Video Experiments

I've been working on getting together some (very) basic video skills, while also documenting the kayak fishing thing and some of our travels.  Getting some video of your fishing trips is actually a great way to see what you're doing wrong or right.  Despite my embarrassment, I'm going to include a clip of me pathetically losing a coho (silver) salmon in Alaska a few weeks ago.  I'm pretty new to fly fishing, and that fish made me look like a little punk!   You can see in the video that I don't know how to palm the reel right, and I didn't use the rod to pressure the fish at all.  I was shocked at the power of the fish + the current.

    The first video is from a fun trip I had this summer with fellow Men of Leisure Josh Reppel (Wild Louisiana Tours), and Allen DeJean, my neighbor in Gentilly Terrace.  Both of these guys are great musicians as well as avid fishermen.  We fished in the Delacroix area, and found some good spots with clear water.  I think we caught 19 redfish between the three of us (obviously we didn't keep them all).   The downside to this trip was getting caught in a pretty gnarly storm on the way back.  Despite not being out too far from the launch, a storm came up on us quick, and we tried a shortcut to get back.  For those who aren't familiar with the Louisiana marsh, water levels are variable, and things that look open on satellite photos can actually turn out to be giant mud flats in reality.  That was the case this day, and I got pushed by the wind into a very stinky situation that required slogging through about 150-200 feet of chest deep mud.  I don't recommend trying that at home.  Every muscle in my body was screaming with the effort of moving one leg at a time, and I actually had to talk myself down off the crazy ledge for a moment to keep from pushing too hard and exhausting myself too much.  It's an uncomfortable feeling being stuck in the mud with a big ol' summer storm pushing in.  Lesson learned - if water levels are low and you're in a situation that doesn't allow for backtracking and experimenting, GO OUT THE WAY YOU CAME IN.


Kayak Fishing Photos

This is a small collection of photographs I've taken with my iPhone while kayak fishing.  They always say that the best camera is the one that you have with you, and in the case of kayak fishing, that is definitely the truth.  Managing a DSLR or even a smaller mirrorless camera can be a challenge in a small, cluttered environment.

Pimenta Malagueta - Brazilian hot pepper powder.

I grew to love these peppers on trips to Brazil with my wife.  Most of the time in Brazil, they pack the peppers whole into bottles with vinegar, and let the pepper oil soak into the vinegar.  I'll do a post on that sometime.  In the meantime, this is another great way to use them.   I grow them in my garden.  I don't know if you can buy them in the States, but you can get seeds from me, or use another pepper of similar size/heat.

     There are two alternatives for drying them out if you don't have a dehydrator (I don't).  You can spread them out somewhere and wait patiently, or you can dry them in the oven.  I do a little of both.  Sometimes I let them dry a bit naturally, then pop them in the oven.   I think the oven imparts them with a little extra smokiness - one of my experiments in the near future is going to be trying to dry them on my smoker.



Make sure peppers are washed and dry.   You can take the stems off if you want, but they're easier to take off once they're dry.  Put them in a pan of some sort, ideally large enough for them not to be too crowded - you want them at least to be spread out on one level, not on top of each other.  Put the oven on warm and hold, or the lowest bake setting it can do.   My oven turns off automatically after a while, but if yours doesn't, you might want to set an alarm just in case you forget.   After a few hours, check on the peppers and give them a shake.  Once you hear them really rattling around in the pan, and you can crush them between your fingers, take them out.  If you haven't already taken the stems off, do so.   If you have a handheld spice grinder, that has been my go-to implement for grinding them.  If not, the blender works.  Just blend till you have a consistency you want - you shouldn't have any clumping or wetness, just powder and flakes.  Shaking the blender/grinder around helps make sure you are getting everything. Don't open the blender/grinder too fast or too close to your face.  

  That's all there is to it - you now have fresh hot pepper powder that is about twice as spicy as Cayenne powder.  Use your new powers wisely!!!  Or alternatively, dare that one guy who is kind of annoying to sniff some of it.  Either way.  

However you do it, do it leisurely...

Man of Leisure


 Malagueta Peppers before they head into the oven.

Malagueta Peppers before they head into the oven.

Speckled Trout Fish Cakes

Fish Cakes Recipe

This recipe is from one that I found on the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club forum -  Thanks to user Where Y'ak for posting the original.  Check out the club's site for lots of good info about kayak fishing and recipies.  I added my changes in bold.  I also doubled everything because I had 2lbs of fish, and ended up with 23 good size fish cakes.  The fish was Speckled Trout that I caught in Hopedale, LA.

Fish Cakes Recipe



Powdered (all-in-one) crab boil Or the little one-shot plastic bag thing with whole spices (Zatarain’s)

1 lb of fish fillets - I used speckled trout.

2 medium-sized Russett potatoes

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

½ cup finely chopped onion

4 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Paprika to taste

Bell Pepper flakes

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Peanut or canola oil, for frying



1. Peel, cube (not real small), boil and mash the potatoes.  Don’t puree them, leave them a little chunky.


2. I use crab boil to taste. I dissolve it in the water and taste with a spoon. You don’t want it too hot, but you want to be able to taste the seasoning. Boil the fish until it flakes easily-don’t overcook. Drain and flake the fish with a fork. Be sure there are no bones.  Watch carefully, fish cooks super fast.


3. Sauté the onions and garlic in butter.


3 Mix the flaked fish, the potatoes and the rest of the ingredients together well by hand. If the mixture is too crumbly, add another egg. If too sticky, add some more bread crumbs.


4 Form the mixture into cakes. I like them about the size of a small hamburger.  Coat in bread crumbs. (I used panko bread crumbs).   Fry them in medium high heat in a skillet with oil. Fry until golden brown on both sides.


 Speckled Trout

Speckled Trout