Cant wait to get the paddles wet! Big report coming soon….
Time to Catch Some Bass?
Lake Park, a county park in North Tampa, near the corner of Vandyke Road and Dale Mabry, while not a “number one scenic paddle” destination, is a great place to get your line wet and probably catch a bass or 5 while exploring. There are 2 lakes joined together by a hidden passageway through cat tails in the paddle access area. There are no houses on these lakes and tons of lily pads and bass habitat.
Renting a canoe is only 20 bucks for 4 hours, or you can launch your own kayak or canoe just for the Park’s entry fee of 5.00.
On the day son Jake and I decided to try out the canoe launch, I almost didn’t even bring a rod and reel. Came back for it at the last minute. I would have been so mad at myself if I hadn’t gone back.
Both lakes are small, and for a paddle experience only, would have been disappointing. You can paddle the perimeter of both in about an hour and a half. It’s pretty, but much is covered with lily pads, and the noise of the traffic on VanDyke does not make it a get-away-from-it-all experience. However, for those who hunt fish, it was a revelation!
We quickly found them on the edge of the lily pads and worked the perimeter of lake one with plastic soft baits. We caught a lot of fish! Then we discovered the passageway to lake two. It seemed that’s where they were on this day. There were rats and there were big-uns, all with that heart stopping splashy fight that makes bass fishing so much fun! The biggest chose my lure to gulp and gave me a delightful classic bass fight I hadn’t enjoyed for a long time! Looked to be about a 5 pounder. We stayed out the entire 4 hours and never saw another canoe or kayak until we were coming in.
When we brought back our canoe keys and gear to the Ranger Station, he seemed surprised we’d stayed out the whole time. Apparently, many people don’t enjoy slogging through lily pads on their paddle. We told him we could hardly wait to come back with the kayaks and he said launching was free with kayaks and come on back.
So just a heads up paddlers… head on out to Lake Park and enjoy a little bass fishing action. Bring your own boat or rent theirs, just don’t forget your fishing tackle You’ll enjoy a great combo experience.
Who’d of Thunk It?
We have had one heck of a January in Central Florida: Temperatures in the 80’s, not much rain, perfect paddle weather. The number of days where kayaking has been possible, far exceeded our ability to get out and paddle. Hopefully other paddlers have been able to enjoy some of these perfect days.
This trip on the Mayaka River on January 4th show’s just how warm it’s been. Beautiful isn’t it?
Trees are even getting tricked into coming out in their spring green clothes. Robins are flying around and flowering trees are starting to but out as well.
If you and your party are itching to get away from cold and get out on the water, come on down and pick up a paddle. You won’t be sorry.
If you are an angler, you’re probably having some great luck right now. The trout and redfish are going crazy. If you don’t know where to find em? Call Derek Burgos of PHATFISH Kayak Charters. He’ll take you on a kayak fishing trip you’ll never forget! He even has a special right now.. 50 bucks off a kayak fishing charter. Fishing with Derek is a fun event. Even if you are local, he’ll show you some techniques and give you a good idea of how it’s done. You can consider it fishing tuition. Plus, you get to fish in the Diablo kayaks, a great platform for kayak fishing.
Yep, it is hard not to feel sorry for those shivering in the colder climates. We are so lucky here in Florida!
Paddle on folks!
Mangrove Tunnel Tour
If you are in the Sarasota area, this sounds like a blast! Adventure Kayak Outfitters has a tour originating at South Lido Nature Park and includes not only Dolphins and Manatee watches but a cool tour through the mangrove tunnels of the Lido Keys.
Kayaking Mangrove tunnels is an awesome way to get close to the hidden jewels in Florida’s estuaries. You’ll be paddling “behind the curtain,” where power boats would not dare to tread. Kayaks though, can go, navigating secret routes of exotic shy birds, fish, crustaceans and mammals. You can travel right along with them in cool dappled sunlit tubes formed by the mangroves.
Adventure Kayak Outfitters looks like they have it all together with good gear, and great trips in a fantastic area to explore. The Mangrove tour is one of their most popular but they have others too. Franklin Miller is your host. Tell him you found out about Adventure Kayak Outfitters from Native Paddler! Check them out and book a tour.
New Video For Easy2Hook
You’ve wondered about those “Easy2Hook” fishing hooks. Do they really work? How does one tie one on? This just bout eliminates any obstacle for using the Easy2Hook fishing hooks. Plus there is a new way of tying on the Easy2Hook ! Don’t worry, it’s still easy and in the video!
Check it out…. We’ve got ’em for sale, right here at Native Paddler Just click here for more info and to purchase
Woah! The XFish “Recon” Goes Beyond a SUF Kayak!
Kayak reviews are always fun and the XFish “Recon” review is NO exception! The XFISH is a hybrid blend of a standup fishing kayak but adds a great sit down factor as well! The fiberglass XFISH series are pretty mean fishing machines. Lets face it, we all know that kayak fishing can get uncomfortable when fishing and paddling for long distances. The X Fish Developers made some serious changes to eliminate that discomfort. The 360 degree swivel chair not only makes fishing comfortable, its easier to stand up when you need or want to. Plus, being 18 inches above the water, your fishing visibility improves considerably, as you paddle along or….. WAIT.. is that a trolling motor?
Purists may not like the fact that an optional trolling motor can be used to get you where you’re going but, there are plenty of folks out there, some perhaps with limited mobility that will love the trolling motor feature for getting to your spot.
It’s not just any trolling motor either, its the WATER SNAKE, providing 64 lbs of thrust with a unique steering system located at your side on the seat. Florida Sportsman Magazine called the XFish Recon a “total fishing weapon.”
The XFISH inventors, take pride in its stability in the water and the fact that no detail has been compromised. There are davit rings if you want to keep it at your dock. Handrails for easy climbing aboard, a cooler compartment that holds a 54 gallon Igloo cooler snugly. The battery sits in a custom box with water proof connectors and a switch. Rod holders where you want them.
The 12 foot 39inch beam XFISH Recon holds up to 350 lbs on the deck and is super stable and hard to tip, even if standing on the edge. It only draws 4 inches even fully weighted. Its got to be the most innovative comfortable fishing kayaks out there.
The RECON, decked out sells for $3450 complete and are manufactured in Sarasota Fl. Want one? Contact us! Dealer inquiries welcome!
Visiting? Try These Guided Paddle Tours!
Florida is the home of many majestic and scenic rivers. Your trip to Florida should not be complete without enjoying at least one paddle trip. Some companies excel at getting you on the water and paddling these beautiful spots. One of our favorites is Adventure Outpost located in High Springs Florida just outside of Gainesville. This area is the Springs Heartland of Florida and home to some of Florida’s most loved spring fed rivers. But Adventure Outpost doesn’t limit its tours just to North Florida Rivers, Adventure Outpost schedules guided trips on over 40 rivers in Florida.
If you’ve been dying to see a manatee, some of the winter trips Adventure Outpost has planned will leave the guesswork out of your dream. Florida springs in the winter are regularly inundated with scores of Manatees, and AO will find the right spring to paddle where you will definitely have encounters.
Hanker a romantic moonlight trip? Every full moon Adventure Outpost plans at least one night trip to enjoy spectacular paddling on the Santa Fe by moonlight.
History Paddle Tours let you explore the history and prehistory of some of North Florida’s most scenic and remote rivers. These tours, and many of the trips by Adventure Outpost are Led by Lars Anderson a local history writer, naturalist, and experienced paddle guide.
For more information, click their logo above and go visit their site. I’m sure you will find a gentle paddling adventure that will make your Florida visit special!
Must have been one heck of a jagged wreck wreck down there because we kept breaking off tackle left and right. We landed a nice 10 pound Red Grouper and went back for more. The next vicious hit was met, once again, with a slack line.
“Damn” said Ed, my fishing pardner, that was the last grouper hook. “NO WAY” I said back at him, rummaging through the tackle box.
“Whats wrong with these?” I ask holding up a package 5/0 circle hooks.
“Oh.. those are those Easy2Hook things.. somebody gave ’em to me”
“SOOO? lets try ’em!” We read the package. ‘Loop Wrap Pull’ is all it says. Oookay… I loop, I wrap 4 times counter clockwise, and am amazed as the 30lb mono slips right through the open eye. I pull. Hard. The line holds”
We look at each other incredulously sharing the same thought: that’s all there is to it? I yank a few more times just to be sure and bait up, cast and hook a ‘nother one. Ed? He’s now looping wrapping and pulling too!
We spent the rest of the day in anglers bliss catching more than fishing. It was heaven. I asked him.. hey.. where can you buy these hooks.. he says.. I donno… some girl gave em to me… paddle gal i think…
So.. here ya are at the paddle gals site! Get your Easy2Hook no knot fish hooks while you’re here! Click here
Product testing has got to be one of the best parts of publishing! Specially when the product is a kayak. Not just any kayak either… a new Standup Fishing Kayak: The Diablo Adios, manufactured in Texas by Diablo Paddlesports.
Derick Burgos from Phatfish Kayak Charters graciously allowed me to use his 12’5″ Diablo “Adios” on our recent fishing excursion in Tampa Bay. Derick fishes for Team Diablo, and also Team Slot Limit Radio as well. Derick is well deserving of his Diablo sponsorship, He’s a champ kayak angler.
Derick’s angling partner Shawn Neurath, also fishes on the Diablo Kayak Team and joined us for a 7 AM launch from Gandy Blvd across from the power plant.
My first thought was WOW it’s RED! Fitting color for the devil kayak. The Diablo Stand up Fishing Kayaks are made from ABS not rotomolded polyethylene. It’s actually a two part thermoformed body and has a much glossier finish, looking a lot like fiberglass. The extra width stands out immediately. Non-slip grippers are applied in the standing area. A strap attached to the front of the cockpit allows you to pull yourself right up when you are ready to sight fish. The Adios is the first of two Diablo Stand up Fishing craft. The newest version is the 10’5″ “Chupacabra.” The Chupacabra will appeal to smaller anglers and it appears well appointed just like the Adios.
I’ve been kayak angling for years in my trusty Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120. But one thing is for sure, I don’t try to stand up in it. I just cant make the transition from being seated low to standing up, and as stable as my Tarpon is when seated, It is just too narrow to expect the same stability when standing.
The Diablo makes it easy. You just grab the strap and you’re up. If you fish from a chair like the one that Derick provided me, you don’t even need to grab the strap at all. Once standing, it’s kind of amazing how comfortable it feels. The non skid area is at least 18 inches so its not like you have to stand in one spot. you can literally move around a bit. The view “up there” , as in the fish spying view, is fantastic. Plus, you can easily either paddle or pole yourself about. If you fly fish, you’ll love the Diablo series.
It was surprisingly nimble. With the stability that Diablo has built in you’d think there has to be some kind of tradeoff. There is, but its worth it in my opinion. Its not quite as light on it’s feet as a rotomolded boat, but the quality of this boat stands out immediately. We paddled about 4 miles during the course of the day and there were no issues with maneuvering or tracking. It might have taken a bit more power in the stroke but glide factor was fantastic. It’s such a slick finish and moves easily through the water.
Coming in from Weedon Island we had a stiff breeze at our back blowing us across to our vehicles. I stood up the whole way and the wind just blew me through the waves. I corrected my course occasionally with a paddle stroke here or there but it felt like I was a sailboat and I was the sail! Talk about fun! Sort of reminded me of that scene from Titanic, arms raised wind blowing and wanting to yell “king of the world” or something!
I loved the Diablo Adios. It had great fishing features, big foot braces, rod holders, a very roomy forward dry hatch, and a perfect sized rear well for storing gear. It was stable beyond belief, a dry boat too. The scupper holes are recessed and not much water comes through them into the boat.
Thanks so much to Derick from Phatfish Kayak Charters and Captain Shawn from Mission Fishin’ Charters for showing me a great time and letting me try out the Diablo Adios. The actual fishing story, I’ll tell another time. But if you are hankering to go fishing, with a couple of REAL pro anglers, call Phatfish or Mission Fishin! links are above!
Had a great catch lately? Or a great catch ever? Florida Sportsman Magazine will put you on the cover and send you a framed copy. Really! Visit this link to Florida Sportsman Magazine, upload your favorite fishing photo of yourself, and you’ll get a magazine cover for your wall. You can even customize it.
Talk about a conversation piece! Makes a great gift too. What fun! You know you want to tell that fishing story again, about the one that didn’t get away! Now you’ll have plenty of excuses!