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
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
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
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

SUP + Kayak = SUPYak?

There is no doubt that Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) are the latest craze in the paddling world but it’s easy to see why — the boards look slick, are easy to lug around and offer both a unique workout and a new perspective on paddling. In fact, SUPs have gained so much popularity over the last few years that they have been turning the heads of some top kayak manufacturers. These brands have responded by “hybridizing” boards with kayaks, creating a unique style of boat that we wanted to discuss in this blog.

So what is the difference between a SUP and a SUP/kayak hybrid? Well, while many people like the idea of a SUP, a common criticism is that they can be limited purpose vessels. If you want to do more than stand up and paddle, you’re pretty much out of luck. SUP/Kayak hybrids are meant to address this issue by combining the stability of a SUP with the customability of a kayak. Each of the hybrid manufacturers, which include Ocean Kayak, Native Watercraft, Liquid Logic and Diablo Paddlesports, have taken it upon themselves to incorporate their brand’s uniqueness with the benefits of a SUP. The different boards are described briefly below.

Versa Board 12-3 by Liquid Logic and Native WatercraftWhat really sets the Versa Board apart from the rest are the seat configuration options. There is a cooler seat, a comfortable wedge or wedge deluxe seat and of course the First Class Swivel seat. Additionally, you’ll find a variety of other unique features including a drop down skeg, built in wheel for transport and a molded in rear handle. And, like all other hybrids, the Versa offers a number of accessory mounting options. Native Watercraft, Liquid Logic’s sister company offers an angler version too! The Versa Board is made of the same materials as your standard plastic kayak which makes it a bit heaver than your traditional composite SUPs but as a result boasts more stability.

Nalu 12.5 by Ocean KayakIntended for entry level, long distance and recreational paddlers, the Nalu is a simple and affordable hybrid that provides both speed and comfort. It comes outfitted with a seat, dry hatch and storage bungee and offers plenty of deck space for mounting accessories. Like the Versa, it can be outfitted for a variety of activities including fishing. It is also made of plastic.

Adios by Diablo Paddlesports The Adios is more kayak than board, that being said, it incorporates SUP stability with a sit-on-top kayak’s maneuverability to create a very unique watercraft. With drink holders, extra space for storage and the optional Larry Chair, the Adios is made for comfort. More so than comfort, the Adios is quite the fishing machine. The mounting options are virtually unlimited and the ability to stand up makes it an ideal platform for sight casting. What really sets this one apart from the rest is the material it’s made of — Thermoformed ABS. For those looking for something a bit smaller, Diablo also offers the Chupacabra, a shorter version of the Adios. To read more about Diablo, click here.

For some, traditional SUPs will provide everything you need. For those intrigued persons who aren’t quite ready to give up everything they love about kayaking, we hope this will expose you to another option that may meet you in between. Thanks for reading and tell us what you think about these so called hybrids by commenting below.

Joseph @ACK

Mix and Match Special, Buy Boats, Get $100

Summer means it’s time to get out on the water and we are very excited to pass on a special promotion to help you do just that! For the next 5 weeks, when you spend $799 and up on one or more Ocean Kayak, Necky, or Old Town boats (canoe and/or kayak) you will receive a $100 Visa® Cash Card. This is a great opportunity to get the family their first boats or even to just expand the fleet!

To qualify for this offer, you will need to mail in a copy of your ACK receipt showing the boat purchases (at least $799 must be from boat totals and does not include accessories and taxes) as well as a completed offer redemption form (see below). The offer ends soon on May 31st, so keep in mind that this opportunity will not last forever!

For complete details, click here. To download the redemption form, click here.

Just Out of Reach…

If there is a will…we’ll find a way.

We get to do a lot of installs and repairs here at the ACK Houston Store and we have never been faced with an install that we have not been able to do. We recently had a customer bring in his Ocean Kayak Big Game for some rod holder installs and a rudder. The rudder was a breeze but then came the rod holders. Where the customer wanted them was just out of my arms reach in order to put the stainless steel nuts on the back side of the bolt. I really did not want to do a well nut install and was bound and determined to make this work. Before I could go any farther, the phone rang and I ran off to answer it. When I returned to my project I noticed our newest store employee, Vanson Nguyen, was upside down and inside the front hatch of the boat putting the stainless nuts on the boat! Now take into consideration that Van is 5 foot tall and 110 pounds. There is no way I could do it at my size, but he fit perfectly! We coordinated the attack plan for the rest of the install and got it knocked out quick. The customer was very pleased with the install. This experience left us thinking to ourselves, what other boat will Van fit into…..anybody have some requests?

Jerron @ACK Houston

Familiar Faces at the Houston Fishing Show

ACK Booth at the Houston Fishing Show

I’m here at the Houston Fishing Show and I keep running into customers from the store. Shows like this really put into perspective how many people we have helped with either buying or outfitting their kayaks. It makes me feel good to see that we are making an impact in the paddling community. – Andrew @ACK Houston

Note: The show goes on until Sunday, March 4th. For location, time, and other details, click here.

The Kayak Side Car?

Jeff's Vespa Kayak Sidecar Setup - Digging it!

This article was originally published back in November of 2011 by Team Ocean Kayak’s Jeff Herman on the Ocean Kayak blog. Check it out…an entertaining article worth reading but kids, please don’t try this at home! :-)

You get many curious looks rolling down the Texas coastal highways on a Vespa with a kayak riding shotgun. Pulling up to a light, an old cowboy in his dusty ball cap and dustier Chevy truck leaned out his window and hollered, “What do you call that thing?” I cracked a smile and shouted back, “The best-worst idea I ever had”….click to continue reading…

2012 Kayak and Canoe Roundup

A look into the latest from Hobie, Ocean Kayak, Necky, Wilderness Systems and more!

For those of us tuned into what’s going on in the paddling industry, August was greeted with much anticipation as manufacturers started rolling out their new kayak and canoe models. Industry professionals and consumers alike became giddy and almost child-like. August pretty much came and went and as always kayak and canoe manufacturers didn’t fail to deliver. With new and innovative features and updates to tried and true designs to shorter and longer versions of already popular models, I’ll just jump right in and sum it all up for you. I could have easily cut and pasted product descriptions but instead I wanted to share with you some of what I know and what I’ve learned over the last few weeks.


Wilderness Ride 115 & 135
I was trying to hold back on this one until the end but I can’t help it. The newly designed Wilderness Systems Ride 135 and it’s new sibling the 115 are not to be ignored if you enjoy kayak fishing or simply want a sit-on-top with unbeatable stability, capacity and plenty of cargo space. The most notable new feature is the Freedom Elite seating system, which simply lets you adjust the position of your seat forward and backward — something I have yet to see on any sit-on-top kayak. Another feature familiar to the popular Tarpon series is the SlideTrax accessory system making it easy to install and adjust a variety of accessories. This one gets two thumbs up from this guy! Click for specs, colors and pricing for the Ride 115 and Ride 135.

Dagger Zydeco 9.0 & 11.0
For those of you familiar with the original Zydeco, you already know what a great performer this entry-level gem can be. With it’s new slick design and features, you’d think that these boats were expensive but at less than $450 for the 9.0 and $550 for the 11.0, it’s the perfect boat for just about anyone. I’m big on quality seats and the Zydeco’s adjustable, ultra-comfortable CFS-R Seating System doesn’t disappoint. Compact, lightweight and easy to use, I think it will be hard to find another recreational sit-inside for the buck. Click for specs, colors and pricing for the Zydeco 9.0 and Zydeco 11.0.

Hobie Mirage Revolution 11
Perhaps one of the most notable launches is the new Hobie Mirage Revolution 11 offering all of the same great features as it’s bigger brother in a more compact and lighter configuration. Recently named “Best Boat” at the iCast Sportfishing Trade Show, the Revo 11 deserves it, with the same quality and features you’d come to expect from Hobie. This one is surely to be a hit amongst paddlers and kayak anglers as it lends itself to being more maneuverable making it perfect for rivers and smaller bodies of water. According to several reports, this boat has been described as one that “cuts through water like knives through butter” — sounds about right! Click for specs, colors and pricing.

Hobie Quest Deluxe 11
Why stop at the Revolution? For those who prefer to paddle over the pedal, Hobie has applied their magical shrinking potion to another popular model, the Hobie Quest. Why so magical? Because it’s pretty much an exact replica of it’s bigger brother. Rather than try to reinvent the wheel, they took an already awesome boat and simply reduced it’s size and weight making it ideal for smaller paddlers. Don’t be fooled though, it’s still packed will all the great features that you’ll find on the 13ft version such as the mesh-covered stowage pockets, molded in rod holders, high back seat, large covered bow hatch and of course a Hobie paddle. Click for specs, colors and pricing.

Necky Vector 14
Instead of a younger sibling, Necky has taken a step forward with the launch of a larger version of its only sit-on-top model the Vector 13. I haven’t paddled the Vector 13 for several months but I was left with the lasting impression of a fast boat with bullet like tracking — I can only imagine how the 14 paddles. Sleek, slender yet stable enough for any paddler, the Vector 14 is a great boat for those looking for sit inside performance in a sit on top kayak. And how can you not appreciate its good looks! Click for specs, colors and pricing.

Necky Rip 12
The Popular Rip 10 has also joined a new generation of kayaks with siblings with the introduction of the Rip 12. The Rip is known for being an easy to use and playful boat for beginner to intermediate paddlers. The Rip 12 offers many of the sought after features and performance of the 10 but with two extra feet, you can expect enhanced tracking, speed and glide. Click for specs, colors and pricing.

Ocean Kayak Tetra 10 & 12
Probably one of the most talked about launches was the introduction of Ocean Kayak’s new family of kayaks, the Tetra 10 and 12. This is another boat I look forward to paddling soon with reports of better tracking and speed than its cousin, the Trident series. Ocean Kayak labels them as cross-over boats for paddlers who might want to dabble in several different activities. I have to agree as the Trident series was designed with the angler in mind, the Tetra is a made for everyone. You can purchase the base model or the angler version, which come with the Rod Pod II, and two flush mounted rod holders. Click for specs, colors and pricing for the 10 and 12.

Mad River Serenade 13
Just like the Native Watercraft Ultimate and Wilderness Commander, the Serenade 13 can be labeled a kayak/canoe hybrid but edges more towards a canoe in my personal opinion — which is what I love about it. This is the perfect boat for anyone looking for a comfortable kayak-like paddle with all the great features of a canoe. Steve Messana, ACK President and co-owner, had the privilege of  paddling this beautifully designed fiberglass boat and was surprised at how quick it moved and described the paddling experience as a “slick” one — lucky Steve! I haven’t tried this one myself but you can count on me being first in line.

Liquid Logic Marvel 14.5
Okay, so maybe not “new” but once a child of Native Watercraft, the Marvel series has been re-launched under the Liquid Logic brand. Why the mention? Because we are happy to announce that we are now carrying this model so I guess that makes it new to us! Our buyers were “sold” when they had the opportunity to demo this boat and were quick to offer it as part of our product line-up. I’ve personally had a lot of experience with this boat and can only describe it as one of the easiest to use and most comfortable sit-inside tandem kayaks. Complete with the ever-popular First Class seating system, which you can find on the Native Watercraft Ultimate, this one also gets my vote! Click for specs, colors and pricing.

Ocean Kayak Ultra 4.3
Although unavailable at this time, I must, at the minimum, make a quick mention of the shorter version of what many consider to be the “ultimate” kayak-fishing machine, the Ultra 4.7. At 14’ it’s still considered to be a long boat providing the performance you need when you are serious about kayak fishing — stay tuned, we expect availability before the end of the year.

So there you have it. A quick summary but do expect more in depth reviews over the next few months. If you are local to any of our stores, don’t miss out on our Demo Days where you’ll be able to demo all of these models and more.

Have you had the privilege of paddling any of these boats yet? We want to know, share your experiences with us by commenting below.


Kayak Fishing…Baja Style!

ACK Employee Jerron takes us on an adventure he’ll never forget?

Beautiful mountain range greeting us upon arrival.

It all started back in spring as I met up with fellow kayak angler and Necky Kayaks Team member, Jeff Herman. He simply stated that I needed to pack my bags because we were heading to Baja to go fishing with Jim Sammons. I can only imagine how big my eyes appeared as I immediately thought to myself, “How am I going to explain this to the wife?” Without hesitation, I picked up the phone to call her and to my surprise she quickly responded with a “HELL YES!” Now, mind you, this was in early March and the trip was not even slated until June but from that point on, I was in full gear-up mode.

Hotel Punta Colorada

The days and months slowly crawled by leaving me more and more anxious as the trip of my dreams drew ever so close. As June arrived, we grew concerned about Hurricane Beatrix but she quickly sputtered out giving us a clean window of weather. SCORE! On the morning of the trip, my wife and I loaded the car up and made our way to Bush Intercontinental Airport. Upon arrival I was greeted with odd stares by other travelers. Apparently very few had ever seen an 8-foot rod tube. One lady even asked me if it was a weapon as I made my way to the TSA line. 

Upon arriving in Cabo San Lucas we noticed the mountains surrounding the airport. The scenery is absolutely beautiful. We loaded up into our transfer van, grabbed some cervesas and made our way down to the Hotel Punta Colorada. The drive took about an hour and a half, but the sights were awesome along the way. Upon arriving at the resort we were greeted by Jim Sammons and Sean White (our other guide). We quickly got set up in our rooms and of course it was off to the bar for some refreshments as we discussed our game plan for the next day.

A great catch by my lovely wife!

The morning of our first attempt to go fishing yielded some higher than expected winds, but it did not deter our group from hitting the water. We picked up some bait on the way including sardines and mullet. The action that day was slow, but my wife scored her 2nd kayak caught fish, a silver Pompano.

Shortly after that, birds started to target our baits, so a change of location was necessary. We made our way around Punta Arena to a place where Jim said that big roosters like to hang out. Our group trolled for several hours but still didn’t catch much. Jeff and I made a move with Jim, only to hear over the radio that a member of the other party that stayed behind caught a 35lb Rooster and then another. Unfortunately, our day was almost over so we decided to just head in. The good news is that we were treated with an awesome dinner and discussed our plans for the next day.

Waking up to an amazing sunrise.
My first 40lb+ Rooster!

On day 2, we woke up to an awesome sunrise as we ate our breakfast. Soon after, we were gearing up our kayaks up for launch and made our way to Punta Arena once again. After about 10 minutes of trolling I noticed that my bait was starting to dance all over the place, but I kept paddling like instructed — that is until I heard the line screaming off my reel. I looked behind me to see a massive Roosterfish slam my mullet and slice across the top of the water. I slapped the drag down and held on for dear life. The kayak did a complete about face very quickly and off to a Baja sleigh ride I was! I will be the first to admit, our local sharks and such have nothing on Pez Gallo! These things are absolute freight trains! For every 5 yards of line I gained it would strip off another 50. It was back and forth for a good solid 30 minutes. Soon I had color and then the landing process began. I could only describe these fish to be extremely thick and HEAVY! This one was about 40-50lbs.

Jeff landed this 60lb monster.

Soon after landing my first fish, Jeff’s line takes off and he is off to the races. Mind you, he is fishing in a scupper pro too! The fish had his way with him for about the same amount of time that mine did, weighing in at about 50lbs. Little did Jeff know his next fish would take him to the limit and back, by a much bigger fish. I reeled in and started to follow him for support. For a while there, the fish was pulling him so fast that I could barely keep up. It easily had him cruising between 4-5 mph and finally got to where he could not gain any more muscle on the fish so I stepped in to help him reel it in. Once we landed the fish, we could see why it took so long to get it in. This was easily a 60lb fish. — a pure beast.

Back to trolling and BAM, my bait gets slammed again rendering another titanic fight. From that point on it was fish on for everyone! Of course, all good things come to an end. As the fishing slowed down, we made a move where one angler caught a 25lb Dorado. Another fine dinner and drinks ensued.

Max landed this beautiful striped Marlin.

Next up on day 3, Marlin! We made the necessary gear changes that consisted of 100lb fluorocarbon and 100lb ball bearing swivels along with 10/0 circle hooks so that we could troll Ballyhoo. While in a group, the key to the Marlin process is to form a line and then paddle at the same speed to maintain a virtual wall of bait.  Jim calls this the “wall of death.” Not 10 minutes into our troll, Max (from Quebec) hooks up to a striped Marlin — crazy! We all scrambled to get our baits in and support Max. As the fish pulled Max farther away from our group, Jeff volunteered to keep up with him to assist him with landing the fish. The rest of us reformed the line and continued trolling down the Baja coast. We had several strikes and follows from Marlin and a good run by a Dorado but no hook ups. Later on, we heard that after a long one and a half hour fight, Max finally landed it. Needless to say, Max was spent for the day.

The Wall of Death

On day four, we formed another “wall of death” and began the troll. We trolled, trolled some more, trolled a little bit farther, trolled a wee bit more and did I mention we trolled? After a lengthy trolling session the wind had picked up considerably, so some of us made a move back over to Punta Arena. We were determined to catch something on our final day so we began trolling for roosters again. I quickly hooked up but not with a rooster. Instead I was tussling with a large needlefish! Estimates have this thing between 4-5 feet. As soon as I let the monster go Jeff gets a screaming run and hooks up with his final rooster of the trip. Shortly after, I was rewarded with a nice Jack Crevalle and again, another Rooster.

Goodbye Baja!

This marked the end of our last fishing day in Baja, so I was happy we made the move!

 The meal that night was the best yet with everyone reflecting on the most amazing trip we had all taken.

This by far was the best fishing trip I have ever experienced in my life. Jim and Sean are two of the coolest guys I have ever met, and am proud that I can now call them my friends. I will never forget this trip as long as I live and am already planning for the return trip next year. Billfish or bust!!

Thanks again Jim and Sean, you made this trip more enjoyable than I could ever have imagined. If you ever get a chance, this is an experience of a lifetime and I highly recommend it.

Jerron Wosel
ACK Houston