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Showing posts from March, 2016

Milwaukee Rudder Woes

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Igot so fired up to chase some salmonids after hearing the seminar at Lake Michigan Angler that a buddy and me decided to make a trip to Milwaukee with our kayaks the following the morning.  I got the Slayer loaded in the truck, my rods rigged up, and did some last minute research (YouTube) on trolling for brown trout.  I was so fired up in fact that I could barely sleep.  I woke up the following morning exhausted, but excited to get my chance at putting the new skills I learned to work on the big water.
Iarrived McKinley Marina on that cold morning and quickly set about preparing my kayak.  The air was a warm 27 degrees and I was shivering as I struggled to put on my dry suit.  My buddy soon arrived and got his Hobie unloaded and we went over a quick safety checklist before we left the shoreline.  I was only a few pedal strokes into my morning when I noticed that despite my best efforts I was going sideways.  A couple turns of the rudder handle and I was able to confirm that my steeri…

Ecuador Fly Fishing at Orvis Happier Hour

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Recently I had the opportunity to attend Orvis of Madison's Happier Hour.  For those of you out of the loop, Happier Hour is a monthly free seminar/talk that they hold the 2nd Thursday at 5:30pm.  This months speaker was Javier Guevara from Ecuador Fly Fishing Tours.  He leads affordable fly fishing trips throughout the U.S., Mexico and Central America.  His talk covered a lot of information not only about his trips, but also techniques for trout, tarpon, peacock bass, and the formidable payara.  I learned so much about the rigging, flies, and presentations, that at the end of the seminar I was literally speechless.  I couldn't come up with a single question to ask him since my brain was still trying process just how cheap his trips were.
Abig thank you to Orvis of Madison for putting on this event.  If you're interested in learning more about Javier's fly fishing trips check out his website here.  To find out what's going on with Orvis of Madison and the line up of…

Which Native Watercraft Propel Kayak is Right for You?

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So which Native Watercraft Propel driven kayak should I buy?
This is the question I've been fielding ever since I wrote the post on the new Ultimate FX Propel.  The answer in my mind is pretty simple.  For me I would (did) buy the Slayer 13 Propel.  My reasoning is very straight forward, I occasionally fish the Great Lakes.  For those of you who haven't spent time on Lake Michigan, the chance of flipping over in the cold water is ever present.  From my point of view the scupper holes on the Slayer Propel make it the better choice.  That "better choice" is my opinion though and it may not matter in the slightest to you.
When you look at the two boats on paper they are really close in both carrying capacity and size.  The differences are much more apparent though when you view them side by side.  The Slayer Propel is a sit on top and the Ultimate FX Propel is a sit inside.  That means you get a dryer and lighter ride in the Ultimate, but you get an unsinkable boat in the…

Learning to Troll the Great Lakes

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As many of you are probably aware, trolling is not a technique I have much luck with.  I find it extremely boring and really cumbersome.  Tending multiple rods, maintaining consistent speeds, and keeping track of how different lures are running drives me crazy.  Still you can't argue with the advantages.  Lures stay in the strike zone longer.  You can cover ridiculous amounts of water.  Also the options that you have when running multiple lines at once is amazing.  I've decided that this year I'm gonna make an effort to really learn how trolling works, so I ended up in Illinois this weekend at a free seminar put on by the Lake Michigan Angler tackle shop.
This was my first time to ever step foot into this shop and to say it was overwhelming would be an understatement.  This shop has everything a dedicated Great Lakes angler needs to catch fish.  Whether you're an accomplished charter captain or a weekend warrior they have the knowledge and know how to get you on the fis…

The Great Wild Radio Show Interview

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Last weekend I took a break from my crazy schedule to do an interview with Gary "The $hooter" N-ski.  Gary is the host for the Great Wild Radio Show a broadcast radio program featured on multiple stations from Kansas to Canada.  We talked for a bit about what I'm up to, the Madison Musky School, and angling in general.  One of my favorite things about his radio show is its hosted podcasts on Podcast Garden.  I encourage everyone to take a listen and subscribe to the link here.
Tight Lines.


Native Watercraft Ultimate FX Propel 13 Review

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Unless you've been away at sea or living under a rock you're probably aware that Native Watercraft has revamped their kayak line for 2016.  The reintroduction of the Manta Ray is making waves due to it's low price point.  The original Ultimate has been put back on the market at the request of paddlers dedicated to the ownership of the kayak that really put Native Watercraft on the map.  For me however the most exciting news to come out of North Carolina is the introduction of a brand new kayak platform for the Propel drive system.  It's called the Ultimate FX Propel and recently, I got to see it in person.
The Ultimate FX Propel is a boat that was designed from the ground up.  Although it's hull design and overall look are based on the Ultimate FX if you see them side by side it becomes apparent that you are looking at something totally new.  This new kayak needed to be more than an Ultimate FX with a pedal drive to function on the water.  So after lots of testing, …

Wendell Webb LOTW Seminar

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Monday was the monthly meeting of the Capital City Chapter of Muskies Inc.  I've been a member for a number of years now and a big reason I continue is because of the excellent speakers they bring in each month.  This time it was Operation Muskie angler Wendell Webb.  He gave a nice presentation about dealing with post frontal conditions on Lake of the Woods (LOTW) in Canada.  LOTW is amazing, and this would have been great information to have before my trip last fall.  Mr. Webb shared some great tips for finding cold front muskies and was also nice enough to open up his tackle box and show us some rigging tricks he uses when chasing finicky fish.  I don't want to give away all his secrets, but here are a couple points he made in the seminar.
Downsize your lure offering.Increase your hook up percentage by swapping out the hooks.Move off the rocks and look for the weeds.Want to know the rest?  Then you'll need to get your local chapter of Muskies Inc. to book Mr. Webb as a s…

Native Watercraft Ultimate FX Propel 13 Video Walk Thru

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Over the weekend I finally got the chance to see the newest offering from Native Watercraft.  I have been dreaming of getting my hands on one of these boats since I joined their Pro Staff last season.  I made up this quick video walk thru of the boat at Canoecopia before the expo got underway Sunday morning.  I'll have a more detailed post with photos turning up on these pages first thing Wednesday.  Until then check out the video below and be sure to stop by Native Watercraft's website to see the entire line of kayaks and kayak related accessories.
Tight Lines.

A Couple Last Minute Updates

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This weekend is Canoecopia at the Alliant Energy Center and the Slayer will be on display in the Native Watercraft booth.  I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to finish a couple of the things I had been putting off over the cold winter months.  Some of these are actual upgrades, some are updates, and one is totally for cosmetics.
Istarted it all off by replacing the seat cover on my First Class seat.  For those that are not aware Native Watercraft has updated the material and color for their kayak accessories to a really nice grayish weave.  Since my seat cover had numerous rips and a few cut off hooks in it I thought it would be nice to replace it.  It is purely cosmetic because it uses the same seat frame and has the same padding as the original, but I love the way it looks so I'm more than happy with it.
The second update is more of an upgrade.  The 2016 Slayers come with a great new cup/rod holder next to the seating position.  I loved the idea of having cup holder tha…

Vibrations Tackle and the 2016 AIMTM (Anglers Insight Marketing) Weekend Walleye Series

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One of my sponsors (Vibrations Tackle) recently announced that they will be the first lure sponsor signing on for the 2016 AIMTM Weekend Walleye Series.  This is a great tournament series here in the Midwest for walleye anglers to compete in.  The past few seasons have shown that the Echotail lure has been extremely effective in tournament fishing and they are really excited to be on board for the 2016 season.  For the official press release follow the link here.  To learn more about Vibrations Tackle and the Echotail line of lures follow the link here.
Tight Lines.

The Walleye Experience

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Last Saturday I got the call I've been waiting for all ice season.  A buddy wanted to know if I was interested in chasing some river walleyes below the Prairie Du Sac dam.  I'm always game for some fishing, especially since I have had about enough of the frozen water all over Madison, WI.  I was fired up and super excited to cast into open water.  I must admit though that I have no idea how to catch walleyes.  Every walleye I have ever caught has been an accident.
The next morning I woke up early, started a pot of coffee, and began rigging my rods, well actually rod, I had no idea what I needed to be bringing.  I did however have my Plano tray of Echotails and everyone I know talks about how good blade baits are for walleyes.  I loaded everything into my backpack and got on my Ice Armor as I waited for Mark to arrive.
So for those of you haven't had the pleasure of meeting him, Mark is the classic outdoorsman.  He hunts for everything, fishes for everything, and owns just ab…

SBH Tips and Tricks #5

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Tight Lines.

Don't Tie What You Can Buy

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Whenever I attend a fly tying class or seminar I get laughs as soon as this phrase comes out of my mouth.  You see many fly anglers learn very quickly that they either love to tie flies or they don't.  I fall into the later category as many of you already know, but I see real value in learning to tie.  I just don't see any value in tying flies that I can readily purchase.
For me I spend time tying flies that I can't get at a local shop.  I am of the belief that if I can support a shop in my area by purchasing the flies that already exist then I should.  That is how many local shops stay in business after all.  Sure they love the big sale they get when somebody stops in and buys a new rod, but it's usually all the little purchases that keep the lights on in the long run.  So if you want to make sure your local shop stays open buy the common patterns from them, they will surely appreciate it. Another reason to only tie what you can't buy is cost.  I'm not talking a…

The Pedal Driven Kayak

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"Look it has pedals!" This was a common phrase over the weekend in the Rutabaga Paddlesports booth at the WI Fishing Expo.  To be honest it has been a point of interest at every expo that I have attended this past year.  For those outside the world of kayak fishing, the pedal driven kayak is an amazing piece of engineering.  The ability to keep you boat moving without paddling, just blows peoples minds!  In fact I would guess that at least half of the questions I fielded over the weekend were directly related to the Propel drive on the my Native Watercraft Slayer.  The pedal driven kayak is here to stay.  Whether it's a Native Watercraft or a Hobie, new anglers to the sport love the pedal driven kayak.
The confusing thing is the view by many anglers inside the paddling community.  I have over heard on more than one occasion that some people see the use of a pedal driven kayak as cheating.  "Isn't the whole point of kayaking to paddle a boat?" they ask me.  I…

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