Monday, March 31, 2014

Choosing a Kayak Fishing Rod

Fishing from a kayak offers so many advantages over fishing from shore or motorboat.    Mobility, stealth, manouverability, and adaptability being chief among them.    Not to mention price compared to the cost of purchasing/licensing/fueling/maintaining a motorboat.    However there is one key area we need to be careful of when kayak fishing, and that is making sure we have the right gear.

One piece of essential gear that you want to make the right choice on is the rod.   Obviously the first thing you need to look at when buying a rod, is what type of fishing are you going to do with the rod.   You simply cannot use the same rod for perch or brook trout fishing as you would for sturgeon, stripers and muskie.   If you are going for small mouth bass, you would something different again.   And of course if your are out on the salt water, there are more considerations still.    Finally there is the whole other niche of fishing which has it's own set of criteria when choosing a rod which is fly fishing.

Regardless of the type of fishing you may be interested in, there are rods well suited to shore fishing or motorboat fishing that simply are not ideal to use in kayak.    The key attribute I found that you need to be careful of in kayak is the length.    A rod that is overly long, while typically able to cast further, will dramatically increase the difficulty of steering a big fish when it gets close to the kayak.

If you are out fishing for something like stripers or sturgeon and you are lucky enough to hook into a big one, imagine how you are going to land the fish if your rod is pointed 10 feet up in the air.    A 6 - 7 foot rod on the other hand will be much easier to work with.   As well, when your rods are secured in your kayak's rod holders, you have to be wary of where you are paddling and how you orient the rods.   If you are paddling under tree branches, you won't want to have a long rod pointed up in the air, and positioning it straight forward or back, may hinder your ability to manouver around narrow streams or rivers.

I try to keep my rods at around the 7 foot length, give or take 7 inches.   Sometimes I may find a rod I like that is a little over 7 foot, but that is pretty rare.     While I haven't gotten into fly fishing as of yet, I do want to try it at some point, and when I do, I'll be looking at a 4 piece rod with a compact waterproof carrying case.   Such a rod and case would be much easier to stow away on a kayak making it much easier to bring with you on basically any outing, just in case you have call to use it.

The rods I'll be using primarily this year are from Denali.   These rods are of the highset quality.   They are lightweight, strong, and immensily sensitive.   I'll use the Denali rods for all of my fresh water fishing, while opting for my 2 surf rods (a Fin-Nor and Shakespeare) for when I'm in the salt water or fishing for stripers on reversing falls.

Unfortunately Denali rods are not available at this point in Canada, so if you would like to get one, you would want to order it into Calais.   For those of you who live in my area, and are able to come fishing with me or with the Greater Saint John Kayak Anglers, feel free to ask to borrow one sometime!   If you are interested in purchasing one, I'm sure I can help make arrangements.

The Denali Rods I have this year are:

  • The Jadewood Drop Shot rod: Will be my key medium action spinning rod for smaller fish such as perch, catfish and others.
  • The Kovert Misc Spinning rod:  An all around medium action spinning rod I'll for many species like pickerel and Small Mouth Bass that will put up more of a fight.
  • The  Rosewood Finesse rod:  A great medium action spinning rod to try many different approaches for fighters like Small Mouth, Trout and Land Lock salmon
  • The Rosewood Spinnerbait rod:  My first of two medium heavy action bait caster rods to target sturgeon, musky, and striper.   I will also use it to troll for larger trout and land locks.
  • The Mark Tyler Signature rod:  A very high end medium heavy action casting rod again to be used to target bigger fish like sturgeon, musky and stripers.    I will also use it to troll for larger trout and land locks.

  • As muskies sometimes require very large and heavy lures, I may look at adding the Jadewood or Rosewood Rig Flipping rod from Denali.  These are Extra Heavy Rods with lure ratings up to 3 ounces which should be all I need for kayak fishing for muskies.

    Monday, March 24, 2014

    Saint John River Chapter of Muskies Canada

    Yesterday I had the pleasure of driving up to Fredericton to attend the Spring meeting of the Saint John River chapter of Muskies Canada.   This is a group of 50 something anglers with a passion for muskie fishing, and I must say a very organized and welcoming group as well!    They have a great mix of youth and experience in several roles in their board of Directors and a very prominent role on the national stage as well.    Also worth noting is that they are very commited to conservation and preservation of the Muskie populations, with all fish released, and they participate in studies designed to help better understand the Muskie life cycle, numbers, and movements so that the species can be fished responsibly.    For that reason alone I wanted to join and support the group!

    The muskie (muskellunge) is a large predator fish similar in ways to pickerel and pike.   They are long, aggressive and have lots of sharp teeth.    The big ones that are caught from time to time in the Saint John river can get over 50 inches in length, and weigh over 40 pounds!      These fish are basically as long as the bigger sturgeon I've caught last year, a few pounds heavier, and given their similarity to pickerel, are going to be a lot more of a handful to land!

    Check out some of the pictures of member's with their first and personal best muskies here.   Can you imagine holding some of these monsters in a kayak!   I can't wait!

    I have a couple of fantastic high end Medium Heavy rods from Denali this season, though I'm not sure if Medium Heavy will cut it for these beasts!  I may have to look at using my big surf rods when I go Muskie fishing, and entertain getting yet another rod or two for muskie fishing!  (Don't tell Anna!)

    Given the area one would fish for Muskies is about an hour or more away from me, I don't anticipate getting up there to fish a whole lot, but I will make 4 or 5 trips at least.   I've offered the members of Muskies NB a guided trip out sturgeon fishing here in my area and several have expressed a strong interest in that, and have offered to take me out Muskie fishing in return.    I can't wait to learn the ins and outs of muskie fishing from some of the best, and to get them out and hooked into a sturgeon as well!

    Are you interested in learning more about muskies and getting out to fish for them?  If so, then check out Muskies NB.  If you do decide to sign up, you will be signing up in Muskies Canada as well.   Not only will you gain access to a wealth of online information on their website, but you will gain other benefits including a discount on purchases at several angling retailers including Frederticton Outfitters.    One word of advice though, do not register online.    Instead do it in person or via e-mail with Bruce Beaton, their Director of Membership.   If you go through Bruce you will get your membership card much faster.

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014

    Eco Pro Tungsten Gear Arrived!

    Today I received a batch of great looking gear from a fantastic company who I cannot wait to represent on the waters this year. Eco Pro Tungsten weights undergo a special polishing that allows them to be fray free without using a plastic insert. Their weights are 97% pure tungsten which makes for a smaller, heavier weight, and that means you will make farther casts and get hung of less using Eco Pro. Their special "Seal Coat" painting process make for one of the most chip resistant finishes on the market. All Eco Pro products use only 100% lead free, earth friendly tungsten.

    Among the tackle recieved are the punch weights, different size worm weights, tungsten weighted hooks, weights designed for wacky rigging plastics, and more. With the extra sensitivity tungsten gives the anglers over lead, the fish won't stand a chance this year!

    Friday, March 14, 2014

    2 New Sponsors!

    I am pleased to say that two more great companies have taken me on as a pro-staff representative this year! Stay tuned for an update once I receive product from these companies when I'll give a more detailed first impression update. I can't wait!

    Eco Pro Tungsten
    Eco Pro Tungsten weights are 97% pure eco friendly tungsten. Fray Free, insert free and lead free, tungsten weights offer serious advantanges over lead.  Smaller, dense tungsten is super sensitive, allowing you to detect more strikes and catches more fish while greatly reducing hang ups! Special "seal coat" painting resists chips and scratches.

    Shark Tooth
    The Shark Tooth is the first spool tender on the market that is equipped with a highly functional cutter. No more searching for the end of the line, no more line unraveling off your spool, no more fumbling around for nippers, and no more bird nests!

     A special thanks to "Bobby Brown Trout" at Fly Fishing Extreme for also agreeing to sponsor our New Brunswick Paddling tournaments.   We expect that all participants in the tournaments will receive a Shark Tooth before hitting the water to use during the tournament.   We look forward to hearing dozens of first impressions on the Shark Tooth during these tournaments!