Tag Archives: Fly Fishing

No fish is worth your marraige

When it comes to fishing, most of us thought that no woman could ever impact our love for fishing or our abilities to fish when we wanted. Songs like Brad Paisley’s “I’m gonna miss her” can pretty much sum up how we feel about giving up fishing trips. But if there is one thing I have learned in my marriage is that it might not seem like a big deal to you, she is upset that your going fishing instead of spending time with her, even if it’s just a little and it barely shows on the outside. Over time it adds up and eventually turns into a big problem.

My problem was when my wife was pregnant I felt like I had to fish as much as I could anytime the weather allowed, because I felt like once my daughter arrived that was all she wrote for me and my fishing habits. I knew she was frustrated that I was fishing so much but it didn’t seem like it was really bothering her so I kept on fishing.

Once my daughter arrived I realized it wasn’t the end of my fishing life and I could easily go out once a week without getting on her nerves but now my finances had changed and things were quite different, resulting in no money in the budget for lures, bait or gas money to go fishing. Instead of realizing this, I continued to push the issue so I could fish like I wanted. Unfortunately, this habit put strain on my marriage and finances. What took me a while to realize is I was trying to change my financial habits and priorities when it came to spending time with my family, all while changing as little as possible. If that sounds stupid, it’s because it is!

I ended up realizing my problem before it seriously affected my marriage, I took a 6 month break from fishing, sold my fishing kayak and focused on getting our finances in order and building a strong foundation in my marriage. What is amazing, is after those 6 months, my wife came to me and asked if I wanted to buy a kayak and start fishing again. Because I had gone out of my way to change and show her I was serious about our marriage, she went out of her way to make sure I still get to enjoy my hobby and love for the outdoors while fishing.

In the end, I have a strong marriage, because I finally realized that fishing was my hobby, not my life. My life was my marriage and my family. Fishing was something I got to do on the side when there was time and everything at home was in a good place. No fish was or ever will be worth my marriage.

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Affordability vs Quality

A common question among beginner kayak anglers or people looking to get into kayak angling is what kayak should I get to start out with.Unfortunately that question can’t be answered.  Every aspect of the different kayak brands better suits one style of fishing or one style of angler. Today’s post will be covering what all you should consider before purchasing your first fishing kayak or your next fishing kayak.

Price Vs Quality-

The price ranger of kayaks can ranger from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, and with so many brands out there it can get overwhelming with which kayak you should buy. I just purchased an Ascend FS12T kayak. And I was torn between the FS12T and FS128T, there is a $250 price difference between the tow and the only added features are a much wider stable, yet slower kayak you can stand on when looking at the FS128T. The FS12T is cheaper, more maneuverable but slightly less stable and can carry less cargo. My style of fishing is mostly in rivers and creeks so I don’t need a ton of gear and I’m not really looking to stand up much, so I spent the extra $250 on upgrading my tackle and gear. And that is where the arguments start.

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FS12T on Left, FS128T on Right Photo courtesy of Texasfishingforum.com

How you decide which kayak should factor in these three factors.

#1- DO you NEED the added speed and features?

I would love to own a  Hobie mirage drive kayak, but at the price difference of the lower end kayaks I can’t justify spending the extra thousand dollars on a added luxury of feet propulsion that I think will get in the way more than help. However, if your fishing larger bodies of water or open water beyond the breakers of the beach it would be extremely useful. So deciding what features your looking for is completely unique to your style and your fishing area.

#2 Would I rather have the more expensive kayak, or spend the extra money on new tackle and gear?

This decision was a no brainer for me. I would much rather buy a $700-$1,000 dollar kayak and spend 300 on tackle and gear than buy a $1,300+ kayak and have no new tackle in my tackle box.

#3 Do i want stability or speed?

A common tradeoff with kayaks that don’t have a foot propulsion system is that the fast the kayak generally the less stable. The FS128T is one of the most stable kayaks out there and at $899 its a heck of a deal compared to the wilderness systems kayaks or Hobie’s. But with that stability comes weight, bulkiness, and slower tracking speed. So once again the perfect kayak is up to your personal preference.

SAFETY NOTE- My job is Long range search and rescue. I have had many cases where I have been looking in large areas for missing kayakers from the Great Lakes, to the Atlantic Ocean. When you chose the color of your kayak please chose something that contrasts the water you fish. If you have to get a camo kayak, and you fish blue water, get a green or tan camp, if you fish brown water get a blue or green camo. Imagine our thoughts when I’m told where are searching 500 square miles at an altitude of 1,500 feet for a missing kayaker in a camouflage kayak. Always plan for the worst case scenarios happening and always file a float plan with a family member or friend. ON MY PAGE MENU BAR THERE IS A LINK TO A BLANK USCG FLOAT PLAN THAT COULD END UP SAVING YOUR LIFE ONE DAY.

 

 

 

Realities of being a father and an outdoorsman

Hey everybody and thank you for swinging by Aptooutdoors.com. Today I’m going to be talking about something I have been thinking about heavily these past few weeks. I have been re-building a 13-hp motor to convert to a long tail mud motor while also looking at newer models of fishing kayaks to purchase. While thinking about which path I’d rather pursue it dawned on me that no matter which path I take it will be taking time away from my 1-year-old daughter.

While most of us fisherman and hunters are reluctant to hang up our passions for a while or making any changes to our normal routines the reality of being a good father to me has started to sink in. There’s no point in me owning a boat until my daughter is old enough to actively fish or enjoy herself on it. And I can’t justify spending that amount of money on a duck boat/blind materials for the few hunts a year I go on when most of the time I’m hunting, I’m thinking about being home with her.

This epiphany has led me to really start thinking about selling the majority of my hunting and fishing gear for the time being and planning on getting back into fishing and hunting a lot more when my daughter is a little older and capable of enjoying it with me. It’s a sad thought to me but honestly I’d rather be home with my family. I am in no way trying to tell other people how to conduct their personal lives. I am simply explaining my situation and actions I am taking to be a better husband and father so that maybe someone else will read this and it have a positive impact on their lives and family.

I will continue to run this website and post educational blogs about fishing and hunting techniques. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and enjoy time with your families. God Bless.

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Photo Coutesty of Heather & Jared Photography

Targeting fish on hot summer days

Hey everyone and thank for swinging by my blog. This weekend I fished some heat indexes of over 100 and figured this weeks blog would be about how I target fish in the heat. Below are my four keys to catching fish during the dog days of summer.

#1 Shadows are the key to bass

Bass will congregate along structure and overhangs that provide large shadows. The predatory fish use the shadows to stay a little cooler and also as an ambush point to feed on smaller baitfish and insects. A good technique to target these bass is with small crank baits or plastics.

Crappie also follow this habit and will concentrate around bridges and submerged structure in 5 to 10 feet of water. My main method for catching crappie in the summer is jigging light tackle curly tail grubs and minnow like plastics along the structure.

#2 Mid day fishing is sometimes crazy  good

You would think that mid day temperature periods during the summer would be dead, but my trip on Sunday showed my that even in 100 degrees and at high noon, the topwater frog bite was insane. I ran out of my Stanley Ribbit lures before I even got to the good fishing holes. After summer rains look to target bass as high up on the bank as the water rises, it always blows my mind how many bites I get in water that has flooded into standing grass and weed lines. I throw a weedless Stanley Ribbit in the watermelon red color to target the bass. Just remember if the water rises so do the fish.

#3 The good old fashioned Super Fluke

My favorite and most effective bass fishing method has and always will be the Super Fluke. My go to color is watermelon red flake but I have also had success with the Arkansas Shiner color as well as the Mardi Gras color. I usually fish the fluke with a weightless setup but sometimes a 1/8 ounce bullet weight gets it deep enough to work the structure the fish are holding on. 90 percent of your strikes will be as the fluke is falling through the water column so be patient with your lure action and let it sink.

#4 Finess fishing worms

A texas-rigged worm is the most widely used method for summer bass. When bass are lethargic and don’t want to chase fast moving or floating baits a slow moving worm dragged in front of their face is hard to resist, My main colors I use are pink, purple, june-bug and watermelon red. a 1/8 to 1/4 ounce bullet weight is all you will need in most situations. Once again, in the early morning and evening hours don’t be afraid to literally throw your lure onto the bank and work it into the water. My biggest bass the summer was in less than a foot of water when he hit my worm.

I hope this short post will help you catch some more bass this summer and remember, snakes also like shaded areas so be careful when you fish and always keep an eye out. Good luck and stay safe!

This weeks fishing report 05-29-15

Hey everyone sorry for the lack of material lately i was out of town for two weeks for work and i was able to get a quick trip in last night to get some video to you guys.

Where to fish-

The report for this week is consisting of the bass hanging around major drop-offs and loosely scattered around structure from 5-10 feet deep.

What I’m using-

The main baits have been soft plastics in the watermelon red flake color pattern, On the fly rod I have caught good fish on both the my versions of the gertrude gurlger topwater flying blakc and yellow as well as some homemade clouseres in dark olive patterns and chartreuse feathers for the tail.

Air temperature has consistently been inn the 80’s and water temperatures are rising every day.

Here is a video of some action from last night’s quick trip. If the weather cooperates I will be making a early morning river trip tuesday and will have the report and video posted by tuesday afternoon. Thanks for swinging by Apto Outdoors and swing by later this week for some more summertime bass action.

How to catch fish on bluebird days

If there is one odd habit among fisherman it is the notion that a perfect “bluebird” day will yield horrible results of fishing. The high pressure does turn bass off of this normal aggressive tendencies but don’t let that fool you. A bass or any other species freshwater or saltwater for that matter will very rarely turn down an opportunity for an easy meal. While you might not have as much success throwing fast moving baits or top waters as usual, a good soft plastics technique can yield big results even during periods of high pressure.

Bass have incredible eyesight, while a human might consider the water to have 6 inches visibility a bass could be able to notice visual movements at more than 2-3 feet. This is because bass have highly developed and sensitive eyes. During days of high pressure where there isn’t a cloud in the sky think of bass as someone who just had their eyes dilated. They are sensitive to sunlight and want to be in the shade. As the shadows shrink throughout the day the bass will move to submerged structure or next to large objects in the water that off them some shade. Early mornings and late evenings they will move up to feed in the more open shallow waters.

My recommendation for high pressure fishing is to target the bass along structure using soft plastics, my weapon of choice no matter what body of water I’m fishing is almost always a super fluke with a 1/8 or 1/16 bullet weight or even weightless depending on the situation. My color of choice is always to start with the deadly watermelon red color pattern. Another effective bait is a Jointed Rapala floating minnow, Fish love that basic old school lure. When you cast your worm, fluke or lizard make sure you either cast it on the bank and drag it into the water or slap it against the structure to get as close to a realistic presentation as possible. I even purposely throw my weedless lizards into tree limbs just to jiggle them out and let them fall like natural prey would.

I hope today’s post helps you target bass on the high pressure days. Below is the video of yesterday’s bluebird kayak fishing trip. I  ended the day with 4 bass, two bowfin that I let throw the hooks the one on the video was massive , a chain pickerel trolling a tiny chartreuse crank bait while paddling to the boat ramp and a large perch on a tiny rattle trap under a bridge.

Throwing flies at bass.

Hey everyone, today’s post is for our fly fishing friends around the world. I’m going to go over three tips and tactics for getting more bass to hit your flies! All shots are from a trip this week in my Cobra Marauder Kayak.

Man-made structures.

Never pass up casting at structure.
Never pass up casting at structure.

When throwing flies into barns or along pier pilings and bridges, what I like to do is smack my flies against the surface of the structure so that it falls almost straight down or bounces slightly and makes a small noise. What I am trying to duplicate is a bug or critter falling off the structure or running into it and hitting the water. Bass and other predatory fish will hit your fly before they even know exactly what it is. When your fly hits the water let it sit for 10 seconds and you will be surprised with who many hits you have with no lure action. The fly hitting the water is the first action and many times the only action you need.

Natural submerged structure

Submergerd structure such as bushes or tree limbs offers great habitat for predatory fish.
Submergerd structure such as bushes or tree limbs offers great habitat for predatory fish.

Submerged trees, bushes, limbs and other debris provides the natural habitat that aquatic life has been living in for thousands and thousands of years. everyone has a honey hole where there is one piece of structure that has produced fish for as long as you can remember. When one fish leaves another takes it’s place. That’s why you can catch a linker bass in a certain pocket, and a few days or weeks later another bass of a similar size is in that exact same spot. the video below shows how bass stick to structure even with a lot of fishing pressure. If you hook a bass and lose the fish or he misses the bait on his strike, go back a few days later for a second chance.

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Kayak fishing 101

Hey everybody and thanks again for checking out the blog, today’s post will be covering  Kayak Fishing 101, my 7 steps and tips to becoming a better kayak fisherman and also touching on some safety issues.

#1  Keep your rig simple,don’t do this…

Courtesy of www.tenthousandislandskayakfishing.com
Courtesy of http://www.tenthousandislandskayakfishing.com

A crowded kayak is no friend to a fisherman, snag hazards and frustration can set in quickly, and if there is one thing I have learned form kayak fishing over the last 8 years it’s that if something can catch your hooks, it will. If something can go wrong during your trip, it probably will.  I have hooked myself, bird-nested bait casters to the point of cutting all my line off, and broke rod tips by hooking my rod behind me. A simple less crowded kayak will result in less gear but pay off in the quality and enjoyment of your fishing trips.

#2 Have a float plan with a friend or family member-

A USCG float plan might sound stupid , but in my 7 years of serving the the Coast Guard performing search and rescue nothing helps in a speedy recovery more than properly filled out float plan. A float plan consists a complete description of your vessel/kayak, the equipment you have available to you, but mainly focuses on your planned route and stopping points. When you fill one out you leave it with a family member or friend and if you haven’t returned by a certain agreed upon time they call the coast guard with the information given on the float plan. Below I have filled out and example and there is a page on my main menu with a blank float plan you can save to your computer.

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#3 Safety equipment-

The most important thing to have on your kayak is a handheld VHF marine radio set to CH 16 or 156.8 MHZ for distress signals. You might not be the person who needs help another kayaker could be close by and having an emergency and you could be his or her saving grace.  The safety equipment I have on my kayak at all times consists of the following. An Atlantis VHF handheld radio, a Orion marine emergency signaling kit, a Firefly strobe light, my PFD, emergency water and next month I will be purchasing a 406 MHZ personnel locator. A good trick I learned form watching Ty Southerland on his  30Milesout Youtube Channel is I use frozen water bottles as my ice , it cools my catch and also serves as my emergency water rations.

Courtesy of www.farmandfleet.com
Courtesy of http://www.farmandfleet.com

#4 If you’re new to kayak fishing, try to reach out and go on trips with more experienced yak fisherman.

A beautiful factor of today’s technological world is the availability of kayak fishing forums on the internet and group pages on Facebook. If you are new to the sport its best to learn and shadow other fisherman you can go fishing with or meet on kayaking forums. Make no mistake their experience will teach you everything they have learned not to do over the years, saving you from making some of the mistakes and learning hard lessons along the way. Plus you might be able to get a couple of spots to fall back on during slow days.

#5 Wear protective clothing-

Sometimes people look at me funny when its 80 degrees outside, and I’m wearing full fishing pants , a long sleeve fishing shirt, a hat that covers my neck, a buff that covers most of my face, and Buffusa.com’s performance gloves, but at the end of the day I’m more protected from the sun, not burnt, and have a less chance of developing skin cancer from my kayak fishing trips. Every male member of my family has had melanoma skin cancer from fishing ,so I take it very seriously.

Courtesy of www.Tackletour.com
Courtesy of http://www.Tackletour.com
Courtesy of  www.BuffUSA .com
Courtesy of
http://www.BuffUSA .com

#6 Be versatile in your species targeting- 

My love is saltwater fishing, whether I’m fishing the flats or paddling offshore for some larger species I love saltwater fish. But there are plenty of days where I can’t drive to the beach 45 minutes or I can’t dedicate a long period of time for a trip. If I can’t fish saltwater I will immediately target bass and panfish in the creeks and rivers by my house. My favorite way to target bass and panfish is with topwater or floating flies. I even fish large ponds in my kayak when I can’t make a big water trip. Be very adaptive and try new places and styles of fishing. There are many days where your primary target species isn’t going to bite and you have to adapt. There is nothing wrong in my book with spending a day catching large ladyfish and jack’s or false albacore. Although they are considered trash fish by most people, large Lady Fish are some of the best fighting fish you can catch inshore.

#7 Should I use a GPS/ Depth Finder?

A good GPS/Depth-finder is one of my favorite things about my kayak, I don’t have to guess the bottom features of my surrounding areas, I can easily target structure listed on navigational charts, and I can view the depth fish are active in when fishing structure or even drift fishing along in my kayak. My GPS unit is a Lowrance Mark 4 HDI, I used it in my aluminum boat for duck hunting and fishing before I sold it with the arrival of my daughter in November 2014. My favorite way to utilize my depth finder is when targeting fish around bridges and submerged structure, I can clearly see the bait suspending and can adjust my rigs and presentation accordingly to better target the predatory fish on structure.

Courtesy of www.Lowrance.com
Courtesy of http://www.Lowrance.com

I hope these tips better help you understand some basics on kayak fishing and I will have more posts on different types of gear and homemade items for kayak fishing in the future. Thanks for stopping by and good luck out there. Always remember to be safe, no fish is worth putting yourself in a dangerous situation or jeopardizing your safety.

Please leaves comments below to help me on my future posts.

Fly fishing the Guadalupe River

The Guadalupe River is the southern most river in the United States that can sustain a trout population year round. The spring fed river runs through Texas and stays around 73 degrees Fahrenheit year round despite the Summer air temperatures exceeding 100 Degrees regularly.  I scouted around the river looking for good spots to enter the river to wade, Whitewater amphitheater in Gruene, Texas offers a very good access point with hundreds of yards of good wading located upstream. One thing one should always do is visit a local fly shop for advice and fly patterns, Gruene Outfitters in Gruene Texas was very helpful in showing me how to target the bass around the river. I even got a pair of Simms Wading Boots 25% off because one of the boots was a different shade of grey than the other.
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My tackle for the day was a TFO 9′ 5wt rod with a 9 foot 5X trout leader, and 5X tippett with my strike indicator 1.5X the water depth of my spots. The fly setup was a 2 fly rig with #8 split shots 30 inches above the  san juan worm with 18 inches of 5X tippet going  to the prince nymph

Fishing proved to be slow, even the guides upstream of us were having a hard time getting good hook-ups on the trout. Trying to discern the bottom snags from trout bites was proving to be difficult but it was a beautiful river and it was the first time I had been able to fly fish with my dad. I had made a cast upstream and set it to drift past a rock and tree in the middle of a deeper section of the bend, my indicator went under and I set the hook yet once again nothing. A few seconds later on the same drift it did the same thing, I strip set the hook and raised my rod slightly and realized I had hooked my first rainbow trout. The first fish of my bucket list this year was in the books and I had caught my first rainbow trout with my father by my side in a beautiful river.

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One thing that was very apparent to me this week was it’s not always about the fish you catch, I enjoyed this trip because I was with friends and family in a beautiful place, making memories with my father. In the end I will not cherish the fish I caught or the wild game I have taken, I will cherish the memories of enjoying nature with my family and all the little things that happen during trips other than the fish being caught.
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I hope you all are enjoying your spring breaks and warming weather. Be safe have a great week and thank you for stopping by.