Barrett and the Bob Hall Pier Launch – Offshore Kayak Fishing

I’m very fortunate that with my job I get to meet a lot of people that love to kayak fish.  I met Mike Morales  from Fin Factory Kayak Charters in Corpus Christi when he and his wife visited the store.  We’ve talked pretty frequently about getting offshore down to the coast, so when  Mother Nature recently gave us a break with the surf conditions we decided to go for it.  

We launched from just South of the Bob Hall Pier. Seeing the oil rigs from the shore really got me amped up for the trip; I’d never fished a rig Bob Hall Pierbefore and I was dying to try it. Our group of five had a variety of experience levels, this would be my first TX trip but I have 400 hours/700+ miles logged on my Humminbird, however this would be the first offshore trip for a few in the group.  All five of us were in Hobie Pro Angler 14’s so I had no doubt we could keep everyone upright through the surf with a little coaching, especially considering the mild conditions. Once everything was leashed down we broke through the small breakers and gathered up to get ready for trolling. We decided it would be best if everyone only trolled a single lure to minimize any possible tangles offshore and used a good variety of baits at different depths. One of the first things I noticed during the trip was a lot of bait getting dived on by birds and blown up by schools of Spanish mackerel, the other thing that caught my attention was the scattered clumps of Sargassum grass.  The scattered clumps never materialized into a true weed line but it was encouraging.  I cut my teeth offshore in Florida so I didn’t really know what kind of a hand Texas was going to deal me.
Bob Hall Pier Closing in on the rig I decided to do some long and narrow NASCAR type loops past the rig heading directly into the wind and then letting the wind push me back past the rig.  On my first pass I had a boat cut right behind me and almost foul my line, which most times is frustrating, but my rod quickly bent over and I am pretty sure the boat driver could hear my drag squealing over the sound of his motor.  As the fish got closer I could see color but couldn’t positively ID it until it was beside the yak, I ended up boating my personal best 28″ spanish.  The next kayak through hooked up with a king mackerel boating a nice healthy 40″+ fish.  Taking a little bit of a break I moved in close to the legs of the rig and dropped down my bottom rig to see what kind of reef fish were hiding out.  It didn’t take long to land a few undersized red snapper but I was pretty relieved to find that the things that work in Florida were also working in the cloudier water West of the Mississippi.  Eventually persistence paid off and I landed a legal red snapper, so it was time to start trolling again to see what was lurking just off the rig.  After a few passes with a king rig with a green skirt I decided to switch baits on my Tactical Anglers Power Clip back to a deep diving hard bait, this time a Yozuri.  My first pass through the area where I caught my spanish and the rod again doubled over and drag started to peel.  I knew pretty quickly this was a bigger fish and when I finally got eyes on him it turned out to be another king in the 40″+ neighborhood.  Bob Hall Pier
With about 6 hours on the water we decided it was time to head back in with a nice slow troll just soaking up the day and enjoying the gulf.  Once we got close to the breakers we put everything away and made sure it was all leashed down again.  A quick pep talk on how and where to attack the surf on the way in was the last thing we did before we had 5 flawless landings on the beach. All totaled we landed plenty of fish for the grill; final count was 3 kings, 2 spanish, and a snapper while having a great day on the water with new friends.
Barrett Fine
Manager, ACK-San Antonio
Photo Credit:  Sandra Morales from Fin Factory Kayak Charters!

Hobie Pro Angler Fish Finder Install

Ryan Herzog is a competitive kayak angler and recently shared his Hobie Pro Angler Fish Finder installation on the Austin Kayak Fishing forum. This content has been re-posted with his permission.

I recently picked up a Humminbird 998 with side imaging. The first issue that came to mind was where/how to mount the transducer. I knew because of the side imaging, that the transducer would not work up in the transducer covey that already existed on the Pro Angler. After some thought and seeing how the Mariner guys mounted their transducers off of the back, I figured that would be the best option.

First thing I had to do to install my new Hobie Pro Angler fish finder was to make a small modification on the H-bird metal mounting bracket. I drilled out the middle slot to 1/4 inch so that I could mount a RAM 1″ screwball.

I then mounted one of these to the back hand rail of the PA:

RAM Part # RAM-B-231ZU (ACK Special Order).
RAM Part # RAM-B-231ZU (ACK Special Order).

From there, I stole the 3.5″ RAM arm from my existing FF mount and put it all together:

After much deliberation, I decided to have the exit point of the cable on the high point of the back of the boat using the Hobie Thru Hull Wiring Kit to ensure a good seal on the hole. Left a little slack in the cord for adjustments. Once I have it fine tuned out on the water, I’ll seal everything up.

Just an FYI for PA owners. Here is an inside shot (Video) of the boat from the back hatch looking towards the drain plug.  You can see the rudder lines and the pully on one side. The back is clear for the most part:

Storing Your Hobie Kayak

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

Original content reposted from the HobieCat Forum.

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

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

Storing your Hobie Kayak on the ground or on a rack

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

Storing your Hobie Kayak with hanging racks or straps

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

Removing dents after improperly storing your Hobie Kayak

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

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

Video: Hobie Pro Angler : Updates for 2013

We had a great time at the 2013 Austin Boat Show and we were able to make a couple of videos showing off some new features and upgrades for 2013. Culley Traweek with Hobie Kayaks showed off the new features on the Hobie Pro Angler. The Pro Angler is a favorite among avid kayak anglers and it gets even better this year with some awesome upgrades like the Vantage Seat and the Tackle Management System. Check out the video and let us know what you think!

-Trent @ ACK

Top 10 Kayaks For Cold Weather Paddling

A few months back, I wrote a short piece that caused a bit of a stir. Apparently “storing your kayak for the winter” didn’t resound well with many, especially those residing in more temperate regions (tongue in cheek of course). But the reality for many is that the idea of putting a kayak out of commission for a few months is unheard of because of either mild winters or the utilization paddling gear designed for cold weather paddling. I recouped some of the fury through a visual presentation highlighting cold weather paddling apparel and now, in an effort to continue this positive momentum, I’d like to offer some recommendations on kayaks that are ideal for paddling during the coldest months of the year.

The concept actually, is simple — get a kayak with a combination of a higher freeboard (hull that remains out of the water while paddling) and elevated seat that will stay dry or a kayak with a cockpit that can be fully or partially covered by a skirt. Continue reading Top 10 Kayaks For Cold Weather Paddling

New for 2013 in Kayak Models and Features

Even though 2013 isn’t quite here yet, many of our kayak vendors have already started delivering new kayaks, some never before seen models and others with updated features. Some of the most notable launches are the new Native Watercraft Slayer, Feel Free Moken 12.5 & 14 and the sharp looking Wave Sport Ethos Ten. Also, check out some of the new features on tried and true models.

We’ll start with the new boats

Native Watercraft Slayer 12 & 14
Created by Native using an “automatic for the people” approach, the Slayer is the latest fishing kayak to hit the scene. It’s been referred to as a sit on top (SOT) version of the popular Ultimate model and, with a lot of the same deck features, it’s easy to see why. But that doesn’t mean that the hull is the only thing that’s changed. With a new seating system that can alternate between a high and low position, open front hatch, plenty of molded in areas designed for fishing accessories and much more, we know this is going to be popular with anglers. Already, the Slayer prototypes were a big hit at our Demo Day events! Available in a 12 ft and 14 ft option.

Wilderness Systems Aspire 105
Meant to compliment Wilderness System‘s already impressive line-up, the Aspire 105 is a new crossover boat that has replaced their Pamlico series. Whereas cross over boats generally tend to mix white water and recreational designs, the Aspire is meant for recreation and light touring. Great for both flat and moving water. This aims to be a great hybrid option for new to intermediate level paddlers. Like most other cross over boats, the Aspire has a drop down skeg to improve tracking when desired.

Wavesport Ethos 10
Wavesport
has created the Ethos as it’s foray into the river trekking category. Designed to handle waters with up to class III rapids and then track on flat water sections with help from it’s drop down skeg, the Ethos 10 can take on longer river trips. With plenty of storage space and a cockpit designed for comfort, this would be a great kayak for beginners looking to explore new environments and develop their skills on long or multiple day river trips.

Hobie Pro Angler 12
If you keep up with the kayak angling community, you’ve probably already heard of Hobie’s latest model of the Pro Angler 12 as it was released back in April. But just in case you haven’t…well, Hobie still knows how to make angler’s happy. The new Pro Angler 12 has all the bells and whistles of the 14 model and features the new vantage seating feature which will be described below. We’ve had them in stock and the reviews are good!

Perception Expression 14.5 & 15
Perception’s
new Expression offers forgiving handling and stability expected of a touring design with the performance of an expedition kayak. The up-swept bow nose and peaked deck allow the Expression 14.5 to shed water quickly, providing more speed and performance than the typical touring kayak. We can tell you one thing for sure, it’ll go fast. A perfect boat for an afternoon paddling or even multi-day tour. Offered in both 14.5 and 15 foot models.

Coming Soon: Moken 12.5 & 14
While not yet available, the new Moken 12.5 and 14 are going to be a huge hit. I personally had the pleasure of not only trying both boats at our recent demo days, we also met with Feel Free’s Head of Operations in the U.S., Jim Hager for a video shoot featuring both models. Click here to check it out.

New Features for 2013

2013 might just be the year of comfort kayak seating. With new seats from Ocean Kayak, Wilderness Systems, Hobie & Feel Free there are plenty of new ones to choose from. Sprinkle in a few other upgrades from Feel Free and Ocean Kayak and you have a pretty good list of new and notable features for the 2013 lineup of boats. Here’s what you can expect:

Wilderness Systems Phase 3 Pro Seating System

Wilderness Systems’ Phase 3 Pro Seating System
Wilderness
has always done a good job when it comes to outfitting their kayaks with comfort seating systems but this time they’ve really gone above and beyond. With complete adjustability in all aspects of the seat this really is  worthy of the word “system”. We’ve had a chance to try it out in some of the 2013 models and are very impressed. Expect most of the 2013 model Wilderness boats to come equipped with some version of the Phase 3 Pro Seating System.

Ocean Kayak Comfort Hybrid Seat

Ocean Kayak Support Track Foot Braces and Comfort Hybrid Seat Back
Ocean Kayak has gone out of it’s way to make their popular recreation and angler kayaks just a little more comfortable. They’ve rolled out both a new seat and foot peg system that aims to meet this goal. With Ocean Kayak, it’s all about making sure even the tiniest of details meet the customer’s needs.

Hobie Vantage Seating

Hobie Vantage Seating
New to both the Pro Angler 12 and 14, this is a revolutionary new seating system in terms of comfort & adjustability. Named for the vantage point it gives you for spotting fish, this seat is just another reason why the Hobie Pro Angler series if one of the top fishing kayaks around.

Feel Free Uni Track System

Feel Free Uni-Track System & King Fisher Seat
Feel Free has created an easy to use track system for paddlers looking to customize their ‘yak called the Uni-Track System. It can be found on some of the latest Moken models like the already released Moken 10 Lite. This track system makes it easy to attach Scotty & Ram mounts without drilling or installing anything. Click here to see a short video clip featuring the Uni-Track System

Feel Free King Fisher Seat

Additionally, new Mokens will also feature the upgraded King Fisher Seat with a comfort seat back. I personally love this seat, so comfortable and you can’t help but think it looks pretty cool too. Wait until you see it on the new Moken 12.5 and Moken 14 coming soon.

Much to look forward to this year! As always, share your comments and questions below! – Joseph@ACK

Customer Makes 600 Mile Visit, Shares Advice Transporting Pro Angler 14

At ACK we often receive feedback from our customers but it is rare that a customer travels 600 miles just to visit! This customer shared his experience and also some transportation advice for Hobie Pro Angler 14. Here’s what Keith had to say:

Hello,

I wanted to say thanks again for the courteous and helpful service that ACK provides. Every employee I have dealt has always been very helpful. I also wanted to share a couple of pictures that you may want to share with other prospective customers. Yesterday was my first visit to an ACK store, previously I ordered everything over the internet. But this time I was too anxious to wait for the shipping so I made the 600 mile round trip. Andy, thanks for prepping my order and Luke, thanks for all the assistance when I got to the store. I know it was a busy weekend for all of you with the demo-days.

I know from reading the forums that many people have questions about transporting and storage; pick-up truck extenders vs. roof racks vs. trailers. With the size and weight of the PA, this dilema is especially true. About a month ago I had purchased the Malone Micro-Sport XT Trailer through ACK. After first doing the roof rack experience, loading and unloading with the trailer was a dream. The other advantage was that with the lighter Yak (Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140), I could actually leave it on the trailer conveniently ready to go. This is possible mainly because of the retractable tongue feature on the trailer.

With the size and weight of the Pro Angler 14, everything I had read showed that you shouldn’t leave on a trailer unless using the Hobie craddles. Well the Hobie cradles must be spread 67″ and my cross bars are only 48″. So after reading and seeing that several others had used PVC pipe to support the PA, I spent $33 for some pipe, a 2×4 and hardware. In the attached pictures you can see how it looks. The boat sits “naturally” on the pvc not touching the cross bars. The Malone Saddle-Up Pro just embraces the sides of the boat fore and aft. I’ve put it on and taken it off the trailer twice today – it’s really easy.

So, here’s my review – when purchased from ACK, the Malone Micro-Sport trailer with minor modification is an ideal answer for both transporting and storing the Hobie Pro Angler 14. I will be posting this same message on the Hobie Forum.

Keith B.
p.s. I love the Pro Angler and if the weather cooperates, she’ll be spending sometime floating tomorrow! :)