Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Growing The Sport!

     I feel that I've been very fortunate in my kayak fishing journey thus far. I credit my success in part to the many hours I've dedicated to helping out with various demo days, shows, etc. I also think that part of my fortune is from what I call my kayak karma. Simply, helping others will in turn benefit you. 

     I desperately wish someone would have introduced me to kayak fishing back in high school or even in my college days. I feel that it is my duty to spread the word about the sport I love and introduce it to those who have never heard of it. In general, being a positive ambassador for the sport. You will never see me bashing other brands of kayaks, pfd's, paddles, rods and reels, or tackle. It's just not what I'm about. For me it's about introducing new people of all ages to the sport and showing them the wide variety of options that are available to them at all price points. I am extremely honored to be apart of the Wilderness Systems Pro Team, but I didn't start there and I didn't start in a Wilderness Systems kayak. I started in what I could afford at the time and what was available to me. 

     This past summer I introduced two of my closest friends to kayak fishing. Both of these guys have heard from me for years how awesome it is and how much I love it. They finally agreed to go on a trip with me and both said, "Why did I wait so long to do this".  There are so many misconceptions of kayaking in the general public and if you feel compelled it's up to us to show people that there's more to kayaking than Aziz Ansari commercials. 

     In addition to taking people out for their first trips, I also give kayak fishing presentations to high school students. I do about 5 of these a year, and it's honestly one of the most rewarding things I do. Kids are so inquisitive and always so impressed when I set my fully rigged kayak, and I get to have a lot of fun with it. I get asked the most insane questions sometimes, and it's truly my pleasure to be able to speak to them. 

     I'm always looking for ways to promote the sport and introduce and educate people to what we do. I have learned that you never know who will instantly be interested and take what you have showed them to the next level. All of this effort never feels like a "job" to me and I will continue to do my very best to be a positive ambassador for the sport.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Guest Blogger: Barry Jones on his first month as a kayak fisherman


Guest Blogger: Barry Jones

I’ve Got a Fever, and the Only Prescription….

     I have the bug. I’m infected. It’s gotten into my blood and there’s no way to remove it. No, I’m not dying, thank God. What am I talking about? Kayak fishing, of course!
Hi, everyone. My name is Barry Jones, and I’m proud to say I am now a kayak fisherman. 
     When Cody asked me to write a guest article on YakSmack, my first thought was “What could I possibly tell these folks that they don’t already know? I mean, I’m brand new to this!” Thankfully, Cody suggested that I write a piece about my first month or so as a kayak fisherman, how it’s gone, and what I love about it. Well, that’s easy! I’m pretty good at talking about myself and my opinions, after all!
To get started, I’d like to mention that Cody and I have been friends for a long time. We met a long time ago in the TCU Athletic Training program, and when we found out that we were from basically the same place, just outside of Longview, TX, I feel like we were instantly friends. I’ve heard Cody talking about kayak fishing for a few years now, but have never had the time to try it out, so finally when he invited me along this past June, I jumped at the chance. I met Cody at his house one morning around 6:30am, helped him load up his two kayaks, and we drove off to Town Lake in Prosper, TX. Now, after we drug those kayaks through the 20 yards (it seems like) of mud, I finally was able to sit down and shove off into the lake. After I was finally able to clean the mud off my feet and shoes, the first thing I noticed was how intimate you feel with the lake. I love sitting right on the water and being able to fish. There are no motors to crank on, no gas tanks to fill, no bilge pumps to start. It’s just you, your kayak, paddle, and the water. I could feel the stress leaving my shoulders, and the excitement of fishing filling my soul.
Of course, that first trip I didn’t catch anything, but that didn’t bother me at all. I loved being out on the lake with friends. There is nothing like fishing with your buddies. Cody Carpenter, Cody Jenschke, Clayton Harrison and I were all that existed to me for those few hours. That’s another thing I love about kayak fishing….the escape. Being out on the lake with your kayak seems to make everything else fade into the background. It really gives me a feeling of escaping reality for a few hours, which in this busy, stressful life we all seem to live, is a welcome change.
     I was finally able to buy my own kayak at the beginning of July. My buddy Clayton wanted to upgrade his kayak, and was willing to sell me his. By this point, it was just about all I could think about and I couldn’t wait to get back out on the water, so why wouldn’t I buy it? I am now the proud owner of a Wilderness Systems Ride 115X, and I absolutely love it. I love that your creativity is your only limit when rigging up your kayak. Heck, I’m sure if someone wanted to, they could figure out a way to rig up satellite TV, and a functioning toilet on one of those things! Don’t worry, neither of those are in the cards for me. But I love how many options you have to rig them up. I’m currently working on changing the para cord and bungee cords to TCU purple (Go Frogs).
I finally caught my first fish from a kayak a couple weeks later, when Cody and I went back out to Prosper Town Lake one Sunday evening. Now of course when you mention fishing to just about any fisherman, you can count on hearing tales of their “magic lure” that is guaranteed to catch fish. My brother-in-law’s father is no exception. He swears by the Mardi Gras colored fluke by Zoom. So I had fished a while that day and had worked my way back into a shaded creek that feeds the lake. I wasn’t having much luck with my favorite lure, the crank bait, so I decided to give the old Mardi Gras fluke a shot. Now, when I loaded up my spinning reel with that Texas rigged fluke, I decided that I would get a quick drink of water before I cast it under the tree across the creek from where I was sitting. I dropped the fluke into the water…not really thinking about it…got my drink of water, and when I picked up my rod……FISH ON!!!! Now I’ve been fishing my whole life. My grandfather has taken me fishing since I was a little dude, but there really is nothing like fighting a largemouth bass while sitting in a kayak. 

You’re not up close and personal with the fish from a motor boat like you are in a kayak. I was laughing and smiling the whole time I was fighting him. I was grinning like an idiot while I was pulling the hook out of his mouth. You can watch my YouTube video and see for yourself! I captured the whole thing on my GoPro. 
After that moment, I was really hooked!

     Now, I’ve been out several times since then, and caught a few more fish. I love that I can load my kayak up into the bed of my truck, strap it down and go to the lake, or a pond, or a river and go fishing. I can call some buddies and go, or if I want a little “me time”, I just get out on the water and fish by myself. In the 6 weeks I’ve owned a kayak, my life has changed for the better. I’ve grown closer with old friends, made some new friends, and have finally found a hobby that gets me out of my house and into the great outdoors. I’ve even gotten a date from kayaking. She saw my kayak fishing pictures on Facebook, and wanted to know more about it. So, naturally, we went kayak fishing! More on that later…..

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Product Review: Kids No Tangle Fishing Combo

     This was a fun review for me. Mostly because it required me to take my daughter fishing and because she reeled her first fish in with this combo. I picked hers up at my local Bass Pro because I saw it won best kids fishing product at the 2015 iCast. 

     I was immediately interested in this combo because it was advertised as "tangle free". I cant tell you how much time I usually spend untangling my daughters line from trees, sticks, or even from around her own pole. This combo is constructed just like  a conventional reel except the rod is more of a tube. The line casts from the reel through the tube which prevents any tangling. 

     The combo comes with a barrel swivel that prevents the line from falling in the tube, which makes it very easy for rigging up for perch jerking. In case the line were to slip down the rod will break in half, like a double barrel shotgun, and allow you to pull the line back through. Its all very easy to use.

     This product lives up to its name and allows your kid to fish tangle free, allowing you and them to spend more time fishing. Check them out HERE.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

ATAK Rudder Install Video

My attempt at an install video for the rudder on the ATAK 140. Please feel free to contact me or ask any questions in the comments. Thanks for watching!