80 pound yellow fin tuna caught on Florida’s East Coast 80 miles out



How to set up a fishing kayak

How to set up your kayak for salt or freshwater fishing from front to back fly rods or spin.

Live life by the minute and get outdoors and have fun!

Thanks for watching!



Fly fishing in windy conditions – How to build a collapsible stripping basket

Fly fishing in windy conditions – How to build a collapsible stripping basket

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When fishing from a kayak, space is always a concern. When fly fishing in windy conditions line management is a big issue. You can always up your fly rod size and cast a lower cast, but when your stripping the line to your deck it gets out of control. In this article we are going to talk about fly line management, stripping baskets and how to make one. One specifically for a kayak that will not only tame the wind, but collapse easily to be stored on the kayak when not using.

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Fly lines in general I think have the eyes of a falcon. They seem to seek out the smallest object, any object that has the ability to snag and will wrap around it in a split second to mess up your cast. Even a nice large boat deck, unless made specifically for fly casting, will have you snagged up in no time. Kayaks are compact, so you have a lot of stuff in a small space. My paddle isn’t an issue, but some of my accessories like my foot pegs were. They sell some fancy items for boats but most are too large. Some you could modify for a kayak to help keep the line in place, but a good old beach towel that has been wet and rung out with your hands to still retain the weight works wonderful to eliminate snags. This works wonderful until the wind hits 10-20 knots or more. When that happens as you strip the line the amount of distance between your hands and the bottom of the deck becomes an issue. As this is where your line is exposed to the force of the wind and the wind will push your line out of your kayak or to the side where it will either snag or tangle. Regardless whether the fly line gets pushed out of your kayak and into the water without a tangle your casting distance will still be reduced because of the drag of the water.

Don’t leave your fly rod at home when the winds are blowing. First, up the size of your fly rod if you can so you have heavier fly line to help cut the wind. Second, use lighter flies.  Third, cast a little lower cast, meaning a little more side arm closer to the water and anchor your kayak so the wind is at your back. Again, wind is at your back meaning your back cast is into the wind and your release to your target is sailing with the wind. And most importantly bring along a stripping basket that can easily be stowed out of the way.

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With this in mind let’s explain how to build an inexpensive but very effective collapsible stripping basket that will last for a very long time.

What to buy:

Collapsible leaf basket –

First, you need to measure the inside of your kayak to see what diameter you can allow for since there are a few different sizes available. Next, go to your local store that sells garden supplies and look for a Collapsible Leaf Container made out of a vinyl type material (most are) so it’s waterproof. Then find the appropriate size. The one I have is 19 inches across by 23 inches high when opened and has Velcro straps to secure when collapsed. You don’t want one too short or one that is see through mesh, as again your goal is to reduce the distance your line travels from your stripping hand when exposed to the wind. – Price should average $20.00.

Plastic Peg Board-

Next buy a plastic peg board. It’s an upgraded version of the old pressed wood peg board you see in some garages with tools hanging from them. A piece of ¼ inch flat plastic with holes in it. You can get a large sheet 48 X 96 for under $20.00 to make more than one or find some smaller squares for less at your local hardware store. Any piece of plastic that covers the bottom and is about ¼ inch thick will work as its only purpose is to be waterproof, add weight to the bottom of the stripping basket so it doesn’t flip over easy, and to have some small holes. Alternatively, if you have something without holes you can easily drill them.

Nylon Cable Ties-

Last, you need 5 to 6 nylon cable ties commonly referred to as zip ties or tie wraps. A pack of these is under $5.00. I like the little thicker and longer ones so that once secured through the two holes I can cut them down to about 6 inches.

Tools you need:

Permanent marker, saw, and scissors

How to make:

Put the peg board on the floor and put your collapsible leaf basket on top. Get a permanent marker and trace the bottom of the leaf basket. Now grab your saw and cut out the circle you just drew, but cut a little inside the circle so it will fit securely on the inside bottom of the leaf basket.

Next, take a zip tie and go through one hole in the center of the plastic peg board and out through another hole right next to it and zip it up. If you are drilling your own just drill them a 1/4 to no more than 1/2 inch apart. This doesn’t need to be exact just enough so it won’t easily break the piece in between. Now randomly and evenly spread out the next 4 or 5 zip ties and do the same thing. If you have super long zip ties cut them down to about 6 inches as you want them to stand up reasonable straight.

Finally, take your peg board with the zip ties and put it in the bottom of the opened collapsible leaf basket and you’re done. Push the leaf basket down, hold and secure it with the Velcro straps or whatever yours has to hold it together when collapsed.


Please note when you’re in the kayak and ready to use take care in opening as the leaf baskets are spring loaded and they pop open fast, so keep you head out of the way or you might be in for a swim.

Live life by the minute and get outdoors and have fun!

Emily 2014 Benefit Tournament – Mosquito Lagoon Florida

Emily 2014 Inshore Benefit Fishing Tournament

Walt Palen


At 3:00 AM I rolled into the driveway of Josh Slager in Lakeland, FL and we started our journey to the East Coast for the Emily 2014 Inshore Fishing Tournament. This is an annual tournament to help raise funds for Emily’s therapy at her special school that runs $29,000.00 a year. Emily is a 10 year old little girl and is the only one in the world that has genetic disorder – Chromosome 2q36 Deletion Syndrome. She also has autism, and epilepsy. 


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The tournament was a catch and picture release slam, consisting of 3 trout and 3 redfish. Kayaks, canoes, and Gheenoe’s were allowed as well as live and cut bait.

Kayak’s by Bo in Titusville was hosting the event and we arrived a little before the 5:30 AM check in time. Once we completed our sign in and received the tokens required to be in the pictures of the fish we were off to the predetermined launch site in the famous Mosquito Lagoon.

It was still dark and just before we stopped to unload our kayaks a large black creature walked in front of us on the dirt road. It was an 8 foot alligator and he was in no hurry. He was meandering towards our launch area – yikes. Little did we know this was the first of countless alligators we would see that day.


We waited for the 6:30 AM start time sitting in our kayaks listening to the constant buzz of what gave this place its name – mosquitoes – millions of them. Once we began, I scouted and finally found a school of redfish. I slid my Werner Shuna paddle quietly in its holder, my anchor went down, and I starting tossing top water but, each cast came in with a bunch of weeds. I switched to my other Bull Bay kayak rod with a weedless jig and a darker plastic tail. Success! I quietly followed the school till I put three slot redfish in pictures.


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I moved out to deeper water to get trout but only managed small ones under the required 12 inch minimum. I watched as a large storm grew closer. I could see the gray line of pouring rain, and decided that my Native Watercraft Ultimate kayak and I were heading back to safety. I paddled a couple of miles back, unloaded everything, looked up and the storm had split. Other than a little drizzle and high winds the storm had missed me. So now I had to reload the kayak and paddle back to where I left off. It was a waste of an hour or so but a worthwhile decision as I don’t take chances with potential lightning.


I spent more time scouting for areas that I thought would hold large trout. I saw manatees, dolphin, and lots of alligators. This is an eco-system like no other. I managed to pick off a nice slot trout and then a whopping 23 inch beauty and finally my last needed trout. I sat back and took a deep breath – I had my slam!


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We got to check in at 2:00PM filled out the cards, had my fish checked on the camera and the total came to 117 inches. I knew I had a chance but with 145 anglers you just never know what to expect.

We walked around the tents set up for the raffle donations and talked to old friends and met new ones. At 4:00PM they started the awards and raffles and Steve Gibson came out on top with an impressive 133.25 inches for first place. I won 3rd place for my trout and ended up second place overall.


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Emily top 27










The parents of Emily – Austin and Becca Rouse are awesome people that had smiles on their faces all day. The total raised for Emily’s therapy was just under $10,000.00 and it felt good to be a part of it. Please go to “Help Emily stay in school” Facebook page and “like” so you can be notified of future events and next year’s tournament. You can read more plus donate through their website to financially help this family – www.helpemilynow.org or http://helpemilynow.wix.com/main.

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Please take the time in your area to research tournaments deemed as benefits and if you believe in the cause and the fund distribution – enter. These tournaments are competitive but on the fun side and the end result is you help someone in need and that’s something we all need to do!


Live life by the minute and get outdoors and have some fun!