All Hallow’s Eve

After Trey and I’s bass fishing trip, it wasn’t until Halloween that I made another trip out. This time it would be to the marsh to hunt for reds for an upcoming tournament later in the week. The tournament, which was Redbone’s Festivus Tournament in Cocodrie, can be summed up like this… I lost track of time and was still fishing during the weigh-in. Oh well. But the fishing on Halloween was pretty fun!

I launched from Coco Marina. The marsh there is broken up into sections by canals and bayous. I immediately went to canals where I knew there were oyster beds, or marsh ponds where I’d regularly see fish. There were birds diving over many of the canals so I started there. Throwing a Vortex Shad, I started out picking up some trout.

img_7642

I soon made my way to the ponds but wasn’t seeing many reds. I headed to the same pond where I’d told Karl to go two weeks earlier, and that’s where I caught the first slot red for the day.

img_7643

img_7681

After weaving my way through a few linked ponds, I made my way into a small narrow canal. I had picked up some fish here last year and figured it was worth a shot. I was still casting the Vortex Shad and picking up a few small trout and rat reds at the mouth. As I progressed down the canal, I started getting a few hits but no hook ups. A little ways further down, I started seeing some nervous water. I casted a wake bait over that way and got a few rat reds to hit it. I figured if there were still fish there, I’d keep tossing that thing, even if they were small. Third consecutive cast got a blow-up and as I set the hook, I could tell it wasn’t a little guy.

img_7668

img_7683

Not a “mack daddy” bull red, but still a small bull.

Soon, I was back in the main bayou and heading back to the marina. I decided to stop one last time under some birds and picked up a few more trout.

img_7678

img_7682

After the tournament, the next trip down to the marsh would be to fish, hang out, and help film with the guys from Jackson Kayak and JK Media House for three days! That report to come soon.

Flukemaster Catches His First Redfish

Gene Jenson is no stranger to fishing. He produces one of the most popular instructional fishing YouTube channels with around 174,000 subscribers. During the JK Media House shoot last week, I got to witness Gene catch his first redfish while sight-fishing in the marsh. There will be more from this trip from myself and other members, as well as the actual videos that JK Media House produces… but this is Flukemaster’s video of his first redfish. Enjoy!

Afternoon Bassin’ in the Basin

Back in October, after returning from the Dealer Summit up in Tennessee, I was pretty interested in catching bass. Trey and I decided to try our luck at an area he’d been eyeing for a while one Sunday afternoon. This was a new area for us and we were at first unsure about where we were launching. It seemed kinda sketchy at first, and also potentially private property. But after talking to a few locals, they assured us the area was fine to fish. Trey was paddling his Jackson Big Tuna (solo), and I was trying out the new Cuda HD, also by Jackson.

img_7603

We hadn’t been on the water long before Trey landed the first fish of the afternoon. Caught on a crankbait, I paddled closer for a picture as he landed a fairly good-sized choupique, aka bowfin or grindle.

img_7598

img_7615

Not what we were after but a fun fight nonetheless.

 

The water was extremely low and we were confined to a pipeline canal, so we mainly just “beat-the-banks”, the shallow banks, of the canal. Trey was alternating between a crankbait and a buzzbait. I was committed to throwing a whopper-plopper.

 

I landed some fish too… some small fish… but they were the target species.

img_7600

img_7609

We eventually ended up in a small cove right off of the canal. I landed another small bass, and hooked up on a long-nose gar that probably measured around 30″. Trey landed the largest bass of the day and spooked some big 20 lb carp that jumped out the water and almost hit him in the head.

img_7603

img_7610

After that, we started the paddle back and caught a few more small bass. It was nice to also catch a sunset on the water, something I don’t normally get to do. The mosquitos weren’t as nice.

In the coming weeks, I would return to the marsh several times. Once for a tournament, and a few more times with some of my Jackson Kayak teammates for a JK Media House shoot. More on those to come!

Just the day before, Karl and I were fishing in Cocodrie. Saturday morning, though, had John and I headed to Tennessee for the Jackson Kayak Dealer Summit. Saturday mostly consisted of driving and then we stayed in Cookeville, TN at a hotel.

img_7458

The next morning, Jackson hosted a Dealer/Team Fishing Trip/Tournament. Everyone was grouped into teams and would hit different bodies of water in the area. I was teamed up with Josh Tidwell (JK Pro Staff), Dave Snyder (JK Territory Sales Rep), Jake Slominski (JK Territory Sales Rep), and a few other guys who were with various dealers. The area we fished was the confluence of the Caney Fork and the Calf-Killer Rivers. Most of us paddled straight up the Calf-Killer. There were lots of shad everywhere but the fishing was pretty slow for most of us, but the scenery was awesome!

img_7461

img_7462

img_7463

img_7467

img_7468

img_7469

I eventually paddled a good ways up the river, past an area blocked by leaves. I was told by another angler that he tried to paddle past the leaves but the mosquitoes were really bad. After thinking a bit about it, I paddled through and didn’t have much of a problem. Tennessee mosquitoes are no match for the dinosaur-like mosquitoes we have in south Louisiana.

The persistence got me a small largemouth almost immediately. It would be my second fish of the morning (my first being a white bass that was chasing shad but I didn’t get a picture of).

img_7474

If I’m mistaken, and that’s a spotted bass, forgive me. Remember, I’m a redfish guy.

Not long after that fish, I got an upgrade. Still not a giant, but it was a 15″ largemouth on a crankbait.

img_7475

img_7476

He was submitted to the catch-photo-release website for the tournament, kayakfishingseries.com.

Soon, the fishing trip was over (I’m not even sure which team won the tournament). After meeting back up with John, we headed to Rock Island State Park which is where everything else would take place the next day.

Day two started with breakfast, provided by Jackson Kayak, along the banks of the Caney Fork River. Soon after, we began transporting kayaks to the water for the on-the-water part of the event.

img_7490

Kayak fishing photographer Chris Funk pulling kayaks to the demo area.

Kayak fishing photographer Chris Funk pulling kayaks to the demo area.

The demo was nice. I got an opportunity to paddle, and test out plenty of models; some old, some new, and some prototypes.

Pack & Paddle has recently started carrying the Cruise 12 again, so I got reacquainted with it as well as the Coosa HD. I got a chance to also paddle the new Cuda HD for the first time.

img_7494

Here’s the real fun… the prototypes.

First was the Mayfly. From what I understand, the production model won’t be too different from this prototype. It features an extremely clean deck that has been “fly-line proofed”. Jackson has also incorporated a slightly new hi-low function for the Elite Seat that is very user friendly. The performance of this kayak is what’s real nice. It’s not as fast as my Cuda 14 (not many paddle fishing kayaks are), but it’s not hard to paddle at all. The other thing that was very impressive was it sits low to the water. This means it will not catch a ton of wind abuse and get thrown all over the place. It’s being marketed as a fly-fishing kayak, but I think it’ll make an awesome platform for coventional sight-fishing.

img_7495

And lastly, I got to try out the Coosa FD. This was my most anticipated kayak release because it’s Jackson’s first-time experimenting with foot-pedals. I am a paddle-guy, or a traditionalist, but pedal-kayaks dominate the tournament scene down here so I’m curious to see what this kayak will do.

The model I tried was a 3D printed prototype. It was mostly there to show how the drive would perform. I was in it for about 5 to 10 minutes and I’m very impressed by it. I was told that the steering mechanism will be able to be mounted on either side of the seat. Everything looks to be well thought-out and just an overall creative and different design. If you haven’t seen the videos, the drive will be capable of retracting when bumped underwater, and can be deployed and lifted from a lever on top the deck. I’m looking forward to March!

img_7498

After the demo and seminars were complete, I got back on the water to fish a little. I skunked but did so while enjoying the scenery.

img_7501

img_7502

The next day, we’d head to the Jackson Factory and see how the kayaks are made. I’ll post more on that later…

Courtesy of Josh Tidwell

Courtesy of Josh Tidwell

Back, Down in Cocodrie

I’ve just recently returned from the Jackson Kayak Dealer Summit in Tennessee. Had a great time and have a bit to post from it, but I’ll get to that in due time…

In the meantime, here’s a report from Cocodrie the day before we left…

It was somewhat of a last minute trip when we decided to give Cocodrie a shot. Karl loves my video “Muddy Pumpkins” from two years ago, and I was going to try to show him where I was that day. Unfortunately, we didn’t have quite the same luck, but we did catch some redfish.

img_7405

We got out early and headed into the nearby marsh. The water was high, which usually means the reds will be buried in the marsh grass, so I immediately started trying to get as far back into the marsh ponds as I could. I found a few ponds in areas I hadn’t been before and started see a few fish here and there. The water was surprisingly clear back in those ponds, but that meant the fish would be a bit more spookable. I did manage a couple of rat reds on a Vudu Shrimp (a lure I really like throwing in Cocodrie).

img_7408

img_7409

Just a few minutes later, I was in another pond and got a clean cast on a fish, but it spooked when the lure came near him, so I decided to switch it up and put on the Buggs Curl-tail Jig in Blue Crab. After switching lures and waiting briefly, another red gave itself away while prowling the bank. I short-casted the Bugg and it was chased down by the red. After a nice fight, this 26″+ red was welcomed aboard!

img_7429

img_7431

I then regrouped with Karl and we headed to my “Muddy Pumpkins” location. In the video, there’s a small pond where there’s a lot of fish being spooked. It’s when you see all the mud being kicked up about halfway through the vid. Well, we reached the entrance to that pond and I told Karl to go in and I’d wait outside. I figured, with my success with fish in the previous pond, there might be a fish or two in this one, and I wanted Karl to have first dibs. He headed in and I waited outside. I started nodding off into dream-world when I heard Karl “whooping”. I stood up to see his rod doubled over and splashing on the other end of his line. He netted and measured the fish. 24″!

img_7438

After that we headed back to the launch. I still had a bit of packing to do. Twenty-four hours later, I’d be on the road to Sparta, TN!