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RVA Shad Run, Striper Surprise, Double L Duo, and Tactical Tips from William: It’s the VA Spring Kayak Fishing Edition

by Brian Vincent

Sorry to all the whitewater folks, but the fishing is hitting and this edition is all kayak angling. The Virginia kayak fishing community has been on fire after a sluggish winter spell of snow and wind. So tune in, read up and get psyched. This is the Friday’s Finds, where we seek to highlight some of the paddlers who call Virginia home. PaddleVa is about all of us. While some of the stuff shared in these posts will come from outside our waters, Virginia will always be the primary focus.

First Up:

A double Rob Choi feature to celebrate tomorrow’s RVA Shad Shootout. Rob, OceanKayak/ Old Town/ Werner Paddles/ Yakattack Pro, has been hitting the river and scoring some fish. Plus Jeff Lockhart scored his personal best catfish. Nice work Jeff! Click the link below the pick for the full story.

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Get the full reports here: http://www.angling-addict.com/

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Second Up:

The boys from Peelin Drag Extreme Fishing in RVA have been hunting trophies. Josh lays down some pretty perch and gets a surprise striper as well. Click the link below the pic for the full report and then search out their shad fishing video. It’s excellent as well.

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Click the link for the full report: http://www.fishhardorstayhome.com/2015/03/striper-surprise-and-another-porker.html

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Third Up:

Two of our favorite ambassadors to kayak fishing and paddling in Virginia are featured in this IR Angler intro. Meet the Lozier’s, Native Watercraft/ Werner Paddles/ Astral Pros. Double L- Mark and Kris, are two of the nicest folks on the water. Get the full scoop by clicking the link below the photo.

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click the link for the full story: http://irangler.com/salt/

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Fourth Up:

William Ragulsky, Hurricane Kayaks/ Werner Paddles/ Astral Pro, shares some of his tactics and tips for successful days on the water. These are worth the read. To get the full write-up click the link below the photo.

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Get the full write-up on tactics by clicking the link: http://coastalkayakfishing.blogspot.com/2015/04/adapt-and-overcome.html

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Damon Bungard, Product Manager for Jackson Kayak and Orion Coolers, put together a sweet fly fishing video featuring the Kilroy kayak and a bonefish. Check out the beautiful colors in this video!

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Easter Sunday: The Joy and Pain of Kayak Bass Fishing

by Brian Vincent

This past Easter Sunday started off like most holiday’s at my house, with a little cuddling and giggling. I love the look from my youngest in the background.

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Then we headed out to the lake for some Easter egg hunting and visiting with family. It’s a beautiful spot in Central Virginia.

After all the festivities I ventured out onto the lake for a bit of kayak bass fishing. I’ve heard of good bass being caught in this 40 acre lake, from various family members, but I’d begun to question those reports, after many failed missions to find them, despite the fact that it was most likely due my poor angling skills. Today would be different. Everybody was out casting lines, the sun was out and I was optimistic.

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I paddled the Jackson Kayak Coosa HD out to where the creek rolled into the lake and started fan casting a Powerteam Lures Swinging Hammer trailing a jig. I wanted something big with some action to entice aggressively feeding fish. I found one within 20 minutes, when this big girl smacked my lure 5 feet from the kayak. After a little tail walking I got her on board.

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For 10 years, while living in Boone,NC and Fayetteville, WV I was heavy into hiking, rock climbing, and trail running with a little paddling sprinkled in. I hadn’t gone fishing in a long while. I got back into it a little over 2 years ago, and it was kayak bass fishing that brought me back. It’s so dang fun and the kayak fishing community in Virginia is pretty awesome. Spurred on by the reports and pics of the many great VA kayak anglers, I’ve wanted to score a citation size bass in Virginia out of the kayak. When I pulled this big girl on board I knew I was close. Little did I know how close.

I didn’t get a proper photo at first because all I’d brought on this quick mission was my phone, which I keep stashed in the pocket of my Ronny Fisher PFD. I was so anxious about losing the fish that I was hesitate to snap pics while out on the water, in the wind. I’d lost a big fish over the side of the kayak before, I didn’t want to do it again. So, I hooked her to my Fish Grips which I keep tethered to a Yak Attack track Mounted T-Reign Retractor, and slowly paddled back the short distance to my in-law’s house to get the camera and to show off the catch. ;)  Since getting back into fishing with this new found kayaking passion, I hadn’t caught anything past 5lbs.

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I weighed her when I got to shore. She came in at 7lbs. 10ozs. New personal best.  I was giddy. Everyone came running down the hill to the water and my wife started snapping photos. She remarked that she hadn’t seen me this psyched in quite a while. “You’re so happy.” The kids all got super excited to go fishing. It was great!

As RMFC aka Angling Addict is prone to state, “I love this sh–!”

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During the chaos of congratulations and the quick photo session, I remembered that I needed to get a proper measurement to see if this bass was citation size. I slapped the bass down on the hawg trough, snapped a photo, and amidst cries from my wife to, “quit torturing that fish and just release it,” I let her go. When I took the photo I was certain it said 22″, the stated citation length for a largemouth bass.

After releasing that big girl I went back to fishing and managed a few more, but nothing of size.

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That night, sitting on my couch with my wife, our girls safely tucked into bed, I thought, ” I should check that photo and make sure it’s good.” I wanted that citation paper……

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My mouth dropped open and an expletive escaped from my lips. Life affords you many lessons. This was one. In my haste, I hadn’t really looked closely when I snapped the shot, and now the picture revealed a fish that appeared to be just a tiny smidgen short of 22″.  An absolutely infinitesimal degree of missed opportunity. I was frustrated. Disappointed.

My wife asked,”It was your personal best. Does the fact that it’s not a citation make it less exciting or cool?”

It did. Not less cool, but a bit less exciting. Sorry. That’s the truth.

Don’t get me wrong, I was still very psyched, but I’m a competitive person, and I wanted that trophy paper I’d seen other anglers receive. My wife’s comment did give me pause though. It’s easy to get pulled into the hype train with social media, forums, etc. as this lifestyle/sport of kayak fishing takes off. But it’s important to retain that love of the process, the paddling out onto a peaceful lake or ocean, the excitement of your lure getting hit and of personal bests. Because in the end, that’s why we all love kayak fishing, or at least I do. It’s extremely personal. The intimacy we share with the natural world, the immediacy of that interaction on the water, is unparalleled. It is a great gift every-time we get to paddle out, with possibility beckoning, and this country’s great bounty at our fingertips. Enjoy it folks.

Meanwhile, I’ll be out there chasing that paper, like a freshwater fishing hustler, trying to earn my stripes in a state and fishery, full of many talented, OG kayak anglers. ;)

And while this fish was a personal best, it wasn’t a monster by any stretch. But as the first big spring bass of my season, it got my heart pumping and put a grin on my face. I’ve got a long way to go to be the angler I wish to be, whether fresh or salt, but I want to say thank you to all who PaddleVa and continue to inspire and educate me in the pursuit of big fish. You guys and gals rock!!

See ya on the water!

Appomattox River Company – Big Demo Day 2015

 

by Brian Vincent

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 Appomattox River Company Big Demo Day 2015 is coming!!!! Come on down, June 13th in Farmville, Va at Wilck’s Lake. We stock 2500+ kayaks, canoes, and SUPs by 45+ different vendors, plus a lot of paddle-sports accessories. All the manufacturers will be here, demoing and talking about their products. We will be posting more info to this page as the event draws near, so check back often.

Loads of Pro Staff and Reps. from all the companies will be on hand to discuss the products. We’ll highlight and list them as time progresses.

Sales Managers, Reps., and Pro Staff:

 

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DIRECTIONS – For Directions here is a Google Maps setup with Wilck’s Lake already in the destination spot. Just click the highlight and enter your address in the Starting Point spot.

To Wilck’s Lake

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Goshen Pass Race, Snakehead Surprise, Urban RVA SUP, Early Spring Kayak Bass Fishing, 12Ft. RVA Waves, and a Sleepy Striper

 

by Brian Vincent

From the Goshen Race, to Snakehead Surprise, to Urban SUP, to Early Spring Kayak Bass Fishing, to 12 ft. RVA Waves, to a Sleepy Striper, this week’s post is all about good times paddling Virginia! This is the Friday’s Finds, where we seek to highlight some of the paddlers who call Virginia home. PaddleVa is about all of us. While some of the stuff shared in these posts will come from outside our waters, Virginia will always be the primary focus.

First Up:

The Goshen Pass Race happened this past week on a beautiful bluebird day. Race organizer and repeat champion, Gordon Dalton – Pyranha Kayaks Pro, rallied some good sponsors for this grassroots event. Werner Paddles, Pyranha Kayaks, Appomattox River Company and Devils Backbone Brewery all helped support this great community whitewater event. Click the link below the photo for the full recap.

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You can get the full re-cap here: http://www.teampyranha.com/?p=17524

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Second Up:

Rob Choi, Ocean Kayak/ Old Town Pro, hit the water with more of our great VA anglers, Drew Camp and Jeff Lockhart. They found some fish, including a surprise while perch fishing. Check the full story by clicking the link below the photo.

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Click the link for the full story here: http://www.angling-addict.com/2015/03/pressure-drop-bassin-and-perch-fishing.html

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Third Up:

This month, Boarders Mag features a story by RVA’s own, Ben Moore – BIC SUP/ Werner Paddles Pro, about the Retro Day in downtown Richmond. Click the link below the photo for the full scoop from Home On The James.

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 Get the full scoop here:  http://homeonthejames.com/2015/03/19/retro-in-boarders-magazine/

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Fourth Up:

Drew Camp, Jackson Kayak/ Werner Paddles Pro, found some pre-spawn bass and the right pattern to target them. Check out Drew’s excellent report by clicking the link below the photo.

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Get the full report and bass tips here: http://fishtailsbydrew.blogspot.com/2015/03/adjusting-to-changing-conditions.html

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Fifth Up:

Tijo Media continues to expertly capture scenes from the downtown James River scene. Here is some great footage of the James at 12 feet and some of the whitewater community enjoying the big waves.

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Here is a hilarious little sleepy striper video from Kayak Kevin and Lee Williams, Ocean Kayak Pros. Check it out.

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Family and Kayak Fishing in Jamaica

by Brian Vincent

Last week I headed to Negril, Jamaica with a pile of my family for vacation. I say “my” because my wife and I both prefer to refer to our in-law’s as just family. Both of us feel very fortunate to truly love our in-laws and so we try not to assign labels of “yours” and “mine” to our respective parents and siblings. But if you’ve followed along with this blog, you know that I married into Appomattox River Company and that my wife is one of two daughters born to ARC owner, Bob Taylor, and his wife Martha.

This Jamaica trip was with the original ARC family. Ellen, my sister-in-law, and her family, including 2 kids, my wife and I and our 2 kids, and Bob and Martha. There were ten of us in all, 6 adults and 4 kids under 5. It was amazing. Being able to spend time with family in a beautiful place is truly special.

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I won’t pile on with a bunch of family photos, but there was a fair bit of “business” photo ops and fun. Bob had taken a Necky Dorado Kayak down to Jamaica before 9/11 and left it at a place called Nirvana On The Beach. It is a favored spot with the family and they have been travelling there for years. The Dorado was still in great shape despite being a ’99 and being stored outside in the island elements for 15 years.

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One of the funniest things was the little sticker I found on the bathroom door in my family’s cottage. Each family had their own little cottage and in ours was this reminder of home.

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We haven’t made those little stickers in a long time! Pretty cool and really made the serendipity of my life come into full focus.

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The first time my wife and I went to Jamaica together was 5 years back. We met “The Fisherman” that year. He spear fishes out of his kayak and has been doing it for a looonngg time. It’s pretty awesome. He always catches something and sells it to folks on the beach or to local restaurants. When he pulls that kayak up on shore the crowd starts to gather.

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I talked to him a bit about the reef and decided to paddle out the next day. I took a telescoping travel rod, some Powerteam Lures baits and headed out the day before we left for some Caribbean kayak fishing. I paddled that Necky Dorado out about 3 miles off shore and trolled around the reef with the big boats.

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I didn’t have much luck, but I didn’t get skunked. I ended up pulling a couple of Atlantic Lizardfish when I got close to shore. The flats stretched a long ways but had definitely been over-fished.

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When I got back to shore “the Fisherman” was cleaning his haul on the beach. Dude always scores.

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 Fishing out of small boats is part of human history and ingrained in our DNA.

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Everyone took turns taking the Dorado out for a paddle.

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Even the kids got to enjoy the kayak.

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There were also a lot of Hobie Kayak and Ocean Kayak sightings up and down the 7 mile beach in Negril.

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I brought my Astral Brewers on this trip and they were the perfect travel and paddling shoes. Good gear makes all the difference and the Brewers style and functionality is great in marine environments.

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Here is the original ARC family posing down in front of an Old Town Canoe some years back.

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The family has grown quite a bit since those early family photos. :)

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Altogether, the family and I had a great vacation. Family is everything and a smiling, laughing family is good for the soul.

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My wife and I did a lot of adventuring before we met. Since meeting we have flung ourselves fully into family. It has been amazing. We are only now learning to carve out little bits of time for ourselves, to satiate our adventurous appetites. It is a balance, finding time for family and personal recreation. Outdoor fun is so very integral to our happiness. While striving to find solo time we must also be careful to cultivate that outdoor passion in our children. This vacation was one of those times when we strove to accomplish both. We tried to find time for solo paddles, scuba dives and beach runs, while also maximizing our children’s experiences. It can be tough, but it is paramount to our family dynamic. It was an essential part of the original ARC family and it is essential to our family as well.

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My sister-in-law was watching our kids frolicking in the surf and thought to herself, “That is how I remember my entire childhood. It always felt magical.”
That is a beautiful sentiment.

Growing up in this paddling family definitely made a positive mark on my wife and her sister. I can only hope that it does the same for my girls.

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See ya on the water!