Kayak Fishing Tournament Gear Guide

Ryan Herzog is a competitive kayak angler who’s participated in a number of Kayak Fishing Tournaments including several consecutive seasons of Texas’ Kayak Angler Tournament Series (KATS). See what he recommends bringing out on the water for your next kayak fishing tournament.

Kayak Fishing TournamentKayak tournaments are sweeping the nation.  With their growing in popularity, many folks find themselves competing in their very first event.  With that, comes a degree of uncertainty of what as is needed to get out and compete. The following is a list of items that you may find handy when considering on competing in a kayak fishing tournament.

Kayak

While this may sound like a given, there are several aspects that you need to consider when selecting the right kayak for you to fish in a tournament.  Will you be fishing a lake, river or bay?  What will the weather be like?  Do I want to stand or sit?  Which is the best all around kayak for me?  These are just a few of the questions that you may find yourself asking. Visiting an event like an Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK) demo day, where you can literally try out numerous different kayaks all at once can really help answer these questions. Also be sure to check out their lineup of fishing kayaks online.

Paddle

Like kayaks, paddles come in different lengths and weights.  There are variations for virtually all body types.  Selecting the right paddle can be the difference maker when it comes to a full day on the water.

PFD

Personal Flotation Device (PFD/Life vest), not only is it a good idea, it is required that you wear one in most tournaments.  There are various types of PFDs, from the low profile, auto inflate to more fishing oriented life vests with various pockets and compartments for putting pliers, terminal tackle and other kayak fishing related items at east access.

Camera

Since most kayak tournaments are CPR (catch, photo, release), a good camera is required.  Some good features to look for would be:  Waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, flash and ability to accept SD media cards.

Hawg Trough

Using the Hawg Trough to measure a HAWG!
Using the Hawg Trough to measure a HAWG!

The “Hawg Trough” is a measuring board that has pretty much become the standard for measuring fish in kayak fishing tournaments.  In addition to bringing your Hawg Trough with you to a tournament, it is advisable to do a couple of things to it.  First, would be to darken the measurement increments with a sharpie.  It makes it much easier on the judges.  Secondly, make sure you have a way to secure it or to make it float because it will sink.

Stake Out Stick/Anchor

Being able to hold a spot in a tournament can be essential to your success.  A stake out stick, which come in various lengths, usually anywhere from 5-8 ft, can help hold you in place.  It’s pretty much what the name says it is, a stake that is shoved into the mud and used as an anchor point.  In places deeper than the stake out stick will allow or on rocky bottoms when the stake out stick will not penetrate, an anchor may be the best course of action to hold in place.  Both can be used in correlation with an anchor trolley system.

Anchor Trolley

An anchor trolley system is comprised of a two pulley system, cord, bungee and nylon ring.  One pulley is secured to the bow of the boat and the other to the stern.  The cord loops around the pulley system and is connected to small section of bungee.  The bungee is then typically connected to the nylon ring.  The cord allows for the positioning of the nylon ring along the length of the boat thus creating endless anchor point scenarios.  The bungee provides shock absorption.  Used correctly it will take the hassle out of anchoring into the wind.

Electronics

This Pro Angler is rigged for tournament kayak fishing!
This Pro Angler is rigged for tournament kayak fishing!

Electronics like fish finders and/or GPS can be essential in providing water temperature and a layout of the surrounding underwater area.  Some are simple as they only provide the depth of water you are sitting in while some will provide exact GPS locations, down scan imaging, weather updates and various other bits of information.  Deciding what you would like to accomplish by using a fish finder, should help you decide which model is right for you.

Battery

With any electronics you add to your kayak, you will need to find a way to power them.  In most cases a simple 12v battery will power all electronics for the day.  Others may use a battery pack of AA batteries to make the 12v needed to power the unit.  Be sure to check the power draw of your electronics to ensure you choose the right solution for you.

Waterproof case

It is a good idea to always have some sort or waterproof case to protect your items that you do not want to get wet.  Whether it is a dry bag or hard case, this minimal investment can save you big from ruining your phone, key fobs or whatever else you want to keep dry.

Food/Hydration

Having the correct food and drinks can make for a great day out on the water.  While trying to pack a light as possible for a kayak tournament, the last thing that a lot of guys will think about is food and/or drinks.  Pack foods that will not spoil and are high in protein.  Keeping up your energy for the entire day can be difficult but can make the difference in a tournament.  Beef Jerky and granola bars seem to be favorites with the kayak fishing community.  Freezing your drinks the night before eliminates the need to bring a cooler.  The drink will melt over the course of the day providing something cool at almost any point during the tournament.

Sun protection

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not preparing for a full day in the sun with it reflecting off of the water directly at you.  Items like sunglasses, cap or hat, a buff, sun block and chap stick are essentials.  With today’s fishing clothing, you can even wear long pants and sleeves without burning up.

Tackle/Rods & Reels etc

There's really no limit to how many rods you can bring...
There’s really no limit to how many rods you can bring…

Always make sure you have the proper tackle for the task at hand.  Pre fishing during the allotted times can ensure that you are properly prepared with the tackle that you think you will need that day.  Making sure your reels are in good mechanical order and that your line is not old and damaged can help ensure a successful day as well.

Landing Net

good net is something that you may not use on a regular basis but can be the difference in between landing a key fish and securing a victory and finishing 20th.  A net can also determine on whether or not you will get a handful of hooks when you go to lip a fish or not.  In a tournament I always use a net on a keeper fish.  I just do not see the need to take the chance.

First Aid kit

You may never use it BUT first aid kits are one of those things that you will be glad you have when you do need them.  Most times you can stow these out of the way and access them only when you need to.

Extra Clothes

It is always a good idea to take a change of clothes with you, especially during the winter months.  You never know when you may need to get out of cold wet clothes.

Bug Repellant

A good bug repellant can make a HUGE difference in the comfort level of a tournament.  It is especially handy for the overnight tournaments,

Lights

Texas Parks and Wildlife requires that all kayaks have a 360 degree light to be displayed from sunset to sunrise when not at dock.  Most are LEDs that are pole mounted and battery operated.  Additional LED lights can be wired in for safety and visibility.

Sharpie

In most tournaments you will write a code on your hand as well as record your score on to a score card.  It is advisable; to use a black sharpie as it shows up very well.

So what do you bring when you fish a tournament? Let us know by commenting below!

Railblaza Mounting System – Easy and Versatile

About the author: Having learned freshwater kayak fishing from books, videos and a part time working relationship with the Yak Gear Paddlesport Company, Terry Sturtevant has moved past the shoreline and canoe fishing to a new obsession, kayak fishing. Terry states he has never fished the ocean from a kayak but he would like to someday. You can find Terry at @kayakfishingfvr on Twitter.

Here in Upstate New York, there are not many kayak stores selling big name kayaks and accessories. My first fishing kayak was purchased about 7 years ago. I bought some leashes and paddle holders for it from Yak Gear. Time past, so I checked their site again and BAM! I wanted The Railblaza System.

I did internet research and also spoke to Bill Bragman, owner of Yak Gear, on the phone. At that time, Yak Gear was the only US seller. If you don’t know, Railblaza is imported from New Zealand. With Yak Gear’s recommendations and the product’s install instructions included, I was setting up for kayak fishing versatility!

Let me show you the heart of this system:

The Railblaza Starport Mount.
The Railblaza StarPort Mount.

These are the regular base mounts, called StarPorts. Notice the multi-point star recess. The entire system is centered around the star shape in the port. This means every accessory that Railblaza sells will fit any of the ports. As an alternative to the basic Starport, there are also SidePorts and RailMount mounts. RailMounts fit kayaks with round side bar handles, like the Hobie Pro Angler has. They come in two different sizes: a 19 mm wide and 32 mm wide.

On my first kayak, I mounted one mount at the bow and another at the stern. At the stern I can insert the day time Safety Flag. I have never felt safer daytime fishing as I do now. High speed bass boats can see me long before they can get to me.

Hobie Pro Angler

This is a great shot: you have a stern mounted safety flag using a RailMount with additional RailMounts and basic StarPort Mounts along the sides of the kayak as well. But here is the interesting thing…that flag and the rod holder could swap positions. Okay, who in there right mind wants a rod holder at the stern? But two flags for safety on busy waters might not be a bad idea…

On the bow is a rounded base with a Adjustable Extender and a square Rotating Platform. Put a GoPro there. Actually, the camera can go anywhere because of the star mounts. ACK offers a variety of camera mounts and booms – put them anywhere you want for the angles you need.

On that same Rotating Platform, you could install your fish finder, GPS, or a forward mounted rod holder. I hope you’re getting the versatility thing here. I love this stuff. In the water, I can move my camera and rod from port to starboard – in about 30 seconds!

For night fishing I put the TelePole with a Navisafe 360 Degree Light where the safety flag was…

Navisafe LED Light Mounted on the TelePole.
Navisafe LED Light Mounted on the TelePole.

The Navisafe 360 Degree Light is LED and battery operated. It offers a few setting options. All LEDs on, flashing for emergency and more. And this thing floats!

Here are more pics and variety:

ProAnglerCameraBoom

Above is a Rod Holder II and can you see the long Camera Boom? A quick switch and the camera is now port side. Don’t forget, you can do this on the water.

That Rod Holder II is on a 5 Inch StarPort Extender to raise it up, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here is a good side note about the Railblaza Rod Holder II: they sell only one model because it’s the only model you’ll need. It accommodates fly rods, bait casters, spinning rods and surf casting rods with butt sizes up to 1.2.”

GHoldPushPole

Here my old kayak has two G-Holds in the base mounts. G-Holds can strap down your pole anchor (one of my favorites,) a spare paddle or push pole. Some duck hunters hold their shotguns in the G-Hold’s while paddling to their favorite spot.

I often place a flash light or battery operated red green navigation light on the forward G-hold for evening outings. Check your local regulations for paddle powered boat lighting requirements. 

GHoldFishingRod

How about rod for security when you smash through the breakers?

Railblaza has applications for canoes, SUP and inflatable Rib Boats! Yeah, even your ATV needs a safety flag.

I’m constantly thinking of new ways to move my accessories around the kayak. Like pointing the rod holder to the stern and slow trolling a Jitterbug near the shoreline. If you can’t tell yet, I love this system as much as I love fishing! The versatility, the quick changes, the one style rod holder, and relocating my GPS.

So check out all the possibilities with ACK’s lineup of Railblaza kayak fishing accessories. If you need something that is not on the site, ask and they can get it for you with a quick call to their customer service team.

Railblaza is GREAT stuff. For more clarity, you can give this ACK video a watch:

Railblaza. Easy install. Variety. Versatility.

CamelBak Paddle Collection Updated for 2014

Stay Hydrated on the Water with the CamelBak Paddle Collection

It’s important to bring water with you on any outdoor adventure and paddling is no exception. That’s why we were thrilled when the Camelbak Paddle Collection was released in 2013 with an assortment of hydration packs designed specifically for paddlers. After spending the year receiving feedback and making improvements, they’ve just released the updated Camelbak Paddle Collection for 2014, a total of three packs designed specifically for a paddler’s needs.

CamelBak Paddle Collection Lineup for 2014

Cortez Deck Mounted System.
Cortez Deck Mounted System.

1. Cortez Deck Mounted Hydration SystemCompletely new for 2014, the Cortez is an insulated hydration bladder that easily clips to the deck of your SUP or kayak using snap clips and a grip strip on the back that prevents sliding. For kayakers, this would fit great on the bow of your ‘yak!

2. Molokai Hydration BackpackThe Molokai is a backpack designed specifically for stand-up paddlers. It’s made from quick drying materials, offers hands free hydration and includes a 70 oz. reservoir so it’s great for long treks with your board. It’s also designed to carry waterproof electronics cases, sunscreen and snacks (not pictured) and is compatible with inflatable PFDs.

Tahoe LR Hydration Backpack
Tahoe LR Hydration Backpack

3. Tahoe LR Hydration BackpackFor stand-up paddlers hoping to avoid anything going over the shoulders and encumbering upper body movement, the Tahoe LR is for you! This waist-mounted paddle pack includes a 50 oz. reservoir and will hold gear ranging from an inflatable PFD, waterproof electronics case, sunscreen and snacks. Compared to the Molokai, the Tahoe is great for lighter SUP outings.

So how do you stay hydrated on the water? Let us know 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:

5 Tailgating Essentials

It's time to tailgate!
It’s time to tailgate!

No matter what team you root for, one thing every football fan can agree on is tailgating. Filling up the parking lot outside the stadium with good food, drinks and close friends to celebrate a mutual obsession for your favorite team has become a pregame ritual that is just as much a part of football Sundays as the games themselves. So grab your face-paint and your friends and head on down to the stadium lot, and don’t forget these 5 tailgate essentials…

 1. A quality cooler. Whether you’re hauling around meat to grill or just a six pack of your favorite beverage, a cooler is probably the most essential piece of tailgating gear. Keep it simple with a NRS Dura-Soft 6-Pack cooler slung over your shoulder or bring enough for the whole crew with a Yeti Tundra. A good quality cooler is an investment that’ll last the whole season, plus will be something you can use on your next paddle too.

2. Something comfortable to sit on. Almost as important as the cooler is your tailgating chair. You have to be comfortable lounging around in the parking lot before a game! I suggest bringing along a nice folding chair like the Kelty Mesh Folding Chair or one of our portable camp chair options which can get you through your tailgate and also add some comfort to your stadium seat.

3. Defense against the sun. If you end up sun-burned before you even sit down in your stadium seat then you didn’t set yourself up for an enjoyable football experience. A little game-day shade is an important part of any tailgate and we’ve got you covered with several different options to choose from. Not only will most sun shades and shelters protect you from the sun, but they’ll also keep you dry on rainy days so you can keep tailgating no matter what the weather is like.

4. Tunes! There’s nothing that makes a good tailgate quite like playing the right music. Download your team’s fight song or just fill your MP3 Player with your favorite jams to get pumped up before the game, then hook it up to some rugged outdoor speakers to keep it safe from spills, tumbles or from being drowned out by all the other tailgaters. Our line-up of EcoXGear should do the trick!

5. A grill for your meat. You can’t forget the grill, that’s just part of the tailgate. I prefer to keep things simple by bringing along my Primus Grill/Stove combo. I bought it for car camping, but it works great cooking up a package of hot dogs and I don’t have to worry about loading up a full sized grill. However you prefer to do it, don’t forget to bring the grill!

Make sure to bring these five tailgating essentials along with you on your next tailgate! For more ideas on what to bring, visit our tailgating page.

Helle Knives & Wetterlings Axes – Gifts that Last a Lifetime

The holidays are just about here but I’ve got two last minute gift ideas you don’t want to miss out on. With beautiful craftsmanship and quality materials, Helle Knives and Wetterlings Axes are both gifts that will last a lifetime!

You Can’t Go Wrong With a Helle Knife

The Helle Harding Knife
The Helle Harding Knife

Any outdoors man or woman can appreciate a good knife.  When it’s a knife that combines stunning looks and functionality, like the ones from the Norwegian company Helle Knives, that’s even better.

Don’t let the aesthetic qualities of Helle Knives deceive you, these knives are not made to be ornaments. With triple laminated stainless steel blades and fine wooden handles, Helle Knives are built to be used, and to last. Each one comes with a soft cleaning cloth and embossed leather sheath so taking care of the blade doesn’t require buying extra pieces.

Grab any one of the different models we carry at ACK for a last minute gift and you’ll be a Christmas hero. See them here: http://www.austinkayak.com/brand/507/Helle

Give the Gift of Wetterlings

The Wetterlings Backcountry Axe
The Wetterlings Backcountry Axe

If a combination of quality and functionality is what you’re after, then you need look no farther than Wetterling Axes. These Swedish axes are made using heavy duty hand forged steel are the highest quality in terms of durability and performance.

What makes Wetterling Axes so great is their strong passion and long history of  making them since 1880.  Whether its a gift meant for the back country or just chopping firewood outside the house, one of these axes will surely be appreciated.

We carry four models from Wetterling Axes which you can find here: http://www.austinkayak.com/search/wetterlings

5 Stocking Stuffers for Any Lover of the Outdoors

Don’t settle for the same old stocking-stuffers! I’ve picked out five goodies that are sure to wow any lover of the outdoors when they dig into their stocking this holiday season!

Remember, if you don’t find what you’re looking for below, there are plenty more stocking stuffers to be found in the ACK 2013 Holiday Gift Guide.

1. Outside Inside Holiday Ornaments

Paddling enthusiasts will love to have one of these Outside Inside Ornaments reflecting their adventures on the water whether it by canoe, kayak or raft. For less than $10, give your favorite paddler a symbol of their favorite pastime to hang wherever they like!

Outside Inside Holiday Ornaments

 

2. LuminAid Inflatable Solar Powered Lantern

The LuminAID Light packs flat, is highly portable, and is water-resistant. Charge it in the sun for 6-7 hours and it’ll deliver up to 16 hours of LED light. It easily inflates using a valve and diffuses light like a lantern. Need I say more? Any paddler would love to have a couple of these floating next to them during their next night paddle, and for only $20, why not? 

LuminAid Inflatable Solar Powered Lantern

3. Light My Fire FireSteel Scout Fire Starter

Very popular among survival experts, hunters, fishermen and campers, the FireSteel Portable Fire Starter makes a perfect stocking addition. Easy to use, compact and lightweight, the FireSteel is a fun yet practical gift any outdoors man or woman will surely appreciate.  Throw this one into the stocking for just over $10.

Light My Fire FireSteel Scout Fire Starter

4. Adventure Medical Kits SOL Survival Blanket

For $5, ensure a certain outdoor enthusiast is prepared for their next adventure by topping off their stocking with this palm sized SOL Survival Blanket. As the most advanced emergency blanket on the market  this blanket will keep you warm when you need it to plus serve as a ground cloth, gear cover and more.

Adventure Medical Kits SOL Survival Blanket 1-2 Person

5.  Headlamps

Lights are important for every lover of the outdoors and a good headlamp is hard to beat, plus just the right size for a stocking. Whether you’re shopping for someone’s first or gifting them an upgrade (like one that’s waterproof or rechargeable), ACK has a wide range of brands, models and prices to choose from.

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

6.* Yaktrax Pro Winter Shoe Traction Device

Know someone that could use some help staying on their own two feet when it comes to venturing onto ice & snow? Drop some Yaktrax into their stockings and they’ll be very grateful! These easy to use traction devices slip on and off the bottom of  the user’s shoes and provide greater traction whether their walking a few miles or to the mailbox.

Yaktrax Pro Winter Shoe Traction Device

*I know I said five, but since only a portion of the country experiences weather that would make #6 useful I figured this one doesn’t completely count :-)

 

 

Apparel Options for Cold Weather Paddling

There’s Lots of Options When it Comes to Cold Weather Paddling

Take on cold weather paddling with the proper apparel.
Take on cold weather paddling with the proper apparel.

Summertime paddling apparel is easy. Throw on a lightweight t-shirt (or don’t), a swimsuit, a pair of water shoes and you’re set. Ok, it’s not always quite that simple, but the point is summertime is a breeze when you compare it to fall and winter paddling. The reason being is that in cold weather and/or cold water apparel needs for paddlers change drastically, especially when there is a chance for immersion.

In this article, I’ll break out the different apparel options that we carry at ACK.com and what situations you’d want to use them in.

Wetsuits

When you go into the water wearing a wetsuit, a thin layer of water is allowed to enter between your body and the suit. The body then heats the water and allows the heat to be retained and keep you warm.

Wetsuits are available in various thicknesses which will affect the amount of insulation offered (and how quickly water will warm) as well as the flexibility of the suit. Thicker wetsuits offer better heat retention but less flexibility of movement. Paddlers usually prefer 2mm – 3mm thick suits, which just happen to be the styles you will find at ACK.com.

The most popular form of wetsuit for paddlers is the Farmer John which has full legs but no sleeves. It is more comfortable and less constricting when paddling but doesn’t offer as much protection as you’ll need for cold weather paddling. However, a wetsuit is not outerwear, it is a base layer. It’s important to note that wearing anything under a wetsuit comprises its ability to keep you warm. Instead, layer clothes on top of the wetsuit.

Cold weather paddlers should consider that while a wetsuit keeps you warm in cold air and is relatively inexpensive, it has a limited range of protection (best in water 50 degrees and above).

Shop ACK.com’s selection of wetsuits.

Drysuits

A drysuit is the ultimate protection for paddlers in terms of outerwear.  It is a completely waterproof garment with latex gaskets at all openings (ankles, wrists and neck) to keep out all water. These are one piece suits made with nylon some type of waterproof polyurethane coating or laminate.

As outerwear, dry suits require that insulating layers be worn underneath like long underwear or specifically designed fleece liners for warmth. Choosing the right insulating layers can actually be a bit tricky because if you wear too much underneath, you risk overheating. Often a single lightweight or mid-weight base layer is sufficient. Test this out on some short paddles and find what’s most comfortable for you.

Drysuits are a great, comfortable option for paddlers in even the coldest temperatures and you won’t find anything that can keep you more dry. It’s biggest trade off is the price, as dry suits are some of the most expensive pieces of paddling apparel.

Shop ACK.com’s selection of drysuits.

Dry Wear

For some paddlers, a full dry suit is either too expensive or just flat out unnecessary. For example, many sit-inside paddlers see anything from the waist down as unnecessary as their lower body is kept dry by the skirt and kayak. Instead, waterproof dry wear is available to be purchased piece by piece.

Dry Tops & Paddling Jackets

A dry top is a waterproof paddling jacket with neck and wrist gaskets and waistbands to seal with a sit-inside paddlers spray skirt. A dry top protects paddlers from cold water as long as they do not wet-exit from their kayak, therefore these are great for paddlers who are experienced at rolling their kayak.

Semi-Dry Tops

Even less expensive then a dry top is a semi-dry top which has coated-Lycra wrist cuffs and neck closures to keep out most water. Generally these don’t seal at the waist so even a paddler who has rolling experience is likely to take on water during a roll.

Dry Pants

Dry pants are for paddlers who normally use a dry top rather than a full suit but want the added protection in case of an expected swim. These are also an excellent option for kayakers that paddle a sit-on-top kayak.

Shop ACK.com’s selection of dry wear.

Base Layers & Liners

Base layers are important for every paddler planning an outing during the colder months and come in many shapes and sizes. Base layers are not meant to get wet so they should be worn underneath a drysuit or dry wear.

Full length fleece liners, like the Immersion Research Union Suit, with front zip entries are popular for layering underneath full drysuits.

Rash Guards

These popular, quick-drying polyester/Lycra spandex shirts are quick drying and most commonly worn to protect from chafing and the sun. While they aren’t particularly popular during winter months, long sleeve guards do provide a little extra warmth and UV protection and go great under a wetsuit.

Shop ACK.com’s selection of rash gaurds.

Headwear

Keeping your face warm on a cold weather paddle is key and ACK has a wide range of options to do just that. Popular headwear for wintertime paddles include fleece or wool caps and face masks (like a buff), lightweight balaclavas and even full neoprene hoods. It’s suggested to get something to cover your entire head and face.

Shop ACK.com’s selection of headwear.

Gloves

Your hands are your motor on the water and keeping them comfortable is important for paddlers. During cold weather, this means wearing gloves, mittens or pogies that are durable, warm and water-resistant. It’s also important to find a pair that doesn’t impair paddle control.

For those not familiar with pogies, refer to this informational video.

Shop ACK.com’s selection of paddling gloves.

Footwear

In cold conditions, getting your feet wet can be a serious downer during a paddle. The standard in paddling footwear at keeping your feet warm is the Neoprene booty which comes with a thick rubber sole to provide grip and protection when walking across rocks. Neoprene means waterproof, so these are great at keeping your feet drier and subsequently warmer. They come in a variety of styles in terms of ankle types (high top, over the ankle, low top, exposed ankle, etc) and in general the taller the style the better at preventing water from getting to your feet.

Shop ACK.com’s selection of paddling footwear.

 

 

ACK.com Gets a Little Brighter with Help from Supernova Fishing Lights

Supernova Fishing Lights are here!
Supernova Fishing Lights are here!

Supernova Fishing Lights Have Landed at ACK.com

I’m excited to announce that Supernova Fishing Lights have made it onto ACK.com! I’ve gotten to see the Supernova Fishing Lights in action during our Kayak Angler Tournament Series and let me tell you – these things rock. While intended for the avid fisherman, these fishing lights are the perfect lighting solution for any paddler travelling during early mornings or late at night. Mounting lights to your kayak is an important step to paddling in the dark as they provide increased visibility to motorized vehicles.

Bring the Bait To You

What makes Supernova Fishing Lights so great for kayak fishing is that they attract small fish like shad and minnows in freshwater or shrimp and menhaden at the coast.

The lights at work.
The lights at work.

The presence of these bait fish will attract the predators that like to feed on them…your game fish. Your future dinner will soon be swimming up to your fishing spot to check out the action and have a little dinner themselves. Green lighting is most effective at achieving these results.

Customize Your Kayak the Way You Want

Position lighting on the outside of your kayak, in your tank well, cockpit, beneath it…well, you get the idea, put these lights anywhere on your kayak and make it look just how you want.  Once you add on a set of these lights, I guarantee you’ll love the way it looks!

Got a color in mind other than green and blue? We’ll work with you to create a custom lighting solution, just contact ACK customer service.

Supernova Fishing Lights in Action

See some images of different ways paddlers have used their Supernova Fishing Lights in the past:

Gear Up Fall Kayak Fishing Season

Fall Kayak Fishing in a Native Ultimate.
Taking advantage of the Fall Kayak Fishing Season.

If you can believe it, September is here, and bringing along with it the start to the fall kayak fishing season. It’s a favorite time of the year for many anglers, with comfortably cool temperatures, quieter waterways and in many places great fishing. It’s also a last opportunity to enjoy the sport for many who plan to put their kayak into winter hibernation. In preparation, it’s important to gear up right and I’ve got three tips to help you do just that.

An Early Sunset Can Cut Fall Kayak Fishing Short, Unless You Have Lights

I try to go paddling at least once a week after work with my coworker Jeremy and we’ve been noticing lately that we are lucky to be on the water for an hour and a half before the sun goes down. As the days get shorter, those of us who like to to squeeze in paddling time throughout the week are going to need extra light to extend our stay on the water. Do do this,  a kayak fishing light is definitely the way to go.

Fall Kayak Fishing Lights
A good set of fishing lights can extend your time on the water.

Give our kayak lighting section a check and be sure to take a look at the new kayak fishing light options from Wildcat Lighting that we’ve added recently. Anyone night fishing should review the laws in their area regarding watercraft lighting after dark, as many will require that you have a 360 degree white light like the Visicarbon Light from YakAttack.

Layer To Protect Yourself From Cooler Fall Temperatures

Fall isn’t going to mean immediate cold weather by any means but most paddlers will start to notice a steady drop in temperature. The best way to face this is with layers. Start by slipping a base layer under your summer fishing shirt and invest in something to cover your legs like Columbia’s Midweight Tights. For my fall base layer, I’m eyeing Bomber Gear’s Halo long sleeve shirt to replace my Columbia PFG Freezer Zero shirt.

When things start to cool down even more, you’re going to want to look into splash and dry wear that you can add over these base layers. Take a look at our Cold Weather Paddling Layering Guide for tips on how to best do this.

The Buff Hoodie Thermal Pro
The Buff Hoodie Thermal Pro

Just Because It’s Cold Doesn’t Mean The Sun Don’t Shine

Ok, so this one kind of goes against my first tip but it’s not as if everyone’s schedule is going to restrict them to fishing in the evenings. Weekend warriors who hit the water on a Saturday for a full day of fishing  need to remember that just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean sun protection isn’t important. Luckily, covering up for the sun and colder weather go hand in hand.

Look for apparel with UPF ratings on them like the Hot Fuzz Fleece Top (another good base layer option) and stuff that will cover your hands and face. Buff is the standard when it comes to head protection, and their new Buff Thermal Pro Hoodie just landed at ACK, great for keeping you warm, comfortable and protected from the sun while you fish. Definitely check it out!

Now Get To Fishing!

So there you have it, three ways to make sure you take advantage of fall kayak fishing season. Of course, the best thing you can do to learn what you need by going out and doing it. Note how you feel before, during and after your next paddle. Did you catch yourself shivering? Was it cut short by an early sunset? Maybe it went perfect. Whatever the case, ACK.com is here to help you make sure that you don’t miss out on this last opportunity to fish before winter!