Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fishing with Alison

Fishing buddy Jim VanPelt and I had plans to take a friend of ours, Alison, kayak fishing in the Everglades. She has a love of the outdoors and we have been trying to convince her to write about her experiences and share some of our adventures. A last minute change of plans had Jim canceling early that morning and the venue moving to nearby Estero Bay.

The last few times I fished Estero Bay there were few fish located. I had spotted a couple good reds, but nothing of note. I really wasn't expecting much as we launched from the beach at Hickory Pass and headed into the bay. The tide was about halfway out and moving slow. Alison was in a Hobie Revo and it was her first time in a kayak. She picked it up right away and with very little instruction was pedaling around like a pro.

Headed to the backwater

 We headed to a small patch of quiet backwater where I have frequently found redfish. A bald eagle signaled our arrival. As we approached an area showing signs of activity, I tossed out a TA Crossover Stalker. It was slammed almost immediately by a good fish that missed. As I continued the retrieve, the fish followed it in. I stopped the retrieve and whispered to Alison to cast her TA Crossover Popper and retrieve it close to my lure. The switch up worked and the big, overslot redfish claimed her popper and took off. 

Estero Bay Eagle

Alison set the hook quickly, but the size of the fish taxing her light tackle initially surprised her. The redfish rocketed past her and began towing her in reverse. Then it ran under her kayak in wide circles that lassoed the rudder. It was all very comical and I am sure she didn't appreciate my laughter and lack of help. Eventually, she gained control and landed what was her first redfish! It was a day of firsts for Alison, first time on a kayak, first cast of the day and first redfish ever. And what a redfish it was! It was overslot and the biggest of the day.

Nice 1st redfish!

After some photos, the redfish was released to to fight another day. We worked the school a while longer and brought a few more small reds to the kayak before they eventually caught on. We moved back out into the bay for a little wade fishing. Several pelicans were busy crashing into the water nearby.

Feeding pelicans

Wading out

 After a couple hours of jacks and catfish, we called it a morning. Alison was talking a mile a minute about catching reds and kayaking, and I knew she was hooked. She already loves the outdoors and I think she has found one more outlet to enjoy the water. I invited her to write gear reviews on No Secrets and look forward to what she comes up with. Check out her Facebook fishing page here

Cats coming out to play

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tre Boston trying out a Hobie

Tre's "No Secrets" Video

In his rookie season, Carolina Panther Tre’von Boston proved he is one of the best Safeties in the NFL. Taking over the starting slot halfway through the season, Tre made several big plays including an interception returned for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons, and another game clinching interception the following week against the Arizona Cardinals in postseason play. 

Tre Boston of the Carolina Panthers - Charlotte Observer

I was making arrangements to interview Tre, a Ft Myers native and avid angler, when we began talking about kayaks. “Man, I’d like to try out one of those Hobies you are always riding in” Tre confessed. In a couple of minutes, the conversation turned to planning a demo day for Tre and his mom, the beautiful Iris De Hoyos. A quick call to Jim VanPelt and our local Hobie dealer, Estero River Outfitters, and we had a date.

Interview at the Launch - JVP

 The morning we chose proved to be a little chilly and windy. Along for the trip was Professional Photographer Doug Stamm. We chose Pineland so we could fish a little while Tre and Iris tried out the Revos. One thing Tre was interested in was the fishability of the Revo in terms of stability and room for gear, so I brought plenty of gear for the day. 

Tre on the Revo - Doug Stamm

 We launched into a negative tide on a Pine Island flat. It was a difficult undertaking to say the least as we pulled, and then poled the kayaks to deeper water. Iris was trying a new Revo 11 and Tre was in an older Revo 13. As soon as it was deep enough for the mirage drives, Tre took off! He was tearing up the flats while calling back to us about the great ab workout he was getting. It was all very comical and in short order they were pedaling around like pros.

Demonstrating the Fishability - Doug Stamm

 It was pretty windy so fishing was limited to casting at potholes as we blew by them. I took the opportunity to remind Tre that our fishing guide was Jim, thus taking the responsibility of the lack of fish from me. I also asked Tre how he felt about Jim VanPelt having more sponsors that he does. After a few hours joking around and getting to know the kayaks, we made our way back in. I talked to Tre about living in North Carolina, his college days and about living in Southwest Florida. He struck me as a very genuine person and a hell of a nice guy. My guess is a lot of that has to do with his mom, Iris. According to Tre, she made him play football when he was younger which left him no time for making trouble. I told him my mom made me eat brussel sprouts which didn’t help me at all! 

Tre returning an interception for a touchdown - Yahoo Sports

Back at the launch we did our interview and Tre even did a funny video with me. His love of the water is infectious. I would have called it a bad day due to the wind but Tre loved every minute of it. Come to think of it, it was kind of nice being out on the water watching the ospreys and having good conversation with good friends. Besides, I got a great interview and probably sold a couple of Hobies as well. Follow Tre’s exploits on his Facebook page as well as on the Official Carolina Panthers website.

A new kayaker

The beautiful Iris De Hoyos - Doug Stamm