Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kids go Catfishing

I had the pleasure of volunteering to help the Gainesville middle school kids go fishing Saturday.  Everyone caught a fish and had a great time. If you get a chance to go fishing. Take a kid. It's our future you'll be mentoring.

Hobie "Horizontal Rod Holder"

One of the inherent problems we have as Kayakers is the small amount of space to put our tackle. We don't have the luxury of a huge deck to store our equipment like those that are fishing out of a bass boat. Well Hobie has helped resolve at least one of our problems this year with increased rod storage space. Hobie has come out with the "horizontal Rod holder". The holder consist of two pieces, a rod protector tip and a rod butt holder/shelf which attach to the hull. 

Mounted on the front of the kayak is the rod tip protector. The rod tip protector is formed from hard plastic and attached to the kayak by three stainless steel bolts, washers, and nuts.The other part of the rod holder attaches to the middle of the kayak and holds the reel close against the hull. It is attached in a similar fashion with three provided stainless steel bolts, washers, and nuts. If reaching inside the hull to mount the holder is a problem then screws are also supplied.
After mounting the rear rod holder/shelf there is an eyelet post to be installed. It is an attachment point for the rubber strap that secures the rod when not in use. I would suggest putting a rod in the holder and stretching the rubber strap in place to find the point to mount the the eyelet.
I found the mounting of the rod holder to be very easy.  Hobie provides clear instructions with illustrations to show the processes of mounting the unit on the kayak. 
I mounted one rod holder on each side of my kayak late one afternoon and still had plenty of daylight to go fishing!
TIP : When placing the rod in the holder turn the eyelets of the rod toward the kayak. Most of the time when bumping in to trees the kayak hull will hit the tree first but if the tree trunk is just at the right level it will bend the rods eyelets back.
I've been using the "Horizontal Rod Holders" for four months now. I am extremely pleased to have them on the kayak. I spend about 90% of my time bouncing off trees while I'm fishing heavy timber. I use to have my rods mounted vertically. I spent most of my time leaning over pulling my rods out of the trees I had just passed. I tried laying them on the surface of the kayak in front of me but that to was a mess having three rods scattered in my lap. With the horizontal holders I am able to bring three rods with me in my kayak and be very comfortable. Four can be done but it sometimes gets a little crowded when bass fishing as I primarily do. 
As mentioned above I did mount a horizontal holder on each side of  my kayak. This presented an issue with the existing anchor trolly. So on the side where I have my anchor trolley I only mounted the front rod protector. The rear holder/shelf looked like it might be something the trolley could hang on so I chose to leave it off for now. On the Hobie Outback there is a strap provided to secure the paddle. It is is the perfect place to hold the rear of the rod to the side of the kayak. The anchor trolly can be used with the a rod in the holder but it does restrict the full motion of the trolly.
One of the beauty's of the rear holder is the design of built in shelf. There is a rubber strap that will securely hold your rod in the holder if you are in rough water.  While you are are fishing, you are able to remove the strap and let the rod sit securely in the shelf. At first I was afraid the rod would fly out of the shelf and in to the water. This has happened once as I was passing a low lying limb and it grabbed the rod on the way by.
In the last few months I have found myself using the rubber strap mostly when I'm securing two rods at the same time. You can place one rod in the holder and have it sitting on the shelf for easy access.
The Horizontal rod holder is one of those inventions that you say "Duh, I wish I would have thought of that".
The rod tip protector is very sleek and slides off trees and other obstructions while protecting you rods tucked away inside. The rear of the holder provides a way to securely attach your rods with a strong rubber strap. If your out fishing you can release the strap and still have a shelf for the rod to sit on for quick access.
I've banged it around for the last few months and it is still doing a great job. I feel that it is one of the best added features I have put on my kayak

Shaun Russell
horizontal rod holder kit (part# 72021060)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Doug Hannon Wave spin reel

This review started with the purchase of this spinning reel on 7/3/11. I bought a spinning reel for throwing weightless worms and drop shoting for bass. After fishing with the reel for almost a month a terrible thing happened. I was out in my kayak fishing at my local lake when I heard a "kerplunk". As I turned to see what had made the noise I saw my new rod and reel combo sinking in 16' of dark, murky, stump filled water. I thought it was gone forever.

Well, after reading on a kayak forum where people were dragging their anchor to pull up their lost rod and reels I thought I would give it a shot. So on 9/26/11 I went back out to the exact spot where I lost the reel. The water was now a little lower because of the summer heat but I located the spot by finding the marked limb I had left behind when the reel took that fatal swim. I threw my anchor out and as I dragged it back in felt some resistance on the line. When I got it to the kayak I noticed it was my rig. I couldn't believe what had just happened. I was hoping to pull up the lost combo but never in a million years did I really think it would happen. And on the first throw of the anchor to boot.

Well I rubbed off some of the caked on mud and algae and for kicks I gave it a couple throws. I was amazed.  It was casting with out any problems. Heck, it was casting better than some of the new less expensive spinning reels I had used on occasion. When I reeled it in you could hear the sand in it so I knew it needed cleaning badly. Before I left the lake that day I made a short video of what had just happened.

I was so impressed with the reel and what it had been through I thought I would send an e-mail with the short video to Wave Spin Reels. I didn't really expect a reply but just wanted to show them what their reel was capable of. 
Several hours after I sent the email I got a return e-mail from Russ Riley,VP of Wave Spin Reels. He told me to send the reel in to him to be rebuilt. I have to be honest with you, I thought he was pulling my leg. I was the one that dropped the reel over in the lake and he was offering a free cleaning? LOL.... Now that's what I call customer service. A few hours later I received an email from Doug Hannon himself. It seems Mr. Hannon has a good sense of humor. I got a kick out of reading his reply to my accidental drowning of one of his reels. He seems like a very nice guy that stands behind his product with excellent customer support.

I sent the reel in to Russ on Monday and on Friday I received a pkg in the mail. I opened the box to find a bright and shiny reel. Now he said he wanted to rebuild it but I'm not sure what on this reel was original as it looks suspiciously like a new reel to me. :)

At a time when money is so tight it's great to have purchased a product that has proven it has been built right and can go the extra mile!  To have a company that will stand behind their product  and offer this type of customer service makes a really good impression on me, the consumer.

  * This reel is very smooth, and responsive when reeling in.
*As far as casting this reel, it will cast a small crank bait, or weightless worm with very little effort.
 *On their website Wave spin boast that it is tangle free. I too have found that the nasty tangles I've experienced in the past with other spinning reels are finally gone.
 *The largest bass I've caught on this reel so far has been in the 4lb range and the drag did a great job through out the transition.

The bottom line is that this is a great reel that I find myself casting more on each trip to the lake. If you are looking for a spinning reel for bass fishing give the DH3000 a try. I think you will be as pleased with the reel and the company as I have been.

Shaun Russell