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Monday, March 05, 2012
HUNTING FOR THE TRUTH


Kayak Fishing Central
Once again Fred Hall Long Beach will be a tour de force of all things kayak fishing

With each year, it seems kayak fishing is a bigger part of the huge Long Beach edition of the Fred Hall Show. It’s only fitting; the modern revival of the sport has deep roots at this centerpiece of the California fishing scene.

It’s all here: the newest, fishiest rides; the latest in rigging accessories and plenty of expert installation know-how; seminars from some of kayak fishing’s leading lights. You can even book trips to far-off fishing adventures centered on the plastic craft that can go virtually anywhere.

Let’s start our show tour with the exhibitors, listed in alphabetical order. Fred Hall attracts the top shops – the ones whose staffers speak the lingo, rig the boats, and get out on the water themselves.

Dana Point Jetski and Kayak Center is bringing a truckload of hands-free Hobie fishing kayaks to the show, including the newest boats to join the fleet. One example: The Mirage Revolution 11 is a compact performer, easy to store and transport, yet it is flush with fishing features. The Dana Point Jetski kayak fishing team will be front and center. Bring your questions for salt and freshwater bass fanatics Ken Rossburg, Gilbert Hernandez and Joe Petralia. One more note: They’re taking bookings for a June 15 1.5-day mothership trip aboard the Islander out of San Diego.

The big OEX Kayak and Dive booth will feature Hobie kayaks plus several other lines. Ocean Kayak will be in the house showing off a pair of fish killers from down under, the Trident Ultra 4.3 and 4.7. The fish-savvy factory rigging is as good as it gets. Other expected highlights include the brand new never before seen Moken 14, a sleek ride built around a bait tank, and maybe even the Malibu 4.4, a surf-ski style ‘yak built to take on the toughest beach launches. Stop by for info on upcoming tournaments, and a just-announced set of two-day Channel Islands mothership runs aboard the Black Pearl originating in the Los Angeles area. OEX Sunset Beach owner Andrew Allen promises his staff’s crack rigging skills will be on display.    

Santa Cruz Kayaks is hitting the show for the first time. They produce a one of a kind boat, the Raptor, a wedge design with a sharp nose and wide stern that provides an interesting mix of speed and stability. Ask about the coming sit-on-top version, available soon.

Southwind Kayak Center is the next up. Stop by for Wilderness Systems’ line of paddle-powered fish hunters, including the brand spanking new Ride 135, a big boat with a novel trim on the fly seating system. Hobie will be here too. The company’s pedal-drive kayaks have caught on in a big way. Don’t miss the details on the shop’s kayak fishing classes and definitely stick around to look at the Southwind’s selection of slick aftermarket rigging accessories from Mad Frog Gear and YakAttack.

No place beyond the US border does a better job of catering to kayak anglers than the welcoming and legendary Rancho Leonero Resort. John Ireland’s staff gets it. The hotel fleet offers a fine mix of Ocean Kayak and Hobie fish ‘yaks. Launch off the beach to chase tuna, dorado, cabrilla, and jacks including the muscular and majestic rooster fish, or load the kayaks on board a panga or cruiser. Don’t leave the show without a look at the famous photo album.  

In addition to the two mothership operations you can book through the shops, for the ultimate in long-distance options stop by the Excel Sportfishing and Qualifier 105 booths. Both sportfishing operations offer 6- to 8-day skiff / kayak mothership runs down Baja’s remote Pacific Coast, culminating at the incomparable Cedros and Benitos isles: yellowtail central and trophy calico heaven.

As seen on The Kayak Fishing Show with Jim Sammons, Cedros Outdoor Adventures offers a similar experience with the long boat ride. Fly in; a set of Trident 13 fishing kayaks is ready and waiting.

Don’t overlook the expert seminars. You can catch experts in all kinds of fishing, including the kayak kind. Jim Sammons of WFN and NBC Sports Network fame will take questions on anything ranging from how to best fish the local bays to how to take the show on the road to fish the most exotic destination. Kevin Nakada is newer on the scene, but he’s compiling an excellent local big game record. His seminars focus on kayak tackle, the hunt for yellowtail, and how to choose a kayak fish finder. Finally, lobster guru Jim Salazar will cover his favorite, buttery subject. That’s right – you can catch lobster from kayaks. Go ahead, ask him.

fred hall kayak 1

THE HALL SHOW IS CHOCK FULL OF KAYAK FISHING — Nothing can match the huge Long Beach Fred Hall Fishing Show for sheer variety and volume of kayak fishing goodness in one place. It’s all here: the newest, fishiest rides; the latest in rigging accessories and plenty of expert installation know-how; and seminars from some of kayak fishing’s leading lights. You can even book trips to far-off fishing adventures centered on the plastic craft that can go virtually anywhere. WON PHOTO BY PAUL LEBOWITZ
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