Advice for New Kayak Anglers

proangler14-action-rob-wendle-smallie-60-full 2With kayak fishing growing in popularity by the minute we thought it would be a great idea to ask our seasoned kayak anglers to provide some advice and tricks for the those looking to get started. So we took to our Facebook wall and asked our followers to give us the best piece of advice they had and boy did we get a response! By far the most popular piece of advice given was to invest in the best PFD you can afford and wear it while on the water; safety should always come first! Coming in second was all new kayak anglers should also take the time to familiarize themselves with their gear and kayak as well as check the weather forecast before setting out on their first kayak angling adventure. Below is the complete list of advice we received from our fans. Continue reading Advice for New Kayak Anglers

Product Review: Wilderness Ride 135

Eugene Mora III, a Wilderness Systems Ambassador and avid kayak angler, reviews his Wilderness Ride 135. Eugene Mora

Fishing from the Wilderness Systems Ride 135 has been amazing. Although there are many platforms to choose from, this is the ATV of kayaks for me. The pontoon hull design allows for maximum stability and weight capacity. This kayak weighs in at 85 pounds and has the ability to carry up to 550 pounds of gear.

I love the comfortable phase 3 seat. Continue reading Product Review: Wilderness Ride 135

In Focus Videos: Fish Storage while Kayak Fishing

Now that you’ve landed the fish you’ve been stalking all day long what are you going to do with ‘em so they stay fresh until you can get home? Well, we knew you’d ask that question so we went ahead and filmed a couple of In Focus videos with Jerron, our resident kayak fishing aficionado, to show you some of your options. Jerron talks a bit about Stringers, which allow you to keep the fish in the water at the side of the boat until you’re ready to head home as well as Catch Coolers, which conveniently fit on your boat and provided specialized materials to help keep your catch fresh. Have a look and let us know what you think!

-Trent @ ACK

ACK Fishfinder Installation Package

ACK Fishfinder Installation Kit
ACK Fishfinder Installation Kit

Installing a Fishfinder on a kayak can be a daunting task to people who try it for the first time.  Trust me, I know.  The first time I tried to install a fishfinder I had wires running all over the place and parts laying all around because I didn’t know what they were, where they went or what they attached to.  I even came out of the whole experience more frustrated than relieved. I am pretty sure I even questioned if all that work was even worth it.  Let’s face it, sometimes it just helps having a more “seasoned” installation veteran show you the ropes or even install it for you.  Here at ACK, we recognized this problem and came up with a solution.  Not only did we come up with our own ACK Fishfinder Installation Package, but we created a full set of instructions including detailed photos that are extremely easy to follow.  As if that weren’t enough, we filmed a step-by-step video to help show you how the installation is supposed to go so that you’ll have a visual reference if need be.  Pretty cool, right?  I sure wish I had that when I did my first installation!  The ACK Fishfinder Installation package gives you everything you need to help get your fishfinder up and running with fairly minimal effort.  Now you don’t necessarily have to follow the rules to a “T”. If you want to tweak the installation to fit your own personal wants or needs, feel free,  the instructions in the kit will help guide you down the right path to get you to your end goal….a working fishfinder! As always if you have questions or need advice feel free to send us a email at customer@ack.com.

Here’s the video:

-Jerron @ ACK

A Plethora of New In Focus Videos!

We’ve all been pretty busy over here at ACK HQ but we’ve recently taken the time to show off some of our favorite products in our ongoing series of In Focus product spotlight videos. We thought we’d dedicate a blog post to highlight what we’ve put in the spotlight recently.

Whether you’ve barely wet your feet in the world of kayak fishing or you’re a seasoned pro, you’re going to want to watch Jerron’s Kayak Fishing Essentials.

No matter if you’re a renter or an owner of a SUP, everyone needs a place to put their gear while out on the water and Jenny shows off Tahoe SUP’s SUPack Day Pack in detail.

YakAttack’s BlackPak is both a controversial and well-loved product at the same time and we’ve made another video (see the first one) showing you exactly what you get when you buy one and why you’ll want to try it out.

Cooler bags are essential if you plan to catch (and not release) fish on the water and Native Watercraft’s Behind the Seat Cooler Bag is tailor-made for Native boats and Jenny walks us through the key features.

There are a lot of mounting options out there for your kayak but Railblaza makes some of the more innovate products out there. Jerron takes you through the accessories you can use while out on the water (or wherever else you might find them useful).

-Trent @ ACK

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

Kayak Fishing 101

We realize that not everyone that buys a kayak from ACK is looking to wet a line (lingo for casting a fishing line into the water) but we also know some of you may be curious or in some cases ready to jump right in. While fishing from a kayak is almost as simple as fishing off the bank, you do need to consider a few differences. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of outfitting your kayak for fishing, what to expect on your first fishing adventure and a couple of tips to make your experience a safer more enjoyable one.

Outfitting Your Kayak

Native Watercraft Manta Ray outfitted with a few basic accessories geared towards kayak fishing.

Fact of the matter is you really don’t need much to get your kayak outfitted for fishing. When somebody asks me what it takes to turn a kayak into a fishing kayak, I jokingly say “grab a rod next time you go paddling and go fish”. While that holds a lot of truth, the reality is there is a massive selection of products to help make your experience a better one. While many anglers customize their boats with hundreds of dollars worth of gear, you can start with a few basic items.

Rod Holder – Get your rod out of the way and secure it.
You need something to keep your rods in place. Your boat can flip or your rod can get hung up on a tree. Last thing you want to do is lose your rod and reel combo. Rod holders are typically made of plastic material and can be mounted with bolts or rivets. Three of the most typical applications include:

Scotty Baitcaster (Secure Mounted Rod Holder)

Flush Mounted Rod Holder - A tube that is inserted into your kayak or sometimes molded into the boat. The end of the rod is simply inserted into the tube and can then be secured with a rod leash. Flush Mount Rod Holders are usually installed behind the seat on the top deck area.

Secure Mounted Rod Holder - Provides a more secure hold than a Flush Rod Holder by “grasping” your rod and reel. You’ll typically find these installed on the center of the deck between your lower legs and sometimes behind the seat.  The adjustability of these make them a popular choice when you want to keep your rod tips pointed lower than the flush mount option allows.

Kayak Crate/Tackle Boxes - Another popular option combines both tube like rod holders with a crate or boxed in area with a lid to store and protect your gear all in one easy to manage package.

Anchors – Stop your boat or you may miss the fish.
Like fishing from a motorboat, you’ll want to stay put when you find that “honey hole”. Securing your kayak in a specific location is key when fishing and there is no better way to do it than with a small anchor and line. Since you are limited on space and capacity, don’t get anything over 3 lbs. The two that we recommend are:

Folding Anchors - Folding anchors tend to be the most popular design due to their ability to provide a good hold in most environments and their portability.

Claw Anchor - If you want an anchor that can hold you in place even in the softest bottoms this is the anchor you need. It may not be as portable as a folding anchor but you can rest assured you won’t be going anywhere.

Coiled Paddle Leash

Paddle Leash – When a fish is on, the last thing on your mind will be your paddle.
Secure your paddle. We’ve all heard the term “up the creek without a paddle” — avoid it. By installing a simple device that secures your paddle to your boat, you’ll never have to worry about losing a paddle when you catch the “big one”. One end simply ties to a piece of hardware or installed accessory on the boat and the other to your paddle shaft. The leash is typically coiled or made of a “bungee” material. Most kayaks also have built in paddle tie downs but leashes are easier to deal with when in the moment.

That’s about all you’ll need to get started assuming you already purchased a paddle and PFD. However, you will find hundreds if not thousands of great products made specifically for kayak fishing such as anchor trolleys, drift chutes, kayak rudders, stake out poles and much more. Here is an older article I published featuring other gear you may want to consider.

What to Expect When Kayak Fishing

Planning Ahead – Fishing can be addictive. What was supposed to be a one-hour fishing trip can easily turn in to half a day excursion especially when the fish aren’t biting. Expect to fish longer than you plan and be prepared. Load up a small ice chest with plenty of water, snacks and a sack lunch. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and/or apparel made for spending long periods of time outdoors.

Introducing gear to your kayak adds weight, launch with care.

Launching Your Boat – As you prepare to launch your boat, keep in mind that with all the extra gear you have, it may paddle a bit differently than you are used to. Balance your gear with the heaviest items towards the center of the boat. When launching, be aware that depending on how much gear you’ve loaded, your freeboard (boat out of the water) may be less than you than what you typically experience. Launch with care.

Understanding Fish From Above – I am not a fish expert but I do know that they are extremely skittish. The good news is that with a kayak and what makes kayaks a popular choice is their “stealthiness”. As you creep closer to your honey hole, you can easily glide into position with a few gentle paddle strokes. Just be careful not to bang your boat when putting your paddle down and lifting a rod, the slightest bump will scare them away. Want to see what you’re casting at? If the water clarity is somewhat clear, get some polarized glasses, stand up and do a little sight casting. Boat not stable enough? Get a pair of these bad boy stabilizers.

Casting off a Kayak – For many, the idea of casting off a kayak seems awkward. Sure many kayaks are made for fishing and extreme movements may be not match but for those with tippier kayaks, this could pose a problem. Practice your cast and reaching around your kayak (tankwell, dry hatches, etc.) before you launch into deeper waters. It’s all about using more arm than body and casting with a bit of finesse. The same applies if not more to casting while standing. If the water favors it, many kayak anglers side straddle their kayaks meaning they sit side ways while their legs dangle in the water. Keeps you cool but also provides a general feeling of balance and many find it a bit more comfortable of a position especially if paddling and fishing for long periods of time. A general rule of thumb is to always keep your body upright and your head centered over your kayak. If you lean over in any direction too far — splash!

Norton Fish Grips

Catching a Fish – So what do I do when I catch a fish on a kayak? May seem like a silly question but for those that have never fished off a kayak, this is a very important one. Make sure your hook is set and stay focused. Keep a tight line by holding your rod up above your head (watch out for those trees) while you double check to make sure your paddle is secure. If you are anchored down, try to steer your fish away from the anchor line or this could quickly get messy. Once you reel your fish close enough to land it (always leave some slack in your line), do take care in how you handle the fish especially if you plan to catch and release. Fish have a protective coating so try to avoid holding the fish with your hands but if you do (photo op, release, etc.) be gentle. I always recommend a fish grip designed to do just this and carry a pair of pliers or forceps to remove hooks. There tends to be a lot of difference in opinions when it comes to catching and releasing fish, here is a great article that I recommend you read. Finally, if you do plan to keep fish be sure to bring a fish cooler with you especially during the warmer months to keep your dinner cool and fresh.

Not Catching a Fish – You’ve heard the saying, “it’s not called catching for a reason” and for good reason, don’t expect to catch fish every single time you go fishing. I’ve got many friends and family who have all together given up fishing off a kayak because they didn’t catch anything on their first outing. Sure it may be the gear you are using but there is also a good chance that water and weather conditions are the culprit. Don’t loose hope, persistence is key. Do your research, see what’s working and what’s not. Don’t worry, you’ll catch one and when you do, I promise you’ll be hooked (pun intended)!

Safety! – Not to scare you out of kayak fishing but you are introducing the possibility of getting yourself hooked, bitten by a snake or some creepy crawler and dealing with less than ideal weather conditions. Of course this is the same with any paddling sport but as an angler, you will find yourself under trees, into waters full of vegetation and along banks making yourself more susceptible to encountering wildlife. Be cautions of your surroundings, always take a first aid kit and like any other paddling sport, wear a PFD! I can’t stress how important this. When flipping a kayak with all kinds of fishing gear, your first reaction may be to try and recover your hard earned dollars — stay focused on you instead, everything else can be replaced. I don’t think I need to tell you this but hey, it always helps to stay in tune with the weather forecast regardless of what outdoor adventure you plan to partake in.

Tips

Gear up but only take what you need!

Go Easy on The Gear - We could write an entire book on the type of actual fishing gear you’ll need but since it can vary so much by style, season, body of water and region, we’ll stick to the kayaking aspect for the sake of this article. That said, I recommend you do some research, find what’s biting and where and the gear other anglers are using. While many kayak anglers prefer to take everything but the kitchen sink, I prefer to keep it simple with only the gear I know I will use. Your boat deck is limited on space, so before you know it you’ll have hooks, worms and countless other items strewn across your boat. Keep it organized in a small tackle box or bag and place it in an easily accessible area.

Secure Your Gear – The best thing you can do to avoid losing your gear is to properly secure it. This includes your paddle, anchor, tackle boxes, etc. If you don’t have lash points, install some simple pad eyes and get some deck line. While bungee is great for securing a few large and light items, it may not hold up to some of your heavier gear such as a tackle box or ice chest. Tie it down!

Go With the One That Knows – Most kayak anglers are introduced to kayak fishing from those who already have some experience with it. That is hands down the best scenario. If you have yet to be invited, invite yourself or join a local forum or group. While competitive and sometimes secretive by nature, most kayak anglers are a friendly bunch and always willing to offer up some advice or even meet up with other anglers with same interests. Those with experience are a wealth of knowledge, learn from them. A word of advice, before you go posting “hey, I’m a newbie that’s never been kayak fishing, any advice?” do search the forums. Chances are, hundreds of others have already asked the same questions you are about to ask and the answers may be there right there in front of you.

Practice Safety – As referenced above, it may be a good idea to practice casting but also capsizing. During warmer months, I always advise paddlers (angler or not) to force themselves to turn their boats over in a controlled setting and practice getting back on a boat. It never hurts to take a class or two on paddling technique and safety.

Buff Headwear

Wear the Proper Apparel – I have to admit, it’s pretty silly when you go out kayak fishing only to find that most anglers are wearing similar outfits to what you have but for good reason, it’s apparel made for it. In warm weather, look for clothing that is light, loose fitting and dries quickly and long sleeves and pants that will keep you cool. Most performance fishing wear will do just this. Water gloves, face protection and hats are also recommended. For fishing during colder months you’ll want to layer up. Start with a base layer of a synthetic material such as this Immersion Research Thickskin Union Suit, a mid-layer of fleece and an outer layer of splash wear such as this NRS Endurance Jacket. The idea is that as the day warms up, you have the option to shed a layer or even two.

So there you have it, Kayak Fishing 101. Yep, there is so much more to it but I hope this starts you off in the right direction. As always, we want your feedback. Got your own tips, any experiences of your own you would like to share with those that have yet to try kayak fishing? Comment below, we want to know!

- Roland @ACK

Motivational 2011 Angling Compilation

Found posted on his Angling Addict blog, Rob Choi from VA has shared a compilation of his 2011 year in kayak fishing. This slick footage features Rob and friends reeling in and displaying fish after fish out in the VA coast area. Complete with a smooth electronic beat, this video is sure to inspire all you kayak anglers out there to make 2012 a good one! Even Kayak Angler Online snagged Rob for an interview about his “addiction”, so if you are interested in reading what he had to say follow the link here! – Joseph @ACK