Friday, December 27, 2013

Port O Sac + Backstory on the 2013 Fresh Kats Tournement Series Winner.

Headwaters Team Paddler David Fowler, winner of the 2013 Fresh Kats Series.

I would like to start off by saying thank you to all the hard work done by all that made this years 2013 Freshkats series a success. There was some awesome prizes that were handed out from life jackets to fish finders and rods to paddles even a really cool fish cleaning station plus lots more. For me this years Freshkats series was the first time I have ever fished a kayak tournament. I have always fished tournaments off my bass boat and I was one of those guys who always said "man a kayak looks like a fun time but it takes so long to get anywhere its not fast enough and looks like too much work". Well ladies and gentlemen my name is David and I'm a kayak-aholic.

David Sporting his new Shuna Hooked Paddle donated by Werner Paddles as the Grand prize for the FreshKats 2013 season.  
I never realized how much scenery is missed by launching the boat and putin the hammer down and doing 65 mph to my favorite fishing hole. Now don't get me wrong I still get the need speed but the boat has taken the back seat to the Jackson Cuda.

Add caption
We finished up this years Freshkats series at the port of west Sacramento it was a great tournament I don't know the actual numbers on how many of us fished this event but I want to say it was somewhere around 40 anglers possibly more. The port of sac is a great fishery with free access and a easy launch. It gives the average angler a chance to catch multiple species from pan fish to bass and stripers to salmon and I think they were all caught at this years event. I pulled into the barge canal access at about 6:00 am in the morning there was already guys getting ready for the days tourney so with high hopes I put the truck in park take a sip of coffee and look at the temperature on the dash and it says ice 28*deg yep it was a cold cold day.
Jedmo sporting his golden down jumpsuit to stay warm

I meet up with Jim and get signed in and make my way down to the water I put the Jackson Cuda in get seated and start my trek to the turning basin as I'm paddling a thin layer of ice is forming on the deck of my Cuda from water splashing up through the scupper holes. I start marking fish right away so I send down some secret agents (minnows) to do the dirty work. It was a beautiful and clear day with  just a little chop on the water but cold about 10:00 I get a good take down but like every good fish story the fish got away. about 10:30 I met up with bill and victor from the headwaters team and they had drawn a big goose egg too no fish .check in was at 1:00 so at about 12:30 we make our way over to the launch and Victor hooks up with a keeper striper. It was a great day had by all with a nice amount of trash collected by anglers from the banks of the river and as always it would not be a true NCKA event without food family and friends so we all met at the pizza joint down the road shared stories and went on our way. I just want to say thank you again to everyone for great sportsmanship and to all the hard work from everyone who made this year a success cant wait till next year.

By David Fowler, Headwaters Fishing Team!


As with all Fresh Kats events, a ton of trash was collected. Rider wins the trash prize again!


Naoaki sporting a nice Striper.

Ron was the "King of the Port" with his two fat Stripers


Rons catches.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jackson Kayaks, is about the Release the Kraken. A Jim Salmons Signature Fishing Kayak.

While I was in Tennessee visiting the Jackson factory, I got a sneak peak at the plug for their new off shore fishing kayak called The Kraken. Tony (the designer) was still in the process of shaping it when I was there. Now its done and the first prototypes will be coming soon. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to test the prototype and give some feedback here in the next few months.

The kayak is narrower than the Cuda, over a foot longer, more rocker bow to stern, and a large raked bow for punching through waves. The seat has been lowered to drop the paddlers but just over the water line length. Because of that, they were able to tweak the chines and give the boat a much sportier feel. Last time I talked to Tony, it will not have a the ability to go Hi-Lo, just low sleek and fast. There is a lot of trick stuff going on with the deck layout as well, but I've probably already said more then they want me to say. The blog does not reveal a ton, but you will get the general idea of the hull design.

Read more from Jim Sammons, click the link below.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Simply Fishing Tournament

On Saturday November 9, 2013 I participated in the Simply Fishing Tournament. The event was so simple that no fish finders were allowed, no bait and no scents. That seems pretty simple right? Well there were some more rules that made it even more interesting. You could only use one rod and the three lures that you could use would be given to you. If you ended up losing those lures, which did happen to some, you had to stop fishing and were not able to use your own tackle.

Luis and I decided to start the day early by driving to Doran Beach early to drop some crab traps. We left Vallejo around 3 in the morning and arrived in Bodega Bay a little after 4. We parked the truck in the overflow parking since the day use gate was closed and unloaded all the traps and Luis's new to him Cuda 14. We decided to just take one kayak off so that we could shoot up to Timber Cove fast. We wheeled the kayak down the road and Luis was the first one to go out. It was still pitch black so Luis wore a headlamp and I left a light on the beach for him to find his way back. Luis came back in after dropping his two pots and then I went out with my two. It was really nice to be on the water that early in the morning, on my paddle back in boaters started to come out of the harbor to start their day of fishing. We packed up our stuff, with all are gear still on and hopped in the truck for the drive up to Timber Cove.

One of the interesting aspects of the Simply Fishing Tournament was that the location was not given until 3 days before the event. Ruben the event organizer just let people know that it would be on the Sonoma Coast. I had fished Timber Cover twice and Luis once so we started to come up with a plan and realized that we would just fish and see what happens. As we arrived closer to the launch it was awesome to see the kayaks that were already on the water with lake like conditions. When we got to launch we were welcomed with a big smile from Ruben, there were already kayaks on the water and many getting ready to launch. The best part was that there was not much to set up on the kayak since minimal gear was allowed. It took Luis and I about 10 minutes and we were on the water.

Before we launched Ruben handed each of us our tackle box. The box included a Big Hammer swimbait with Andy1975 jig head, a BD squid, and a Promar/Ahi diamond bar. Luis and I both agreed that we would start with the B2 squid. We both launched out of the cove and after getting through the kelp decided to drop out lines. It was strange at first not know where the structure was without the fish finder, but it made it really fun. You really had to pay attention to what the bottom felt like when your lure hit. I started off the morning with a small black, that I decided to let it go and swim another day. Shortly after that Luis and I paddled a little bit more north and dropped our lines again. I dropped the squid again and got a hit, it put up a fight but I knew it was small. When it came to the top, it was a under ling. Luis took a picture and I gave the thumbs down sign and continued to fish. Shortly after I got another ling that was to short. Further up north I saw Scott (GB2) so I decided to paddle over and fish near him. On the radio I could hear everyone talking about how their Big Hammers were being attacked by the lings. So I decided it was time to switch. I dropped the big hammer and within a few seconds already had another fish on, again it was a under ling, so back in the water it went.

Then on the second drop, I got a big tug and the fish was on. I knew this had to be a legal ling since it felt heavy, and started to take some line. I reached for my net and when the fish appeared I realized this net was going to be to small. I was a little anxious because I started to think I was going to lose the fish. I decided to open up my game clip and try and see if I could get the fish on the clip. Finally I just reached over and grabbed the fish and through my leg over it to keep it from going over the kayak. I called Luis over on the radio and when he arrived I asked if I could use his fish whacker. Luis thought I had the winning fish, I knew it was big but thought maybe Third place at best, plus there were so many great anglers out there.

Luis and I continued to fish, I lost my big hammer and went back to the B2 Squid and then decided to go in at about 11:15, the weigh in was scheduled at noon. On the way in, I picked up another keeper ling and was headed in with a limit of lings. When I got back on the beach there were already some good looking fish and I knew that I wasn't taking home the jackpot.

After packing up the gear we headed up to the top of the launch where the awards ceremony, potluck and raffle would take place. I bought some raffle tickets, ate some lunch and really enjoyed the company and just hanging out with a great view of the Sonoma Coast. The raffle was held before the awards and there were some great items that were donated by the sponsors. There was a wheeleez beach cart, G-loomis fishing rod, waterproof camera and much more. I ended up winning some cool EGO fish grip tool.

Then came the awards ceremony and in third place was my good friend Naoaki with a ling weighing in at 13.7 lbs, second went to Jim "baitmaim" with a ling weighing 13 lbs 12 oz. The biggest fish in the tournament went to Scott "GB2" with a ling weighing in at 14 lbs 3 oz. After looking at the results my fish came in 12th place, my fish ended up weighing in at 9.7 lbs, and was 30" long.

This was such an awesome event and I am glad I was able to be a part of it. I look forward to many more like this. Keeping it simple= keeping it fun. At the end of the tournament I had caught a PB ling and was happy with that and an awesome day on the water.

Oh wait...

After the potluck and awards Luis and I hopped in the truck and drove down to Doran Beach to get our crab pots that had been soaking since the morning. We were hoping for limits, but also realized that we had dropped the pots in the dark and may have not dropped them where we would have liked. We got to the beach and found some other NCKA member hanging out. They offered us a beer and some food, one of the many reasons I love NCKA. I went out to get my pots and ended up with 3 jumbos and one at about 6.5". Luis came in with two and decided to leave his traps out there and return later. On the way home we had to stop for a coffee which allowed  us to stay awake and talk about the day all the way home.

I can't complain the day was awesome!

-Victor "vwool"
(photos courtesy of Luis Romero)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Nevada Fly Fishing with Bam and family

Here is the video Bam put together of their epic road trip to a small trout infested Lake in the middle of Nevada.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Desert Trout Adventure


 Growing up in a bird hunting and fly fishing family, you do a lot of exploring for untouched areas. Seldomly though, do you discover a gem such as a lake in the middle of the desert that holds a bounty of trophy Rainbows, Cuttbows, and even the elusive and very rare Tiger Trout while hunting for chukar, even with help. Hours of driving on highways and hours of gravel and 4x4 roads put you smack dab in the middle of no where and present you with an adventure of a lifetime. Climbing a couple thousand feet in elevation on 4x4 trails is one thing, doing it with four fishing kayaks on top of a UTV is a whole other beast.

     This October fishing trip started off with high expectations and the desert did not disappoint. Four wheeling into beautiful country, seeing wild horses, mule deer, and coyotes (just to name a few); and then tent camping in a rugged landscape with no trees, but rocks to provide shelter is enough to make an excellent weekend. Throw in the frigid below freezing night time and morning temperatures and you have yourself the perfect trout fishing conditions. The fishing started off with two back to back 21 inch Rainbows caught by my dad and myself from the camp fishing rock. It was time to hit the water.       

The UTV goes a little faster than the truck...

A rough road to paradise.

Our fishing rock providing another hard fighting fish!
23 inch rainbow on the Cuda
Our camp in the rocks. The tents are in the rocks on the right.

Taking a break from fishing and hunting for Chukar and Hungarian Patridge.

Dinner fish. Weighing in close to 6 lbs I'd say.

Things were cold in the morning with ice on the boats and the guides on our rods.

Plenty of beautiful fish, in beautiful water, in a beautiful place.

This one had a gut.


Getting windy. That desert air dries you out in a hurry.

Desert Surf and Turf. (Cotton Tail and Trout. We also had Chukar one night)

Such amazing fish.

One of two tiger trout caught on the trip. We couldn't find the big predators this trip.

On our way out.

Racing against the storm that could have snowed us in. We won!

And our good fortune ran out, especially since we forgot the spare. With some Redneck ingenuity we were back on the road.

     After Three nights of sleeping in the cold we were ready to go home, but not without missing the fishing and shedding a few tears. The shredded tire and the storm that dumped 16 inches of snow in the Sierras turned an eight hour drive into roughly a fourteen hour one. It was a miserable trip home that I thought was never going to end. I accepted that I would be living on Chukar and desert trout for the rest of the winter, but luckily we made. My father Rick, my Uncle Mike, and our good friend Les provided amazing company on an unforgettable trip. Stay tuned for the video that includes more fish and our travels!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Yakhopper/ Fisherman's Warehouse Delta Madness Tournament

What a day at Yakhopper's Delta Madness. I made a late launched at Turner Cut Marinia and headed towards Mildred Island. Paddling my Eddyline Caribbean 14 without a rudder for the first time and halfway through Empire Cut I noticed the kayak was faster making it pleasurable compared to my Ocean Kayak T15. In the past, while in Empire Cut I always see fish busting surface after bait fish. But being a little late I didn't see any surface activity. It didn't matter for I knew where fish would stage for an easy meal so the first cast I used my Powell 795 C with 65lb braided line with a 5" Sinister America Shad DeltaWoodbomber. I saw a swirl but the fish didn't commit. Recast and the large mouth bass goes flying in the air missing my lure. Tryed working that area but nothing showed. On the next stop cast the 5" Sinister again and this time a fish stucked. 15 and a half large mouth CPR. Tried the outside of Mildred Island for nothing and with time left before check-in I wanted to paddle back to the marina and work the docks. Eventually, the wind picked up along with high tide pushing hyacinth inside of the docks. With little time to work I had no luck there so time to go check in. To my suprise my catch of the day secured 2nd place and took home a nice placard and a Lowrance Mark 4.

Yia Yang
Eddyline Kayak Fishing Team Member

Yia's new Caribbean 14

2nd place on a tough day of fishing. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

NuCanoe Frontier 12 rigging with Bass Yaks Trolling Motor

Here at Headwaters we never turn down a rigging job no matter how complicated it may be. This one was a NuCanoe Frontier 12 with a Bass Yaks Trolling Motor, anchor trolley, tandem and solo Max 360 seats, front mounted battery, Lowrance Elite 4 DSI fish finder with transducer scupper, Yak Attack Mighty Mounts, Scotty rod holders and so much more. Here is a video walkthrough of the kayak. We hope this helps get the wheels turning for you and your next rigging project. Don't hesitate to call or email if you have questions on how to rig something.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

American River Fish and Cleanup

The American River Fish and Cleanup was the brainchild of Headwaters Fishing Team member Adam Koons. Adam and I had talked about doing a "Fish n Chill" event on the American when the Salmon started running. A Fish n Chill is what the Nor Cal Kayak Anglers club calls a non competitive event geared toward getting new and old members together to fish, relax and potluck. We wanted our event to double as a river cleanup, an idea originally brought to us by fellow NCKAer Jim Meier. Jim host a kayak fishing tournament series called "Fresh Kats" (freshwater kayak angler tournament series). This was his way of promoting and rewarding good stewardship of our fisheries. Usually at all Jim tournaments there is a large prize for the most trash collected. We decided to make this part of our event, and the Headwaters Kayak Shop got on board and donated a Wheeleez kayak cart to whoever brought in the most trash.

Soon after the event was posted interest started pouring in from all over Nor Cal. We had people RSVPing all the way from Paradise, the bay area, and surrounding cities. We quickly realized that we would need to get in touch with the parks and to get a permit and make this a ligament event. Thankfully Adam made the call and talked to the parks person about our plans. Not only did he make it easy to get our permit, but because it was based around a river cleanup he waived the fee, proving doing the right thing really has it rewards. Adam also got in touch with local artist Skinner to design a really awesome shirt for the event. A zombie salmon with some trash in his mouth. Gross sure, awesome absolutely!

The Fish n Cleanup took place on Sunday October 6th at Howe River Access on the American River Parkway. We all started rolling in at dark and watched the sun rise over the river. Mist was rising of the water and Salmon were rolling everywhere. Everyone quickly hit the water and begin working spinners as they drift down the river. Right off the bat as I was side drifting through the first bit of current and I got a hard hit. I was still half asleep and didn't set the hook in time, but it was enough to wake me up and get my attention. Unfortunately for me that was the only action I would get all day. My fishing partners and fellow team members Bam and David continued toward the Pump House near Sac State. This is where a lot of the guys were anchored up jigging the deep hole near the pump.
Bam standing and casting spinner in his Jackson Kilroy

Father and Son fishing the pump house.

Soon after we stopped by the pump house we saw James headed up river with what looked like loaded down kayak. As we looked closer we saw that James had two wood pallets strapped to his back deck. It was obvious James had given up on the fishing and went strait for the trash prize. 

We fished the pump house for about a half hour with no love so we decided to make our way down stream to scope out some trash. Team member David Fowler spotted a section of bank completely littered with trash. The two of us stopped and filled our entire kayaks with bags full of trash. It was simply amazing to see how people just throw everything right on the ground or into the river. 

Trash man David Fowler doing his thing.
Soon after David and I paddled off a young family walked down the beach and had a nice clean fishing spot, and a safe place for their kids to play. It felt good to see our small efforts immediately pay off. 

Soon after this we saw James roll by with his second score of the day. A partially submerged shopping cart.

Our crew spent a few more hours casting around and enjoying the beautiful fall colors before heading back to the launch. On our way back we heard some VHF radio chatter about someone boating a nice salmon. We quickly paddled up to the pump station to find our good buddy Ron with a 36" Salmon on board his yak. He caught him on a spoon, jigging near the pump house. This was Ron's first ever river salmon off a kayak and needless to say he was stoked. It towed him all around the river before he finally was able to net it and get it in his yak. 

One stoked kayak fisherman
The best time of year to be on the river. 

Fall colors are intense right now.  
Mirror reflection.

With a nice fish in the cooler most of the crew decided to get back and get to the BBQ. As with all NCKA events the fishing is only a small part of the fun. The party really starts when the food gets rolling. We had smoked tri tip, ribs, baked potatoes, bacon wrapped jalapenos, BBQ'ed salmon, and more sides and deserts than we could count. As everyone enjoyed the food and conversation, we announced James as the winner of the trash pickup and presented him with his new kayak cart. 

Tim doing his thing

Can you say amazing! 

So when it was all said and done only one salmon was caught, but as a group we removed several hundred pounds of trash off the American River. Everyone really enjoyed the day. The weather was stellar, the water was flat, and the food camaraderie was as good as it gets! I'm always proud to be a part of these events and proud to be a member of the NCKA family.