Monday, April 18, 2011

Product Review - YakAttack VISICarbon Pro

The first tournament of the POL Tournament Series is over and I placed first with Bill Martin placing second.  Coming in first or second earned you a sweet YakAttack safety tee shirt as well as a beautiful trophy designed by

Coming in first though won you two more prizes.  First you get to determine where the proceeds for the money raised from tournament entry gets donated.  Second, I won a YakAttack VISICarbon Pro safety light.  

I thought I would take a moment to give a review of this awesome light after putting it through it's paces.  I had played with a VISIPole before, but never the VISICarbon Pro.  The first thing I noted was how compact it was when all folded up.  The beauty of this is that the entire light/pole/float folds up neatly and is able to be stored inside the flag.  Opening up the pole itself is a snap.  The lightweight fiberglass pole unfolds and slides together in three sections to form one solid pole.  After you put the pole together you need to put the flag on for extra visibility in the daytime.  The flag is also the bag that the pole folds into.  This is ingenious because it serves as the bag as well as a stocking to put over the light at night in an effort to remain visible but not spook the fish.  

I got the version of the VISICarbon Pro that can be placed into a rod holder with an opening of at least 1.75" or into a Scotty Mount.  I chose to place mine in one of the two Scotty mounts that I have behind my seat on my Ride135.  The first thing I noticed is how awesome this looks in comparison to the home made light pole that I had earlier.  The VISICarbon  Pro looks like it is made for anglers as it blends nicely with our rod's.  I took mine out for a spin on a windy day on the James River and did not notice any drag created by the Pole or the Flag.  The design of the product is very aerodynamic to reduce wind friction.  There is a wide band of SOLAS (Survival Of Life At Sea) tape between two bands of orange tape just below the light.  SOLAS Tape is highly reflective and will provide 360 degrees of reflective surface at a height that will make you visible even in uneasy seas.  Finally there is the light at the top of the VISICarbon Pro.  I have not been out at night with mine yet, but it is the same light that the VISIPole and VISIPole II have and this is a high intensity light created by TekTite that has a burn time of over 100 hours, is ultra light weight and waterproof up to 1000 feet.  
Overall I am very happy with this product and would recommend it to any kayaker.  The retail price on this is $85.  If you are budget conscious, you may want to consider the VISIPole II which is a similar design with the exception that the pole does not break down into a size that would allow for storage in the flag.  It's pricing starts at $40.  This is without a doubt the best flag/light pole I have seen for a kayak on the market.  Go over to to purchase yours today.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

So at least we didn't die (AKA - Fishing the Flood)

Well to keep the momentum going, I took advantage of a freely given Kitchen Pass and met up with Journeyman (AKA Dan Smullen) at Anncarrows Landing to go ahead and fish the chocolate milk looking James River.  The current didn't look too bad, but after hearing from a lad that the river was at 8 feet today and will be cresting at 17 feet tomorrow, I figured that the water was on the rise.  But what the hell, we are experienced professionals right?

After we took our time getting ready, we finally sauntered down to the river.  At this point the one side dock was now covered in water, it wasn't when I got there.  However, the other dock was fully exposed.  So we went ahead and launched.  Getting out in the river was no trouble at all.  We paddled up past the folks casting their hand lines wrapped around beer bottles and their upside down spinning gear.  Ok let me take a pause and if anyone is getting offended by this, I am not making that up.  Keep reading and you will hear about some other fantastic shit that took place today.

Anyway, we paddled our way past the wall and up the river.  It was interesting but no worse than currents we see in Lynnhaven.  We see fish busting water so we head that way.  We get our spot and anchor up and begin fishing for both shad and kitties.  I give up on the shad after a few minutes because with the muddy water and fast moving current, it is no use.  I keep fishing for kitties using cut bluefish from yesterdays adventures.

Dan decides to move his location and begins a dance that looked all to familiar and gave me a PTSD relapse back to when I was desperately trying to recover my anchor from the first island of the CBBT.  Well Dan gets it down to the last few inches of anchor rope, his kayak is up on two wheels like a scene from the Dukes of Hazzard and I am certain that son of a bitch is getting dumped in the drink.  However by some stroke of luck, he recovers the anchor and disaster is averted.

As I am finishing my round of laughter, I notice that my anchor point has moved and is at the mid section of my boat.  It was like the world went in slow motion but I could do nothing to change what was happening.  My boat starts pulling the same two wheeled stunt as Dan's and I go to release the anchor from the cleat.  However in the process of doing so, one of my carabiners gets locked into my handle.  After a dicy few moments, I was able to free the anchor rope and pop the breakaway and free the anchor.

At this point Dan and I have a quick pow wow and decide it is best to paddle back in and fish from the shore for the day.  The paddle downstream was very quick.  We were back to the launch in no time.  When we arrived at the boat ramp, we realized that both docks were now submerged.  This is when the day was about to get interesting.

As Dan and I are packing up our stuff, a guy and a girl come over and are eyeing our gear.  They appear to be both brother and sister and father and daughter all wrapped up in one.  Being at an inner city fishing hole, I was surprised that I could still hear the banjos over the T-Pain.  So we answer questions about the boats, and the girl tells me that my boat is real nice and the guy looks at Dan and tells him that he's real purdy.  So with that, Dan and I pack up our stuff and get ready to go stand on the wall and fish a little.  As we are walking the brown mile to the wall, a dude and his girlie come walking by and ask if they could "borrow" some of our gear so they can fish too.  I regretfully turn down the offer to donate my gear to complete strangers while fishing in the hood but wish them well.  They give me a look back that can only be described as the look one would give you after you tell them that you just killed their kitty.  We trudge on.

We walk our way down the wall and find our spot.  We begin casting our Sabiki rigs thinking that if one hook is good 6 is better.  Things are good.  The weather is nice, we are in one of the most diverse fishing areas in the state.  We breath in the well as a little wafting of fecal smell from the sewage treatment facility around the corner.  However, one thing is missing.....the fish.  No one is catching anything.  I cast and I cast, but to no avail.  I stomp my feet and scream up to the heavens "Why do you forsake me?".  Just then as if a gift from the heavens, Zeus appears riding in on his crimson chariot....or maybe it was a Rascal, carrying his Thunder Stick!!!!

Dan can't help but smile at the sight!!!

Zeus wields his mighty staff and casts his line out a country mile.  I believe that his first cast knocked out an angler standing of the opposite side of the river.  But after a recast of his 15' Thunder Stick, he sent his shad spoon sailing into the abyss of the chocolate river (Yep, that dude was fishing a spoon on the end of that massive heaver).

However, even the mighty Zeus and his Cane of Fury were no match for the swift moving river.  Along with his 1000 yards of line that he cast out, Zeus effectively tangled 90% of the anglers fishing the wall.

Not to be outdone, Zeus' friend Apollo lets his line meander down the wall just past where we were.  We get entangled and when I pull the line up and see that he is using 100lb mono on his Zebco 33, I know I am outmatched.

After we untangle, the guy beside us casually alerts us to the fact that, as he put it, "that son of a bitch boater just fell in the river".  We look across to see a very nice 24' Trophy anchored up with a bobbing person floating away from it.  Fortunately, both boater and boat were reunited.  The same can't be said of the cooler that fell overboard from the boat too.  That was washed into a sand bar for a while and the boaters could not reunite with that.  However, some quick thinking scavengers on the other side of the river made quick work in absconding with the cooler as soon as the boat went down river.

After that, Dan and I decide to call it a day.  We begin to walk back down the brown mile to the car passing by anglers, families out for the nice weather, a naked kid, more anglers, and wait....what was that just before more anglers?  Yep a damn naked kid.  I did not take a photo of that because there are laws that prevent that kind of thing.  I just shake my head and figure I had seen it all.  NOPE!!!  That is when we walked by this guy:

For those who are wondering, yes that is a live bird on his shoulder and if you could see the other shoulder, you would have seen the fresh steaming bird shit on that one.

The good news was that Dan was able to bring home a new friend from the river:

Oh and I almost forgot.  Now I have seen some crazy shit float past me when I am fishing.  I have seen abandoned Paddle Boats, tackle, a captains chair, and countless pieces of fishing equipment.....however today was the first time I saw a used maxi-pad float past us.

This place is classy!!!!