CFCR Fishing Introduction

This is the post excerpt.



     First off, thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. On This first post I’ll tell you my backstory and how I evolved into the fisherman I am today.

     I am the youngest of three brothers, raised in Alabama by our parents who were pastors of a small-town church. Our dad raised us to hunt and fish for food. In 1995 we moved to the coast of Mississippi, where both my mom and dads family were living. So began my addiction to saltwater. 

     My paternal grandfather was a shrimper, and a doggone good speckled-trout fisherman. He lived on a street named after him that was less than a quarter mile from bayou Cumbest. It wasn’t uncommon for him to go out at daylight, catch his limit of trout, go home to eat breakfast, then go fishing again to catch another limit.  

     My maternal grandfather was a commercial oystercatcher and net fisherman. I honestly can’t remember ever being at his house when he wasn’t eating fish, cleaning fish, or getting ready to fish. He fished out of boats he built himself, a trade he learned from his father. I was with him when I caught my first saltwater fish, a hardhead catfish. 

     Early on, saltwater fishing, for me was buying live or dead bait and soaking it on a Carolina rig for white trout, ground mullet, redfish, and any other accidental fish that happened to swim along and pick up my offering. Specifically targeting one species of fish didn’t start for me until I “accidentally” bumped into a bull shark while fishing with live bull minnows. The shark wasn’t very big, only about 30 inches or so, but it tested my tackle, which was suited for the mild mannered white trout. Finally after nearly destroying my tackle and wrecking every rod on the boat the shark came boat side and like a champion grabbing a trophy, I hoisted the shark into the boat, grinning from ear to ear as I finally had landed my “fish of a lifetime”. Now, looking back that catch wasn’t very impressive but it had a very lasting impression on a 12 year old kid. From then on I was a hardcore, die hard shark fisherman and wouldn’t try for anything else.

     On into my teenage years my middle brother Kenny, had just got a bass boat, a 18 ft. hydra sports. He invited me many times to bass fish with him and started teaching me how to rig and fish with artificial lures. Soon thereafter we would compete in a few tournaments together and even win some. Well, he won them, I mainly was along for the ride. 

     For 3 or 4 years I left saltwater fishing completely to chase after bass. It was just easier using artificial lures. Then, a buddy asked me to go fishing with him and his dad out to round island. I accepted, and soon thereafter was hooked into a bull redfish that had inhaled a Gulp! Alive, new penny shrimp. I fought the fish for several minutes, but just as we were about to net the fish, it tore loose from the hook and waved goodbye with a tail as big as a broom. Heartbroken and sad, I declared I would, one day, return and finally catch a redfish on an artificial lure. 

     By 2011, I had built up a small tackle assortment. A few jig heads, speck rigs, some Deadly Dudleys, and Gulp! shrimp. Now it was on. I chased redfish during the winter time when I wasn’t duck hunting, with very little success. A few short fish was all I had to show for my effort. Watching some videos on YouTube revealed things I had not tried before. So I went out and bought the equipment to finally start catching fish consistently. No go, it didn’t work. Then a tip from my uncle suggested using a topwater lure, but it was already too late into the year, the redfish had moved out. Winter of 2012 brought life back into my redfish dreams with a redhead Badonkadonk lure and a 19 inch slot red. Saltwater began pulsing through my veins as I caught redfish after redfish that winter. 

The addiction has set in. I’m a salt angler now. 

Making Memories

This past Saturday I got the chance to take my oldest daughter kayak fishing with me. She started first grade last week and wasn't very excited about school. Unfortunately over the summer we had so much rain it washed most of my kayaking spots out to sea, Literally!! There was so much freshwater in my saltwater spots the fish were confused and just decided to completely change up their patterns. Because of me having to "look for fish", I chose not to take my kids very much this summer. Why?
Well they're 6,3, and 1. They've got short attention spans and going hours without a bite isn't on their to-do list! With the water finally getting right and things getting back to normal I decided to finally take Izabella fishing.

For the past several weeks, Izabella kept telling me she wanted to catch a redfish. I chose to stop by the bait shop and grab a few dozen live shrimp so she would be able to see plenty of action. We weren't disappointed! Right from the time we launched she was getting bites! I wanted her to be able to say she done it "all by herself", so aside from distance casting, all I did was bait her hook with fresh live shrimp. After about 30-45 minutes she finally got the hang of "popping" the cork. I knew it wouldn't be long before she finally hooked one of the many bites she was getting.

We were drifting down the bayou, working a flat next to the grass line. As we approached a feeder Creek I noticed some feeding fish. After a long cast past the fish, I handed her the rod and instructed her to reel in slack, pop the cork, and wait. It wasn't long after her second pop that the cork disappeared and the line tightened up. The drag started screaming and the rod was bowed up! Coaching her through the next 2 minutes were probably some of the best moments of my life! Seeing my little girl battle the fish she wanted to catch was truly amazing!! Finally after getting it in the net I seen her face light up! She was so proud, and I was too!

Who knew a 20" redfish would be the best fish I've ever seen caught!!

Just got a kayak?? Here’s some tips!

This blog is going to be pretty straightforward and simple! Let’s jump right in!

1. Get a comfortable PFD.

With all the options for a PFD, there’s no excuse to not have one. From inflatables, to kayak fishing exclusive options, there are many to choose from. The Stearns hybrid fishing/kayak PFD is a great option for beginning kayakers. It’s affordable, comfortable, and practical.

Stearns hybrid PFD

2. Get a quality paddle. 

If you do a quick google search for “kayak paddles”, you will quickly get overloaded with a wealth of information! Start out by choosing the correct length of paddle. Bending Branches has a great chart on their website for selecting the correct length. Next, what’s your budget? Buy the best paddle that your budget will allow. A great starter paddle that is superb quality is the Bending Branches Angler Classic paddle. It’s available in snap button as well as plus ferrule systems. 

Bending Branches paddle sizing chart
Bending Branches Angler Classic paddle

3. Get a visibility flag. 

Kayaks are low on the water, and sometimes hard to see from a motorboat. The best way to be seen is to add some type of flag or light onto your kayak. If you’re going to be paddling on high traffic waterways, I would also suggest wearing high visibility clothing. If you’re  planning on paddling at night, you should have a coast guard approved stern light mounted on your kayak. YakAttack, as well as other manufacturers, make a light/flag combo. You can never take too many precautions to be safe while on the water. 

YakAttack VisiCarbon Pro

4. Get some water sports clothing.  

At the end of the day, nothing is worse than being wet and miserable! Fortunately for watersports enthusiasts, there are some very comfortable clothes available to make your time on the water more enjoyable. Things to look for when buying clothing for kayaking are, moisture-wicking, UPF sun protection, and lightweight fabric. Although it might seem silly to think about what clothes you wear when kayaking, it really can make a difference in how you feel after several hours on the water. Columbia sportswear has some great clothing available for men,women, and children. 

Columbia sportswear

5. Join a local kayak fishing club. 

No matter how many articles you read, videos you watch, or Facebook groups you’re a part of; nothing beats actual experience when it comes to learning. One of the fastest ways to learn is by hanging out with someone who has more experience than you. The kayak fishing community, as a whole, is the friendliest, most welcoming group of individuals on the planet. Whether it’s getting together to go fishing, having a fish fry, or just getting together for some smack-talk, you’ll always learn something from fellow kayakers. To inquire about clubs in your area, check on Facebook, ask at local Tackle shops, or ask any kayaker you see. You’ll usually find out pretty quickly. 

I’d personally like to welcome you to the kayaking community. Feel free to connect with me on social media if you have any questions or need some advice. If I don’t know the answer, I probably know someone who does.

 Thanks for reading this blog! Feel free to share it with your fellow kayakers!!

Vibe Sea Ghost (deck pad install)

     Around the beginning of June, Vibe released a brand new product, the “Sea Ghost deck pad kit”.  For a while now, Vibe owners have been wanting a precut deck pad kit. Vibe delivered one at a fraction of the cost expected for such a thing. At only $44.99 it’s almost a steal! Here’s a link to buy your own. 

Sea Ghost deck pad kit
The whole install only took about 10 minutes and turned out really good! Here’s a list of steps involved. 

1. Clean the front cockpit of your kayak

     Get all the old fish slime, scales, and mud off of the deck. I washed mine with soap and water. 

2. Dry it off

     Use a towel, let it sundry, etc. just make sure all the water is gone. 

3. Layout the pieces

     There’s 9 pieces in the bag, you don’t want to be getting any of them confused. It’s best to lay them out and make sure you’re getting them in the right place. 

4. Peel the backing off and press it down

     Start on one corner and peel a small amount of backing off. Make sure to press down the pad in a back and forth motion to make sure no air bubbles get under the pad. Continue to peel the backing and press the pad until it’s all the way on. 

5. Post up pics of your install

     When you find a great product, share it! Let’s get the word out on these awesome deck kits!

Here’s a link to the YouTube video I made of my install. 

CFCR Fishing deck kit install video
Thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe to CFCR Fishings YouTube channel and connect with us on Facebook! 

Kayak Accessories. What you really need. 

     So you’ve got your kayak now. You’re pretty excited about it, right? Time to spend a fortune on gear for it!? NO!  Let’s talk about 3 different determining factors for choosing how much, or how little you add to your kayak, while getting everything you need to make your trips effective and enjoyable.                                                                             

   First off, the essentials. These are the things that no fishing kayak should be without. 

1. Visibility pole. This should at the very least be a flag in a bright fluorescent color so boaters can see you. If you’re gonna be fishing at night, there needs to be a light on that flag. USCG regulations require a single white light visible for 2 nautical miles on a non-motorized vessel. So be safe, we’re low on the water and sometimes hard to see. 

YakAttack VisiCarbon Pro

2. PFD. This one is a no-brainer. With so many different options for PFDs, there really is no excuse not to wear one. Traditional boat PFDs are cumbersome and get in the way of paddling, but there are many options available for paddlers, including very low profile inflatable PFDs. Some have built in tackle storage and tethers for pliers, knifes, clippers, etc. Do some research and go to a local kayak store and try different models on. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how comfortable and practical kayaking PFDs have become. 

NRS Chinook Fishing PFD

3. Paddle. The driving force behind your kayak, your motor. A paddle is not one of the things you should skimp on. Go ahead and buy the best one you can afford. There’s many different materials that paddle shafts are made of, aluminum, fiberglass, and carbon fiber being the most common. The more expensive models will most likely be made of carbon fiber, which is very light and strong. The lighter the paddle, the less fatigued you’ll be. It’s worth it. Spend the money and get a good paddle. Bending Branches makes some of the best paddles on the market, and they’re made in the USA!!

Bending Branches Angler Ace Plus

Now the things that are not essential but definitely make kayaking a lot easier and more fun.

1. Anchor Trolley. This makes positioning your kayak for different scenarios very simple. Typically it’s an anchoring point that can be positioned anywhere between the bow and stern of the kayak. Depending on the current flow or tide, you can tether your anchor or stakeout pole in the front, back, middle, or somewhere in between to set up for the best possible casting position. Again the anchor trolley isn’t an essential piece of equipment but it sure does make fishing reefs, pilings, flats, etc. a lot easier. 

YakAttack LeverLoc Anchor Trolley kit

2. Paddle Holder. It’s very cliche but you don’t want to be “up the creek without a paddle”.  So, to avoid that, secure your paddle. Sure, your paddle will be in your hands about 75% of the time, but it’s the other times that anything can happen. A big wave, a hook set, you get the idea. There’s many different options for a paddle holder. Some kayaks have a paddle keeper built in, for those that don’t a taco paddle clip might work well. If your kayak has gear track, look no further than the roto grip paddle holders from YakAttack. Then there’s always your lap,thats what makes a paddle holder a non-essential but a big plus if you have it. 

YakAttack RotoGrip Paddle Holder

3. Rod holders. You gotta have somewhere to put your rods while you are paddling around. Things to consider are number of rods you typically carry, do you troll for fish, do you have gear track on your kayak, and do you want them to sit high(out of any water splash). A lot of kayaks come with a couple flush mount rod holders. These are great, they’re sleek, out of the way, and incredibly practical. Gear track or post mounted rod holders are some of my favorites, they can be repositioned if needed for different fishing scenarios, or moved to a different kayak if you have more than one. The last option I’ll explore here is the standard DIY milk crate/pvc rod holders. Cheap, easy to make, and you can add a bunch of them. This is one of the best options for the folks who carry a large number of rods. 

YakAttack ZookaTube

Now for some of the “extras” that can really run the bill up on rigging, but definitely have earned their place on some kayaks. 

1. Action Cameras. With social media as part of our lives, everyone wants to show you what they’ve been up to. If you search YouTube, you’ll find millions of fishing videos, some videos aim to teach the viewer something about fishing, while others are for entertainment or bragging rights. Whatever the case is, it seems like everyone has a YouTube channel and an action camera. Do some research on different mounts and angles to gain the advantage over the masses. Multiple cameras on one kayak is becoming very common. I typically carry 3 GoPro cameras with me. One is an “over the shoulder” viewing angle, one is a “hero shot” angle, and the other is for b-roll and random shots. There are many different cameras and mounts out there, just find what suits you best and stick with it. Oh, and send me the links to your YouTube videos, I like watching fishing videos!

GoPro Hero 5

2. Fishfinders. If your style of fishing includes finding underwater ledges, drop-offs, or structure, chances are you need a fish finder. There are many different options these days with side-scan, down-scan, thermal-imaging, and navigation just being a few selling points. If you’re heading out into the wide open marshes of Louisiana or exploring brand new areas, a fishfinder with built in GPS could come in very useful. You can also mark reefs or any waypoints you’d like to go to again. Go to different manufacturers websites or a local dealer to explore all the options and features available for fishfinders. 

Raymarine Dragonfly 4

3. Rudder. If you’ve been on both a kayak without a rudder and one with a rudder, you know how much better they can make your paddling experience. There’s a few models out there that have a rudder included with the kayak. The Vibe Sea Ghost is one of them, but for most kayaks a rudder is an optional upgrade. A rudder can make paddling in windy conditions a lot easier. You can also drift with the wind, steer with the rudder and basically fish hands-free. Ask around and demo a kayak with a rudder to see what all the fuss is about.  I promise, you’ll be incredibly impressed. 

Vibe Sea Ghost with Rudder

This is by no means a “definitive guide” on rigging a kayak. It’s only the small amount of experience and knowledge that I have acquired through my few years of kayaking. I hope you can take something from this article and apply it to your own kayaking adventures. Here are links to the product manufacturers that I featured in this article. 

Bending Branches paddles
Vibe Kayaks