Interview With Ken Daubert E-mail
Thursday, 08 October 2009 06:40

ken_daibert

KFM: Can you give our readers some incite into what prompted you to write Kayakfishing the Revolution – the most read book on the subject of kayak fishing?

After discovering Dennis Spike’s website on the Internet, I was inspired to start my own to website to cover applications and techniques of the sport that more closely reflected my own style of fishing. I wrote the first book on the sport of kayak fishing because I was overwhelmed by emails from people asking for advice and asking me to explain one thing or another. It was very time consuming to try to help all those folks individually.

The first couple of sentences in the first chapter, Join The Revolution, stated my purpose in writing the book-------- “The purpose of this book is to convince you to join the revolution to combine two of our greatest and most popular sports into one exciting and enjoyable venture, and to help you get past any initial hassles or frustrations in your early attempts to catch sport fish from a kayak. This book is not meant to be the authority or last word on the subject.”

 

KFM: Its interesting that you had to foresight to name the book the Revolution back in (please enter the year your wrote it), kayak fishing was really pretty contained. Did you think the sport would progress this far?

I actually started the book back in 1999. It took me about a year and a half to research and write it, and another six months to get it published. There were no publishers willing to take a chance on such a small niche sport. But Larry Larsen, who has self published over 50 books on fishing and who has been inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, convinced me to self publish the book. Steve Price, who is a senior writer for BASSMASTER Magazine, reviewed the book and assured me that the book would be successful. I had to gamble $6,000.00 into the first printing by myself. I had my doubts about profitability.

But, you might also have noticed in the title that the word “KAYAKFISHING” does not have a space such as Kayak Fishing. I was taking literary license to make a point. My prediction at the end of chapter two was that--- “it is destined to become a fully developed classification with a classic form and with a special class of its own.” One recent reader got the point, he wrote to me that, he had considered the kayak just another tool to catch fish, but after reading the book, he now considers it an individual sport on its own. In chapter 3, The Kayakfishing Community, I stated that--- “There is a collective body of knowledge developing that is a result of a sense of community among kayak fishermen.” Also that, “The effect is greatly multiplied by the Internet’s ability to exchange ideas a little closer to the speed of light.” In addition I stated, “What is happening in kayak fishing is nothing short of a revolution.” At the end of chapter three, The Kayakfishing Community, I said that------ “Thinking, creating, experimenting, and communicating collectively will hurl kayak fishing to the forefront of the sport fishing scene, and create greater choices and possibilities for all of us. It will also be a lot more fun.”

 

KFM: What innovations do you see coming for the sport of kayak fishing?

I think that great increases in freshwater bass fishing by kayak will become more of a factor in kayak fishing innovations of the future.

 KFM: You did some interesting things in the fishing world before you started chasing fish in a hunk of plastic, can you tell our readers a bit about it?

Thanks to a bunch of fishermen uncles, I started fishing seriously at the age of four for everything that swims the rivers, lakes, farm ponds, cranberry bogs, and along the Jersey Coast & Delaware Bay in saltwater, using everything from big boats to canoes and tubefloats. Professionally, I started out as a taxidermist in NJ and studied Environmental Sciences & Biology in college. I wrote a few articles for national magazines. I made a strategic move to the Ocala National Forest in Florida so I could fish the thousands of remote lakes, ponds & rivers of the area for bass, and it was a short drive to either coast. As a professional taxidermist, I was fortunate to meet a lot of the biggest names in the guide business in both fresh and saltwater, and I was able to quickly build a successful guide business in both fresh and saltwater. As a guide, I was fortunate to have met many of the country’s top outdoor writers, film makers and personalities who helped me to broaden my perspective on the sport of fishing. Keeping the outdoor writers’ perspective in mind helped me to develop long lasting relationships that helped their writing as well as my own career. I was always designing new flies, fishing lures, and techniques to use them. One thing they always needed was a new idea to write about. One of the best opportunities that a guide is given is the opportunity to meet many kinds of people, including successful business men. One of my guide clients, had an interest in marketing a fishing lure by infomercials like the Flying Lure. He had a great mind for marketing. He financed and helped me dig a gigantic hole in my backyard while my wife was away at work. We built a huge 14,000 gallon fish tank with three below ground level windows, and we began the filming for the Banjo Minnow fishing lure that I designed. We added partners to produce the Banjo Minnow Infomercial and build a corporation that had 40 million dollars in sales when I sold out my shares in 1997. The infomercial won several international awards. Obviously, that sorta changed my life, and I had a lot more time for kayak fishing. Especially since most of my guide clients at that time were not really interested in joining me in that strange passion, and I was quickly losing clients and interest in my fancy flatsboat. My website and the book followed a few years later.

 

KFM: Your DVD series is very exciting, how has the response been to them and are there any others on the horizon?

The response to the videos has been slower compared to the book, but it has been steadily increasing over the past several years. For those who have actually watched the videos, the response has been really great. The most common comments are “awesome” and “thanks”. And, when will I produce another one ? Originally, I had planned to do a Kayak Fly Fishing video, but the effort involved in the first three videos put a real drag on my own personal fishing pursuits. So, instead I have been working on several fly tying or “fly making” videos without the actual fly “fishing” scenes (so far). Maybe after enough of a break, I’ll get back to filming the action packed stuff.

 

KFM: Which of those DVD’s was the toughest to film?

Kayak Fishing the FLATS was the most challenging because it covered a wider range of topics, fishing environments and experts. We also had to coordinate our schedules to attempt to bring out the typical fishing action that requires the skills passed along by the experts in their own fishing environments. And of course, the weather rarely cooperated when we settled on a mutually acceptable date to film.

Actually, the real work begins on a DVD when the editing begins and the video actually takes form.

KFM: I couldn’t help noticing that you weren’t wearing a PFD in the filming – do you think that might convey a message that wearing a PFD is not that important while kayak fishing?

[ My views on this topic are too involved to go into in this venue.]

 

KFM: In watching the Kayak Fishing for Tarpon DVD, I was amazed the light tackle you were using, I guess most of the trick is using the kayak itself to wear the Tarpon down?

The point to the second half of the tarpon video was that most often anglers come across tarpon when their tackle is ill suited to deal with them, but that does not prevent you from enjoying the “essence” of a tarpon by squeezing all you can from it on light tackle before losing it. “Jumping tarpon” is a term often used to describe a favorite pass time of Florida anglers, when taking on a tarpon, to get as many jumps as possible before ultimately losing it. Since most tarpon are lost anyway even on heavy tackle, there is no shame in taking your best shot for a few cheap but awesome thrills.

To raise your odds of actually landing a good size tarpon of 60 lbs or more, you should have a dedicated tarpon rod onboard with at least an 80-100 lb. shock tippet regardless of the size of your tackle. If you are in deeper water, you would also need a stronger rod to raise your fish closer the surface. But in very shallow water, you can get the best (or essence) from tarpon fishing by using light tackle and a kayak. You are right. The kayak acts like a giant back up drag system for your tackle. You can learn to maneuver your kayak simply by using the tarpon’s own force against him. You can align the kayak with the tarpons run to move closer to him by gaining line while taking a sleigh ride, or you can turn broadside to create resistance. You can also paddle backwards to add additional force. Getting over top of a tarpon early can break his spirit, or it can make him jump more. Both factors will raise your odds of landing the fish and putting an early end to the fight, increasing the odds of the tarpon’s survival. However, it raises the odds of having one come down on your head, but it is a much more exciting method than putting out a drift chute and hoping that the line on your spool holds out.

 

KFM: Any tips for our readers who want to hook and land big fish like Tarpon from a kayak and do it safely?

There is no “safe” way to kayak fish for tarpon, but there are a few tips to at least raise your safety level.

You should wear a Type 1 PFD just in case the tarpon knocks you unconscious. A bulky Type 1 PFD (that no one likes to wear) will hold your head upright in the water while unconscious. A Type 2 PFD will not always work.

Attach your bow leash to your wading belt. Even if you get knocked out of your kayak, you will not be separated from the kayak.

Use a drift chute to slow your kayak and let your tarpon do most of the jumping in the next county.

Simply “jump” your tarpon and do not attempt to land them. You can use dull hooks or light wire hooks that will straighten out, insuring that your tarpon will eventually get away.

Keep your feet in the kayak. There are often large sharks around the tarpon schools hoping to bite one in half.

 KFM: Tell us a bit about this new invention of yours, the One Arm Power Paddler?

Obviously, you don't “have to” paddle around one handed all day. But you "could" with this device. In the YOUTUBE video, I was just demonstrating the physics. If you can figure it out, it will give you a lot of benefits for covering more water and keeping your lure in the strike zone, adding up to a lot more fish at the end of the day. If you have already learned how to paddle with one hand a lot, as many good, versatile kayak fishermen already do, it will help to make that skill much easier. It's a big help getting you into position or holding your position while making presentations or working your lures on the surface or on the bottom. It's faster, more convenient & efficient than an anchor, and it works well moving against a light current or wind. It's also great for fine tuning your positioning to make difficult casts under over hanging trees or docks and through narrow passages in heavy weed cover. It raises your kayak fishing efficiency, by allowing you to make more casts in the course of a day while searching for fish such as largemouth bass hiding in cover or snook under the mangroves. It’s all about maximizing the time your lure is in the strike zone. It also allows you to be ready to make fast presentations while holding your position in wind or current and holding your rod ready to make that next cast quickly when a tarpon rolls or a redfish tail reappears in new location. It is especially helpful when fly fishing because you can keep your fly rod in your hand, your line all neatly positioned, and the casting head of your fly line trailing in the water while you search for fish ready to cast. It can also be helpful in many situations while fighting a fish. Considering the various species and fishing environments, the applications are endless for those who will apply it to improve their over all kayak fishing skills and efficiency. But, I think it will take awhile for many paddle anglers to catch on because they are very fussy about their paddles, and a few of the more innovative types will have to introduce it to them. It may also require practice, some new thinking or even an upgrading of paddling skill levels. I have been a proponent of increased diversity of paddle use such as one arm paddling and back paddling situations for a long time. I do not believe in paddle holders. I knew I needed a device like this long before I actually designed it. It’s very simple, but it works.

KFM: What are your favorite fish to go kayak fishing for?

It’s a very long list that varies greatly according to mood.

 

KFM: What kayaks do you have in your fleet?

I presently have all Ocean Kayaks. A Prowler 13 for most of my freshwater pursuits. Two Scrambler XT’s for visiting guests, and a Scupper Classic for most longer paddling situations and saltwater pursuits.

 

KFM: What species is on your list of “must catch before I die list”?

I would love an extended stay on an Amazon River houseboat to kayak fish for giant Peacock Bass.

 

KFM: What is next for Ken Daubert?

Maybe a trip to the Amazon River? Nothing else specific to kayak fishing right now.

I have to finish the two fly making videos, and I’m still working on the world’s greatest Bass FROG. Anyway, that’s my excuse for not working. But, every day I consider returning to the guide busines

 

KFM: When are you going to take me back to that redfish spot you have where you got me my largest red?

What you may not know is that much of the Kayak Fishing for Tarpon video was filmed just a few long casts from where you watched that redfish come up and take that top water plug. The best time is mid to late June. We'll tighten up the tide days when we get closer to the time.

 

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