Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt

Easter is a holiday that I usually spend with family. This year will be no different. This year, dinner is at Nana's house at 4:00pm which leaves the entire day for what every kid loves... Easter Egg Hunting. But this year, the Easter Eggs I'll be looking for are copper in color, have a slight hue of blue on their tail, and a spot or two above the blue.

Yes, You're right....redfish.

The venue will be Fort Desoto, early in the morning. And this time, I'll have photos since my photographer friend will be going along.

According to Free Tide Tables there will be an all day incoming tide, which is good. We'll be launching kayaks around 8:30 and will be able to access the entire park. I'm furiously looking at the maps to figure out the best spots to hit.

Will they be in the oyster bars?

Will they be in the grass?

Will they be deep or shallow?

I'm loaded up on crab flies, Bang Bang Shrimp flies and Clousers of various color schemes.

Last year, there was no fishing. Maybe I can make up for it this year....

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's All In The Name

I've recently been thinking about naming the kayak. Ancient nautical lore dictates that an unnamed water craft, whether powered by oar, sail or motor is unlucky if not named and we all know I don't need any part of that. I've also heard that you're supposed to give a boat a girls name, but I think we're going to steer clear of that. They name hurricanes after women.... this is where you, the reader, comes in.

I'm looking for a name fitting for this boat....something humorous, something short. There's not a lot of stern to adorn with a name.

Here are the factors to consider -

It's lime green

I'm a fat bald guy

I dig the outdoors and fly fishing/fly tying

I don't wear your typical Orvis gear/pastel sun shirt and pleated Dockers. I'm more of a skull with flames shooting out the eye sockets long sleeve or Miami Ink shirt.

So here's the deal....either leave a comment or follow me on Twitter and tweet this "I'm going to name @ABadbackcast 's kayak __________" We'll vote on the winner weekdays on Twitter. Final day of voting with be 4/9/2010

One winner will get a nice Bill Jackson's fly box full of hand tied by yours truly flies and some other miscellaneous swag....

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Maiden Voyage

Yesterday was the maiden voyage with the new yak. What one needs to realize is the difficulty of getting a 12 foot 60 lb boat out of my small apartment, down the stairs, out the the parking lot, and loaded onto the car. Now you might say, "60 lbs? I can haul that around with one hand", which is what I thought but, up and down the stairs is the hardest part...and the way my body feels today, I should make a workout video like "If you've got a've got a gym", but instead "If you've got a kayak, you've got a gym." Even with the WheelEez, it was tough. Then getting the boat up on top of the car and onto the foam blocks and strapping it down. Of course, getting the boat off of the car and into the water takes a bit of gumption least there are no stairs. You've really got to love doing this if it requires this much effort. I really think that Malibu should include Beth Phoenix or Randy Orton with the purchase of any kayak larger than the Mini-X.

There was no swanky send champagne bottle across the cheering crowds (except for the one guy giving the "get the hell out of the way, I'm trying to launch my boat" cheer)

As you know, I like to travel light when I'm fishing. So, outside of the 60 lb kayak, I've found that I take even less than if I was wading. In the center console, I have a flybox, leader material, scissors, multitool, watertight dry box with camera,keys, cell phone and smokies, as well as a few jigs with jigheads, chopped shrimp for chum, and a first aid kit. Other items would include a PFD (Personal Floatation Device), spinning rig, and fly rod....ok ok...maybe I'm taking more stuff than normal, but it just seems like less....what I'm trying to say here is, you won't see me out there with a kayak that has fish finders, GPS, a poling platform, outriggers, bimini top and a trolling motor. If I wanted that, I'd just go get a flats boat.

Now to the fishing part.

After getting the kayak into the water, I found it to be super stable and handle well. The V hull really cuts through the chop and defies the wind for the most part.

One thing that I learned - rig up your fly rod before launching because it's a huge pain to try to do this in the boat.

After drifting across the flat with the wind blowing east to west, and the current running west to east while rigging up, I found myself on a deep grass flat (4-5 feet deep) with sand pot holes pock marking the area. I tied on a Crystal Shrimp and cast to a pot hole about 20 feet away. The fly hit the water and as I was stripping like crazy to get the slack out, WHAM! Fish on....a nice 12 inch spotted seatrout...first cast. Now, a 12 inch trout isn't gonna introduce you to your backing with an 8 weight, but it's big brother might. My personal best spotted seatrout was 46 inches...a true gator trout by any standards. Was expecting more trout as they usually hang out in large groups, but only got one more on the day. Again, inexplicably, I didn't take the camera out....

I was really amazed at how much water you can cover. In 5 hours, the distance traveled was about 100 times more than I could have done if I was wading for 8 hours.

After loading and unloading after paddling all day, I'm wiped out, as you might add insult to injury, I'm the recipient of a really bad sunburn on my legs from the knees down. I was wearing board shorts, long sleeve skull shirt, fishing hat and buff. Looks like I need to invest in some Bullfrog 80 SPF.

Friday, March 26, 2010

New Look Backcast

Do what do you think of the new color scheme and logo? Do you hate it? Do you love it? Is it just ok?

Well, Kyle Perkins (@kyleindenver)from Compleat Thought and his team of designers worked round the clock, meeting the demands of yours truly, to come up with a logo for this here blog. Do I think it's as cool as some of the other logo's out there? No. I think it's cooler. Now, I can slap that logo on everything....t-shirts, hats, stickers, DVD's, CD-ROM's.....or nothing at all. BTW, Before you get perturbed at this egotistical rant, I'm just kidding.

In other news, I picked up the kayak yesterday and let me tell you, it's even nicer than I thought it would be. One movie quote that won't find it's way in here would be "We're gonna need a bigger boat." This kayak is a true battlewagon that would be at home on Battleship Row. After wrestling it off of the car, up the stairs and into my apartment (scaring Lacy in the process)I found it to be too big for where I had planned to store it. After much playing with my new toy, I found that it will fit ALL of my camping and fishing gear at the same time with room to spare. I'm glad that I didn't opt for the Stealth 14, which is 2 feet longer. I think it's safe to say that one of those canoe rollers is certainly a must have. Now I just need to find and install a fly rod holder.

If you're looking at kayaks, give Malibu Kayaks a look.

Tomorrow is the maiden voyage. Will be hitting the nice grass flats around Fred Howard Park with my buddy Keith.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy Blogiversary To Me

Sing it with me now....

I'm kidding of course....but today really does mark one year that I've been writing this blog.

Much to your chagrin... right?

It's a big deal to me. This is one of the things that keeps me sane and focused.

To celebrate, I'll be picking up my new kayak and spending tomorrow rigging it up in preparation for it's maiden voyage on Saturday. I hope I get the Fetha-Styx decals from Evan before then. If anyone has blog or gear stickers that you'd like to see me put on the new kayak, give me a shout!

I've been on some great outdoor trips this last year, and here's to going on even more!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hot Products and Kayak D-Day

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you're sure to know that when I like a product, I blather about it incessantly until you're tired of hearing about it. I did this with the Teva's...the William Joseph Stripping Basket...and the always popular Kelty Kestrel bag. Brown Lures also comes to mind as a product that I like.

I'm sure it'll be the same with Malibu Kayaks

As you know, I'll be picking up my kayak tomorrow, (which is a Malibu Stealth 12) making 3/25/2010 essentially Kayak D-Day. Can you tell that I'm excited about it? Can ya? Really?

Now...lets get something straight here. I don't work for Malibu. I'm just passing along the info to you if you're interested in getting a kayak for fishing...which is what Malibu Kayaks are made and diving.

I looked at a lot of other fishing kayaks, all of them cost less than the Stealth. There are some nice boats, but the Stealth 12 had all of the features that I was looking for, like a center/close at hand livewell storage bin, large gator hatch, lots of storage space to be able to take it kayak camping, rod holders and the whole bit. Being 33 inches wide offers quite a bit of stability without being so wide that you can't get anywhere in it.

As you know, I embrace simplicity when it comes to gear. The only things I need to add to it would be a crate and a few fly rod holders. There are extra things that you can attach to it...pretty much everything under the sun.... such as a sail, poling platform, outriggers, dashboard mounts for electronics and rudder foot pedals. I don't need any of that stuff, but it's nice to be able to have those options.

Having a kayak gives me the freedom to fish just about anywhere, and I can launch it from just about anywhere as well. Can also fit my camping gear into it....

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First Day of Spring

Yesterday was the first day of spring and the weather cooperated likewise. Not a cloud in the sky and with the air temperature around 70 degrees F, it was a beautiful day to be outside. Lacy and I went to Bellaire Causeway. The big tide was about halfway in when we arrived. Water temperature was chilly, but not so cold that you couldn't get in. I was using a few light colored deceivers but switched to a weighted double bunny as the swift current wouldn't let the fly get down.

For some reason, I felt like I was fighting the rod....or the rod was fighting me. The line just felt SOOO heavy, like it was made of lead. Every forward cast and backcast just seemed to take a maximum of effort to get the line to go anywhere. Could only get it out to the running line before I would start losing control over it. Wind wasn't a factor...and I was only standing in knee deep water. My arm was getting really tired after about an hour, so I switched it up to the spinning rig and shrimp....this only succeeded in feeding the pinfish.

For some reason unknown to me, I didn't take one photo on such a pretty day.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Adventures In Kayak Shopping

I've been kayak shopping the last few weeks. Like fly fishing, there is a lot of research to do. I've spoken to many folks who fish from kayaks and got their opinions on size, type, prices ect....All I'm looking for is a sit on top style fishing kayak with plenty of storage that I can get to while on the water, a stable boat to be able to stand up in, yet not so wide that I have to wear myself out just paddling across the flat and something light enough that I can haul around myself....all without getting soaked, as it were, on price.

Being the geek that I am, I've narrowed it down to two boats to have the dishonor of bearing the Bad Backcast name, it just depends on the deal that I can score.

Both are Malibu Kayaks - and I like is the rundown -

The Malibu Stealth 12 is my favorite so far. It offers the storage/livewell compartment right in front of the seat as well as 2 smaller storage areas that make up the casting deck. That's right....casting deck. I can stand up in it. It also has a lot of storage space in the front under the "gator hatch". No trying to cram your camping gear into an 8 inch hatch. Here are the specs:

Length: 12'4"
Weight: 60 lbs
(at beam) 33”
Max. load: 450 lbs.

YES! I'll take one in lime green please. We'll add on a few fly rod holders and be good to go.

The other boat is a Malibu X-Factor which has a lot of the same properties of the Stealth, but at 14.7 feet it seems a bit long for me. I still have to keep in mind that I'll have to store the thing at my apartment....and space is at a premium there as it is.

Now I just need to come up with a name for it - TURD seems appropriate.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Great Gear Pile In The Sky

I have a confession to make - Two broken fly rods in 2 years - that in itself is bad enough, but what really adds insult to injured pride is the fact that I've kept the shattered fiberglass pieces. I also keep failed attempts of flies that I've tried to tie (when tying a new pattern, often times, the first go looks like a mess of head cement, feathers, bucktail and thread) in the great ghosts of failed flies box.


I have no idea, but there they sit, propped up in the corner like some sort of pitiful broken dreams and long lost Halcyon days of a glorious past.

One time, I actually grabbed one of the broken rods in the dark at 5 am by mistake and didn't discover the error until I had reached my fishing destination, an hour away from my home, all the while watching snook bust greenbacks on the surface just mere inches from where I was standing. They might as well have been a million miles away as I stood there with a fly box full of perfect sized, tied the night before EP greenback imitations that were sure to draw strikes on every cast.

I can distinctly remember breaking each one - and I wish I could say their last gasp was fighting a trophy redfish or crafty snook, but alas, no such story exists for these piles of fiberglass shards. Both were broken on a bad backcast (hence the name of my blog).

The first rod snapped was an Okuma, and the debate about if I had been using a "quality" rod or not has been closed for good - same thing would have happened if I was using a G.Loomis or a Sage, bottom line....anyway, I was fishing along a seawall on an early spring day on a rising tide, looking for snook amongst the boat docks at Demens Landing in St Petersburg, not the best place to be using a fly rod, each cast requiring the precision of Peyton Manning passing to Reggie Wayne amidst triple coverage, threading the needle between a maze of flag poles, palm trees, sailboat masts and people. I was side arming a cast in an attempt to sling the fly under a dock with good current running past it...a sure snook hangout. The fly careened off the front of the dock, bouncing harmlessly into the water short of the target. The next cast snagged a rock behind me, pulling the line tight and forcing the rod down against the corner of the seawall now turned anvil. SNAP! NOOOOOOO!!!!
And the real icing on the cake was the guy drifting by on his boat deciding to tell me while I'm trying to make sense of my line and shattered gear, that my backcast was too low. I wanted to jump into the water and yank him off of his little skiff.

The second rod, identical to the first one....and this is no knock on Okuma (except, a certain saltwater angler thinks there should be a backcast indicator on these rods much like the back up indicator on a new Lexus). My fishing partner and I were wading a back country lagoon replete with oyster bars and a steep drop off about a foot away from the mangrove prop roots. She was off to my right a bit (I'm right handed), so I adjusted my casting to keep from giving her any new piercings...yep, right into a solitary mangrove branch that seemed to be reaching out for my speeding backcast and on the forecast, SNAP!!! The flying line stalling out short of the target like a failed Air Force proving ground victim with a short piece of mangrove branch and attached leaves crashing into the water, leaving ripples on the smooth waters' surface and ending the nice fishing expedition for the day.

I've since improved my casting and I'm a bit more observant while fishing around the obstacles found where I like to fish.....even though I still hang one in a tree once in a while.....

This is what it's all about...

....minus the boats and the vented sun shirts.....

Slam by WorldANGLING fly fishing South Florida for Permit, Bonefish, Tarpon, Snook, and Redfish from WorldANGLING on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tarpon Flies

I have more but Blogger was having issues....

Lacy and the Big Screen

Among all of the things to consider while putting together a film, locations, scheduling, transportation, weather, soundtrack, ect. one of the most difficult things so far is how to get Lacy involved....

She's such a big part of my life and to leave her out would not be an honest representation.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Anniversary Time & Mo Better Things

As my one year anniversary as a blogger approaches (March, 25th), I reflect back over the last year to the highlights, the low lights, and things that have meant a lot to me. I feel as if I've not only grown as a writer, but as a fisherman, backpacker, fly tyer, and photographer, but "grown" the blog from nothing to a fairly respective readership within the fly fishing community has helped me obtain sponsors and noteworthy guests. Networking and meeting other passionate fly fishers, writers and outdoorsey types has been a profound reason for this growth, and I can only hope to improve upon what I've already learned. I thank those who have helped in this respect. Also, please forgive me for deleting a lot of posts. For reasons that I'm sure you'd understand, they had to go. It's strange how you lose just about everything and everyone that you have in your life, yet life smiles on you that reason to live...that burning passion. Hacking yourself to bloody pieces and surviving gives you a certain perspective that most folks wouldn't understand....let alone, be able to recover from. Ghosts of past failures only shape what we are to become. Where we expected to be and what fates black-toothed grin gives us can be two entirely different things.

Seems like I fished A LOT more last year....of course, living 5 minutes away from a dozen fishing spots helps. But looking back, I was fishing at least 3 days a week. Then "The Incident" happened right in the middle of summer. By the time I had recovered enough mentally to get back to fishing, I had moved on to unfamiliar fishing waters....then the cold wisps of winter gripped Florida in an icy grip. The few times on the water in the last 7 months have meant a lot to me, but I crave more....Spring is coming, and so are hungry fish.

The blog will be getting a makeover. With a new logo and merchandise (c'mon...who doesn't want A Bad Backcast hat or shirt) and a possible shift of hosting, I'll be able to do mo better things.

Another thing I'm in the process of is finding a kayak. I've come to the realization that as a wading angler only, I limit not only fishing opportunities, but photo and writing opportunities as well. The kayak will give me a chance to get to some spots that I couldn't get to before. I can't tell you how many times Mama and I looked across the channel or area and said "Too bad we can't get over there." Having the ability to cover more water will be great...and more exciting for you too because it'll give the film crew something else to shoot besides the fat, bald guy wading around, dodging sting rays and sharks, getting skunked....

There....I said it. Film crew. Yes. Yours truly will be followed around and videoed, the subject of a new video series coming to DVD or TV or Youtube near you....why would anyone want to film the fat bald guy? Dunno. Has something to do with a unique style, not looking or acting like any of the other fly fishing folks wearing the same clothes or listening to the same music.....

So stay tuned - Mo Better things are coming.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fly Fishing Film Tour - Tampa Stop

Well....Monday is the day and mum's the word. Haven't been able to find anyone to go with I might sit this one out.

Here is the info if you're interested:

Tampa Pitcher Show

Tickets can be bought on the website or locally at the Tampa Angler Flyshop

Monday, March 8, 2010

Doors Open: 6:30 PM
Show Starts: 7:00 PM

14416 Dale Mabry Hwy
Tampa, FL 33618

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Gas & Tan Station Myth Laid To Rest

After years of hearing stories about and looking for the always elusive Gas & Tan convenience store, I have actually tracked one Alabama no less. Where else can you get gas, pick up a lottery ticket and a six pack, and get 30 minutes in the tanning bed? Talk about one stop shopping...

In my local area, we have Dodge's Chicken Store, which is a gas station that has awesome food like pizza on a stick, JoJo's (which are some sort of fried potato) chicken and biscuits and fried gizzards (which are pretty damn good). When you pull up to get gas, the cashier cheerfully announces "Welcome to Dodge's Chicken Store...You're ready for a fill!"

One can only imagine what they might announce when you pull up to the Gas & they have specials like "Buy $20 in gas and a car wash and receive a free 30 minutes in the tanning bed"?

I need to know......

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Difference Between Coffee and Colored Water

Lacy and I went camping with The Eversoles over the weekend. The weather was cold (36 degrees IS cold for Florida)and rainy. Poor Lacy was even shivering, so I snuggled her into my sleeping bag to warm her up. She slept ALL day after we got home.

The Eversoles have been my camping buds over the last few years. They were there for me big time after "the incident". April would be the perfect sit-com wife as she's very sassy and outspoken. Her husband, Kevin is very quiet and reserved, but isn't short of coming up with a zinger. We always have fun, humorous, spirited debates about everything from the huge camping kitchen and all of the gear that they bring, to the "inverted canoe incident" or "leaving in the middle of the night" that we won't mention right now.

This time, one of the subjects of debate was coffee or, for lack of a better term, colored water, which is what I call coffee that you can't taste....

Now, you have to understand that in order to not be at the mercy of other people's coffee when I do go with other people, I take along my backpacking stove, boiling container and French Press. For some reason, I go to bed early and get up early. I usually get up when it's still dark, brush my teeth, and start the coffee. To me, Folgers, Maxwell House and Chock Full O Nuts isn't real coffee. An "average" coffee would be 8 O'clock Bean Coffee and a top notch would be organic free trade dark roast that you'd get at a health food store. I guess my exposure to real coffee overseas means that I prefer espresso....also, powdered creamer doesn't count. I like to go with either soy milk or at least regular whole milk.

Back to this weekend.....

After making a light French Press full of coffee since there were other people having some, I used 4 scoops for a 32 oz pot full. April was the only one making a face about "Blah....this is like tar...this is like espresso". The boys thought it was fine. I thought it was fine. It was mentioned that, although Kevin doesn't drink the stuff, he does make it. I asked him how much he puts in and how much he makes for her. He said one scoop for 4-6 cups. WHAT? No wonder she doesn't like real coffee. I won't rag on her too hard because out of the Paula Dean cooking camping kitchen ya'all, came some really scrumptious marinated steaks replete with goat cheese, mushrooms and onions....I'm sure there was butter in there somewhere....YUM!