2015 Spring Demo Days: What’s New?!

This year is our 10th annual Spring Demo Days and at this rate, it’s panning out to be our best yet! This year, we are honored to be able to represent and carry some of the leading kayak brands the industry offers including: Feel Free, Old Town, Viking, Wilderness Systems and of course Hobie. Revolutionary moves are being implemented in the business including the release of Old Town’s Predator XL Minn Kota and Hobie’s Revolution 16. Here are just a few of the new Kayaks that we plan on showing off. 

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Wilderness Systems ATAK

Wilderness Systems ATAK

The Wilderness Systems ATAK – Advanced Tactical Angling Kayak has a design that can be customized to meet the needs of any angler. The wide deck is ideal for walking, standing, and scoping the waters for nearby fish.  The boat features Wilderness Systems new AirPro MAX seat which allows you to move about the entire length of the deck. This is a boat that can adjust to just about any environment and any target species. They are currently available for pre-order (said to ship around the end of April 2015) and are going fast! Continue reading 2015 Spring Demo Days: What’s New?!

2014 Fall Demo Days: What’s New

Here at ACK we always aim to bring the latest and greatest to our  Demo Days and the 2014 Fall Demo Days is no exception. This season we’ve got a line up featuring new kayaks from Old Town, Wilderness Systems, Dagger, FeelFree and Hobie and we cant wait to get you all out on the water! Read more to get the dish on these hot new kayaks and make sure to try them out at Demo Days!

Old Town Predator XL

Like the rest of the family, XL incorporates all the innovative Predator features that put anglers on top of the food chain. And now Old Town Predator XLintroduces an industry changing XL Consoles, designed for electronics, storage and power customization in just seconds. Quickly convert to power by Minn-kota, for completely hands-free all-day navigation, trolling or structure fishing. This particular boat recently won ‘Best New Boat’ AND ‘Best in Show’ at this years ICAST trade show- the first boat to win two titles since ICAST 2009. Ultimately, it’s hard to not be impressed by the Predator XL!

Read more about the XL here and here. You can pre-order your Predator XL here!

Wilderness Systems Thresher 140*

15450Built with both the serious and the aspiring offshore angler in mind, the Thresher series ushers in the next generation of high performance big water sit-on-tops. The hull is efficient and quick, yet stable and predictable to handle ever-changing open water conditions. The deck is sleek and modern, with a thoughtful layout for maximum gear storage, capacity and accessibility. Along with familiar outfitting, the Thresher also introduces several advancements like water-shedding bow storage cover, versatile center hatch, and the FlexPod OS removable console for accommodating electronics or removable storage. If you are looking to upgrade your kayak or in the market for your first kayak the Thresher is a great option; both attractive and efficient in design this kayak wont disappoint.

Read more about the Thresher here and here. Already want it? Pre-order here.

Feelfree Lure 13.5

“The Lure 10 and 11.5 were an instant hit but some anglers demanded even more and Feelfree has 15454delivered” according to Jim Hager, Feelfree US, “We knew we had to do it, it was just a matter of time. The original Lures were designed to accommodate a growing market of kayak anglers seeking more comfort, more stability and multiple seating positions and we did just that. Now we fill the gap to satisfy the rest of them – the ones that want it all.”  Summed up the Lure 13.5 is a kayak that offers everything a kayaker would need- good looks, impressive features, and a solid brand backing it.

Read more about the Lure 13.5 here and  here. All about the 13.5? Pre-order it here.

Hobie Pro Angler 17T 

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The new Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 17T is a fishing machine with comfort, stability and room for everything you need, including another person. Plus, it’s powered by the patented Hobie MirageDrive pedal system. Hobie took the qualities that made the original Pro Angler a fan favorite and expanded with Vantage XT seating, a drop-skeg, and a built in transducer mount to name a few. If comfort, size, and quality are what you are looking for the 17T is the tandem kayak for you!

Read more about the 17T  here and here. Already in love? Pre-order your 17T here.

Not only will this years demo day host new boats, but it will also feature clinics by industry pro’s and other outdoor gear for you to try out! Get more details and information at austinkayak.com/demo. We hope to see you there!

*Wilderness Thresher 140 available for demo exclusively at the Austin Demo Days. 

Prowler Big Game II Lands At ACK!

The Prowler Big Game II is here!
The Prowler Big Game II is here!

The Prowler Big Game II is here!

Our first shipment of the newly revamped Prowler Big Game II has landed at ACK and I gotta say, this ‘yak is slick! Ocean Kayak has taken a note from sister company Old Town and integrated a number of features from the new Predator kayak into their 2014 version Prowler Big Game II. This includes things like mounting brackets and the high/low Element Seating System.

You can tell right off the bat that this kayak is meant for big stability and comfort. It’s got stern stringers designed to carry volume in the rear of the kayak and plenty of convenient features like the easy to adjust Glide Track foot braces, paddle keepers and new comfort carry handles.

It’s also a ‘yak meant to hold your gear. Between the Mod Pod center hatch and 6 strategically placed mounting brackets, there’s plenty of ways to mount after-market accessories like Scotty, Ram and YakAttack. Couple that with a weight capacity of 550-600 lbs and you can imagine that the Prowler Big Game II will hold just about anything you can think of.

Watch Mike Garcia give a run down of the new Prowler Big Game II at our booth at the Austin Boat Show:

We’ve had pre-orders on this kayak since late last year so quite a few of the ones we got in this first shipment went right out the door. Don’t worry, we’ve still got plenty to ship, so place your order with us today: http://www.austinkayak.com/products/13773/Ocean-Kayak-Prowler-Big-Game-Angler-II-Kayak.html

 

Kayak Fishing Personalities Converge for ACK Demo Days in Austin

Meet Big Names of Kayak Fishing at ACK Austin this Weekend

I was scrolling through the list of representatives that we have coming to our ACK Austin store this weekend for Demo Days when I realized how many awesome people we have coming together for this event. If you’re a local Austin paddlers who is looking to further your kayak fishing knowledge and skills, you won’t want to miss this event. Here are some of the people you can expect to see:

Fil (far left) at the Aransas Pass event earlier this month.
Fil (far left) at the Aransas Pass event earlier this month.

Captain Fil Spencer will be here representing Ocean Kayak, Necky and Old Town Canoes and Kayaks to discuss how he utilizes their line-up of different models on the coast. Fil has been a big presence in the IFA Kayak Fishing Tours over the past couple years, placing 3rd in the recent Aransas Pass event and grabbing up the biggest redfish. He’ll be showing off his personal rig, talking about the new Predator kayak and answering any questions you might have about kayak fishing.

Thomas showing off a fly fishing catch.
Thomas showing off a fly fishing catch.

 

 

Husband and wife team, Thomas and Megan Flemons,  run the show at local Austin kayak manufacturer, Diablo Paddlesports, and kayak fly fish in their free time. They will both be out showing off their lineup of ultra stable kayaks, including their new roto-molded Amigo kayak which has been generating some buzz since it was announced a few months back. Thomas will even be holding a “Fly Fishing from a Kayak” clinic Saturday at 10:45 and Sunday at 1:30 PM.

 

Angler Prostaff Ryan McDermid showing off a recent catch.
Angler Prostaff Ryan McDermid showing off a recent catch.

Native Watercraft’s Tom Jester along with angler prostaff Ryan McDermid and Jose Jimenez will be on site and talking about how models like the Manta Ray, Ultimate, Versa Board Angler, Mariner and Slayer serve the different needs of kayak anglers. Don’t expect to see their new Slayer propel or Ultimate FX yet since those aren’t released until later in the year, but they’ll be able to answer any questions you might have about the new models.

 

Joe Poole at giving a clinic at San Marcos earlier this year.
Joe Poole at giving a clinic at San Marcos earlier this year.

Wilderness Systems angler prostaff Joe Poole will once again be on the scene. Joe has been a favorite resource for Demo Day event goers regarding kayak fishing for many years now and operates his GoinCoastal kayak fishing charter service in Corpus Christi. He’ll have his personal rig to show off and will hold Kayak Fishing clinics both Saturday at 1:00 PM and Sunday at 12:45 PM. His clinics have been known to draw a crowd and are not to be missed for those getting started!

 

Cully & Ester from Hobie Kayaks will be on hand to discuss the Pro Angler, changes coming to Hobie models for 2014 and how the Hobie Mirage Drive makes kayak fishing easy. Cully and Ester are long time Hobie veterans and have participated in a wide range of trade shows and events, including the Hobie Fishing World Championships (as staff). See the video below from the beginning of this year where Cully discusses the Pro Angler:

You can also expect to see representatives from companies like Feel Free, Scotty and Optic Nerve who will be sure to have some products on hand that will interest anglers. Hope to see you there!

Which Predator Kayak to Choose: 13 or MX?

Predator Kayaks

The Predator 13 and Predator MX,  from Old Town Canoes and Kayaks are sleek and innovative fishing platforms that offer a lot of great features for kayak anglers of all types. Saltwater bays and marshes, open ocean, freshwater lakes, streams, rivers, or small ponds, the Predator kayak can do it all. What is the point of offering two different models, you might ask? Well, let’s take a look at both boats and focus in on some distinguishing characteristics and differences between the two new models.

Predator Kayak - 13

Predator 13:

  • Designed for Larger Bodies of Water – With an elongated bow keel line, the Predator 13 is able to take on the more adverse conditions you may encounter on larger bodies of water, such as larger wind chop or surf, due to its superior tracking ability. Large lakes, bay systems, and the open ocean are the perfect playing grounds for the Predator 13.
  • Rod Pod Storage Hatch – This elongated hatch that is found in the front deck space is only found on the Predator 13 and is designed to give you the ability to stow away smaller rods and reels while out on the water. The top of the hatch offers multiple mounting locations for electronics, rod holders and other accessories.
  • Large Bow Hatch – A perfect place to store larger items that you’d like to take with you on your trips. It is fairly easy to take off the hatch and store items such as tents or folding camp chairs in the large cavity found in the Predator 13’s bow.
  • Rudder Capable – To help increase the performance of the Predator 13 on larger bodies of water, you have the ability to mount a rudder on the rear handle. With this essential piece of equipment, it will be much easier to tackle strong crosswinds and currents that you can experience in wide open areas. The Predator 13 Rudder Kit is available at ACK.com.

Predator Kayaks - MX

Predator MX:

  • Designed for Smaller Bodies of Water – Unlike the Predator 13, the Predator MX does not feature the elongated bow keel line that is needed for those long paddles on large, open areas. Instead, the MX has a more rounded hull that helps make it more maneuverable on bodies of water that are smaller and have more moving water. Small lakes, gentle rivers and streams are where this boat shines.
  • Uncluttered Deck Space – With nothing on the floor of the deck, you will find a large space to move about freely and stand facing whichever direction you care to without having to be mindful of anything tripping you up.
  • Maneuverability – At only 12 feet long, the Predator is perfect for navigating tight quarters where the ability to turn easily can be key. Couple the shorter length with the rounded hull design and you have a kayak that can pretty much explore all the little nooks and crannies you always wanted to access, and still be able to turn around and get back out easily.

As similar as these two boats are, they are still two very different kayaks suited to various types of fishing and water bodies. No matter what conditions are out there, you can rest assure that one of these two awesome new fishing kayaks will tackle whatever you throw at them!

ACK President Played Role in Shaping New Old Town Predator Kayak

Unveiled earlier this month, the Old Town Predator kayak has been turning heads in the kayak fishing community. I recently sat down with Steve Messana, co-owner & president at ACK.com, and spoke with him about his recent opportunity to play a unique role in the development of the new kayak.

Designing the Old Town Predator Kayak
ACK President, Steve Messena, played role in developing the new Old Town Predator kayak.

Is this the first time you’ve been involved in product development with a manufacturer?

This wasn’t the first time a manufacturer has reached out to us at ACK.com to help give feedback about an upcoming product. People here have been involved multiple times in multiple ways and I personally have helped on a few. Usually it’s the boat manufacturers that get retailers like ourselves involved and sometimes that means they ask a couple of questions about things like what features we’d like to see and other times we’re asked to play a bigger role in the process. This particular project was probably the most involved I’ve been in any development projects.

How did the process work exactly?

It started off with a conference call about a year ago with a mix of retailers, pro-staffers and the Johnson Outdoors R&D team. They gave us a short presentation about the idea for the Predator and fielded some initial Q&A about the purpose of the kayak & basic features. After another meeting and a few prototype mock ups, they invited us out to test an actual prototype against similar kayaks already in the market. In the end, the process was about how they could pack as much fish-ability into the Predator as possible.

As an ACK representative, what were you able to bring to the table?

There were a number of retailers involved so that they could get different views from different areas around the country. We were unique in that we span both the open water market and inland lakes & fisheries. So a lot of our customers are using kayaks that might be designed for the coastal fisherman on bodies of freshwater or vice versa. As a result we’ve received a lot of feedback over the years about what’s different between the bodies of water and how certain models perform. Things like getting through surf versus paddling calm flat water or going beyond the breakers versus fishing on a moving river, so that’s really what we brought to the table.

What was Old Town able to glean from the feedback?

A lot the features that came out of the discussion are not really surprising. It was the high/low seat option which we hear resoundingly from our customers that they want and then there was a number of other things like having an open deck area to stand comfortably in the boat and the positioning of the scupper holes so you’re not worried about tearing your scupper tubes up in moving water going over rocks or oyster bars.

We talked a lot about trying to balance stability with something that still performs really well, in terms of speed & tracking, especially in flat water where wind can become an issue. In a big wide open lake where you have wind blowing in your face you want really good performance without your stability suffering too much. It’s a trade-off but it’s about finding the right mix. I can’t speak for the designers on what the actual trade offs were but in my eyes it’s turned out to be a great blend of stability without the tracking noticeably diminishing.

What differentiates the Old Town Predator kayak  from other fishing kayaks?

On a feature by feature basis, you can probably find most of the features on other kayaks. But I think what the Predator does is really well is bringing all of the features together: you have stability, an open deck where you can stand up and flip the seat out of the way, the option to replace the seat with a cooler if you want a standing deck, multiple paddle rests, a place for your stake out pole, a very easy to use hatch, a center pod that’s got great rigging ability, a place to mount a trolling motor and a lot of locations for mounting rod holders that also have Starboard to prevent drilling directly into the kayak. It’s brought together all these great features that are maybe on five or six different boats and put them all onto one.

What feature do you think people should be most excited about?

I really like the high-low seat and that’s something our customers have really loved on other models like the Slayer & Pro Angler. What makes the Predator’s seating system so cool is that it will actually flip it out of the way to add extra standing area.

What kind of kayak anglers will most appreciate the Predator?

Any angling customer looking for a feature-rich kayak should check out the Predator. It’s not an inexpensive kayak, so it’s not necessarily for the guy who just wants to try it out for the first time. It’s really for the customer who know’s what they want and understands the importance of the features in the boat. In regards to whether they’re taking it to lakes, rivers or bays – I think it’s well suited for any of those locations.

When will the Predator be available for purchase?

We’re already accepting pre-orders for the Old Town Predator 13 kayak and the Predator MX kayak and we’re expecting to have them in stock sometime in July, likely sometime between the middle to end of the month. We’re going to be getting our hands on one even earlier than that so keep an eye out for more photos and maybe even video footage when we do.

 

 

 

 

Old Town Predator 13 – First Look & Review!

 Predator 13 on Display at ACK Houston
ACK Houston is one of the first to display the new Old Town Predator 13 kayak in it’s store.

After finishing up at the Houston Boat Show this past Sunday, it was time to go have a little fun on the water. I had been eyeing and slightly drooling over the new Old Town Predator 13 kayak  that has been on display in our Houston store this past week. With advertisements boasting it’s user friendliness and stability, I figured there is no better way to find out if it is true than to take it for a test drive myself. :)

First Impression of the Predator 13 Kayak

Right off the bat, I was impressed that that rumors of the Predator 13 being a very quiet hull were true. Moving into the cockpit area, the layout was very well designed. The seat DID NOT block the mod pod hatch which allowed me easy to access to my gear in both the low or high position. Also, the side mounts were close enough for me to reach without obstructing my paddle stroke. One thing I did feel it was missing were brass inserts for an anchor trolley  similar to what you find on the Ocean Ultra 4.7, however, it was overall a very nice set up.

Yeti Standing on Predator 13
Stability Test – Standing on a Yeti Cooler in the Predator 13.

Beyond Expectations for Stability

Standing at 6’1” and 230 lbs., I must say I was most excited about the kayaks stability. It was easy for me to fold up the seat and get it out of the way, letting me stand and move around quite comfortably.  Putting it through a true test, while kneeling I pulled a loaded Yeti Tundra 45 from the rear tank well and place it where the seat normally goes. I was then able to sit sideways on the cooler and even stand up on it and paddle. After paddling for a while, I can tell you that you will definitely not win a race with this boat. However, I am willing to give up a little bit of speed for the added stability.  In my book, the Predator 13 definitely gets an A+ for stability.

To sum it all up… I can truly say I was blown away by this kayak. Other than a few additional  features that would have been added bonuses, the overall layout design, stability and smooth paddling make the Predator 13 Kayak top notch. Way to go Old Town!!!!

For those interested in purchasing the Predator, we are currently accepting pre-orders online or via any of our locations and expect to have them sometime near the end of July.

Old Town’s New Kayak Fishing Predator Comes to Life

The Predator in action.
The Predator in action.

If you’ve been keeping up with Old Town’s unveiling of their new kayak fishing machine, the Predator, you’re probably like us and ready to see it hit the water. Well, your wish just came true! Old Town & their parent company, Johnson Outdoors, have brought together some of their top kayak anglers around to put this new ‘yak to the test.

Experience The Action

The video features Randy Vining, a Georgian pro-staffer who describes the Predator as being “like standing on the deck of a bass boat.” He proceeds to seamlessly transition between sitting & standing as he casts and catches. Check it out!

The Predator is currently available to pre-order in either the 13 Ft. Model or the Smaller Mixed Water Model.

BREAKING NEWS – There’s a New Predator at Old Town!

The Predator 13 in action.
The Predator 13 in action.

The suspense has been killing us here at ACK!  We have been excited for the unveiling of Old Town Canoes & Kayak’s “New Predator on the Water” and we’re definitely not disappointed.  It just so happens that ACK will be one of the first retailers to get these bad-boys in stock, so pre-order the Predator MX or Predator 13 so you can get it in the water ASAP!

Old Town, Maine (June 13, 2013) Old Town Canoes & Kayaks, one of the most storied brands in the paddlesports industry, today launched the new Predator kayak. Developed in combination with Old Town’s renowned designers and pro staff members throughout the country, the Predator is completely engineered, below and above the waterline, to deliver the perfect platform for fishing.

The Predator brings anglers closer to the water and the action with nearly unlimited options to customize the kayak around their specific equipment and unique needs. Featuring six strategically-placed, removable mounting plates, the Predator enables consumers to install rod holders, GPS units, fish finders, cameras and more virtually anywhere around the boat without drilling into the hull so they can tailor the craft for their personal style.

The Predator 13
The Predator 13

The Predator boasts standout features including the three-stage Element™ seating system that can be lowered for paddling, raised for fishing or even flipped out of the way in stand-up mode for poling, sighting and casting. The proprietary, slip resistant Exo-Ridge™ deck is designed for sure footing and superior drainage, while the Tri-hull construction provides both incredible durability and stability. A package unique in the marketplace, the Old Town Predator ensures anglers can paddle in comfort, arrange equipment to their exact specifications and even stand to fish.

Designing the Predator.
Designing the Predator.

“In designing and building the Predator, we set out to turn convention upside down and deliver a totally new fishing experience,” said David Hadden, Old Town Brand Director. “The Predator still delivers the stability and comfort kayak anglers demand, but the ability to customize this kayak to your specific needs, and adjust it on the fly as your needs change, helps set it miles ahead of the competition.”

The Predator possesses a large capacity center console for maximum storage and additional mounting options, while dual rod tip holders at the bow help store valuable fishing rods safely and securely. Other key features include a large bow hatch with Old Town’s patented Click Seal cover, scupper holes for quick drainage, large rear tank well with Exo-Ridge design to keep gear accessible and dry, paddle keepers, adjustable foot braces and side-mounted rod retainers that allow for convenient grab and cast.

The Predator is tailor made to accept aftermarket options like Scotty™ outriggers, Steady Stand-Up Bar and a Minn Kota™ trolling motor mount. Available in two new models, Old Town Predator kayaks land at authorized dealers in Summer 2013.

Key Specifications

Predator 13:

  • Length: 13’ 2”
  • Width: 33.5”
  • Seat Height: 15”
  • Leg Length: 48”
  • Weight: 72 lbs.
  • Max Capacity: 400-425 lbs.
  • MSRP: $1,299 US

Predator MX:

  • Length: 12”
  • Width: 34”
  • Seat Height: 15”
  • Leg Length: 48”
  • Weight: 68 lbs.
  • Max Capacity: 375-400 lbs.
  • MSRP: $ $1,199 US

Johnson Outdoors’ New Adventure Team Website Coming Soon

AdventureOnTheWater.com is coming soon.
AdventureOnTheWater.com is coming soon.

Johnson Outdoors, makers of Old Town, Necky and Ocean Kayak, will be releasing a new website called AdventureOnTheWater.com that will act as a platform to showcase what their Pro Staff and Adventure Team Members are up to. It will feature photos, videos, personal kayak rigs of the teams, events and much more! While the date for the official launch is not yet released, we are still very excited about this upcoming outlet and expect it to be full of great information for anyone interested in the Johnson family of brands. Be sure to stay tuned for more!