Record Breaking Numbers at KATS Lake Austin / Lady Bird Lake

Re-posted from FishKATS.com

Kayak Fishing Lady Bird Lake

Not only was Saturday’s tournament the biggest KATS event ever held (94 competitors), it also produced some healthy limits for many and one Lake Austin big bass for Larry Martin (a KATS newcomer). His 26 inch bass has, for now, secured the Fishscale’s Biggest Bass Replica of the Season for 2014, and it will be hard to beat. Larry says he caught the bass on Lake Austin using 8 inch watermelon red lizard.

Ladybird Lake (formally know as Town Lake) was covered in kayaks along the banks and near structure on Saturday amidst the crowded waters of scullers, rowers, and recreational paddlers. Trail runners in the area reported seeing kayak fishermen from one dam to the next on the lake, while a good number also headed towards the various sections of Lake Austin.

Left to right: 1st place winner Sean Mecredy, 2nd place winner Ryan Herzog and 3rd place winner Rodney Bronson.
Left to right: 1st place winner Sean Mecredy, 2nd place winner Ryan Herzog and 3rd place winner Rodney Bronson.

This third event of the season has really mixed things up in the leaderboard and overall standings making this one of the most competitive and interesting seasons yet. Sean Mecredy took first place in the Pro division with 97.25 inches for grand winnings sum of $1,366.75. In second, Ryan Herzog earned $745.50 with 96.75 inches also placing him at the top of both the overall series leaderboard and King of the Fish. Third place went to Rodney Bronson with a 96.25 inch stringer for $372.75. Daniel Peters took 4th, and Kevin Hebert fifth, with close limits.

In the Social Division, Larry Fisseler placed 1st with 81 total inches earning a $379.50 ACK gift card. Kevin Tijerina took second for $207 ACK dollars with 77.5 inches. In third, Chris Ordner won $103.50 ACK dollars with 73.5 inches. See the full results here.

Larry Martin’s big bass out of Lake Austin earned him a whopping $680!

Thanks to C-Hunts Ice House on Burnet Road for allowing us to use their space and for providing excellent service! The Local Mobile Yokel (hot dogs and grilled sausages) was there to make sure no fishermen/women would go hungry.

A big thanks to all of our 2014 sponsors, and Patron Sponsors Bending Branches, Malone, and Ocean Kayak! The next KATS event is coming up fast – on February 22nd anglers will battle it out on Lake Wood near Gonzales, Texas.

Join the Texas Stream Team

Join the Texas Stream Team!
Join the Texas Stream Team!

Join the Texas Stream Team – a group of some 8,000 men, women, and children who have been active stewards of Texas waterways since 1991.

If you canoe, kayak or stand up paddle – or would like to –you can become founding members of the Texas Stream Team Paddlers.

You’ll be trained and equipped to monitor the quality of your favorite lakes, streams, or estuaries. You’ll become part of a citizen-based early warning system. Your data will support important water research, management, and conservation efforts.

Texas Stream Team also works with educators, parents, youth-focused organizations, and others to teach young people about water, the environment, and the enjoyment and stewardship of both.  If you are interested but you don’t have a boat, don’t worry: There are lots of landside opportunities too. For example, every year, some 125,000 visit our Spring Lake education facility to learn about Texas water.

Texas Stream Team Paddlers is now hosting orientations and trainings across the state. 

To find out how you can get involved, contact:

Travis Tidwell, Texas Stream Team, Program Coordinator, (512) 245-9148 or txstreamteam@txstate.eduMeadowsCenter.TXState.edu/

The Terrible Kayak Word Search

This is the kind of stuff my friends send me because I work at ACK. If you’ve got some time to kill, then try your hand at this self-proclaimed “Terrible Word Search”. Ya, the word kayak only appears once…

Terrible Word Search

 

The creator actually uses a computer program to make these searches and shared the source code for the program in his blog here: http://cnlohr.blogspot.com/2014/02/to-make-terrible-wordsearches.html

Proper Kayak Maintenance

If every paddler had their way, kayaks would glide through the years without a scratch or dent to it’s hull. But let’s be realistic here – a well used kayak takes a beating! The good news is that kayaks are very resilient and kayak maintenance requires minimal effort. There are a few basic things to do and think about to keep your kayak and equipment in good shape and soon, it will be routine!

Pre-Season Kayak Maintenance

Doing a little kayak maintenance at ACK Houston.
Doing a little kayak maintenance at ACK Houston.

The last thing you want to happen when you pull your kayak out of storage for your first spring paddle is to find that something was left broken from last year, or worse, was damaged during storage. Refer to these pointers to prepare:

Look over the hull for damage. Long term storage is one of the most common ways a kayak’s hull can be damaged. In the case of a depressed hull, heat will often be enough to return the kayak to it’s original shape. Leaving it in the sun on a hot day will often pop it back to it’s original shape.

Inspect the rigging. Make sure the hardware, perimeter lines and bungees are all in good shape. UV radiation can deteriorate plastic pad-eyes and degrade bungees/lines.

Look over the rudder or skeg if it has one and evalutate the deployment lines, stainless steel cables, pivot hardware and pedals. Make sure to repair anything that needs fixing now, rather than finding out on the water!

Replace old parts and accessories, or just add new ones. This is the perfect time to retire old gear like a seat or bulkhead. Look over all of your gear and remind yourself what was bothering you last year.

If you found yourself wishing for an extra something last season, like another rod holder, this is the time to add it!

Refill emergency gear. Go through your first-aid kit, bailout bag and emergency repair kit to make sure everything is stocked. This is especially important to do because if it needs refilling it means it was something you had to use last year!

In Season Kayak Maintenance

Keep these pointers in mind during the peak of your paddling season:

Avoid kayak maintenance by using a cart!
Avoid kayak maintenance by using a cart!

Use a kayak cart. Dragging your ‘yak on the ground will thin and weaken the material at the bottom, the worst case scenario being that it could lead to holes that will have to be repaired by a specialty shop. Kayak carts are a win-win because they will protect your kayak from damage plus make getting to and from the water a cinch.

Keep it clean. A kayak doesn’t need to look shiny and new, but it’s good practice to quickly spray down your kayak after every outing. This’ll remove grime and salt that can lead to corrosion of the hull and prevent mold from growing.

Usually just taking the hose and spraying down the interior and exterior will suffice but it’s a good idea to give it a thorough scrub with mild soapy water and a kayak sponge a couple times a year.

Protect it from the sun. Long exposure to the sun will affect more than just your kayak’s color – it’ll eventually weaken the plastic, making it brittle and prone to cracking. No, leaving it out for a few days here and there won’t mean you should expect to puncture your hull on the next outing, but several months will certainly lead to deterioration!

Spraying it down with 303 Protectant.
Spraying it down with 303 Protectant.

Using 303 Protectant is a popular method of stopping harmful UV rays, but this will wash away with rain and during paddling outings so it will require re-application. The best solution would be to use a kayak cover or store it indoors.

Cover the cockpit. When it’s not in use, it helps to use a cockpit cover to keep rain and critters out. Remember to dry out the inside before you cover it to keep mold, mosquitoes and scum from accumulating.

Proper kayak storage. It’s important both in season and off! Refer to the link for tips on how to best store your kayak.

Kayak Maintenance to Prepare for Off-Season Storage

Many of you won’t have an off-season, but for some there is a point in the year when water turns solid and the kayak has to go into hibernation. When that time comes, refer to these tips:

Clean and dry the kayak. On a dry day, unload any and all loose gear and put them aside, this includes any rigging accessories that are removable like a seat, deck bag or rod holder. Turn it upside down on a pair of kayak stands and lather it up with mild soapy water. From beneath, spray water throughout the cockpit interior and all the hatches, allowing any loosened sand, crud and dead bugs to drain out. Make sure to let everything dry out before putting it away.

Take a kayak sponge and scrub away if you think it’s necessary. Areas like the cockpit rim can end up being a nesting ground for insects if they’re left alone during storage.

Care for your rigging components. Look over any attached parts on the kayak – like deck cords, toggle handles and bulkheads – and take note of any frayed cords or parts that need replacing and order a replacement part promptly. If any of the bungees, straps or buckles can be loosened or un-done during storage, loosen them. This will help retain their elasticity.

Make sure dirt was removed from bolts/screws during your clean earlier and sponge away anything left over. The use of some WD-40 or other type of corrosion blocking product will keep metal joints in good shape.

Also, be sure to give this short video from PaddlingTV about kayak maintenance a watch:

Paddle Tandem For Valentine’s Day!

Paddle tandem this Valentine's Day!
Paddle tandem this Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is nearly here, and if you’re ready to change things up and try something a little different, look no further than kayaking. Outdoor adventure is a great way to be engaging with your loved one (and even the whole family) and visiting a secluded, unique destination by kayak can be quite romantic. This Valentine’s Day, it’s time to paddle tandem!

Start by picking out a unique spot. Pick one out that’s got some good sights and/or wildlife, or, if you’re planning a moonlight paddle, one that’s free of tree branches that could block your view of the sky. Of course, any spot will do because you two will have plenty of fun once you get paddling. If you’re having trouble finding a good place to paddle, remember to give our ACK Launch Points App a look.

Go a step further and pick out a stopping point along the way to take a picnic break. Layout a blanket to sit on and bring along a small dry bag complete with wine, cheese, crackers and chocolate.  Your paddling partner will certainly be surprised! You could even bring along some nice mood music if you were so inclined.

Remember, Valentine’s Day is coming up fast, so get your plans together soon. If you’ve got a paddling date planned, or have had one in the past, let us know by leaving a comment below!

 

Storing Your Hobie Kayak

One way of storing your Hobie Kayak.
One way of storing your Hobie Kayak.

Original content reposted from the HobieCat Forum.

Kayak storage isn’t often given much thought, but doing it improperly can lead to permanent damage. Matt Miller, Director of Parts & Accessory Sales at Hobie Cat USA, shares tips and techniques for properly storing your Hobie Kayak.

Important: When storing your Hobie Kayak, do NOT hang your kayak from the bow and stern handles. These handles are designed for carrying the kayak, not for hanging for long periods of time. The plastic will slowly stretch over time and possibly even eventually fail which will create a hole. When storing your Hobie kayak, it is important to be sure that it is well supported.

Storing your Hobie Kayak on the ground or on a rack

One technique for storing your Hobie kayak is by putting it upside down and resting on its two crossbars. The rails of the kayak are very stiff and can support the weight easily. Padded crossbars will reduce the chance of any scratches or marks on the rails. If you must store it right side up, use cradles or something that is shaped to the contour of the hull. If the kayak is resting right side up with little to no support, the entire weight of the kayak may rest on one point on the bottom and possibly cause a flat area to develop. We do offer custom molded cradles for the Adventure Island and the Pro Angler.

Storing your Hobie Kayak with hanging racks or straps

If you plan on hanging your kayak from a ceiling, a minimum of one inch webbed strapping should be used to spread the load of the kayak over more area. Using rope to support it may leave dents in the rails, especially in the heavier kayaks. Best if stored upside down with the strap loads on the stiff cockpit rails.

Removing dents after improperly storing your Hobie Kayak

If you do see a dent or flat area from improper storage, you can remove it fairly easily. For minor dents, put the kayak in the sun with the dent up. The plastic will soften slightly and the plastic will return to its original shape. For more severe dents, pour near boiling hot water over a towel on the dent and pressurize the hull. The air pressure will push on the softened plastic, returning it to its original shape. A great way to put air pressure in your hull is to direct a shop vacs exhaust flow into the opened drain plug. Do not force more than a pound or two of pressure into the hull without the possibility of the pressure easily escaping. Pressure in the hull can cause damage.

So how do you store your Hobie Kayak? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK) Announces the Grand Opening of its Newest Store in San Antonio, Texas

Join ACK on Feb 8th and 9th for the Grand Opening Celebration

Austin, Texas (Jan. 28th, 2014) – Outdoor retailer, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), a division of MSP Holdings LLC, is gearing up for the Grand Opening of it’s 5th location in northwest San Antonio, Texas, which is slated to take place over the weekend of Feb. 8th & 9th. The hours for the two day event will be 10am to 5pm each day.  This new store is in addition to the current Austin, San Marcos, Houston and Spring locations.

For those in the market for a new kayak or outdoor gear, this event is not to be missed. Exclusive grand opening discounts will be available to all those who attend and there will be plenty of chances to walk away with great door prizes. Plus, event goers should be sure to have their mobile device on hand and ready to take advantage of a limited time social check-in offer via Yelp, Facebook and Foursquare.

“We have been eyeing the San Antonio market for a long time and all those loyal customers that have been driving up to our San Marcos location now can get all their kayaking and outdoor gear much closer to home,” said Chris Hackerd, MSP Holdings VP of Store Operations, “This store will also expand our reach farther south as we get closer to the coast and into the region where there are a lot of outdoor activities.”

ACK San Antonio is conveniently located at 12746 Cimarron Path, Ste 152, just off I-10, south of 1604. The 5,000 square-foot store will host an expansive selection of kayaks, stand up paddle boards, camping and other outdoor adventure gear along with associated services and events. It will also house the store-in-a-store concept RackBoys featuring a full line of car rack components and accessories.

The location was selected through in-depth market research showing a healthy and active lifestyle community interested in the great outdoors. The store is slated to officially open its doors February 7th, 2014 with the grand opening celebration the following weekend.

About MSP Holdings, LLC

MSP Holdings, LLC operates Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer and Rack Boys a vehicle rack and sports travel outfitter dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Both retail outfits are based out of the central Texas area, with their respective online stores at www.AustinKayak.com and www.RackBoys.com and within five physical locations in Austin, San Marcos, Spring, Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with MSP Holdings, LLC, please contact Joseph Dowdy at 512-318-2941, or email pr@austinkayak.com.

 

The New Portable Camp Chair (and Table) Solution

Helinox Chair One Portable Camp Chair
Helinox Chair One Portable Camp Chair

One issue I face when going kayak camping or backpacking is how to bring along my camp chair. I have a Kelty Folding Mesh Chair which I love using on camp outs and tailgates, but at 8 lbs and nearly 3 feet tall when packed down it’s not a truly portable camp chair option. Often what I need is something I can easily slide into my kayak’s dry hatch or something that’ll fit into my pack for extended backpacking trips. Sound like something you can relate to? Keep reading.

The Portable Camp Chair Solution

New to ACK, the Helinox Portable Camp Chair is the solution I have been searching for. It’s lightweight, weighs 2 lbs, and packs down to just over a foot tall, something that I can easily slide into my backpack or kayak. It’s strong enough to hold a capacity of up to 320 lbs and comes with it’s own carrying case.

The portability comes in from it’s utilization of break apart aluminum pole technology similar to many tents from the manufacturer DACPole. Not only does this technology make it a great portable camp chair option, but also very easy to assemble. In fact, the chair almost assembles itself with self locating shock cord technology. See for yourself:

The Helinox portable camp chair comes in two different options: tactical and regular. The main differences between the two is that the tactical has a solid fabric with two seat back pockets (and costs a little more) while the regular uses a breathable mesh material. Both versions boast four different color options. I see a blue Helinox Portable Camp Chair joining the rest of my gear back home very soon.

Helinox Table One Camp Table
Helinox Table One Camp Table

The Portable Camp Table Solution

Helinox didn’t stop with their portable camp chair. You can also now find the Helinox Portable Camp Table at ACK, another solution for those looking to bring a table with them on trips where space is limited. Like the chair, the table packs down to just over a foot tall and weighs less than 1.5 lbs! It features a durable nylon table top and has to drink holders built into the tables surface. No more knocking cups off the table.

For campers looking for lightweight camping gear, Helinox gear is for you. Check them out and be sure to post any comments or questions below. Thanks for reading!

 

Get Excited for KATS 2014!

Re-posted from FishKATS.com

After gathering some kayak fishing footage from our KATS 2014 season kickoff at Decker Lake as well as 2013 footage from competitor Mike Garcia (see his profile and blog on Adventure on The Water), we’ve put together our first ever KATS Teaser Video! Give it a watch and be sure to share it around with your friends:

KATS is short for Kayak Angler Tournament Series, and is known as Texas’ largest freshwater kayak fishing tournament series. 2014 marks the 8th season for KATS and holds 11 events for anglers all over Texas including areas like Austin, San Marcos, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. Keep up to date on all thing relating to the tournament series by visiting www.fishkats.com. See you out on the water!

Prowler Big Game II Lands At ACK!

The Prowler Big Game II is here!
The Prowler Big Game II is here!

The Prowler Big Game II is here!

Our first shipment of the newly revamped Prowler Big Game II has landed at ACK and I gotta say, this ‘yak is slick! Ocean Kayak has taken a note from sister company Old Town and integrated a number of features from the new Predator kayak into their 2014 version Prowler Big Game II. This includes things like mounting brackets and the high/low Element Seating System.

You can tell right off the bat that this kayak is meant for big stability and comfort. It’s got stern stringers designed to carry volume in the rear of the kayak and plenty of convenient features like the easy to adjust Glide Track foot braces, paddle keepers and new comfort carry handles.

It’s also a ‘yak meant to hold your gear. Between the Mod Pod center hatch and 6 strategically placed mounting brackets, there’s plenty of ways to mount after-market accessories like Scotty, Ram and YakAttack. Couple that with a weight capacity of 550-600 lbs and you can imagine that the Prowler Big Game II will hold just about anything you can think of.

Watch Mike Garcia give a run down of the new Prowler Big Game II at our booth at the Austin Boat Show:

We’ve had pre-orders on this kayak since late last year so quite a few of the ones we got in this first shipment went right out the door. Don’t worry, we’ve still got plenty to ship, so place your order with us today: http://www.austinkayak.com/products/13773/Ocean-Kayak-Prowler-Big-Game-Angler-II-Kayak.html