KAYAKING

Say Cheese: Taking Quality Photos from Your Kayak

Monday, March 25th, 2013

drip-redfish

As far as I can tell, there isn’t an Angler that does not love to show off their trophy catches. Over the last decade sharing your photos has become increasingly easier and an integral part of most fishing trips. In my experience, this trend has advanced quicker and been mastered by the kayak fishing community.

Online fishing forums kick started our desire to justify our fish stories. Not only was there a place for anglers to share information, but it also provided a bragging board for anglers of all skill levels. Paddle fishing forums brought no motor anglers together and help the sport explode into the mainstream. Digital cameras made it a snap to upload images onto our computers and saved everyone a fortune in film processing expenses. High-speed has made it possible to document your whole trip in pictures and have them ready to share in the blink of an eye. Social media sites like Facebook have taken photo sharing to levels most of us would have never imagined and kayak anglers are front and center. Now instead of exchanging stories with your buddies, they are being viewed worldwide.
While sharing photos is easier than ever before, there are some tricks to making sure you capture the best shot of your catch and maybe more important, protecting your equipment.

Experienced pros never seem to hesitate to take their high end DSLR cameras out in the yak, but one thing they know is how to protect their investment. Taking my cue from them, I will not trust my camera’s safety to anything less than a case made by Pelican. These boxes are super durable, lock watertight, have a padded interior and float. They come in just about every size imaginable. Whether you are carrying several DSLR bodies and lenses or just mid-priced point and shoot, you want to make sure you go home with your camera in the same shape you took it out in. The Pelicans are also a great place to store the rest of your valuables so they do not meet a watery death.

bad-snook

The majority of anglers, fishing out of a kayak, choose to use point and shoot cameras. Fortunately for us the versatility of these cameras has advanced as quickly as our sport. Now you can get a digital camera from $200 to $400, from one of the top manufacturers, that has the ability to dive as far as thirty feet, while also being shock proof and freeze proof. Even though these cameras are waterproof, it does not mean that they are corrosion proof. This is especially important if you fish in saltwater. I have found that the best way to rinse the salt off is to fill a bowl with fresh water and let the camera soak in it for about ten minutes and then dry it off with a clean towel. If you take care of your camera like you do your reels, it will provide peak performance for several years.

Kayaking truly lends itself to making solo journeys and this has always made it challenging to take photos to do justice to the great fish we catch. I started doing self-portraits once I purchased my first waterproof camera. Today’s cameras offer great timer and flash options, so with a little practice you will have photos ready to publish. The trick is to securely mount the camera so you can easily get the whole fish, as well as, yourself into the frame. After losing my first waterproof overboard, I learned two things, attach a hi-vis float to your camera and mount it for both safety and stability.
Personally, I use the Panfish Portrait mount from Yak Attack. This can be mounted directly onto your kayak or attached to their new Black Pak tackle box.

good-snook

Another trend in kayak photography is the use of an iPhone for capturing on the water images. If you choose to use your iPhone on the water, make sure it is well protected. Lifeproof makes a great waterproof case and they have just come out with a new handle bar mount that is perfect for mounting your iPhone to your stakeout pole. This set up provides the ultimate camera stabilization. On windy days a camera mounted on a kayak may lead to blurry shots when there is too much chop causing your boat to bounce up and down. This new set up will eliminate that problem. Master photographer, Sam Root, has a great video posted on SaltyShores.com that shows the proper way to set up this contraption. By adding the App 321 Camera Timer to your phone you will now have everything you need to get that amazing shot that includes you, your trophy and your kayak all in the same frame, the ultimate in one person photography. Don’t forget to smile!

A New Twist on the 5P’s

Friday, February 1st, 2013


When it comes to keeping my rods are reels in top working condition, I have adapted a slightly altered version of the old 5P’s adage. My version suggests that Proper Prevention Prevents Poor Performance.

As kayak anglers not only do we need to put together the perfect combo for our targeted species, but we also have to pay extra attention to how we transport and maintain our precious tools. The sheer fact that we travel so close to the water’s surface pretty much ensures that our gear is going to be prone to the elements far more than the tackle of our motorized angling brethren. This is especially true for those of us that do the majority of our fishing in saltwater. Without proper precautions and maintenance, even the most pricey of reels will seize up and require expensive repair work and down time to get them back in tiptop shape. While freshwater fishing will not ravage your gear as fast as saltwater, it is just as important to safely transport your gear and stay on top of reel maintenance.
As a saltwater guy, my first concern is to avoid excessive splash on my reels. There are multitudes of ways to ensure safe portage, but I will limit it to just a few key measures I take to keep my reels performing like they are fresh out of the box. Today, most sit on top kayaks come with built in rod holders, they are convenient, but usually plumbed right into the kayak and leave reels a little too close to the water line for my liking. There are plenty of ways to raise your rods up to keep the splash they receive to a minimum. Solutions can be as simple and inexpensive as inserting a PVC tube into the plumbed rod holder. There are also some great adjustable rod holders from RAM Mounts and Scotty that allow the angler to position the rods in strategic positions.

Personally, I prefer to have my rods situated as close to the middle of the tank well behind my seat as possible. By having them positioned there, a lot of unwanted splash can be avoided especially when kayaking in rough conditions. I really like the Black Pak from Yak Attack. It is a state of the art adaptation of the old DIY milk crate that has been part of kayak fishing as long as there has been kayak fishing. Not only does the Black Pak safely position my rods, but it also holds enough Plano boxes to make sure you can have more than enough of your favorite lures at your fingertips. Much like the classic milk crate, the Black Pak can be customized to hold everything from a 360 degree light required for night fishing to Go Pros and water proof point and shoots to capture your trophies for all to see.

Safety of our tackle is also a major concern when fishing from a kayak. This is especially true for anglers that fish deep water. While you may have to make an unscheduled trip to the reel maintenance center if your gear takes a swim on the flats, should you fumble your combo in deep water, it is likely to take up residence in Davey Jones Locker. To prevent this, a rod leash truly serves as your safety line. I have seen them made from old phone cords or thin elastic cord, but being mechanically challenged, I use the Hobie rod leash. I really like the Hobie, as it has a quick snap connection, so you can quickly disengage your rod to do battle with the monster on the other end of the line.
One of the easiest ways to help protect your rods and reels is to take a couple of minutes before and after every trip to properly maintain your gear. Whether you fish in salt or fresh water, take the time to gently rinse and towel down your combos after every trip. Before you head out on your next trip, spay your reels with some Corrosion Block. It’s a little pricey, but it does a great job of repelling reel damaging saltwater.

Finally, if you spend 150 days-plus on the water like I do, you probably want to take your reels in to be serviced about every six months. My local tackle shop has a very good reel service and it is great to support the local shops, but if you do not know of a shop like this in your area, send your reels into the manufacturer’s service center to ensure that knowledgeable tech are using first rate components on your babies.

Remember the 5P’s and your gear will provide you with years of no fail performance.

Pedal On!

Self Propelled

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Kayaks were originally developed by the Eskimos over 4,000 years ago. For the most part, they were used to hunt on inland lakes, rivers and coastal waterways.

The word kayak means “man’s boat” or “hunter’s boat” due to the fact that they were always personally made by the man who would use it. These Native Americans would stretch sealskins, sewn by their wives, over a wooden or whalebone frame. They made their vessel waterproof by sealing it with a special skin jacket called a Tuilik that was laced into it. (more…)

Ventura Harbor: California’s Seaside Playground

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

ventura_harborNestled between iconic Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, along California’s Central Coast, is the classic coastal California town of Ventura, home of the Channel Islands National Park and the Ventura Harbor resort. Renowned for sandy beaches, surf vibe, emerging wine trail, world-class diving, historic Mission, links golf course, miles of citrus fields, wildlife viewing, a vibrant harbor village, and five pristine islands just off the coast, Ventura offers the perfect destination to relax and indulge in the true California lifestyle.

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The Evolving Kayak

Friday, March 4th, 2011

By: Mark Bradbury, CAM Staff

People I’ve spoken to about kayaking are all pretty sold on the fact that it’s an enjoyable and fun way to be on the water. Kayaks are being used for so many different reasons today, that it’s hard to go anywhere near a body of water and not see kayaks somewhere close by. Exercise, bird watching, nature study, fishing, hunting, camping, photography; the list of possibilities is endless!

So what is it that’s so attractive about kayaks? Perhaps the biggest reason for many is affordability. With water all around us here in Florida, kayaks offer a great way to access our waterways for what can be a very reasonable price. You can go into almost any kayak dealer and walk out with everything you need to get started for under $1,000.00. As with anything else, a real shopper can locate a bargain, either used or new in some cases for under $500.00; for those more experienced, or those wanting a special type of boat, the price tag can go up to $3,000-4,000.00. If there’s a cheaper way to do all the things listed above, I don’t think that anyone’s found it yet.

Another factor in making the decision to “kayak or not kayak” is portability. These boats can be put into the back of most pickups, vans, and SUV’s with no problem. Roof racks for cars, handling 1 or 2 boats can be purchased at a dealer, so you don’t even have to have a truck. For those who want to carry several, trailers can be bought to accommodate that need.

Exercise plays a part in most people’s decision to go kayaking. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing in the long run, the workout you get from paddling to that destination is always a plus. Most regular kayakers that I’ve spoken to really get into the physical effort of paddling once they’ve started. However, if exercise isn’t what you’re after, then Viking Kayaks offers a new entry, a motorized version, that gets you where you want to go without he sweat!

But the most exciting part about kayaking, according to most, is ACCESS. You can go almost anywhere you want to go in a kayak; it doesn’t matter how shallow the water gets, you can always pull yourself out if you have to. This “skinny water” availability makes kayaking an extra tool for getting to places that you couldn’t get to in a normal flats boat even. Fishermen, photographers, hunters, etc., have all been able to get to that “special spot” that they couldn’t quite get to before. And they do it quietly! Stealth can be a huge benefit of kayaking for all of the above mentioned uses, so why not take advantage of it?

So what are you waiting for? If you’re looking for something to do to get you on the water, get to a dealer, and start ’yakking today!