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Devils River BluffTired doesn’t begin to explain the way I feel after getting back from one of my longest road trips of the year – from Charlotte to west Texas, then to Georgia and back. We made many stops along the way, visiting with several awesome JK dealers, friends and family. However, as tired as I am, at the same time, I can’t wait to get back!

We drove out there to film an episode of my new show called “Hooked on Wild Waters,” which is now tentatively scheduled to air in the 1st quarter of 2015 on the Sportsman Channel. In this episode I would be fishing with fellow Jackson Kayak team member Brooks Beatty on the wild, rugged and scenic Devils River! It is my 3rd time to fish on the river and 2nd time to film a TV show at the location; I had a chance to take Animal Planet’s “Off the Hook; Extreme Catches” a couple years ago. However, I didn’t feel their edit really did the river justice so hopefully our show will show off all the beauty that is the Devils River.

Danny Kirsic survives the Devils River!

My dog Lu, Jameson Redding, Pat Kellner and renowned producer Danny Kirsic joined us to make the episode as special as we could make it! For the dessert, the weather was actually very very nice – highs in the mid 80s and lows in the mid 60s. We spent 4 days and 3 nights on the river and had numerous adventures along the way, but with just some bumps, bruises and scrapes we survived. Here you can see Danny celebrating with his pants all torn and tattered from the adventure on the wild and rugged frontier.

The camping gear alone was a lot to pack in, but thanks to the Jackson Kayaks having bow and stern hatches we easily fit all of the supplies PLUS about a ton of camera gear on the kayaks. Jameson’s new Big Rig did exceptionally well and was one of the stars on the water providing maximum weight capacity and the ability to navigate the river safely. The Big Tuna was used as our camera boat with Pat Kellner paddling Danny in it. Danny is becoming a pro at filming from the front seat position in the Big Tuna. Brooks and I were on Coosas and as always all the Jackson boats survived the Devils with no incident. I know the Devils has torn up a lot of kayaks in its time due to the sharp limestone and shallow water. In fact, one of the livery partners I know told me while we were there that they are looking to get some more Jacksons because they are holding up better than any other kayak or canoe that they put on the Devils! Cool! ¬†Given our whitewater kayaking background I’m not surprised!

One of the cool things that I’ve always been a fan of that we’re trying to integrate into the show is the crazy cool and different GoPro angles. To me, the variety of looks is what really makes a show interesting and keeps you on your toes. So, below you can check out some GoPro screen shots of actual footage from the show!

GoPro screenshot from the Devils River with Hooked on Wild Waters[slickr-flickr tag= “devilsscreenshots”]

Drew Gregory running Dolan Falls in a Jackson Kayak CoosaAnother one of my favorite parts of the trip was attempting to run Dolan Falls in the Coosa! According to Wikipedia this is a 16ft waterfall, but with the water low I would say the actual “free fall” was more like 10ft. Either way, it was a scary and potentially dangerous scenario running this waterfall in a location with no cell service and hours awayfrom any medical assistance. However, for the most part it really is a safe drop, but the main flow does run straight into the side of a rock cliff and that’s what makes it tricky to land – especially when you’re not in a true whitewater kayak!

Dolan from Quad Copter
The chute that enters the drop also allows you no room to get your kayak moving in the more appropriate direction to take on the drop. Your paddle can also catch on any portion of the chute and come back and smack you in the face if you’re not careful so there are definitely a lot of ways you can still get injured attempting this. However, I took every precaution, wore a helmet and had a safety team down below ready to jump in if necessary! So, was it necessary? Did I land the falls? Guess you’ll have to tune into Hooked on Wild Waters to find out!

The Devils can be a very tough fishery, but after three or four days on the water it’ll usually give up a trophy or two if you stay positive and stick with it!

Drew Gregory with a Devils River smallmouth from the Jackson Kayak Coosa

 

Brooks Beatty with big bassJameson with big Texas largemouth out of his Jackson Kayak Big Rig

It took some special Goal Zero solar panels and energy storage solutions and a lot of cameras, batteries and other gadgets to pull this epic adventure off! Any successful trip is successful before you even get to your destination if you’ve planned properly. Fortunately we did just that.

Goal Zero used while kayak fishing on the Devils River

[slickr-flickr tag= “devilsgadgets”]
Even if we hadn’t been fishing this was one of those trips where the animals and scenery made it all worth it. Whether you’re an angler or a paddler the, or both, the Devils River is definitely a cool trip worth putting on your bucket list.

[slickr-flickr tag= “devils14”]

As always thanks to Brady Sullivan for his help and advice on one of his favorite rivers. Also thanks to Marlene at the Who Cares Bed & Breakfast and Darren and DW of Amistad Expeditions. Also, huge thanks to Danny, Pat, Brooks and Jameson for tackling such a difficult task on the Devils! We’ll be back to tackle the Devil once again!

Three amigos - Brooks Beatty, Jameson Redding and Drew Gregory