Kalon and I have been talking about getting in a trip together for quite a while, but schedules just hadn't lined up right until this past week. This trip worked out well for both of us, because I have been wanting to work on getting some new photographs for my outdoors portfolio and test out some gear, and Kalon was looking for some photos. I was psyched to get a chance to watch and learn from one of the best anglers around. In terms of fishing, it started off pretty slow and cold for both of us, before Kalon started catching some fish as the sun warmed the water up. Eventually I put the camera down and started fishing, and it definitely took some time to shake the rust off, as it had been a good while since my last trip sight fishing redfish. The water was quite low, but pretty clear, and I had a good number of shots, getting quite a few rejections and missing hook sets a few times as well. The tide switched at some point around noon, and the action really started heating up, right about when it was time for both of us to make it back to the launch. Eventually I was able to connect a few times, but it was a good reminder that sight fishing is like any other sport - you have to keep up with your game, or you will suffer. It was great to watch Kalon's approach to sight fishing, and I most definitely got some good feedback and ideas on things I can work on to improve my presentation and approach. Great trip overall! A few photos below that I thought came out particularly well.
I'm not even going to talk about my fishing experience, smdh... Let's just say it was a nice opportunity to get a chance to do some scenic pedaling in the new Coosa FD. That boat performed really incredibly well in shallow water. Big congrats to everyone that was able to find fish in low, cold water. Fun time hanging out with the other officers and longtime members, my buddy and neighbor Allen DeJean made the hang, everything except for the fishing was great.
I've been going to Brazil every couple of years for a long time now; my wife's family is from Rio De Janeiro, and we go down to visit family and occasionally make some fun trips to other parts of the country. This would be the second time I was in Brazil since becoming involved in the sport of kayak fishing, and I was determined to find a way to get out and do some fishing, since the last time I had been in Rio, the guide I contacted sort of *ahem* flaked on me. This time would be different, however. in the fall of 2016, I had a chance to volunteer through the local kayak club to help out with anglers coming to Louisiana as part of the Hobie Worlds tournament. There were several competitors coming from Brazil, and since I speak Portuguese, I volunteered to hang out with them and help translate and show them around, knowing that they would one day be happy to return the favor should I make it to Brazil. Fast forward to this December - I gave my pal Rafael Renzetti a buzz, and let him know that I was in Rio and wanted to get some fishing in. Rafael is a member of the Hobie team in Brazil, but lives outside of São Paulo, rather than Rio. Keep in mind, this was the week before Christmas, and extremely complicated with family responsibilities for both of us, but after much discussion, we settled on a plan - I would take an overnight bus from Rio to São José Dos Campos, where I was to meet up with Rafael, head out to fish for the day, and then take another redeye bus back to Rio, to be back in time for Christmas festivities. The bus station was PACKED, and it was one of those "only-in-Brazil" moments that I love so much.
The bus itself was really comfortable, and I was knocked out within a few minutes of being on the road. Once I made it to Rafael's place, we loaded up, made a stop for some traditional Brazilian breakfast pastries and strong coffee, and hit the road, eventually meeting up with the rest of the crew at a gas station just outside of Vale do Paraiba. This was a combat launch location in every sense of the word, and we needed to follow one of the guys that had permission to be on this private property. The roads were the typical red clay of Brazil, and there was definitely some concern that if it rained while we were out, getting back to the main roads was going to be a challenge.
The spot that we would be fishing is a freshwater reservoir, made by damming the local river. The access point required some thought and finagling regarding where we were going to be able to leave the cars so that the locals could still pass on the road, and involved a good little trek down a slippery slope with the kayaks to get to the water.
The initial spot we planned on fishing was a short distance away, so we all struck out as a group, and made the trek before doing any fishing. The scenery was great, and the sun was mercifully popping in and out of cloud cover, rather than broiling us outright. Shortly after we left the launch, we passed a colonial-style mansion on the bank.
Once we started fishing, I spent a lot less time with the camera out, until I caught my first Tucunaré. Rafael was kind enough to angry up this fish's blood, coaxing a bunch of strikes out of it on a soft popping lure, but eventually hanging up on a bunch of nearby structure. I snuck in with a Heddon Zara Puppy topwater, and the fish immediately slammed it. Needless to say, I was pretty psyched. Rafael really served that one up on a platter! These fish are absolutely gorgeous. The guys there have a CPR tournament similar to our local Massey's Fish Pic tournament - an ongoing format with digital submissions. I thought it was interesting that they require video footage of the measurement and release of the fish, which is a great way to combat cheating.
Fishing certainly wasn't easy, but I was gratified to eventually catch another larger Tucunaré a little later, this time all by my lonesome self. Celio and I had ended up fishing a similar little cove with a bunch of submerged vegetation and small tilapia that the Tucunaré were feeding on. Once again, the fish hit the small topwater. These fish really don't leave any doubt as to their intentions, and I totally understand why people get obsessed with them - the blowup on a topwater in the middle of the day is awesome. This time, I took a few more detail shots and admired the fish some more before letting it swim off.
Shortly after that second fish, the typical summer afternoon thunderstorm started making its presence known, and we were forced to head back to the launch, getting caught up in the storm on the way back, although to be honest the rain felt amazing after an extremely hot day. After a quick photo of the whole crew, and a little bit of nail-biting excitement with a stuck car, we headed back towards the city, relieved that we had beaten the storm to the launch, and that the roads were still passable. After dinner and beers at Rafael's place, it was back on the bus to Rio for me. I can't thank Rafael and the rest of the guys enough for the hospitality and knowledge, and this will definitely become a tradition each time I make it to Brazil. It was truly magic to get out on the water there and get out of the bustling city for even a few hours. Can't wait to meet up with the Tucunaré again soon!! I'll be putting up some video from the trip as well soon. Obrigado, gente!
I've been back in town for a few days now after our trip to Brazil, but still haven't quite found time to go through my photos from the one fishing trip I did get to make there. Since it's just a few photos though, I thought I'd throw up some of these photos from the awards last night. I thought my son could use some quality time with some kayaks and fishermen, so I packed him up in the backpack and headed over to Mid-City, just about 10 mins from me (sweetness). Dave at Massey's does an awesome job with this, providing food and drinks and of course some pretty amazing prizes. The tournament will run again this year starting in early March, and ending in February. It is a CPR format, with points for biggest fish in both conventional and fly formats. Check the BCKFC website for more information on how to participate. The upstairs showroom at Massey's is pretty brand new as well, and has a ton of boats to check out, including a great Jackson selection. I thought the paddle display was pretty sweet too, with the various paddles set in clips on the wall, where you can easily look at the differences. It's hard to compare paddles when you're pulling them out of a stack. In any case, I got a chance to get some good nuggets of knowledge just from chatting with some more experienced anglers, and got to see some good people take home some prizes. Congrats to all!
As a relative newcomer to the Jackson team, I was psyched to get a chance to meet some of the guys from the team, and hang with a few of the Louisiana team members. PAC Kayak Rentals is a nice spot for something like this, with the well thought out facilities and the super cool houseboat. Luckily, my parents were kind enough to come up a little early for a Thanksgiving visit to help watch my son while I snuck away for two days of fishing. Huge thanks to both of them, as well as my wonderful wife, who is patient to the extreme with my boyish excitement with this sport.
I arrived at the marina around 7am, and strolled around looking at some of the boats that were out - Cruise FD, Coosa FD, and the new Bluesky boat. Fellow JK Louisiana guys Eli Braud and Chuck Bahan were there, along with the JK Media team Brooks Beatty and Jameson Redding, as well as Gene Jensen (Flukemaster) and Robert Field. Brooks and Jameson needed to do some filming at the marina, so we all headed out to fish.
It wasn't long before I found a decent redfish, and some ok water, and had high hopes for fishing. As it turned out, it turned out to be a fairly tough day of fishing, with higher than anticipated winds, and a lot of picky fish that snubbed a lot of my lures. Still found a few however! I spent a lot of time avoiding areas with duck hunters in them, and did eventually find some clean water and fish, but had a bit of a hard time figuring out what they wanted, as many of them would spook immediately upon seeing a lure.
Eventually I heard from Jameson, and let him know where I was, by that point a good ways away from the marina. After a few issues with GPS coordination, I told him to let me know where he was and I'd paddle to him. To be fair, I was way the hell out in the middle of nowhere. Eventually we all found ourselves in the same place, and caught a few fish, which Brooks and Jameson filmed. Sunset was imminent, and I caught a few good shots as we made our way back to the marina.
Day 2 got off to a bit of slow start, which was just fine for me, as I was having some whiskey/beer related performance issues... Chris Funk was kind enough to bring his Kilroy DT down, and I had a chance to paddle it around a little bit at the marina before we all launched. Caught a couple of photos at the marina before we headed out.
Eventually, the kayak Voltron formed up, and we headed more or less south. This time, I was determined to stick with folks and not paddle off deep in the marsh like I usually do. Things started off pretty well for me, and I had landed 3 fish pretty shortly. None were huge, but it was a relief to get it out of the way and get some of it filmed. I did a little bit of tactics talking on camera with Jameson, and then sat back a bit and took a few pictures while hanging with Eli, Brooks and Jameson. I usually fish so hard, it was pretty nice to sit back and relax a bit. Brooks sight casted a nice redfish pretty shortly, and I got a sweet photo of Chris Funk with a sheepshead that he sight cast on the fly rod. Eli and Brooks needed to do some filming, so I split off and wandered around on my own. I didn't plan on making it an extremely long day, as I wanted to get back and hang out with the family. I did a bit more paddling and exploring, found a few, and found my favorite photo of the day, a weathered oak root base in the marsh. Once I got back to the marina, I took my time packing up, cleaned the two fish I had kept for dinner, and took a shower on the house boat. It was pretty awesome to drive back clean, and with the fish cleaned. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and I hope the rest of the guys catch some good fish over the weekend!