Monday, August 26, 2013

8/24 Multi Species Trip, 8/25 River Smallies

Saturday Rylan and I took the kayaks out to a lower section of Ohio Brush Creek. As always we were chasing smallmouth bass, but as luck would have it the bass weren't willing to bite. We got on the water at 12:15pm and fished until 7:30pm. Rylan was throwing his usual jig and chigger craw combo, I on the other hand decided to switch it up and throw a shad rap in a crayfish color.
Lately i've been getting a lot of short bites on a texas rigged chigger craw, I figured I'd catch whatever was biting the chigger craw with the addition of two treble hooks on the crankbait. With a sound game plan we started our 4 mile float. As mentioned above the smallmouth bite was well below average however, just about every other specie of fish was on the prowl. Just below our third riffle I threw my shad rap across current and began a slow and steady retrieve when I felt a thump. At first I thought I had snagged on a rock until it began to move. The fish was bound and determined to stay on bottom, he made a quick run upstream and then started to head toward the surface. After a few short bursts of drag I had landed a small 18" flathead catfish.
A few casts later and I landed another bonus fish, a 12" sauger.
As we drifted along I picked up a few smallmouth in the 8 to 13 inch range, definitely not the size we were looking for. Rylan was struggling to find fish, and halfway through the trip he decided to downsize his jig and try to catch the smaller fish that I was finding. After the swtich he picked up one of the smallest smallmouth he has ever caught on a chigger craw, a 8.25" smallmouth. We stopped to laugh at his catch and debate who had caught the smallest smallmouth.

As we got close to the take out I managed to pick up yet another specie on the shad rap, a small spotted bass.
At this point the trip was all but over with, and none too soon. The smallmouth bite was dead, and we weren't really enthused with the small bonus fish. We quickly drug the kayaks up the hill at the take out location and hit the road.


SUNDAY 8/25
Sunday Amanda and I met up with Aarron Saldivar and Neil Farley in Dayton to fish a couple urban flows, completely opposite of what we normally fish.
We got on the water at 2pm and fished until 9pm. Before we even put our kayaks in the water Amanda landed a 13.5" smallmouth on a jig and chigger craw combo. I thought to myself, regardless of what happened from that point on in the trip was going to be better than the trip that Rylan and I had the day before. I started throwing the crayfish colored shad rap once again, which turned out to be a bad idea. I couldn't keep the dink smallmouth off my bait, landing 7 fish under 12" within the first two hours. Everyone else quickly landed a smallmouth as well, none of which were nearly as small as the fish I was catching. After 3 hours of dinkfest, I made the switch to a texas rigged chigger craw. The chigger craw had a larger profile than the shad rap, so I started to catch slightly larger fish. At one point Neil and I were fishing side by side when Neil pointed out a slack pool of water near the bank. He said, "that spot should hold a fish", his rod wasn't in his hands so I took it as an open invitation to cast there. My chigger craw landed a couple inches from the weedy bank, I then hopped the chigger craw across the bottom and immediately felt the typical smallmouth THUMP. I said, "Theres One", I then swung for the fences. To my delight I had hooked into a solid fish. At this point Neil pointed out that he'd be one heck of a smallmouth guide.....I agree 100 percent and the trip was far from over. I quickly landed the fish and took a few pictures. The smallmouth went 16.75".
I was pretty excited, it was one of the biggest smallmouth I had landed all year long. At this point it was getting late and Aarron had made plans to go to the drive in movie theatre. He wanted to leave at 7pm, at this point it was already after 7. We then made plans to head back. The plan was to hit the better looking spots along the way and skip all of the average looking spots. Aarron's luck must be worse than mine because the fishing really picked up, which slowed us down a lot.

We came to a spot in the river that was loaded with large boulders. Neil was working a bank with very swift current, and I started working the eddies behind the boulders on the opposite side of the river. I got a bite pretty quickly but I failed to hook the fish. On one cast I bounced my chigger craw off the backside of a huge boulder, I let it hit the bottom and hopped it a couple times, no bites. I then decided to swim the chigger craw back to the kayak to make another cast when a fish boiled, disturbed the surface, a couple feet behind the boulder. The current was so swift that I had lost contact with my bait,  so I had no idea if I had spooked a carp off or if I had fooled a smallmouth into eating my chigger craw. Once again I reeled up a couple feet of slack and set a solid hook. At first I felt weight but then the fish made a quick run under my kayak, a situation that typically ends up bad for me.. Luck was on my side this time, I fought the fish to the surface and saw what I thought was an 18" fish. At one point I even told Neil that I thougt it would go 18", something I typically don't do because fish look way bigger under water. When I got it into the kayak I thought for sure I had set a new personal best smallmouth, anything over 3lbs would have done it. The fish went 2lbs 12oz and 18.25", not a new personal best but definitely one of my top 3 smallmouth of all time.
Aarron, being a photographer for K & A Photography had his professional camera ready to snap a few pictures. While Aarron was taking my picture Amanda landed a 15" smallmouth and Neil lost one that would have went every bit of 17". He was pretty upset because he had gotten into a bad snag upstream and should have retied his lure. Aarron took a picture of Amanda and I and we set off toward the take out once again. On the way back Aarron decided to pick up a stray kitten and take for a ride on his kayak. After 30 minutes of paddling the kitten had jumped off of the kayak 3 times, it was very entertaining to say the least.
Needless to say, Aarron did not make the take out by 7pm, or 8pm for that matter. We eventually got to the take out at a little after 9pm. By the end of the day I had one of my best smallmouth trips ever. I want to thank Neil and Aarron for taking us out, sharing their water, a few stories, and tons of laughs. Aarron, I'm sorry that we didn't make the takeout in time. I had a blast, hopefully one day I can return the favor.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

NuCanoe Frontier 12 Review

Since I've had my Frontier out many times and fished for several different species I feel comfortable giving it my full review seeing how there seems to lots of interest in the NuCanoe's. Just to give you some background, I have not fished out of any other kayaks or canoes to compare to but I have paddled around in various kayaks and canoes previously. You can check out all the specs of the Frontier 12 on NuCanoe's Website.

Here's a look at my Frontier, setup for a typical fishing trip.

Stability
Stability is where the Frontier shines the brightest. From the get go I had no issues standing at all. Never has standing made me nervous, not to say it is impossible to fall out. My first day out I was even paddling my Frontier while standing up. You could say that the Frontier is like floating around on your own personal dock. Recently I've even tried out tandem fishing and found that even with two people the Frontier is still plenty stable. The capacity of the Frontier is 650lbs which is more than enough for 2 people and gear. The stability and spacious standing area combined with the optional swivel seat make the Frontier very comfortable to fish from.

Storage
Internal Storage isn't the Frontier's strongest asset. It has only the one large dry storage compartment on the front. If you remove the dry storage bag you gain access to the inside of the entire hull. It was advertised that you could store rods in the hull. While this is possible it made me uncomfortable because to insert a rod of moderate length requires you to bend the rod. Thus, a stiff rod is very hard to insert or even impossible without breaking the rod. This was the case with my catfish rods. I feel that some additional compartments may be a nice addition although internal storage wasn't high on my priority list, open flat space was. If your like me and just want to set everything on top and not worry about sticking things down in compartments, the Frontier is great. Since it is so stable I don't worry about tipping and losing stuff, and the raised rim around the edge prevents anything from falling out.




Speed and Maneuverability
Since the Frontier is much wider than a typical kayak, it's much slower to paddle. This could easily be dealt with by mounting a trolling motor or even up to a 2.5hp gas motor. The Frontier has a transom built for easy motor mounting. The lower speed is the price you pay for the stability and space. Wind is another big issue. Compared to smaller kayaks, the Frontier is effected by the wind severely. Paddling against strong gusts can be almost impossible. Again, this could be dealt with by using a motor of some sort. So if you plan on paddling and your looking for speed, the Frontier is not for you.

Portability
Since the Frontier is a little bit bigger than a typical kayak, it also weighs a little bit more at 77lbs. This is where the optional transport cart accessory comes in, a must have accessory for any of the NuCanoe's. The transport cart easily attaches to a pre-made hole in the transom and allows you to roll your NuCanoe. This helps greatly to an extent. The only problem is not all locations allow for rolling of wheels such as steep hills or large rocks, something that is commonly found on public creek access points. Personally I can't carry the Frontier solo, so if the transport cart isn't viable, I need help to carry it. Other than that, the Frontier is a breeze to load and unload from my truck and put in and out of the water. The stability also makes getting on and off very easy.

Customizability and Accessories
Next to the stability, the ease of customizing is the Frontiers next strongest trait. The two 70 inch freedom tracks allow for endless layout possibilities. You can view all the accessories offered directly from NuCanoe here.

Price
The price of the Frontier may deter some would be buyers. The base price when I purchased mine was $1179 and that was without any must have accessories such as a seat, transport cart, rod holders, and a paddle. After purchasing all the essential accessories it's easy to spend over $2000 on a Frontier. Compared to other kayaks this may seem a bit high but to me it was worth it.

Durability

After only a few months of owning the Frontier I am a little worried about the durability. I've only had one issue concerning the durability of the Frontier but it was somewhat major. The floor started to crack. I explained the full situation and outcome in a separate post here. This issue may have been remedied by the now standard foam inserts.

Customer Service

I've yet to hear a bad word about NuCanoe's customer service. My experience with them was great. They offered to get me a new replacement Frontier as result of the floor issues mentioned above. You can't beat that. I did choose not to get a replacement but it is good to know that the offer is still on the table.

To sum things up I've compiled a list of the basic pros and cons of the Frontier.


Pros
  • Stability
  • Spacious
  • Comfort
  • Weight Capacity
  • Tandem Fishing
  • Customizability
  • Customer Service
Cons
  • Speed (without motor)
  • Handling in wind
  • Transporting on rough terrain
  • Price
  • Lack of internal storage compartments
  • Durability (may no longer be an issue)

I'm completely satisfied with my Frontier and wouldn't trade it in for anything. To anybody looking for a kayak or canoe to fish from, I would make sure to give the NuCanoe Frontier 12 a strong look. Good luck!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Buckeye Kayak Fishing Trails, Columbus Rumble on the River

Yesterday, Rylan, Amanda, Russ, and I made the voyage from Southern Ohio to the Buckeye Kayak Fishing Trails Columbus Rumble on the River tournament. As always, the water was completely new to us. Our preparation for the tournament consisted of a lot of research. First I located all of the public access points on each individual river. Here is a link to the public access points on the Scioto River for example. From there I used my Navionics app on my smartphone to determine the distance between each public access point. With the check in at 6:30am and the measure in at 4pm, we had about 7 hours of fishable time after checking in, unloading the vehicles, dropping a take out vehicle, and reloading the vehicles. With 7 hours to fish, I figured a float of 4 to 6 miles would be ideal. From that point I eliminated all sections that were outside of the 4 to 6 miles. With all remaining sections I began to look at google earth's satellite imagery. I looked for bridges, dams, rocks along the banks, riffles, etc. I was looking for structure similar to the creeks we fished where we lived because I/we had confidence in that type of water. After a discussion with Rylan we had a game plan. We were going to float a northern section of the Scioto River.

We got up at 2:30am and loaded the vehicles, it was pretty amusing to see what everyone had tied on. I had 3 rods, one with a white spinner bait, a texas rigged chigger craw, and a rope lure....Rylan had a jig and chigger craw combo, a white spinner bait, a tiny wee craw, and a gar lure.....Amanda had two jigs and chigger craw combos and a gar lure........Russ had a jig, gar lure, and a white spinner bait. Needless to say we had little diversity in our lure selections. We arrived at Roosters in Grove City at 5:45am, while we were waiting a few other guys started showing up. We talked about our lack of sleep, game plans, how we thought other competitors would do, etc... Soon Larry and Neil showed up and we signed in and were on our way. The "Put In" was rough to say the least. We had to drag our kayaks over fallen trees, over large rocks, and launch in a small rapid....something I didn't see on Google Earth.

The morning started off with a little game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to see what order we would rotate in. Since we had a group of 4 people we figured it would be best to rotate from front to back. The person in front would get the first cast at spots, but once he/she caught a fish he/she would then go to the back of the pack. This would ensure that everyone would have an opportunity to cast at a spot first. After a few rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors, I had won the first place spot, Rylan had second, Russ had opted to go last, and Amanda had planned on going upstream to fish a good looking spot. The fishing started off slow, I went without a bite for at least 3 hours. Rylan and Amanda quickly picked up a few small fish on their jig and chigger craw combos. Before I had landed a fish, Rylan had a three fish limit of a little over 30". Amanda had two fish at 25".
My first fish came off of the backside of a bridge piling, it was a 12.75" smallmouth. I quickly got a picture of the fish on the board and pulled off in a small eddy as to let everyone pass me by. It was my turn to fish in the back of the pack. As I was waiting I casted into the current with my texas rigged chigger craw, a 9" smallmouth soon followed.

A couple hours passed and we each picked up a few fish in the 10 to 14 inch range. By noon all of us had a limit of three fish, which was one of my main goals for the day. We passed by another bridge and I quickly landed a solid 16" fish.....this put me in first place out of our group. With a 16", a 14" and a 12.75" I had a total of 42.75"....I felt that it was enough to break into the top ten, but I wasn't happy with just being in the top ten. From that point I really put the pressure on myself to get that "One" fish.

A mile or so later, Amanda hooked into a massive smallmouth on a rock bar in the middle of the river. She was fishing third, I was in fourth, Rylan in 2nd, and Russ in first. She hooked the smallmouth and I heard Rylan ask her if it was a good one? It quickly came to the surface and our jaws dropped. Rylan had got a good look at it, as he was less than 10 feet away from it when it leaped out of the water. While she was still fighting it, I asked Rylan how good it was? He replied 3 to 4lbs. At that point we all stopped what we were doing to watch Amanda land her monster smallmouth. It felt like 2 minutes and 3 good leaps before she leaned over to make the grab when it happened...the smallmouth made one last jump and threw the hook. We all felt sick for her loss.

We continued to fish, and I continued to look for a fish to cull out my 12.75" fish. Russ was struggling to find sizable fish, although he was throwing the biggest bait out of everyone else on the water (a Strike King KVD triple willow bladed spinnerbait). He was soon rewarded for his persistence with a 17.25" 2lb 8oz smallmouth which came off of the front side of a bridge piling. It was a new personal best for him, so he was pumped.

At this point it was getting late and we still had over a mile to fish so we began to just hit the better looking spots. We had developed a pattern which was mid current breaks...such as bridge pilings, the end of holes also called "taper ups", and fallen trees. We quickly made it to the take out at 2:15pm, and planed to fish around it until 2:45pm. I was beating myself up for failing to find a quality fish, after all Amanda had lost a good one, Russ had landed a 17.25"er, and several were caught over 12.75"....just not by me. We began to work a dam, its riffles, and current breaks. I headed over to a good looking spot and started throwing my bait around when I hear Rylan ask, "How big is it?". I had my back turned at the time, but when I looked to see who was fighting the bass I saw Amanda once again. Rylan and I stopped casting to watch her fight the fish. It quickly wrapped her up on a stick in some pretty swift water. The whole time it was wrapped up, we could see the fish on the surface. It appeared to be another good fish. It wasn't quite as big as the one she lost previously but it was way bigger than any bass I had hooked that day. Luckily the fish unwrapped itself and she managed to land the bass. It was the same length as Russ' smallmouth at 17.25" but it went 4 ounces heavier, 2lbs 12oz. It was also her personal best smallmouth.

At that point it was 2:35pm, we had about 10 more minutes before we needed to load up. We worked every spot of that pool, but no other fish were present. Rylan and I had fell into a slump, failing to land any fish in the last couple hours of the tourney. At 2:45pm we pulled the yaks up on the rock bar and went through our cameras to clear the bad pictures off of our cards as to make the measure-in easier for Larry. We also counted up our totals, we were all between 38" and 43". It was a very close race between us, however we felt that only Amanda would break into the top ten. The competition was tough, we knew ahead that some very skilled guys were coming from Pennsylvania and a few local guys were going to fish the tourney. We loaded up the gear and set the navigation system to Roosters in Grove City.

We arrived a half hour early and went inside Roosters to give Larry our SD cards out of each of our cameras. We sat at a nearby table and awaited the results. None of us were really happy with our results so we weren't too worried about the results. We struck up conversation with the other guys and told them how our trip went. They then told us about their experiences, what baits worked, what baits didn't work, what structure held fish, etc... Before long the guys who run the tournament started bringing in raffle prizes and Larry stood up with the results.

First off Larry announced 10th place.......Russ Mcdonald. Russ was ecstatic, he didn't have any idea that he was going to place in the tourney so he was completely off guard. He was awarded $20 for 10th place. Larry then announced 9th and 8th place. At 7th place, Rylan was announced, he was also awarded $20. Larry then announced 6th place, and then paused to announce the top five. In fifth was......Sean, I had placed fifth place and was awarded $35. I started to think about what all this meant for Amanda....and before I could collect my thoughts Larry started to announce 4th place. He said, "In fourth place, and something Sean will never live down, is Amanda." Amanda had pulled off 4th place with a little over 43" and took home $40. We had all placed in the top 10. I was pretty pumped for everyone, and was amazed that all of our preparation and plans had payed off. Larry then went on to announce the top 3 places, and to be honest I was too excited to hear everyones name. In a couple days the guys of Buckeye Kayak Fishing Trail will have all of the results posted on their website. Check it out here....Buckeye Kayak Fishing Trail Standings. Larry then announced the big fish, it was a four way tie.....Amanda and Russ had won even more money with their 17.25" fish and were awarded a little over $20 each.

The guys then raffled off a few items such as Yak Attack Geartrac's, BKFT T-shirts, fishing rods, baits from J&M Tackle, etc. We then got our food and shared a few more stories with the remaining guys. Here's a picture of some J&M Tackle jigs and a pair of Yak Attack Geartrac's that Amanda won.

Russ ordered the hottest wings that Roosters offered. It was quite amusing watching him eat them, typically I am on the other end of that spectacle. I once ordered a half dozen blazing wings from Buffalo Wild Wings, in which I ate one and thought they were disappointing; I then ate a second and changed my mind; When I ate the third blazing wing I was in tears. So to see Russ take on those wings was amusing.. We finished our meal and said goodbye to everyone.

We then set off on our 2 hour journey home. We took the opportunity to take a picture of the skyscrapers in Columbus. In our home town I think we have a 3 story building, nothing like the buildings in the big city.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in Dayton in a few weeks. Once again we want to thank all the guys who put on the tournament, all of their family and friends who help out and put up with them, and all of the sponsors.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Big Water Kayaking

Last weekend we had planned on hitting the Scioto River in search of trophy flathead catfish…..well Mother Nature had other plans for us. Wednesday and Thursday it rained on and off all day long, which brought many of the local rivers up and over their banks. The NOAA projected that the particular river we had planned on fishing was going to rise 6 feet Saturday morning. It soon became apparent that we weren’t going to fish were we wanted, but we made up our minds that we were fishing somewhere. After a few conversations with Russ we decided to hit Rocky Fork lake in Highland County, Ohio and try for some of its larger channel cats. 
We have landed many channel catfish exceeding 10 pounds out of this lake in our jon boat in the past so we figured that it would be worth a shot in the kayaks too. This spring we fished the lake over a dozen times in our kayaks, but never outside of its “No Wake Zones."  The wind was blowing 10 mph which added to the chop on the water......throw in some recreational boaters and a few bass boats and we had a good evening of fighting rough water.
A passing bass boat running full throttle.
We ended up getting a few bites and landing one small channel cat. It seemed that we were on fish, but they weren't interested in our baits. After looking at the depth finder I wasn't quite sure we were on the right kind of fish. I was drifting a 12 foot ledge that dropped into 35 foot when I came across this school of fish. Here’s a picture of my Hummingbird 346cDI. The top screen is normal sonar set on high sensitivity, and the bottom screen is down imaging. 
A massive school of fish near a main lake point.
I’m not 100% sure of what they were but they definitely weren't cats, my immediate guess was saugeye judging by the profile on the down imaging portion of the fish finder. (They were long and skinny.) At the end of the day we rode a few big waves that the recreation boaters threw off. Which in turn built our confidence up for Saturday's kayaking trip. Here's a cool picture of the sunset on the water.
Sunset on the big lake.
On Saturday, we hit the Ohio River for the first time in our kayaks, particularly we fished the Meldahl pool near Manchester, Ohio. We chose to fish this stretch, because when we get heavy rains down in southern Ohio all of our small rivers respond fairly quickly....while other larger rivers take a day or so. This stretch was only 1 foot higher than normal summer pool levels.  

We hit every spot I thought would hold fish:  flowing feeder creeks, barge tie offs, log jams, shallow flats, etc. None of which produced fish, however the gar seemed to be out in full force. I drifted cutbait 3 foot off of bottom using circle hooks with my rods in rod holders all day.  On several occasions my rods would start to bend and just when I thought the fish had taken the bait they would let go. I would reel my bait in to see if I had lost my bait or to see if the hook turned back into itself. All I found were dozens of small puncture wounds, indicative of gar bites. I was intent on catching catfish so I left the gar alone, in hindsight I probably should have adapted to the situation and thrown a rope lure. 

While I drifted the ledges, Russ and Jake anchored on key features in hopes that the fish would come to them rather than my approach of going to the fish.
Jake and Russ fishing a tied off barge and log jam.
The barges and pleasure boaters were out in full force once again so we got to experience the river at its finest. Even with the larger boats on the Ohio River I felt much safer than I did on Rocky Fork Lake. Waves seemed to dissipate much quicker on the Ohio River than they did in Rocky Fork Lake. 
A passing barge on its way to Cincinnati. 
All in all the weather was great and the fishing was terrible. Hopefully we find some quality catfish soon, my tolerance for long days and nights without decent fish is wearing thin on my patience. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

NuCanoe Upgrades

Since getting my NuCanoe frontier 12 I've made a few additional upgrades, most of which have been geared towards potential catfishing. I've yet to fully utilize some of these upgrades as of lately I haven't been very motivated about catfishing as I have been in years past.

My first upgrade was a stern light. I purchased a Yak Attack Visi Carbon Pro. This light is perfect for a kayak angler looking to fish at night. It's powered by 3 triple A batteries so powering it is simple. It's light weight and easily storable. It also is setup for easy rigging with a Yak Attack Mighty Mount which I already had. They are a little expensive at $85 but it is for a really niche market and I thought it was well worth it. You can check out all the details here.

So I installed a mighty mount on one of the rear pre molded mounting areas on the NuCanoe Frontier. Other than that it was as simple as popping the light into the mighty mount.


I also found that the light stores perfectly in the front hatch.

My second upgrade was mounting Yak Attack Geartrac's on the rim of the NuCanoe. I wanted to get my rod holders up and out of the NuCanoe to provide more space. I won two 8" Geartrac's from a Buckeye Kayak Fishing Trail tournament raffle earlier in the year. I decided to buy four more. I also bought two additional Ram rod holders. I mounted two by the cup holders, two by the front eyelets (not pictured) , and two in the front for when I'm fishing tandem.


These Geartrac's also give me more flexibility of where I could mount many other things such as a camera.  I mounted the front two using nuts and bolts but since I didn't have access to the underside on the other four I used wood screws. The strength of these wood screws in the plastic made me nervous so I tested it by inserting an 8ft catfish rod into a rod holder and bending the rod over slowly. I found that these rods applied a lot of torque to the Geartrac's and I was afraid that they could potentially be ripped out. So at this point I have no intentions of tight lining any catfish rods from rod holders installed in the Geartrac's. Other than that I have been pleased with the upgrades.

At this point the only additional upgrades I am considering is a fish finder and some sort of remote triggering camera system. I've debated the fish finder for a while but have decided to put it on the back burner for now as I don't want to give up the space. As for the camera system it is of low priority. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

NuCanoe Frontier 12 Floor Issues

A couple months ago I noticed I had some water in the hull of my NuCanoe Frontier 12. Rather than using the drain plug in the rear I found that the best way to drain the water was to lift up the rear and sponge out the water from the front hatch.


I wondered how the water got into the hull and I soon discovered the problem. The floor had developed two cracks on top of supports which created pressure points.


I wasn't sure if this would be covered under the NuCanoe 3 year warranty or what I should do so I asked the guys on the NuCanoe forums. They told me I should contact NuCanoe directly and to contact my dealer so I did both. I explained my situation to both of them. From what I had herd, NuCanoe's customer support was excellent so I was hopeful. I got a response from both the next day. My dealer told me I should contact NuCanoe and see what they wanted to do which I had already done. NuCanoe gave me two promising options.

1. They would work with my dealer to get me a brand new replacement. Can't beat that.

2. They had a foam insert to provide additional support to the floor in development which they would provide me as well as supplies to patch the cracks. If this didn't work out the option to get a new one would still be available.

I really didn't want to have to deal with setting up and registering a new one so I decided to go with option number two. A few days later I received a shipment from NuCanoe with my foam insert and some JB WaterWeld to patch the cracks.

The foam insert was not easy to install. I removed the front hatch lid to get all the angle I could manage and forced it in. I was afraid that I was going to break the foam but I managed to get it in unharmed. I shoved it back into the hull nearly as far as I could get it so it would reach the area in front of my seat where I typically stand. The farther I slid it, the tighter it got as the floor is higher in the front so the water will somewhat drain towards the rear.

I was pleased with the outcome. The foam insert really did help provide the much needed support in the area where I stand. It didn't help much in the front where the floor is higher but from the cup holders back to my seat it was a much more solid surface. This foam insert has recently also been made available for free to all NuCanoe Frontier owners.

Next it was on to patching the cracks. By this point I had developed two additional small cracks making four total. I'd never used JB WaterWeld before but it was simple enough. I applied a liberal amount of the putty to the cracked areas. It didn't look the best but as long as it made the hull waterproof once more I wasn't too concerned.

First trip out with the patched cracks it wasn't long before I found out that the JB WaterWeld was not going to cut it. Once it is dry it has no flex and the frontiers floor is very flexible so the water weld snapped right off.

So at this point I was considering plastic welding but I knew nothing about the process at the time. I once again asked the guys on the NuCanoe forum for advice. I also contacted NuCanoe again to explain the situation and get their opinions. The last thing I wanted to do was void my warranty by melting my frontier. They gave me the go ahead to try the plastic welding so that's what I did.

My plan was to slowly apply heat via a heat gun and see where that got me. Maybe the cracks would just melt back together with little effort. From research I knew that the melting point of the polyethylene plastic which a NuCanoe is made of was not very high so I set my heat gun at a lower setting of 660 degrees Fahrenheit. After a few minutes of applying heat to the plastic I started to see some effects. The crack did appear to be joining back together. After a few more minutes the crack really looked liked it had sealed over so I stopped and let it cool and moved on to the next one. I did a round on each of the four cracks. Once the plastic had cooled I found that the cracks had reopened. It was obvious that the plastic was just expanding when it was heated making it appear that the cracks were being sealed. So I decided to take more drastic measures. I heated the plastic up again and started maneuvering it with a flat head screwdriver. I did a few passes over each of the cracks using this method and it seemed to be working although it didn't look the best. I did my best to smooth the melted surfaces.

Here's the end result of the biggest crack pictured first above.

 Here's the end result of the second crack pictured above.

And here's the other two that were not pictured above.


The patches appeared to be waterproof. Upon pressing on the floor around them they seemed to be solid. After a few trips out I didn't notice any water in the hull the and patches remained solid.

So at this point my floor issues are resolved. NuCanoe's customer service was great and they really stand behind their product. The Frontier 12 is still a fairly new product and I'm sure they will continue to improve upon the design. I do believe that if I'd had the foam insert all along that I wouldn't have had any problems. Despite these issues I'm still thoroughly pleased with my NuCanoe Frontier 12.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

7-30 through 8-3, Multi Species Creek Fishing

Tuesday, July 30th, Amanda, Russ, and I decided to float a section of Ohio Brush Creek. The creek was probably at its lowest point its been all summer, so we ended up dragging our kayaks through quite a few riffles. The day started off with a 50 yard drag from our put in and then a couple hundred yards of 2' deep water. I quickly landed a good 15" smallmouth just below the second riffle. I figured with the low water levels that maybe we would be shooting fish in a barrel. A few riffles later and we had gotten to one of my favorite stretches in the creek.

It was an outside bend of the creek, which meant it was much deeper than any other section of creek. The head of the hole starts at 3 foot and eventually drops down into 14 foot of water. Along the outside bend of the creek the bank is lined with car sized boulders. In the past I have learned that typically you can equate fish size to fish habitat....whether that be a flathead catfish in a log jam or a smallmouth in car sized boulders. So I had assumed this spot would hold some of the largest fish in that stretch of creek. This was our second time fishing this spot and we had yet to catch any fish of size. This time around we hooked into a good smallie, and by we I mean Amanda. She was tossing a jig and chigger craw combo when she hooked the smallie under the kayak. Unfortunately after a few quick bursts of drag and a few surfaces she tried to quickly land it by pulling the fish out of the water by the line. A very modest guess for that smallmouth would have been 18" or 3lbs.

She eventually landed a few nice smallmouth, with the largest just hitting the 15" mark. Russ on the other hand had an awful trip. For one he forgot his paddle, had to drag more than he liked, lost a half dozen baits, and then broke a paddle all while he failed to get his first kayak war smallmouth bass (15").

Friday, August 2nd, Jake, Amanda, and I decided to float the same section of creek that we had fished on Tuesday.  The evening started out with a few long riffles and a couple smallmouth. We quickly got to the same spot where Amanda had lost her huge smallmouth on Tuesday. We fished the rocks hard but failed to land a smallmouth. However, Amanda did hook a rare catch for this section of creek....a sauger.

As the evening went on she had a shot at redemption with another decent smallie. This time around she brought the fish into the kayak. It went 16" and 1lb 15oz, her new personal best smallmouth.

With a couple decent smallmouth and a sauger we ended the trip.

Saturday, Jake, Amanda, and I decided to float a lower section of Ohio Brush Creek. We floated a 3 mile stretch and had 6 hours to do it. Saturday we found that the fish were relating to a different type of structure than in our previous trips. Before we were catching fish off of rocks, this time around we found fish off of wood. An hour into the float Jake had caught another rare catch not only for the creek but this time of the year.....a 13" crappie.

Jake then went on to catch spotted bass, largemouth, smallmouth, gar, and bluegill to have one of the best multi-species days of the year.  Amanda and I went on to wear the 10-14" smallmouth bass and spotted bass out. It appeared that the lower stretch of the creek had more largemouth and spotted than the northern section. With no large smallmouth to show off, here's a picture worth bragging about.....the sheer beauty of Southern, Ohio.