Monday, February 25, 2013

The Warm Weather Ninja: Dehydration

     Now that the weather is getting warmer, I wanted to take this opportunity to touch on a topic that many of us take for granted, but are all subject to. Dehydration. In my everyday job I assume  responsibility for the health needs of over 1000 athletes. A large part of this job is recognizing and combating dehydration. Even with all of my knowledge and training, I find myself falling victim to dehydration. When I get on the water all I care about is catching that big 'un, and usually completely ignore what's going on inside of me.

     Dehydration is defined as an excess loss of body water with accompanying disruption of metabolic processes. That means that when we spend eight hours on the lake in the Texas summer, and drink one bottle of water, we can do serious harm to our bodies. Most of the guidelines that my information comes from are based on fluid intake during exercise.  I know we all aren't world class athletes, but what we do is still considered exercise with prolonged exposure to the elements. The American College of Sports Medicine ( recommends 20 oz. of water or sports drink before exercise, just to pre-load with fluids before loss begins. During exercise it is suggested that we drink 8 oz. of water every fifteen minutes to stay ahead of the game. Post exercise guidelines recommended that we replace any fluid lost during the day, especially before consuming any adult beverages.

     I bet we have all felt the results of dehydration at one time or another, but failed to recognize them. Early signs of dehydration include fatigue, feeling lightheaded, loss of appetite, dry mouth, dark urine, headache, and profuse sweating. When left untreated the more severe symptoms include extreme thirst, lack of sweating, little or no urination, nausea, dizziness, muscle cramping, dark colored urine, and vision impairment. You do not have to have all of these symptoms to be dehydrated, or to be in danger of becoming dehydrated. It only takes a few of these to be at risk. It is important for us remember and recognize these symptoms, then decide to stop and take a water break when it's warranted. In addition to the signs of dehydration, there are three progressive stages that we go through when dealing with heat illness. The first stage is heat cramps. These are mild to severe muscle spasms that usually start in the lower legs and move towards the head as your condition worsens. Heat exhaustion is the second stage of heat illness. The signs of heat exhaustion are headache, chills, dizziness, muscle cramps, extreme sweating, nausea, vomiting, and pale skin. The last stage is heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when all earlier warning signs have been ignored. The signs of heat stroke are altered consciousness, confusion, irrational behavior, and even death if left untreated.

     The age old debate of "water vs sports drink" is one that has plagued the sports medicine profession for years. While nothing beats the effectiveness of maintaining fluid levels with good, clean water, sometimes it's just not enough. If you're at the point where dehydration has begun to set in, the best choice is a well formulated sports drink to combat it. Although this discussion could go on forever, the benefits for sports drinks are as follows:

1. The pleasant taste encourages voluntary intake of fluids
2. Faster absorption
3. Improved performance & recovery
4. Replacement of required electrolytes & carbohydrates not found in water

     The main goal of kayak fishing is to have fun and stay safe while doing it. I hope that you walk away from this article with a better understanding of environmental conditions and a greater appreciation for what your body is telling you. I always carry a Lifestraw in my dry bag for emergency hydration situations. My Lifestraw can filter any fresh water source, and will definitely get you through a tough situation. If you prepare for the heat with proper pre-hydration and pay attention to your body's signals, you will maximize your time on the water and keep your health in top shape.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Guest Post: No Drill Anchor Trolley from Cody J.

      I want to preface this write up with a few words. When I started Yak Smack it was with the intent to express my opinions and ideas that I had with regards to kayak fishing and fishing in general. As I started to bounce ideas off my friends I realized that the guys that I fish with have great ideas and differing opinions from  my own. I started hearing phrases like "You should write about this" or "So and so would make a cool blog story." After thinking about it I realized that Yak Smack is a platform for expressing ideas about kayak fishing, and not necessarily just mine. If my close friends had good ideas and opinions about a specific topic or just a cool story I don't want to write their words for them, I want them to write it in their own words. So from time to time I will post guest blog spots from my close fishing buddies because Yak Smack is for kayak fisherman by kayak fishermen.

Rigging my Wilderness Systems Ride 115

Not to be too confusing but I will write on the Yak Smack blog from time to time, and yes my name is Cody as well.  (We've been friends since college and no we are not brothers!)

I wanted to write about rigging out my Wilderness Systems Ride 115, which I purchased from Mariner-Sails. I chose the Wilderness Systems Ride 115 for my new kayak because of price, size, weight, stability, and the open canvas of rigging it out.  My first Kayak was a 12 foot Ascend sit-in.  It was already rigged out with an anchor trolley and rod holders.  It was a great starter Yak but it was time to upgrade to the sit on top.  

Most of my posts on Yak Smack will be documentation of the transformation of my yak to a killer fishing machine.  I am happy to share this process with ya’ll and maybe help spread some ideas or even better get feedback about a better way to do something.


This is how I did it and the parts I used.

Harmony Anchor Trolley Kit
GB Heat Shrink Tubing
GB ¼” Cable Clamps
¼” Flat Rubber Washer
30’ 550 Para Cord - Purple (or whatever color you like, I’m a Horned Frog so it only seemed natural)
Needle and Thread Lighter

Step 1: Open kit and remove pulleys.  The pulleys will be attached to front and rear of the Kayak. See Photos below

Step 2: Cut para cord into strips that you can make into a loop that will hold the pulley.  Cut a strip of the 
heat shrink and feed it onto the para cord.  

Step 3: Pull the string out of the middle of one of the para cord and place the pulley in the cord. Bring the two ends together and sew them together and then slide the heat shrink over the two sewn ends.  Run a lighter over the heat shrink to tighten down.

Back the screw out on the rear  of the yak and place the pulley and string around the screw.  Pinch the para cord around the screw and tighten down the screw.

Step 5:  The front pulley needs to be thread through the extra hole on the paddle keeper bracket.  String the para cord through the eye in the bracket.  Then feed the heat shrink and pulley onto the para cord.  Sew the two ends together and place the heat shrink over the sewn section of the para cord.

Step 6:  Unscrew the two screws along the rear of the yak.  Grab the cable clamps and washers.  Place the washer and clamp on screw and tighten down.

Step 7: String the para cord through the cable clamps and the rear pulley.  Cut a strip of heat shrink and feed it the para cord through it.  Loop the para cord through the ring and sew the two ends together and place heat shrink over the sewn para cord and heat. 

Step 8: String the other end of the para cord through the front pulley.  Loop the para cord through the ring until you find the desired length and tautness.  Once this is found cut cord and place heat shrink and sew like in step 7.

I placed a "S" carabiner on the carry handle in the middle of the yak to help hold the para cord in place.

This is my no drill anchor trolley system.  Like I said before this is just one way to skin a cat.  It
works great for me.  Let me know what you think!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Donkey Kicked!

     The other day I was browsing the world wide web for different rigging options that I haven't seen before just to try something different and creative. I came across the usual wacky rig, split shot, and even the curious shaky head wacky rig but one name caught my eye just because I though it was funny. The title of the page I stumbled on was called the "Donkey Rig." Just the name in itself is enough for you to want to read more about it.
     As I researched more about it I also found another name, the double fluke rig. It is really easy to set up, you don't need a lot of fancy, expensive tackle to make this happen. You need two swivels, and two flukes or minnows to swim on the rig. On the diagram you can see that this rig is very easy to set up and it is up to the imagination on how to fish it after the cast. You attach a fixed swivel with a leader at the terminal end of your line and the second swivel (also with a leader) is simply free moving up and down the main line. This allows for the two weightless soft plastic baits to swim naturally and with slow and fast twitches they will separate and come together like two real bait fish swimming and interacting with each other.

     I wanted to use this rig a few times before writing this just to see how effective it actually was. I've used it three times from the bank at my local pond with great success each day and once from the kayak, also with great results. I have experimented using a few different bait options, weighted and weightless. What I've found is the weighted baits tend to just come together and stay there during the retrieve rather than moving around erratically. I also had better success fishing it closer to the surface rather than deep with a moderate retrieve speed and small twitches. I used two Zoom flukes, weedless hooked and rigged up just like the diagram above, and this presentation is a hoot to play with in the water..

     This rig was new to me and honestly it is a lot of fun to use because of the erratic and realistic nature of the rig. If you haven't heard of this before it is definitely worth trying out next time you're on the water, and even if you don't catch a fish I guarantee you'll have fun playing with it.



Monday, February 4, 2013

Home Sweet Home: Piney Woods Bass Fishing

     I had the opportunity to take my kayak out to my mom's house for the weekend for a little East Texas bass fishing. This is the first time since I started yak fishing that I have taken it back to the area where I grew up. Usually when I go home its mainly for family gatherings and holidays, not recreational time. This weekend however was set aside specifically for fishing.
     The destination this particular weekend was Brady Branch Reservoir, or as the locals call it "Pirkey Lake." This little piney woods gem lies about ten miles east of Longview, just off of interstate 20. This lake is quaint at about 1,200 acres and serves as cooling source for the electric power plant that resides on the northern side of the lake. I met up with some friends of mine from the Texas Fishing Forum to see what the fishing gods had in store for us that day. We had a meeting time of 8:00 set and when I arrived at 7:45 the boat ramp area was packed with power boats launching for the morning and then five dudes with kayaks. This was my first trip out there so I didn't really have any prior knowledge from this lake as far as structure, clarity, temp, or depth.
      The first scene that you see off of the ramp is calm water with eerie steam rising from the surface. There is tons of timber, submerged and above the surface. It was all very movie scene like and that got me even more excited to explore this lake more. I thought I would try and bring out my inner photographer but as soon as I turned my camera on I realized that I had forgotten to charge the battery. With the camera options gone all there was to do now was catch some fish, so I started casting around the timber that I thought would produce the big one. After drifting around for a few hours and being the only one in our group to blank out so far I started to get a little frustrated so I tried to follow the lead of the other guys to hopefully turn my day around.
      I learned that the closer that we got to the plant, the warmer the water temp was, and that should equal more fish. We found a wind blown bank in about five feet off water and that's where I hooked up for the first time that day. I quickly caught two more after that in the same spot and thus the day was saved.
      I think we can all safely say that we had great time out at Pirkey and given the chance we would all go back. It's really convenient for me since my mom lives 15 minutes away from there and I look forward to the next planned TFF gathering there. Overall it was a great experience with great friends and as always I learned something new about kayak bass fishing. At the end of the day I think we all accomplished the primary objective of kayak fishing, which is having fun.