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!

–Joseph

Outsider Perspective : KATS Fishing Tournament

There’s a lot of talk around the ACK offices and our stores about the Kayak Anglers Tournament Series (KATS) and if you aren’t an angler, that can leave you feeling a little left out at times. Case in point: Myself.

While I do enjoy fishing for its relaxing, meditative and buddy-bonding aspects, I probably haven’t been since I was…. 12 or 13 years old. That leaves me with a lot more listening to do than talking when it comes to these conversations about KATS. Surprisingly, I’ve had my hands in several aspects of the tournament over the near-year I’ve been employed at ACK. When I first started, I was tasked with going out to the Decker Lake event to take some photos and simply observe the tournament and how things worked. For this year’s iteration of the tournament, I have helped lay out a poster, shoot and edit photos and videos and performed various other tasks along the way. In the middle of my time working here, the Hobie World Championships took place in Austin and ACK played a part in that as well so I’ve been around the fishing tournament world more than I ever thought I would be.

That being said, I have learned a lot and gained an enormous amount of respect for these tournaments and their competitors. It takes a lot to put these things on. At the minimum, months of planning are involved which entails a lot of scrutiny and late nights in the office or the stores trying to make the events as best they can be for the competitors, sponsors and ACK as well.

From 2012 to 2013, there was a huge amount of effort put into expanding the base of sponsors and making sure the anglers would be happy with the prizes they’d be winning throughout the tournament. At the Decker event after I first started, I learned that being out on the water all day is a tiring thing for these guys and gals. Doling out prizes at the end of the day can be a little tiresome for the water-weary but at the most recent event, Lake Bastrop, it was great to see the anglers more engaged and excited about the prizes and pay-outs. The KATS team really made an effort to reach out for sponsorship and they’ve made great strides in that area. That makes the anglers happy and in turn, the tournament organizers.

From an outsider’s perspective, “specialized hobbies” like kayak fishing can be a little intimidating. I am a part of two such “specialized hobbies” myself – concert photography and limited-edition movie poster collecting – that can be intimidating to outsiders. Every group has their vocal “veterans” that like to scare off or intimidate the newcomers and its hard to know who to talk to or where to start when you first take an interest in something like the aforementioned hobbies. While I may not know all of the insider lingo or be able to talk at length about medium-heavy moderate fast-action rods, top water poppers or casting techniques, I’ve never felt like an outsider at the tournaments. Yeah, working for ACK helps, but no one has made me feel dumb if I had a question about something I didn’t understand and I’ve also been able to learn a lot from simply kicking back and observing my surroundings. Now I just need to get out on a kayak and fish…

Winners from KATS 2013 @ Lake Bastrop

-Trent @ ACK

New Diablo Paddlesports Accessories

Diablo Paddlesports has launched a couple of new accessories specifically designed to be mounted to their boats, the Chupacabra and the Adios. The Diablo Leaning Post works in a similar manner as the Hobie H-Bar in the fact that it helps you stand up and stabilize yourself while sight casting or stand up paddling.  It folds completely flat and still allows access to the front dry storage.  It includes a paddle holder as well.  To mount this cool product to your Diablo boat, you will want to utilize the YakAttack Gear Trac mounting plates.

The second accessory is the Diablo Cooler Deck, which provides a flat surface to mount a cooler or tackle box. This false deck sits over the cockpit and can support a 65 qt cooler or be used as a standing platform. It’s covered with a black traction pad for a non-slip surface. The great thing about it is that it does not require any permanent mounting and can easily be installed or removed using the included straps and can be stored in the rear of the kayak.

Check out the video below for more details.

Jerron @ACK

Video Series: Rod Holders 101

We know one of our biggest requests for video topics has to do with kayak fishing and we are here to please! We filmed a new video series on Rod Holders and it covers the differences between styles of rod holders, the different types of mounts and the different methods for mounting the rod holder to your watercraft. There’s a lot to take in so if you’ve ever been curious about rod holders, aren’t sure what to look for, dive right in and let us know if you have any questions because we are always ready to help you outfit your adventure!

-Trent @ ACK

PS: We have a brand-spankin’-new YouTube channel so if you’ve been following us, be sure to subscribe to the new channel and if you haven’t, we’ve moved all of our old videos to the new channel, so the resources are still there. We’ll be coming out with tons of videos this year so stay tuned for lots of exciting content!

New Product: YakAttack BlackPak

YakAttack has come out with a new crate “system” for kayak fishing called the BlackPak.  The crate is made of the same starboard material that the Hobie side boards on the Pro Angler are made of.  These are very versatile packs and allow numerous rigging opportunities to customize the product and they are also very durable, able to take a lot of punishment without being destroyed like a normal milk crate would.  As always from YakAttack, these are made right here in the USA. For more information about this product, click here.

Tools From Down Under….

….well, not really.  But they have an Australian inspired name! In case you are wondering just what in the world I am talking about, let me introduce to you Boomerang Tool Company.

These guys make high grade aircraft aluminum pliers but throw in a retractable tether that keeps your tools coming back to you when you drop them! Currently the 3 models of pliers that they offer are Boomerang “Mini Grip” Pliers, “The Grip” Pliers, and “The Big Grip” Pliers. All of these models come with a removable retractable leash and “The Grip” and “The Big Grip” pliers come with a protective sheath that can be attached to your belt.

If that wasn’t enough, they also offer two additional pieces of gadgetry and they are the Boomerang Lockblade Knife and something they call “The Snip”.  Instead of having a removable retracting leash, these products incorporate the leash inside of them. “The Snip” is a handy little tool that gives you the ability to snip line off the eyelet of your lures with no issues, and they are especially keen on cutting tough braided fishing line. If you get a chance, check out some of these cool pieces of equipment to add to your arsenal.  You won’t be disappointed.

Jerron @ACK

2013 KATS – Official Kick Off!

It’s time for KATS! The 2013 series is coming up fast in the central Texas area. Dates and locations have been announced and the first tourney will kick off on Decker Lake (Walter E. Long Lake) here in Austin on January 26th.  KATS (Kayak Angler Tournament Series) is a local kayak anglers tournament series comprised of 5 qualifying tournaments and a Classic Championship. These anglers, with a deep rooted passion for kayak fishing, compete in forces numbering 60 and up (expected to grow this year) for prizes, payouts, honor, and several prestigious titles including Kayak Angler of the Year, King of the Fish, and Classic Champion!

This is the 7th year for KATS and the 2nd year for Austin Canoe and Kayak to host this growing series. I will be heading up KATS again this year as Tournament Director and I look forward to seeing the die-hard regulars along with some fresh faces among the crowd. Last year’s drought and challenging weather made for a tough competition, and with similar conditions expected this year you can expect the competition to be even more fierce.

Steve Garcia ran away with KATS last year with three first place qualifying wins, Kayak Angler of the Year, and King of the Fish titles. His grand prize of a fully decked out Malone Kayak trailer with two boats (a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 and a FeelFree Moken 10 Angler) made for a happy competitor after a season of dedicated perseverance. While Steve harnessed the spotlight in 2012 several other competitors made big statements about how serious they are. Bobby Lebeuf had an impressive win for Classic Champion and Lake Bastrop with a 100.25 inch stringer. It won’t be a surprise to see names like Villanueva, Hebert, Nordstrom, Moccia, and Campbell among the top ranks this year as they were among those who caught the most inches last season.

This year KATS is introducing a new division structure. There is a Pro division, a new Semi-Pro division, and a Rookie (any size bass) division allowing more flexibility for anglers in choosing how much they want to compete and against what stakes. The veterans of AKF and KATS should be competing in the Pro Division while those who perform on a less consistent platform should consider the Semi-Pro. The Rookie division will replace last years’ Amateur Division and will bring in a big change in that any size bass will be counted towards the score.

KATS is always looking for sponsors for the series and help with the series!

For more information on participation, sponsorship, etc., please visit FishKats.com.

Kristian @ACK

Trial and Error of Solo Loading a Kayak

Amanda Berrent is one of our staff experts from the Houston store that started off as a frequent customer trying to fuel her kayak angling hobby. Her focus is on salt water fishing and she was actually featured on the cover of Texas Salt Water Fishing back in January of 2012 (see it here). During her time here, Amanda has become a very strong member of the staff but she admits that she is still learning a few things. Recently, she shared her story of loading a kayak onto her vehicle on her own for the first time.

So there I was, waiting on my boyfriend to show up to help me load a kayak onto our Jeep for a weekend of fishing. At the time, we did not have a garage to store the kayak in so we had it in our storage building, 25 minutes from our house. There was some sort of misunderstanding (probably on his part since guys don’t listen!) and he was still at home when I got to the building. He said, “don’t try doing it alone. The boat is too big for you to handle so I’ll be there in a bit.”

The boat at hand is a Hobie Revolution 13, thirteen foot, five inches and weighing around 70 pounds. I am 5’8”, weigh about 125; slim and somewhat fit, but not athletic in the least bit! The Jeep I was working with is a beast! With a six inch lift and thirty-three inch tires, it stands about two foot taller than I am. This was my first attempt at lifting and loading a kayak by myself, and I knew it was going to be a challenge but when he said “don’t do it, it’s too big”, it was a challenge I had to accept!

Before I get into details, let me tell you that there was already a boat on the roof rack, a Wilderness Systems Ride 115 that the guys loaded before I left work, so the room I had left was very limited. My first attempt was the ultimate fail. I tried lifting the boat with the side cut out handles, directly over my head and onto the jeep from the side. Not only did I almost break my back, I also came close to busting a few windows (I will need to work on bench pressing and weightlifting before I try that again)! My second idea, although it took a little time and was nowhere near graceful, got it up there! I ended up sitting the nose (bow) of the boat onto the back of the jeep, stood under the boat and got into many awkward positions trying holding it in place while shimmying to the end in order to push it up on the Jeep. It took a few tries due to the width of the two boats but I knew that strategy would be my best bet and it worked, plus gave the passerby’s a good laugh!

I had only been employed at ACK for a short time, but when I got back to the store on Monday I immediately inquired about other ways to load kayaks and found out about some load assist options that are available. Don’t hesitate to check them out!

Amanda @ACK

New Fish Rules App for Anglers

A new app for iPhone (sorry Android users, no luck for now) from Fish Rules LLC is bringing saltwater fishing regulation information from North Carolina to Texas including fish identification tools, hot spots and much more. Developed with the hope to help anglers interpret complex fishing regulations that can change from place to place, the Fish Rules App gives an always up to date view of the regulations that apply to the area you’re in. It makes keeping current with an area’s size and bag limit for particular species a cinch and eventually they hope to be able to renew licenses via the app. Cost is 99 cents as of now. Click here for more details about the app. – Joseph@ACK

Pair the Fish Rules App with ACK’s very own Kayak/Canoe Launch Points App and have everything you need to fish the right spots safely and lawfully! Click here for details.

Jerron Reviews the 30 lb. Boga Grip

Over the next several weeks, you’ll be seeing a series of product reviews from our expert store staff. This first one comes from Jerron, ACK Assistant Store Manager for the Houston Store. Jerron is an avid kayak angler with years of experience both on the water and in the store. He’s our resident beyond the breakers expert and can be seen here showcasing his skills with the a group known as the Adventure Islanders. If you ever stop by our Houston Location and need some questions answered relating to ‘yak angling, be sure to ask for this guy!

Product: Boga Grip 30 lb Fishing Tool Model 130, Price $119.00

Description: The Boga Grip 30 lb. Fishing Tool is a high-quality fish landing, handling and weighing tool. It handles fish by encompassing the fish’s lower jawbone and works on most species of fish.

Jerron Says: I got to put the 30 pound Boga Grip to test in Baja California recently, and I must say that it was everything that I wanted and more in a lip gripping device.  Strong, reliable, and accurate are three words that come to mind when describing this solid product and I would highly recommend it to any kayak angler out there.  At only $119, it is well worth the price.

Pros:

The thing that impressed me the most about the Boga Grip is its durability, even while exposed to saltwater like it was down in Baja California.  Most other lip grippers that I have used may last only a month or two before becoming too corroded and rusted that they will not open any more, even with regular cleaning.  The plastic ones will lose their strength and break if grabbing a fish larger than they are meant for.  The Boga, even after 5 straight days in a highly corrosive environment, looked like brand new and functioned as smooth as when I first pulled them out the box.  I think I only washed them once in that span of time too.  Another aspect that I find to be very beneficial to both the fisherman and the fish is that once the device is secured to the fish’s jaw, the whole head of the unit will spin when a fish begins to thrash.  This stop the fish’s jaw from breaking and also allows me to spin the fish around to better grab hold of the lure so as to take it out sooner so that I can get the fish back into the water. Also, one thing that will scare any fisherman out there, is a flopping fish with hooks flying all over the place while the fish is trying to free itself.

Once secured in the clamps a fish cannot get away and it allows me to easily remove the sharp hooks without getting any unwanted piercings.  Now for most people out there, the 15 pound Boga will suffice, but I like to go offshore kayak fishing so I need a device that will handle larger species like king mackerel and jack crevalle.  A bonus to being able to secure them is to also be able to weigh my catch right there in the kayak.  Most of the roosterfish I caught down in Baja were in the 30-60 pound range so a lot of those fish bottomed out my Boga’s scale but never once did I feel as if the device was going to fail.  Another nice feature that most people do not know about the Boga is that it is the only hand held scale that you can send in to the IGFA and have them certify the device so that if you catch a potential state or world record, the weight that shows on the scale is automatically certified with the IGFA and they will accept the record.  You can bet that I will be sending mine in soon to let them authorize my Boga as a certified IGFA scale!

Cons:

The one down side of being built like a brick house is that the Boga will sink to the bottom fast if you drop it over board.  This problem is easily overcome by attaching a float to the lanyard, but it would be nice if Eastboga (the company who makes the product) would sell a float made specifically for this product.  Other than that I could not find anything else to really nit-pick this product about.

Jerron@ACK