Mounting a Power-Pole Micro anchor on the Cuda 14

Some of you may remember I got a new toy for the Cuda awhile back, the Power-Pole Micro anchoring system:

I’d love to give a review on it, but unfortunately it has been sitting in that box in my garage, unused, for several months.  I haven’t gotten a chance to use it because there wasn’t an easy way for me to mount it on the Cuda.  The Power-pole Micro comes with it’s own adjustable bracket mount, but another bracket is still needed to get it to fit right/anchor properly on the back of the Cuda.  My options were to fab something up of my own or wait patiently until a commercial mounting bracket was available.  I chose to wait because I trust the folks at YakAttack a heck of a lot more than I trust myself when it comes to kayak rigging.  I also didn’t mind waiting because I really didn’t want to have to run power to the unit and I knew a battery pack for the Power-Pole would be available in October.  So with the bracket for the Cuda now offered by YakAttack online, it will be sooner than later that I will get a chance to use it!

The installation of the bracket is actually really easy, the hardest part is getting over the fear of drilling holes in a kayak.  It doesn’t matter what I’m installing on a kayak there is a lump in my throat every time I put that drill bit(or rivet gun) to the plastic – you’d think by now this would be no big deal for me, but that’s not the case.  So I always measure and line everything up a trillion times before I do anything. Here is what is included from YakAttack:

No instructions came with the mounting bracket.  I’m not sure if that was an oversight or if the product is so new that none have been typed up, but we’re in luck because Damon Bungard has already posted an instructional video going through the process with a prototype mount.:

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Tools I used:

- Cordless drill

- Phillips head screwdriver

- 15/64 drill bit

- 7/16 socket or open ended wrench

As you can see in the video installation is pretty simple, so simple you probably don’t even need instructions.  The main thing is to just line the bracket up parallel with the handle on the left.  The bigger holes that mount the YakAttack bracket go over the kayak, while the smaller holes, which are for the Micro anchor, sit with two of the holes over the water.  The bigger holes on the right follow the contour of the boat. You’ll notice that the spacers provided by YakAttack for the bracket differ from the prototype in the video and the production model(rubber bushings) – I noticed no change in the installation procedure because of this:

Then drill your first hole:

After the first hole is drilled you can mount the first screw to make sure the rest of your holes line up. Remember you’re drilling into the bigger holes, not the smaller ones:

When you have all four holes drilled and and your screws in place, you can open the rear hatch of the Cuda and tighten down the locking nuts:

With the YakAttack bracket mounted and tightened you can now install the Power-pole mount, with screws that come in the YakAttack mounting kit. I didn’t take a picture of the bottom of the YakAttack bracket, but there is a nut molded in place, so all you need to do is tighten those screws and you’re good to go:

As you can see the YakAttack mounting bracket is designed to work with or without a rudder on the Cuda 14, as the Power-Pole will anchor off to the right side of the boat.  Installation was super easy and with the YakAttack bracket it was super clean as well. I look forward to getting that battery pack in so I can finally put this anchor to use and see what the fuss is all about.

 

An afternoon trip on an oxbow

Fished from the Cruise this past weekend.  It was the first time I’ve been in a kayak since Trout Challenge – which was in June, so it’s been a while.  Blake and I headed to a Mississippi River oxbow lake to do a little afternoon bass fishing.  Storms were on the horizon, which had me nervous, but we managed to avoid the rain and fish until sunset.  The bite wasn’t hot, in fact it was a little while before we landed a fish, but we caught a few and the average size was pretty good – no trophies, mind you.  It was a beautiful lake, I’d love to fish it when the bite was on, maybe later this Fall.  It was good to get back in the plastic pirogue, the feel of the Aqua Bound paddle slicing through water is therapy for the soul.

 

Cruising to a state record

Some of y’all may remember that choupique(bowfin) I caught on the fly back in April? This one:

Well I just got word on May 25th that it is officially the new state record bowfin taken with a fly rod. Weighing in at a whopping 4.07 lbs. How could that little guy be first place you ask? Turns out there was no fly rod bowfin category prior to my submission. I knew that when I caught it so I figured it was worth a shot to submit it and at least get the category started. Louisiana’s state records are not run by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries but rather the Louisiana Outdoor Writer’s Association.

Instead of having open categories for every fish found in the state, I guess they prefer that you go through the process of asking for consideration of a category prior to putting it into place. Then you can submit your fish, which requires it to be weighed on a certified scale, identified by a state biologist, and multiple hard copy pictures sent in via snail mail. Plus it cost me $25 to make the submission. If you see where I’m going with this you’ll understand that the process is a PITA. It is no wonder that more people don’t submit their fish for state record consideration in Louisiana. All this leaves me wondering why it has to be so hard?

At any rate you’re looking at the state record holder for choupique on the fly, for whatever that’s worth($25). Follow this link to take a look at Louisiana’s state records.

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IFA Kayak Fishing Tour – Empire recap

The IFA Kayak Fishing Tour held it’s first Louisiana division tournament of 2014 this past Sunday down in Empire at Delta Marina. 52 kayak anglers signed up to compete in the event and were treated with excellent weather conditions which ultimately meant a lot of nice fish had their pictures taken this past weekend.

With the event being Sunday I had a chance to pre-fish Saturday at an area I thought I could have some success at not too far from the weigh-in. I launched just after sunrise and paddled a short way over to what I hoped would be a trout spot and began plugging away with a Rapala Skitter Walk. It didn’t take long to get into fish and the first fish of the day ended up being the biggest. I was casting my topwater to a point and walking the dog back when a nice baby bull red decided to explode on it right next to the boat. At 28.75″ it would be a fine candidate for tomorrow’s tournament so she (or he – I don’t really know) was tagged in set back in the water. A few casts later around the same point resulted in another explosive take on the topwater, but this time it was a trout. It was a short and stout 17″ speck who didn’t look like she missed many meals. The day was off to a good start.

Fishing slowed at the point and I made my way through the marsh en route to another hopeful trout spot. As I paddled I noticed that water clarity here was not the greatest, even in the marsh, you could see a paddle blade deep at most. A bummer, but it was certainly still fishable. The tide was up as well, so most of the shallow flats were flooded which meant any sightfishing that would be done on the day was going to be pretty tough.

I found an area where a lot of water was being funneled through a narrow cut in some marsh. I staked out there and begin working the area. In short time I picked up a couple 14.5″ trout clones and an 11″ dink. Satisfied with the find I moved on – this was a scouting trip after all and I now had two spots I could possibly catch trout at tomorrow.

After I caught those trout I decided to do some exploring. I put the Aqua Bound Manta Ray carbon to work and started learning more of the area, fishing here and there. I picked up a couple rat reds in the marsh and then ran into one of my favorite situations – the moving cork. I love finding a moving cork on the water because you never know what is going to be under it – usually it is a solid fish! After a few errant casts I finally made a good one and hooked the line under the cork with my jig. Reeling in the cork I was really surprised to find a 16″ redfish on the end of the line. Who loses an entire cork setup to a 16″ redfish? At least the little guy had a pretty blue tail. The spot he was in had some good oyster bottom so I worked the area a little more and came up with a bit better red at 24″.

I picked up a couple more slot reds in the marsh on the way back to the truck. Despite the high, stained water I caught them sightfishing. They were floaters so they gave themselves away fairly easily. I ended up having a pretty good day on the water catching around a dozen different redfish and trout. My aggregate for the day was 45.75″ which would have been good enough for sixth in last year’s IFA tournament. I could live with that so I tentatively planning to head back to the same spot on Sunday. I didn’t even make it to the big fish spot that had been recommended to me by a friend.

That evening was the captain’s meeting and one of the main reasons I enjoy fishing these events - I get to hang out with my kayak fishing friends and try to decipher the lies from the truths. One thing that was pretty consistent for everyone was that the water clarity was crap all over Louisiana and there weren’t a lot of big fish being caught. These two things helped cement my decision to head back to the same spot on Sunday. I was on decent fish so why not?

Sunday morning we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise. I launched and made my way over to the point I had success at the day before. Water clarity today was better than the day before, so I was very optimistic. Doing everything I did the day prior though failed to yield the same results. I didn’t leave the spot empty handed however as a 16.5″ topwater red was all I could muster. Not a good sign but not time to panic. I made my way through the marsh toward the backup trout spot. On the way I ran across a flat that had a lot of activity. A pair of redfish cruised by my line of sight and soon I had an upgrade in the boat. At 23″ it still wasn’t what I was looking for in an upgrade but it would do for now. Unfortunately much like spot number one, the backup trout spot with the moving water failed to produce any fish.

At this point it was decision time, keep at it where I was at and hopefully pick up a trout and an upgrade at redfish or make the long paddle out to a spot that I was told would produce big trout and potential bull reds. With the weather as nice as it was it really didn’t take much time to pick the home run shot and put my Manta Ray carbon to work again. I was already almost two miles from the launch, this paddle would put me almost four miles away but it would all be worth it if I was able to get on some fish. One thing was for sure at least I didn’t have to worry about the wind.

The paddle out to the spot went by faster than I thought it would be, I should have timed it but I didn’t. I guess I underestimated the speed of the Cuda 14. The IFA weekend was actually the first time I put my new Cuda 14 to work. I love this year’s urban camo – it is a really sharp looking pattern. The water clarity out here was beautiful. I worked the area hard, with every bait I had tied on. I got on a trout bite just slow rolling a jig through the area, unfortunately the size of the trout was nothing to brag about with 13.25″ being my biggest. I continued to work the area, but couldn’t come up with anything bigger. I decided to head back toward the marsh to try and upgrade my redfish. I was disappointed that all I had to show after the long paddle was a dink trout, but had I not made the paddle I probably wouldn’t have even had a trout, so it wasn’t a complete bust. Plus I got to check out a really cool spot that has lots of potential.

I fished hard the rest of the day and came up empty. 36.25″ was what I had to turn in. I knew that wasn’t good enough for anything, but I decided to make my way to the weigh-in anyway because it is a good rule of thumb to always turn in your fish. You just never know. After an excellent club sandwich and a lot of BSing with the guys we finally got to hear the results. No surprise here, but Steve Lessard came out on top with 61″. Steve is a friend and an excellent fisherman, he is no stranger to the leaderboard of our local kayak tournaments, when he talks you listen. Richard Webb took second with 59.50″ and big red at 41.75″. Richard was out of Jackson, MS fishing in his first IFA tournament. He got a tip to fish Venice and it paid off for him. I hope we see Richard at the Lafitte event later this summer. Benton Parrott took third with 55″ and big trout at 23″. Benton has a knack for catching big trout and he did it again this past weekend. The rest of the top 20 are below:

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As you can tell I finished out of the top 20 – I ended up 24th. What is crazy is that last year 36.25″ would have been 12th and actually been in the money (67 competitors). What a difference a year makes. I remember last year’s weather being much worse, that could explain the low numbers. Or it could be that the competition is getting better, experience is catching up with folks and we are seeing better fish all around. Perhaps it is a little of both.

Congrats to everyone who finished in the top 10 and made money fishing this past weekend. The aggregate lengths were very impressive this past weekend, can’t wait to see what happens at Lafitte on August 3rd.

 

There’s never a loser at Paddlepalooza!

That is my friend Catch Cormier’s favorite line about the annual Spring kayak fishing tournament organized by BCKFC, now in it’s 11th year. After attending the event this past Saturday, he couldn’t be more right! Everyone involved put on one heck of a show for the 244 folks that signed up.

I missed out on the Friday night festivities and opted to leave super early Saturday morning. I didn’t make any scouting trips prior to the tournament so I decided to limit my tournament day options to places I’ve had success at in the past catching all three slam species; redfish, trout, and flounder. I was running a little late and wouldn’t make it on the water by 5:00am, but that gave me a chance to see just what LA 1 looks like during a tournament day. Every place you could toss a kayak in the water had a vehicle and the more popular options had vehicles lined up on the shoulder. It was pretty amazing to see just what kind of impact we kayak fishermen can have on a community come tournament time.

Lucky for me my spot was empty and I was on the water just before the sun came up. For the next 2-3 hours the winds were calm and the weather was perfect, the only downside to that was it meant the gnats and mosquitoes were out in force. The fishing though in that time was so good that the I wasn’t bothered by the bugs (being covered in clothing from head to toe helped as well). Fishing an oyster lined pond I had an incredible morning catching redfish and trout on topwater. When it was dark I threw a Spook Jr. in black/chartreuse and when the sun came up it was a Spook Jr. in bone. I couldn’t tell what the water clarity was upon launching but as the sun came up I could see that it was very nice. After landing about a dozen trout and maybe half a dozen reds the best of each were a 4 lb red and a nearly 2 lb trout. A good start, but I would definitely need to upgrade each.

I started working the spot for flounder focusing primarily on the places I had caught them in the past. Points and cuts in the marsh and anywhere the water moved were the areas I was targeting. At about lunch time I decided to pack it up and head up the road to try a different spot.

I didn’t realize just how windy it was after leaving the first spot, but I sure felt it upon arrival at the second spot. Conditions had deteriorated but I wasn’t deterred from trying to find a flounder. Water clarity here was very good as well – I guess I could thank that strong Southern wind for that. Bugs weren’t an issue any more either – thanks wind! Again I worked the flounder spots and again I was coming up empty. Knowing that I still needed to upgrade my trout and my red, I continued to throw topwater in likely looking spots. It wasn’ t long before I had a big fish on, only problem was it was a bull red! A fun fight, but not what I needed on tournament day.

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Catching that fish showed me that it was still effective to throw topwater even in terrible conditions, though it is harder to work the bait. Fishing the islands of a big bay I was getting hammered by wind, so I moved on to some marsh to seek shelter. Settling into a cut just to take a break I threw out some Gulp and watched as my cork immediately went under the water. On the other end of the line was a redfish upgrade at 5 lbs! Not a big upgrade, but better than nothing. On the next cast, this time out into the bay and back toward myself in the cut I watched as a red tried to take down the cork! Giving it a pop to take it from his mouth he luckily found the Gulp underneath. Another redfish in the boat, not an upgrade on weight but this one did have 13 spots! I didn’t want to get my hopes up on taking the leopard redfish category (I’ve made that mistake before), but I at least had a shot now.

It was getting close to weigh-in time so I decided to make my way back to the launch, which was of course into the wind across open water. Thank goodness for Jackson’s low seat position and the Aqua Bound Manta Ray blade size. I hardly ever use the low seat position, but this proved to be the perfect situation. I made good time considering I was plowing through building waves heading into the wind.

Back at Bobby Lynn’s standing in line to weigh fish, everyone began to recount the day’s events, which is one of my favorite parts of any tournament. It became increasingly apparent that there were a lack of unicorn, I mean, flounder brought to the scales. By the end of the day I believe only six were weighed. In a slam tournament that pays out to ten places this meant that the back half of the slam placings would be two fish slams (a three fish slam will always beat a two fish slam in a BCKFC tournament, no matter the weight). I knew I didn’t have a shot at a placing with my two fish slam, but it at least took some of those folks with two nice fish out of the individual species categories. The other thing that became apparent was that a lot of leopard reds were brought in. Not just any old leopards either, these were reds with more than a dozen spots – there were two 17 spot reds turned in! My little 13 spot wouldn’t hold up for first and barely hung on for 5th! At least I wouldn’t be going home empty handed though.

withplaquePhoto: Brendan Bayard

After weighing fish I was able to grab my captain’s bag (including the tee shirt Clayton is wearing in the pic) and shoot the breeze with a lot of the other competitors who have become friends over the years. Although the fishing was pretty tough for most (only 75 weighed fish) I didn’t see any disappointed faces, thus the real reason “there’s never a loser at Paddlepalooza!”. Between the captain’s bags, meals, tournament, raffles, and camaraderie among fellow like-minded individuals, you always come out ahead.

Speaking of raffles, the raffle items this year blew away what has been offered in years past. I should have bought more tickets than I did because there was a lot of good stuff on that table. The officers did a tremendous job with the raffle this year, I was impressed. It made me long for the days when placing in a category meant your pick of prizes from the raffle table.

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In closing, Paddlepalooza XI was a ton of fun, BCKFC knocked it out of the park on this one. I had a great morning catching fish and was lucky enough to take home 5th place leopard red that afternoon. The fried fish dinner was excellent as always – a lot of credit goes to the guys that volunteer to help cook and serve. I think it was a great move to hire fish cleaners this year to help take care of the one job no one really enjoys. Those guys were far more efficient than the average Joe, really cool to watch them work. The raffle went fairly quick considering what it had been in years past and the prizes were off the charts. Things just seem to get better and better with this organization and tournaments. Heck, even the shirt this year was one of the best I’ve seen. Super soft with another great Brendan Bayard design; these things are like collector’s items for kayak fishermen down here in Louisiana. It makes me proud to be a small part of BCKFC and I hope we continue to grow and put on outstanding events. We do a great job getting in state folks to attend, but it would be really cool to see more out of state folks down. The more people we can get registered for events like this, the more money that gets directed to charities like Heroes on the Water and the Palliative Care Foundation of Baton Rouge – the real winners at functions like this. Here’s hoping Paddlepalooza XII is just as successful as this year’s event!

2014 Paddlepalooza XI Results

Cajun Slam - Angler – Weight(lbs)

1st – Jeff Breaux – 10.19
2nd – Jason Austin – 8.15
3rd – Wayne Lobb – 6.45
4th – Elliot Stevens – 6.33
5th – Bill Crawford – 6.33
6th – Steve Lessard – 9.52 (2 fish)
7th – Chris Holmes – 9.26 (2 fish)
8th – Brendan Bayard – 8.81(2 fish)
9th – Tommy Eubanks – 8.45 (2 fish)
10th – Shane Curole – 8.29 (2 fish)

Heavy Slot Red – Angler – Weight(lbs)
1st – Justin Pisani – 7.27
2nd – Jonathan Craft – 6.96
3rd – Timothy Caldwell – 6.93
4th – Perry Watts – 6.85
5th – Craig Brown – 6.79

Mule Trout – Angler – Weight(lbs)
1st – Fred Trahan – 3.72
2nd – Toby Armand – 3.72
3rd – Jeff Suber – 3.56
4th – Sam Speer – 3.19
5th – Scott Harper – 2.94

Saddle Flounder – Angler – Weight(lbs)
1st – Douglas Menefee – 0.87

Leopard Red – Angler – Spots
1st – Jason Powers – 17
2nd – Dwayne Walley – 17
3rd – Jared Leroy – 15
4th – Matt Lehman – 15
5th – Ben Roussel – 13

Ladies – Angler – Weight(lbs)
1st – Barbara Johnson – 5.50

Kids - Angler – Weight(lbs)
1st – Rory Craft – 4.60