Catch and Release   Leave a comment

“This is my photo submission for the GreenFish and Outdoor Blogger Network Photo Contest

Catch and release

Posted December 22, 2011 by rmatt0101 in Uncategorized

FINZOMINE Extreme Sportsfishing Apparel   Leave a comment

I don’t know how many of you are like me when it comes to wearing sun protection.From my years of working outside, to all of the time that is spent on the water I basically refused to wear it because of my sensitive skin and the fact that it would transfer to my lures and affect the fishing.As we get older solutions seem to come along more frequently andsince the kayak that I fish out of is at the waters edge, it’s even more important to protect yourself from the harmful rays that are being put out by the sun. What I have found is the Extreme Sportsfishing  Apparel being produced by FINZOMINE, a local company in Texas that not only protects you from the sun but the shirts are breathable to keep you cooler and they dry out extremely fast when you get it wet. Their designs are catered around fishermen and the product line keeps growing. Soon to have Buff’s and hopefully they will add protective gloves as well. Take a look at their website and give them a try.

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Posted July 13, 2011 by rmatt0101 in Uncategorized

Father’s Day Fishing   Leave a comment

For the last few years my brothers and I have made it an annual event to take our dad out fishing on fathers day weekend. This year instead of chasing redfish at the coast we made our way to Southwestern Oklahoma and did some pond jumping for Largemouth bass. My middle brother lives there and has access to some of the best fishable ponds around that have plenty of fish in them. We loaded up the kayaks and two man boat and headed out in the morning with the wind blowing pretty strong and the heat already building up. As usual, you can’t go fishing without turning it into a tournament so we set the quidelines and it was determined that the largest fish by weight would be the winner. The fishing was great with a lot of small fish falling prey to the Texas rigged Dinero worm and the BlackDog Jig that was being presented around the standing timber and matted grass. As the sun got up higher the temperature shot up well above triple digits making the bite slow down. I paddled out the back of the creek to go find deeper water to fish when I rounded the corner I could hear my dad saying something about a crappie hole he had found. When he lifted up the stringer there had to be atleast twenty large crappie on it, this was going to make for a good fish fry. Once I found some deeper water the larger bass started to be put on the scale and released back. It didn’t take long for me to jump into the lead with a bass that weighed 3’14oz, not as big as we usually catch here but big enough to be in the lead. While our dad was still tossing a road runner at the crappie we heard him yell about a big bass he had on the line. We watched him fight the fish on light tackle for what seemed like ten minutes then with one leap out of the water and a violent head shake the 7lb bass was gone. I immediately reminded him of who was still in the lead. After lunch I ditched the kayak and walked the cow trail to the shallow end of the pond that would later open up to a tree filled deeper section. Throwing a Texas rigged worm I ended up catching six bass from this area with the largest being over seven pounds and three others around five pounds each. The largest of these was bleeding when I picked him up to remove the hook from his lip. I noticed the tail of a fish sticking out of his throat and you can see the fat stomach of whatever he had just eaten. This turned out to be a great trip with my brothers and dad and I look forward to the next time we can get together again. I ended up winning the tournament……the payout was the fun filled day.

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Posted June 20, 2011 by rmatt0101 in Uncategorized

GULLWING Paddle field test   Leave a comment

Today I was able to get out on the lake and give the new Gullwing paddle a workout. The first thing that I noticed was the unique curve of the shaft which made the paddle comfortable to handle and the eva grips gave you a nice cushioned grip.. The curve on the blades are angled to cut through the water better and help create better speed when paddling. The first thing that I had to do was adjust my paddle stroke because the design of this paddle actually lets you glide along with less effort. I did notice that once the adjustment was made the kayak was moving faster through the water with a lot less effort. Another thing that was unigue is instead of the paddle coming apart for storage in the middle, which I have always found to be a weak point, the Gullwing actually has the shaft as a solid piece and each blade locking in. The paddle is very sturdy with no flex, powder coating on the lightweight aluminum shaft, which also has reflective decals on both sides to help you get noticed better. The unique angle of the shaft also made it stay in place instead of rolling around when you put it down to cast. I really enjoyed using the paddle today and look forward to the next trip out. By the way, I got skunked today because the heavy boat traffic had the water muddied up and made you feel like you were on a rollercoaster.

The Gullwing paddle is available at    it is currently availab;e in 215 and 230cm. I would like to see a 240cm in the future.

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See you on the water,


Posted June 13, 2011 by rmatt0101 in Uncategorized

In’s and Out’s of Fly Fishing   Leave a comment

The title is misleading. I don’t really know all of the in’s and out’s that are associated with fly fishing but i’m willing to listen to advice and learn. I guess you can say that I got the bug back in October of 2010 when on a Pheasant hunting trip in Colorado the weather heated up in the afternoon and the evening hunt was cancelled. To fill the rest of the day they offered a choice of trap shooting, horse back riding, mountain biking, or fly fishing. Being a diehard fisherman you would be correct if you said that I chose the fly fishing for the rest of the day.

We loaded up and drove to one of the streams on the ranch property and since my fly fishing skills consisted of me using a spinning rod with a fly reel when I was younger as the only time to fly fish in my life. That’s not to say that I didn’t catch fish on this setup but it just wasn’t the true nature of fly fishing. After a short lesson on casting I picked out a bend in the creek that had some grass growing along the edge of the bank. Casting a dry fly to the edge of the grass and consistently catching Rainbow, Brown, and Brook trout I began feeling pretty good about my success until asked by the guide if any Cutthroat trout had been caught yet. I was then informed that there were four species of trout resided in this area of the state and I was lacking one from catching a grand slam. Did I mention that I like challenges…… it didn’t take long for me to cancel the next two days of Pheasant hunting in exchange for the pursuit of this Grand Slam of trout fishing. The rules were, you had to catch one of each species all in the same day. Then they informed me that it had only been done eleven times there and that the Cutthroat trout was the hardest species to catch because they did not have that many of them in their area. 

The next morning started out with an awesome breakfast then we headed out to the start the quest in the same area that was fished the day before. It wasn’t long before the fly found its way into the mouth of a hungry Rainbow, after a battle a picture was taken and the fish was released back into the stream. One down and three to go. Before lunch I saw a nice Brown roaming the edges of the grass, after many casts with the topwater fly with no success it was decided to give it a try with a nymph that would drift about a foot behind the dry fly and be under the water to offer an option. Soon after a nice Brown trout was being led to the net where a picture was taken then put it back in the water to fight again some day. It was decided that we would start the hunt for the Cutthroat trout which seemed to be few and far between. They are there, I had seen them cruising the shallows for two days and thrown everything that the guide could think of at them, no wonder why this was so hard to accomplish. I spent the next few hours moving all around the property trying to get one to accept my offering then it happened. As I was throwing to an object that I could see hanging out under some matted grass I must have made it mad on cast number twenty that the object moved from the grass and started coming straight at me. With the guide trying not to scream that it was a very big Cutthroat the fish saw me and spooked back towards where it came from, before it could get there I lay a cast right on the lip of the grass and as the fish approached I gently twitched the rod and made the fly fall from the grass into the water just as it got there. With the slightest ripple the fly had vanished as I lifted the rod to set the hook the fight was on. At this time I really couldn’t tell who was more excited, me or the guide as he rushed into the water to net the fish. I found out that this was to be his first slam as a guide but I reminded him that we were not done. You see in all of the excitement he forgot that I still hadn’t caught a Brook trout on the day and with fifteen minutes left the slam was not complete. I hope his boss neve reads this due to the fact of how fast we drove to a different section that has plenty of Brook trout in the area and the obstacles that were driven over to get there in time. I think the cast was made in one motion as I jumped from the truck and the Brook was caught on that cast and the Grand Slam had been completed.

If you have read through all of this you will now understand why I have this new obsession with attacking the areas that I fish with a fly rod. So, if you have advice for me on everything from what kind of flies to use on everything from bass fishing to inshore saltwater fishing I welcome them. I will also need advice on the proper line and leaders as well as what type of knots to use to put it all together.

Thanks for going along on the journey,


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Posted May 23, 2011 by rmatt0101 in Uncategorized

A Special Build   Leave a comment

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There is a program that has been going on in Texas for the past three years started by a gentleman named Pat Helton and a few of his friends. The idea behind it was to build a custom fishing rod and present it to honor a wounded soldier and help thank them for the service they provided by protecting our country. The first rod built for the program was an accumulation of many custom builders who each took  part in the design and build of that one rod. It has since grown into a program where hopefully 150 rods will be presented in 2011. The program is not limited to Texas and it has builders from all over the US that contribute.

I sent in a request to be part of this program this year and was accepted. I did my build on a 7′ medium/heavy blank which was fitted with eva handles and a split grip. The decision was made to do this build based on a USA theme and I wanted it to be unique and special at the same time. Obviously for my theme the thread choice would be red,white, and blue. The split grip handle at the bottom of the rod is wrapped in this color theme and a custom decal that was made for it applied. The guides are American Tackle Micros in a size 3.5 wrapped in white thread so they won’t take away from the special design that I would do on the wrap above the Minima reel seat.

I do a lot of Tiger wraps on my builds, when they are finished the characteristics of a tiger’s stripe comes out in the wrap. If I did this wrap right it would have a different effect and look like an American Flag waving in the wind. I used metallic red and white thread on the bottom. After wrapping a tool was used to burnish the thread and put some movement in it. A layer of rod finish is then applied and left to dry overnight. The next evening I wrapped a blue thread along with a black thread in the opposite direction over the previous wrap and using the same tool, burnished the thread in the same direction that it was wrapped in. The next step was to take the black thread and remove it from the wrap which then creates space, then a layer of rod finish is applied and left to dry. As you do each of these steps you can actually see the flag start to come to life. I am very pleased with the way this build turned out and I hope that the person recieving it enjoys it as much as I did building it.

Thank you to all of the people who have fought for our freedom and to the other rod builders who have been a part of this program for inspiring me to get involved.

See you on the water,


Posted May 12, 2011 by rmatt0101 in Uncategorized

Backwater Paddles   Leave a comment

How many times do you find yourself grabbing for your paddle after making a cast to try and correct your position so you can make that perfect presentation to the fish that wait below. I know that it has been done a few hundred times just on one trip, but there is a product out there by Backwater Paddle Company that can make things easier for you. The Piranah hand paddle that they make is not only easy to use but it is very quiet when you are trying to correct your position. I have used it on three trips now and it did take some getting use to but not by any fault of design but trying to remember to quit reaching for your paddle. Now I just lay the paddle down and use the Piranah to move around and position my kayak. The hand paddle comes with a strap and the paddle will also float if you accidentally drop it into the water. It sure has made my kayak positioning so much easier now that i’m using it. The price is right for such a great add on to the gear that you already have. I now have two of them which are kept on either side of me for easy access.

Good fishing,


Posted May 6, 2011 by rmatt0101 in Uncategorized

River Tournament Fishing   Leave a comment

Today I fished the first ever River Bassin tournament series to come to Texas. The series has been around for a few years and just started branching out. Being new here they opened up a couple of lakes that are fed by the Colorado river to try and attract more fisherman. My day started with a 2:30am wake up alarm and I was on the road and headed to my launch by 3am.  A friend of mine agreed to shuttle me as I was fishing the Colorado river outside of Austin and he was right on time at 5am at the takeout point. We unloaded everything from my truck and put it in his then drove to the put in.The stretch that I was fishing today is a ten mile paddle and consists of three elevation changes with a set of rapids at each and a dam that you have to portage around at the halfway point. This is the same stretch that we fish when we do a weekend campout so I wasn’t sure how long it would take to do. Figuring that there was a schelduled water release that would push me down the river starting at 10am and predicted winds of 18mph out of the SE which meant it would be blowing in my face most of the day and making for a good workout I figured that I needed to be off the water and loaded up by no later than 2:30pm in order to drive the 45 miles to the weigh in. Upon arriving at the put in it was apparent that the release scheldule was wrong and it had already occured. This meant that the river was now 3ft lower than normal and there would be more paddling than I thought. After launching I paddled at a brisk pace for thirty minutes bypassing some very shallow unproductive water to get to the old remains of a bridge where I would start the day. Everything was ready and I started fishing the concrete in this deep hole catching my first legal fish on the first cast. After catching a few smaller fish I decided to continue my paddle to my next spot. I had prefished the river two weeks ago and caught four large bass on the day and was hoping for the same success today but with the lack of current and all of the grass showing instead of being two feet underwater it made for a hard day of fishing. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t catch my share of fish, I ended up with over twenty bass caught on the day but I didn’t get the big fish that I was after. The way the tournament works is you are given a stack of numbered cards on a ring and a special icon that is given to you the night before, each time you catch a legal fish you place it on the measuring board and put the number and icon by it then photograph it being sure to get the fish,board,and icon in the photo. You are allowed to weigh in three fish with the total length of the combined three to be used as your score. My three largest fish averaged a little over 17 inches each for a total of 51 1/2 inches. I ended up paddling a little faster than I thought and was out and loaded up to head to the weigh in by 2pm. Even though I didn’t have that kicker fish I was feeling pretty confident thinking that the wind and boat traffic on the lakes might hinder the other contestants. After all of the scores were tallied there was an awards presentation and that is when I found out that my total score ended me up in 6th place, four inches out of the lead. If I would have had the kicker fish like most of the others had it could have ended up differently but then that is why they call it fishing and not catching. I do feel a great sense of accomplishment knowing that I was the only contestant to fish the river as all of the others fished out of the lake by the weigh in where the fish usually run larger in size. The lures that were used today were Texas rigged Dinero and Zoom soft plastics, BlackDog Jigs in Crawfish pattern and a Rebel PopR. If you read through all of this you were either brave or I am getting better at this. Patiently awaiting the next tournament.

See you on the water,

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Posted May 1, 2011 by rmatt0101 in Uncategorized

My style of fishing   Leave a comment

I grew up a soft plastics fisherman and continue to fish that way almost 95% of the time. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy tossing other lures in pursuit of fish, it’s just something that you have gained confidence in and it’s my go to lure of choice. One thing that I have found is sometimes smaller is better. You will usually find me tossing a Texas rigged Centipede by Zoom or a Lake Fork ring fry from Lake Fork Trophy Lures

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. These are my go to baits and they are rigged with a 1/8oz bullet weight and usually a 2/0 worm hook. There is something about the action or lack of action of these lures that seem to attract numbers of quality fish even when the bite is slow. It must be the lack of action that causes an impulse strike rather than a reaction strike. I was sent some Dinero worms by Get Five lures out of Austin,TX to try out and found them to be a great addition to my arsenal. I’m not sure if it the slender build of these lures or the tail design that triggered the strikes but they were producing just like the above mentioned lures that I am accustomed to throwing. On a recent river outing I put them to the test against my confidence baits and they matched them fish for fish. Alternating between the three different lures I found the bite to be the same no matter which one I was using. It could have been the added scent attractant that the Dinero comes soaked in which seemed to get the fish to hit it multiple times on the retrieve. I was purposely pulling it out of their mouths to see if the scent would cause them to pursue the lure and they would repeatedly hit the bait each time. Most of the bites on the french fry are suttle and you really need to watch your line, I think the fish just pick it up since it looks dead and move off with it, where the bite on the Dinero was the tell tale thump/thump. Another way to work these lures is by rigging them up on a Carolina rig. I usually go to a larger egg shaped sinker up to 1oz when I fish it this way and add a bead below the sinker on top of the swivel where a three foot leader or less is tied to give the lure a natural fall on the presentation. This is a great way to work deep sloping points and drop offs as well as another way to fish grass flats. When fishing the grass this way you are usually depending on leader length keeping the lure above the grass while you are working it through the strike zone. Both are excellent ways to make presentation to fish whether they are actively feeding or not. Good luck out there.

Posted April 28, 2011 by rmatt0101 in Uncategorized

Coosa Kayak by Jackson Kayaks   Leave a comment

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There are many kayaks out on the market and all claim to do different things. The hardest thing about choosing one is getting the one that fits all of your fishing needs. Now I have owned many brands, Cobra, Native U12, Wilderness Ride and Four different Malibu’s. They were all good respected brands but none of them were designed with the fisherman in mind. The JK Coosa came along with the intent of luring fisherman by offering a kayak that is not only designed for fishermen but it was designed by a fisherman. The other brands would slap some rod holders on and call them a fisherman package but that was about it. The Coosa is basically a fishing platform, you can sit elevated in the high position seat and be comfortable all day as well as being at a better advantage for seeing what’s in front of you. If you are doing a lot of paddlin then you simply lower the seat and get after it, simple. Now I have never been one to stand in a kayak, that is another great design element is you are able to stand and sight cast as well as stand and paddle if you desire. Look at me in the picture. I am 250# and stood and paddled with no problem once I found my balance as well as developed trust in the kayak and myself. Will I do it all of the time, no. But if I want to I am able to. Another thing that I value in a kayak is storage. When camping out of it on a river fishing trip I need to have as much stuff under deck as possible. I was able to put more gear under the deck in the Coosa than I ever was in the other kayaks that I had owned. I also stayed dry in the kayak instead of sitting in water due to the weight. Their are also two rear slanted rod holders that allow your rods to ride in a swept back position instead of straight up, a much better design than others. The front and rear hatches have raised lids that keep water out as well as being able to lock them if you have gear stored inside and you need to run into a store you can lock them and have a little better piece of mind. There is a notch on both sides of the top of the deck where you would normally place your paddle when casting that aids in keeping your paddle in place, even on a windy day. There are many other features that can be found by going to the Jackson Kayak website. If you are a fisherman then this is another great tool.
See ya on the river,

Posted April 25, 2011 by rmatt0101 in Uncategorized