Fishgator – New York Fishing
Reports and Reviews for New York Fishing
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That’s right… err, Knot Right! Chad Hoover and Heliconia Press have released the full pilot episode and shared it with Kayak Angler Magazine. Knot Right Kayak Fishing is set for its NBC Sports television premiere on 30 March at 1pm Eastern / 10am Pacific time. You may watch this full episode before it airs, here…

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Over the last few years, we here at Fishgator have often pointed to Chad Hoover (aka Knot Right) and his website, Kayak Bass Fishing as outstanding resources within the kayak fishing community.  Chad has long been recognized for his down-to-Earth expertise delivered by  off-the-wall humor.  His talent is now gaining attention in the broader outdoor sports world, and this combined with Chad’s preparation and hard work has resulted in the development of Knot Right Kayak fishing Show on NBC Sports Outdoors.  Chad’s new television show will premier this Spring on Friday, 30 March at 1pm.  Hang onto your fishing rods boys and girls.  Kayak fishing is about to get a whole lot more popular! This trailer gives us a brief teaser.  We CAN’T WAIT!

While you’re waiting for the premier of the Knot Right Kayak Fishing show, you should check out some of the online episodes of Kayak Bass Fishing TV.

Master cigar roller, Amadeo Bonillo

As of late, I’ve come to appreciate a good cigar now and then, and have found that an occasional cigar out on the water can make a day of kayak fishing even better, regardless of whether the fish are biting. This is especially so while fishing in my home waters here in the Finger Lakes. While Western New York has some great fishing, one of the things I’ve found lacking is a source of premium cigars. That is, until I stumbled upon the Santiago Cigar Factory in Rochester, NY.

Master cigar roller, Amadeo Bonillo

Master roller,, Amadeo Bonillo, finishing some fine cigars at the Santiago Cigar Factory in Rochester, NY

That’s right, a genuine hand rolled cigar factory nestled at 335 East street, where I had the great pleasure to meet the owner, Gary Liotta, and got to watch master roller Amadeo Bonilla putting the finishing touches on some fine cigars he had just rolled and pressed. Gary was extremely friendly and informative. Far from being an aficionado, I’m a relative newcomer to the enjoyment of cigars, but generally prefer full-bodied cigars and believe I can appreciate a quality smoke. Gary suggested that I try the Santiago Maduro Fuerte, and it did not disappoint. More than that, it was simply the best cigar I had ever had. I enjoyed the cigar in the factory’s smoking lounge while chatting with Gary, his staff, and other patrons. I found the Maduro Fuerte to be full bodied, complex, and yet lacking the harshness of other full bodied maduro cigars that I’ve had. It is obvious that much time and care was invested in creating the perfect blend of tobaccos to create this masterpiece. I look forward to enjoying this cigar on the water along with other fine cigars that the Santiago Cigar Factory has to offer.

The Rochester and Finger Lakes Region has a growing wine and micro-brewing industry and I believe that the Santiago Cigar Factory is an outstanding accompaniment. I will be sure to report on my observations once I have the chance to try their master rolled cigars out on the water!

Kodak ZX3 PlaySport

Kodak ZX3 PlaySport

Compact, rugged, simple to use Kodak ZX3 PlaySport is ideal for catch, photograph, and release kayak fishing. Team Fishgator is using this 1080 HD Pocket Video Camera to quickly and reliably record our catches for the Kayak Wars online fishing tournament.

Kevin and I ordered two ZX3 PlaySport 1080 HD video cameras (~$120) in order to bring you the very best of our exploits in fishing here on Fishgator. The basic facts: It is waterproof, durable, takes 1080 HD video and 5mp still images. They arrived last Friday. I’ll let Kevin speak for himself, but after taking it out kayak fishing in sub-freezing temperatures and getting it covered in fish slime, I am VERY happy with its performance. In fact, I believe it to be an ideal camera for kayak fishing, and especially for catch, photograph, and release purposes. Here’s what I like about it the most:

-It’s easy to turn on and fast powering up. Push the power button, two seconds later the lcd is fully on, click, and you’re recording video or taking stills of your most recent catch. One of my pet peeves about handheld electronic gadgets including many digital cameras is having to press and hold a button, then wait for what seems like an eternity before I am able to use the device. Not so with the Kodak PlaySport.

-Ergonomics and simplicity of use are way better than a traditionally configured cameras in my opinion. The Kodak PlaySport is constructed very well and is small, but with big buttons. There aren’t a lot of exposure options, but what options there are are intuitive and very quick to change and the camera handles both bright and low light conditions very well. The button to start or stop recording is prominent and easy to find even in the dark and with wet hands. It is also very easy to switch between taking videos at different resolutions, and still images. Kayak anglers often take photos or videos while holding a fish or paddle in one hand and the camera in the other. The Kodak ZX3 PlaySport is VERY easy to use at most any hand held angle.

Steelhead trout photo taken by Kodak ZX3 PlaySport

My first still image taken on the water with the Kodak ZX3 PlaySport. Despite sub-freezing temperatures (mid to upper 20 degrees Fahrenheit), glaring sunlight, and a difficult overhead one handed shot, I was able to quickly photograph and release this steelhead trout.

-Remote (accessory costs ~$13). We don’t have our remotes yet, but I can’t wait to get one so I can have my camera fixed in place and shoot videos or pics without having to clamber all over my kayak to set the timer on my camera.

-Low cost. If I were to lose the PlaySport overboard, I won’t cry too much (like I did when I lost my Canon D10 last year…).

Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black)

I used the $330 Canon D10 for over a year, and to be honest, It took so-so images and not very good video. It was also very awkward to use and change settings. I’ve also used the Fujifilm Finepix Z33WP (~$180) and I think it takes just as good of images and video as the Canon D10 for nearly half the price. Unfortunately, the buttons are small on the Z33WP and not terribly conducive to being fiddled with by fish-slime covered wet hands.

I’m not bothered by the difference in rated waterproof depth – 10ft for the Kodak PlaySport vs. up to 30ft in the Canon D10. I’m not going deep diving with my fishing camera. I guess it’s become apparent to me that I need a camera to take fast pics of fish and good video at times to share online and I will probably never print out any photos I take with my kayak fishing camera.

After only having the Kodak PlaySport for a few days, my enthusiastic review here must be taken as initial impressions. However, barring any unforeseen problems, I believe it is ideally suited for kayak anglers who practice catch, photo, and release fishing and need a rugged waterproof camera that is fast and simple to use. The Kodak ZX3 PlaySport will definitely help to minimize the time fish are out of the water while being photographed.

Kayaks in the snow

For those of us living in temperate northern climates, fishing kayaks should be given special consideration when storing them for the winter.  In particular, sit on top kayaks have features that might make them more susceptible to damage from freezing.  Here are some tips and things to consider when you are winterizing your fishing kayak.

Kayaks in the snow

My desire to fish right up to the arrival of Old Man Winter led to my sit on top fishing kayak getting caught out in a rain that quickly turned to snow. Luckily the next day there was a brief thaw that allowed me to get my kayak properly prepared and stored away and ready for its cold season slumber.

Kayaks are waterproof, so people tend to think that they can take whatever mother nature dishes out while they are stored outdoors.  Not so.  Freezing temps makes plastic very brittle and any water collected in tight spaces will freeze and could actually cause cracks.

Sit on top kayaks, particularly those set up for kayak fishing, are much more susceptible to damage from freezing because there are extra spaces and compartments in which water can collect and freeze, and often additional equipment and features that can also be damaged.

Ideally, you should store your kayaks someplace indoors in a drier and warmer location like a shed, basement or garage.  Not everybody has the ability to do this, so here are some steps you can take to protect your kayaks when stored outside for the winter.

-Remove all fishing equipment and electronics.  The constant cooling and warming early and late winter combined with moisture in the air can wreak havoc on metal parts and electronics that are susceptible to corrosion.

-Never leave batteries stored uncharged for long periods of time in freezing weather.

-If possible, remove transducer cables prior to cold weather because wire insulation can become brittle and crack when moved around.  Also, rodents like to chew on wiring.

-Store your kayak up on an elevated  rack or flat surface.  Even when cold, your kayak can still deform if left long-term stored on an uneven surface.  I’ve known friends who have stored their kayaks on the ground only to discover that their kayak had been sitting in a block of ice or had become the home for some rodent or other animal.

-Store your kayak upside-down goes for sit on top kayaks too.  You might think that water would run right out through the scuppers, but what happens more often than not (see photo above…) is that snow collects in the wells, then freezes and blocks the scuppers preventing water from draining out.  Also, flush mount rod holders can fill up with water, freeze, and crack the plastic.

-I recommend removing the scupper plugs from sit on tops even when they are stored upside down for the winter.  With they plugs in, it makes a nice collecting area for water which can freeze, expand, and cause cracks.

-Be careful moving kayaks and opening hatches in freezing weather.  Plastic becomes much more brittle and can snap much easier.  Even the slightest amount of water condensing and freezing around hatch seals can cause problems.  I once learned the hard way when I unthinkingly forced open a hatch late winter when it was still freezing temps and tore a foam-rubber seal.

-Remove all fabric and padding from your kayak such as seats, PFDs, and cushions and store them indoors.  Rodents love to chew on cloth and foam padding and use them for building nests.

-If you take the above precautions, you may not really need to cover your kayak with a waterproof, but it might be something to consider if you live in a place where their is still plenty of sunshine during the winter, in which case you might want to cover your kayak to prevent damage from ultra-violet radiation. I’m not a big fan of putting covers on my kayaks because I’ve found that they can cause as much damage as you are trying to prevent when they collapse under the weight of water or cause abrasions due to flapping in the wind.  Other alternatives might be to store your kayak in a shaded area or to apply a UV protection product such as spray-on 303 Protectant.  Because I know live in an area with fewer sunny days that Seattle Washington, I have not used this product, but friends who kayak fish in sunnier climates say it works great and gives your stuff protection from solar radiation at SPF 40.

Just as when quarry workers used to use the power of freezing water to cleave large blocks of stone, your kayak doesn’t have a chance should water collect and freeze in a tight space such as a scupper hole.  Quarry workers would drill holes in rock then fill them with water over the winter.  The water would freeze and expand and actually split the rock along carefully measured lines of drilled holes.  In this manner, they were able to use the power of nature to make very symmetrical blocks of stone.  Imagine what it could do to your kayak’s brittle plastic!

If you have any tips for storing your kayak over the winter, you are welcome to share them with us here on Fishgator.