Buffalo Bayou Regatta

Written By ACK Houston Store Manager, Aaron Lowe

This past Saturday was the 43rd Annual Buffalo Bayou Regatta. It was a beautiful, cool, and cloudy day in Houston on the Buffalo Bayou at the San Felipe Launch. There were over 700 participants in 500+ boats paddling the 15 mile race route. The race consist of 3 heats that started between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m and were divided by several classes to include all types of paddling styles.

The finish line at Sesquicentennial Park in downtown Houston featured live music from a local zydecoo band and had food catered in from Chipolte and St. Arnolds Brewery. The event also featured several family friendly activities including bean bag toss and Frisbee sponsored by Gilman Subaru. Continue reading Buffalo Bayou Regatta

2015 Spring Demo Days: What’s New?!

This year is our 10th annual Spring Demo Days and at this rate, it’s panning out to be our best yet! This year, we are honored to be able to represent and carry some of the leading kayak brands the industry offers including: Feel Free, Old Town, Viking, Wilderness Systems and of course Hobie. Revolutionary moves are being implemented in the business including the release of Old Town’s Predator XL Minn Kota and Hobie’s Revolution 16. Here are just a few of the new Kayaks that we plan on showing off. 


Wilderness Systems ATAK

Wilderness Systems ATAK

The Wilderness Systems ATAK – Advanced Tactical Angling Kayak has a design that can be customized to meet the needs of any angler. The wide deck is ideal for walking, standing, and scoping the waters for nearby fish.  The boat features Wilderness Systems new AirPro MAX seat which allows you to move about the entire length of the deck. This is a boat that can adjust to just about any environment and any target species. They are currently available for pre-order (said to ship around the end of April 2015) and are going fast! Continue reading 2015 Spring Demo Days: What’s New?!

Houston Fishing Show

unnamed (2)2015 marked the 40th anniversary of the annual Houston Fishing Show and this year I was lucky enough to get an insiders glimpse at the larger than life event. Every year, the emphasis is on tackle fishing, with all facets of the world of fishing fully explored through ongoing clinics, displays, movies, and, in efforts to encourage an early start to outdoor appreciation, there were plenty of different activities for interested children.  All of the seminars were on relevant industry topics including, “Pre-Spawn Bass” and “Fly Fishing on the Texas Coast” all led by experts in the field. All of the newest and most popular fishing equipment from all around the world is on display so that you can try out the tools you are most interested in but haven’t yet gotten a chance to get your hands on. All of the exhibits had knowledgeable informational resources so that you could fully understand the products before purchasing or adding to your wish-list.

unnamed (3)Along with experts and outdoor industry retailers, plenty of partners from local Recreational State Parks joined us for the event to keep hikers and boaters informed and up to date on events and happenings within the fisherman’s natural setting. For example: the ACK booth was set up right across the way from the kind folks at Lake Sommerville State Park and Trailway.

Continue reading Houston Fishing Show

2014 Fall Demo Days: What’s New

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 Old Town Predator XLintroduces 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*

15450Built 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 15454delivered” 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. 

Best in Show – Old Town Predator XL Kayak!

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.

Old Town Predator XL


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.

Predator XL Best in Show
Predator XL Best in Show





Texas Fly Fishing Competitors Converge for Texas Double Haul

Texas River Bum Staffer Anthony Perez Recaps the Texas Double Haul Fly Fishing Tournament

Texas River Bum Greyson  at the Texas Double Haul
Mike Schlimgen, 2012 champion and 2013 3rd place finisher.

It took me several seconds to stop laughing.  It was cold.  It was real cold- but the chill of the South Llano River only lasted for a few seconds as I slowly chuckled my way in.  The area I was putting in the river is where the Master’s Tournament contestants for the Texas Double Haul had put in the day before. The difference is however I was throwing in day and a half later with the sun full up.  When the tourney competitors put in before sunrise on the previous day it was in the low 40’s.  As I stood there it was 54° with little promise of getting much higher.

As far as we know, the Texas Double Haul is the only multi-species fly fishing tournament in Texas. The first “haul” of the tournament began on August 30th with participants fishing the entire month of September.  Throughout the month participants entered their fly fishing submissions online thru the tournament website.  In the end, the top six competitors received invitations to attend the second “haul”, a Masters Tournament at the Oktoberfisch Fly Fishing Festival.

The night before the competition most of the anglers met at Lum’s Barbecue for an optional pre-brief and to discuss on request strategy for the day ahead.  Additionally, all angers received a TRB Hill Country Sampler of flies and a copy of Texas River Bum’s latest guidebook, the South Llano River Pocket Guide.  Some of the talk might have been a little dry but the barbecue certainly wasn’t.  When you’re in the area it’s worth the stop before or after the river.

Plenty of Diablo Kayaks were on site!
Plenty of Diablo Kayaks were on site!

Reportedly, nearly no one slept later that night.  Nor did we allow anyone to sleep that morning either with a 6am check-in time for the competitors.  While we did our best to remain quiet in the Shady Morgan Campgrounds, the site and venue for Oktoberfisch, we may or may not have awaken the Living Waters Fly Fish (tournament sponsors) staff.  Actually, the staff was probably sound asleep snoring away, but we may have kept a spouse or two of said staff from some shut eye.  Sorry!

With all anglers officially briefed in the brisk October morning, they set out on their way in hopes of big fish and tight lines.  Assisting in their pursuit was none other than two time sponsor Diablo Paddlesports.  During last year’s tourney, Diablo provided the lead angler and overall tourney winner a Diablo Chupacabra kayak to take home and call their own.  This year Diablo stepped up with a fleet of decked out Amigo and Adios kayaks for our competitors to use.

Winners and Prizes of the Texas Double Haul

In a quick down and dirty run down here is how the final sorting shook out. Here’s who won and what they took home with them:

  • 4th-6th place: Derik Donald, Trey McNeil, Grayson Jones received swag shirts, hats, and gear provided by Howler Brothers, Diablo Paddlesports, Austin Canoe & Kayak and Texas River Bum.
  • 3rd place: Mike Schlimgen received a Fish Pond boat bag from Gruene Outfitters, with assorted swag from sponsors.
  • 2nd place: Chris Kowaleski went home with a GoPro3 Black series camera from their latest-greatest new product line up, ACK yak accessories, and sponsor swag.
  • 1st place: Pat Vanek received from the Texas Double Haul main tournament sponsor Echo, manufacturer of Fly Rods, Lines, and Reels the main prize package of a 6wt Echo fly rod, fly line, and an Ion reel.  Wait, there’s a lot more.  Additionally he received a Howler Brothers Pescador long sleeve shirt and Howler Electric trucker hat, a Nanuk dry box and $25 gift certificate from ACK, and an assortment of custom tied flies from the fine folks at Living Waters Fly Fishing.
Lots of good fishing and good fun!
Lots of good fishing and good fun!

In total over $1,500.00 in prizes were handed out and a good time had by all.  We would like to thank all our sponsors, Oktoberfisch coordinator head-man Gene Smith, and the folks at Shady Morgan Park for making this event happen.  Most importantly we want to thank the anglers who participated in both the qualifying and master’s portion of the Texas Double Haul.  Thank you for your participation and love of the fly fishing sport to put time in on Texas waters.  Please play again next year as we are growing, looking for more sponsors, and seek to lead the way in online fly fishing tournaments!

Overall our Texas River Bum objective is simple- to inspire people to care, love, and protect our beloved Texas Rivers.  We believe events such as this are a start.  With a passion for activities on the water we hope that patrons will make a stand to be good stewards of such a precious gift we call our Texas Rivers.

Thank you and hope to see you on a Texas river soon.  If not, be sure to swing by the TRB booth next year and say hi.

ACK to Host Recruiting Event in San Antonio

ACK is hiring for San Antonio Store Grand Opening

San Antonio, Texas (October 8th, 2013) – ACK, a division of MSP Holdings, LLC,  is hosting a recruiting event in San Antonio! ACK is hiring store managers, assistant store managers, and part-time & full-time sales associates to staff the NEW San Antonio store opening November 2013.

“We are anxious to meet with candidates interested in employment with an award winning outdoor retailer.  It’s a great opportunity to be part of fun work environment where kayaking, camping, and fishing are part of your job. If you enjoy the great outdoors and have a passion for retail then we want to meet you. ” said Chris Hackerd, VP Store Operations.

Interested candidates should stop by the store between 9am and 7pm on October 17th, 2013 at 12758 Cimmaron Path, Suite 126, San Antonio, TX 78249. All candidates must bring a resume, fill out a job application, and be able to conduct a 10-15 minute interview. To pre-register please email jobs@ack.com with a resume and 3 time periods that you would be available to interview.

For more information on the positions available please check the listings on ACK.com: http://www.austinkayak.com/p/employment

If you have any questions regarding this recruiting event or other employment opportunities with ACK please contact, Chris Hackerd at jobs@ack.com.

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.

Company President Steve Messana Talks ACK on Kayak Fishing Radio

Last night company president and co-owner Steve Messana joined Kayak Fishing Radio host Chip Gibson on his weekly show to talk ACK. The two talked about how the company got it’s start and what’s allowed us to grow. They also touched on the Kayak Fishing Boondoggle and then Chip finished things up with a reminder about the Kayak Angler Choice Awards.

Miss the Discussion? Tune into the Recording!

Even if you missed the broadcast last night, you can easily tune-in to the recording of Chip and Steve using the link below. Encourage you to give it a listen and check out more of their shows when you have some time.

Wait, what’s Kayak Fishing Radio?

For those not familiar with Kayak Fishing Radio, it’s a weekly internet podcast that broadcasts from their website. We caught on to them about three years back when our friends at YakAngler shared an interview with founder Chip Gibson. Chip shared that the show was meant to augment the growing forum networks with a voice and what started as just one weekly show quickly turned into four. Today, he believes the show has something that appeals to every region and associated regional techniques so that theres something for every angler.


Seals Wins Sea Kayaker Magazine’s 2013 Readers’ Choice Award

Seals product manager Christina Laird and company president Joe Galea receive Sea Kayaker Magazine’s 2013 Readers Choice Award in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Congrats to Our Friends at Seals!

Sea Kayaker Magazine asked readers to vote for their favorite paddlesports gear and accessories this year and our friends at Seals won “Best Spraydeck” for the Extreme Tour Sprayskirt! The award was presented to Seals at this year’s Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, Utah. While we are very happy for the crew over at Seals, we are not the least bit surprised. Our customers, as well as our employees, have been singing the praises of Seals skirts for a long time now. Not one of their skirts has less than a four out of five-star rating from customers on our website.

Here’s what one of our customers had to say about his Seals Extreme Tour Sprayskirt:

Well, if you like a product that will last for years, this is it. If you like a product that is made with the best care possible, this is it. If you like to roll your yak a lot, and want to stay dry… you guessed it! This is it! If you would like a skirt that was easy to put on, this is it. If you would like a piece of Chinese junk, this is certainly not it. P.S. 1.7 fits my Necky Manitou 14 perfectly!!! So be sure to buy which ever size Seals tells you to buy, and not some self proclaimed professional on a review page like this one. God bless and keep ‘yakin’!!!  – Cody F.

Keep up the great work Seals!


-Trent @ ACK

ACK & Native Watercraft on The Price is Right

At the beginning of the April, ACK was on TV. No, it wasn’t our first television ad or a breaking news story – it was during an episode of The Price is Right! We’re still waiting for the full episode to be released but for those of you who didn’t catch the clip on our social pages, please enjoy our nine seconds of on-air fame featuring Native Watercraft’s Mariner Propel 12.5 kayak.