Sunday, June 5, 2016

Beachin'

This weekend my family and I made a journey a few hours south to celebrate my daughter's upcoming birthday with family at their place by Castle Rock Lake.  To mitigate the possibility of forgetting key kayak or fishing equipment, I prepared the kayak the night before.  My rods, net, stakeout pole, hawg trough, TourneyTag, KBF identifiers, anchors, and PFDs were nestled in the front hatch of my FeelFree Lure ready for a long ride.

The next morning I connected the trailer to the Jeep and verified the straps were ready for the journey.  Next, I was tasked with putting the puzzle of bags, totes, toys, blankets, and other necessities to support myself, my wife, and two kids for the weekend.

After successfully completing the puzzle, we were off.  Upon arrival, we stopped at Shipwreck Bay in Mauston, Wisconsin for a delicious late lunch.  We spent the evening with family and nervously checking the weather, calling for rain and storms the next day.  We were planning a day at the beach where we could relax and play.

We woke to rain, but slowly made our way outside as we waited for the storms to pass.  The sky turned blue and we quickly at lunch, packed up, and headed to the beach.  My FeelFree Lure, of course, in tow.  Upon arrival, I piled my Lure full of the beach bags, chairs, etc.  I wheeled it towards the boat ramp while receiving the usual stares.  I launched by the "big boats" and paddled across the bay to the beach while my family hoofed it.

We landed at the beach as my parents pulled up in their boat.  My daughter put on her PFD and immediately jumped in the water, splashing about.  She declined a kayak ride because she would stay dry.  I suggested she use it as a diving platform and she quickly jumped on the front hatch.  She stood on the front hatch with ease (she loves the stability of the kayak as well).  She giggled and prematurely jumped into 18" of water.  I was able to capture the "jump" on my Garmin VIRB, the video is available on my YouTube channel by clicking here. The fit of her PFD and sudden encounter with the bottom caused some pain, so she went back to her usual swimming shenanigans.

Itching to land my first bass of the Kayak Bass Fishing North Central Great Lakes June tournament, I took off to scout the nearby bays.  This area is heavy with boat traffic, not the ideal fishing area.  But it was a beautiful afternoon and worth a try.

I exit the bay and start working the rock walls.  This is the first time in a large body of water with heavy boat traffic in my FeelFree Lure.  I am able to stand and fish in boat wakes with ease.  Two recreational kayakers pass in awe and say, "How do you stand in that thing without falling out?!?!?".  I smirk and reply, "This thing is made for it.".

I was about to head back to the beach with an unsuccessful scouting mission when my brother-in-law rounds the point with my dad's fishing kayak.  I hand him a spare pole and we end up working about a mile of shoreline.  We are trying squarebill cranks and spinner baits.  This lake has seen a lot of rain lately and the water is like chocolate milk.  We are hoping noise and flash draws them.

Some time later, my dad calls.  They sent a search party via boat for us.  The kids wanted to see their dads out on kayaks.  They say hi, toss us a couple of waters, and we paddle back to the beach.

At the beach the kids continue to swim and play.  My 2 year old nephew has been very interested in the kayak all day, so he gets in to check it out.  I had him my Bending Branches Angler Pro and he is able to hold and "paddle" easily.  As my brother-in-law said, "You know the paddle is light when a two year old can handle it."

Though the morning was raining and the fish weren't biting, it was a great day.  We had fun with family celebrating my daughter's upcoming birthday.  The beauty of such a versatile kayak is the flexibility of the platform.  It can haul equipment, the kids can play on it, and the adults can play on it.  I spend many hours alone on my kayak hunting bass.  It was great to spend some time on it with family.


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