Viking Kayak Comes to ACK

As many of you have seen/heard, we will now be adding Viking Kayak to our lineup. These boats are imported from over in New Zealand and we’re very excited to be the first US retailer to offer them.

Three Viking Kayak Profish Reloads ready to launch!
Three Viking Kayak Profish Reloads ready to launch!

We plan on carrying 2 of the Viking Kayak models: the Profish Reload and the Profish 400 with 2 color choices per model. The Reload will come in a Yellow/Black combination called Yellow Mist as well as a Gray/Black combination called Shades of Gray. The Profish 400 on the other hand will come in Green/Black called Lime Mist and also Orange/Black called Sunrise Mist.

Viking Kayak Profish Reload
Rigged Viking Kayak Profish 400

The Profish Reload measures a hair over 14.5 feet, is 29.5″ wide and weighs in a 63 pounds. This kayak is ideal for tackling large bodies of water, but drafts shallow enough to handle the flats with ease. The center console, called the Tackle Pod, comes with the boat and provides an enclosed area for on-board tackle management. The pod also allows for the easy mounting of a fish finder. A recess on the bottom of the pod provides a safe tucked away location for the transducer to ride up in too. A replacement center console can be purchased to replace the Tackle Pod, and it provides a flat deck space with an included child seating area.

The Profish 400 measures just under 13.5 feet, is 31″ wide and weighs in 53 pounds. Unlike the Reload, the 400 has a molded in well in the center of the boat that can be used for gear storage or even as a live bait well. Due to its wider stance, the 400 is relatively easy to stand in and provides a great sight casting platform.

The Viking Kayak Chill Pod
The Viking Kayak Chill Pod

We will also be selling various Viking Kayak accessories that go with the new boats. The Chill Pod is a very easy to open ice box for kayak anglers looking to keep their catch cold. Both the 400 and the Reload’s rear tankwell will accept this cool product. A rudder kit is available for either boat, but it is a little different than what we are used to here in the US. This particular rudder does not extend down past the bottom of the boat, but in no way does that detract from its performance. These boats will turn very quickly due to the surface area of the rudder blade. Other accessories we will carry will be a Viking branded hatch bucket with screw on lid, additional flush mount rod holders, and a clear center pod lid for the Profish 400.

We are very excited to have Viking on board and hope you are too! These are now available for pre-order and will actually start shipping near the end of April. Let us know what you think by commenting below.

YakAttack Surface Mount Retractor + StakeOut Pole Clip = Safe Boga Grips

I recently had some time at the house to play around with the YakAttack Surface Mount Retractor and found it is quite handy to use in conjunction with the 3/4″ StakeOut Pole Clip that we sell. I use this combo to hold my Boga Grip to the lid of my Ocean Kayak. If you’re on the fence about buying a Boga but do not because of the risk of losing a high dollar piece of gear over the side of your boat, this is the solution for you!

I’ve attached some photos for you to see how I have rigged my boat, as well as a couple more that the gang over at YakAttack sent me so that you can see what they are doing as well. 

Viking Kayak Comes to ACK

As many of you have seen/heard, we will now be adding Viking Kayak to our lineup. These boats are imported from over in New Zealand and we’re very excited to be the first US retailer to offer them.

Three Viking Kayak Profish Reloads ready to launch!

We plan on carrying 2 of the Viking Kayak models: the Profish Reload and the Profish 400 with 2 color choices per model. The Reload will come in a Yellow/Black combination called Yellow Mist as well as a Gray/Black combination called Shades of Gray. The Profish 400 on the other hand will come in Green/Black called Lime Mist and also Orange/Black called Sunrise Mist.

Viking Kayak Profish Reload

The Profish Reload measures a hair over 14.5 feet, is 29.5″ wide and weighs in a 63 pounds. This kayak is ideal for tackling large bodies of water, but drafts shallow enough to handle the flats with ease. The center console, called the Tackle Pod, comes with the boat and provides an enclosed area for on-board tackle management. The pod also allows for the easy mounting of a fish finder. A recess on the bottom of the pod provides a safe tucked away location for the transducer to ride up in too. A replacement center console can be purchased to replace the Tackle Pod, and it provides a flat deck space with an included child seating area.

The Profish 400 measures just under 13.5 feet, is 31″ wide and weighs in 53 pounds. Unlike the Reload, the 400 has a molded in well in the center of the boat that can be used for gear storage or even as a live bait well. Due to its wider stance, the 400 is relatively easy to stand in and provides a great sight casting platform.

The Viking Kayak Chill Pod

We will also be selling various Viking Kayak accessories that go with the new boats. The Chill Pod is a very easy to open ice box for kayak anglers looking to keep their catch cold. Both the 400 and the Reload’s rear tankwell will accept this cool product. A rudder kit is available for either boat, but it is a little different than what we are used to here in the US. This particular rudder does not extend down past the bottom of the boat, but in no way does that detract from its performance. These boats will turn very quickly due to the surface area of the rudder blade. Other accessories we will carry will be a Viking branded hatch bucket with screw on lid, additional flush mount rod holders, and a clear center pod lid for the Profish 400.

We are very excited to have Viking on board and hope you are too! These are now available for pre-order and will actually start shipping near the end of April. Let us know what you think by commenting below.

Rod Transportation & Organization Made Easy W/ The One Shot Outfitters Fishing Buddy

Frustrated trying to transport your fishing rods? We’ve got just the thing.

The One Shot Outfitters Fishing Buddy
The One Shot Outfitters Fishing Buddy

It can be a real buzz kill when you realize you aren’t going to be able to squeeze that last rod into the back of your vehicle. Well, I’ve found a new product that helps get those rods out of your car completely: the One Shot Outfitters Fishing Buddy!

Available in 3 different sizes (4, 6, or 8 rods), the One Shot Outfitters Fishing Buddy can accommodate pretty much any rod storage or transportation needs. Attach it to you vehicle’s 2″ receiver hitch and you are ready to go. Once you get to your final destination you can even use the Fishing Buddy as stand alone rod holder for bank fishing! Just remove the 2 caps on the base, fill with water, put the caps back on and set up is complete.

This is the second generation of the product. Unlike the first generation, these rod holder tubes feature SpiderClaw technology that will hold rods up to 2.25″ thick securely so that you don’t have to worry about rods being pulled out by fish or even falling out when in transport. Rod transportation and storage just got that much easier!

See more about the One Shot Outfitters Fishing Buddy in the video below:

BOOOONDOGGLE! Jerron Recaps the Kayak Fishing Boondoggle

Well, my first Boondoggle has come and gone. I will be completely honest with you, I am actually really sad that I have to wait until February to attend the next one. This event shed an entirely different light on how I perceived the kayak fishing community. I had always known that kayak anglers shared a bond and helped each other out, but little did I know that they were some of the most welcoming people I have ever had the pleasure to know.

The ACK Boondoggle Campsite
The ACK Boondoggle Campsite

As Andrew and myself pulled into Perdido Key, Florida late Friday afternoon, we proceeded to the entrance of Big Lagoon State Park to check in and scope out the lay of the land. As we drove closer to the camp grounds, droves of kayaks kept passing by strapped to the roofs of cars, truck beds, and trailers. It was a miniature caravan of plastic awesomeness. We pulled onto the road that lead to our camp site and got to behold a spectacle that I will have a hard time erasing from my memory bank. Every single campsite was packed full of kayaks as far as the eye could see and were chalk full of the latest and greatest kayak fishing accessories you could find. Every type, brand and color of kayak you could ever imagine was present and accounted for. Even some that had been discontinued for nearly 10 years. As we got to our site and started to unpack, we heard the first Boondoggle chant, and little did we know that it would be echoing through the camp grounds all weekend as each excited kayak angler wanted every one to know just how elated they were to be at the event. A single person would scream out, “BOOOOOONDOGGLE!”, and everyone followed suit shortly thereafter. We had not even set our tents up and we had already hollered our response nearly a half dozen different times. Never once did we feel silly. If anything, we felt as if it were a right of passage. With camp completely set up, we got the kayaks loaded on top of our car and made a b-line for the beach since the offshore conditions were supposed to be about as perfect as you could imagine for some offshore kayak fishing.

Hard to beat a view like this...
Hard to beat a view like this…

When we got the kayaks unloaded and down on the sand, we really had to sit back and soak in what we were seeing. Being from Texas, it is a rare event that I see water so blue that it resembles a clear summer sky nor white powder sand that rivals cake flour in texture. To sum up what we thought in one word as to how to describe the sight….”heaven”. We launched our kayaks and quickly paddled out to about 30 feet of water to try and sabiki up some live bait so that we could start trolling. I managed to bring up a few cigar minnows and we quickly put them on our lines and began to paddle around in search of our quarry, the speedy king mackerel. The conditions were so beautiful that we easily found ourselves lost in just the sheer serenity of the open calm ocean. We also forgot to take into consideration how fast the sun was setting, so once we snapped out of our trance we decided to paddle back towards the shore. We got within 3/4 of a mile from the beach when my bait got slammed. I got the rod out of the holder, engaged the drag, and reeled down to the fish. The fight was short due to a pulled hook.

Andrew with his first ever king mackerel.
Andrew with his first ever king mackerel.

Andrew sat and watched the event unfold since this was his first true offshore kayak fishing experience. Out of no where, his reel starts screaming shortly after mine. He goes through the same process and locks down on a solid king. I got my rod stowed away and proceeded over to assist him with the catch. He was grinning from ear to ear, but you could tell it was all business with him. He wrestled the fish boat side when I leaned in for the tail grab. With his first ever kayak caught king mackerel in hand, he could now show his excitement. “I can’t believe how fast my line was disappearing off my reel,” he would proclaim several times on our paddle in. I have been doing offshore kayak fishing for nearly 10 years and it never gets old watching someone get a rush from their first big fish caught from a kayak. We got back to the sand, took the customary photos, loaded the kayaks back onto the car, and headed back to the camp grounds so as to make it to the meet and greet that night.

Sign-in for the Boondoggle.
Sign-in for the Boondoggle.

As we arrived at the pavilion, we were amazed by the tremendous number of people that we starting to pour in. As we began to meet everyone, it was amazing to hear just how far some people drove to be at this event. If my memory serves me correct, I could have swore that I met someone who said they had made the trip all the way down from Alaska! Now THAT is some dedication. As the meet and greet  ended, we made our way back to the camp site to cook dinner over an open fire and crack open a few adult beverages. While sitting in our chairs and soaking in our surroundings, people began to stop by our camp and hang out with us. We’d chit chat for a while, exchange some fishing stories, and then it typically ended with our new friends inviting us over to their camp sites for some good food or an invite was extended to fish the next morning as a group. After a while, we heard some people chatting a few sites down from us and little did we know that our friend Thomas from Diablo Paddlesports had made the journey down to Florida from Texas as well. We hung out for a few hours and exhaustion hit us like a ton of bricks. A short stroll back to our tents and then it was lights out for the night.

Getting ready for the seminar at the Boondoggle pavilion.
Getting ready for the seminar at the Boondoggle pavilion.

We woke up the next morning later than planned and took a walk to scope out the area where we were going to set up our booth. After locating our spot, we gathered our materials and set up shop right next to the kind folks who run www.yangler.com. People started to pour into the vendor area and we were off to meeting new people all over again. Twelve o’clock rolled around and it was time for our seminar, which was titled Offshore Kayak Fishing 101. Roughly 30 eager kayak fishermen found their way into the pavilion to listen to us speak on topics such as ideal kayaks for offshore fishing, basic gear, safety equipment, and fish targeting techniques. Once the seminar was over, we made our way back down to the booth to finish out the day. That night, Andrew and I decided to take the kayaks out for a little night fishing. There was little tide movement making for a tough bite. We managed one measly trout for our efforts and headed back to camp. The next morning we would try our luck offshore again.

Lots of good company at the Boondoggle.
Lots of good company at the Boondoggle.

The fishing the next morning ended up tough as well with Andrew landing another solid king and me losing another one. There seems to be a pattern here, wouldn’t you say? When we got back to our booth after our brisk 12 miles paddle, we got a chance to catch up with some of the guys who put on the Boondoggle. Mark Watanabe of YakAngler.com sat down and gave us the back story of how the Boondoggle came to be and just how much it has grown in size, attendance-wise, since it’s inception 3 years ago. We also got to shoot the breeze with Chip Gibson, the owner of www.kayakfishingradio.com, who invited us over to his camp site that night for a pot luck dinner. We were lured in by the promises of fresh venison and shrimp called ruby reds, which I found out were caught in about 800 feet of water! The night was spent just hanging out with our fellow kayak fishermen and swapping fishing stories from the previous 2 days with all who showed up. Nothing like good food and amazing company to make for an entertaining and awesome evening. As we walked back to our camp, we would make several pit stops into various campers sites, just to say our goodbyes and exchange handshakes. Sleep came easy that night on a full stomach.

As we woke up the next morning to break camp, we were greeted by the same chants as the first night being yelled across the camp grounds. I guess the term Boondoggle can be taken several ways at this event. Not just as the name of the event, it potentially could be used as a greeting, as a way of describing a particular feeling, and as a parting phrase to your fellow kayak fishing brethren. I am beyond excited I got to attend this event, and have already made plans for the next one that is coming up in February. If I could ever recommend a family style event for kayak anglers of ALL experience levels, the Boondoggle is the one I would encourage you to attend. Until next time, “BOOOOOOOOONDOGGLE!”

Jerron@ACK

Which Predator Kayak to Choose: 13 or MX?

Predator Kayaks

The Predator 13 and Predator MX,  from Old Town Canoes and Kayaks are sleek and innovative fishing platforms that offer a lot of great features for kayak anglers of all types. Saltwater bays and marshes, open ocean, freshwater lakes, streams, rivers, or small ponds, the Predator kayak can do it all. What is the point of offering two different models, you might ask? Well, let’s take a look at both boats and focus in on some distinguishing characteristics and differences between the two new models.

Predator Kayak - 13

Predator 13:

  • Designed for Larger Bodies of Water – With an elongated bow keel line, the Predator 13 is able to take on the more adverse conditions you may encounter on larger bodies of water, such as larger wind chop or surf, due to its superior tracking ability. Large lakes, bay systems, and the open ocean are the perfect playing grounds for the Predator 13.
  • Rod Pod Storage Hatch – This elongated hatch that is found in the front deck space is only found on the Predator 13 and is designed to give you the ability to stow away smaller rods and reels while out on the water. The top of the hatch offers multiple mounting locations for electronics, rod holders and other accessories.
  • Large Bow Hatch – A perfect place to store larger items that you’d like to take with you on your trips. It is fairly easy to take off the hatch and store items such as tents or folding camp chairs in the large cavity found in the Predator 13’s bow.
  • Rudder Capable – To help increase the performance of the Predator 13 on larger bodies of water, you have the ability to mount a rudder on the rear handle. With this essential piece of equipment, it will be much easier to tackle strong crosswinds and currents that you can experience in wide open areas. The Predator 13 Rudder Kit is available at ACK.com.

Predator Kayaks - MX

Predator MX:

  • Designed for Smaller Bodies of Water – Unlike the Predator 13, the Predator MX does not feature the elongated bow keel line that is needed for those long paddles on large, open areas. Instead, the MX has a more rounded hull that helps make it more maneuverable on bodies of water that are smaller and have more moving water. Small lakes, gentle rivers and streams are where this boat shines.
  • Uncluttered Deck Space – With nothing on the floor of the deck, you will find a large space to move about freely and stand facing whichever direction you care to without having to be mindful of anything tripping you up.
  • Maneuverability – At only 12 feet long, the Predator is perfect for navigating tight quarters where the ability to turn easily can be key. Couple the shorter length with the rounded hull design and you have a kayak that can pretty much explore all the little nooks and crannies you always wanted to access, and still be able to turn around and get back out easily.

As similar as these two boats are, they are still two very different kayaks suited to various types of fishing and water bodies. No matter what conditions are out there, you can rest assure that one of these two awesome new fishing kayaks will tackle whatever you throw at them!

Kayak Fishing Resources Take Me Back to My Roots

Kayak Fishing Resources Lead to a Great Catch!
Jerron shows off his kayak bass fishing catch.

Coastal Woes

Having lived by the coast for nearly 20 years, I naturally tend to  gravitate towards saltwater kayak fishing (especially offshore kayak fishing). Now that I have live in Austin, the coast is a 3+ hour drive which requires trips to be planned out in advance. Lately, I have been suffering from pretty bad saltwater fishing withdrawal. In order to get my kayak fishing fix, I have had to revert back to what I was raised on…bass fishing. Thankfully, even Central Texas is full of fishing opportunities and I was able to utilize a number of online kayak fishing resources to help me some great spots.

Going Online to Get Local Kayak Fishing Resources

Austin has numerous surrounding lakes to hit up on the weekends but the problem is deciding which one to visit. First, I started  by checking Texas Parks and Wildlife to get an idea of what was in the area. They have several resources available for local paddlers that offer detailed information on certain lakes and designated  Texas paddling trails, including types of fish species to expect and even tips for anglers for each location.  Once I had idea of what my options were, I hit the ACK sponsored local kayak fishing forum, TexasKayakFisherman.com, hoping to see what other like minded anglers recommended. I’ve used the Texas Kayak Fisherman Forum in the past because it brings together anglers from all over Texas, including my old haunting grounds in Houston.

After my research, I discovered a little community of lakes that pepper the landscape around North Austin. Most of these bodies of water range in size from 25-50 acres and offer suitable paddling conditions. Now, after a long day of work, I easily get out on the water to help soothe some of my offshore woes. And, of course, catching fish is icing on the cake (even though bass don’t pull any where near as strong as say a 40 pound cobia). With each trip, all of the knowledge I acquired growing up comes rushing back to me. It’s like riding a bike for the first time in several years…once you know, you never forget.

I encourage you to go online to find local kayak fishing resources in your area. If there’s good fishing in your area, there’s usually a forum and often one dedicated specifically to kayak fishing!

Jerron @ACK

Think Paddling Safety First And Always Be Mindful Of Mother Nature!

Remember Paddling Safety: Kayaking Comes With Exposure to the Elements

Lately, as I have been scanning the various kayaking forums, I’m starting to notice a very disturbing trend among some of my fellow paddlers. In just the last 2 months, I have counted over a dozen instances where paddlers aren’t taking into account paddling safety when it comes to weather conditions. Many are passing over the opportunity to check out the forecast for their paddling area so that they can know what mother nature has in store for them that day. Without the ability to get back to your land or your vehicle as quickly as you have with boats with motors on them, they are taking a huge gamble that is just not worth the risk.

Paddling Safety - Bad Weather
Example of less than ideal paddling weather.

These scenarios are easily remedied by always being mindful of the changing conditions and by utilizing local TV weather channels prior to your trip, weather apps on your smart phone that incorporate live radar, VHF radios that can tune into Coast Guard weather channels, or even a cell phone that allows you to call someone who can check weather patterns wherever they are for you. Mostly these instances seem to involve new kayakers who are anxious to hit the water and explore the opportunities their new plastic boat gives them. While I share in their enthusiasm, it’s important to stay alert and keep paddling safety in mind so that there will be many more trips in the future. Technology has come a long way and a lot of it is accessible even while kayaking. Waterproof cases for your phones, like the lifeproof case, instantly gives your electronic device protection and allows you to scan weather conditions with the peace of mind that if you drop the phone overboard that it will still work when you retrieve it.

If you find yourself on an outing and the weather shift and you can’t get back to your vehicle in time, here are some great practices to help prevent worst case scenarios. In the case of lightning, lay tall items in your kayak down flat, paddle to shore as quickly as possible, get out of your kayak and hunker down till the storm passes. The last place you want to be is exposed out on the water where you are one of the tallest things available for lightning to strike. Dealing with heavy winds can be a challenge as well, combat them by zig-zagging across the wind’s direction instead of going directly into it.  If you have no choice but to go straight into it, feather your paddle accordingly and if need be, take a break and rest every so often to regain your strength. In strong currents, you can attack the problem similarly as your would strong wind with the zig-zag approach as well as taking rests.

There won’t always be a solution to every problem that arises, but it is best to know basic paddling safety procedures that can help you in times of need. Preparedness is the key, and awareness can save your life. If possible, always scout conditions before you ever hit the water. The phrase “dying to hit the water” has no reason to be taken literally.

Jerron@ACK

Engel Live Bait Cooler – New Product

The Bait Cooler from Engel
The Bait Cooler from Engel

Keeping live bait on a kayak can be a tricky, and sometimes expensive, task to deal with.  Most people just simply drag a floating bait bucket with them, but that can add a lot of drag to your boat and cause it to handle differently.  Well the folks at Engel Coolers have come out with a new product that should help make keeping live bait in your kayak alive much easier than it has been!

Included Charging Accessories
Included Charging Accessories

Introducing the new Engel Live Bait Coolers.  These are based off Engel’s popular Dry Box Cooler series and give you the ability to keep your bait alive and well during your fishing trip.  Available in a 13 quart, 19 quart, and 30 quart models, there is a size that will fit almost anyone’s needs.

The Live Bait Cooler comes with a air pump that is powered off of 2 D-Cell batteries and can also be plugged into a cigarette lighter in your vehicle to help keep your bait alive on overnight trips.  When your Live Bait cooler is full with shrimp, minnows, or whatever bait your choose, run the pump on high power to keep them lively.  As the day goes on and your bait supply starts to dwindle down, set it at a lower speed to conserve your power.  We expect these bait coolers to arrive today!  Good luck, and see you on the water.

 

Jerron@ACK

ACK Fishfinder Installation Package

ACK Fishfinder Installation Kit
ACK Fishfinder Installation Kit

Installing a Fishfinder on a kayak can be a daunting task to people who try it for the first time.  Trust me, I know.  The first time I tried to install a fishfinder I had wires running all over the place and parts laying all around because I didn’t know what they were, where they went or what they attached to.  I even came out of the whole experience more frustrated than relieved. I am pretty sure I even questioned if all that work was even worth it.  Let’s face it, sometimes it just helps having a more “seasoned” installation veteran show you the ropes or even install it for you.  Here at ACK, we recognized this problem and came up with a solution.  Not only did we come up with our own ACK Fishfinder Installation Package, but we created a full set of instructions including detailed photos that are extremely easy to follow.  As if that weren’t enough, we filmed a step-by-step video to help show you how the installation is supposed to go so that you’ll have a visual reference if need be.  Pretty cool, right?  I sure wish I had that when I did my first installation!  The ACK Fishfinder Installation package gives you everything you need to help get your fishfinder up and running with fairly minimal effort.  Now you don’t necessarily have to follow the rules to a “T”. If you want to tweak the installation to fit your own personal wants or needs, feel free,  the instructions in the kit will help guide you down the right path to get you to your end goal….a working fishfinder! As always if you have questions or need advice feel free to send us a email at customer@ack.com.

Here’s the video:

-Jerron @ ACK