Mar 072019
 

Sorry for the long delay between blog posts, but we have run across some great kayak fishing conditions and fantastic largemouth bass fishing out in the Arizona desert. There is minimal or no phone coverage. We want to get out there every day we can because we are catching big fish and getting great video. Here is a big largemouth bass I caught after losing another big one the day before.

I’m posting this on my phone from the edge of internet coverage. Fishing conditions look good for the next few days, we are back on the water. Check back because we have some great stuff and we are going back for more.

Feb 232019
 

After more than ten years of solid kayak fishing in the ocean, rivers and lakes, it was time to retire the stock paddle from my Hobie Quest. A lot of people complained about this paddle, but I’ve used it in about as many demanding kayak situations as you can find and I don’t have too many complaints.

The one complaint I did have was about the aluminum shaft on the Hobie paddle. In the late and early fishing seasons on the Columbia River, the aluminum shaft was freezing to hold. It sucked the heat right out of your hands, even with gloves on. On days when it was hot, the black metal shaft was almost too hot to touch.

Stock Hobie and Werner Tybee Hooked kayak paddles

I was looking for a reasonably priced paddle with a composite shaft. Doing a fair amount of paddling, I wanted a more performance oriented blade than an entry level paddle. There are plenty of high performance, lightweight kayak paddles, but spending more than $300 on one was a little out of the budget. For equipment that spends a lot of time getting banged around, I was looking for something a bit more reasonable and came across the Werner Tybee.

Werner is a brand name kayak paddle company with plenty of paddles to choose from. The Tybee Hooked paddle has a carbon/fiberglass shaft and healthy fiberglass filled nylon blades. The adjustable ferrule allows to to adjust the angle of the paddle blades and is a precision fit. The paddle weighs about 38 oz., which is not bad for a durable paddle in this price range. The paddle blades were a nice, low key brown color. I bought this paddle about seven months ago for $135 and the price has remained the same.

Werner Tybee kayak paddle adjustable ferrule on the carbon/fiberglass shaft

Being over 6′ tall and a reasonably strong paddler, I went for the 230cm paddle, which is somewhat longer than the original Hobie I’ve been using. The Tybee paddle blades were considerably stiffer than the Hobie as well. As far as the weight difference, I think the stock Hobie and the Werner Tybee weigh just about the same. There was a big performance difference because of the longer shaft and stronger and larger paddle blades. That meant that I had to come up with a bit more muscle power, but after a few fishing trips I got used to the new paddle and have enjoyed using it. I fish around a lot of rocks and the paddle has held up well.

Werner Tybee Hooked kayak fishing paddle

For the price, quality and performance, the Werner Tybee Hooked paddle is a great upgrade from a stock kayak paddle for an intermediate to advanced kayak fisherman. Like they say in the racing business; “strong, light, cheap; pick two”. With the Werner Tybee Hooked paddle, you get about two and a half.

As with all the product reviews on watermanatwork.com, we buy the stuff just like you do so you get a 100% honest review because our money is on the line.

Feb 232019
 

Despite an all day rain event a couple days earlier, about 2:45AM, a wildfire broke out in the lower Colorado River watershed north of Yuma, AZ. We happened to be camping less than a mile away from where the fire broke out.

Wildfire breaks out in the lower Colorado River watershed on the CA/AZ border

By sunrise, the fire was burning strong. It had been windy overnight but the wind calmed for a few hours just as the fire started, allowing it to get burning. The wind was kicking in as the sun came up.

Desert wildfire burns at sunrise in the lower Colorado River basin

The wind increased from southwest to about 10mph, pushing the fire across the Colorado River floodplain. The fire was only about 150 yards wide, but moving across the marshy terrain like a tornado of fire.

Wildfire burns across the desert like a tornado of fire

From far too much experience with wildfires in the Pacific Northwest and southern California, we know that dark smoke is combustible material burning and white smoke is what happens when water is put on the fire. This fire is burning across the backwaters of the Colorado River; mostly reed-like plants floating on top of the water. This fire is inaccessible by vehicle, the white smoke is the burning plants and trees extinguished by river water.

Wildfire burning across the Colorado River flood plain

It seems likely this fire was started by humans. The fire seems to have started at the end of a dirt road. Swamps don’t usually start burning on their own. Fireworks or open fire is most likely the cause.

Information on the fire seemed to be somewhat inaccurate.

The internet has the latest up to date fire information

Fueled by a steady 10mph wind with stronger gusts, by that afternoon, the fire had burned a steady path across the Colorado River backwater. Didn’t stop the bass fishermen from getting a close look at the fire while they fished for the big one.

Fire burns between the Colorado River and Mittry Lake in southwest Arizona

By sunset, the wind continued to blow and the fire continued to burn. The fire had gone from one large fire to a number of smaller fires due to the water dividing the combustible fuel sources.

Wildfire burns just before sunset in the lower Colorado River basin

The fires continued to burn until the early hours of the next morning when the wind changed the direction of the fire and blew it back over the area that had just burned and many of the fires went out. Hot spots still remained and the wind had changed direction yet again and was blowing up to 20mph.

Wind changes direction and blows fires back over recently burned area, putting out many of them

By early afternoon, the wind had picked up and was blowing 15mph with gusts around 20mph or more, igniting several hot spots and the fire was burning again.

Strong afternoon winds ignite several hot spots from the previous day

At sunset, the strong winds continued and the fire was again burning into the second night.

Strong winds continued and the fire was again burning into the second night

The night was overcast, the wind subsided and early the following morning, there was light rain. At sunrise, the fire was reduced to a couple hot spots in an area with more water than burnable plants and trees.

Calm wind and light rain overnight help reduce the fire to a few hot spots

After burning about three days, the fire was nearly burned out and fire crews were mopping up hot spots and assessing damage.

Feb 142019
 

With much of the United States dealing with a series of serious winter storms, it’s hard to complain about cold weather in the Arizona desert. There’s no snow here, at least at sea level, but it has been cold in the mornings with temperatures dipping into the low 30’s Fahrenheit. While there is no precipitation, the low humidity and temperatures ensure cold fingers and chapped skin. On top of that, the river water temperature has been 52-54°, which is too cold for largemouth bass to be active. Even with the challenging conditions, we put our kayaks in the water every day we can because we came here to fish.

Launching fishing kayaks on the Colorado River in mid winter

Along with the basic winter cold temperatures, there has been some wild weather for this part of the country. Windy days and rain storms are not quite normal weather for the southwest desert. A fast moving rain shower made this double rainbow right at sunset. Double rainbows in the Columbia River Gorge hardly get a second look. Here in the Sonoran Desert, they are quite rare.

A rare double rainbow in the Sonoran Desert just east of the Colorado River

We like to get up early and be on the water before sunrise. Really tough to do when it’s freezing cold and the fish have not exactly been jumping in the kayak, but we’ve had pretty good luck early in the morning so we keep crawling out of bed at o’dark thirty to go fishing. The cold morning temperatures are uncomfortable, but it’s the cold water temps that are the major cause of concern. Anyway, being out on the water before sunrise paid off because for the past few days, all of the fishing success was early in the morning with only a few small fish after that. This largemouth bass was the best fish of the day, caught before sunrise.

Early morning Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

A couple days later, I caught this nice largemouth bass on a 35° desert morning when the water temperature was 53°. When the water is this cold, only the bigger fish are going to be moving and you have to drop your lure directly into their mouth. This was the only fish of the day and given the conditions, I was pretty lucky to catch it.

Nice Colorado River largemouth bass caught just before sunrise by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

All of the bigger bass we caught were in the morning before 9:00AM. After that we did a lot of paddling and casting for a few fish. After the sun comes up and it warms up a little, the fishing conditions couldn’t be much better, especially for the middle of winter, but the exceptionally cold river water has really slowed the fishing down. You can check out the Bass Fishing and Water Temperature video on YouTube if you want the cold water details.

Largemouth bass kayak fishing on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

The largemouth bass were not biting, but there are other fish in the Colorado River. This is a pretty good size tilapia. Usually, the closest you get to these fish is in the seafood section of the supermarket. Tilapia are primarily vegetarian so they are not commonly caught by sport fishermen. I got this one trolling a strip of bell pepper with ranch dressing.

Colorado River tilapia caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

We’ve got a bit of a break from fishing with wind and cold water continuing for a few days but we know that winter has turned the corner towards spring. It doesn’t seem like it in most of the country right now and with the way the climate seems to be changing, at least we hope spring is coming.

Sunset on a day of kayak fishing with watermanatwork.com

We haven’t been catching a lot of fish, but the fish we have caught have been pretty big. We’ve got some good video. Check back for more kayak fishing action.

Feb 052019
 

Water temperature has a significant role in successful bass fishing. In this YouTube video, watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish, explains how the temperature of the water can be a real factor in whether or not you catch any fish. Pretty basic stuff that every bass fisherman should know.

Click HERE to view the Bass Fishing and Water Temperature video on YouTube

Click HERE or on the photo above to check out the Bass Fishing and Water Temperature video on YouTube. We will be posting a higher quality video on the watermanatwork.com website so stay tuned for that. More kayak fishing videos are also on the way. Always something happening at watermanatwork.com.

Feb 052019
 

While most of the lower forty eight states are shivering in the grip of deadly winter storm, we are fortunate to be kayak fishing on the Colorado River in southwest Arizona. The weather and fishing have not been ideal, but we can’t really complain too much.

Cloudy sunrise over the lower Colorado River in southwest Arizona

We’ve been looking around, trying to find the bass in a river where the water levels are changing rapidly, resulting in very cold river water that is really putting a damper on the fishing. The fishing for largemouth bass has been slow due to the cold water. We are looking for the backwaters where the water might be a bit warmer and the fish more active.

Kayak fishing in the southwest Arizona desert with watermanatwork.com

As usual, we are out there every morning the weather and fishing conditions permit, trying for the big bass. Or, when the fishing is as slow as it is now, trying for any bass. Even if the fish aren’t biting, being out on the water is nearly always better than being on land.

Colorado River sunrise

We have managed to catch a few fish that were hanging out in the warmer water. On the main river, the water is too cold for the fish to be active. In the backwaters and bays off the main channel, the water is a couple degrees warmer and the bass are more active.

Mid-winter Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

I think we’ve rounded the corner on mid winter here in the Arizona desert and we are hoping the river water starts to warm up and get the fish active again soon. Stay tuned for more kayak fishing action from the southwest desert as the 2019 fishing season gets going!

Jan 222019
 

The kayak fishing in southwest Arizona on the Colorado River has been very challenging lately due to the large swings in river water levels and seasonably cold river water. Spots that usually have plenty of bass fishing action have been nearly dead. All the fishermen we’ve spoken with have not had much success either. The fish just aren’t biting. There has also been significant rainfall here in the desert resulting in lots of mud and flash flooding. You don’t get many foggy days on the Colorado River in Arizona, but we’ve had it.

A foggy morning kayak fishing on the lower Colorado River

I have been recovering from a serious accident so my time in the kayak has been limited. That and the slow fishing makes me grateful to catch one decent fish.

Early morning Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Largemouth bass are not the only fish in the Colorado River. This channel catfish saved me from being skunked one day. Not a nibble from the local largemouth bass.

Colorado River channel catfish caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The river water levels have stabilized and it looks like the water temperature is warming up, so as long as the people in San Diego County don’t take too many long showers, the fishing action should be picking up. There are a lot of big bass out there and they must be getting really hungry so keep checking back!

Jan 222019
 

If you follow this blog or know me personally, you would know that I was injured in a serious accident. I was stopped for a flagman in a night construction zone on US 97 near Chiloquin, OR when I was rear ended by a forty ton semi truck doing 50 mph that did not even slow down. As you might imagine, I took quite a shot. I was knocked unconscious and could barely move. I had no broken bones, but a couple inches either way, both the flagman and I would have been killed. My truck was destroyed, most of the stuff in the camper was crushed.

Rear ended by 40 ton semi doing 50mph while stopped for flagman in road construction zone

This is one of the last photos of the truck; 25mpg, solar power, equipped to spend up to a week off grid.

Last mountain bike trip to the Cascade Mountains for the Toyota pickup truck

Here’s the truck on the last bike riding/camping trip on the mountain roads around Mt. Adams in Washington.

Last bike trip to the Cascade Mountains for the Toyota pickup truck

To make matters worse, both my insurance company, Progressive Insurance, and the insurance company of the reckless truck driver, Gallagher Bassett, have refused to pay for any expenses resulting from the accident. I can’t say much more about this due to legal issues, but if you have either of these insurance companies, I beg you to go elsewhere. My life has been turned upside down, but I am working my way back.

Number one is my health. I took a real beating in the accident. For about a week following the wreck, I could barely move. The worst injuries are to my back, neck, hips and legs, especially on the left side. While I suffered no broken bones, doctors have told me my ligaments and tendons are stretched and it will take a long time to recover.

With no medical coverage from insurance and with all the financial fallout from the accident, I can’t afford any medical treatment so it is up to me to work myself back in shape. It’s been about three months since the accident, some of the soreness and pain has dissapated, but the majority of the pain in by back, hips and legs is still there. At times, it feels like my left leg is going to pop out of the hip socket. I have not had a complete night’s sleep since before the accident, those nights add up and start to have an effect on you.

My rehab routine consists of walking, stretching and basic calisthetics to try and restore flexibility and strength to my lower back, hips and legs. I have not been able to ride a bicycle since before the accident and judging the progress I have made so far to regain fitness, I think it will be at least another two or three months before I am able to even try and ride a bike.

I’ll be documenting my rehab process for anyone else who suffers similar injuries without having a pile of cash, maybe help them on what can be a long road back. That won’t be all that exciting, but I’ll be back with more mountain biking from great riding spots soon. Mountain bikers are used to being knocked down once in a while. We always get back on the bike.

Dec 282018
 

The water levels in the lower Colorado River watershed continue to go up and down in large volume, that appears to put the fish off the bite, so the fishing for largemouth bass here in the desert southwest continues to be on the slow side. We are out there every day conditions permit and getting a a few fish, but it is mostly “fishing” and not a whole lot of “catching”. Can’t beat the scenery…

Colorado River sunrise. Kayak fishing with watermanatwork.com

The bass are not exactly jumping into the kayaks, but we have managed to pick off a few fish here and there. Most of the bass have been caught earlier in the morning an not a whole lot of action for the rest of the day.

Sunrise largemouth bass caught on the Colorado River by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The fishing will pick up sooner or later and we will be on the water when that happens. Until then, we keep on looking for the fish and enjoy being on the water.

Kayak fishing in the desert with watermanatwork.com

We’ll keep looking for the bass, that’s for sure. In the meantime, check out the high quality HD videos from last season we just uploaded to the watermanatwork.com website. The fish gotta eat, they are going to start biting, so check back soon!

Dec 282018
 

The kayak fishing here in the southwest desert may be a bit slow, but we have taken the opportunity to update the watermanatwork.com website. We have not updated the site for awhile, we will be doing so over the next couple weeks or so. If the fishing picks up, it may take longer…

Large Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

We’ve added HD videos of kayak fishing in the desert southwest from the 2017-18 kayak fishing season.

Click HERE to check out the latest HD desert southwest kayak fishing videos.