2015-2016 IFA Kayak Fishing Tour (Schedule Released)

Next season’s kayak schedule has been released. Mark your calendars!!

2015 IFA schedule

2015-IFA-Kayak-Schedule Click here for the PDF

They are very well run events with national exposure.  Prizes are great.  The camaraderie of fellow fisherman is awesome.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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Yak Angler Choice Awards

Help us advance through round #1.

Angler choice

Below are the categories for which you can vote.

1) Angler 

2) Kayak 

3) Paddle 

4) Forum 

5) Magazines 

6) New Product 

7) Retailer 

8) Location 

9) Video 

10) Blog 

In each of the first two rounds, the top 50% of vote-getters in each category will advance to the next round, with the exception of the “Anglers” category. Of the 160 anglers nominated, the top fifty will advance to Round 2, and the top ten of those will advance to the final round of voting.

There will be three rounds of voting:

Round 1: 12am EST Monday Oct. 27 – 8pm EST Sunday Nov 2

Round 2: 12am EST Monday Nov 3 – 8pm EST Sunday Nov 9

Round 3: 12am EST Monday Nov 10 – 8pm EST Sunday Nov 16

Results will be announced on November 24. At this point, it’s all up to you! Please review the categories and cast your votes in each round as we progress through the process.

Visit: www.yakangler.com/choice to vote!

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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Slight Change Required

 

Saturday, 10-25-14, I met up with some friends to do some inshore fishing in East Matagorda Bay. The inventor/owner of The Line Cutterz Ring was bringing with him a long time friend from Florida. He is a advent fisherman but this would be his first kayak fishing adventure as well as his first Texas marsh fishing trip. I loaned him a Hobie Outback and after a short tutorial he was on the water ready to pursue some Texas sized aquatic game.

We got a late start to the day but by 9AM we were skirting the grass line searching for evidence of hungry redfish. The red fish we hiding so were moved out to some shell and Vance (Owner & inventor of The Line Cutterz Ring) soon hooked up on a nice trout.
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Vance soon after landed a hefty a flounder.  It seemed as if everyone could catch fish but me.  (This is probably why I failed to take many pictures this day. I may have been a bit cranky.)

We continued working a shoreline.  And I decided to try a cove that has continuously produced reds for me in the past. I worked my way in and noticed a big ripple of water being pushed along the grass.  I quickly casted my pink Rapala Skitterewalk a few feet ahead of the ripple and waited. As it got closer I began my retrieve. The ripple disappeared and I thought I had spooked the fish when I heard a gulping sound and my topwater disappeared, no tug, it just disappeared. I quickly reeled in the slack and the fish that was heading straight toward turned and the fight began with a ripping of drag from the reel. After a few circles around my Hobie Pro Angler I landed this nice redfish.

red 10-25-14

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Eventually we worked our way back towards the launched. We were ready to find some lunch and try a new location. On the way back we visited some other friends of mine that were fishing the area. This is when I had an enlightening realization. I had recently switched from using bait casters to now strictly spinning reels. I really like the low profile bait caster reels, especially on my topwater rod, but they just don’t seem to hold up in the saltwater as well as a simple spinning reel. I fish hard and often and am constantly replacing bait caster reels. This gets to be expensive. (And lets face it, casting a bait caster into a strong head wind gets to be a pain, one rat’s nest after another.)

My last two trips out, I have left my bait casters behind and fished exclusively spinning reels.  I throw topwaters most of the time. And while fishing next to my friend he was awarded blow-up after blow-up while my exact same lure was left untouched. Our baits could be feet from each other but the result was the same.

At this point, I noticed my retrieve was slightly different holding the spinning reel as compared to what it was using a the bait caster. My “walk the dog” motion was slower and more erratic with a spinning reel. Basically, the back and forth (side to side) motion was greater then before resulting in a slightly slower retrieve. This must come from the downward bend in my wrist caused from the “under the rod” reel position. The low profile bait caster keeps my wrist straight which results in shorter quicker flicks of my wrist. This change in wrist position results in a slower retrieve than in the past. My friend suggested I move to a stiffer rod with a slower tip reaction. (I’ll keep you posted when this change occurs.)

As I was evaluating my topwater retrieve my other friends were on fish. It was trout after trout for the next 30 minutes to an hour. They were destroying the trout (some in the measuring in the middle 20’s range) using an unfamiliar brand of  a Sand Eel in black and chartreuse.  The brand came from Florida and closely resembled a Hackle Berry Hussler.

As abruptly as the bite had started it shut-off, just like that. We tried to grind out a few more fish, but they would no longer play along.

We called it a day and got some dinner. It was a fun day. I probably caught the least number of fish. I seem to be a slump. It might be time for a new lucky rabbit’s foot or something. Any suggestions?

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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The Line Cutterz Ring (Available Now)

Check out my buddy’s new invention. The product launched today.

A quick, convenient way for fishermen to cut fishing line. No more fumbling around for knives and clippers or cutting with your teeth.

HOW IT WORKS

The Line Cutterz Ring has an adjustable strap which will allow it to fit virtually any sized finger. After placing the ring on your chosen finger, mark the strap and cut off any excess material for a comfortable fit. When cutting line make a loop and pull it through one of the two slots. For cutting off taglines hold the lure and line in one hand then slide the eyelet of the lure close to the recessed cutting blades, which will leave just the right amount of line to ensure the knot will not pull out.

The product is new. Help him grow his business by purchasing a great product that will come in handy for any fisherman.

Visit his site and purchase your Line Cutterz Products now.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/487194613/the-line-cutterz-ring-a-ring-that-cuts-fishing-lin

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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Kayak Demo Days Saturday Oct 18th

Stop by the Kayak Demo Days hosted by Fishing Tackle Unlimited. Try out all the kayak brands and models. I’ll be working with the Hobie kayaks so stop by, say hello and try out the best kayaks on the market.

Oct 18th demo days

FTU bannerOperationfish.com sighing out,

Todd Hart

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Topwater Saturday

I have a weakness. I just can’t seem to stop throwing top-water plugs. My favorite is the Rapala Pink Skitterwalk. I throw it and throw it all day until my arm gets sore.  Then….. I throw it some more.

pink skitterwalk

I’m not exactly sure why I enjoy throwing topwater lures so much. I guess its just an addiction. Everyone has a weakness and I have found mine. Sometimes it the gulping sound of the plug being sucked under, sometimes its seeing the wake of a redfish in pursuit and sometimes the explosive aerial assault of aquatic predators like kingfish exploding clear out of the water like a missile, I’m not sure, but I just keep chunking those plugs.

Saturday 10/11/14, I found myself in Matagorda Bay once again throwing my favorite pink Skitterwalk yet again. The action started slow.  We began fishing in 2-3′ of water over mixed shell and mud. I found a few smaller trout.

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After a while I noticed a bit of nervous bait closer to shore and cast closer to the grass-line and landed this trout.

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Shortly after landing this trout, the weather changed for the worst. I witnessed a wall of rain skirting across the water in my direction. Once the heavy rain arrived the winds picked up to a scary force. I decided to head into the marsh for a bit of cover and to chase some skinny water reds.

The rain stopped and the weather changed back to comfortable.

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I worked my way through the marsh spooking reds along the way.  Before reaching the dead-end of a cove I stopped short, engaged my micro-anchor and began fan casting my top-water.  I soon landed this fellow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEvery so often I would raise the micro-anchor and move up a bit and continue my pattern of fan casting. When I finally got to where I could reach the opposite grass-line with my cast I landed this red.

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After landing two reds I decided to move back out and chase some trout. I went out deeper and made a couple of long drifts back to the shallows. I got a number of blow-ups and each resulted in no hook ups, but they kept me encouraged to redo the drift over and over until I finally landed a couple of smaller trout and then one rather nice one.

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Around this time, my buddy Grant gave me a call and stated he found a school of trout holding in a small area where a shell reef ends and meets a big sand flat.  I worked my way towards him. Before I arrived, Grant had caught a number of large trout; two being 27″ and larger. Once I arrived the bite seemed to stop. Neither of us landing another fish in that area.

It looked like another storm was brewing so we called it a day and made the long pedal home. After a long day, I sure am thankful for the comfort and ease of the pedal drive provided by the Hobie mirage drive.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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My Son’s First Solo Kayak Fishing Trip

Sunday, 9/28/14, I planned on staying home and spending time with the family. My wife suggested we load up the kayaks for a short afternoon trip. This would be the first time my eleven year old took the kayak out by himself. (Usually he just rides on the back of mine or my wife’s.)

We stopped along the way and picked up some live shrimp for both my wife, Kristen, and my son, Camden. We soon found ourselves at our destination so we quickly unloaded and readied our gear.

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We were launching at the channel that connects Keith Lake to Sabine Pass.  The tide was really ripping out at an accelerated rate and I was nervous letting my son take out the kayak solo.  The plan was to put my wife in the water first to help him if there were issues. I would have my kayak ready to go just in case he needed a tow.

I shoved his kayak into the water and after a quick adjustment of his pedals for which I incorrectly installed (I’m not used to having the pedals set for such a small person) he pedaled and traversed his way easily against the strong current.

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On the way out, I worked a Gulp Swimming mullet and picked up a small flounder.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI reached the mouth of the channel shortly before Kristen and Camden so I worked the pink Rapala Skitterwalk a few times and landed a small trout. (I would end up catching 4 or 5 more trout all similar to this one throughout the next two hours.)

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We decided to pedal against the wind and drift back. After a while we made a stop to pull out some rain jackets we packed as a couple of rain clouds unloaded their chilling showers. Kristen and Camden began tossing their live shrimp under a popping cork and soon each caught a fish.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACamden landed his first trout of the evening.

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Hunting Gear at Basspro.com

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Kristen had landed a couple of fish, but was quite excited when she pulled in this slot red.

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Shortly, after this Camden hooked his biggest trout of the trip.

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The trout was all his Zebco 33 could handle.

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Archery Gear at Basspro.com

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He was quite proud of his catch.

A really big dark cloud loomed on the horizon and the wind started to pick up so we decided to head back to the truck. We were hooping to beat the mosquitos before they came out in force with the darkness. The dark cloud from the storm made night fall hit early then anticipated and with the sun lost behind the dark clouds the mosquitos came out with a vengeance. We worked frantically to load up in hopes of limiting our insect bites.

It was a great night.  I think the family had fun. Hopefully, with short trips like this I can hook my boy and convince him to fish with me more often.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart
Bass Pro Shops Online

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A Totally Top-Water Evening

Sunday (9-21-14) I headed out for an evening of fishing. I turned the Texan’s game on the radio and made the long drive to the coast. I had hoped to find some big trout and catch the last of the 5o slot reds needed to close out our Kayakwars.com tournament quota for the month.

I arrived at my launch spot and was greeted with beautiful weather and a nice strong incoming tide. I pedaled my way out to a bulk head located at the mouth of a large channel opening up to a much larger series of lakes. I was hoping to fish the bulk head for a while and then move out to some shell/mud area in the shallows in hopes of ending the night with some hefty trout.

I was pleasantly surprised to find  a nice aggressive top-water bit from some hungry large slot reds.  The action was fast and furious.

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All fish were caught in 3-4′ of water using a pink Rapala Skitterwalk. When the fish would miss the lure I would simply stop and wait a second or two before continuing the “walk the dog” back and forth motion. This usually enticed the reds to return for further attacks.

Todd Hart Redfish  9-21

A coup0le of the reds were a bit smaller only measuring about 21″. But most were in the 26″ range.  A 26″ red can really be deceivingly strong. They can really put a bend in your rod and pull your kayak in circles. During one of my many fights I actually dropped my net and found out the hard way it didn’t float very long. The fish pulled me away as I watched it sink.

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I soon found a new challenge in landing reds without the net.

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As the sun began to set, I moved to the shallows looking for trout. I found a couple, but they were all in the 16-17″ range. (I need 20″ trout or larger to count in the tournament.) I managed to hook one decently large trout, but was unsuccessful in landing him without the aid of the net.

The reds continued to bite. I lost my only two pink skitterwalks to the aggressive fish. Both times a red followed the bait to the boat and hit it right at the side of the boat and both times as my pole hit the kayak unable to bend the line snapped and my bait was taken away. I switched to a trout pattern Rapala Skitterwalk which failed to land any other fish. I’m not sure if it was the lure, the setting sun or the slowing of the tidal movement, but, whatever the case, fish seemed to stop biting. I called it a day and headed home.

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All in all, it was great night. I love fishing with top-waters and the Rapala Pink Skitterwalk has proven to be my favorite “go to bait”.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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Making The Best of a Cold and Wet North Wind

It is September in Texas, why would you need a coat?  Sometimes the weather throws you a hardball.  You work all week, locked away from the thrill and adventure of stalking fish and then the weekend finally comes, but greets you with rain and strong winds.

That is precisely what happened on this September morning. I had been watching the weather forecast all Friday afternoon and into the evening, only to wake up to an even worse forecast when the morning finally arrived.  The weatherman said to expect winds up to 20 mph out of the north and they would bring rain and cold temperatures.

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We searched the maps to find a launch on a protected northern shoreline and set out with our fingers crossed, hoping for doable weather.  The weatherman was pretty much correct except for the wind strength exceeding the forecasted 20 mph. The rain was cold so I was thankful for my rain jacket.

The first hour was non-eventful. I struggled against the strong wind and found no fish. Not even a bite. Finally, I found some action in about 2-3′ of water over mixed shell and mud.

Todd Hart redfish 1

I was hoping to find some trout, but all I found was six slot reds. All were caught using my favorite pink Rapala Skitterwalk.

Check out all the spots on this beautiful fish.

Todd Hart multi-spot redfish

The fish were scattered over a fairly large area. I was thankful for Power-Pole’s Micro-Anchor. I was able to push a button and quickly secure myself in one spot and work the area thoroughly. I would start casting on my right and work 180 degrees to my left.

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After doing this routine twice I would simply push a button to lift the electronic stake out stick and move forward to cover a new area. It was quick and simple. I love this unit.

The fish were all about the same size, ranging from 20″-23″.

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I made a couple of rookie mistakes. One of which was easily corrected by the use of the “Line Cutterz” ring you can see in the picture above. I ended up with a nice “rat”s nest” tangle casting against the wind. I quickly worked on getting the mess untangled from the reel, but afterwards I pulled out a bunch of extra braided line and dropped it between my feet within the kayak. (What was I thinking?) Extra braided line and wind don’t mix. I quickly found a big mess and was thankful for the use of the ring to quickly dispatch all the tangled line from EVERYTHING in my kayak.

Mistake #2 can be seen in the video below.

All in all, it was great day besides for being a bit cold, wet and windy. However, one can not complain about a double daily limit of slot reds all coming on top-water. I would call that a successful trip.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart
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It’s Time to Run With The Bulls (Bull Reds That Is)

Every fall the large oversized bull red fish cruise the beach front in search of an easy meal. The winds tend to slow. The surf begins to lay down. The weather begins to cool. All these factors add up to what we refer to as prime time BTB (Beyond the Breakers) kayak fishing.

Kayakers from all over Texas make the trek to McFaddin Beach, located near High Island, TX.  This is considered the “Mecca” of bull red fishing. From both the kayak and the beach these beefy fish are plenty and easy to come by.

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On August 24th I made this trip with two other “Anglers Elite” team members. We were hoping to land the last 25 red fish we were allotted for Kayakwars.com during the month of August.  That task would prove easy.

We were armed with large mullet, large circle hooks, and hefty rod and reel combos. We paddled out to roughly 11′ of water and dropped anchors. We cut the mullet into 4″ chunks and cast it out on a large circle hooks attached to either steel or heavy mono leaders. It wasn’t long before the fish began to bite.

todd hart redfish 8-24-14

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The bite was pretty fast all day. There was not much down time.

todd hart redfish 8-24-14 2nd

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All the reds I caught measured between 35″ and 40″. It was a fun day. We ended with more fish then we had slots available.

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Red fish can be found all along the northern Texas coast, however the area between Rollover Pass and Sabine Pass tends to hold some of the best bull red fishing around, at least in my opinion.

Don’t miss out on the prime red fish run. Get out there while the fishing is good.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

Backcountry.com - Labor Day

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