Apr 262017

After the winter from H E double hockey sticks, we are ready for the 2017 fishing season to get started. The second wettest winter in the past one hundred years. When you talk about record rain and snow in the Pacific Northwest, you are talking about a lot of water. If you’re going to complain about the weather, the PacNW is not the place to be living, but enough is enough. Even though this statement may bring six more weeks of winter, we here at watermanatwork.com are going out on a limb and saying that the worst of the 2016-17 winter is behind us and we are going fishing this weekend. Kayak is on standby and we’re ready to go if the wind dies down in a couple days.

Kayak on standby for the 2017 fishing season

We got the kayaks out, but, as you can see in the photo, we got the mower out as well. All this rain is really making the grass grow. Grass has to be growing about an inch a day, but since we have mostly weeds, it’s two or three inches a day. Soon as it dries out, we got 6-12″ of grass to cut.

We are ready and raring to go smallmouth bass fishing and we think the day is coming soon…

Apr 142017

Kayak fishing has come a long way since we first started kayak fishing in 1998. My friend and surfing buddy, Mike Casinelli and I started kayak fishing in 1997 or 1998, hard to remember, but the first photos and videos we have of kayak fishing are from 1998. I’ve been going through some old photos and found these pictures from June 1998. We’d probably had been out a couple times before that without camera gear and minimal fishing gear until we got an idea of how the somewhat tipsy Dagger Cayman kayaks were going to work out on the open ocean. We had a good deal of ocean experience with different watercraft, so we were mostly trying to figure out how to catch fish from a kayak. There weren’t too many guys kayak fishing in those days, so we had to figure out a lot of the stuff on our own. We loved being out on the ocean, kayak was a new way to spend time on the water when the surf was flat, we were stoked about that, and the cost of kayak fishing was peanuts compared to even the smallest boat, that was a big plus as well.

Kayak fishing off Oceanside, CA June 1998

We started out not really knowing what we needed for a full day out on the kayaks, but started to get it dialed in the more we went fishing. In the photo above, you can tell we must have only been a few trips in because of the gear we’ve got. We dumped the landing nets pretty quickly and used started using gaffs instead. I’ve got my entire tackle box strapped behind my seat, that would soon devolve to about a half dozen lures and a few spare hooks and sinkers. The old school burlap fish bag was good for boats, but we started using stringers on the kayaks. When we went through the surf to launch, we didn’t take anything that didn’t fit through the hatch and below deck.

Ron Barbish kayak fishing off Oceanside, CA June 1998

On this trip, we were fishing a couple miles off Oceanside, CA, probably around a couple artificial fishing reefs off Oceanside Harbor. We didn’t have a GPS, but we fished near a commercial party boat which usually fished the artificial reefs. You never know what kind of fish you’ll run into around the reefs, this time out we ran into a lot of barracuda. Not great eating fish, but a lot of fun to catch and some of them were pretty good sized fish. The best way to catch the barracuda was by trolling around the reefs. If you trolled too slow, you wouldn’t get any bites. As soon as you sped up, the fish would bite immediately. When the wind came up, trolling at a pace fast enough to get the barracuda to bite was a good bit of paddling.

Mike Casinelli kayak fishing off Oceanside, CA 1998

The Dagger kayaks were pretty narrow and were a handful to paddle in the ocean with a chunky wind swell going. Even though we were a couple miles out and were doing a lot of heavy duty paddling to troll fast enough to get the fish to bite, we knew we had the afternoon west wind to help us get back to shore.

Mike Casinelli kayak fishing off Oceanside, CA 1998

Here’s Mike trying to unhook a pretty good size barracuda. Barracuda have sharp teeth and are slippery and slimy. With seals and sharks around, having your kayak all slimy and stinky from bringing fish on board was not the best idea, so we tried to unhook the barracudas without bringing them on the kayak.

Going through these old photos of our very first kayak fishing trips has gotten us thinking about the fishing season ahead. We’ve gone through some our camera gear and are starting to get the bass fishing stuff ready to go. If the water warms up and the weather cooperates, we may even get out for the first time next week. We’ll see. After a long, cold, snowy winter, we are really ready to get back out on the water.

Dec 102016

We have posted a new albacore fishing video to the watermanatwork.com website and to YouTube. This video features some wide open albacore fishing aboard the Voyager out of Seaforth Landing in San Diego. The video has non-stop albacore fishing action, the stuff dream offshore fishing trips are made of.

Albacore fishing aboard the Voyager

Click HERE or on the photo above to check out the albacore fishing video on the watermanatwork.com website. Click HERE to watch the video on YouTube. The closed captioning needs to be added, I should have that in the next day or two. There is very little talking in the video, but a lot of hooting and hollering.

We will have more stuff coming up, so keep checking in!

Nov 292016

We get a lot of email asking about which fishing kayak to buy. Most kayak fishing buying questions are answered on the new Fishing Kayak Buyers Guide on the watermanatwork.com website. There are no recommendations on what brand kayak to buy, that’s up the the person buying it. The buyers guide should take you from step one of purchasing a kayak right up to which brand of kayak you want.

Fishing Kayak Buyers Guide from watermanatwork.com

Kayak fishing is not as expensive as owning a boat, but it’s not as cheap as you might think. Buying a fishing kayak is a big first step so it’s a good idea to figure out what you really need to get fishing.

The creative department here at the White Salmon studio is working overtime on the pile of projects that need to be done, so keep checking in!

Oct 262016

It’s a sad day when the kayak fishing season is over, but the time has come to wrap up the 2016 kayak fishing season. With the salmon and steelhead fishing closed on the Columbia River, the only place left to fish for salmon is a local river. They have been catching a few coho salmon, but the river is running high from a lot of rain. We drove by the river to check it out, it was packed with boats. Not into that so we headed to a spot on the Columbia River to try for some smallmouth bass. We wanted to go to another spot, but before we burned a bunch of gas, we wanted to see if the bass were even biting. Never been smallmouth fishing in October, usually we’d be fishing for salmon, so we didn’t know what to expect. The boat launch was unusually quiet for this time of year.

2016 salmon fishing on the Columbia River closed, boat launches are empty

It was overcast, but not very cold and there was no wind. The water temp in the Columbia was about 58-60°F. The water level was pretty high, as you would expect with all the rain we’ve been having, and the water wasn’t perfectly clear, but we were hoping to find a few bass looking for that last big meal before winter.

Late fall smallmouth bass fishing on the Columbia River

Unfortunately, we did not find any smallmouth bass. We did not even get a bite. When you go fishing for salmon or steelhead and you don’t catch anything, that’s part of the deal. Not that unusual. When you go smallmouth bass fishing at a spot where we’ve caught hundreds of fish and don’t get a bite, it’s time to pack it in. Fishing season, and winter in general, always seems to come early, but in reality, we are only talking about a week or two. The salmon fishing on the Columbia River being closed really sucks, but the fishing was not really that good this season anyway. That’s the way fishing is.

The good news is that the dismal PacNW winter is when we get most of our editing work done. We’ve got a lot of kayak fishing video and photos to go through and get them on the watermanatwork.com website and YouTube. We already have a list of projects, so as soon as the kayak gear is packed away for the winter, which will probably cause some alcohol consumption, we will be in the editing room, so stay tuned!

Oct 222016

Since kayak fishing on the Columbia River for salmon and steelhead is no longer an option, we are trying to figure out how we are going to spend the last few kayak fishing weeks of the year. The weather is generally cooler and wetter every day, but as long as the wind isn’t too bad and there isn’t too much rain, there are some fishing opportunities before it’s too cold to fish.

There is only one local Columbia River tributary that is a possibility for more salmon fishing. The late season coho fishing is usually pretty good, but it has not been very good so far this season. All the rain we’ve been having has got the river running high and fast. The water is also pretty dirty from runoff, that does not help the fishing either. On top of that, it’s the only place left to fish for salmon so anybody that wants to go salmon fishing is going to be there. Fifty boats on the Columbia River is one thing, fifty boats on a river that is no wider than twenty yards(18m) wide, is something else altogether different. Throw in kayak fishermen, float tubers and bank fishermen and it doesn’t sound like a fun fishing day.

Fall kayak fishing in the Pacific Northwest

The water in the Columbia River is about 60°F, warm enough to do some smallmouth bass fishing. Usually, the salmon fishing winds up the fishing season, but things are different this year. If the weather cooperates, we may try out the fall bass fishing. Never done it before so I don’t really know what to expect. We might be able to get a couple more fishing trips in before the kayaks are packed up for the year.

Oct 132016

Even though the fishing was not very good the day before, with the salmon season just about over and bad weather on the way, we had to give it one more shot. It may have been the last day of kayak fishing for 2016.

With the fact it mind that it could be the last kayak fishing day of the season, it was no problem getting out on the water before daybreak. The conditions were as good as they could be for this time of year and the water had cleared up from the past rain. Once again, the fishing was not on fire out of the box. It took about a half hour before I got a hookup that came unbuttoned after a few seconds. About an hour later, another hit that didn’t stick. It was starting to feel a lot like the day before. Another half hour later, I was starting to have some doubts, but might be the last trip of the year, so kept on casting. A big hit and this time the fish was hooked. Got it all the way to the kayak and could see it was a big male hatchery Coho salmon.

Kayak fishing for salmon on the Columbia River

It was a good sized fish, but it was pretty dark. When salmon get near the end of their lives, they go from a silvery color to darker colors, hence the term “dark”. You could eat it, no problem, but it’s not as good as the fish in the freezer from earlier in the season, so I let this one go. At least I caught one salmon on the last day of the season and got it on video. It was a nice morning, I saw no reason to stop fishing. Good thing I kept casting because a short time later I got another hookup and fish on!

Kayak fishing for salmon on the Columbia River

After a few minutes, I got the fish up to the kayak and could see it was another big male Coho salmon

Native Coho salmon kayak fishing on the Columbia River

This one was a native fish, so I was going to try and unhook it and get him back on his spawning way. Unhooking a large fish without injuring yourself or the fish is not that easy. I try to avoid using the landing net because it injures the fish. Definitely have to be careful. This dark male hopefully made it upstream to spawn.

Releasing a native coho salmon kayak fishing on the Columbia River

After another hour or so without a bite, I decided to call it a day, and most likely, a season. We have some very serious weather coming our way for the next week with lots of rain and high winds. When the storms have passed, the rivers are going to take a few days, at the very least, to clear up to the point where they are fishable. Another week of declining fish numbers and the outlook for a week from now is not that great. We might head out to our favorite late season spot, but it’s down to a couple last resort fishing spots and there will be a lot of fishermen looking for not a lot of fish. We usually pack up the kayak gear when the late season fishing tapers off and head up into the hills and do a couple “River Runs Through It” trips. Then the fishing rod guides start icing up and that’s it.

Looks like we will be getting an early start on the winter’s projects that don’t get done when the weather is nice and the fishing is good. It’s been a good season of kayak fishing here in the Pacific Northwest so there is plenty of video and photos to edit and get on the watermanatwork.com website. There are other video and photos as well as other stuff, so keep checking back.

Oct 112016

The Columbia River salmon fishing report from this morning is not very good. The water in Columbia tributaries is still running a little high and fast, pretty murky as well. The off color water reaches out into the main river until the depth reaches about twenty feet or so. The fish are still in the water, but I’ve never had much success fishing for salmon or steelhead when the water is muddy. Lots of vegetation floating around too.

The fishing conditions were pretty good but the fishing was not that hot. I had a couple hits that didn’t stick and that’s about it. Despite the good weather, there were only a few boats out.

We’ll try it again tomorrow, then it looks like at least another few days when we won’t be able to fish because of the weather. Hoping the fishing is at least a little better so I can catch at least one more salmon. It’s not looking good, but we’re hoping our luck holds out at least one more fishing day.