The Art of “Floating”

People that fish out of a kayak always have a preference on what type of water they would prefer to be on, what type of fish they love going after the best, what type of bait or lures works the best, brands of rods and reels… opinions on everything and anything. Around the area of Central New York, there are all sorts of different bodies of water, and species of fish to target. The primary for me would have to be river fishing for largemouth and small mouth bass.

Coming along with River Fishing is the planning that goes along with it. Planning a “Float” is almost as important as making sure you bring your rod and reel along. Living and working on the Seneca River, which connects Seneca Lake to Cayuga Lake (the two largest Finger Lakes in central New York) I have had a chance to float down that section of River many times, and have learned a lot of “do’s and do not’s” in the process.


A good rule of thumb, as always when you are paddling, is to use the buddy system, having a put in and take out point is one thing, but not having transportation when you take out makes it pretty pointless. Having a vehicle at your take out point, with at the very least, a way to get back to your portage vehicle would easily allow you to do a lot more fishing, instead of having to paddle all the way back up river to your put in location. Another key thing to remember when parking is to make sure you have the right/permission to park where you are. Nothing worse than coming back from a day on the water to a ticket on your car, or worse…. No car.

Which brings me to my next point, it seems silly, but knowing the details about the river you are setting up to fish can truly be the difference maker on the outcome of your day; current conditions, tides if applicable), hot spots, and even the best baits. Nothing is worse than putting in at your location, planning this great float, only to find out you are floating the other direction. Also, talking to locals in the area, you might find out that an area that looks great for the fish you are going after is actually a complete waste of time, and something that should just be skipped. So, do your homework and be prepared.
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The main thing you should always remember is to just have fun, fishing is all about unplugging and recharging your mental tanks, being out on the water is supposed to be a pleasant experience and proper planning is key to a relaxing day on the water. Follow these simple pointers, and get out and float!

We All Have a Role

With the recent tragedy in Colorado, I found it important to share my thoughts on everyone taking part in their areas to keep our waterways clean. Know that putting giant plugs on your areas mines and drilling facilities is not what I am talking about. But working on a more local level is just as important as a regional government level.

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Recently I had the opportunity to lead a volunteer effort to help clean up my portion of water my business sits on, we broke the 13 mile section into 4 parts, each its own weekend, and met up at preplanned points on our kayaks with the purpose to cleaning up that section. We had a pontoon boat follow us around on our paddle to help us with the loads and loads of trash we were taking out the our water way.

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Putting this together was easier that I thought it would be, people came out so easily for a chance to help clean up their area, and of course I’m sure the plug of “Free Lunch” didn’t hurt either. However, I was so impressed with the effort people were getting into over pulling up tires from the mud, or old pipes, or even trudging through the mud to pick up old cups or baseball caps.

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These people did not do this for anything other than to clean up the water; there was no promise or anticipation of media publications for anything we were doing.

One large scare on the paddle came when we paddled up, with our kayaks full of trash, to a large sign on the water which read “Welcome to Seneca Lake drinking water to 62,000 people.”

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Planning one of these paddles will not be hard, and people will come out to help clean up their area. Getting people involved in cleaning up the area is a great way to get beginners to try kayaking for the first time, a great way to meet new people with like minded priorities, as well as a great way to build awareness to your area. Cleaning up the waterways is a national issue, but it is important to know that the solution is a local one. It is important to get our waterways clean, for both us, and the environment.

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“We’ve all had those days”

This past Sunday marked the first stop in the kayak fishing tour series, Kayak-Anglers of NY. The brand new division of the well formed Pennsylvania organization, which has three PA divisions throughout the state, granted the right to expand into the Central NY region this past spring, as long as the demand was there. The organization follows simple clear cut rules that are enforced throughout all four chapters. Rules such as: Catch, Photo, and Release. No live baits, and closed mouth measuring, to name a few. The interest was defiantly there on social media and chat rooms for the NY Chapter, but having an actual event was going to tell us just how the season would pay out.

The First stop on the tour, as I said earlier, was last Sunday. Check in was at the Otisco Lake campgrounds and marina, on the Southeast shore of a 5 mile long by one mile wide lake, a half an hour south west of the city of Syracuse. Upon arrival to the campground I was greeted by some get people, exciting about getting out on the water. After setting up my Coosa, getting my ID card and hearing a few guidelines, we were released on the water, with plans to meet back at the campground at 3:30PM.

Southern coast of Otisco Lake in Central NY
Southern coast of Otisco Lake in Central NY

I started out heading down to the south shore, there we so many pockets and downed trees I thought it was a bass paradise. I even found a nice stream at the south shore I thought was perfect, I spent almost three hours down there with nothing but a few nibbles to show for my time so I decided to head north.

I paddled about two miles north along the west coast of the lake, taking time to through some lines whenever a dock caught my eye… still nothing but nibbles. Keep in mind throughout this time I am changing back and forth from crank baits, spinners, and rubber worms, but yet still nothing.  However there was hope in the air, when I saw the channel entering into the north end of the lake, I headed through and started floating down the north east side of the stone break wall, but still nothing!

It was at this point I started to think something was wrong with me, looking at the live tournament scoring it was easy to see that not everyone was having my luck. So I decided to stay positive and keep “fishing”. So I wrapped around the shore keeping with my plan of staying with docks and pockets along the way.

Then, finally, around 1PM, I get a hit! Most fun I have had all day! However, I get the fish on the boat and it measures a deflating 11.75”. I take a deep breath and say, maybe my day is turning around, “there are fish around here”. However from then till about quarter till three, nothing, not even a glimmer of hope.

my only fish of the day
My only fish of the day… 11.75″

I made the decision to head back to the camp to get the day over with, but I was going to take my time getting back, because I was not going to lose hope. About half way back I threw my crank under a dock and got a hit! A nice battle with a solid sized bass, only quality battle I had all day. While fighting, I am telling myself, “I knew the day would turn around”. Seemingly just when I told myself that I had the sucker laying right next to the yak, and getting my net ready to scoop the nice 20 incher beauty into my coosa, and at that exact moment it twisted just right and broke off my hook. The perfect end of my perfect day I thought to myself. Believe me I stayed there for a while trying to get that puppy back on the line, but to no avail. And on that note, my day on the water was over. Today the lake had won; I went limping off to the weigh in, feeling completely deflated.

I got out of the water, feeling like I have just double bogeyed the last hole of the masters, and in no mood to chat. My mood was quickly changed however by the other great people who are part about this awesome organization. The terms “we’ve all been there before” and “we’ve all had those days” made me feel better, even talking to the people that did not land a fish at all. These conversations and friendly jesters are what make the world of fishing so great, you can have a complete bust out on the water, but at the end of the day, you are still out on the water.

Any day on the water... Is a good day!
Any day on the water… Is a good day!

There is nothing truer than the statement “We’ve all had those days” but you cannot let that ever stop you from hitting the paddle to the water. In the end you have to remember that everyone has been there, and when the group gives you a “joke prize” called “the rat” for the day’s smallest fish, give you a hat with a stuffed mouse on it, and make you take a photo with the hat on for the tournament website. It will only get you more excited to go out at the next stop and win it all! Don’t worry, I will see you all at the next event.

Kayak Anglers of NY Group at Otisco Lake
Kayak Anglers of NY Group at Otisco Lake

Your Own… Finger Lakes

Kayaking has always been around the Finger Lakes region of New York. The eleven different lakes within the region all have something special and significant to offer all levels of paddlers. These lakes have also been host to many different fishing tournaments. However in the recent years a new sport has begun to spread through the area, a sport that combines both of these heavily populated past times, Kayak Fishing.


The Finger Lakes Region of New York is a prime location for this growing sport. No matter what type of water you are looking to get into, the Finger Lakes have it. Seneca Lake, the largest of the eleven lakes is known as “The Lake Trout capital of the world”. At 35 miles long and over 600 feet deep in some points, there are hundreds of areas to get lost on a kayak for the day. If Seneca Lake and its plentiful supply of Lake Trout are to “flashy” for you, there are many other options for you. Just a twenty minute drive away is the much smaller, calmer, Keuka Lake. This “wishbone” shaped lake is 20 miles long and only a little more than 100 feet deep is home to some of the best small mouth bass in the state. Keuka Lake has many streams and inlets that the bass love to call home, and the low traffic on the lake make the fish more than abundant, and very hungry.

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These are only two examples of the eleven main lakes that make up our beautiful region, and this article doesn’t even start to count the dozens of smaller lakes and canals that connect them all together, making the Finger Lakes a true center for anyone looking to get into the sport of kayak fishing.

Another advantage of the area is the accessibility of the main lakes, with one of the largest cities in the Finger Lakes on the northern tip, Geneva; Seneca Lake is one of the most accessible lakes in the region.  This accessibility makes Seneca Lake home to the most tournaments throughout the years, many of which have even started Kayak divisions, and have gotten small specialized kayak shops to even come into these tournaments as sponsors.


Just like in any sport, the correct equipment for your specific paddling style can make or break your experience on the water. That is why it is always important for growing areas such as the Finger Lakes to have and support these types of businesses. Bringing their education as well as high quality kayak companies; like the market leader, Jackson Kayaks, to the attention of the customer. These shops are a very important to any “up and coming” area.  Fuzzy Guppies, located in the heart of the Finger Lakes, has that role filled. Specializing in all things kayak fishing, this organization can amplify your experience tenfold.


Everyone in the area has their own favorite hole on their favorite lake. For me, it doesn’t get any better than putting my Jackson Coosa fishing kayak in on the north shore of Seneca Lake, paddling down the east coast, away from all the motor boats and jet skis, and throwing that perfectly quiet cast along that ridge bank where I know there will be an extra hungry large mouth waiting for a fight, a special area where only a kayak and a fish can get to. It’s kind of unfair for those “motor-heads” in there $60k bass boats if you ask me. However, if it is a busy weekend, and I can see it would be hard for me to get away from the noise and craziness I am trying to escape, I drive to my second favorite fishing spot on Keuka Lake. Drop my Coosa in the Outlet just south of the town of Penn Yan, NY and paddle up the east shore, where I would never see one boat, but a ton of Small mouths.

These are important resources or always keep in mind when you make a trip to New York’s Finger Lakes region, but it is only the beginning, each lake truly is unique, offering the paddler a completely new feel and experience. It is important for you to get out and start fishing these lakes, and get your own favorite. Besides, I am not going to give you all of my favorite secret locations right out of the gate….

NOW is the time!

I understand that a lot of you will think I am crazy when i say this, you will look outside your window and probably yell at me through your computer screen… but its true. Spring is right around the corner! And now is the time to get yourself into the paddling “game”

Fuzzy Guppies Kayak in the snow
Fuzzy Guppies Kayak in the snow

You see now is the time that your local paddle shop is working hard on all of their “Pre-Season” orders, for all of their boat lines. They are working hard to make sure that they bring you the boat that YOU want. Asking, “What boats work for our area?” “What do my customers want?” and “what will make me stand out in my area?” These are all extremely important questions, ones that make or break any business out there really.

There are two times really when a paddler can get a great deal on their boat. The first is at the end of the season, the shop will want to sell off the boats that they couldn’t move through the summer season, this is a great way to get a boat if you don’t care what color it is, are open minded on the style, and don’t mind some bumps and bruises (sometimes they can be demo boats). However, if you want to get a brand new boat, at a great price, and have it be EXACTLY what you want, there is another time to buy… NOW.

Now is the perfect time to reach out to your local paddle shop, ask them about the new lines coming out, tell them what you are looking for in a boat, where you would like to paddle, what style paddling you like to do… and they can fit you with a few awesome incoming lines for you to look at. Take that information and do some homework, look them up on line, read reviews, check out kayaking forums on those specific boats                                         ( is a great one! And learn all you can about the boats they pointed you in. NOTE: I will always be the first one to advocate “TRY and BUY” when it comes to kayaks… the local shops are awesome at letting you test out boats before you buy them, this makes a huge a big difference if you can do it locally..

That being said, if you know what you want, this is the best time you will have all year to make your purchase! Since companies are making their orders now anyway, you will be able to order exactly the boat you want: Make, Model, Color, Accessories… everything!  And because of this, shops might offer you great deals on shipping, accessories, custom colors and add ons, and even special package deals with paddles and or vests (Things that over the season, you might pay a big premium for.)

Also, always remember to talk to your local shop about services they offer. A lot of local shops stand apart from the big box stores because of their customer service, and their “extras”. Some might offer free installation on accessories, or a percentage off mounts or gear with your boat purchase. I know my local shop always gives you shop swag when you purchase a boat (

Get on the phone (or email) your shop today, remember those points and get a conversation going with them. You might be surprised with the deal you come out with… but you won’t be surprised when you get exactly what you want… before the season starts!

youth kayaking at Fuzzy Guppies in the Finger Lakes
youth kayaking at Fuzzy Guppies in the Finger Lakes

NOTE: I stole the winter photo above from Fuzzy Guppies webpage. I know I need my own photos, and I will get them up here, as soon as I get out of this winter snow globe I seem to be living in.

Happy Paddling!

Itching for that Kayak Fishing Outlet?

One of the best things about getting into the world of kayak fishing is the wide spread community you immediately become a part of. Luckily for a lot of us, a local Kayak Fishing club/community is only a few clicks of the mouse away. As for us in upstate NY this is going to be a particularly exciting season, the 2015 fishing season brings with it the start of the CNY chapter of Kayak Anglers of PA.


Check out their “About” page HERE… for their own wording of what they are all about.

This club is a lot like the clubs all over the country, for a low annual membership fee, members get discounted tournament entries, discounts on sponsored products, but most of all, they get membership into a community of like minded individuals, all with new knowledge to share about their “favorite fishing spot”…

That has always been my favorite aspect about joining a new club, getting to try out new lakes, and areas and places I had never paddled before… makes you think, why you would ever do the same paddle twice.

Get out there and check out your local clubs, try fishing new locations, different baits and reels… talk to people, and become and active member,  if you are serious about getting into the sport of Kayak Fishing, or just want to get out and have a good time… you can not find a better outlet then your local Kayak Fishing club.

The new Coosa HD from Jackson Kayak

Check out one of my favorite kayak lines, and the new version of one of there best fishing models. If you are looking to get into a new kayak this fishing season, check this one out at your nearest kayak shack… like Fuzzy Guppies, if you are in my neck of the woods.

More info to come!


Lets get started!

Beauty is everywhere while you paddle
Beauty is everywhere while you paddle

Kayaking is a sport that has been around for a very long time in many different countries. It is simple for someone to get into, as well as always changing and staying fresh, there is always a new place to paddle.  Kayak gear is available almost everywhere that you can find a sports shop or water sports shop (not to mention that almost every little town by water has a Kayak Shack). Kayaking is very popular in many different areas where there are different bodies of water; you can kayak on the ocean, a lake, down canals or even through white rafting waters. From novices to the experienced, kayak accessories are always necessary as well. Therefore, it is very important to do your research before you get out on the water to have some good outdoor fun.

Kayaking is a very easy sport to quickly get the hang of right away. It involves some skills that can be easily developed if you are already in shape and it can be a lot of fun even if you do not know how. For those of your willing, most of your local kayak shops offer some form of lessons (never a bad idea). Kayaking is usually done on calm waters in lakes, all over the country, with a growing population from the Finger Lakes Region of New York. Sometimes, more experienced kayakers will take their kayak out to fast rapids which are much more difficult and require some more experience. For a novice, you will want to take things slow and keep it easy until it becomes comfortable.
Kayaking in a single person boat can be fun as well, but that does require a little bit more strength and power than a two person boat where both can row, or you may take turns, making the entire trip a whole lot easier. Kayaking is also much safer when you participate as a group. If you happen to get lost on a stream or lose your way it can be scary to those who are by themselves. If you are in a group though, it can be much easier to deal with than one would think. With a group you will not only feel safer but if something were to go wrong, your friends and family would be able to handle the situation.
Kayaking is a very easy sport to learn and it only requires a little bit of training before you can get out on the water and enjoy it on your own. Most people would recommend one or two classes and some leisurely runs on water that is close to you before you try to kayak on a major trip. Practicing is a very fun way to get comfortable with the sport before you go on a trip and it is a lot of fun. If you do not own your own kayak, it is very easy and very inexpensive to simply rent one. Kayaks come in singles and doubles and can be used in almost any body of water of your choice.
Simply remember to bring the gear you need like a life vest, comfortable shoes, lots of water, granola bars or other forms of food. You will have lots of fun and you will be able to experience a lot of nature that you have never experienced before! Have fun and be safe, wherever you decide to kayak!