Monday, March 25, 2013

For Reel!

     After last weeks weather posting, I received a few messages from newer guys into the sport of kayak fishing and more specifically kayak bass fishing. I don't pretend to an expert in angling by any means, but I think that any information is good information for new kayak fishermen. I remember from my own experience in purchasing my first bait caster  it was an uninformed buy and I got lucky that it was the right reel for what I wanted it for.

      I wanted to take this opportunity to break down reel ratios, what they mean, and why they are important. There are many different aspects to consider when selecting a reel, like inches per turn, line recovery, and which rod it will be going on. When I first decided that I wanted to write this I only knew about half of the information before doing a little research and this is what I came up with.

     The gear ratio determines how fast the reel speed in during your retrieve. The higher the gear ratio the high your retrieve will be and vice versa.  You may see numbers like 7.1:1, 6.2:1, 5.1:1, or 3.8:1, and these are the gear ratios for the reels that you are about to buy. The first number in the ratio is how many revolutions the line spool will go through in one turn of the handle. The best example that I found was comparing reel gear ratios to the gears on a ten speed bike. When you switch gears the peddling gets easier or harder depending on which gear you are in. In the small gears you can peddle easier but you will get less tire rotation per peddle and you will get more tire rotation with a larger gear, but it will be harder to pedal. The same principal applies here except you cant switch gears in you reel, you have to switch reels for a specific desired outcome in line retrieval speed. 

     There are many different opinions out there about which gear ratio is better for which lure. After gathering some data the general consensus is as follows:

  • 3.8:1 gear ratio - Deep diving crankbaits 
  • 5.1:1 gear ratio - Crankbaits, slow rolling spinner baits
  • 6.2:1 gear ratio - Top water, plastics, and general use
  • 7.1:1 gear ratio - Burning spinner baits and buzzbaits

     From the information presented, it seems that if you are on a budget and do not have the funds for situational fishing with different reels a 6:1 gear ratio (or some where around there) is best to stick with. 


Monday, March 18, 2013

Weather To Go Fishing Or Not.

     I wanted to educate myself a little more on targeting bass so I did some research and decided to buy "Better Bass Fishing" by Bassmaster senior writer Robert U. Montgomery. I just finished this book and it didn't change my life, but it did provide a lot of really good tips and inside information that I hadn't yet thought of. One thing that I really found helpful was the information about weather, and how exactly it relates to bass fishing. More experienced anglers will already know most of this information, but for someone just getting into the sport this can be a helpful tool in your search for that big bass.
**All information taken from "Better Bass Fishing" by Robert U. Montgomery**

Barometric Pressure:

  • High Pressure Features - Clear skies, dry air, little to no wind, and cooler temperatures.
  • Especially during late fall and early winter months high pressure brings sunny bluebird skies, cold weather, and poor fishing.
  • Low Pressure Features - Cloudy skies, high humidity, light winds, steadier temperatures, and possible participation. Fishing is almost always better during these conditions.

  • Good fishing seems to arrive with a west wind because wind from the west or south west usually is indicative of a low pressure system moving in, resulting in lower barometric pressure.
  • Besides being an indicator of pressure it also creates currents and waves that push zoo-plankton forward until they hit shore and accumulate. This creates schools of shad to collect and the bass will follow.    
  • Most research shows that rain, snow, and any other precipitation has little effect on feeding habits of gamefish.
  • Cold or muddy water pouring in a cove will typically drive bass away from that area.
  • Runoff that is warmer can attract fish like a magnet.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Great Scott!!

     The last few months of my life have been super crazy and seem to be speeding by like The Flash.  My wife and I are expecting our first child, a baby girl, in about a week.  As you can imagine our lives have been extremely hectic lately, filled with a lot of work and preparation.  I decided to treat myself to a lazy day last week when an all-time classic, Back to the Future, came on TV.  As you can imagine, I obviously had no choice but to see it through the very end.
                I settled in comfortably on the couch and started the movie, and as usual these days, I started to relate the movie to my kayak fishing.  It then dawned on me that I am about to hit the one year anniversary of the first time that I sat in a kayak and attempted to fish from it.  My mind started to wander and I playfully thought about having Doc’s DeLorean time machine.  I wondered to myself what advice I would bestow if I had the ability to go back and educate myself before heading out for that first trip on Lake Lewisville.
                The first thing I would tell my past self is, “You better install an anchor trolley before you take that thing out on the water.”  My first three months on the water I operated without a trolley, and never knew the difference it would make, until I finally installed it.  Secondly, I would tell myself, “Do not go out and buy things just because you see other kayak anglers using them.”  I had a terrible habit of this in the beginning.  I would see another guy on the water and think that he could catch more fish than I could because he was using this-or-that kind of lure.  Instead of just buying fancy lures, I should have taken the time to figure out my own strengths and weaknesses as an angler, before buying any equipment or tackle.  The third little bit of knowledge I would tell myself would be, “You need to be patient.”  In life, nothing comes easy and nothing comes fast, and I've found that is even more true in kayak fishing. 
                Obviously I could go on forever about the mistakes and hard lessons that were made in the first year, but this has to wrap up sometime.  After all of the bumps in the water, I have never stopped having fun, and I have never stopped learning new things.  Every mistake, every “oops”, and “uh oh” moment that I had along the way weren't for nothing.  I am leaps and bounds from where I was a year ago.  I learned that it is O.K. to ask other guys for advice, and most are more than willing to give it.  I continue learn something new each trip out, even if it’s humility.  The more trips I take out, the more my addiction seems to grow. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Product Review: Alyeska Gloves by Kinco

     This is my first real winter for kayak fishing and I knew that I had to gear up a little more to go fish this time of year. It would be embarrassing for me, being an expert in environmental conditions to wind up hypothermic or frost bit. 
     I wanted to start from head to toe making sure that I was as covered from the elements as I could be using items that I already had at my disposal. Most of my cold gear I already had from my job that demands that I be outside during very cold nights. I had Gore-Tex suits already, I may switch to waders next year, beanies, boots, wool socks, etc, but what I didn't already have something to wear on my hands that would allow me to fish without being restrictive.
     I posted a new topic on TFF (Texas Fishing Forum) about what is best to wear on the water that will also give you the freedom to use your fingers to tie knots and take fish off and the hundred other things that you do while kayak fishing. There were various differing opinions on whether neoprene is better versus wool or no gloves at all. After doing some research I found a few options with each material and read customer reviews from there. I determined there was some necessary features that I needed. First they had to be fingerless. Some of the ones in the neoprene material had peel away fingers on the index finger and thumb, but some of the reviews that I read said that it got in the way when it was peeled back and most of them ended up just cutting it off anyway. Second, I wanted some sort of gripping material on the palm for obvious reasons. So I finally decided on rag wool rather than neoprene because I realized that when your kayak fishing there is no such thing as dry hands, just warmer hands. 
     After looking around the internet for gloves that would fit my criteria I found various options across the board as far as pricing. My budget didn't allow me to spend a lot of money for gloves for fishing. After searching, I came across Alyeska Half Finger Wool Gloves. These were exactly what I was looking for and for under $10. Like I said earlier, no glove is going to keep your hands one hundred percent dry but these did have kept my hands warm throughout the duration of my trips. My only complaint is the snagging that can happen with the wool if a hook gets caught in it, but that can happen with any fabric.
      I have been more than satisfied with my purchase and would definitely but another pair if needed.