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!


2014 ACK Winter Boat Show Season

At the 2013 Austin Boat Show.
At the 2013 Austin Boat Show.

The holidays are over, but the fun is just beginning. That’s right, it’s nearly time for the 2014 Winter Boat Shows! Each year we join these Houston, Austin and San Antonio based events with our huge assortment of kayaks. For the most part the shows revolve around powerboats but we at ACK have taken it upon ourselves to remind event goers that you don’t have to break the bank just to have fun on the water. Our booth always offers an amazing display of kayaks to see, touch and learn about from our expert staff as well as the manufacturer representatives themselves who will also be on hand. This year we’ll also have a nice selection of paddle boards as well!

Below you can find the full 2013 Winter Boat Show Schedule. We hope to see you there and just like last year we’ll have some great offers!

Houston Boat Show: Jan. 3rd – 12th at the Reliant Center

Austin Boat Show: Jan. 16th – 19th at the Austin Convention Center

San Antonio Boat Show: Jan. 23rd – 26th at the Alamodome

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.

Gearing Up for the Kayak Fishing Boondoggle

It’s Almost Boondoggle Time!

Cannot wait for the Boondoggle!
Cannot wait for the Boondoggle!

The Boondoggle is only two weeks out and we’re getting excited to send off Jerron Wosel and Andrew Moczygemba (our ACK two man team) to go meet the community of kayak anglers from all over the nation who have helped build the event. It seems like each day I hear something new that Jerron and Andrew are getting excited about – be it the beard competition, some new rigging accessories to show off or just plans to fish with people they’ve never had a chance to meet in person before.

As time draws nearer for the 2013 Columbus Day Kayak Fishing Boondoggle, I took a moment to sit down with Jerron and talk about his expectations for the event.

I understand there’s a bit of a funny story behind how you found out about the Boondoggle. Care to share?

About three weeks back Chris, ACK co-owner and VP of store-operations, walks up to my desk and says to me “You’re going to Pensacola.” Before I can say anything he just tells me to look up the Boondoggle and walks away. And that was it. I started looking into and it didn’t take long for me to start getting excited. When I found out my buddy Andrew was going too..well, that made it even better.

Tell me a little bit about your experience kayak fishing and why you think you and Andrew were chosen to represent ACK at the event?

Jerron landing a shark offshore the Texas coast.
Jerron landing a shark offshore the Texas coast.

Sure, before I moved to Austin to work on the ACK merchandising team, I was living in Houston and doing a lot of offshore kayak fishing. I got my start kayak fishing a little over 8 years back when my friend asks me if I want to go out to the Galveston ship channel with him to chase some flounder. The next time he took me out, my second time kayak fishing, we went beyond the breakers and I’ve been hitting the coast from my kayak ever since.

In 2010 I wound up asking Andrew, who was managing the ACK Houston store at the time, for a job at the store. I worked up to assistant manager under Andrew and just under a year ago I relocated to Austin to work at the ACK corporate office as part of the merchandising team, mostly focusing on kayak fishing gear.

Andrew is now the regional manager for our two Houston stores has been with ACK since 2008 – actually coming to the company from a position where he focused on power boat sales. He’s a long time angler and the two of us have spent a lot of time together fishing the bays and taken a couple beyond the breaker trips together. He’s a great resource for all things kayaking and a great person to talk to about hull design and things of that nature.

What are your expectations for the event? Is there anything you’re particularly excited about?

I’m excited to get out there and put faces to names. We’re very active in online communities and social networks at ACK and I’ve met a lot of people whom I only know through those types of interactions. The Boondoggle is going to be an opportunity to see these people up close and in person, so I’m excited about that.

A little while back, for example, I sent a private message to a guy named Rich Winfield after watching his video about kayak fishing for sailfish and we ended up having a good discussion about coastal kayak fishing. Turns out he’s based out of the Pensacola area so he’s going to meet up with Andrew and I and take us fishing for sailfish, kingfish and snapper. We’re both pumped about that.

As for my expectations, I’m just looking forward to hanging out at the booth talking about ACK, having a cold one and listening to all the fishing stories that are bound to come out at an event like this.

What will the two of your be bringing along to show off at the event?

Andrew's Moken...still in progress.
Andrew’s Moken…still in progress.

We’ll be bringing a pair of rigged out kayaks to show off at our booth as well as fish out of and use during our seminar. Andrew has linked up with Bill Bragman from Yak Gear and, I’m a little jealous about this one, gets to take a new Moken 14.5 through the Yak Gear warehouse to pick out whatever rigging accessories he wants. It’s going to be like he won a kayak fishing shopping spree.

I’ll have my Ultra 4.7 out there which I have been using forever and all the rigging accessories that I use. Mostly YakAttack stuff like the Zooka Tube, BlackPak and plenty of GearTracs. I use it mostly for off shore stuff so I’ll be referencing it during the Beyond the Breaker seminar we do on Saturday for sure.

Can you give me a sneak peek into you and Andrew’s Beyond the Breaker seminar?

Absolutely, it’s a topic I’ve spoken about before and my favorite type of kayak fishing. I’ll be covering things like safety equipment, online resources, rigging tips, gear you need and what to expect when fighting/landing offshore species of fish and more. You can actually get a sneak peek at some of what I’ll talk about in a recent blog I wrote about offshore safety and weather concerns. I’m hoping I’ll actually learn from some of the audience members as well during the Q&A at the end too. Everyone has different styles of fishing and gear that they rely on, and I feel like meeting those people and learning from them is what the Boondoggle is all about.

The Beyond the Breaker Seminar is going to take place Saturday at 12:00 PM (see it on the Boondoggle Event Schedule here) and you’ll have a chance to win some ACK gift cards for attending, so hope to see you there!






3 Simple Steps to Better Sun Protection

After four consecutive weekends of ACK events this month, I’ve gotten my fair share of sun. It’s been a lot of fun, but the bad news is that I haven’t done my best to consider sun protection while I’ve been out there. It wasn’t until a visit to my grandfather’s house prompted me to reconsider my way of thinking.

I had just spent the day working at the Texas Ski Ranch for our San Marcos Demo Days and decided to pop in to say hi to my grandfather who lived nearby. We caught up and watched some football and eventually he commented on the sun burn I had gotten that day. I told him I had put on sunscreen but still managed to get a little burnt, no big deal. He proceeded to tell me about how he’d recently been fighting with skin cancer, brought on by some carelessness to protect his skin when he was younger and spending a lot of time outside just like me. He gave me a info sheet he had gotten from the doctor and that was the end of the conversation.

What the info sheet had on it and what he told me wasn’t anything new. I knew sunburns were bad and could lead to long term skin problems, but for some reason it’s an easy danger to dismiss. It’s also an easy danger to beat, and next weekend when I was out at the National Hunting and Fishing Day I took some extra precautions for the sake of protecting my skin. Just 3 simple steps to protect myself from the sun that’s easy for anyone to follow.

Step 1: Keep Sun Protection in Mind When Planning

Even on a cloudy day like this one you need to consider sun protection.
Even on a cloudy day like this one you need to consider sun protection.

Start protecting yourself from the sun before you even get going. When you plan an outdoor adventure, consider the time of day you’re going out. UV rays are strongest when the sun is directly overhead (usually between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM) and during the summer months. If you’re going out during these times, be extra conscious of protecting your skin! On the other hand, you probably don’t have much to worry about if you’re going out for a night paddle.

Also, don’t let the weather fool you. Fall often means more overcast days, but a cloudy sky doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about the sun. UV rays can penetrate cloud coverage and sometimes even reflect off of a patchwork of clouds to result in more rays on the ground. Even on cloudy days, you need to prepare yourself with proper sun protection.

Step 2: Cover Up What You Can

ACK Developer Jeremy covered up for a summer paddle.
ACK Developer Jeremy covered up for a summer paddle.

Protecting your skin involves covering it up. No, this doesn’t mean that you need to be covered head to toe, but covering up in a comfortable and responsible manner is important.

Something for your head is a must have – I don’t know about you, but when I try to apply sunscreen to my scalp, my hair usually gets in the way. The problem is that hair usually isn’t enough to protect your noggin from the sun and an easy and effective way to compensate for this by putting on a hat. Ideally, your hat should be wide brimmed giving 360 degree coverage to your whole head, neck and face. A popular option to do this are the sun hats from Outdoor Research, including the Seattle Sombrero which is perfect for colder Fall weather because of its GORE-TEX fabric crown. Buffs are a popular alternative to hats and come in a wide selection of styles that can cover your entire face. In the end, it’s a personal preference whether you prefer wearing a buff versus a hat, or both like Jeremy choose to do in the picture.

In addition to covering your face, it’s a good idea to wear clothing that offers sun protection as well. Find long sleeve shirts or pants that offers a UV Protection Rating (UPF) that are loose fitting and comfortable so they don’t interfere with your adventuring, like our apparel from Columbia. Gloves, closed toe shoes, sunglasses and other apparel accessories are there if you want to go completely covered, but remember you can always use sunscreen to take care of anything not covered up. In colder weather, you’ll probably want to wear clothing that provides extra coverage to keep warm anyways!

Step 3: Use Sunscreen – and More Than Once

Applying a first application before a paddling trip.
Applying a first application before a paddling trip.

For anything not covered, bring a tube of sunscreen and keep it with you. Aim for one that has a SPF rating of 15 or greater and if you’re planning on participating in some water sports make sure you get a brand that’s waterproof! When applying, cover everywhere from your ears to your toes – easy to forget spots like these are often the first places to get burnt.

Finally, it’s important to remember is that you need to apply more than once if you stay out for an extended period. Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule for how often you need to re-apply as factors like the SPF rating, weather conditions and even your propensity to burn play a factor in how often you need a new layer. When participating in activities where I’m not heavily perspiring or constantly getting wet, I’ve found that it’s best to re-apply every 3-4 hours. Even if you are using a waterproof brand of sunscreen, water sport activities require more frequent re-application of sunscreen, approximately every hour and a half.

Remember Sun Protection on Your Next Outdoor Adventure

Don’t let the sun keep you from adventuring, but remember to take the appropriate steps to be protected. Even if you don’t see direct results of it now, improper steps to keeping your skin healthy can lead to long term problems in the future. It’s best to just be safe!

So how do you protect yourself from the sun? Do you have a favorite brand of sun screen or wear a buff to cover your face? Comment below and let me know!





Come Join ACK for National Hunting and Fishing Day!

National Hunting and Fishing Day!
National Hunting and Fishing Day!

Get the Kids Outside With this Free Event!

This Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day and to celebrate we’ll be joining up with the City of Round Rock and Kid’s Outdoor Zone for another weekend full of paddling. This free event is geared towards getting the kiddo’s excited about being outside, and we’re pumped to be a part of it!

Austin store manager, Justin Fees, along with Customer Service rep James Everhart and myself will be out manning a kid’s paddling area, making sure proper safety techniques are being followed. We’ll also have some stuff for the parents to look over while their kid’s are on the water!

RSVP and find more event details on the Facebook event page. Hope to see you there!


Team ACK Heads to Outdoor Retailer for a Peek at 2014 Gear

Checking out kayaks at Outdoor Retailer 2012
Attendees checkout kayaks at the 2012 Outdoor Retailer Expo

You could hear a pin drop today in the main ACK office. The offices are about half empty as team ACK heads to the airport  to be whisked away to Salt Lake City for Outdoor Retailer (OR). For those not familiar with OR, it is outdoor sports show of its kind. Catering to manufacturers, retailers & enthusiasts, the show provides a first look at new technical innovations, outdoor sports apparel and educational conferences. Team ACK will be using this opportunity to familiarize themselves with gear they want to add to

Representing ACK at the event will be company owners Steve, Peter & Chris as well as Merchandising Team members Jerron & Jenny.
Being first-timers, I took a moment to talk with Jerron & Jenny about their expectations for this event:

Have you ever been to Outdoor Retailer before and what type of expectations do you have for this year?

Jerron: In my 3+ years of working for ACK, I have been to many different types of shows. Boat Shows, RV Shows, Fishing Shows, you name it! However, I have never been to Outdoor Retailer. This is a show that pretty much every serious outdoor retail shop attends to get a sneak peak at the new product available for the next season from over a thousand different companies. Being the avid kayak angler that I am, one could say that I am drooling over the opportunity to visit the various booths that display some of the new fishing equipment in search for that next hot product.

Jenny: Just like Jerron, this is going to be my first time attending the event and I am very excited – actually my first trade show for the outdoor market at all. I’ve heard things can get pretty wild on the show floor from Peter & Steve so I’m doing my best to prepare. There’s going to be a lot going on and I have a pretty long list of booths I want to visit with new paddle-sports gear.

Outdoor Retailer Crowds from 2012
Crowds of people at the Outdoor Retailer Expo in 2012.

What kinds of things have you done to get ready?

Jerron:  For the past couple weeks, vendors and manufactures that will have booths at the show have been sending updates about stuff they’ll have at the show. There’s been a lot of stuff to look over product wise, especially on the kayak fishing side of things.

Jenny: Plus, there’s a lot of work to get done around the office before we go since we’re going to be gone for almost a full week so we’ve all had to put in some extra time to make sure everything will run smooth while we’re out. For the show itself, I’ve packed my most comfortable walking shoes, a water bottle (empty, thank you very much TSA), a box of granola bars, and downloaded the OR floor map to my iphone; I don’t want to miss a thing!

Any products you’re particularly excited about?

Jerron: I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about kayak fishing stuff ever since the big ICast fishing show happened about a month ago. We weren’t able to attend that one so I’m looking forward at getting close up time with some of those products. Some of the more anticipated products that I am looking forward to getting my hands on are the Raymarine Dragonfly (a new fishfinder), the Power Pole Micro Anchor, and of course all the new kayaks coming out.

Jenny: Ya, there are a TON of new kayaks that we’ve been hearing about and we’re waiting to take a look at them at the show before deciding whether or not to pick them up for There’s the new Slayer Propel, the Diablo Amigo, the Ride 115X, Ocean Kayak’s new Big Game 2 and I’m sure there are more that’ll be there. Who knows, maybe we’ll pick up a whole new kayak brand to add to the site! Ok, probably not, but hey – it could happen! I’ll personally be keeping an eye out for SUP gear too – I’ve been hearing good things about the new Astral Porters.

It sounds like you both have plenty to think about on the plane ride over, anything else you want to add?

Jerron: It’s definitely a good thing that these guys aren’t selling product at this show because I would be needing multiple suitcases to bring back some goodies. I’ll cover all the awesome kayak fishing gear I find out there, so stay tuned for my Outdoor Retailer recap once our team gets back!

Jenny: You’ll see plenty of updates from us at the show too- we’ll be doing our best to take pictures of new gear with our phones for the ACK Social Pages and maybe even leaving an ACK sticker on a booth or two. It’s going to be a blast and I can’t wait! Keep an eye out for my event recap when it’s all over as well.



Team Austin Kayak – Casting for a Cause Kayak Fishing Tournament

Pre-Game - Kayak Fishing
ACK managers Andrew & Brock arrive early in Port Aransas to pre-fish before the event.

Who Can Say No to a Little Kayak Fishing for a Good Cause?

ACKer’s Chris Hackerd, Andrew Moczygemba & Brock Nedland have set course for Port Aransas today with plans to tackle some coastal fishing in the Casting for a Cause Fishing Tournament  that starts tomorrow (June, 28th). The volunteer-driven event has grown to become the premier charitable fishing event in the Coastal Bend of Texas and last year had 160 kayak anglers participate out of a total of 500 anglers.

Always looking for a way we can give back, ACK is proud to be a sponsor this year and is donating a Feel Free Moken 12.5. Proceeds from this event benefit amazing charities such as Heroes on the Water(HOW), the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as well as several other local charities.

Kayak Fishing Takes Strategic Preparation

ACK Truck with Kayaks
Chris’s truck loaded & headed to Casting for a Cause on the coast.

Forming Team Austin Kayak, the guys have put all hands in; working together to come up with a strategy for this event.  After reading over the Hook-n-Line fishing maps for the area and consulting with fellow kayak anglers who have experience in these waters like Fil Spencer (who ironically will most likely be fishing in the tournament as well), they’ve got the best fishing spots mapped out and ready to go.

Plus with ACK’s own kayak fishing gear-head, Jerron Wosel, giving them tips and equipment suggestions, they are locked and loaded with some sweet gear like the Engel Live Bait Cooler and the brand new Predator 13 Kayak from Old Town.

Wish them good luck!  We’ll keep you posted with the results.

2013 KATS Series Overview

Competitor 'yaks lined up at Fayette.
Competitor ‘yaks lined up at Fayette

The qualifying 2013 Kayak Angler Tournament Series season was buttoned up at Canyon Lake in May and the Classic Championship looms on the horizon for the Top 20 anglers! Five qualifying events, a whole lot of fun, and some excellent kayak fishing made for a great season in ACK’s second annual hosting of the series.

The 77 Anglers at Lake Bastrop
The 77 Anglers at Lake Bastrop

Big thanks to all of the participants that came out to the events this year allowing for record turnouts including 77 anglers at Lake Bastrop! 116 different anglers fished one or more KATS tournaments including many KATS veterans and lots of new faces!

A total prize value of $40,000 in gear and guided trips were handed out over the season and about $10,000 was paid out in cash this year. In addition, trophies were handed out at each event!

For the top 20 anglers of 2013, the Classic Championship location will be announced sometime this summer and will take place on September 7th. KATS competitors can expect to see an additional event over the summer before we head into the 2014 season.

Left to Right: Steve, Brandon, Chris & Kristian
Left to Right: Steve, Brandon, Chris & Kristian

Brandon Campbell took home the big win for Kayak Angler of the Year at the fifth stop (Canyon Lake) and is currently in the lead for King of the Fish as well. Steve Garcia (2012 Kayak Angler of the Year) took 2nd place, and Chris Coufal third place, although it was a very close race until the end with these three anglers fighting for inches at Canyon. Brandon Campbell also placed third in the pro division at Canyon lake and won big bass with a 19.75 inch bass!  Congratulations to all!

Tournament Director, Kristian Kolflat and the staff of KATS and ACK wish to extend a big thank you to all participants, and to our very generous sponsors whom made this series possible! We look forward to the remaining events in 2013 and hope to see you all (and new faces) in 2014!

More information to come regarding the Classic Championship, 2014 KATS season, additional 2013 events and of course to keep up to date stay tuned on

See the gallery below for some season highlights: