Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kayak Fishing Antioch

Jackson Coosa all rigged up! This boat available for demo!
I finally had the chance today to get out and do a little fishing. My friend Mary and I, launched from the Antioch Marina boat ramp around 10:30 this morning. There is no charge for launching here unless you have a trailer. Low tide was predicted at 1:07 p.m. and winds were under 10 m.p.h.. Though the winds were light, there were quite a bit of steep wind waves moving to the south east. We had the current with us but the wind against us as we paddled towards the Dow Wetlands Preserve. Once we arrived at the preserve, the waters were calm with a gentle breeze to help keep us cool.

Mary enjoying the day
Someone suggested using frozen shad for bait to fish for stripers so we picked some up at Hook Line and Sinker in Oakley. We also used a couple of red and yellow jigs and a red and yellow dart lure. The first hour we tied ourselves to some tule to keep us from drifting and used the shad with no success. We decided to break for lunch and then headed southwest, deeper into the preserve to see what we could find. As we paddled we were greeted by a river otter who swam in circles next to my boat checking us out. For a minute I thought he might jump in my boat! We both decided to switch to red and yellow lures. I tossed my line in the water and started paddling and quickly it was fish on! I reeled the fish in and it turned out to be a Sacramento Pike measuring a little over 10 inches. I took a picture and quickly released him. I put my line back in the water and almost immediately had another fish on! This time I could tell it was bigger than the last one. Mary helped me bring the fish in and it ended up being another Sacramento Pike but this one had to be close to 20 inches! I took another picture and put him back to catch another day.
One of three river otters spotted today!

Unfortunately, Mary didn't catch anything today but we both had a great time fishing! We left the preserve a little after 1:00.  The wind had picked up some and the wind waves were quite large. It was slack tide and we didn't get much help home with the current but the wind helped push us home.

If you like fishing from a kayak or would like to give it a try or even demo a fishing kayak, I have a fishing tour scheduled for July 6th which is a free fishing day in California which means you don't need a fishing license. Go to my Meetup or Facebook page to sign up! Be sure and call to reserve a boat!

First fish on

Fish number 2

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Paddling Santa Cruz Beach Borardwalk

Monday I had the opportunity to do a little paddling in front of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. While the kids were playing around the Boardwalk, my friend and I took advantage of the great sea conditions and paddled between the Wharf and Walton Lighthouse. I have not done a lot of ocean paddling and this was my friends first time on the ocean.

Prior to our trip, I scoured the internet looking for any information I could find about paddling in the area. I didn't have much luck other than finding outfitters that rented kayaks in the area.  We arrived at the park around 11:00 a.m. and parked in the river lot which is adjacent to the San Lorenzo River. I asked the parking attendant about launching my kayak there and he told me to launch from under the railroad trestle. It turns out that there is actually a great spot to put in if you want to paddle the San Lorenzo River. I found out the hard way that it is not  the best spot if you want to paddle on the ocean as it requires a portage through some deep sand. Nevertheless, I paddled from that spot through a shallow pool like area to the beach in front of the boardwalk. We found out later that kayakers are not allowed to launch or land from that section of beach.

If you want to paddle in front of the Boardwalk, you need to launch or land between lifeguard tower 1 and 2 which is near the wharf. I believe the best place to park is next to Cowell's Beach where there is a little roundabout with limited parking but you can unload and then search for parking. Plan on spending a minimum of $9 for 4 hours to park close to the beach. Wharf parking is $21 all day in the summer.

My friend made it through the surf on her first try. I didn't do as well. My timing was off and was tossed off my boat back to the beach and I lost my favorite hat in the process. I didn't waste any time and jumped back on immediately and paddled like crazy to get through the breaking surf. I barely made it but once I was through, the sea was calm and so beautiful! We paddled leisurely through kelp beds towards Walton Lighthouse taking in the scenery as we went along. There were harbor seals barking in the background and the distant sound of surf crashing on the beach. It's an incredible feeling being on the ocean. It makes me feel so tiny and insignificant. You can feel its power, even on a calm day like this, underneath your boat.

We gazed at sailboats in the distance and one that sailed by us only a few yards away. We turned around and headed towards the wharf and I spotted a dolphin not far from us. I brought the sighting to my friends attention and almost instantly two more appeared! How beautiful they were! Swimming and diving maybe 10 yards from us! Seeing the dolphins were the highlight of our day and made my painful surf landing well worth it.

While the lifeguards patched up my sand rash, from my rough landing, one of them informed me that in the summer the swells come from the south and that they will pound the beach for several minutes and then it will be calm for several minutes. It would be a good idea to try landing when it's calm. The key is to be patient and watch the swells. I have quite a bit to learn but I'm looking forward to it!

If you have info on paddling this area or others nearby, feel free to post in the comments section.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Seaward Halo SR 130 and Compass 140 tx Paddle from Tiki Lagun

Delta Kayak Adventures took delivery of the new Seaward Halo 130 and Compass 140 this weekend. I was anxious to get them out on the water and I had originally planned to launch from Antioch Marina but when I arrived at noon today the wind was howling with gusts reaching 25 plus mph. Waves were breaking in every direction and the docks were swaying and rocking continually. My son and I decided to head inland a bit and ended up at Tiki Lagun near Stockton.

The wind was still blowing at least 20 mph but we were determined to paddle these new boats. I will be returning to Tiki Lagun to do a more thorough review of this launch spot as it was quite nice and they do not charge to launch kayaks.

I was very impressed with my first look at these two boats. These boats are absolutely gorgeous to look at with beautiful lines and first rate craftsmanship. My son, Sam, paddled the Compass and gives it a thumbs up. Both kayaks come with 5 way adjustable seating which makes them extremely comfortable to paddle as you can make many adjustments to fit you perfectly. The Compass comes standard with a rudder which came in handy today with the amount of wind we were paddling in. With the Halo you have a choice of a rudder or not. I chose to go rudderless and found the boat very easy to control in the wind. Overall, I believe I've made a great choice to add these to my fleet and look forward to adding more models in the future!

If you would like to demo either of these boats give me a call to set up a time and place. You are sure to fall in love with these boats! Be sure to contact me if you're interested in purchasing a Seaward. I can order any  model you choose!