Interesting story on my little 2 hp Yamaha I use on the boat. I know I haven’t used the motor in at least two years, maybe longer. I pulled it out a few weeks ago. The gas tank was full of non leaded gas that has had marine stabilizer in it. I didn’t really think it would run well but I put it in a tank and gave it a pull. The little bugger started on the first pull. I used that tank for my trip below and it never gave me one problem. I was pretty surprised.
Now for the fishing.
This week I decided I needed to make the two hour trip from St. Augustine to the upper St. Johns River for the annual Shad run. Actually upriver is south for the St. Johns, as it is one of a handful of rivers that runs from south to north in the US. The Shad migrate from the ocean to the headwaters of the St. Johns to breed each year. They are fun to catch on light fly gear and are tenacious fighters. I decided I didn’t want to bother hauling my skiff and the hassle of packing everything so I popped the W500 in the back of my Ridgeline, threw the motor in along with some fly gear and was on my for a little fly fishing therapy, launching at the Jolly Gator Fish camp.
I didn’t exactly kill them but caught a couple to satisfy my itch. I also hooked two of the larger Crappie, and Bream (Sunfish to you Yankees) that I have ever landed. So, not a stellar day but at least fish were had. The area is very unique. The river meanders through a large expanse of grass and marsh lands that are used for grazing horses and cows. Plenty of wildlife from herons, egrets, white pelicans, otters, gators, wild pigs, and other creatures. The river also contains quite a variety of fish to catch, including hybrid striper bass. I usually get one trip in a year for the Shad run, though this year I may need one more to see if I can do a little better in the catching department.
Evidently, she is sitting in the driveway waiting for me to get it in gear so we can begin our day. Today; Saturday, October 24, 2015, is the first day of kayak fishing for me. I had hoped to go sooner, but when you own a business sometimes it just doesn’t work out.
The preparation for this day began last week when I knew I was lacking some stuff that other folks have on their kayaks. I installed an anchor trolley, some rod holders, and a couple of soft spots at either end of the saddle gunwales. I used pool noodle for the soft spots and Command brand strips for rod holders. I wasn’t sure about the rod holders, but they have worked out great. Simple, yet effective. Prior to installing the new stuff I totally snaked Steve Anderson’s paddle holder idea and made some of my very own. I used thin, flat aluminum bar and bent it to the contours of the kayak. I filed smooth the sharp edges and covered parts of the holders with good ‘ole duct tape. After all that work I felt way more prepared to use my kayak for catching.
I decided my first outing should be somewhere familiar and protected in case the wind blew a gale. Jan and I chose Lee Landing on the Upper Broad Creek of the Neuse River. The Neuse is brackish down my way, so we knew that we could potentially catch anything from sunfish to drum or speckled trout. Fishing Buddy gave me some advice about packing for the day and what to take and what not to take. I reorganized 3 times before I was satisfied with my choices and included flies and gear for typical salt and fresh water fishing. I also remembered the camera, yay for me!
We arrived at our destination, unloaded the kayaks from the vehicles and then loaded the kayaks with stuff. Fishing Buddy got on the water first and I followed eventually. I really need to work on the “scoot”. Alas, I was afloat and paddling toward a dock. My second encounter with a dock went a lot better than my first encounter. I slipped my fly rod from the holder and made a cast in anticipation of getting bent; I would have to wait a while before being bowed up. I paddled, cast, and repeated.
I hoped to catch some trout, so I started fishing with a black and orange clouser fly. I then changed to a chartreuse and white clouser fly after no strikes or hook ups. Fishing Buddy had changed from a tutti frutti fly to an all white with gold flash clouser fly and caught a bass on a sunny bank. I decided to go with a white wooly bugger, but that didn’t work too well either. We were both throwing intermediate lines and even though I usually throw a floating line when fishing small poppers, I decided I was going rogue. The wind was blowing me around pretty good, so I backed my kayak up into some reeds while I tied on that awesome little popper and when I was all tied up I eased over toward the sunny bank and made a cast between a cypress knee and a clump of reed grass. Float, strip, pause, strip, pause, BAM! FISH ON! I knew it was a bass because he commenced to pulling me toward his lair and I went to hollering. I was so happy that I evidently failed to see two folks paddling a canoe get close enough to join in the celebration. Unfortunately, my Fishing Buddy had paddled up the creek so she missed the whole scene. The nice canoe folks assured me that they would convey the good news when they got around the bend.
The remainder of the trip was spent catching pumpkinseeds and bass. I did manage to land a reed fish; they are very elusive you know.* 🙂 happy It was 2:00 pm when we arrived back at the boat ramp. We got loaded up and helped a fella get his boat trailer backed down the ramp to retrieve his boat, it was his first time and he needed a bit of guidance.
I had no idea that I had fished for 5 1/2 hours. I learned a lot today and will tweak some things for my next trip. I am so tickled with my kayak and I am so anxious to go again.
Today was the day; the maiden voyage of Float-n-Fly. There was more float than fly since it was my very first water day in my W700 and only my second time ever in a kayak.
The sun was shining, the wind was blowing about 10-15 mph, and the mosquitoes threatened to hijack my voyage by sucking all of my life blood from me. Despite the wind and squadron of eastern North Carolina skeeters; also known as crop dusters, I pushed off the bank and into a most epic experience. I was immediately blown into a scraggly bunch of above water branches and then decided I better do something so that I could actually claim that I paddled my kayak. I tentatively placed a blade in the water when my Fishing Buddy called out to me and said that my paddle was backward and upside down. Go figure; I did mention that this was my first trip, right.
Lesson #1-It does matter how you hold your paddle.
I adjusted the paddle and started with a good stroke, then another, and then another. Perhaps this was going to work after all. I paddled around in a circle; not because I tried to, but because the wind was pushing me around and around. I finally got turned toward the bank and glided right through the shallows and up onto the grass. It was at this time that I realized I was still on the seat of the kayak and not swimming to shore. Major accomplishment made super easy by the stability of the W700. Fishing Buddy, who is an avid kayaker, gave me some pointers on creating good, productive strokes by turning at my waist and when to lift the paddle out of the water.
Lesson #2-I am not paddling for a world record and it’s not a battleship. Easy and steady will get me where I want to go.
I received some more pointers and great information from Fishing Buddy about turning around and pushed off from the bank one more time. I paddled all around about half the pond practicing the proper stroke so as not to wear myself out and headed to the shore to find out how awesome, or not, I was doing paddling and turning. I said, “How do I look Fishing Buddy?”. She said, “Really good Fishing Buddy.” (“Fishing Buddy” is the nickname we use for each other because she; Jan, has a twin sister named Jill, and my name is Jill.) If you are confused, it’s okay because even after 8 years the guys in our fly fishing club can’t get our names right either.
Anyway, after she proclaimed that I was doing a good job I asked her what else I needed to know. She said, and I quote, “get the hell out so I can try it”.
I knew I had chosen a winner.
I want to talk about the obvious virtues of the W700 that are specific for me.
The first thing is that I am a bona fide big girl who loves to fish and wanted a new adventure. Most kayaks are not made for big girls and most big girls aren’t going to try kayaking or kayak fishing because you are afraid to be embarrassed by not being able to get in or out of a kayak. The W700 solves this problem with the ease of getting in and out without squatting, waddling, rolling, or flopping. You step in and sit down. It’s just that easy.
Secondly, I never felt like I was going to roll over, fall out or flip over. I was plenty nervous at first but I got my butt adjusted and just sat there. Easy, peasy. I wore my brand new life jacket in case I went for a non voluntary swim, so I felt very safe. Next time I will try standing up; which my Fishing Buddy was able to do right away. She is way more awesome than I, but I will get there.
Overall, I am just amazed with the W700 and so happy that I got one of my own. I have attached some pictures to prove it.
Fishing Buddy paddling standing
Float-n-Fly, my Sunshine colored Wavewalk 700
A picture shot at SOBX Kayaks, Wavewalk’s dealership in Beaufort, NC
Editor’s note: Boyd and his wife used to be avid paddlers until they got their first W kayak. Since then, inspired by his own experience with the W kayak, Boyd became Wavewalk’s dealer in Ontario, Canada, and an avid fly fisherman too. This short article summarizes Boyd’s own experience and thoughts as a W kayak fly fisherman –
Pros and cons of fly fishing from a boat
1. Position on the water. Put yourself where the fish are and in the best spot to cast. Stay clear of casting obstructions. Move away from other people fishing. Use your depth finder to locate those drop offs and deeper pockets.
2. Comfort. Stand or sit and rest in comfort.
3. High and dry. Stay dry and comfortable. Keep warm when the water or air is cold.
4. Stability. No more worries about slipping on a wet rock or stepping into a hole or drop off.
5. Storage. Lots of room for equipment, fish, food and drink, etc.
2. Transporting and convenience. Getting to and from and into and out of the water.
3. Access to shallow rivers and stream beds or non motorized bodies of water.
The Wavewalk W500 fishing kayak is the best solution to these cons and still provides the advantages of a full size boat.