A new kayak and a fishing report


bass

Well-known member
Just upgraded my 2011 Hobie Outback to the new 2019 Hobie Outback. I love my old kayak but the new one is really sweet. Much better seat, faster, more stable, has the ability to go in reverse and the cockpit layout is much nicer with more storage and much better hatch.

Here she is coming home with me:

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I took it out fishing for the first time yesterday to test its fish-ability and I was really pleased. I was on the water at Swan Island by about 8:30 and spent the first 45 minutes just trying out the yak. I would say that the top speed is about 20% faster than my old kayak, but the easy cruising speed is close to 50% faster. A combination of a better pedal drive and the sleeker hull design.

Once I was done playing with and exploring my kayak I decided I needed to get some fish stink on the kayak to properly break it in. I cruised around the harbor but other than the fish stacked at the dry docks there were not many sturgeon to be found (at least by me).

I finally marked a few fish out a ways from the dry docks (I don't like fishing the dry docks since they get pretty crowded and that is not my thing). I anchored up and tossed out and waited.

The feeling of pressure was intense. I had not been sturgeon fishing since last January due to a shoulder injury. I felt out of touch with the river, unsure of myself. The feeling only grew as I sat there. Like a huge weight pressing down on my very soul. Should I re-cast, should I move, what should I do???

I had just about convinced myself to re-cast when I thought I felt a tiny tap on the line. I leaned forward, tensing up. Did I imagine that? I tried to play it back in my head but I was not sure. Then, I felt it again. This time I was sure! In that moment every bit of self-doubt evaporated and I felt like I erupted from a pit of despair. When the sturgeon finally committed a few seconds later I tightened up the line and it was fish on!

The first fish out of my new kayak - a borderline keeper/shaker sized:

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The one thing I noticed right away with the new kayak is that it has a lot less friction in the water than my 2011. That sturgeon was not large but easily pulled me around. I also appreciated the improved stability during the fight and the improved turning radius. I love the new kayak.

After that first fish, I tossed back out and after another pretty long soak I picked up a shaker and that was it for that spot. I did not mind the slow bite since I got to watch a ship leave the dry dock.

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It was cool to watch them lower the dry dock and see the stern wheeler head out. Even cooler was watching the dry dock rise up after the ship had left. Seeing the water pouring out the front as it rose up and the floor broke the surface made it seem like a football field-sized submarine.

After that excitement, I moved out to fish near the edge of the current. It took a little probing with my casts but I eventually found a good bite. I had picked up several good sized-shakers in a row so I decided to move my cast a little further downstream to see if I could change the quality of the catch.

On my first longer cast (I love having a line counter on my one Tekota to know how far I am casting) I started to get the tiny little tappy bites that often means a big fish. WhenI tightened down on the fish I knew right away that it was a good fish.

I basically reeled myself over to the fish rather than the other way around! I could not budge the fish at all, it just sort of meandered around. After about 10 minutes of that it decided it wanted to check the weather. I will never get over how amazing it is to see an oversized leap completely out of the water. When it landed it sounded like someone had thrown a body in off of the pier.

The fish dove to the bottom dragging my rod down hard:

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I went back to work and then a few minutes later it came completely out of the water again. That was my first double jump sturgeon ever. Unfortunately this time it was close to the pier when it leaped and it used the momentum of the jump to dive into the pilings and break me off. I was really bummed, that fish looked to be about 6' long and really fat. Would have liked to have retrieved my hook from that big girl.

The rest of the afternoon was a mix of shakers and slot sized fish. The biggest that I landed were a few in the mid-40s like this one.

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Perhaps my memory is failing me a bit but those sturgeon seemed to be fighting much harder than I remember them fighting in the winter. Perhaps it was the slightly warmer water temp (~45 or so).

One thing I did figure out after the big one broke me off is that if I switch the drive into reverse when I am fighting a fish I can do a much better job of keeping them away from bad things. A little late, but a good lesson nonetheless.

I ended catching a total of 16 sturgeon which is not a huge day but was plenty good for me on the first day back in the game. My shoulder ached as I pedaled back to the ramp, but it was a fair price to pay for a day on the water. I love my new kayak!
 

Raincatcher

Well-known member
Moderator
Sweet! It sounds like you had it dialed in and had a great day on the water (16 sturgeon in one day would be ginormous for me!). :D
 

bass

Well-known member
Thanks everyone it was a really great first day.

Roger, I can't believe how much I love the new kayak. Thanks for all those great posts that helped convince me to pull the trigger. For sturgeon fishing I kept the seat in the low position but for bass fishing the high position is going to really be awesome. I can't wait to get back out on the water.
 

troutdude

Well-known member
Moderator
What a superb report Bass! Glad that you're back into the groove. And I hope that your shoulder won't bug ya too much.
 

rogerdodger

Well-known member
Moderator
One thing I did figure out after the big one broke me off is that if I switch the drive into reverse when I am fighting a fish I can do a much better job of keeping them away from bad things. A little late, but a good lesson nonetheless.
I fully agree, I hook most my lingcod near underwater rocks and being able to quickly back them away into open water is a huge advantage. Using bait for them the other day in CoosBay, when I felt a "lingcod take", I was shifting into reverse before setting the hook. Having rudder control on both sides is really nice especially when backing up and controlling a fish...
 

bass

Well-known member
Hey TD, glad you liked the report. My shoulder is still pretty bad, but I figure I will do what I want to do and hope for the best. I may end up having surgery in the summer, but if I can fish through the pain then I will probably just keep sucking it up.

Spot on as usual Roger! You had mentioned the reverse in one of your videos and I had not taken it to heart until I was put in the heat of battle. I also think it will be incredibly useful for bass fishing. I can't wait to try that out.
 

Fishnbuck

Member
Bass - Glad to see you back at it again, love your reports. Would like to get out on the water with you some time.

How do you layer for this time of year? I finally let the wife buy me a kayak this fall that I have only had out twice because I concerned about being ill-equipped in the event I end up in the drink. The obvious answer is stay out of the water, but we all know stuff happens. I currently have sufficient rain gear to stay dry on the kayak, but what's a smart, economical way to protect myself in the event I end up swimming? I intend to fish rivers and lakes if that makes a difference.
 

bass

Well-known member
Bass - Glad to see you back at it again, love your reports. Would like to get out on the water with you some time.

How do you layer for this time of year? I finally let the wife buy me a kayak this fall that I have only had out twice because I concerned about being ill-equipped in the event I end up in the drink. The obvious answer is stay out of the water, but we all know stuff happens. I currently have sufficient rain gear to stay dry on the kayak, but what's a smart, economical way to protect myself in the event I end up swimming? I intend to fish rivers and lakes if that makes a difference.
You always need to dress for immersion. This time of year that means some type of dry wear. Two possibilities are a full dry suit, which is expensive, or if you already have waders then getting a dry top while not cheap is definitely less expensive. To find a deal I keep my eyes on the closeout sales at the various kayak retailers (Austin Kayak, Kayak shed, etc) or you can go to Next Adventure (and maybe other retailers) and check out their used rack. They have some really good deals there if you can find something to fit. Also look on Craigslist or kayak centric sites like northwestkayakanglers.com to see if someone is selling something either used or new.

Best of luck!
 

Fishnbuck

Member
You always need to dress for immersion. This time of year that means some type of dry wear. Two possibilities are a full dry suit, which is expensive, or if you already have waders then getting a dry top while not cheap is definitely less expensive. To find a deal I keep my eyes on the closeout sales at the various kayak retailers (Austin Kayak, Kayak shed, etc) or you can go to Next Adventure (and maybe other retailers) and check out their used rack. They have some really good deals there if you can find something to fit. Also look on Craigslist or kayak centric sites like northwestkayakanglers.com to see if someone is selling something either used or new.

Best of luck!
Thanks for the info, guess I'll have to stay ashore until late spring while I restore the discretionary fund.
 

bass

Well-known member
Thanks for the info, guess I'll have to stay ashore until late spring while I restore the discretionary fund.
Yes! The sturgeon will be there when you are ready. Just remember that next spring/summer the smallmouth bite on the willie will be insane. Take your time and enjoy!
 

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