Feelfree Lure Lands at ACK!

The Feelfree Lure is here!

The Feelfree Lure is here!
The Feelfree Lure is here!

Our first shipment of the new Feelfree Lure has landed at ACK! I grabbed one quick as I could and got it unwrapped to take an up close look. Our Houston store team had a chance to play with one during the Boat Shows, but this was the first time they had made it to the ACK Warehouse.

The Feelfree Lure is clearly made for fishing – especially if you like standing and casting. Like many fishing kayaks, it’s got a adjustable elevated seating system, called the Gravity Seat, with a padded standing platform in front of it (along with a standing assist strap). The hull uses Feelfree’s tri-hull design, which they also utilize in their Moken series. Also, like the Moken series, the Lure’s have flush mounted rod holders with rod leashes and plenty of dry storage space. One nice addition they’ve made is a ridged rod keeper area near the bow to make it easy to lay down your rods while you paddle. See it below in the pictures.

At 11.5 feet, I see this ‘yak being a great fit for anglers who use the fly as well anyone use likes to kayak fish on rivers, lakes or even saltwater bays. Give the Feelfree Lure a look, and remember these are now in stock and ready to ship!

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.

Robert Leon Reels in Lake Conroe

Conroe Sunrise

Re-posted from FishKATS.com

Robert Leon reeled them in on Saturday catching the days’ only limit totaling 85.25 inches and securing first place for over $500 and a custom engraved Yak Attack Blackpak! Sam Gutierrez, a rising star within the KATS crowd took second with 47.75 inches. He is currently also in the lead for Kayak Angler of the Year. In third, Ryan Herzog scored 42.5 inches and a winning big bass of 22.25 inches. Robert Leon holds the current lead for King of the Fish with 130 total inches over the first two events of the season.

Robert Leon wins 1st Place!
Robert Leon wins 1st Place!

In the Social division, Dawson Merrill (13 years old) is keeping his winning streak  with a first place finish for an 18.75 inch bass. Larry Fisseler who took first at Decker placed second on Saturdays tourney. In third was a newcomer to the series, Kirk Beverung. See the full results for Lake Conroe here.

The totally free raffle prizes were amazing thanks to our generous sponsors, and most folks went home with new addition to their kayak gear shop! Dan Arnold, a young participant of KATS took home the charity raffle Xsporter 500 Pro, compliments of Platinum sponsor Thule. As always, a special thanks to our 2014 Patron sponsors, Bending BranchesMalone Auto Racks, and Ocean Kayak for their continued support!

Our next event will be in the Austin area covering two lakes, Lake Austin and Ladybird Lake(Town Lake). We are the biggest freshwater tournament in Texas and would love for you to join us. No membership fees, tons of fun, and great fishing! Learn how-to fish a KATS event!

To stay informed on upcoming events and the 2014 KATS series, please visit www.fishkats.com and subscribe to our email list. You can also find us on Facebook!

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.


ACK.com Website Updates for 2013

From the desk of self proclaimed Benevolent Web Dictator Jeremy Arntz. 

Since launching the redesigned ACK.com in November of 2012 we’ve been busy making improvements to the site. Some of the changes are visible, but many are behind the scenes. The web development team at ACK is not only tasked with improving and maintaining ACK.com, but we also build many of the internal tools that our coworkers use to ensure our customers receive the best service.

As hard as we try we aren’t perfect and unfortunately in early 2013 we realized that the design of our shopping cart code was not flexible enough for our future plans so we spent some time rewriting so it would be much easier to modify and maintain. From a customer’s perspective there wasn’t much of a difference except it was no longer necessary to save your shopping cart. If you’re logged in your shopping cart is automatically saved.

Product filtering in the new version of the site was very basic with few options. So we went to work expanding our filters to include the major product attributes for each category. We took our time to design and build the new filtering system which resulted in smoothest feature launch in ACK history. We are very pleased with the results of our hard work. 

Along the way we were able to create a set of tools for our warehouse team that converted the majority of our paper-based processes like picking and sorting to paperless systems using tablets. The new tablet based system has improved efficiency, provided enhanced metrics to help improve our accuracy, and drastically reduced the amount of paper we use.

Let’s be blunt our product search was not good. So we decided to make it better and now our search is good, but we know our customers expect more from us so we are working on making our search great.

If there’s one truth in web development it’s change. In the past it was common to have a  desktop version of your website and a separate mobile optimized version which made sense when there wasn’t much variation in mobile device screen sizes. Which is how the mobile version of ACK.com was designed. The flaw in this was that every change we made on the desktop site we also had to make on the mobile site which lead to more work for us and most importantly a degraded experience for customers.

In recent years the consensus on how to address mobile web browsing has switched from having a dedicated mobile site to using responsive web design to modify the layout of “desktop” version of the site to be optimized for mobile. We kept the design of the site exactly the same, but at the code level we started over from scratch and the majority of the site is now fully responsive. We are very proud of how the site functions on phones, tablets, and of course the desktop.

Stay tuned for more updates throughout the year, 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


Garcia Wins Big at Decker – KATS 2014 Update

Re-posted from FishKATS.com

Holstine with a nice bass. Photo Credit: Shoot to Capture by Autumn Villanueva
Holstine with a nice bass. Photo Credit: Shoot to Capture by Autumn Villanueva

The KATS 2014 season kicked off on Saturday with the largest field of competitors in the series to date. There were 83 registered anglers that competed for a large prize pot, big bass payout, and a custom engraved YakAttack BlackPak. Windy conditions followed a beautiful morning at launch and made for tougher fishing for most of the tournament.

Steve Garcia, 2012 Kayak Angler of the Year and King of the Fish, took first place in the Pro Division with an even 100 inches. In addition his big bass of 23.25 inches secured the $550 big bass pot and custom engraved BlackPak. Garcia was awarded with $1251.25 and trophy for his excellent performance!

In a very close second place, Marcus Villanueva took home $682.50 with 99.25 inches. In third place, Clinton Holstine, a newcomer to the series, secured $341.25 with 93.75 inches. Both also took home a KATS Decker lake trophy! Robert Dockery has returned to the kayak fishing scene placing 4th place with 92 inches and winning a $100 Malone certificate. And with 91 inches, Robert Supak took fifth and $50 Scotty certificate.

Front Row (left to right): Kristian Kolflat, Dawson Merrel, Robert Dockery, Steve Garcia, Clinton Holstine. Back Row: Nick Fisseler, Larry Fisseler, Robert Supak & Marcus Villanueva.
Front Row (left to right): Kristian Kolflat, Dawson Merrel, Robert Dockery, Steve Garcia, Clinton Holstine. Back Row: Nick Fisseler, Larry Fisseler, Robert Supak & Marcus Villanueva.

In the Social Division, Larry Fisseler won a $297 ACK gift card with 65.5 inches, with his nephew Nick Fisseler taking second with $162 ACK gift certificate with 33.5 inches. One of our youngest competitors, Dawson Merrill (13) took third and an $81 gift card with a big 21.25 inch bass! A big congratulations to all who placed and huge thank you to everyone for joining us on Saturday! See the full results here!

The next KATS event is coming up fast, the Lake Conroe tournament is scheduled for January 25th! Please show your support to the sponsors who make this series possible! We thank you for being a part of KATS and hope to see you at the next one! To stay informed on upcoming events and the KATS 2014 series, please visit www.fishkats.com and subscribe to our email list. You can also find us on Facebook!

Big thank you to Autumn Villanueva of Shoot to Capture for taking photos at the event.

ACK Now on Instagram

Check Out ACK on Instagram!

ACK is starting off the new year with a newly minted Instagram account! With all of our fun kayaking events, plus our entertaining behind-the-scenes shenanigans, we needed a good way to show off our photos. Give us a follow, @Austin_Kayak.


Tag your paddling/fishing/outdoors related photos with #ACK, or #austinkayak and we will show off some of your best shots on our feed! Also, keep an eye out for some photo contests in the coming months — we’ve got lots of cool gear to give away!


FeelFree Lure Comes to ACK in Jan. 2014!

The Lure at the Houston Boat Show
The Lure 11.5 at the Houston Boat Show

We got our first look at the new Feelfree Lure last weekend when it arrived at our booth for the Houston Boat Show and we can’t be more excited to finally get these in stock! We expect to have them later this month.

For those that haven’t heard, the new Lure is Feelfree’s latest kayak fishing creation. It follows a common trend in kayak fishing by adding a raised seat with four levels of adjust-ability. What I think is particularly cool is that the seat can be removed from the kayak and used as a camp chair or for a lunch break on the shore.

The Lure includes all of Feelfree’s latest technology including their uni-track system, wheel in the keel, molded in handles and rudder capability. It will be offered in an 11.5′ version, available later this month and 10′ version, available in either February or March.

Here are some important specs for the 11.5:

Length: 11’6”
Width: 36”
Weight: 69 lbs
Capacity: 375 Lbs

Keep checking in for more updates regarding the availability of this new ‘yak! Texas paddlers interested in the Lure should come stop by any of our three Winter Boat Shows to place a pre-order and score a good deal. In the mean time, here are some pictures to check out from Feelfree’s warehouse: