The Flying Kayak

Hunting, Fishing, Rambling, and Complete Outdoor Hilarity

Month: July 2011 (page 1 of 3)

The Maritime Wrecking Ball

Ask any saltwater fisherman which fish they -never- green gaff and the answer will always be:

Cobia Dolphin

Wait…Dolphin…like Mahi-Mahi Dolphin?

Yes, that Dolphin.

OK OK, so the answer isn’t Dolphin…it’s actually Cobia. After all, a green gaffed Cobia has been known to break coolers, bilges, rods, rod holders, tackle boxes, unfortunate limbs, and all around do its best to sink the boat. But after a recent trip offshore, there’s a new species that comes in close second: Dolphin.

I was lucky enough to get invited to go offshore in my brother’s boat this past weekend. Prior to this, I hadn’t been offshore since I was a junior in highschool (I’m now a super-senior in college). I was stoked and was really hoping to get into some king/cobia/black snapper/whatever else is legal to keep with Florida’s ridiculous seasons. After casting to a few schools of spanish out in the pass, we motored out to an area of live bottom to start bottom fishing. We drifted over the area and proceeded to feed the snapper. I managed to pull up two enormous ruby red lips that I used for bait, and that was it. My brother’s king rig went off but the hooks pulled and my dad managed to land a little red snapper.

Soon, we spotted something floating in the water. After driving close to it, we saw that it was a sea turtle. A HUGE sea turtle…the biggest I’ve ever seen. I quickly cast a dead cig to the turtle in hopes that a cobia was following it. A few seconds later, something took the bait and the fight was on. It almost immediately jumped and at the angle I was at, it looked like a little tarpon.

Upon close inspection…it wasn’t.

A Dolphin! Only a few miles offshore and my first one -ever-! After a short malfunction with the gaff, we got the fish in the boat and took a quick photo.

My First Dolphin

Then all hell broke loose. The Dolphin managed to wiggle its way off the gaff and flop onto the deck with treble hooks still shaking about. The scaly ball of death then proceeded to flop its way over to the only two rods laying on the deck and began to thrash them. All during this, the fish tried its best to imitate The Shining and sling blood onto anything within a 15ft radius. Standard protocol for such events is to move around the deck like someone dropped a live grenade, wave your hands wildly, and shout as many obscenities as you can before the fish dies.

We tried to grab the rods, but the fish managed to tangle itself in them and started to bash them. Finally, my dad gaffed it a second time and we all breathed a sigh of relief once the fish was under control.

So that it could get a second wind….

Off the gaff it came again and made another B line for the rods. We all were forced to complete the standard protocol again before the fish was gaffed a -third- time and quickly put into the cooler before more damage could be done.

Total damage done:

Two broken guides on the rod I caught my Tarpon on

A broken bail on an antique reel. (sorry, no picture)

And enough blood splatter to keep us busy cleaning. I’m just glad it wasn’t any bigger. The damage could have been -alot- worse.

After that fiasco, we saw numerous chicken dolphin,  but were unable to keep any on the line and land the whole school. Luckily it was a gorgeous day out and the water slicked off and became glassy around 11:00. We ended the day with one Dolphin and a little spanish. Overall, I had a blast. I certainly never expected to pull a Dolphin out from under a turtle that close to shore. Gotta give a big thanks to my brother for the trip and my first Dolphin.

Till next time,

Fish on.

Gear Review: Plano Guide Series Waterproof Boxes

 As an avid kayak fisherman, I’ve noticed that there are a few things that are always constant. Things such as: the wind’s tendency to -always- blow in your face, or the fact that the kayak seems to put on 30 lbs after a long day’s paddle. Another constant is the fact that most everything carried on the kayak will get wet at some point. Sure some things might not always get wet, but give it enough time and it will eventually get soaked. This is why I was extremely excited to try out Plano’s Guide Series waterproof boxes.
The boxes come in several different sizes, each with their own color. I was able to try out both the smallest (1449) and largest (1470) of the Guide Series waterproof boxes. Upon receiving the boxes, my first thought was: “What on earth am I going to put in these?”. The small box (1449) is absolutely tiny. I mean -really- small. So small, in fact, that I can just barely fit my wallet into it with no room to spare. Compared to other guys, my wallet isn’t even that big. Yes, it’s been known to throw my back out if I sit on it for too long, and no, it’s not thick from money (no way). I’d say it resembles that of a small brick, rather than the cinder block that I see other guys carry. Regardless, I need at least my fishing license with me and I don’t want to search through my wallet to take it out every time I fish. Without the wallet, the box is just the right size to fit my phone or keys; both of which need to stay dry. It wasn’t until my girlfriend purchased an iphone that I realized what this box was designed for…
Perfect fit. Go figure. Seems I’m behind the technology curve.
I had the opposite problem with the larger box. I honestly wondered what in the world I needed to keep dry that was -that- big. After some thought, I figured that a very elaborate first aid kit would be perfect. A survival kit would be nice too. However, those thing would need to wait until hunting season comes along. I was, after all, testing the boxes out on the kayak. I finally decided that a fresh change of clothes would be something to put in the box. Yes, I know there’s no point to take a change of clothes out on the kayak with you. I can always leave it in the truck and change when I get back. But I really needed something to fill it that needed to stay dry.
The next question I thought of was “Where am I going to store this on the kayak?”. I immediately remembered the hatch located just in front of the seat. To my dismay, the small box didn’t fit.
Instead, I put it in a zipper pocket on the back of the seat.
The large box fit perfectly inside one of the hatches in the kayak. I felt this was a good place because my kayak has a nasty habit of letting water in. What better place to test it out?
Now I came to the part I -really- cared about. Are the boxes actually waterproof? I was pleased (and relieved) to find that they are. I took both of them out on the kayak with me in the Gulf and found their contents to still be dry after a full day of paddling and having waves over the bow. To add, I tested see if they floated. I did this by (*gulp*) throwing the box with my wallet inside into the Gulf. To my relief, not only did it stay dry, but it floated. I think that the only way for the boxes to sink is if one put a block of lead inside….or maybe really heavy keys.
The only other thing I really cared about with the boxes was their durability. The boxes are made of plastic so at first, I was rather skeptical. I was pleased to find, however, that the boxes were quite durable. The smallest one is so small that it is VERY strong. It would take quite a lot to break it. It was the larger one that I worried about. I worried that with the increased lid and frame size the durability would decrease.
I’m very rough on my gear and durability is often a deciding factor for me. I was therefore shocked to discover that after a full day of dragging the boxes around with me, I hadn’t even dropped them. That’s right. No dropping, running over, or even stepping on. I realized that in order to really give it a fair review, something needed to be done.
So I dropped the largest box. On purpose. On concrete. On the corner of a step. And…
It lived. It was still water tight and would keep its contents dry. I feel that it is important to note that these boxes aren’t made to be submerged very deep. But for keeping things dry on a kayak, in the rain, or whatever it is you’re doing, they do their job quite well.
Design
The boxes are made from very sturdy plastic and come with a plastic latch with a metal hinge (the 1470 has two latches). One side of the box has a place to attach a lanyard. On the inside of the boxes are rubber mats to keep things that like to slide in place. Also, the underside of each box has four rubber pads so that the box itself doesn’t slide around. Finally, each box comes with two rubber stoppers that fit into two padlock holes. I’m unsure as to why there’s a need for a padlock. It seems as though if someone wanted inside the box, they could get in. 
Function
The boxes do what they’re supposed to do which is keep things dry. They also protect items with their sturdiness and even float assuming you aren’t putting an anchor in one.
Pros
          Very sturdy
          Keep things dry
          Rubber parts keep items from sliding around
          Clear plastic to see inside and ensure to leaks
Cons
          The 1449 is almost too small to serve a purpose
          Difficult to find a proper place on the kayak
The Amazing Five Star Rating System: 

***** = Five Stars (The be all-end all greatest thing that I cannot go without. Best thing next to sliced bread and pockets on jeans. I simply must have it with me)

****   = Four Stars (An absolutely great product. Something that does its job and serves its purpose in my arsenal of gear. Almost always carry it with me)

***     = Three Stars (An average product. Something that I can function in life without. It has its usefulness at times, but is often unneeded or is of relatively poor design)

**       = Two Stars (A poor product. Something that either makes my life more difficult, gets in my way, or succeeds in giving me ulcers. Likes to break and finds itself gathering dust on my shelf)

*         = One Star (A terrible product. Something that serves no purpose and doesn’t even do what it’s supposed to do. Often too large to be flushed down the toilet and renders itself a waste of time, space, and money)

Plano Guide Series Waterproof Boxes: ***** – Five Stars
I gave Plano’s Guide Series Waterproof Boxes five stars because they do what they’re supposed to do: keep things dry and protect them. The only negative thing I really have to say about the boxes is that the 1449 is too small for my liking. I can only fit one item inside of it and I can’t think of many situations where one –only- needs their wallet, or their keys, or their phone. Usually, one needs to keep multiple items dry. I would therefore suggest the medium sized box (1460 or 1450). There was also the issue of the 1449 not fitting inside my kayak hatch, but that’s something out of the manufacturer’s control. After all, it may fit inside a different kayak’s hatch. Overall, the Guide Series Waterproof Boxes are a great item if you’re looking to keep things dry and protect them.
The Plano Guide Series Waterproof Boxes featured in this gear review were given to me at no cost through the efforts of the Outdoor Blogger Network in exchange for an honest product review. All ideas expressed within this review are my own personal thoughts and opinions of the product and I received no compensation for the review. Any reviews featured on The Flying Kayak are my honest and unbiased opinions. If one has any questions or concerns regarding the review or product at hand, please feel free to contact me through the ‘contact’ page at the top of the website.  

The Power of Texting

I’m not big on the newest technology out there. I don’t have an iPhone, or even a smart phone for that matter. I have a flip phone that makes calls, takes crappy pictures, types texts extremely slow, and is semi-indestructible/military grade/survive the apocalypse/zombie-proof. Generally, if I need to tell someone something, I call them rather than text them which is opposite of what most of my friends do. At the end of the month, my text ‘sent’ box is somewhere between 30-40 and my inbox hovers around 200. To be honest, I’ve also avoided some of the other popular things such as twitter and facebook. Slowly, however, I’ve found myself sending texts more and more often. Sometimes it’s just…easier. 
The other day was a prime example of this. I had planned to go wade fishing with a buddy of mine and one of his friends early in the morning. However, in my usual brilliance, I went out the night before and didn’t get to bed until close to 2 am. We planned to meet at the water at 5:30. I awoke angrily to my alarm at 5:00.
 
Ugh…I’m –really- tired. Maybe my friends are too. 
This thought bubbled up as I flipped open my phone and texted my friend: 
“U still going?”
No response. Fifteen minutes later I sent another text: 
“Yes or no? I need to know whether to get up or not haha”
No response. 
In my sleepy stupor, I had decided that –everyone- answers texts immediately (most of my friends usually do). Since my friend hadn’t answered, he was obviously still asleep and we either weren’t going, or would be going later. I decided then, that my best bet would be to fall back asleep. 
I woke up fifteen minutes later to my phone buzzing. The clock read 5:30 and I had a new text: 
“We are here” 
DOH! I scrambled out of bed, threw on my clothes that I had miraculously put together the evening before, grabbed my rod and lures, and headed out the door. 
I was about 20 minutes late, but my friends were out wade fishing already and hadn’t caught anything yet. We proceeded to wade around and throw top-water in hopes of some big trout. I had several fish come up and strike my lure, but every one of them missed. 
After about an hour, my buddy Johnny finally landed a nice trout on his top-water plug. 
I soon switched to subsurface and began catching fish. To my surprise, I caught three trout that looked like they came from the same cookie cutter. All three were only about 10 inches long. Soon after, I caught one small, but legal fish and released him as well. My buddy landed only that one trout, and his friend had similar luck to me with a few tiny trout. 
While walking back to my tackle box on the beach, I spotted a balled up school of mullet. Since I never pass up a chance to snatch mullet, I threw the only thing I had at them which was a lead head jig. To my shock, after about 5 casts, I hooked one. My drag began to scream and I saw an –enormous- mullet jump out of the water with my jig in its side. I fought the fish for right around a minute before my hook finally pulled out and it swam away. I really wished I could have landed the fish since it would have easily been the biggest mullet I’ve ever snatched. The good news is that I found a new place to try and shoot mullet with the pole spear. I’ll be trying it later this week. 
Overall, I had a good time on my wade fishing trip. It was nice to fish with some friends and even catch fish (even though I failed to take pictures). I also learned that in many instances, texts aren’t reliable. Guess I’ll just have to go back to good ol’ fashioned phone calls.

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