Guest blog written by Matt Moccia, Hobie Pro Staff
For years I’ve enjoyed fishing out of a small kayak on various rivers and other small waters inaccessible to larger watercraft. The problem with this was they were inaccessible to vehicles as well, which meant limiting the amount of gear you could bring along. For a serious fisherman this is a problem. This problem only grew once I upgraded to a larger kayak, a Hobie Pro Angler 12, and wanted to find an easy and efficient way to get it to these remote places. After trying some of the various kayak carts on the market with very limited success I was introduced to the C-TUG. One of the first things that caught my eye was the load capacity and larger diameter airless tires. Continue reading Big Boats On Small Water: A Possibility Brought to you by C-TUG
With kayak fishing growing in popularity by the minute we thought it would be a great idea to ask our seasoned kayak anglers to provide some advice and tricks for the those looking to get started. So we took to our Facebook wall and asked our followers to give us the best piece of advice they had and boy did we get a response! By far the most popular piece of advice given was to invest in the best PFD you can afford and wear it while on the water; safety should always come first! Coming in second was all new kayak anglers should also take the time to familiarize themselves with their gear and kayak as well as check the weather forecast before setting out on their first kayak angling adventure. Below is the complete list of advice we received from our fans. Continue reading Advice for New Kayak Anglers
Guest Blog Written By Cal Brock an avid hunter and angler.
If the popularity of the television series “Duck Dynasty” is any indication, Americans certainly enjoy waterfowl hunting. By that, we mean hunting a vast variety of species of ducks and geese. Hunters all across the nation are itching for the 2014 waterfowl season to get underway, and for good reason. Due to the longer than usual winter, high levels of snowmelt and spring time precipitation have caused the duck and goose populations to thrive. Once the migrations begin, the flyways across the nation will be jam-packed with every hunter’s favorite flying target. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re ready to hit the water once the season starts up.
Check Your Call
Unlike land-based hunting, where an animal is baited or stalked, waterfowl have the entire sky to roam. To ensure that the area overhead attracts plenty of birds, replacing the reed on your duck or goose call will help it sound as fresh and clear as possible. It’s worth searching the web to find real recordings of ducks, so you can practice matching the pitches with your calls.
Show Your Shotgun Some Love
Even if she fires true every time in your eyes, any gun that sits in a cabinet in between seasons will need some attention. Strip your shotgun down as far as possible and thoroughly clean and disinfect every piece. While reassembling, be sure to lubricate any moving part, to ensure smooth firing and combat against jams. Purchasing your favorite ammo before the season begins can be a money saver, as well as a convenient stockpile for those days when you can’t seem to hit anything.
Care for your Ride
We’re not referring to an automobile here as the majority of waterfowl takes place near a body of water. Getting to and from remote hunting blinds is the most important part of the hunt. Successfully getting all equipment, ammo, and firearms to the blind, all without disturbing the
wildlife, is quite a task to undertake. Many hunters have moved from land-based blinds to using jon boats, kayaks, and canoes, which give them the ability to move stealthily through the water. Be sure to make sure that any water vessel will be safe to operate and handle any additional loads that could be brought aboard.
Prep your Decoys
Any good waterfowl hunter is going to have a small army of decoys set up around their hunting area. Without these decoys, ducks and geese would just pass right by. By making sure your decoys are in top shape before the season begins, you can rest assured you won’t spend any days chasing them around the water as they float away. Remember to check all the anchor lines and knots, making sure to replace any frayed lines. Adding a snap swivel to the anchor lines is a great way to change out decoys on the fly. Repainting any faded or chipping decoys will keep your flock looking as attractive as ever.
Get Out and Scout
In the days before the waterfowl season begins, get out to some of your favorite hunting spots and assess the area for any changes that may affect your hunting, both positively or negatively. For instance, if a lake that has provided for you in the past’s water level has fallen significantly, it may not be worth your time to start the season off at that location.
Conversely, if a large swath of land in your hunting area has been flooded out by a river nearby, or farming in the area, then you may have just hit the jackpot. By knowing the lay of the land before actually heading out for the hunt, you’re able to develop a plan for the season and make the most of your hunting time. Things such as decoy positioning, blind positioning, and hunting technique can all vary based off of the surrounding environment, so it’s best to be ready instead of scrambling to make adjustments on the first day of the season.
Year after year, waterfowl season has proven to be one of the most popular hunting seasons in the nation, and this season seems to be building up to be another great one. Be sure to handle your firearms responsibly, follow all local and state ordinances, and most of all, enjoy the hunt!
Cal Brock is a hunter, angler, outdoor adventurer, loving husband, and proud father from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Here at ACK we always aim to bring the latest and greatest to our Demo Days and the 2014 Fall Demo Days is no exception. This season we’ve got a line up featuring new kayaks from Old Town, Wilderness Systems, Dagger, FeelFree and Hobie and we cant wait to get you all out on the water! Read more to get the dish on these hot new kayaks and make sure to try them out at Demo Days!
Old Town Predator XL
Like the rest of the family, XL incorporates all the innovative Predator features that put anglers on top of the food chain. And now introduces an industry changing XL Consoles, designed for electronics, storage and power customization in just seconds. Quickly convert to power by Minn-kota, for completely hands-free all-day navigation, trolling or structure fishing. This particular boat recently won ‘Best New Boat’ AND ‘Best in Show’ at this years ICAST trade show- the first boat to win two titles since ICAST 2009. Ultimately, it’s hard to not be impressed by the Predator XL!
Read more about the XL here and here. You can pre-order your Predator XL here!
Wilderness Systems Thresher 140*
Built with both the serious and the aspiring offshore angler in mind, the Thresher series ushers in the next generation of high performance big water sit-on-tops. The hull is efficient and quick, yet stable and predictable to handle ever-changing open water conditions. The deck is sleek and modern, with a thoughtful layout for maximum gear storage, capacity and accessibility. Along with familiar outfitting, the Thresher also introduces several advancements like water-shedding bow storage cover, versatile center hatch, and the FlexPod OS removable console for accommodating electronics or removable storage. If you are looking to upgrade your kayak or in the market for your first kayak the Thresher is a great option; both attractive and efficient in design this kayak wont disappoint.
Read more about the Thresher here and here. Already want it? Pre-order here.
Feelfree Lure 13.5
“The Lure 10 and 11.5 were an instant hit but some anglers demanded even more and Feelfree has delivered” according to Jim Hager, Feelfree US, “We knew we had to do it, it was just a matter of time. The original Lures were designed to accommodate a growing market of kayak anglers seeking more comfort, more stability and multiple seating positions and we did just that. Now we fill the gap to satisfy the rest of them – the ones that want it all.” Summed up the Lure 13.5 is a kayak that offers everything a kayaker would need- good looks, impressive features, and a solid brand backing it.
Read more about the Lure 13.5 here and here. All about the 13.5? Pre-order it here.
Hobie Pro Angler 17T
The new Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 17T is a fishing machine with comfort, stability and room for everything you need, including another person. Plus, it’s powered by the patented Hobie MirageDrive pedal system. Hobie took the qualities that made the original Pro Angler a fan favorite and expanded with Vantage XT seating, a drop-skeg, and a built in transducer mount to name a few. If comfort, size, and quality are what you are looking for the 17T is the tandem kayak for you!
Read more about the 17T here and here. Already in love? Pre-order your 17T here.
Not only will this years demo day host new boats, but it will also feature clinics by industry pro’s and other outdoor gear for you to try out! Get more details and information at austinkayak.com/demo. We hope to see you there!
*Wilderness Thresher 140 available for demo exclusively at the Austin Demo Days.
The ACK merchandising team spent last week at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City to check out the latest and greatest products as well as revisit others that remained tried and true. On day one of the show the team was invited to the Wilderness Systems booth to go over new products, review changes to current products, and best of all get a sneak peek of something very special, The Wilderness Systems Advanced Tactical Angler Kayak. aka A.T.A.K.
The ATAK is a new breed of boat for Wilderness Systems. Wildy used pro-staff feedback as well as customer input via social media to find out exactly what their end user would like in a boat. All this research was done before the team at Wildy even drafted their first sketch. Based on the collected feedback, customers were looking for a boat that had both features that appeal to the new kayak angler, but needed to be a customizable dream platform for the serious tournament fisherman, all while utilizing an open concept floor plan. One of the most appealing parts to the ATAK is that it can be adapted to many environments including tournaments, inland lakes, marsh flats, near-shore, off-shore, fly and sight fishing as well as trolling.
But here comes the banger: The designers over at Wildy have created a new console called the FlexPod OS. The FlexPod is, well, flexible. It rides forward of the paddler and can be used to house a fishfinder (similar to the pod in the Ride 115x), it can be used for gear stowage, or it can be replaced with a version that holds 2 batteries; one for your electronics and the other for the ATAK’s forward/reverse motor! This self-contained unit doesn’t require any complicated wiring and is both lightweight and exceptionally durable. Based on battery selection and speed the A.T.A.K. has a window of two-and-a-half to four hours of run time. Batteries can also be doubled for a longer run time.
Our friends over at Wildy were kind enough to show us a short clip of the A.T.A.K. prototype, outfitted with the motor, in action. Watching it cruise around the lake gave us all visions of the possibilities of this boat. Accompanied with Wildy’s October release of the its new lean bar will make this a sight or fly fisherman’s dream rig. It’s no wonder after seeing its smooth and quiet operation that Wilderness System’s dubbed their new boat the ATAK .
Estimated ship date is spring 2015 for the ATAK and late summer 2015 for the Flex Pod Motor Drive.
**Since originally published, Feelfree has reduced the retail price of the Lure 13.5 by $100 and no longer include the Uni-Bar system and Uni-Track accessory mount. Those two options are now exclusively sold separately.
Feelfree US, LLC (Feelfree US), is pleased to announce the expansion of the popular Lure series with a longer, faster, extremely stable and capable of bigger water version — the Lure 13.5.
The Lure 10 and 11.5 were an instant hit but some anglers demanded even more and Feelfree has delivered according to Jim Hager, Feelfree US, “We knew we had to do it, it was just a matter of time. The original Lures were designed to accommodate a growing market of kayak anglers seeking more comfort, more stability and multiple seating positions and we did just that. Now we fill the gap to satisfy the rest of them – the ones that want it all.”
New to the Lure 13.5 is the front multi-use console, which sits directly behind the bow hatch. The console lid features an inlaid cutting board, handy for prepping bait or cleaning fish. The lid is also insulated and together with the console cooler insert makes it an ideal container to keep your drinks, bait and even fish cold. The console can also be used as a child’s seat.
Other key features unique to the Lure 13.5 are the integrated transducer recess and port for easy installation of a fish finder and a flat wide open deck area. This larger deck area was designed without any obstructions for ease of movement when standing, casting or even stepping forward to access the hatch or console. There is so much space that Feelfree’s design team will be offering an optional stand assist bar unique to the Lure for those who wish to stand with added support.
At 13.5’ long and 36” wide, the Lure is no small kayak. It offers a whopping capacity of 500lbs capable of carrying all the gear you need for a long day of fishing. The added length makes this kayak ideal for paddling longer distances on larger bodies of water.
“We recognize this kayak is not for everyone,” said Hager, “fact is, the Lure 13.5 is designed for the serious kayak angler, the one who’s ready to take on even the most extreme fishing adventures. Adventures where paddling longer distances on bigger waters combined with stability, comfort, capacity and the ability to stand is important.”
Kayak anglers will be pleased to know that the Lure 13.5 will come complete with Feelfree’s Uni-Bar system along with a Uni-Track accessory mount.
All Lure models come standard with a variety of unique features including Feelfree’s Uni-Track system, which allows for quick and easy mounting and adjustments of kayak fishing and other accessories, Wheel in the Keel for easy transport to and from the water and most notably, the Gravity Seat. Just like the Lure 10 and 11.5, the 13.5 features the patent pending Gravity Seat offering 5”-10” in seat heights for a better viewing perspective and a natural more comfortable sitting position. What really sets the Gravity Seat apart is the ability to sit flush on the deck of the kayak for additional stability and a more efficient paddling position for longer distances.
The Lure 13.5 will retail for $1,599 and is available with additional upgrades including a rudder option and a stand up assist bar. An external Feelfree cooler, which will double as a seat turning the Lure into the perfect standing platform, will also be available. The Feelfree Lure 13.5 will be available in fall of 2014 through the United States and Canada at authorized dealers. For more information, visit www.feelfreeus.com. To stay up to date on the latest, visit the Feelfree US Facebook page at www.facebook.com/feelfreeus or the Fishing Team’s page at www.facebook.com/feelfreefishing.
About Feelfree US, LLC
Feelfree US distributes kayaks and accessories designed for recreational and fishing use, which have redefined the paddling industry with unique and innovative features and designs. Feelfree US is based out of Swannanoa, North Carolina and is part of a worldwide team manufacturing and distributing Feelfree kayaks to over 40 countries around the globe. Feelfree US distributes to dealers all over United States and Canada.
Lure 13.5 Specific FeaturesGravity Seat with pockets
Front oval hinge hatch
Front insulated console / cooler with integrated cutting board
Large standing platform
Uni-Bar with 1 Uni-Track accessory mount
Front Uni-Track rails
Rear Uni-Track rails with tie down system
Molded-in crate recess with attachment points
2 Fishing rod holders with rod leashes
Stand up assist leash
Adjustable foot rests
Transducer recess and port
Feelfree Standard FeaturesWheel in the Keel
Molded in handles
Molded in paddle parks (both sides)
Stand up assist bar
Kayak SpecificationsLENGTH: 13.5′
WEIGHT: 95 lbs
CAPACITY: 500 lbs Retail Pricing
Lure 13.5 – $1599
You can also pre-order the Feelfree Lure 13.5 through ACK here.
Not since ICAST 2009 has a kayak won ‘Best New Boat’ AND ‘Best in Show’. Old Town came into ICAST 2014 with their guns blazin’ as they showed off their tricked out Predator XL Kayak. This boat has plenty to show off and definitely deserves to be at the top of the kayak fishing food chain.
The Old Town Predator XL Kayak might be a game changer for the sport of kayak fishing. Having the ability to use a trolling motor on your kayak is nothing new, but the way Old Town incorporated the motor into the boat design is revolutionary. I know its in the back of every kayak tournament anglers mind…can I use this kayak in a tournament? Will they be allowed? Will there be separate tournaments for motorized kayaks? The fact that these questions are coming up and the fact that we are now considering the possibilities of advanced motorized kayaks is a clear sign that the sport of kayak fishing is continuing to evolve. Somewhere between a bass boat and a kayak is the perfect bass boat/kayak hybrid, the question is, who will get there first? The Predator XL is definitely one step closer. Check out more details and the specs for the Old Town Predator XL here.
ACK would like to send a BIG congratulation to the Old Town team! You have definitely evolved the sport of kayak fishing.
Check out the pic below of the Old Town team showing off their awards for Best in Show at ICAST 2104.
Save the date- The ACK Fall 2014 Demo Days are only two months out! As always this FREE event will feature a gigantic selection of paddlecraft for you to check out as well as paddling & outdoor clinics from our vendors and other experts. Not to mention, we will continue to offer you some killer deals at the event!
Locations and Dates
Austin: September 13th & 14th
North Houston (Spring): September 13th & 14th
Houston: September 20th & 21st
San Marcos & San Antonio: September 20th & 21st
We will be posting more details on locations, available models, clinic schedules & more on our ACK Demo Days webpage as the event gets closer.
What To Expect at the ACK Demo Days
So now that you know about the massive selection of kayaks, canoes & paddleboards available to demo and the free paddling and outdoor clinics provided by our vendor representatives and local experts you may be wondering exactly what the ACK Demo Days looks like. Well, luckily for you we made a video of our Spring 2014 Austin Demo Days so you can check it out before September! Enjoy and be sure to check back for updates up until the event.
We’ve been anxiously awaiting some new kayak colors from Diablo Paddlesports for the Amigo Recreational Kayak. The Amigo’s featuring the new colors of orange and dark olive finally arrived at the ACK warehouse today. We couldn’t wait to get a closer look and show off these great new colors! Check out the Diablo Amigo Kayak on our website here .
The 2014 ICAST Trade Show showcased a plethora of brand new kayaks that are a true advancement in the industry. Between Hobie’s Pro Angler 17T, Old Town’s Predator XL and Wilderness System’s Thresher 140, the innovation at this years ICAST was at an all time high. For your convenience we have broken down the soon-to-be newest additions to our kayak lineup and provided links to reviews as well as added the ability to pre-order.
Hobie Pro Angler 17 Tandem Kayak
Hobie introduced their brand new, ever-so-stylish, fully equipped, beast of a tandem kayak today at the ICAST. The PA 17T is set to be one of the hottest tandem kayaks on the market with some exciting new features that makes it stand far out and above the crowd.
Fully Rigged Weight: 230lbs
Available: Late September- Early October 2014
The Pro Angler 17 T, although large in size, can be paddled tandem or solo and incorporates three steering controls allowing for the ultimate control you want in a kayak of this size. A drop-skeg has been added to improve tracking and steering. Another highlight of this model is the new Vantage XT Seating that is 5 inches taller than the previous Vantage seating. The Vantage XT can face forward or flip around so that paddlers are seated face-to-face while still being able to use the Mirage Drive. To create the ultimate kayak fishing experience, Hobie added their new H-Rail accessory attachment system. The 12-sided rail runs along both sides of the kayak, clamp accessories on the side, and can slide the length of the rail while being able to adjust at 30 degrees per pivot. Another fishing feature includes a built-in transducer mount making it Lowrance Ready and ample vertical and horizontal rod storage space. This all adds up to space for up to 12 fishing rods and the capability to install an anchor trolley, anchor, drift chute, or stake out pole.
Want more information or to pre-order the Hobie Pro Angler 14T? Click here.
Old Town Predator XL
Old Town rolled out their latest and greatest Predator, the Predator XL- a true upgrade to the rest of the family. It incorporates all the innovative Predator features while adding an industry changing Modular Console System designed for electronics, storage and power customization.
Weight (Without Consoles): 92 lbs
Capacity: 600 lbs
Available: Late October 2014
The Preadtor XL with Modular Console System is the latest adaptation of the Predator and has morphed into a fully evolved hybrid. The performance crafted tri-hull delivers incredible durability and strength while the hull itself is designed to offer superior stability and tracking. The Minn-Kota Console offers complete hands-free navigation and trolling with 45 lbs of variable thrust making it easy to coast across any kind of water mother nature throws at you. The slip resistant exo-ridge deck ensures that you and your gear will stay dry and secure during your entire ride- no matter the weather. The storage on the Predator XL is also first in its class. The large bow hatch with click seal cover and side-mount paddle storage provide enough room for everything you’d need to create the ultimate kayaking experience. For the fishermen out there, it also comes equipped with six removable high-strength mounting plates making it easy for you to customize to your hearts content with fish finders, slide tracks, GPS, or rod holders. The rod tip holders, rod retainer bungees, dual tackle holders, and molded paddle rest also make for an ideal camp for your fishing gear. To top it off, the Predator XL comes equipped with eight scupper holes to drain away any water that may get into your kayak and a stand up assist strap for added leverage when standing.
Want more information or to pre-order a Predator XL? Click here.
Wilderness Systems Thresher 140
The Thresher 140 is Wildy’s first off-shore kayak with an all-new bow to stern look while vastly improving its removable sonar pod
and announcing its biggest secret yet- the innovative Flex Pod OS.
Length: 14′ 3″
Weight: 75 lbs
Capacity: 400 lbs
The Wilderness Systems Thresher 140 and 155 both come equipped with a vast amount of features that separate this model from the pack. The Flex Pod OS, a larger version of the drop-in self-contained sonar console that debuted with the Ride 115x, is the biggest upgrade to the kayak and is sure to impress as a single master unit holding a battery, transducer, and sonar display. It plugs in directly and securely to the hull to prevent noise- “a silent menace”. With its increased size, offshore fishermen will enjoy the strength and comfort this kayak provides and its ability to carry heavy gear and fish load while still providing incredible stability. Another new feature to the Thresher is the large rectangular console hatches hinged at the front for a better seal. A seal so strong in fact, that when put through a submerged leak test for 15 hours it didn’t let a single drop inside. Perfect for storing your important items while on extended paddling tours or kayak fishing treks. Not to be missed, the Thresher also features Wildy standards such as SlideTrax accessory rails around the cockpit and stern tankwell gunwales, accessory storage bins and rod stages for the center hatch, and a paddle park. Ultimately, the Wilderness Systems Thresher is an upgraded Wildy classic with all the features and specs a paddler could need.
Want more information or to pre-order a Thresh 140? Click here.
Have more questions or feel like we are missing something? Feel free to comment below!