the fairleads where the chain butts up to the leash well is 56" - you should have used 60" of 550 remember?). That's it! The major difference between what is in the Jackson video and what I did was the use of the 550 - I like to think of it as chaffing gear for the leash cord - they tied the leash directly to the anchor/drag chain and although my way may be overkill, I've seen a bunch of things at sea that make me think the way I do. Hopefully I kick this cold tomorrow so I can try this thing out!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

FIshing Today

La, the kids and neighbors were at the spot today. I was feeling like crap again, but my arm was proverbially twisted and I brought the Daiwa Soyokaze out. The kids stayed on the dock and were teasing/feeding the turtles. I went to the larger open spots and caught some bluegills. I had a few 6" bass interested, but they didn't take (the killer bug fly). The air is cooling down fast - mid 70's for the past few days, but surprisingly the water is cooling down quickly as well. The bluegills were changing their hunting patterns (not nearly as aggressive). I'm going to try to venture out into larger waters soon -

New Board

Not mine, but I'm just as excited about it. My brother in law out in SOCAL just picked up his new racing SUP - can't go wrong with a Bark. Dave - now you're going to need one for surfing and one for fishing. And one for Ali. And four for us when we visit. Ikea sells industrial shelving that works for in-line board racks in the garage. And more paddles...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

First Outing on the Big Tuna

I pulled the kids away from their homework this afternoon (BAD DADDY!!!) and took them out on the kayak. This is not one of those light whitewater boats - over 14' long and 85+ pounds, it was a workout getting it set up to make the journey (short walk) to the lake (when I started fishing the lake earlier this summer, I counted less than 300 footsteps). The Wheeleez (large) cart we got did work, but I am going to have to play with the config to get it right - it shifted on me twice going downhill (I think strapping it down on the forward most frame will make it work better). Next time I may use the truck. Once I had it down at the water's edge, I set it up with both seats on the front half of the boat and left the rear cockpit open. I used my Kialoa Shaka Puu and the kayak paddled well. The kids would stick their paddles in every now and then and I'd just shift sides to compensate. Without a fin to track (which wasn't a problem with 14' of waterline) we plowed right over the lily pad stands - fun time!!! Afterwards, I dropped the kids onshore (they just watched a 'Pirate' video and were speaking in 'Arrrrhhhhh's and 'Land Ho's) and tried the kayak setup. I have watched Youtube videos on how to use a kayak paddle, but my muscle memory is in canoe/SUP paddle mode. Practice makes perfect. I did manage to squeeze all 14' (by nearly 36" width) into the garage with all the other watercraft that already occupies the small space - I'll have to figure out how to enlarge the garage...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Closer look at the Big Tuna

Bad allergy reaction today so I didn't take the kayak out. But I did experiment with where the optimum location for the Wheeleez yak rack is (a couple of feet behind the bow) and looked at the seat mounting brackets. Here's the camo I alluded to yesterday - a lot more brown on the deck than there was on the lower hull. If you let your eyes get lazy then look at the hull plan shape, it looks a lot like the modern racing paddleboards - narrow displacement hull that widens gradually until the last third then skinnies out a little at the end while still keeping the square tail (for stability). Lots of converging going on. I'll try to take it out tomorrow afternoon and play around with no/one/two kids on and working the board with a SUP paddle (Standing Up!!!) and a conventional kayak paddle.

My Truck

My Truck with the racks setup for carrying our kayak.
No noticeable noise in this configuration (at least today driving to and from work). This setup is all too common back in Hawaii. The really long OC-1 canoes and Unlimited SUPs are supported really well with the large separation between bars. I also got the ball mount for the hitch so I can break out the Weta (soon). There really isn't much left that I will do to the truck - I'm happy with it the way it is - maybe a few more stickers...

My Brother-In-Law's Truck

Dave (my brother-in-law) raced in a 1/4 mile sprint and 2.5 mile distance race on the 14' Carbon Hobie that was on his truck. He came in first and fifth respectively out of 22 (I think). He just recently placed the Thule 422XT racks on as well. But th efocus of the post is his Raptor - and he doesn't baby it either - down right abuses it out in the California deserts. I'm on the wrong coast....

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Amphibious Assault Craft

After surfing and lunch, we went to pick up our new Amphibious Assault Craft. I switched the 422XT rack to the back position anticipating the longer load and it worked well to kill some of the noise (electrical tape on the 422XT Top Bar accessory mounting channels helped a bunch too). The color scheme didn't upset La too much - she did like the Lowland Camo pattern better than the Yellow Jacket we looked as earlier. The outer hull is mostly olive with some mixing of tan. The inside hull has a lot more color mixing (brown, tan and olive). I thought I'd be storing this on the back porch - for loading and unloading, this piece of gear will have to live in the garage (after I make more space...). We didn't have time to break it in today - needed to unpack the beach gear from the truck and wash all the salt and dirt off the truck. I am looking forward to getting everyone on this and having more fun on the waters up here in Northern Virginia!!! More to follow on this as we spend time getting proficient and pushing this to it's carrying and fishing limits

Making It

Sometimes even sloppy beach break can tickle the adrenal gland -

Should Have Gone Right

Nicer pocket on the other side - I suck!!!

Rehoboth Whomping

Our friend couldn't make it after all, so we had more time to play at the beach. We picked a spot where there was decent parking - but the beach break here was brutal. I was dripping saltwater at random from my sinuses for several hours after getting whomped on these rides. As a followup report on these new fins - no more raw-rubbed toes!!! These are fanastic!!! Not as much power as the Dafins, but the comfort, quick foot pocket draining (and sand removal) and the adjustability make these winners!


Got an early start today - had the truck packed up to have fun at the beach. We were supposed to link up with one of La's friends from Japan, surf and then pick up our new kayak. We were packed up with plenty of stuff (kite gear - just in case, body boards, the Rollee, sand toys, the ULI and 3 piece C4 paddle and water for washing up), but the best is yet to come.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

More Adjusting - Taco Bed vs Thule Xsporter

Before and after shots
More modification to the Thule Xsporter in order to mount it in the Surf Taco. I looked at the clamps last time I had it setup (just after I cut the curly lip off of it) and there seemed to be some pressure on the top rail of the truck bed. I read some more of the posts on the Tacoma forums and the other folks who have 2012 Tacomas just stripped the whole rubber pad off. So tonight, as I prepared the vehicle for a trip out to the beach (Lewes - Rehoboth - Betheny) for some surfing and to pick up our new amphibious assault craft, I went ahead and did the same. The before picture was how I had the feet last time; the after is where they are stripped naked. Installed on the truck, it was real easy to get them on and the clamps are rock solid now. I'll look for the rail compression in the morning (it was dark when I placed the rack feet on).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Big Tuna On Ramp

I pulled the trigger. Unbeknownst to me, the kayak universe is much like the annual car market - at the end of the model year, the prices come down. Calling around and plying the internet, I found a pretty good deal (10% off, 2 free paddles, no sales tax) on Jackson Kayak's Big Tuna. I'll pick it up on Sunday (and maybe catch some surf at the same time). The unique abilities of this kayak is the main reason I am getting a kayak - I do not think of this as moving off in the direction of kayaking, but instead I am getting an incredibly versatile SUP. Poling is an option in shallow water; carrying both kids and fishing simultaneously is an option, paddling tons of gear to a picnic/camping site is an option (and entering kayak fishing tournaments is an option - heck - I do have a bunch of lures and rigs collecting dust, and my family does like sushi...). And it's camouflage! And yes - I will try to surf this thing - stay tuned

Big Fish
This is a repost from - Pete Thomas is the author
So my take - don't kill it if you're not going to eat it - not to mention the filter you have to apply if there is a state law dictating what you have to do with what's on the end of your line (like Snakeheads in Virginia and Great White Sharks in California). I bet the adrenaline factor was through the roof on this catch.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Blowing Off Steam

We had to get the van serviced this weekend (and the DC labor rates are RIDICULOUS) so we made a weekend out of it down in Virginia Beach. The waves were not that big, but relatively speaking they were AWESOME. Maybe six weeks since we were last down there - long time to go without surf... We miss it for the reasons you see in the pictures - fun in the sun(? - at least in theory - it rained on us). Saturday afternoon session was mellow and the kids were ripping it up. Body slammer beach break on Sunday morning with the high tide (spring tide levels) - the waves were a little bigger but the water was deeper - kids were a little apprehensive, but Marlon caught a few then we all )Me, La, Marlon and Noe) transitioned to body surfing (and we all had fun!!!). Now it's 'goodbye' summer - and 'hello' wetsuit weather (shucks - rubber sucks - say that three times fast). Thanks La for taking the pictures!!!

By my own two hands...

Your long-lived pet. Your all time favorite car. The first surfboard you ever shaped... When these things go bad, you need to have the courage to put them down. Two words to demonstrate my point - PET CEMETERY. Don't hang on to them if they are in pain, not being used, rotting in some forgotten corner of the garage. Their dings won't repair themselves and if you do not have enough love to care for them correctly (maybe because you are spread too thin with other surfboards, surfing SUPs, flatwater racing SUPs, kite gear, a fancy trimaran and even paipos), cull them and cull them quick. Here's me practicing what I preach - this was the first board I shaped, but over time the movers have abused it and I've grown wider. I took the jigsaw to it and ended it's pain.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

New Direction

So as I alluded to earlier, I've been thinking about a different way to get out on the waters that we are near to (lakes, the Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay and other streams). I've been plying the web for tandem kayaks so I can take Marlon and/or Noe out on early morning weekend dawn patrols (to fish). I stumbled on the Jackson Big Tuna which on Youtube can be seen carrying two adults and two kids. We stopped into a Kayak store in Hampton and checked it out. I am trying my hardest not to breakout the credit card......