Catcher Catching

As a pitching coach I spend a lot of time and develop great relationships with my catchers as well.  I recently had the opportunity to take one of my former catchers fishing before he moved in for his freshman year at Western Carolina University.  This is a major transition point in his life and it was fun to share a day with him and catch up on life – from a kayak.


This was Colby’s first kayak fishing trip, and his first time fishing for smallmouth bass.  I had looked forward to fishing with Colby and while he didn’t come out and say it I could tell he was excited too.  I hoped the river would cooperate so that Colby would gain an understanding as to why river smallmouth fishing can be so addicting.  The river did not disappoint.

It did not take long for Colby to hook up with his first river smallmouth.  After paddling the Jackson Kayak Kilroy into position he made a long cast.  The first fish of the day came in an ultra shallow run on a black River2Sea Whopper Plopper 90.  This was a great sign of things to come.  Colby continued casting the plopper like an experienced river rat.  He put on a clinic landing the lure in tight quarters – between rocks and laydowns, under overhangs, and just like every other fisherman, in the trees every now and then.  His casts were rewarded more times than not.


While Colby was putting on a show with the plopper, I took a different approach.  After Colby caught few fish out of a productive area, I would come in and “clean up” with a Gambler Lures TZ on a 1/16 oz mushroom jig head.  Typically 2 or 3 fish could be caught on top out of productive runs and 3 or 4 more could be caught on the small paddle tail swim bait.


Runs and pools will typically have “sweet spots” and today was no different.  Once Colby and I found the sweet spot in the shoals we could almost call our shot.  It was a very gratifying feeling to help guide Colby to such a large number of fish – but it was more gratifying to see him make the perfect cast to a piece of structure that I had instructed – then watch him hook up.


At one point I joked with Colby that we were literally calling our shots –  then the river seemingly turned off.  I guess we got a little cocky and it was time for Colby to learn that river smallies aren’t always so cooperative.  We kept trying for a couple more hours with limited success, but nothing like we had experienced earlier in the day.  We did not encounter any trophy smallies as we had hoped but the day was great – just as they all are!

Best of luck, Colby…


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The Cure for Kayak Butt: Part II – Bretzel 2.0

The Cure for Kayak Butt – Part II or Bretzel 2.0

Eric Boyd is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and is on the Jackson Kayak Fishing Pro-Staff

In the previous article – The Cure for Kayak Butt – you were introduced to the Bretzel stretch.  This is a great stretch for the anterior (front) chain of the body and if performed every day can help expose deficiencies and reduce discomfort while kayak fishing.  I am now going to introduce the Bretzel 2.0.   The Bretzel 2.0 is a stretch for the posterior (rear) chain.  If you did not feel much while performing the Bretzel, then it is likely that Bretzel 2.0 will reveal some deficiencies that could be causing a different sort of pain.  

The Bretzel and Bretzel 2.0 do not stretch any one muscle – they stretch movement patterns.  Individuals may feel a stretch in the lats, glutes, hamstring, and IT band or any combination of these muscles.

Enter Bretzel 2.0

  • It is best to start the Bretzel 2.0 in a room where you can align your front thigh with a wall, or a seam on the floor.  Once you align your thigh with the wall or seam, you will flex your left (front) knee to 90 degrees.  Your right (back) knee should be beside your front foot with your back leg flexed at 90 degrees as well.

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  • Next, you will place both hands about 12” in front of the front leg.  The hands should be square to the front leg and you should begin feeling a stretch in the left quad, oblique, and right lat. Begin turning your shoulders so that your quad, hands, and shoulders are now square with the wall or seam on the floor.  You may need to look over your left shoulder to help get your shoulders square. Now, take your weight completely off of the right hand and slide your fingers under the left hand.  All weight should be on your left hand with your elbow barred out.

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  • Lastly, look over your left shoulder and begin to lean to your right – keeping your right elbow straight.  If the elbow begins to bend, back up an inch or two and breath – then lean back to the right and go a little further.  There should be no pain – but there may be some discomfort.  Remember, discomfort does not cause your lack of proper breathing – but your lack of proper breathing causes the discomfort.  Back up, ground your emotions, breath properly, and continue the stretch.

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  • Bonus – to take the Bretzel 2.0 to the next level, straighten your left (lead) leg and re-do the stretch.

photo 5 (1)

  • Repeat on the opposite side.

It is important to note that if you have a serious back problem, do not assume this stretch will correct the problem.  It is always best to get a diagnoses first and follow doctor’s orders.

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Winter Window

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The Cast Net : “Hush, Be Still”

And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be Still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.

Mark 4:39

The North Carolina Coast is known as the “Grave Yard of the Atlantic.”  Many large ships have gone to their final resting place on the shoals of the Outer Banks.  The weather can change in the blink of an eye and the ocean can swell.

Many storms are encountered throughout one’s lifetime.  Some form slowly on the horizon while others quickly appear out of nowhere.  While Jesus and His disciples were on a boat in the Sea of Galilee a storm formed.  Jesus, exhausted, was asleep at the stern.  The seas were raging, but still, Jesus slept.  His disciples woke him saying, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”  He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.

The storms of life are meant to draw us closer to the Savior.  Though the waves are crashing, Jesus cares.  He loves.  He is in control.

When the storm was calmed, Jesus’ disciples were afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”  The fear they experienced was not fear of the sea or the storm but of the supernatural power Jesus had displayed.  You see, the only thing more terrifying – or powerful –  than the storm outside of the boat, was having God inside the boat.

How wonderful is it that the most powerful seas immediately bow to the Word of God.  If God can calm the seas, He can calm the storms that rage in our live.  Be encouraged.  God will meet you where you are – and quiet the storm.

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The Cast Net: New Rods and New Character

So, as those who have been chosen of God, Holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

     Col 3:12-13 NASB

It is always fun and exciting to get new fishing equipment.  A new rod matched with a new reel – coupled with a spinnerbait for which the rod was built – has a specific purpose.  Having a rod built for a specific purpose is special, especially when it performs the way it is meant to.

As Christians it is profoundly important that we – chosen by God – perform our purpose.  God gives specific instructions regarding a new character that He expects in response to what He has done for us.  He tells us to put on a heart of:

Compassion – concern for the sufferings of others

Kindness – goodness towards others that encompasses our entire person

Humility –  the medicine to self-love that hinders our relationships with others

Gentleness – willingness to suffer injury or insult rather than to inflict hurt

Patience – the opposite of quick anger, resentment, and revenge

These character elements perfectly epitomize the character of Christ. It is our singular purpose as believers to reflect the love of Christ and His character.  And do not forget to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us. Since Christ is the model who we wish to reflect, we must be willing to forgive others.

Let us perform our God given purpose by reflecting the compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience of Christ – so that others may know Him as we do.

-Eric Boyd

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The Cast Net : Be Anxious for Nothing

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  

      Phil. 4:6-7  NASB

As sportsmen we carry a certain confidence when we step into our element.  Whether calling a duck, buck, or turkey…drawing a bow…flipping a jig; we all carry a confidence that comes from practice and experience.  However, when we step into an unfamiliar element we may experience some anxiety at varying levels.  Some anxiety can be an excited nervousness while some can impair our ability to control our own thoughts and emotions.

As a new year is upon us, many of us have resolutions that involve family, work, health, and maybe fishing or hunting.  These resolutions may require major life changes, bringing on great levels of anxiety – both good and bad.  Be encouraged.  While fret and worry show a lack of trust in God and His sovereignty – worship, prayer, and meditating on His Word are a cure for this anxiety.

With a thankful attitude and confidence that God will do what is best for our lives, believers can experience a peace that transcends all comprehension – beyond intellect, analysis, and insight.  God’s peace will keep watch over the believers heart and mind, guarding believers from anxiety and fear.  The word “guard” comes from a military term meaning “to keep watch over.”  Imagine God, posted on the wall, keeping watch – guarding us.

While this new year may bring new challenges, do not be anxious.  Trust in Gods sovereignty. Believe that God is able and willing to do what is best for you.  Worship.  Give thanks.  Pray.  Read your Bible.  And the peace that transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in this new year!

Happy New Year!

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Late Season River Bassin’

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The Cast Net: Fishers of Men

Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

-Matthew 4:18-20

 While we remember the birth of Jesus during the Christmas season, let us not forget the reason that Jesus was born – to die that we may be saved.  We are all sinful and fall short of God’s perfect standard.  The bullseye that we aim for as sportsmen is attainable with the right equipment and practice.  However, as men, it is impossible to hit the bullseye that represents God’s standard – no matter how hard we work and how much we practice.

 There is no doing and striving that can ever make us to reach God’s perfect standard. Thankfully, He made provision for us.  Christ came to earth – fully God and fully man – to be offered as an atoning sacrifice for our sin (missing the bullseye).  Jesus’ death – blood sacrifice – on the cross is the sacrifice that covers all man’s sin – past, present, and future.  By God’s Grace, He made the way to experience relationship with Him on earth and spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

 So what do the cast nets and fishermen have to do with all of this?  God’s ultimate will is that we as believers would show the love of God to others – that they may know and accept God’s grace – and follow Him as we would.  This is why Jesus was born – This is why Jesus died.

 Let us not just be fishers and hunters of game – let us be fishers of men.

 *If you do not knows Jesus as your Savior pray:

Jesus, thank you for your love.  Thank you for sacrificing yourself on the cross to forgive me of my sins.  I accept your grace – help me to know you more.

– Eric Boyd

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MOJO Rising

Coming off of the biggest slump of my life, I knew it was time to do something crazy.  I hadn’t caught a river bass in 3 months – the most logical thing to do was to enter a tournament!  My friend Tim who I met on the RiverBassin’ Trail in 2011 was going to be in Carolina for a few days and was looking for some intel – and a fishing partner for the Cayce, SC stop.  I agreed to help and he brought the mojo – the good kind.

We pre-fished the weekend before the tourney.  I put up 56″ in river largemouth to Tim’s 48″.  I had won the day and broken the slump with some fatties.  My smallest fish that day was 18″.  My tourney day would prove different as our roles reversed.

It felt nice to go into a tournament with a strong plan.  We knew where fish were located and expected conditions to be very similar to that of a week prior.  All we needed to do was reproduce the result.  Tim put up a sold 57″ stringer which placed him 1st for the stop and left him in a tie for 1st for RiverBasser of the year.  I placed 4th with a 46″ stringer.  This was enough to place us 1st in the team division.

The 1st goal for the tourney was to put Tim on some good water and give him the opportunity to win.  The 2nd goal was to win the team division.  We succeeded at both.  Now, Tim is sitting pretty going into the RiverBassin National Championship in Wetumpka, AL.  It’s his turn to return the favor!

I learned a couple more lessons on tourney day:

1.  Preparation is the key to successful tournament fishing.

2.  The Jackson Kayak Kilroy is still my boat of choice.  Dragging over shoals to get to great water was the key to success on this day.  Jumping in and out of this kayak is a breeze and it has proven it’s self over and over again in the shallow shoals of Carolina.

MOJO Rising!

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Custom Rods are Too Expensive? A Fresh Perspective…

So custom rods are too expensive – and too valuable to fish in a kayak?

I would like to offer a fresh perspective –  as I once believed that custom rods and kayaks did not mix.  This was before I lost more than a few rods on the river bottom.

An angler can spend a large amount of money on 4 high performance, versatile custom rods – but much more money can be spent on 10 technique specific rods. Consolidating is an advantage to the kayak angler – seeing that taking 10 technique specific rods in a ‘yak is unrealistic.  Fewer rods allows for a clean, functional, and safe deck – and a kayak angler should be able to cover most bass techniques in a line-up of 4 rods.  This makes for a safer and less expensive fishing experience in the long run – seeing that in my own experience, I have lost enough rods on the river bottom to cover the cost of the 4 custom rods that I now own.  The reason I lost these rods?  I was simply carrying too many.

The key to covering a wide range of techniques with as few rods as possible is to make sure that the blanks the rods are built on meet the specifics of what you are looking for.  Once you have found the correct blank, a functional and beautiful rod can be built on it.

Here is my line-up of custom rods and the techniques that they cover:

Rods shown are Carolina Custom Rods and are in order left to right as listed below.


Crank Bait / Spinner Bait / Buzz Bait – 7’0” Medium Heavy moderate/fast Action casting blank – spooled with 15 lb  Berkley Big Game monofiliment.  The mono allows some stretch and gives the rod a chance to load properly while using moving baits.

Top Water / Jerk Bait / In-line Spinner / Underspin – 6’8” Medium Light x-tra fast casting blank – 20 lb Suffix 832 braid.  The medium light action of the rod allows for great action on walk-the-dog type baits and jerk baits. This action coupled with braid also allows for great hook ups at a distance and the ability to fight airborne fish on trebles.  Again, I tie a mono or flouro leader suitable to the conditions.

Jig / Texas Rig / Frog / Weightless Plastic / Soft Swim Bait – 7’0” Medium Heavy X-tra fast casting blank – spooled with 30 lb Suffix 832 Braid.  The braid coupled with an x-tra fast tip allows for great hook-ups at a distance or up close.  I tie a mono or flouro leader dependent upon the situation and bait being used.

Grub / Tube / Shaky Head / Light Cranks / Weightless Plastics– 6’10” Medium Light fast action spinning outfit with 10 lb Suffix 832 braid with flouro leader.  Long casts with light baits are important so a spinning outfit is my first choice for these baits.  Braided line allows for great hook sets at a distance and allows for great feel on grubs and tube baits.  Light cranks such as the Rapala Shad Rap are a breeze to cast on a ML action spinning rod – especially with the Micro-Wave Guide System.

Taking fewer, more versatile rods has given me peace of mind.  The simplicity of knowing I can cover any situation with four rods has allowed me to load up quicker – and come back with all of my rods, which was not the case before I learned the lesson of versatility.

Give Brett Hinson at Carolina Custom Rods a call and he will treat you right!


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