I had a great adventure on the wild Orange River between the border of Namibia and South Africa and it was so much fun I bought a Dagger kayak upon my return. The Orange is packed with catfish and yellowfish. On the same Drifters Adventures Overland Tour I found myself in a traditional Mekoro dugout canoe poled through the Okavango Delta by my guide, named Nature. The dead end swamp is full of mean-toothed tiger fish, more complacent catfish, and easy to catch tilapia, a sort of grass carp. The world’s oldest artificial fly ever found was discovered in the Delta, at over 20,000 years old.
Dugout Mekoros in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.
Fly fishing from a canoe or kayak has been going on for a long time. I slapped my kayak into Newell Lake, one of the pothole ponds on the South Dakota Prairie. This summer a West Nile outbreak was the most virulent in South Dakota than any other state. I was glad I had along my mosquito netting gear from Coghlan’s, a company based out of Winnipeg, Canada, where the mosquitos are as big as model airplanes.
The Coghlan’s Bug Jacket was so roomy it fit over my Kokatat life preserver, making me safe to fish the shallow shoreline reeds where the perch hangout . . . and the mosquitos.
The Bug Jacket is 100% polyester, flame retardant, light weight and cool, it lets the gentle lake breezes in while keeping out the bugs, including no-see-ums and gnats, which come out at night for feeding . . . on me, but no more.
The Bug Jacket is zippered at the neck (it even covers the head) for easy access to my lunch break.
The drawstrings at the waist and cuffs means I have to use less insect replant, just the hands need a spray.
Coghlan’s Bug Pants made the perfect combo with all the features as the Bug Jacket, including waist and cuff draw strings.
Coghlan’s is at the forefront of keeping out the insects with the Deluxe Mosquito Head Net. Spring rings keep the mesh away from the face, a problem I have had in the past with other bug hats, which clung to the face like saran wrap.
The fine mesh keeps everything out except those zephyrs. The head band is adjustable and the cool cotton top can be dipped in the water on blistering hot days. A draw string at the neck cinches it up.
After nightfall and after a great beach grill of the walleyes and northerns I like to sleep under the stars, and with Coghlan’s Double Wide Mosquito NetI can slip my sleeping bag in like it was a bivy sack.
If camping in the hills I can use the loops with ropes to raise the netting like a tent between two ponderosas. The steel reinforced hooks are included, and if used indoors, such as on a Nile River cruise above the Aswan Dam, use the four wall hooks.
The net is good for two people at 63”x78”x59”.
Coghlan’s also makes different sizes of dry bags for canoeing and kayaking. I could get two sleeping bags into the huge 55 L Dry Bag made of tear resistant rip-stop material. The water proof taped seams keep the water out; just roll up the mouth and clip the clasps and it stays secure with its own carrying handle. Super cool way to kayak in style.
Fall can be an ideal time to target panfish as cooler temperatures arrive and aquatic vegetation starts to decline. As a result, these species can be found in much shallower water than usual. When choosing your bait for fall panfish don’t be afraid to go with something a little more substantial, such as small plugs and spinners. And of course, the standard hook and worm never hurts! Be sure to target panfish in their favorite fall locations as well, including by deep weed beds or near drop-off points.
For over 40 years Kokatathas been making sleek watersports gear, and what I liked about the cobalt blue U.S. Coast Guard approved Bahia kayak life vest was the slim design. Remember those old bulky orange life preservers that made your arms and chest feel bulky? The Kokatat life vests cuts down the bulk with body shaping, making it easier to cast a line for those panfish from a kayak. The lumbar pad is comfortable with a kayak seat back, especially high backs. The vest offers 17 pounds of soft GAIA flotation foam.
The Bahia has two front zip pockets that make it easy to get to your hook or swivel box. A see through tag is where you place your fishing license, keeping it dry and handy. Front clasps keep the vest close to the chest, but adjustable so there is no riding up the back. Kokatat gear is designed by paddlers for paddlers, but the Bahia can be also used by water skiers because it gives the arms more freedom. Kokatat has a replace or repair warranty policy against defects and workmanship. Kokatat also manufactures Dry Suits and Dry Tops and Paddling Jackets and Pants.
Kokatat is your single most important piece of kayaking gear, but remember, never harness your PFD (Personal Flotation Device) to the canoe or kayak. Always wear slip off shoes with no shoe strings.
Did you know there are typically two populations of bass in a water body? One that lingers near the shore to feed and one that hangs in deeper water and moves through structures to feed?
Both populations provide great opportunities for fishing, but many anglers overlook the bass in deeper water. The next time you head to your favorite bass lake, consider fishing deeper water, particularly around larger weed beds. Fish will often hang out in the weed beds and move up through the depths to feed. In the fall oxygen levels are the same throughout a water body, as opposed to summer and spring when you see more anticlines between warm and cold water. In the fall you can fish at any depth and likely catch fish.
I don’t know how much research Outdoor Research puts into their gear designs, but their clothing line is superb in every detail. I found the 100% Supplex nylon Treadway Convert Pants to be soft (no dry cleaning or fabric softener needed), the type of clothing I like to travel with because it is easy to wash and dry and light weight. When traveling the pants wash out quickly in a sink with no wrinkles. The pockets are deep in front and wide and deep in back. The leggings can be zipped off and voila, shorts. I like wide cuts on the cuffs, which don’t bind the ankles.
Outdoor Research has a complete line of clothing and gear for all types of outdoor sports, including paddling, hiking, alpine and ice climbing, backcountry skiing, skiing and snowboarding, camping, back packing, and rock climbing. Sign up for their blog and sports videos and outdoor tips at www.outdoorresearch.com
— Feature and photos by Kriss Hammond, Editor, Jetsetters Magazine.