Jerron Reviews the 30 lb. Boga Grip

Over the next several weeks, you’ll be seeing a series of product reviews from our expert store staff. This first one comes from Jerron, ACK Assistant Store Manager for the Houston Store. Jerron is an avid kayak angler with years of experience both on the water and in the store. He’s our resident beyond the breakers expert and can be seen here showcasing his skills with the a group known as the Adventure Islanders. If you ever stop by our Houston Location and need some questions answered relating to ‘yak angling, be sure to ask for this guy!

Product: Boga Grip 30 lb Fishing Tool Model 130, Price $119.00

Description: The Boga Grip 30 lb. Fishing Tool is a high-quality fish landing, handling and weighing tool. It handles fish by encompassing the fish’s lower jawbone and works on most species of fish.

Jerron Says: I got to put the 30 pound Boga Grip to test in Baja California recently, and I must say that it was everything that I wanted and more in a lip gripping device.  Strong, reliable, and accurate are three words that come to mind when describing this solid product and I would highly recommend it to any kayak angler out there.  At only $119, it is well worth the price.


The thing that impressed me the most about the Boga Grip is its durability, even while exposed to saltwater like it was down in Baja California.  Most other lip grippers that I have used may last only a month or two before becoming too corroded and rusted that they will not open any more, even with regular cleaning.  The plastic ones will lose their strength and break if grabbing a fish larger than they are meant for.  The Boga, even after 5 straight days in a highly corrosive environment, looked like brand new and functioned as smooth as when I first pulled them out the box.  I think I only washed them once in that span of time too.  Another aspect that I find to be very beneficial to both the fisherman and the fish is that once the device is secured to the fish’s jaw, the whole head of the unit will spin when a fish begins to thrash.  This stop the fish’s jaw from breaking and also allows me to spin the fish around to better grab hold of the lure so as to take it out sooner so that I can get the fish back into the water. Also, one thing that will scare any fisherman out there, is a flopping fish with hooks flying all over the place while the fish is trying to free itself.

Once secured in the clamps a fish cannot get away and it allows me to easily remove the sharp hooks without getting any unwanted piercings.  Now for most people out there, the 15 pound Boga will suffice, but I like to go offshore kayak fishing so I need a device that will handle larger species like king mackerel and jack crevalle.  A bonus to being able to secure them is to also be able to weigh my catch right there in the kayak.  Most of the roosterfish I caught down in Baja were in the 30-60 pound range so a lot of those fish bottomed out my Boga’s scale but never once did I feel as if the device was going to fail.  Another nice feature that most people do not know about the Boga is that it is the only hand held scale that you can send in to the IGFA and have them certify the device so that if you catch a potential state or world record, the weight that shows on the scale is automatically certified with the IGFA and they will accept the record.  You can bet that I will be sending mine in soon to let them authorize my Boga as a certified IGFA scale!


The one down side of being built like a brick house is that the Boga will sink to the bottom fast if you drop it over board.  This problem is easily overcome by attaching a float to the lanyard, but it would be nice if Eastboga (the company who makes the product) would sell a float made specifically for this product.  Other than that I could not find anything else to really nit-pick this product about.


Converting a Hobie Mirage into a Paddle Kayak w/Rudder

Picture 1.

My 2007 Hobie Adventure Mirage recently died from a hull crack where the mirage drive plugs in. It leaked a lot of water as the pedal stress opened up the crack with every push. It was already out of warranty by a year but Hobie was kind enough to sell me a replacement hull at a nice discount. The old hull still looked good for paddling as the crack was easy to seal but I wanted to make the rudder useable with foot controls. (Note: All Hobie’s with Mirage Drives use a hand-controlled rudder.)

Picture 2.

An Internet search led to purchase of a pair of Smarttrack Toe Pilot Foot Controls sold by Austin Canoe and Kayak. I mounted them as shown in the Picture 1. Pretty straightforward, but the leg length adjusters need to be able to slide back so I mounted them at a slight downward angle towards the bow. The front mounted directly to the hull but for the rear I made a small bracket out of aluminum as shown in Picture 2.

Cabling the rudder was somewhat tricky. The foot controls come with a nice long stainless steel cable that will reach the rudder without any splices, but getting it back there required a few extra parts. I bought some cable housing to fit the 1/16” diameter cable (which is much larger than bicycle cable). Turns out the ultralight airplane community uses this stuff on their throttle systems, so I ordered the cable housing, ferrules, rubber boots, feed-throughs, and clamps from Green Sky Adventures in Hawthorne, FL for about $50.

Picture 3.

I used the cable housing to go from the foot controls to the feed-throughs, which were in different locations for the left and right sides. I picked places to enter the hull so the cables had a straight shot toward the back of the hull. I also put a rubber boot over the feed-through assembly as shown in Picture 3.

Rudder Assembly

Inside the hull, I removed the old rudder control, cut the cables, and pulled them out the back. I then lengthened the stock poly tubes that run from the rudder toward the bow. This is easy, just use some 3/8” tubing to splice on another foot or so of ¼” tubing. I then put some tape on the end of the cables and pushed them through the poly until they came out the back. Sounds weird pushing instead of pulling but it worked fine (I did it twice). You need to have all the cable-housing fittings in place before running the cable back to the rudder; otherwise you will end up doing it twice. Next, I attached the poly tubing with cable to a couple of choice places inside the hull just to keep them out of trouble. The stainless steel cables then attached to the rudder just like old ones.

I patched up all the holes and went down to the beach to try her out. The controls worked great! In fact, the Hobie rudder is more responsive than the one on my OK Prowler and only required minor adjustments with my toes to turn the boat. My only complaint is that the foot controls make the hull too narrow about halfway up your calf. I think I will mount some pressure pads on the aft end of the foot controls. On a wider-hulled boat, it might not be an issue.

If anyone wants more details, I can post the part #s for the cable housing supplies. Also, I have leftover cable housing for two or three more boats if anyone wants it — leave a comment. I’m curious how well this stuff holds up in the sun and salt water and will post an update after a few more outings.

ACK Customer:
Mark Parsons

Featured Outfitter: Live Adventure

So many people work hard at what they do so they can earn a living to pay the bills, buy things they don’t need, or hopefully save enough money so they can retire in comfort. Live Adventure, a company that specializes in unique outdoor programs and expeditions wants to dramatically change the way people live their lives.

Branndon Bargo started Live Adventure in 2005 by putting together a trip that would transform his life. He wanted to do something that would push him physically, mentally, and spiritually, and also accomplish something that no one else had ever done before. He invited his brother Greg to join him and after coming to the conclusion that his two favorite things were mountains and sharks he decided to climb Mt. McKinley in Alaska then bike 4,000 miles to Baja Mexico and in between scuba dive with great white sharks in California. Brandon completed this adventure and became determined to use the outdoors and his sense of adventure to help others live full, passionate, and significant lives so he founded Live Adventure. In 6 years Live Adventure has grown its program services to include leadership skills workshops, team building experiences, rock climbing, mountaineering, and orienteering designed for corporate groups, athletes, and students.

In 2007,  Branndon founded One Blood Initiative, a non-profit that does work both locally and globally. The local mission is to offer outdoor programs to inner city kids from communities throughout Texas. One Blood’s global mission is to eradicate malaria from Africa by joining forces with several African organizations in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Most recently Live Adventure launched a kayak rental service at Cedar Hill State Park just outside of Dallas, Texas. Live Adventure sees this as a way to reach out to the community and continually remind people to live life to the fullest and remember to focus on the things that are important.

To read more about Live Adventure the work they are doing visit

GRTU Troutfest 2011 Recap

ACK was recently honored to host a kayak demo at the 2011 Troutfest at Rio Raft Resort in New Braunfels, TX. Troutest is a Fly-Fishing Banquet and Exposition held annually by the good folks at Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited. The funds generated by the Banquet and Expo are used to conserve, protect and restore the cold tailwater fishery immediately below the Canyon Dam on the Guadalupe River.

Troutfest 2011 Demo

The event had a really nice turnout and we got to greet some of our regular customers along with meeting many who were new to kayaking. Many anglers were showing off their fly-fishing skills just a few feet from ACK. We set up a tent with a variety of kayaks on the banks of the  beautiful Guadalupe River to demonstrate the use of kayaks for fly-fishing. A number of anglers were interested in testing out those same skills on a kayak.

Overall, we really enjoyed ourselves and were glad to have made some new friends. We were very pleased to be there to answer questions and were happy to have shared plenty of expert kayak fishing knowledge with the attendees. We look forward to seeing you and all the other folks we met at one of our retail locations soon!

Did you get a chance to attend? If so, we are interested in your overall experience at the event…let us know by commenting below.

We look forward to next year’s event!

ACK San Marcos

Product Review: Tarpon 100

Light, nimble, full featured
and affordable.

What do you get when you take one of the most well-respected, popular and proven kayak and shrink it? Not much really, you just get a smaller and lighter version of it. Ok, bad joke but in all seriousness, we wanted to share this short and sweet review that one of our very own customers wrote after he paddled the Tarpon 100 on the Devil’s River for 4 days. If you’ve ever paddled this river, you know that the Tarpon 100 was put through a pretty tough test.

First reaction — sweet boat! My goal was to find a kayak for some fun surf play, river and small lakes where maneuverability is very important and I was very impressed with the Tarpon 100. Don’t be fooled by the size of this kayak. I am 6’1” weighing in at 185 and felt that the Tarpon was stable. In fact, I was able to stand up and sight cast but I have to admit that it did get a little wobbly when I did this. The tracking was surprisingly good for a 10’ kayak even when I paddled hard.

In terms of features, the adjustable seat is very comfortable and was simple to adjust. I also needed a kayak that was able to hold my camping gear since I was planning to take it on a 4-day trip down the Devil’s river. This list included a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, small overnight bag, food, water and fishing supplies and to my surprise, it all fit!

I also like the fact that this boat is pretty light and I am able to easily pick it up over my head and walk it to and from my vehicle which is a big plus.

Overall, I gave this kayak 5 out of 5 stars!

ACK Customer

Editor’s Note: Do you have a Tarpon 100? We’d love to hear from you too…comment below!

Product Review: Native Fish Bag Cooler

As an angler, I occasionally enjoy firing up the skillet, so keeping my catch fresh is extremely important specifically for both taste and of course health reasons. As an angler that uses a kayak to fish, space, weight and balance are also just as important, which is whey I have turned to the Native Fish Bag Cooler.

The shape and low profile of the fish bag make it ideal for securing to the bow of my boat. It is out of the way and it can even help keep my boat somewhat balanced when I load my gear into the stern tankwell. It can also be secured to the stern. If you are tired of dragging fish on a stringer this bag is ideal for you. When the bite is hot I can quickly put fish in the bag and get my line back out without spending time trying to untangle a stringer. Using a fish bag also helps avoid fish on a stringer that can spook other fish.

The cooler is made tough and will stand up to what ever you can throw at it. I’ve used it over a dozen times for trips to the gulf coast and the salt water has had no effect on it — even if it’s been wet for a few days. Once loaded with ice or ice packs, it keeps my fish cold and can easily hold over 20 Crappie or a limit of Redfish with room for a few Trout. The D-rings built around the cooler make it easy to secure it to the kayak.

I have not been disappointed with this product since the day I bought it. It’s easy to use, durable, and most of all, functional. Take note, if you plan on putting catfish in your fish bag you should cut their spines off with a pair of wire cutters before doing so they do not put a hole in the interior lining. The lining is tough but no match for catfish spines.

I give this product 5 out of 5 stars!

Brian G. – ACK Customer

Editor’s Note: Did you enjoy Brian’s review or have you had an experience with this product that you want to share with us? Comment below!

Product Review: Necky Vector 13

Performance, Stability, and Style.

Story and Photos By Vincent S. Rinando Jr., Necky Kayaks Pro Paddler and Team Ocean Kayak Founding Member

At first glance, you can tell that this isn’t your Dad’s sit on top. The new Vector 13 from Necky Kayaks blends performance, stability and style into a stable sit on top platform that tours and performs like a sit inside kayak. Starting at the bow/top-side of the kayak, the new Vector is sleek and sharp but retains volume and wave punching ability. You will also notice the rounded style of the top deck of the bow instead of the stock flat top on top of a “v” shaped bottom. This helps retains little water keeping your bow dry. The front grab handle has a molded area that accommodates your hand while carrying the kayak. Personally I prefer a hard plastic grab handle built into the kayak (kayak anglers live by Murphy’s Law, “If you can hang a hook in it, you will”).

The front end of the Vector has a sharp keel and makes constant contact even in rough water. I took the Vector out with moderate 15mph winds and chop that measured up to 2ft and was impressed at how dry it remained. Despite the conditions, I didn’t take on any waves over the bow or side rails. The Vector also maintained contact with the water and didn’t create hull slap under a strong paddle and moderate chop.

The bow hatch is ample in size and uses the Crosslink Buckle for easy one-handed opening. What I really like about this hatch was the lid. You can really “feel the seal” when you push down on this hatch. The combination of the Crosslink Buckle and tight seal on the lid kept the inside of the kayak dry through rough waves and even pressurized car wash blasts.

The overall deck layout consists of a mesh bag, device holder and water bottle or drink holder. The mesh bag is held in place with molded in nuts and machine bolts providing a secure attachment. The device holder is large enough to accommodate a hand held GPS or mobile phone case. All of the hardware used on the Vector 13 is first rate brass and stainless. Stainless bars replace nylon pad eyes, which are flat and provide a low profile. This prevents snags and the possibility of breaking pad eyes when carrying the kayak upside down or stacking and storing.

The foot wells are flat but have molding towards the cockpit, which aids in drainage and footing while standing. With the scupper plugs removed, the footwells remained dry and any standing water drained out once you started paddling. The draining was also quiet with no gurgling sounds.

The seat is built in and the pad is recessed to maintain a lower center of gravity. I found the seat cushion to be ample, comfortable and it remained dry. Two scupper plugs are located below the seat but I kept those on to keep the seat area dry. The seat back is adjustable, padded and very comfortable. Side straps allow for adjustment and provide additional support. The cockpit seems to sit a bit closer to the bow than most 13 foot kayaks which makes reaching the bow hatch easier. It also helps when trying to maneuver a rod tip around the bow when you have a fish on the hook.

Towards the rear of the boat, the rudder lay-up has a receiver that catches the rudder eliminating loud noises when the rudder is retracted. A drain plug is located just to the right of the rudder assembly on top. The tankwell is large, but maintains a low profile. It has two scupper plugs for drainage and the floor is designed to channel the water towards the scupper holes. The ridges also help elevate your cargo to keep gear dry when the plugs aren’t in and traction to keep gear from sliding around. The adjustable nylon cover provides secure storage and adds to the stylish appeal of the Vector. There is also a small hatch located in the rear area of the tankwell, which allows access to the rear of the hull’s interior and provides additional storage. This is very important if you ever need to make a repair on the keel or rudder assembly.

The bottom of the Vector is as impressive as the top. It has a well-defined keel and the bottom molding has a slight edge that creates additional volume and stability and also helps channel the water along the keel for straight tracking. The Vector has a removable rubber keel guard that prevents damage to the kayak’s keel while dragging.

Turning a “Touring Sit on Top” into a Kayak Fishing Machine

Being from Texas and spending 100% of my time in a kayak with a fishing rod, I decided to “RedNecky” the Vector up a bit with a few modifications. Just like the race car driver that removes door handles and window glass, sometimes you have to ugly things up a bit. Back to Murphy’s Law #1 for kayak anglers, “If you can stick a hook in it, you will”. I decided to remove the front mesh bag and place a flush mount Scotty rectangular mount between the two molded in nuts for either a rod holder or fish finder. The mount fit perfectly and allows me to replace the bag if I wanted to in the future. It also allowed me to place an Otter box on the smooth flat deck, I also added a bungee strap attached to the two molded in nuts that’s not pictured to hold the Otterbox in place. You can also loop the leash to the Otterbox around the rod holder for safety as well.

The second thing I did was replace the nylon cargo strap in the tankwell with a more traditional bungee cord. Again refer to Murphy’s Law of kayak fishing. For touring events and when I just want to show off, I will remove the bungee and put the nylon strap back on.

I placed two Scotty rectangular flush mount rod holders behind the seat next to the Necky logo in front of the tankwell. I prefer these mounts for several reasons. They are modular and allow me to place a light, conventional or spinning rod holder, fly rod holder, depth finder, camera or GPS mount into any one of the receivers and they maintain the sleek lines of the Vector. To install the mounts, I first used a piece of chalk to outline the bottom of the mount, using a non-scientific method of “eyeballing” where I thought they should go — they weren’t hard to line up. I l like using chalk because once you are done, it doesn’t leave any marks. Be careful not to punch too hard through the plastic when drilling though, as the rudder cables are located just below this area. I decided to only use two screws to secure each mount. If you prefer, rivets can also be used.

I also decided to add a bungee paddle holder. When you fish, you sometimes need a place to secure your paddle. As you can see in the picture, I used a three-point method. I probably should have spread out the triangle a bit more than I did but my first test showed it will hold the paddle in place just fine.

The new Vector 13 is quick and agile like a sit inside kayak, but is stable and tracks like a sit on top. This is one sexy kayak. I had no problem standing and fishing from this platform. I didn’t have any problems keeping up with anglers in their Prowlers on its maiden voyage. I found the Vector 13 to have great glide, good tracking, and optimal top speed with little effort to maintain that speed.

Here are some pictures of the fish we caught on its maiden voyage, total for the day one limit of trout, one limit of Redfish and one limit of Flounder. I’d say the Vector 13 passed with flying colors.

To view originally published article and additional photos, click here.

A Second Devil’s River Kayak Trip

A while back I tried to get some guys together for a Frio River kayaking trip that never happened.  In the meantime, my buddy ‘Bear’ mentioned that I should look into the Devil’s River as a better option.  Turns out one of the ACK staff is also planning a DR run for early next year so I’ll do some advance scouting for them.

At the time I was really set on paddling the Frio River and never even gave the Devil’s River a second thought.  But like any great journey, it starts off as a small seed and grows into something that seems to take on its own life.

I wish I could say that we spent months planning and going over every detail of the trip, but that would be a lie.  To be honest, we leave in less than two weeks and the trailer is still in its final stages of assembly and some of the details for the trip are fuzzy at best.  If I told you I wasn’t a little nervous, that would be a lie too.

However, I am making this kayak trip with two friends that I have known for more than half my life. During our teenage years the three of us were involved in a number of close encounters with death and even more memorable experiences.  Sometimes I think the only difference between being a teenager and an adult is that we don’t have to ask permission to conquer the great unknown anymore.

So the gear list is not complete yet but once it is I’ll post what we are taking on the kayak trip and then I’ll post when we are done and let you know what we forgot.  I’ll also upload some pictures to the ACK Flickr site.

Wish me luck!

Marcus Haralson
ACK ProStaff

ACK Prostaff Angler – Marcus Haralson

Over the last couple of months I have been extremely busy and all I can say is “senior year of college.” Let me tell you a little about myself.

First off, I was a Navy Corpsman with the Marines for almost nine years, which I wouldn’t trade for all the money in the world.  Now I’m a broke college student!  While I might not have a lot of cash at the moment, I have an arsenal of cool gear that gives me the opportunity to do really cheap things…like fish.  I have done or am willing to try almost anything that has to do with water and I love to fish more than most ‘normal’ people.

I am also very fortunate to be from Corpus Christi, TX where I live now and as an ACK Prostaff Angler I get to fish just about every day. Almost all my fishing is done out of a kayak, which is a red Ocean Kayak Trident 13 I set up just right and I’m sure it is a one of a kind.

But my true passion is poling across a flat in my kayak sight casting for reds.  I could do it for hours and get so lost that I will forget almost everything. During that time everything just stops. I love it.

I also recently started wade fishing again, which I’ve realized I missed doing.  As an ACK Prostaff sponsored fisherman, I’ll be writing blogs on a more consistent basis. They will be on different topics having to do about fishing, kayaks, camping, paddleboards, tournaments, and whatever else seems interesting at the time. If you have any questions about my posts or anything else for that matter you can hit me up here and I will get back to you as quickly as I can.

Marcus Haralson
ACK Prostaff Angler

Team Ocean Kayak Report

Clint and Fil entered Capt Brent Juarez’s trophy trout tourney a few weeks back. Conditions sucked…a cold front blew in Friday night. NW winds around 15 mph really tore the bay up in areas. It’s Hard to game plan when we have floods on  Friday and low tides Saturday. We had to abandon our game plan and make a new one at 4am. We decided to fish the open bay as many of the coves were almost dry. That put us out in the fray with the Power Boaters, yaks, and waders. Tide was super low at 4am and still pouring out.

We finally found a couple fish in one area. When the bite died instead of staying put we paddled against the wind north to make a long drift. Good timing as the wind and tide switched and our paddle back to the truck was rough. We got our head right, ate a snack, and reloaded. We launched and paddled back into the marsh to a boat channel that has been holding fish, but there were only small fish so we paddled back out into the open bay to our original spot. Remember we drove to spot #2, but didn’t have enough time to relaunch so we paddle to it into the wind and tide. This gave us 45mins and we picked up an upgrade for our 3rd trout.

All in all we did great, but we could have won if I had followed my own advice. Winter time, when you find fish stay put. They are there for a reason. They will come back. All that moving and paddling cost us 1st place. We lost some nice fish at the yak, a couple that would have definitely put us over the top. We weighed in 3 live 23″ trout that weighed 12.80lbs. They were nice and fat and outweighed the east bay trout that were brought to the table. Those 23″ trout outweighed 24-25″ trout from east bay. A bit disappointed we couldn’t fish the fish we’ve been on lately. I really wanted to weigh those fish in at a tourney. But the weather wouldn’t cooperate. We got bumped from 1st place by less than a pound and took 2nd place. Not bad for our first powerboat pro trout tourney…

PS…most of the fish we caught in 2′ or 3′ and most of the water was Ozarka clear..when you were in it you could see your lure all the way back to the yak on most casts….it was tough to mentally stay in that area and fish with PBs etc buzzing all over the top of it…they would spook…then drift back into this area….at 2:15pm when we had to leave for the weigh in…I had just hit two fish in a row and Clint picked up our 3rd upgrade and a John boat drifted around me on my left at about 10mph and turned right in front of my bow within 20yds (we were under anchor) and picked up a 6lber….his boat picked up those fish and drove them off the flat….he caught another nice fish about 50yds away but it was time to leave…I’m sure he thought is was no big deal….and any other day it probably wouldn’t have given it any more thought than the countless inconsiderate acts I’ve witnessed this winter from PBs on west bay.