Kayak Fishing Tips | 5 Tips to Help a New Kayak Tournament Angler

These 5 tips, or what I call “lessons I learned the hard way”, are geared toward the newer kayak tournament anglers.  I think it is important that you take a few minutes to understand not only what you are getting into, but to know about a couple of tiny little errors that we see happen all too often among those new to the sport.    

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Matt  Spencer after a less than great day on the water.

Now, I am going to suggest upfront that you do not do it. Do not get into kayak tournaments and chase them across the trails. Don’t do it! You will eventually find yourself sleeping in parking lots, on ramps, in the driveways of friend’s houses or on the floor of a VRBO that has one too many people in it. 

You will eat bad, not eat, run out of gas… have flats or car trouble… not sleep… hit a deer… not catch fish, hate yourself for doing it some days. 

But since like me, you will not listen, there are many benefits of becoming a part of the community too. You will make friends who will consider you family. You will find this is one of the most sharing and giving groups of people; even with the competitive spirit of it all, they will give you tips and advice, lures, food and water… maybe not exact GPS coordinates on tournament day – but some will give you their third or fourth spots if you are struggling to find fish at a venue. And while you will still hate yourself for doing it some days, you will also love it more than anything you have ever tried. Well… maybe.

Let’s get to the tips to help you do a bit better.

Kayak Fishing Tips | Tip #1

Find a local club, sign up with them and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

This is invaluable. There is most likely one within reach of your location that will welcome you, and teach you. My adventures started with a casual conversation on a ramp; a local club angler saw me and asked if I had ever fished a kayak tournament. I said no, then he gave me their contact info. Look on Facebook, use Google… ask another person in a kayak… ask me for help.  

My local group taught me the ropes; rules, how to measure fish, how to watch for other boats, how to check for weather and conditions before launching. They quickly brought me into the fold and even took me to locations I would have never fished and taught me the true value of kayak fishing.  

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CAKFG check-in

And they are now my friends. My family… and that grows with each year. Even though some move away, we still meet up at events in their new home town or at larger national events.

Kayak Fishing Tips | Tip #2

Get a net – and use it.

On the good days, you are going to catch a lot of fish. On the bad days, none. On a lot of days, you will get only three or five bites; you do not want to lose them. I have watched the game changing fish drop off as I tried to boat flip it. No more… I do not care if the fish looks like he may only be 12 inches, he is getting netted. Man, I hate to keep whining along on this one, but I lost a match during the winter before last because it was cold and I didn’t want to net a 13-inch fish; I knew it was safe. I lost it as I raised the line out of the water… and lost the match (by a fish) to a guy who I knew everyone would give me a hard time for losing to when it was over!  

And after you catch that fish, use the net to help keep him in the kayak when taking pictures.  More on that in a minute.

Kayak nets are a topic filled with opinions. But I will tell you what I told someone recently; don’t overthink it, and don’t over spend. My only real suggestion is that you get a rubberized net, it will save you cutting hooks out of the net (trust me)… and last you a much longer time. The Frabill nets at Walmart are my choice for these reasons – cheap, functional, available everywhere (I did lose one and was in Alabama) and built with rubber.  

Kayak Fishing Tips | Tip #3

Get a Ketch Board.

Invest in your last board upfront. I was not a fan of them, not going to lie. After using a Hawg Trough, they felt like a motor block. But if you plan to do this whole tournament thing, they are durable. They are not flexible, will not crack if you set it in the wrong place and seem to be the new standard as we move forward. 

It also removes doubt about any possible board manipulation during tournament measurement.  

The expense of a couple of broken Hawg Trough boards (I had three) will quickly make the Ketch board cost effective. It really is a better piece of equipment in the long run. I would strongly suggest you pick up a tether like those offered by Rogue Fishing just in case it goes overboard; it will not float.

Kayak Fishing Tips | Tip #4

Practice taking pics.

Alright, so you are the best angler the world has seen. You can flat catch ‘em on any day, in any conditions. But unless you can get a solid picture of those catches on tournament day, you might as well be on the couch.  

There are very finite rules about the fish placement; orientation, hand location, mouth position, identifiers, etc. that must be followed on all trails. Read them (KBF rules here see #9) and learn them… then practice it, over and over. Learn “your” technique. Some guys use fish grips to calm the fish, some guys wet the board ahead of trying to place the fish on the board and some (myself) just take the picture and get it done.

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I have a routine I want to share, but again, you will develop your own.  

I catch the fish, netting him. I hold the fish in the net while removing the hook. Then I set the net on the left side of the kayak as a wall to keep the fish in should it try to escape; they will with a motion you will soon learn (why I use the net). Then still holding the fish, I tilt the board and put the bump end of the board against that net… get out my phone, lay the fish on the board and get a quick picture. Then I see if I can reposition the fish and eek out another quarter of an inch.  

Practice, and then practice; and realize that you are still going to lose one or ten along the way.  

And before you let go of that fish, verify the mouth is closed and the identifier is visible.  

Kayak Fishing Tips | Tip #5

Be realistic.

Harsh realities are a part of the human experience. Be prepared for that when you start kayak fishing.  

You are not going to win every time you sign up. You are going to lose some really good fish at the worst possible time… and not everyone gets a trophy here. There is a winner and most tournaments do not pay deep into the field; so, there are many others who fund the winner’s trips. Sometimes, you’re on the right end of that equation; more often, it is just a long ride home with the memory of time with friends.

The sport is not to a point that I can make a living that accommodates the lifestyle that my day job as an engineer affords me, and most likely is not going to in the next couple of years. If you are looking to make a solid living doing just tournaments, well you better catch every fish and get perfect pictures… and then beat all of the others who in spite of the reality (like me) still hold out for the dream of greatness and recognition.

I could talk to you for hours on all that I have learned in the past years fishing kayak tournaments against the best there is on the water. I would welcome the opportunity to share the experiences and help you to be better, but there are hundreds more who can also help you to enjoy our sport.  

If you are considering it, sign up for a local tournament. If you have no idea where to start, Facebook and Google will help you to find local anglers. I can promise you that there is someone who can walk you through your first event, someone who will show you how to measure fish, someone who will be (if nothing more) a new friend for life.

How to Remove a Hook | Two Ways You Need to Know

Hooking yourself or someone else is a miserable affair. What has to happen next is at times even more miserable, especially if you’re ill-prepared to do so. Driving a hook into someone is usually instantaneous and unexpected, so there’s no anticipation. Removing a hook from someone has palpable anticipation on the other hand. 

So here are two tips for removing a hook if you find yourself in the middle of a full-blown crap storm and need a little guidance. Full disclaimer, I am not a doctor and there will, unfortunately, be times when you’ll need one for this. And I am not liable for the advice I’m about to give, but I can attest to its reliability as I have used both methods before.

How to Remove a Hook: #1 – Cut the Hook Off Past the Barb

If you have a hook that’s in flesh past the barb but the point has made its way back close to the skin, this is sometimes a good option. You have to twist the hook until the point pops back through the skin and past the barb and then cut the hook off below the barb and the barbless hook shaft will smoothly slide back out. 

This is rarely the best option, however. I had to do this once for my dad. It was not fun. It takes a considerable amount of pressure to push a hook point through. There’s typically a “popped-tent” shape to the skin before the hook finally breaks through and it sounds like a 22 firing off when it does. Pretty nauseating if you’re keen to be squeamish in the slightest way. 

The only situation where I would recommend this is when the next method won’t work. 

If there are multiple hooks in and the line trick won’t work or if the hook stayed up next to the skin the whole time and there’s not much meat involved. Otherwise, plan B which we’ll now discuss should be plan A.

How to Remove a Hook: #2 – The Line Trick

There are lots of videos out there about this one, and it’s an extremely effective solution for a nasty problem. I’m not sure who originated the method, but hats off to them for trying this the first time because I surely wouldn’t have had the b… ravery.

I had to do this recently for my buddy Ben. Because he had a hook in him… that I placed there. It happened on a cast where I was attempting to throw a topwater a particularly long way. I had my rod loaded up and slung the bait as hard as I could. Or attempted too. Instead, I lodged a hook deep in the back of my buddy’s arm and we both about threw up. 

But it was almost dark and we had limited time before we’d be trying to remove the hook by flashlight so I snapped into action. The hook was way past the barb, all the way to the bend. I had never used the line trick before. That was running through my head. I hoped that Ben wouldn’t ask if I had ever used the line trick before. Ben asked… I should have lied looking back. But I didn’t. 

We were both even more concerned at that point. 

It was time to try it now. I was able to remove the bait from the hook with split ring pliers, something I definitely suggest if possible to take the weight off the hook and to prevent another hook from entering the patient accidentally later in the process.

I cut off a few feet of 65-pound test braid, wrapped both ends around my hands so that there was no way that either end would slip. I put the line in the bend of the hook and then Ben pressed down on the eye of the hook so that it was against his skin. This in turn angles the hook to where the barb will come out as smoothly as possible. Then I started counting to 3 and snatched like H-E-double-hockey-sticks on 2. 

The hook popped out and went flying with no pain according to Ben and we were both ecstatic for the nightmare to be over. Yeah, he gave me grief about it for a while, and it still comes up on occasion. 

But the line trick saved the day and is definitely something I suggest you become familiar with, in the event you may need it down the road.

How to Remove a Hook | A Helpful Video

13 Fishing Fate V3 | Review and Breakdown

The 13 Fishing Fate V3 is here to stay. A fantastic offering for anyone in the market for a high quality, more affordable rod. With 11 models priced around $100, the Fate V3 lineup gives you a rod with the guts and the trimmings of one sold at twice its price point. Let’s dive into a few of those particulars.

13 Fishing Fate V3 | What It’s Made Of

The first time you pick one up, right away you’ll notice how light the rod is. Using Japanese 36 Ton PVG36T Blank Construction, 13 Fishing has created a super sensitive and strong but still light rod.

The Zirconia guide inserts paired with 13 Fishing’s Soft Touch Air Foil Carbon Grip amplifies the sensitivity of the rod blank itself and makes even the subtlest contact detectable. Add to that the High-Density Japanese EVA Grips and a fish will have a hard time breathing on your bait without you knowing about it. 

13 Fishing Fate V3 | Evolve Snaggle Tooth Hook Keeper

Refusing to cut corners, 13 Fishing added their Evolve Snaggle Tooth Hook Keeper to the new Fate V3 to help with bait and rod storage but not compromise on the fishability of the rod by adding a basic hook keeper instead. 

Most hook keepers stick up off the rod and have a tendency to catch your line when casting or trying to pop a bait free from the bottom. Not going to be a problem with the low profile Evolve Snaggle Tooth Hook Keeper. And that willingness to go the extra mile is what makes the Fate V3 such an instantly identifiable member of the 13 Fishing family. 

The guys at 13 fishing took their desire to build a quality product along with their desire to do so at an affordable price point and made sure not to leave out their signature attention to detail, and the Fate V3 was born. With 11 models available ranging from an MSRP of $99.99 to $109.99, the Fate V3 series from 13 Fishing has a rod capable of doing almost anything you want to do on the water at a price almost anyone can afford.

Log your 13 Fishing Fate V3 to Get Rewarded

Are you a 13 Fishing owner looking to unlock exclusive badges and rewards? Well, now you can! 

Download the ANGLR app and log your 13 Fishing gear for a customized experience built specifically for you. Privately track your fishing trips, log your catches and waypoints, and record specific stats to your 13 Fishing gear so you know which gear works best for you.

13 Fishing Jabber Jaw | A Breakdown of the NEW Jabber Jaw

It’s rare to see true innovation these days in the fishing industry. Most new products are slight tweaks of other products and that’s just the name of the game with so many companies involved in fishing now. But 13 Fishing likes to break that mold, time and time again. And they’ve done it once more with their new Jabber Jaw 60

What is the 13 Fishing Jabber Jaw?

A hybrid between a squarebill and a vibrating jig, the Jabber Jaw takes two proven baits and repackages them into something unique. The bill of the Jabber Jaw is metal instead of plastic like you’ll see on most other squarebills. It’s also made to pivot as the bait comes through the water column, creating a similar sound to a vibrating jig

To emphasize that vibrating jig like sound, 13 Fishing chose to remove all rattles from the design of this bait and add metal cheeks for the bill to hammer against as it pendulums side to side. This creates a really nasty knock and something entirely different from what we’ve seen from crankbaits in the past. 

What Makes the 13 Fishing Jabber Jaw so Effective?

Vibrating jigs are notoriously hazardous when fished through shallow woody cover like lay downs and brush piles. Worming a squarebill through this type of shallow cover has been the main go-to for a lot of anglers in the past who didn’t want to risk hanging up a vibrating jig. But now, you get the action and fishability of a crankbait and the drawing power of a vibrating jig, and that’s why this bait excites us so much. 

Rock, wood, grass, clear water and muddy, cold water in particular: we’re excited to try the new Jabber Jaw in all sorts of different scenarios and that alone is what makes it a great bait right away. The excitement it instills. 

After all, that’s what fishing is all about, isn’t it?

Log your 13 Fishing Jabber Jaw to Get Rewarded

Are you a 13 Fishing owner looking to unlock exclusive badges and rewards? Well, now you can! 

Download the ANGLR app and log your 13 Fishing gear for a customized experience built specifically for you. Privately track your fishing trips, log your catches and waypoints, and record specific stats to your 13 Fishing gear so you know which gear works best for you.

13 Fishing Concept C Review(1)

August MONSTERBASS Box | Tips and Tricks for Using the Baits in My August Box

This month, I received my August Northeast MONSTERBASS box and instead of doing a stereotypical unboxing, I’m going to run through my favorite way to use the baits I received.

Whether you’re new to fishing or have been chasing big bass for years, there’s always room for improvement. If you would rig anything differently, let me know in the comments section at the bottom of the article. 

This month’s box was a 100% topwater box, so every single bait in my box was for topwater bass fishing! Now, without further ado, let’s dive into the baits I received and some tips and tricks for rigging them.

August MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #1: Xcite Baits Pro Series Buzzfire

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The first bait in my August box was the Xcite Baits pro series buzzfire. This 3/8th ounce buzzbait has some good weight to it so you’ll be able to make those long casts over grass flats or around laydowns without getting too close with your boat or yak and spooking the fish. 

I really like this buzzfire because of its massive blade. This will allow you to slow-roll the bait across the surface of the water, keeping the bait in the strike zone longer and really creating some commotion on the surface. 

I’d recommend throwing this buzzbait on a heavy braided line, around 50-pounds. You can get away with a fairly heavy monofilament line as well, but whichever you choose, be sure it’s floating line. You can throw this buzzbait on a 7” Medium-Heavy rod like the 13 Fishing Fate with a fast tip and a reel in a 7.1:1 gear ratio like the 13 Fishing Concept A2

August MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #2: MONSTERBASS Patriot 2.0

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My next bait was the MONSTERBASS Patriot 2.0. This spook style topwater bait is the newest version from MONSTERBASS. Many of you who have had a subscription for a while had probably received the first version about a year ago. 

The 2.0 is new and improved. With a sleeker design and weight transfer system, this bait can be bombed out for long casts and retrieved incredibly slow with a ‘walk the dog’ style retrieve. For the best action, ensure that you have some slackline while twitching, this will allow the bait to stay in the strike zone longer and drive the bass crazy with some epic back and forth action.

I’d recommend throwing a rod with a moderate tip to help with the ‘walk the dog’ retrieve. A 7’ rod is standard for spook style baits as you want to keep the tip of your rod just above the surface of the water.  

August MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #3: Booyah Toadrunner

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The Booyah Toadrunner is an extremely unique frog I received in my August box. With a super small hollow body frog profile, you’d think this bait already has a lot going for it to help it stand out in a crowd, but then the folks at Booyah decided to step it up and add a kicker tail! 

This tail reminds me of a paddle tail swimbait, but since they’ve rigged it on a swivel, it will have a crazy churning action while you retrieve this frog. 

Throw it in pads, overtop of lightly matted vegetation, or even along the banks in open water and get ready for some epic topwater strikes!

August MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #4: Hendricks Custom Frog

The next bait is a custom frog from a small company here in Pennsylvania. The first thing I noticed about these frogs was the incredibly soft material used. This will allow the fish to grab the frog and hold on while you sit back and set the hook! 

It’s got a sleek design on the front to help it glide across the surface using whatever retrieve you prefer! Whether you ‘walk the dog’, straight retrieve, or pop the frog using a 2-3 second cadence, this Hendricks custom frog is going to have great action and elicit some sweet strikes!

August MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #5: Basshik Big Anthony 2.5

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The Basshik Big Anthony 2.5 was the popper style lure featured in this month’s box! As someone who’s fished in the Northeast for years, poppers are a great way to fish topwater with more of a finesse presentation! 

The Big Anthony 2.5 is no exception. One thing that I noticed with this popper was the cupped lip. It’s different than most I’ve seen as it’s not as deep, which means you’ll be able to push a TON of water while popping this bait. It can also be fished using the same ‘walk the dog’ technique as a spook but with some different action on the surface. 

Personally, I prefer to throw my poppers on a spinning setup. I’d recommend a 6’8” rod with a 2500 sized reel spooled up with a 30-pound braid. If the water is clear, put on a 10-12 pound monofilament leader and you’re set! 

August MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #6: Z-Man Pop Frogz

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The last topwater bait I received in this month’s box was some Z-Man Pop Frogz! These soft plastic style baits made of the famous Elaztech material will last you all day! When the bite gets tough, slowing down with a smaller pop frog like this can be the ticket! 

I chose to rig these baits weightless and weedless so you can fish them literally anywhere! Whether it’s in pads, in thick matted vegetation, or around laydowns, you’ll come through cover effectively while giving the bass plenty of time to unload on your Pop Frog!

August MONSTERBASS Box | Terminal Tackle: Kitana Hooks

The hooks I chose to rig my Pop Frogz with also came in this months box! These Kitana OWG 6/0 hooks will be perfect for this application. They were sharp right out of the package and have an awesome gap which will allow you to peg the bass and not let it fight off! 

August MONSTERBASS Box | Fishing Line: K9 Flourocarbon

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The final item in my August MONSTERBASS box was some K9 Flourocarbon in 12-pound test. Like I said in the video, I probably won’t be using this in my topwater applications, however, it’s some great line to use for shaky heads, dropshots, and a variety of other applications!

If you’re looking for a great way to improve your bass fishing arsenal this season, check out the regional subscription boxes from MONSTERBASS. Get baits that will work in your area delivered directly to your door. 

MONSTERBASS June Unboxing(9)

Log your baits in the ANGLR app to track which baits work best for you in certain water and weather conditions!

Vibe Kayaks Comparisons | Maverick, Sea Ghost, and Shearwater

Vibe Kayaks are known not only for their quality but also for their affordability. In an ever-expanding market where prices are going through the roof, Vibe has made a real effort to continue to deliver great platforms without breaking the bank. The base price of their new Shearwater 125 does come in a little higher than their previous models, but if bells, whistles, and options are your thing, you’ll quickly see the value. 

Vibe offers up a boat for just about anything anyone would want to do on the water. From their kayak/paddleboard hybrid, the Maverick 120, to the well rounded and water ready Sea Ghost 110 and 130 and then again all the way up to the new Shearwater 125 that presents an elite tournament angler with everything he or she could possibly want in a boat. There’s something here for everyone. And while Vibe makes other models as well, we’re going to quickly compare these three.

Vibe Kayaks Comparisons | Maverick 120

The Maverick 120 is certainly the most unique of these three. 

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A hybrid between a stand-up and paddle (SUP) board and a kayak, Vibe has done a great job of marrying the two worlds. 

A flat fishing platform with foam padding on the deck gives you ample space for one or even two people to move around. The blank slate surface allows you to put whatever you want onboard and the hatch in the deck allows you to store anything you don’t want getting wet down below. And with 5 top-loading gear tracks and bungee tie-downs, the boat is very customizable.

Vibe Kayaks Comparisons | Shearwater 125 & Sea Ghost 110 and 130

The Shearwater and Sea Ghost have more in common, though still some very key differences. Both the Shearwater and Sea Ghost share several features like their Hero Seat, Phantom Grip handles and pre-installed rudders. The Shearwater takes a subtle step or two out in front of the Sea Ghost in that it has 4 flush mount rod holders where both Sea Ghost models only have two. But the real difference-maker comes in the propulsion department. 

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With the Sea Ghost, you can add a motor or just use a paddle. 

But with the Shearwater, you have those two options and the ability to add the Vibe X-Drive Peddle Pod. Some anglers even do all three by adding a Bixpy to the motor-ready Vibe Gravity Rudder System. Having all those options certainly puts the Shearwater way out front if you’re wanting to be able to move around a lot out on the water. 

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The Shearwater 125 has 3 pod options where the Sea Ghost has a really nice but fixed pod. 

With the Shearwater, you can go with the Vibe Base Pod to add more room to the deck, the Vibe Versa Pod with a magnetic tray, bungees, and a nice sized storage cavity or move all the way up to the pedal drive in their X-Drive Pod. 

Although you don’t have all the various pod options with the Sea Ghost, you still have one of the best-fixed pod systems in the industry in the Vibe Versa Console. With multiple bungees, dual mini hatches with cargo bags, hinged access, a magnetic tray, a cup holder and two gear tracks, Vibe really packed a lot in. 

These three boats are definitely different but all three are also high-quality rides with specific anglers and outdoor enthusiasts in mind. No matter what you want to do on the water, you’ll find the boat you need to do it in here.

Log Your Vibe Kayak to Unlock Exclusive Badges and Rewards in the ANGLR App

Are you a Vibe Kayaks owner looking to unlock exclusive badges and rewards? Well, now you can! 

Download the ANGLR app and log your Vibe Kayaks for a customized experience built specifically for you. Privately track your fishing trips, log your catches and waypoints, and record specific stats to your Vibe kayak.

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 Review(1)

Jig Trailers | Picking the Right Jig Trailer with Brandon Palaniuk

A lot more goes into picking the right jig trailer than most might think. A trailer not only changes the profile of a jig but also the way it swims and falls through the water column. Depending on the size and action of the trailer, the same jig can be used in vastly different scenarios and be way more or less effective. 

We sat down with Elite Series Pro Brandon Palaniuk to discuss some of the things he takes into consideration when choosing a trailer for his jigs.

Jig Trailers | Size Matters

A lot of it will have to do with size. I use the X-Zone Lures Muscle Back Craw and the junior version of it, the Muscle Back Finesse Craw in different situations. But one thing that gets overlooked by some people when choosing between two sizes like that is the Rate of Fall (ROF).

Sometimes I want the Rate of Fall of a 1/2-ounce jig but I’m fishing deeper and need the weight of a 3/4-ounce jig to keep it on the bottom. So I can trim the skirt a little and put that bigger Muscle Back Craw on with the added buoyancy of those bigger claws and it will have a slower fall.

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Even though Palaniuk is using a bigger trailer, trimming the skirt back offsets his trailer selection to keep the profile of the overall bait package pretty tight. As he points out, a full skirt will always create a bigger presence as it flares out than a bigger plastic trailer will. 

I’ll use the same process flipping, especially early in the year. It used to be a big deal to flip a 1/4-ounce Strike King Bitsy Bug Jig with an oversize trailer.

Palaniuk explained how the big trailer would slow the ROF and that using a small profile jig wasn’t about the profile at all. Instead, that lighter jig paired with the big trailer would create a large profile bait with a slow fall that would trigger more strikes from big fish in the colder water.

Jig Trailers | Rate of Fall vs Rate of Stall

ROF is something that Palaniuk is hyperaware of due to his love affair with swimbait fishing. So it’s something he pays a lot of attention to with several different bait categories. But ROF isn’t the whole story. 

Rate of Fall is a term used a lot in the swimbait world for how fast a bait sinks. What’s really important is that it also changes the depth that you can fish that bait while maintaining a certain speed. I think I first saw the guys from Tactical Bassin’ talk about that and called it the Rate of Stall (ROS), which is the speed the bait moves through the water column.

Say you want the bait to be coming towards you at a foot per second but you only want the bait to be 5-feet below the surface. You can’t do that with a heavier bait because it will naturally pendulum if you try to fish it that slow. And that’s why ROF becomes such a big deal with swimbaits. A lot of times guys want to fish that bait super slow. So an 8” Huddleston with ROF of 5 you’ll usually fish shallower up around docks or reed lines and you’ll fish an 8” Hudd with an ROF 12 deeper.

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All of this comes into play when selecting trailers for your jigs. 

Especially with something like a swim jig where you will fish it up off the bottom much like a swimbait. Using a swimbait style trailer instead of a craw style trailer is one way to greatly affect the ROS of a bait. 

With a slender, boot-tail swimbait as a trailer, the jig will fall fast and swim faster through the water on the retrieve. Swapping to a twin-tail, craw style trailer adds resistance and lift to the jig. This will make the bait fall slower and swim slower while also riding higher in the water column. 

These same basic principles will help you when selecting trailers for spinnerbaits, vibrating jigs, and even buzzbaits. Using a twin tail craw as a trailer as opposed to a swimbait or no trailer at all on a buzzbait creates a greater ROS and thus slows the speed you have to reel the bait to keep it on the surface. And with a buzzbait, there are certainly times where you’ll want to reel the bait as slow as possible to trigger more strikes. 

Take Rate of Fall and Rate of Stall into consideration when selecting your next trailer and you’ll quickly find that minor adjustments can make a major difference in your production levels.

Kayak Fishing Podcasts | The Top 5 Kayak Fishing Podcasts

Podcasts and webcasts have become so integrated into our daily routine that it would be hard to revert to a time before they existed. It is possible to listen to them live or catch up at a later date; on your drive in to work or on the water. These outlets can provide content, good or bad, offering advice and/or information; or maybe just open up conversations.

I see the value these feeds have in our community, and want to share a few that I have listened to over the last couple of years. They provide a method to get information out to local groups, nationwide audiences or even to communicate globally on any subject.   

Here is my short list of favorites, again not trying to be comprehensive, so in the end I will ask for your input to get the word out about any others that touch the kayak community. List yours in the comments so we can share them.

Kayak Fishing Podcasts #1: Westbrook Wednesday & Weigh-In

Kayak Fishing Podcasts(1)

I am grouping the first two pod/web casts because they are both from the mind of Scott Beutjer. Scott is an angler whose passion for the sport doesn’t have many equals, and it shows in his enthusiasm on the broadcasts.  

The two are different in their content, but Scott will tell you that “both of the shows I’m part of began from a place of need. I wanted to know more about this sport and the people in the community. I could not find the answers to the questions I had, so I just started inviting people to answer my questions.

“The Westbrook Wednesday show is a game we call “plead the fifth” with six questions designed for storytelling about the guest’s life on and off the water.”

“The Weigh-In show, it’s basically just an opportunity for me to weigh in others opinions and my own on various topics across the community. It’s a more evolving show every week, always something different. Not usually one person or one subject focused like the Westbrook show.” 

If you talk to Beutjer about what really gets him excited about both, it is a simple answer that he and I had discussed the first time we met.  

“Storytelling… I also want answers to all of my questions, and I naturally have a lot of those… At the end of the day I love a good story.” 

While Scott had the vision to create the formats, he acknowledges that he is not alone and gives credit to those who support him. “The Westbrook Supply Company team gives a lot of support behind the scenes; keep the sites going and show flowing. The weigh-in show has amazing support from FishUSA & KBF.

“I am amazingly grateful to every guest that has ever volunteered their time to come on one of my shows and help me communicate their story with the world.  We are getting close to the half a million downloads and we are just getting started!”

These two are definitely worth some time, and my two personal favorites. They are from the perspective of a guy who loves the sport, and wants to give recognition to those who are doing the work to promote kayak bass fishing.  Don’t miss out on them.

Kayak Fishing Podcasts #2: Topwater Live

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This Michigan based cast is really an extension of the Michigan Kayak Trail. It was created by Mike Anderson and his brother in law Kyle Van Leuvan, with tech intern Grant Bennick helping on the controls. Mike helped me to understand where they started.  

“I will give you a rundown of what Topwater Live is and how we began. The name Topwater, confusing as it is actually stemmed from our software development companies umbrella. Kyle and I have always had a passion for fishing and are avid enthusiasts of the sport. So, when we founded our software company, we decided to stick with a name that was unique for the industry that we work in on a daily basis and reminded us of something that we love, fishing.  We founded The Dropshot Group several years ago. The Dropshot Group encompasses several different branches of our businesses software development umbrella which includes Dropshot.io & Topwater.io.  Two of our favorite and preferred styles of fishing.”

The show started “after we had completed the Topwater season.  We wanted to keep the momentum going. We were having so much fun with our local clubs that we hated to see the camaraderie disappear all winter. We had gained traction with sponsors and our local anglers. We saw the need for a platform that recognized not only the national anglers but our local tournament anglers as well. Our goal was to help grow the sport of kayak fishing as a whole.”  

“The success of our series paired with the reach of our unique Topwater Live broadcast gives us the ability to reach anglers from all over the country.  We see no reason why other states cannot adopt the Topwater Series brand and schedule format and have success. We have created a totally unique kayak tournament fishing format unlike any in the United States geared purposely towards the everyday grass roots angler.”

“We choose our content in a variety of ways. Each episode holds something different. In depth conversations with our local clubs and its participants, highlights on current fishing industry news.  We put high focus on the youth level and lady anglers in order to grow the sport.  We add highlights on the pro tours and anglers that fish nationally with remote guest calling in each week. We involve other podcast hosts to join us for conversations and cross platforms. We work with our sponsors and feature those who help us continue to grow.”

That is why I am listing this as one of my favorites. It is a great format that many local clubs can follow to keep their base connected during the off season while providing knowledge and up to date information. This also allows for membership growth, creates opportunities for young anglers and just provides great content. Topwater Live is definitely worth a look, especially if you are thinking about providing some content yourself.

Kayak Fishing Podcasts #3: Paddle and Fin

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Brian Schiller started Paddle and Fin in July of 2018.  

“I started it originally with a good friend of mine when we got into kayak fishing. We wanted to document our journey in kayak fishing to share our mistakes and successes to help others out. When we started, we struggled to find good info.” 

But by 2019 he had added new episodes, delivering content strictly focused on kayak fishing 6 days a week; with plans for that seventh day.  When talking with folks at boat ramps before launches, I have been caught in conversations where people say “did you see that Paddle and Fin show where…”.  

It is by kayak anglers, hosting kayak anglers who talk about kayaking.  Genuine and as real as it gets.  They keep current with the latest events and developments in the kayak tournament world and industry.  

There are opportunities to catch Paddle and Fin, while tailoring your listening based on your interests: 

  • Monday- Bass Fishing For Noobs hosts- Ryan Milford & Sean Lavery – focuses on how to fish certain techniques with guests
  • Monday Night Facebook Live – Og Show.  Host- Brian Schiller – Angler, manufacture highlights & Storytelling
  • Tuesday OG Live Show goes on Podcast platforms

Then they provide alternating Wednesday content:

  • Every other weds- Adventures of Outdoorwoman host- Susie Roloff. highlights Women Anglers and getting a woman’s perspective 
  • Every other Weds.- Chasin’ The Tide Saltwater segment Host- Dustin Nichols
  • Thurs- Final Cast Host- Josh Eldridge & Brad Hicks – Product Review Segment
  • Friday- Reel Down. Hosts Sam Jones & Dan Perry – Tournament recaps across the nation
  • Sat. Coming soon. Segment called Off The Water

And, alternating Sunday content:

  • Every other Sunday – Mixed Bag. Host- Jason Ricketts.  Focuses on all aspects out of a kayak
  • Every other Sunday- Afterhours.  A bunch of hosts get together to shoot the breeze, talk about what’s going on in kayak fishing, and tell fish stories

If you can’t find something on this one to interest you… well, I really don’t know what to tell you.

Kayak Fishing Podcasts #4: KBN Live

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Say what you will, feel what you will, about the Kayak Bass Nation Facebook page; the group has some of the most passionate and solid anglers among its members. And though the Facebook page is not for everyone, KBN Live is a great place to hear some of the latest info from the hottest anglers on the trails; and some of the biggest controversies.   

It was created from the minds of Ryan Lambert and Jeff Malott who “wanted a place where all topics could be covered. The goal of KBN Live was to have on guests from all sectors of the sport from shop owners, top anglers, tourney directors, and manufacturers.

And they have stayed true to that mission. I have not listened to a broadcast that was not well produced or informative.  It has a very relaxed “in your living room” feel while providing a great deal of content.  

Ryan will tell you that their goals were not just to cover who won, but to “tackle whatever headlines are happening in the kayak world, not just the pretty stuff. Addressing the issues publicly is the only way to educate the new anglers while also letting folks know that they will not be brushed under the rug.

The guys do their best to remain neutral, allowing them to tackle every segment of the kayak fishing industry. 

“Over the years we have seen some great changes come about and we pride ourselves in having no vested interest in any one entity or the other.” 

Lambert does understand that the people who follow and are part of the “Nation” are key to KBN Live’s success.  

“I’d like to thank The Nation for supporting us in the beginning and now the exponential growth we have experienced.”

KBN Live is another “must listen” when it comes to being a part of the kayak community.

Kayak Fishing Podcasts #5: Dark Waters Kayak Fishing Podcast

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The Dark Waters Kayak Fishing Podcast started by, and featuring, Josh Smith is a little more laid back than most. This is a one man show that may not always be for the youngest members of the kayak community because according to Josh, “sometimes we just drink beers and run our mouths about anything fishing related. The show can be a little raw. Cursing and trash talking is allowed as long as it’s just fun in nature.

This is a place where you get to hear open conversations from anglers who are there just to talk about fishing. Josh brings on guests to just talk or promote events that may be coming up soon in our community.

“It’s only me and I just bring different guest on every episode. Mainly I bring kayak anglers to come on the show to share their stories on how they got into the sport, tournaments or whatever. The motivation behind the show was to create content that’s just fun. Not trying to make better anglers or anything, just want to let people talk about the sport in general.”

So there’s my top 5 list! I am aware of many others that exist but have not found (or made?) the time to get engaged with them.  

What are your favorite kayak fishing pod/web casts?  List them in the comments and let’s get them some attention.

Winning the KBF AOY and the Ten in One Year – Who’s Done It?

Now, everyone knows that fishing can be unpredictable and the chances of winning every event you enter is not high. If it were that easy, there would most likely not be as many tournaments because the outcome would be predetermined based on one or two anglers always being the top performers. But there has been a trend over the last three years in KBF; the AOY has moved on to win the Ten.  

Winning either is an achievement in itself, but winning both is quite the accomplishment.

I talked with AOY and Ten winners Rus Snyders (2019 AOY and the Ten in 2020), Cody Milton (2018 AOY and the Ten in 2019) and Jamie Denison (2017 AOY and the Ten in 2018) to get their thoughts on what might be happening. I wondered if there was some secret they could share, some mystical fish sauce or trick since they had won both.

KBF AOY and the Ten Winner #1: Jamie Denison

Jamie Denison will try to tell you that it was just luck. 

“To be honest with you, it was pure coincidence. I had to fish the Ten and do well to win AOY.  It was just the way it fell that day. It was a six-way tie, and the tiebreaker was the Ten. It was a tough day. I was in the right place, the right time with the right frame of mind and got five bites and caught them. Now I had put myself in the position to win, but I just executed that day.”

But, talk with all of them long enough you will learn that all three anglers who won AOY and the Ten share one thing – confidence. They believed they could win, and fished like it. Jamie shared his philosophy on the water.  

“90 percent of fishing is between your ears.  It never enters my mind that I am not going to catch five fish.  That thought never enters my mind until I set my rod down and tell myself; ‘Well, I fell a little short today’.  That thought never enters my mind.  If I have five minutes left and I need two or three fish, I still think that I can do it – I never think that I can’t do it.  If you’re thinking that way, you are beat before you leave the ramp.  I hear guys saying that I don’t know if I can get five today…if you think that, do yourself a favor buddy, sleep in…’cause you are beat!”

“Boat position is important, but not paying attention is as critical.  If you are at some weird angle and have your line out…then get distracted, you will miss some fish.  But even when you make those mistakes, you cannot fish any less hard.  And until I load the boat without five, I never think it is over.”

That mindset seems to work well for him.  In 2017 he won the Ten, sealed up AOY, won the trail and challenge series championship. If he had won the National Championship, he would have won all of the major events!

Jamie Denison’s season saw a tie between several anglers going into the Ten, so the AOY was not yet determined. KBF changed the point system, and introduced the trail, challenge and pro championships. This made choosing the AOY a more definitive process; not leaving it to be decided in conjunction with the Ten.  

KBF AOY and the Ten Winner #2: Cody Milton

Cody Milton says that the momentum rolling from AOY into the Ten is also a factor. 

“I think it is absolutely ending the year ‘that on fire’ to a degree. I mean, it wasn’t really that way for me, but it seems that it totally was for Jamie and Rus. I think Rus had won the last four tournaments before that and Jamie was winning too.”

“I had a really good year, then a lot of craziness happened, the last few tournaments I got really sick. So, it was really odd for me. But I think it is just you pick it up where you left it. I mean I had fished Bienville before and had success, so it wasn’t like I didn’t know it. I had won there before so I felt good going down there.”

“I remember that Jay Wallen almost did it, he had a lead the year he won AOY, but lost the Ten on Bienville the last day.”

KBF AOY and the Ten Winner #3: Rus Snyders

Rus was the first to use the word confidence although it had already been said in different ways by Cody and Jamie. 

“Fishing. A lot of it is confidence! I mean you get the momentum too – you get on these rolls where you stop guessing, it is just so mental. You just get confident and stop second guessing things. You just believe that you can figure it out because you have been figuring it out.  Just a very positive mental attitude. That just carries over.”  

“The Ten was the first tourney I had fished since the trail championships in Lacrosse. I went out west and did some saltwater fishing, only getting out a few hours locally. I spent time working on getting my truck ready, organizing gear and doing some power washing jobs. I spent fifty hours working on the roof of the house I live in, and built a chicken coop. I didn’t stop thinking about the Ten, I studied and stuff, but I was making myself hungry to go fish. I didn’t want to burn myself out; I wanted to have the drive to do the work, have a clear head.”  

And all of it paid off as he won the Ten in impressive fashion.

“All the best anglers get on rolls, then it ends at some point. So you ride it while you can. Enjoy it and soak it all in. Just be grateful while you can” was how Rus explained how he feels about the next year.  “I wasn’t going to dedicate this year to fishing, that wasn’t my plan, but with the success I had, I am going all out and not doing as many power washing jobs!”

Rus, Jamie and Cody agree that they are shooting for the top spots again. With their mindset, they will most certainly enjoy continued success. This year will have some challenges with all that is going on in the world, but keep your eyes on all three; check the KBF standings and I bet if they are not at the top, they will be just behind the leaders.

Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125 | Jake Suvak’s 4 Favorite Features

We sat down with Vibe Kayak’s team member Jake Suvak to discuss his 4 favorite features of the Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125. Here are his opinions in his own words.

Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125: Hull Design 

The Shearwater has a few things that other boats don’t have, or it does some things just a little bit differently. 

I didn’t really appreciate the hull design until I was in a tournament recently with pretty strong winds. I had to make a 2-mile run into the wind and a little bit of chop. I was able to keep a steady 3- and 1/2- mile per hour pace all while rigging up my rod while going to that next spot.

Basically, the hull is designed for stability and speed. 

The Shearwater has unbelievable stability while still not compromising speed. The bow of the boat is shaped to just cut straight through the waves. So even in that chop, the boat stayed pretty much level. 

Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125: Pod System 

I really like the options I have with the pod system in the Shearwater. I am able to put a pod in for the X-Drive pedal system and when I get my Bixpy motor in I’ll be able to put in the flat deck pod system for that and just have more standing space. 

Having the versatility to change it up from paddling to pedaling or even to a motor is really cool. 

Some tournaments don’t let you use a motor, so I’ll still be using my X-Drive for those. But when my Bixpy comes in, having the ability to swap back and forth will be huge. 

And one more thing that’s cool about that pod system, if you don’t have the X-Drive or a motor, the hull design makes it really easy to paddle still. With some of the higher-end kayaks that are made for pedal or motor drives, they’re a little bit bulkier and harder to paddle. The Shearwater is still really easy to paddle. So you can start with the base model and then add the X-Drive later on and a motor later on if you want to do it that way.

Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125: Side Rod Holders 

The side rod holders let you lay your rods flat up on the front deck of the kayak and keep them strapped in. I like that so I can have a second rod ready to go if I need it. 

For example, if I’m fishing with a frog and I miss a blowup, I can have something tied up on another rod ready to flip that I can just grab and go with. 

Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125: Under-Seat Storage

One more thing that I really like is probably the simplest thing on the boat, but the Shearwater has a little drawer right under the seat where you can store your soft plastics or anything else that you want to keep in reaching distance. It just slides out and right back under the seat and is a great use of that space. 

I’ve been loving my Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125 since it arrived and can’t wait to keep making awesome memories on the water with it! 

Log Your Vibe Kayak to Unlock Exclusive Badges and Rewards in the ANGLR App

Are you a Vibe Kayaks owner looking to unlock exclusive badges and rewards? Well, now you can! 

Download the ANGLR app and log your Vibe Kayaks for a customized experience built specifically for you. Privately track your fishing trips, log your catches and waypoints, and record specific stats to your Vibe kayak.

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 Review(1)