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Had a chance to get out and fish on Monday thanks to the Labor Day holiday.  The weather ended up being very nice; light winds in the morning, picking up throughout the day, partly cloudy skies.  It was hot, but it’s always hot down here in summer so you get used to it.  Conditions would have been ideal for sight fishing had water clarity been a bit improved.  The closer I got to the Gulf though, the better the water looked.  The tide fell throughout the day and by the time I picked up it was too low to paddle in some spots.

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It couldn’t have been better timing to finally get back on the water as I had just received the new Power-Pole Micro battery pack in the mail this past week.  I have been stubbornly waiting on this battery pack to come out for probably around two years now.  That’s about how long the Power-Pole Micro has been sitting on a shelf in my garage.  I’m not big on electronics in kayaks as I’ve never needed to run them or wanted to fool with batteries or wires, so I initially passed on the Micro.  It looked like it would be a great tool for my style of fishing though and was something that could make things a bit easier for me on the water so when I was told that a battery pack was in development for the Micro, I jumped on the opportunity to get one.  Little did I know that the folks at Power-Pole still had a lot of hurdles to jump before they could distribute their battery pack.

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I got to a familiar spot just before sun up and started to rig up.  The plan was to hit some familiar bull red and big trout water and hope for the best.  Every trip out is an opportunity to upgrade my fish in the year-long Massey’s Fish Pics tournament run through Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club so I wanted to hit some potential big fish water that would give me a good shot at an upgrade.  I caught a red fairly early on, in the first big pond I went in.  He was cruising a shoreline and I was able to intercept his path with a Matrix shad.  It is always a good feeling to get that first fish on the board.  I tagged him, took a pic, and then we parted ways.

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While in that same pond I posted up by the outlet and began to fish a spot where the tide was pulling water out into a canal.  I noticed something yellow up under the mangroves not too far from where I anchored and after watching it for awhile I noticed it was alive and moving.  It was a small tripletail floating on his side!  They aren’t unheard of to be in the marsh, but it is pretty rare.  So I re-rigged my fly rod with a smaller shrimp imitation and tried my best to convince him to eat, only he wasn’t having it.  I finally got hung on the mangrove and he spooked as I tried to retrieve my fly.  A pretty neat experience though I was a little bummed to not catch him, but I pressed on.

As I said earlier the closer I got toward the Gulf the better the water looked and when I got out to some rocks I started working the Matrix shad and suspending baits looking for trout.  A few ladyfish and a catfish later I changed it up and started throwing the topwater.  Don’t let anyone tell you a topwater is only for first light.  I ended catching a handful of keeper trout and had a blast doing it.  Shoot, it was a hoot to watch the ladyfish blast the topwater out of the water.

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I was really hoping to luck into a bull red on topwater, but unfortunately they weren’t anywhere to be found.  I headed back into the marsh after things slowed down and shifted my focus to sight fishing.  The falling tide was a pretty big one and it had the water clarity even worse than in the morning, so things were tough.  Plus the wind picked up and made things that much tougher.  Luckily for me there were still a fair amount of active reds patrolling the shoreline and I caught a few reds by sound more than sight.  They were crashing crabs around exposed oyster beds with reckless abandon and as long as you got your lure right in front of their face they would eat it.

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I had made my way back to that first big pond I went in and decided to go see if that tripletail was still around.  Sure enough, I could spot that yellow fish from across the pond.  I tossed that same shrimp fly in his direction and he wasn’t interested.  Eventually I had floated close enough to where I just assume net him, so I grabbed my landing net, calmly slid it under him, then scooped up and just like that I had caught a tripletail.  He didn’t move much while in the water which had me thinking he wasn’t 100%, but once that net hit him he definitely livened up.

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A bizarre way to land a fish, but it’s actually not the first time I’ve done it.  I caught a black drum like that once in the kayak.  Only when I went to net the drum he launched himself out of the water and onto the shore.  That’s what I love about kayaks, we can get right on top of these fish at times and they have no idea.

All in all it was a good trip, caught a few trout and a few reds and had an interesting tripletail experience to boot.  I wasn’t able to upgrade any fish for the Massey’s tournament, but that’s what is great about year-long tournaments, there is still plenty of time for that.

A quick word on the Micro after the first trip out.  It worked well, loved having the ability to press a button to drop anchor or pick up when I needed to.  It does take a little bit of time to get use to it while standing.  I found the extra weight on the back end of the kayak and the 8′ pole sticking in the air increased the wobble you feel when standing up  That wobble increased camera shake on the GoPro – which I actually used for the first time in a long time – but it also threw the boat’s stability off.  I was in the Cuda 14 – I’m interested to get it mounted on the Kilroy and see how it reacts.  With the Cuda 14 mount from YakAttack, it is actually the Micro is actually off to the side of the back end of the boat and not over center – that may have something to do with that increased wobble.  The Micro does come with a quick release mount, which is nice because it came in handy while sightfishing, but I really did not need it while I was fishing for trout.  With a boat like the Cuda the 8′ pole stores in the hull without a problem – so if I needed to I could have set it up while out on the water, parked on the shore.  I look forward to using it more and being able to give a better review of it down the road.

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

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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:

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

Tools you’ll need:

– Drill

– Phillips head screwdriver

– 15/64 drill bit

– 7/16 socket or open ended wrench

As you can see in the video it 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:

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Then drill your first hole:

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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:

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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:

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With the YakAttack bracket mounted and tightened you can now install the Power-pole mount, with screws that come in the YakAttack mounting kit:

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As you can see the YakAttack mounting bracket is designed to work with or without a rudder, 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.

Picked up a couple new boats yesterday, an urban camo Cuda 14 and a green hornet Cruise 12 angler. I was sad to part with the 12 but going with the 14 will give me a little more speed, without sacrificing stability. I went rudderless again, kind of hard to use one when you stand and fish most the time. I plan to mount a different tool off the back that I will be able to use while standing….

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