Right before my second daughter was born, I brought home a new kayak to fish out of for a bit, a Native Watercraft Slayer 13 Propel Kayak. I planned to mainly use it along the coast. Pretty optimistic, I know. That hasn't happened much with the recent expansion of my family, and it's all good. I love my family. I have a hard time enjoying fishing, if I feel like I should be hanging with them. It affects my game, and this winter/spring has been a frustrating one, fishing wise, but a beautiful one, family wise. My wife loves to tease, that I carry guilt like only a true irish catholic can, and I let it get in the way of my fun, even when it's sanctioned fishing fun. ;)
This past week my wife, my 2.5+ yr. old daughter and my 3.5 mo. old daughter all headed to the beach with my in-laws for 4 days. I sensed the opportunity to finally slime the Slayer. Game Time! But first I needed to do some rigging....
Big Al, from the shop, and I put an anchor trolley on so I could use my 8ft. Park'n'Pole. Then I added two YakAttack Might Mounts behind the seats and got some Ram 2008 Rocket Tubes on Screwballs. I added a BlackPak and slapped my Panfish and Panfish Portrait camera poles on the kayak as well. Then came sticker time! I loaded up the Slayer with PaddleVa, YakAttack, PowerTeam Lures, Heroes On The Water and Skratch Labs tats.
I spent the first evening my girls were gone, decorating the rig. I conveniently ignored the fact that my lawn needed to be mowed.
I still had to work Friday and Saturday, but I planned to hit Sandy River Reservoir both days after 5pm. I had to get my essentials together.
A couple years back, a rock climbing buddy introduced me to Skratch Labs, a hydration sports drink company. I fell in love with the real fruit in their powdered mix. It has become a staple in my running, climbing and kayaking activities.
I recently became a sponsored 'Taste Agent' for Skratch and my local Rep. is the rock climbing legend/ my buddy, Kurt Smith, that first introduced me to it. Pretty awesome! I'm psyched to have this stuff on board, fueling my adventures. I've been using it for years, but it's nice to make a mutually beneficial arrangement with such a cool company that makes a phenomenal product. This stuff tastes great and truly works to keep you motoring on, no matter your activity.
The first night I hit the water around 5:45pm. It was a beautiful evening on the water. I even had a river otter cruise around me, catching his dinner in my face.
Just as the sun was dropping below the horizon, I started to head in. As I pedaled towards the ramp I scanned the shore. I stared at the corner of this cove and saw movement. I was certain it was a bass in the shallows, hiding in some grass. I grabbed my rod and chucked one of the new Okeechobee Craw 5" Sick Sticks from Powerteam Lures into the grass. I let it sit a second, then gave it a little wiggle. Bam! It got tagged and I started reeling. I pulled a nice 19.5in. largemouth into the kayak. And then I started trying to take a selfie with my nice Canon camera in the dark......
It was a good close to the evening.
The next day we were humming at the shop here in Farmville. Saturday is always a blast, as people drive from near and far to shop kayaks, canoes and SUPs. We love meeting all the new people and helping them with their adventures.
After hanging with the guys after work, I headed back to Sandy River for another evening session. Once again, I enjoyed pedaling around, scanning the shore, when I spotted some movement back in one of the coves. I cast a PTL Green Pumpkin Light Blue Swirl Swinging Hammer on a swig jig past the spot I saw the bass. I let the bait snag in some grass, gave it a little twitch and she grabbed it!
It was once again, a fun close to a great evening on the water. Watching the sun set from my kayak is one of my all time favorite activities.
I hit the water on Sunday around 11am and had a rough day in the wind. It was blowing! The water was still filled with debris and a little cloudy from all the rain last week, but I managed a few small guys.
About midday I made a giant rookie mistake. I went to an area, on the lake, where I knew some guys had scored big fish before the YakAttack Tournament. I recognized the location from some photos I'd seen them post. I started casting around some downed timber when my stout inshore rod took a deep bend. I set the hook and started reeling, but nothing was happening. I could feel the fish give a few powerful head shakes and then dive for the timber. No, No, No I thought and probably screamed as I tried to thumb-stop my spool. The drag on my reel was loose from some fiddling I'd been doing the evening before and I'd never tightened it back up! I felt the line stretch and "pop" and the fish was gone.
My wife called soon after, her and the girls were home, and I started heading for the ramp. The Native Watercraft Slayer 13 Propel Kayak is soo casual even pedaling straight into 20mph wind. I am enjoying this kayak soo much, now that I've rigged it to my style. That is what the Slayer is all about. You pick your setup.
Good gear makes a big difference. I've also been loving my Astral Brewers. These shoes were straight comfy out of the box! I've been wearing them everywhere, but especially on the water.
And yes, that is the Astral Ronny Fisher PFD, which happens to be one of the most comfortable fishing vests out there. We had a customer on Saturday who wore his new Ronny Fisher for hours walking around the shop, and then drove home with it on. That is all day comfort. The Thin Vent back is excellent, but don't take my word for it, come try one on.
I had a good string of fishing days. None of them were quantity productive, but I got some quality in and that felt pretty good. As Tom, our GM, pointed out to me the other day, my first blog about kayak fishing stated very clearly, "let the obsession begin" and it has, though being a father takes precedence. Soon, I'll be able to take my eldest daughter back on the water again. It's getting warmer and I can't wait. In the meantime, I have a couple more solo missions planned and I am psyched!
I got home and my girls were all playing in the front yard. I hadn't seen them in four days and I was extremely grateful to step out of my car and be greeted by all the hugs and kisses. I had been wearing the same shirt for three days, fishing, paddling and sweating, but these two little munchkins didn't care and it felt great to have them home.
The Slayer got slimed and my family arrived back home safe and sound. It was a good weekend.