Sorry It's been a while but if you follow my Facebook and IG accounts you will see its been one of the busiest summers ever. If I include my Kids Kayak Friday with Chesapean Outdoors I have almost made the 100 person mark for 2016..whew! Now we are in September and the fishing is going to get hot as the weather cools. I have some open days for September and October...but they are filling up. I also have a few cool local events coming up that I want to touch on.
The first being the 12th annual TKAA Kayak Fish for Charity Tournament. As a founder of this great club and tournament I enjoy returning to it every year. Wayne Bradby et al. have made this event even bigger and better that I have ever imagined. Early registration is over but there is still room to enter. This tourney brings over 200 kayak anglers from all over the country to Tidewater VA. Every prize including a Hobie ProAngler and other great kayaks is raffled off. The charity supports Heroes on the Water and Project Healing Waters.
Second is the 1st Annual Legends of the Fly Invitational Flyfishing Tournament. This event is also a charity event with proceeds going to Project Healing Waters. The Legends of the Fly Invitational is a celebration of the Coastal Virginia fishery and Virginia’s fly fishing culture. Additionally, we hope to draw attention to Lynnhaven River Now’s efforts to enhance fish habitat while also providing support for our veterans through Project Healing Waters. This unique fly fishing-only tournament will allow participants to utilize wading or any watercraft of their choosing to fish their favorite locations.
And third is the Chesapeake Waterways Heritage Festival this event features several activities including Kayaking, and Flyfishing. Lefty Kreh is the featured presenter on Saturday October 8th. I'll be on hand both days as well.
As you can see we are still chugging along. Hope to see you at one of these great events! Tight Lines!
On Friday I had the opportunity to try out the new Hobie Mirage Eclipse SUP (Stand Up Pedalboard. I heard alot about it and after seeing the videos put out by Hobie I was hoping to get to try one out. I saw the potential for a very cool flyfishing platform, er....I mean a cool watercraft for my wife who loves her SUP. When I found out our rep was bringing two for the Saturday demo at Wild River Outfitters, I asked if I could borrow it for a while on Friday. I met him after my morning charter and returned to Rudee inlet for a shakedown. Here is a great shot showing theEclipse beside an Outback this eclipse is th 12 foot model it also comes in 10 feet.
After getting comfortable I attached my H-crate, strapped in my favorite flyrod and went on the hunt.
I fished for a few hours and truly enjoyed the standing perspective, but my legs were burning. just as I was going to beach the Eclipse for more photos, I hooked up with a nice bluefish but it bit theough the leader and was gone. So on to the beach for the run down on how the Eclipse works.
THe heart of the Eclipse is it's specially designed Mirage drive. Although the basics are the same as the Mirage drive, the Eclipse drive has some interesting additions. The first is the much larger fins, they are wider than the standard Mirage fins and wrap around a larger shaft. The actually articulate and are more efficient than the original fins. (I am hoping to see these implemented on the standard Mirage drives very soon.) The second difference is the pedals rather than a horizontal motion, it's a vertical motion, much like a stair stepper. So again heavier duty arms are employed.
The drive fits in a well just like the Hobie kayaks and automatically locks in. The pedals are swung up out of the way to place the drive, and closed back on top of the arms.
Steering is controlled by brake like levers on the handle bars, Squeezing the right trigger turns right and squeezing the left makes you steer left. The height of the bar is also adjustable.
The triggers control the rudder witch is shockcorded so it will retract if you find yourself in the skinny water. Just like the standard Mirage drive if you run aground you can butterly the fins, or simply pull them out of the well until deeper water is reached.
Put this all together with a super cool SUP hull and you have an awesome watercraft. Its very efficient and moves along very well, faster than most folks can paddle an SUP. Its very responsive and seems tippy at first but after a while you get used to it. The key is not to overcontrol it, relax and enjoy th ride. The pedals are designed to allow you to adjust the effort needed by simply moving you feet to the front or the back of the pedal. The closer to the bow the shorter the throw, hence the easier the stroke, move back for more resistance and power. After my shakedown I had to get my wife's opinion of the Eclipse. She brought the boys and after getting used to it she took each of them for a ride. Which is an attestment to the stability of the Eclipse.
Kelly loved th Eclipse and I am sure we will be adding this craft to our livery of Hobies very soon. So if you want to try one out, check out your local dealer. If your in central Virginia, the next opportunity to demo will be at Appomattox River Company's Big Demo Day coming up on June 11 from 9 till 3. Ill be there stop by and say Hello.
Every April for the last decade Project Healing Waters has held its annual 2-Fly tournament. The tournament is held at Rose River Farms on their excellent private stretch of the Rose river in Madison, VA. This 10th anniversary event was held on Sunday with some of the countries best guides pairing up with alumni of previous 2-Fly tournaments. My friend Ed Felker has produced and excellent wrap up of the main event here.
On the Saturday before the main event, we have a more informal Bream tournament. I arm a few volunteers with rulers, Pencils, and Pads, and we turn everyone loose on the pond for a few hours of bream fishing. I also bring along a few Hobie kayaks for folks to try out. Everyone had a great time and lots of nice bream were caught. Alvin Shell won the bream Division and took home the custom trophy and A TFO NXT rod. He also took second place in the Bass Division and won a Darby Creek pack from Smith Fly.
After the Tournament the Vets were led in by the Patriot Guard for the VIP dinner. Dinner was concluded by a Keynote speech by Tom Brokaw and stories from three of th participants. Kim Smith's testimony did not leave a dry eye in the whole crowd. I am not much on telling written stories, so I'll let my pictures tell it for me. Enjoy and we will see you next time. As for me I am going fishing.
Initially I was not excited about a venue change in the Virginia Flyfishing and Wine Festival Waynesboro to Doswell, VA. As a matter of fact I was dead set against it. Eventually Beau Beasley (the father of the VFFF) told me his reasons and it became clear things might just work out at the new indoor venue. The main reason being the weather, I can remember a few times the outdoor event was almost devastated by rain and wind. As 2015 became 2016 things really got ramped up and Beau really promoted the event, my social media feeds were being blown up (in a good way) daily. Beau's enthusiasm was very contagious lots of folks, including myself even became excited about the new venue. Where else can you get so many great folks to get together? Where else do you get flyfishing masters such as Lefty Kreh, Ed Jawaoroski, and Bob Clouser in one place. Not to mention fly tyiers and guides, such as Tommy Mattioli, Steve Silvero, Brian Shumaker, Blane Chocklett, Chris Newsome, Gary Dubiel, Chuck Kraft, Patrick Fulkrod, Walt Cary, Scott Cesari, William Heresniak, Rob Snowhite, Scott Striker and many more, all in one place? How about Temple Fork Outfitters, Orvis, 3-Tand, Hardy, Flymen Fishing Company, Wet a Hook, Allen Flyfishing, Ball and Buck, Patagonia, Scientific Anglers, SmithFly, SCOF, Winston Flyrods, Yeti Coolers, RexFly, NuCanoe, Bote boards, and too many more to list. Retailers such as Bass Pro Shops, Wild River Outfitters, East Coast Paddleboards, Mossy Creek Flyfishing, and Greentops. I am sure I missed a few, but you missed them all if you didn't attend.
The amount of new and young folks taking the intro classed was amazing, I am wowed by the shear numbers of folks getting into the sport. Even our first Kayak demo in the casting area was well attended. I shared the pool with NuCanoe pro Joe Mahler. Having two takes on kayak flyfishing made for a great presentation and the crowd loved it! See the slide show below for some highlights!
I have no doubt the Virginia Flyfishing and Wine Festival will continue to grow in Doswell, and I am glad we stayed on board. I look forward to the bigger and better April 2017 event, and you should too.
See you there.