Posted by: Steve Gibson | June 2, 2014

Bill Jacksons Demo Day

Had a great time at the annual Bill Jackson’s demo day in Pinellas FL. We had a great showing of the Jackson line up. The Cuda 14 seemed to get the most attention. I also got the chance to demo the new Jackson Big Rig. Its a very large kayak that paddles much netter than one would think. By far the most stable kayak on the market!

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Posted by: Steve Gibson | April 27, 2014

2014 CCA All Photo Release Challenge

I fished the 19th annual CCA All Photo Release Tournament wity my son and Capt. Doug Fisher this past weekend. This was my sons first real fishing tournament. We left the house at 4:30 am and met with Capt Doug at the boat ramp at 5:30. Jacob was a bit nervous about the boat ride in the dark. Just as we passed the resume normal operation sign I asked Jacob if he was alright amd resdy to go. He said yes and as soon as the bow lifted and we jumps up on plane he looks up at  me with fear in his eyes ready to panic. After sitting down next to him and holding him he calmed down and was starting to enjoy the ride through the darkness. We arrived at our first location and waited till the official tourny start time before making our casts. The Snook were stacked up in the light. Jacob was very excited watching these fish. The fish didnt want to eat for us so we ran around the corner and hit another. In the first cast Jacob caught his first Snook at 22″.  He caught it on a DOA Shrimp.

We moved on from there steady fishing the docks and flats. Doug picked up a good Snook, Jacob a nice Trout and I caught a decent Flounder. The rest of the day was pretty slow. We fished many locations in the Sarasota Bay area. We caught some more Trout and Doug caught another Snook. We found some donkey Redfish near the end of the day but theu were spooky and moving fast.

Allthough most of my day was helping Jacob catch fish it was all worth it. I had a great time fishing with my little man.

Thank you to Capt Doug Fisher for a great day on the water.

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2014 Adventure Fishing World Championship: http://youtu.be/8ahdO0vsFC0

Posted by: Steve Gibson | March 23, 2014

Gheenoe LT25 w/40hp Mercury Water Test

Finally got her on the water today. Launched on Sarasota bay around 10am. Winds were light amd almost slick as glass minus all the boat traffic. The boat ran good for the first couple hrs. Took it easy to get the feel for the stick steer. Once I was comfortable with it I hammered down in the throttle. With thw two of us weighing in at 560lbs combined along with a full 75qt Orca cooler and fishing gear we ran at 36 mph. If there were less boat traffic I may have gotten a bit more out of her. I dropped Doug off at the sand bar and did a solo run. With only one person the boat did not run well. With all the weight in the rear it was tough to get the nose down. Eventually got the nose down and managed to pull 43mph at 5000rpm. I think she would have kept climbing but I honestly got scared and throttled back. From what I hear I need a hydro foil to help keep the nose down so will give it a try.

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We did have a few issues throughout the morning. I noticed the motor wasnt peeing as well as she was before. We stopped at the sandbar and took the pee tube hose loose and found it glogged with debri. Put it back together and off we went. It was peeing like it had never peed before. After idling off the flat the alarm went off. This was the over heat alarm. Shut it down right away. After a quick Google search we found the problem. If the motor is peeing much more than usual and the overheat alarm come on its usually the thermostat. After staking out on a sand bat for an hr help arrived. Doug being the most awesomeness mechanic I know removed the thermostat. It was junk. Put the cover back on without the thermostat and off we went back to the ramp. The motor ran great. Who new? If your motor sits for 8 months you should probably change the tstat. All in all it was a good test run. Got some bugs worked out. Need to get a new tstat installed . Cheap easy repair.

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Posted by: Steve Gibson | March 16, 2014

2009 Custom Gheenoe LT25 Project

I started looking around for a Custom Gheenoe last year. Was really looking for a Gheenoe Classic but every time I found one it would either sell before I could get to it or it was a total piece of shiz. My idea was to build a simple tiller gheenoe classic. In July 2013 I was roaming though craigslist about to give up on this idea I came across this 2009 Gheenoe LT25. I resonded to the add quickly and went to check it out. When I arrived the first thing I noticed was that this was just like the others I had looked at, a piece of shiz. But the price was right at $1800 for the hull and trailer. I figured it would be a fun project to restore the Gheenoe. So on July 13,2013 the Gheenoe came home with me.
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When I got the boat home I started to work on it right away. First order of business was to remove anything that was broke,in bad shape or just did not need which ended up being everything in or on the boat. The LT25 originaly was set up for stick steer in the middle of the boat. Being that I was going with a tiller I removed the middle box with the seat to make room for the 75qt ORCA cooler that I know is going to be very important. Who wants to fish without cold beer right?

After removing every fitting and old screw from the hull it was time to start prepping the hull for paint. The previous owner had applied some nasty rubber textured bottom paint that I just had to remove. This process took many hours and beers to finish. Lots of paint stripper and razor blades. After removing the botom paint I found out the reason the previous owner had applied it. That reason was to cover up all the scars. My first thought was, this guy must have jumped every oyster bar he came up on. Big nasty gouges throuout the botom and sides of the boat.

I am afraid to add up all the hours I have into repairing each and every scratch or ding on the hull. I used Bondo Glass to fill and repair everything. There were no holes through the hull ,thank god. This boat was used very hard. After hrs of researching what paint to use I west with West Marines brand,Sea Gloss Pro. The primer went on easy and dried fast but did need more sanding after applied.

Next step was to paint. I again used Sea Gloss Pro paint. Applied with the roll and tip method. Seamed like an easy process. The hull looked like new after it was done. Waited 2 weeks and I had a few spots that needed to be wet sanded and buffed. As soon as I hit the hull with sand paper I noticed that the paint was as wet as it was the day I applied it. Something went wrong. Did I miss a step? I applied just like the instructions said. I used the proper thinner and amount and gave it a long time to cure. I looked at the rest of the hull. The rest of the hull was dry. It was just the bow of the hull that didnt dry.The paint just wiped off. At this point I had had enough. I was frustrated.I wiped the paint of and sanded the sides down again leaving the bottom alone.I taped off the area I didnt want to paint, went to the hardware store and bought 10 cans of rustoleum black semi gloss paint and went at it. Boom! it was now painted.lol And now it will be easy to touch up if I decide to take her trhough the mangroves.

Now that the boat was back upright and back on the trailer It was time to focus on the interior. I removed the old stick steer brackets and glassd them over to blend them in with the hull. repaired and glassed the area where the center box was as well as the other 4000000 screw holes that were in the boat.I used the West Marine Sea Gloss NON slip interior paint. This paint was easy to apply via roller.It took over a week to dry but turned out very nice.

Before….

After…..

The next step was finding a 25hp tiller. After looking and having many deals fall through I found a motor.I took a chance on a forum and put an add up that read,will trade firarms for outboard. A couple weeks later I was driving home from Miami where I picked up a 2001 Mercury 40hp 2 stroke. This is where the entire project changed. This motor was not the 25 tiller I originally planned for. Now I was trying to figure out how to get the controls mounted and functional.
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I called the guys at Custom Gheenoe about purchasing new rails and a nose cap and they were nice enough to bring them to the Tampa Boat Show for me to pick up. This is where I figured out what route I was going with my controls and motor. They had a LT25 at the show with the Raptor rear setup. After seeing this I knew I had to go that route. Shortly after the order was placed. I drove over to Titusville where I picked up the platform and handed over $1700 cash for the platform and stick steer set up. The quality of this platform was unbelievable. I opted for the stick steer,side mounted control box and the back rest. Well worth the extra $.

I was now ready to assemble the LT25. Installed the platform. Very easy and clean install. Went to install the outboard and 😦 it wouldnt fit. I knew the motor was larger but I also knew that they have run this motor on the LT25. Custom Gheenoe had one at their shop while I was there. It wasnt a rare motor for this boat. The steering would not fit.So now I had to install a Jack Plate. After doing a Google search on every jack plate made I settled on the Bob’s Manual Versa Jack. Another $400 set back. At this point I could cry. What happened to my simple tiller boat idea?

She is all together now and ready for a water test. Every part on this boat has been replaced.Every cable,wire,lights,nut and bolt.On March 14,2014 I was able to fire it up for the first time. Couldnt have done it without help from good friends. Got to get down to the Tax man to make her legal before the test run. Maybe 🙂

Posted by: Steve Gibson | February 26, 2014

2014 Adventure Fishing World Championship, Flamigo

The AWFC ,is not your average fishing tournament. It’s an endurance/fishing tournament that will test your mind and body. To some it up quickly, your team of 2 anglers is given a map at the start of the event. All 50 teams open the map at the same time. No one gets to see the map before hand. It’s up your team for navigate to each checkpoint. At each check point you are given a token. You are not allowed to fish until this token is in hand. You fish around that checkpoint and return your token after catching a fish or moving on to the next checkpoint. You must hit at least 3 checkpoints and catch a fish at each one to qualify.

The beginning of a great weekend,

On February 21,2014 I loaded up the Jackson Cuda along with all my camping gear and headed down to Flamingo. Flamingo is located in the Everglades National Park. After a short 5 hr drive I arrived at the park where I met up with the rest of anglers that were fishing this event. I quickly set up camp and unloaded all the gear and then started looking around for my team mate. My teammate Casey Brunning from Louisiana was no where to be found. He was reported to still be out fishing. Come 8 PM Casey and some other members of the F’iN Crazy team come walking up to camp. They had been lost in the twist and turns of the waterways of the park. They actually left there kayaks in the woods and walked out several miles. They quickly ate some dinner and headed back to retrieve their kayaks. While they were gone the rest of us enjoyed some good BBQ cooked in the Orion cooker. If you haven’t had BBQ cooked in a Orion your missing out!

I woke up on tournament day early at 4:30 to find my teammate has still not made it back. At this point I thought that I was not going to be able to fish the event. Shortly after they made it back to the launch. They had been out all night trying to navigate there way back to camp. 2 of the anglers dropped out of the tournament at this point do to exhaustion. My teammate was a trooper and did not back out. We opened our maps and headed to our first checkpoint which was the purple on the map. Our goal was to target the easiest fish on the flats, Spotted Sea Trout. We both knew what we were looking for on the flats. We went strait to a depth of 4-6′.  About 20 min into it Casey landed a nice Trout at 19.5 inches. We quickly returned our token and headed to our second checkpoint. After what seemed like a 2hr paddle we arrived at the Blue Checkpoint. Which was also a double checkpoint. This is where we needed to score a good fish. It seemed like everyone in the tournament had the same plan. there were anglers everywhere. This made it tough to fish. We were getting beat down at this point. I look over at my partner and notice him laid back ,hat down over his eyes sleeping. I thought we were giving up at that point. I paddle over to wake him to ask if we were throwing in the towel. He casts into the middle of the channel where 1000 casts have been placed previously and hooks into a nice Snook. The Snook went 25 3/4 inches. But this was a double point checkpoint so that fish gave us 51 1/2 inches. This was a second wind. We were fired up now. We knew we still had a shot at winning this event. We looked at our map and headed to the yellow checkpoint. After portaging our boats from one side of the damn to the other we realized we would never make it to yellow and back  in time to make weigh in. We took one last look at our map and realized we made an error. We read the map wrong. There was a closer checkpoint. So we portaged back and headed that direction. We made it to the red checkpoint with what we figured only 10 min to fish before we had to leave. All we wanted was a small trout so we could qualify. I hooked a dink trout and lost it boat side. At this point I thought it was over for us. If we didn’t catch a fish in the next 3 min we were going to run out of time. I tide on a gulp shrimp and put it under a popping cork. I threw out and hooked up with a nice 21″ trout. As I went to land the fish it jumped past my net and landed in my kayak, it then jump out of my kayak and I missed it 2 more times with the net. This fish should have spit the hook. I feel someone was watching over us on this day. After a quick photo we started our trip back to the finish line. Casey and I paddle like mad men. Casey was peddling and paddling his boat at the same time. First time I have seen that, LOL .We made it to the finish with 10 min to spare. Our minds and bodies were exhausted. We had paddled over 21 miles and caught fish at 3 checkpoints. Only 3 teams of 50 accomplished this.

I could not have asked for a better teammate. Casey Brunning is a BEAST!! To stay out lost all night in the Glades and then paddle another 21+ miles the next morning is absolutely crazy. We did not argue once throughout the day. We both knew what our job was. This is what it takes to be a competitor in this event. If your going to fish this event in the future choose your partner wisely.

Casey Brunning and I took 1st Place in the 2014 Adventure Fishing World Championship. And we plan on competing again next year. Congrats to all the anglers who placed in this event.

Thank to the guys at Native for putting on this event. I would also like to thank the companies that helped me throughout the last few years.

Special thanks to to following companies:

Jackson Kayak

Bending Branches

Reel Life

Orca Coolers

EGO Nets

Team F’iN Crazy

Anglersystems.com

YakAttack.us

 

 

 

Posted by: Steve Gibson | February 3, 2014

2014 Jackson Cuda 14

Here is a look at my 2014 Cuda 14. Many upgrades to the 2014 model:
Air adjustable lumbar support
Seat back is now curved
New rear rod holders
New center hatch with opening and gear tracks
Center hatch insert
Noise reduction padding in paddle rest area.

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Posted by: Steve Gibson | January 27, 2014

Changed It Up a Bit.

  This past weekend I changed it up a bit from the normal saltwater species I target. A good friend of mine James aka”Crappie Slayer” spends most of the winter months targeting Crappie. He talked me into loading up the kayaks amd heading out to Lake Manatee Fish Camp in Bradenton Florida. It had been years since I have fished at this location. As a matter of fact the last time I fished there was with James when we were still in high school many years ago.
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  We arrived at the launch as the sun was coming up along with many other boaters that had the same idea. James has spent many days on this lake and knew it pretty well. As all the boats went one way we went the other. Not even 100 yards from the ramp we start seeing Crappie rolling on top of the water. My first cast with a pink and black Road Runner I hook up with a nice Crappie. At that time I knew it was going to be a good morning. Although it was cold, foggy and sprinkling most of the morning we continued to stick it out. Both of us caught a variety of species including Sunshine Bass, Crappie, Bluegill and large Channel Catfish using live minnows under a cork. I ended up keeping a few for the dinner table. We had a blast and it was a good change for me. 
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Posted by: Steve Gibson | January 27, 2014

Neighborhood Bass’N

The kids and I have been fishing the local neighborhood ponds and doing real well. The ponds are not that old but are full of smaller largemouth bass. The boys and I have been catching them on beetle spins and road runners. On average we are catching 10-20 per trip.
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Posted by: Steve Gibson | December 10, 2013

Fly Lessons with Jacob

Jacob got his new Cortland 444 4wt and he has been on fire lately. No Bass or Tilapia is safe!!!  We are still working on his casting though. Much work ahead of us.

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