The crew at Native Watercraft simply amaze me with their never ending interest in creating kayaks for all situations. Their upcoming ten foot version of their popular Slayer Propel peddle kayak seems to be a future contender for best river kayak on the market in my opinion. While I won’t get to test drive one until my local dealer (www.wildcatcreekoutfitters.com) gets one in stock, I’m anxiously awaiting some time in the cockpit of this new addition to the Native lineup. Word from Native is the Propel 10 will be even more stable than the already super stable current Slayer models, more maneuverable than the standard Propel in the 13′ 2″ version, and a lot lighter in weight. With estimated weight coming in somewhere around 69 pounds, it will most likely be the lightest peddle angling kayak on the market. Can you imagine how easily a kayak like this would be to toss into your pick up truck and head to the river for an afternoon of fishing?!? I like it!
In common with it’s big brother the Propel 13, the Propel 10 will also have the Peddle drive system that can be peddled in reverse and the super comfortable first class seat. One most noticeable difference in design between the two kayaks is the front hull storage. In the Propel 13 the hull is open, like the standard (non-peddle) Slayer 12 and 14.5. However, the Propel 10 will have a hatch cover that opens up to inside hull storage instead. This was done for design reasons and should provide some nice dry storage for those long days on the river. The Propel 10 will have, like it’s big brother, lots of gear track throughout its length. My Slayer 14.5 has a lot of gear track as well and I can’t stress enough how nice it is to mount accessories where I want them, whenever I want them. If you’re going to do any videoing, this is nice for changing the angles of your video.
In closing, without even seeing the Propel 10 in person yet, I have no doubt this kayak is going to be a popular addition to the Native Watercraft family of kayaks. It just appears to offer way too much in such a small package not to be!
With my younger brother Josh and I both having a day off during the week this past Monday, we made plans to float my favorite section of a local river together. I had been on this float trip last year with my wife and friend of mine, and I knew my brother would enjoy the trip. He was up for it and I was excited to spend the day with him on the water.
After dropping off my truck at the take out spot, we headed back to the put in and launched our kayaks. I was running the river in my 14.5 foot Native Watercraft Slayer. While many people prefer smaller kayaks for river floats, my 14.5 foot ride handled the trip just fine and maneuvered easily around the downed trees, boulders and sandbars that dotted the river throughout the day. Marc at Wildcat Creek Outfitters (www.wildcatcreekoutfitters.com) had told me that floating rivers in Indiana wouldn’t be a problem with the longer kayaks and he was right.
It wasn’t too long into the trip before I had my first fish of the day, a little smallmouth bass that was of average length for this section of the river. We were using our ultralight rods so even the small fish provided a decent fight and lots of fun. Tossing a 1/8 ounce white buzzbait and fishing it just under the water’s surface near structure proved to work for me the first half of the trip. Later in the day I switched over to a beetle spin lure with a black body with red and yellow striping, and caught just as many fish as I did on the buzzbait. I found that letting the lures drop just for a second along the edge of logs or downed trees really enticed fish to strike.
Josh was also catching some fish during the trip including his first smallmouth bass, rock bass and a tiny carp. If I remember correctly, he caught some of those fish on the same type of buzzbait I was throwing, but he also had luck on small white and purple spinnerbaits.
The highlight of our day, besides just spending time together on such a beautiful river, was seeing a pair of bald eagles. It wasn’t that long ago that bald eagles were no where to be seen here in the Hoosier state, but now it’s not uncommon to find them along our many rivers and lakes. No matter how many times I see one of these majestic birds, I am always in awe of them and the conservation efforts that have brought them back to this part of the country.
As the day went on, we stopped a few times to stretch our legs and make a few casts from shore, including one stop on a sandbar for lunch. Cold chicken sandwiches and Mountain Dew hit the spot after a morning of paddling.
Last year, when floating the final stretch of this trip, my friend Kevin got a good look at some river otters where a creek spills into the river. Unfortunately, they were no where to be found as Josh and I approached the area, but there was plenty of sign such as the muddy slides along the river banks. Along with the eagles, we did see plenty of turtles, blue herons, ducks, geese and many really big carp. As huge carp after huge carp swam past my kayak, I longed for my bowfishing gear.
We ended the day with less fish than I had caught last year, but that didn’t bother either of us at all. Josh agreed that it was a fantastic day and the time together was very much appreciated. As we loaded up the kayaks and headed our separate ways, we agreed it wouldn’t be long before we returned to float the river again together.
I was able to get plenty of video footage, including some underwater footage for my first time, on this trip with my Go Pro camera and made this video of our day. Enjoy!
It’s finally happened! A statewide kayak angling organization, Indiana Kayak Anglers, has been launched! I’m proud to be on the ground floor of this group and I think it has a lot of potential. So far the Hoosier state has had individual groups in the northeast and central part of the state, but those groups have come together to pool their resources and represent the sport statewide. There are still some details to work out, but I can say that a tournament series will most likely be planned for 2015. A single tournament is also in the works for later 2014 (September time frame probably). IKA will also hold some non-competitive outings for those kayak anglers who are either not ready or simply not interested in tournament fishing. Plans are for IKA to work closely with the Indiana chapter of Heroes On the Water, a program that helps veterans find the joys and therapeutic advantages of kayak angling. Like I said, there’s a lot of potential for this new group. For more information, click on the picture below…
This past Saturday my wife and I were able to get out on the water again. After looking closely at some lake maps and doing a little bit of research, we again decided to try a new body of water and this time we chose Palestine Lake. It just so happened to work out that a friend of mine from further south in the Hoosier state was able to meet up with us. Joe got to Palestine Lake before we did and was already on the water when we got there. We launched as quickly as we could and as we paddled up to Joe he was reeling in a bass.
Not long after Joe caught his bass, I caught my first fish that turned out to be a decent largemouth that was just shy of 17″. It was good enough for some Kayak Wars (www.kayakwars.com) points and I quickly photographed the fish on the measuring board for entry, then released him unharmed.
After that, we went for a long dry spell before catching any more fish. All three of us paddled over to the east section of the lake. Joe and my wife both opted to fish for bluegill while I trolled for crappie. My crappie fishing didn’t produce even a single bite and Ginger didn’t have much luck, but Joe was reeling in tiny bluegill after tiny bluegill. He said he caught about 30, one right after another, but none were big enough to fillet. Still it seemed like he was having fun.
Not long after that we went back to the west section of the lake where I proceeded to troll Flicker Shad crankbaits through the deeper section of water. While the crappie were still no where to be found, I did catch three nice bass that were in the 14″ range. Yes, they were smaller fish, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen such bulldogs for that size. The bass on Palestine were definitely very healthy and even the 14″ fish put up a fun fight, especially on my Shimano ultralight rod. Joe and Ginger both started fishing Flicker Shad crankbaits as well and Ginger caught a beefy 15″ largemouth in addition to some small bluegill and another bass that she had caught earlier. Joe caught a couple fish as well, including a decent perch, on the Flicker Shads. While the jury is still out on anything with a treble hook (they should be called TROUBLE hooks), I am definitely becoming a believer in these Flicker Shad crankbaits.
It wasn’t long after Joe’s catch of a perch and Ginger’s 15″ bass that we needed to pack up and start heading home. Joe said he was going to go fish another lake, one that I’ve been wanting to try, and I hope to hear a report on his afternoon venture soon.
While Palestine Lake didn’t exactly impress me with numbers of fish, I am still intrigued by the health of what bass we caught. They appeared, to me anyway, to be some of the healthiest largemouth bass I’ve ever seen here in Indiana. I have no doubt that this lake probably holds some big fish.
So there ya go, a quick report on another new lake here in Hoosier country. It definitely was a great day. Any day on the water with my wife and good friends is time well spent, and we look forward to sharing a day chasing fish with Joe again soon.
While this isn’t one of my videos, I thought I would still share it here as it’s the best video I’ve ever seen of a kayak fishing trip on the Devil’s River in Texas. This video was done by Robert Field of YakFish TV and he did a tremendous job.
I’m not sure what it is about the Devil’s River, but I’m am captivated by the thought of someday making this same trip and it is definitely on my future agenda.
One nice thing about working second shift is that I can get up early and hit the water for a few hours before work. Usually Monday mornings are my day to fish during the week since I can get to bed earlier on Sunday nights and yesterday was no different. I was lazy and didn’t load the truck up the night before, and I was kicking myself in the backside when the alarm went off at 4 a.m. Monday morning. I wanted to be on the water to watch the sunrise, so I had to get up and get moving. Once my gear and my Slayer 14.5 was loaded, I grabbed a cup of coffee for the road and was on my way.
As my friends will tell you, I’m a bass fisherman. I’ve spent most, if not all, of my life fishing for largemouth bass. However yesterday was different in that I finally broke away from bass and decided to put some fish in the freezer by targeting bluegill and crappie. Words can’t express how out of character that is for me. To top it off, I was going to troll with some small crankbaits. Again, that’s out of character. I much prefer to cast and I can’t stand using crankbaits. I’ve never had much luck on them, I don’t really know how to fish them and those stupid treble hooks get caught on everything. Nonetheless, I had bought a couple of small Flicker Shads and took a friend’s advice, and trolled all morning with two lines in the water pulling two Flicker Shads. Man, talk about something different.
I had chosen a small, secluded yet public accessible lake more for the scenery than anything else. Surrounded by mostly forests, I knew it would be a beautiful spot to enjoy the morning. I underestimated the mosquito bomber squad at the boat ramp, but I was on the water on time and enjoyed the sun coming up over the trees while I paddled the lake in search of fish for the frying pan.
After about an hour of trolling and watching two guys in a motorboat not catch anything, one of my rods finally bent signaling fish on. I grabbed it out of the rod holder and was reeling in what turned out to be my first crappie of the day when my other rod bent as well. First time catching fish by trolling crankbaits and I had a double! Soon my kayak was a jumbled mess of tangled fishing line, fish slime and treble hooks. Remember what I said about hating crankbaits? Yeah. Still, I couldn’t argue that they worked and I had a crappie and a fat bluegill in the cooler for dinner later.
Another hour produced nothing, even though I trolled the same spot over and over in hopes of picking up more crappie. Finally I had another fish on and it proved to be my second crappie. A 14″ largemouth bass also took the bait ten minutes after that, but he was released unharmed.
Figuring I had 3 fish to clean and still had to get ready for work, I called it a day and headed back to the boat ramp about 9 o’clock. On my way I passed two older gentlemen in a motorboat who were bobber fishing for bluegills. I asked if they had any luck and they said not a bite. When one of them asked me if I had any luck, I simply smiled and said “A little bit.”
Definitely a great morning to be a kayak angler.
My wife and I were able to get on the water last Saturday and we decided to try a small lake that we hadn’t fished yet. Turned out to be a great little bass lake. I was able to catch quite a few smaller 14″ bass, a couple of 16″ fish and a decent 18 1/2″ out of the Native Slayer. I started out fishing with a white Zoom Super Fluke fished weightless and was going to switch to something else later in the day, but the fish just kept taking the Fluke so I stayed with it. My wife caught a couple of 14″ fish on a purple worm but spent most of her day just soaking in the sunshine. My only regret of the day was that I hadn’t brought along my bowfishing gear. We seen quite a few large carp cruising the shallows. Great day with my favorite fishing partner on a lake that seems made for kayak fishing.
Fishing the flats…
Showing my best friend and wife how to use a Zoom Super Fluke…
Standing in the Native Slayer 14.5. This thing is SUPER stable!
18.5 inch Indiana largemouth bass…
We’ll fish South Mud Lake again soon!