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Showing posts with the label paddle

Hypersketchy and Hypothermic

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First of all, I'd like to apologize to my regular readers for the silence.  I was going to school to become an EMT while dealing with some family health issues over the fall/winter.  I am back, and it feels good to be writing again!  My first big outing of 2018 was exactly what I needed to resurrect my writing.  A day kayak fishing with my good friend Chang of www.cxfishing.com! It is March in Wisconsin.  Temperatures range from -10 to 45.  We can see 50+ degree swings in a day.  The robins and geese are returning from the south, bald eagles and ravens enjoying feasts of the roadkill previously frozen under feet of snow.  Wisconsinites are out in t-shirts and shorts, anxiously awaiting warm-weather activities. When this happens you'll find a majority of Wisconsinites doing things the rest of the country would deem "crazy".  We wear shorts, we grill (though we never actually stop doing that all winter), we take convertibles out (top down), motorcycles will be spott

What are you thankful for?

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I have always loved fishing, ever since my dad put the new Zebco 202 in my hand around the age of 7.  I remember the times spent in that old olive green boat on the cranberry marshes of central Wisconsin.  There was a gap in my fishing for many years.  I still went out, but not as often.  This was mostly due to where I was living, but also because life was happening (full time job while attending full time college, a baby, etc, etc, etc.). Fast forward to four years ago when my family moved 1 mile from an amazing fishery.  My father-in-law gave me his 12' flat bottom jon boat to use in the small reservoir.  It was a perfect fishing vessel and landed several respectable bass. The following year I started getting a bit more serious, spending more time on the water and jumping into a baitcaster.  I was having fun, but was spending a lot more time working and doing other things. Now fast forward to last winter, when my perspective on everything, especially life, changed. It was

Northwoods Fall Bassin'

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I lived in Central Wisconsin for 7 years but never fished it much (I had a first baby, first house, while working full-time, getting certified in my day-job field, and attending college full time).  Kayak fishing is huge in the area.  I've had the privilege to fish with some of the guys in that area, such as The Wisconsin Bass Yaker  and other amazing members of the Wisconsin Kayak Fishing Club .  Having been so busy this summer, heading east to my old stompin' grounds was on my 2016 season bucket list.  The opportunity arose when FeelFree HQ contacted me about helping a customer.  I was happy to, and it gave me an opportunity to fish over there. I reached out to the guys and planned for a 6:30 AM meet at their place (a 4 AM departure required from my house in Western Wisconsin).  The decided to take me to a honey-hole they discovered in the Northwoods (for those of you not familiar with Wisconsin geography, the Northwoods is a place that consists of most of the norther

Dwindling

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This bass season has been one of epic proportions.  When I began kayak fishing, I never imagined the new world it would open up.  I can fish more often, exponentially cheaper, and in areas previously untouchable.  A week prior, my buddy and I had an epic day on the water .  We went back to our fall honey hole in hopes to come close to repeating the events of that historic day in our fishing careers. Fall in Wisconsin is a bittersweet season.  The trees are afire with their natural colors.  Flocks of geese can be seen and heard overhead, heading south to avoid the frigid northern winter.  The bass bite is amazing as they gain weight to store calories for the hard winter.  However, as the temperatures drop, sounds of geese cease, and trees become bare, we are reminded temperatures of -30 degrees Fahrenheit are soon coming.  The bitterness gets worse when the bass bite begins to dwindle. The morning started as a beautiful fall morning.  The air crisp, sky clear.  The mirror-like

Epic

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It is well known the bass are larger in the south.  They grow and feed all year.  In the northern states, there are lunkers out there.  However, they are more of a rarity.  Typically I land one 20" bass in a season.  The rest are respectable, fat, fish, but not the "lunker" length.  This year has been different. Sure, I've spent exponentially more time on the water this year than in the past.  I have also spent more time refining my techniques.  Both have contributed to increased success in my season.  I attribute both to kayak fishing.  My FeelFree Lure allows me to explore and dissect waters I had never considered before, even in my john boat.  Since I can't fire up my gas motor and cruise to a new spot, I am forced to increase my attention to detail.  This includes careful planning of launch sites, keen observation of structure, and refinement of my fishing techniques.  The kayak forces you slow down and fish.  I've even pulled several respectable fish

Frozen

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After spending some time recovering from my tournament push that started in my article " I'm Back - The Saga Begins ", I was ready to hit the water again.  I had already washed and polished my FeelFree Lure, it was looking like new.  My gear was loaded up and ready to go.  I had spent the last few days seeing my Facebook feed filled with kayak anglers catching toads as the fall bite was ramping up.  I was ready for a piece of that action.  When I was in "tournament mode", I had left my Garmin VIRB action cam at home.  I was looking forward to again documenting my adventure. I woke up before light to frost surrounding my house.  The thermometer read 27 degrees.  Having anticipated these conditions, I had prepared my winter fat biking gear (Under Armour cold gear, athletic pants, and a performance sweatshirt.  Upon arriving at the lake, I covered my pants in my rain gear pants to deflect any paddle splash. The lake was covered in a thick fog, a normalcy th

The Saga Ends

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The final chapter of my tournament marathon picks up where I left off in " The Saga Continues ".  Instead of grinding the water after work like in the previous week, I take a few days to rest by body and mind.  I also perform some basic maintenance and cleaning on my gear.  I have the final two days of the tournament off work to cover as much water as possible. The first day is a beautiful morning, but it was not a great day for fishing.  I did my usual seeking with a spinnerbait.  It produced, but nothing of size.  I tried cranking, but it produced the same.  By the afternoon, I had worked the entire reservoir without locating the big ones.  I sat slumped in my kayak asking myself, "What now?". The Wisconsin fall was moving in.  We were reaching 40 degrees at night and 70 during the day.  This weather pattern makes for difficult fishing.  Water temperatures are in the mid 50s in the morning, rising to the upper 50s by the evening.  At this point, I need to make

The Saga Continues

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The saga of my absence from blogging picks up where I left off in " I'm Back - The Saga Begins ".  I had just caught a tank bass, putting me in the running to qualify for the Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship.  Getting the privilege to fish south of the Mason-Dixon, via kayak, with the best kayak anglers in the country has been a pipe dream since I got into the tournament fishing this year.  Never did I think I had a chance.  Sure, I put in a lot of time on the water but never considered myself a tournament angler.  I decided this was a great opportunity to make a push to make "the cut".  The spinner bait seems to be the magic lure, so I make a restock trip to my local Mills Fleet Farm and stock up on Northland Tackle spinners.  My spinner box now full, I'm ready to hit it hard. My kayak stays permanently at the ready on my trailer.  Tackle, PFD, net, hawg trough, and my Kayak Bass Fishing identifier nestled in my TourneyTag are in the vehicle read

Back to Basics

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Being disconnected from the world via technology is an odd thing.  The day prior, I had lost my phone in the Mississippi River, you can read about it in my article " Mississippi River: Kleptomaniac ".  I found myself reaching for, and attempting to check, my phone a scary number of times.  Like I was an amputee that still had sensations as if my appendage was still attached.  After I came to this realization, I found the situation freeing.  Just silence, like when I was a kid.  No connections, just life.  Though, I'll admit, driving home the night before in the dark of rural Wisconsin was a bit tense.  Should I hit a deer, I could go without seeing another car for hours. Don't get me wrong, I love what technology has brought to our lives.  Especially what it does for the fishing community.  It allows me to connect, communicate, and compete with anglers all over the world.  Social media allows the communication and connections.  The app  Drophook  allows like-minde