Hobie like your Barishnikov…or not…

Just home from Guntersville, I went there after attending the “Fishing for Soldiers” event where a bunch of us from Clarksville fished Chickamauga.  It was a pretty awesome tournament, and they had some pretty cool raffle prizes.  I was fortunate enough to pick up a Hobie H-Crate jr, and a Stanley Cooler…but the real winners are the folks this tournament benefits; the veterans who will now get an opportunity to have a mobility assistance service dog from Smoky Mountain Service Dogs…and is not to late to help them…check out their site and donate.    Also, you still a chance to win a kayak or a trailer right here while adding to the funds raised at the event; five bucks.  Next year….go to this tournament (yeah, I wasn’t asking), it is not something you want to miss!

But, selfishly, I want to talk about a side event that was occurring.  When I arrived at check-in beaten by the heat and the miles I covered to catch the tiny fish I turned in….I went straight to see AJ McWhorter and Ben Meredith.  They were watching a guy trying to save some fish that had been released (CPR – CATCH, PHOTO AND RELEASE like the kayakers would have saved them!!!!) by the concurrent boat tournament….he was doing this in an Arctic Blue Hobie 360 PA14.  I had seen the kayak at the Hobie BOS event on Guntersville the week before, but it was in a room and not on the water.

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Kevin Nakada (leaning on the 360) and AJ Mcwhorter listening to Randy Howell at Guntersville.

I got in the Hobie, AJ showed me a couple of things about it….and then I pedaled out.  And I turned, and went forward and backward.  Then I went sideways, at 45 degree angles….and forward, and back, and in a circle….I know it wasn’t, but the image in my head….was me performing a kayak ballet to a classic…

…ok honestly I was hearing Big Smo – Workin in my head…I have developed an extremely unhealthy habit of listening to country rap (CRAP for short and Joy hates it!) while traveling and it was an ear worm that is playing in my head again since I typed it….

But I was doing things I had never imagined possible in a kayak!  I went from straight left, to straight right, to off at an angle wide open! Forward again, into the shallow to test the kick-up fins, then backwards out into the bay.  The drive feels extremely solid and robust…and performs as advertised!  I picked it apart with my engineering hat….and am impressed with the design and function; but this isn’t a review…it is more of a “I hate how much I love it” confession.

So much that I measured the distance to my truck, and calculated the chances that I would get the kayak on the trailer and to my house without being noticed….the odds were low….so I reluctantly removed my butt from the seat.

John Miller of Frontier Outdoors (sponsor at the Fishing for Soldiers event) heard me talking about Joy buying me kayaks (he had obviously seen the look on my face when I tore myself from the kayak) and immediately asked for her number. Normally I would have been upset by some man asking for my wife’s phone number, but she is infamous for buying Hobies and gift cards….and other stuff for me…so I wasn’t.  But I did tell him not only no, but hell no (only because I am on the Caney Fork team)!  I would have loved to talk with him more and share that it wasn’t personal.  She is not allowed (or so I have told Ryan and her) to talk with Ryan Martin at Caney Fork Outdoors either….

….well, to be open….I did call her before I left the parking lot and said….”ask Ryan when he will have one”….full disclosure; I said, “ask him when I can pick a 360 up”!  He is going to let me (her) know.  Sorry John…I hope we get an opportunity to talk more – but stay away from Joy; I ain’t getting another job and my garage has no more room in it!!!!!

 

So…

…go out and buy some chances on the kayak and the trailer made by Jim Davis.

 

…in the next week or so….holler and I might let you demo the Hobie 360 that she is not allowed to buy.

 

…when you try it…I can crank some “workin” for you, then I can shoot you Ryan’s cell number….and I can drive you to pick one up while listening to more CRAP.

The Hobie 360 is definitely a game changer!!!

kayaks with motors….an opinion

I love kayak tournaments.  I have been a part of every event I can find since the first CAKFG event I fished three – maybe four – years ago.  I travel thousands of miles annually chasing them because I love the comradery, the competition and the adventures my wife and I share as we travel.  I attend local, statewide, KBF, Hobie BOS, charity…any I can find (free on Sunday if you know where one is)…sometimes doing ok, sometimes sucking….but always love just being there!

A recent poll went up on the CAKFG Facebook page asking if motors should be allowed in our local events. it seems to have sparked a very spirited debate filled with emotion and differing opinions on the impact motors might have.  This is not a new topic to kayaking, and will continue to be argued among tournament trails. Usually I stay out of any topic as emotional as this one; not quite politics and religion, just a lot of passion around it…but…here we go…

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…I wish motors were not allowed in kayak events….even for pre-fishing.  There is something about not using one that makes it more to me personally…human vs his/her environment.  The wind, rain, current and temp – there is something natural about it.

 

On hot or cold days, I get very tired pedaling.  Having had quadruple heart bypass, it is hard to withstand extremes…but I actually feel good fighting through it to compete; it makes me feel more alive to be honest.  The work required to keep myself ready to survive those days has been part of the beauty of kayak fishing for me; part of the appeal.

I will respectfully disagree with those that feel there is not an advantage with motors….if nothing more than covering and eliminating more water, they help….if there were no advantage, no one would be adding them.  With a motor, my physical (and mental on some level) prep is not as critical…pushing myself to overcome the conditions and obstacles that my environment stacks against me would be easier…it would no longer be “me” against it all.  The long nights driving, or sleeping on ramps, would be easier to overcome if I added a motor.

 

But I wish motors were not allowed.

 

Now that being said, if the rules change, I plan to add the largest motor allowed to remain competitive….because if the rules at some trails say they are acceptable it will become integral to the sport in some arenas. I plan to put a foot controlled, spot locking monster of a motor on my kayak with the largest battery I can afford so I can cover miles and miles of water.  Because there are distinct advantages to a motor and I do not see me not at the tournaments anytime soon. I will use one at the tournaments that allow them, and take it off for those that do not.

Peace.

Oauchitalking ’bout….

I was fortunate to fish the last Hobie BOS event of the inaugural season on Lake Guntersville last weekend. As always, AJ and Kevin along with Frank Stapleton ran a flawless event; showing the crowd that they are here to deliver premier events.   I didn’t finish well enough to make the TOC…but I guess there is still the BOS shootout on Oauchita coming up in November….maybe I will give it one more try….

Joy and I drove down on Thursday night and landed at our VRBO; The Angler’s Way House. It was a pretty cool place with a nice place to park the Hobie.  Y’all heading down to Guntersville, might want to consider it as a place to stay. Rudy called to make sure we had everything we needed, then texted to check on how I was doing in the tournament. Pretty cool guy, pretty cool place out on Highway 69.  Pretty convenient to most kayak tournament check-ins.

Then Friday morning.

I had picked a spot to pre-fish that I had never been to on the Lake.  It had several options; deep water, road bed, rip rap, grass, docks all within a two mile stretch of water.   I launched at what would be the official launch time…and headed down the bank chunking a Zara Spook.  I found my first fish around a dock; the Publix fishing pier.  It was less than 5 minutes in and I found a fish.  Ten feet later, an 18 inch fish.  I move on…to the other side and had a monster blow up on a frog. I left the area and moved to some grass where I caught a 17 plus….and moved on….farther back while on the phone with Jay Minor…I caught three more – 14 to 16 inches.

I moved to the road bed and saw absolutely nothing, on the rip rap the same….

 

Later I met Jay at Guntersville Tackle and Outdoors (another place I recommend you stop at) and picked up some spare frogs.  Then picked up Joy, ran down to the Huddle House and ate a monstrous lunch/breakfast that my cardiologist would never approve of….then back to take a shower.   I probably should have checked out a few more spots, but I felt like I had a solid place…thing is, it was shocking that I found fish there.

 

This is the spot I fished for the better part of three days! X marks the keeper fish.

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Pre-fishing I caught 80 plus inches.

Day one, I caught 83.25…….

…day two….

 

Day Two……day two….I pulled up to the ramp and talked with Drew Russell.  He said he would give me the space I needed because I had finished in the top ten (a cool thing that many kayakers are willing to do!!!).  I told him I wanted to hit that…..I pointed….to the corner I could see from the ramp….corner….it is five in the morning and….there was a bass boat sitting dead in the spot I had found fish….

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ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?

 

I had a spot large enough for a Hobie, and this dude was sitting there pounding my 2000 sq foot….chock full of enough bass to make the TOC….I had found them casting blindly pre-fishing…finally doing well on Guntersville….finally doing well at all….80 plus inches….dang it, they are not going to bite…..spot.

I hoped it would reload…it did…with smaller fish.  I moved by ten, because these fish had turned off every day by then, to Honeycomb and upgraded two small fish with two slightly larger small fish….

 

….but the thing is…I had also destroyed my Mirage Drive by running into a rock pedaling wide open….so I was losing the battle in the wind.  I could still use the drive, but it would no longer allow me to pedal full speed into that wind so I headed to the truck….in 22nd place.

 

But Like I said…I had found fish on a body of water that had always beaten me terribly, I finally had a chance in a Hobie event (been struggling this year in all tournaments), and I was able to talk with old friends…make new friends…hear Randy Howell and see a bunch of Tennessee boys show out….my friend Josh recorded another win…..no complaints from me!

 

Thanks again to AJ, Kevin and Frank for making Guntersville an awesome event!  Thanks to the city of Guntersville for always welcoming us into your city!

 

7 hours to Oauchita….hmmmmm….

sorry Siri….please take me home!

Joy and I were driving back from the Southeast regional last weekend.  I was trusting that the directions coming through my phone were accurate….it has been a very hard transition for me to trust it.  It was taking me on a different path than it ever had from Florence, Alabama and I was a bit worried that it had finally happened.

Joy has constantly warned me that Siri is listening when I say disparaging things about “her” during our trips.  I am less than congenial when I ask for directions to Clarksville, Tennessee and am instantly given instructions on “how to skin a zebra” or a map leading to somewhere in Central America….and Joy keeps warning me that I will not be safe when the robots take over…but I really hadn’t listened.

But as I came back from Alabama, and had turned down my third one lane road, I turned to Joy and said “this (bad word here) is just messing with me now!”

She laughed at me, then with a more serious tone said, “I warned you!”

I told her “there is no way this is the way home!  This (bleepidy, bleeping bleep) is actually messing with me!”

“She can hear you now! I have been telling you!”

Then we passed some road labeled “1984” south of Dickson, Tennessee….and I….well….Siri…we finally made it home.

 

“Siri, I hope you had a nice day if you are reading this.”

 

….not going to say much more – need directions to LaCrosse soon….just posting a few pics of some great folks at the KBF southeast regional.

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My Joy….tell Siri I was kidding!
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Chuck Mizer looking ….well, you tell me!
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Whole lot of CAKFG right there!
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some dudes at the top!
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Kristine beat us all up a bit!

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Anglr getting involved with KBF!

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Kristine breaking it down for the KBF folks
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Jim Ware…just one cool dude.