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:
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.
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.
Native Watercraft’sTom 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.
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!
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.
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).
The Slayer 12 is one of the hottest fishing kayaks out on the market. It provides great stability (so much that you can stand with ease), ample gear storage, and superb paddling performance. If you get the chance, head on over to our website and give this awesome package a look.
Streamed live on Dec. 18th via a Google+ Hangout, Chris Hackerd, ACK Co-Owner and VP of Store Operations, shows how to perform a flush mounted rod holder installation on a kayak. This was our first attempt at a live presentation and I gotta say, Chris did a great job! What do you think? What type of install would you like for him to do next?
A coastal kayak fishing adventure by ACK Employee, Kristian Kolflat
I hadn’t planned on getting struck by the whip-like harpoon-resembling barbed tail of a large stingray, but as I shuffled foot-by-foot in the waist deep, mucky-waters of the back bays of Port Aransas’ world-class fishing waters, this seemed more and more likely. “Always shuffle your feet,” an old friend preached to me for years.
This trip began in Austin, where my girlfriend Jacqie and I packed my high-mileage, hail-beaten, scratched, yet ‘mint’ condition Nissan Pathfinder. After loading two Wilderness Systems Tarpon Kayaks (120 & 140), the necessary paddling accessories, fishing equipment, beach gear, food and firewood, we headed due-south towards the Texas coastline. Final destination: Port Aransas, TX. Fourteen Dairy Queen’s, AKA “Texas Stop Signs” and countless nameless towns later we reached the coastal flats where we would later be kayaking. As we waited in line for the free ferry ride over to the island I day-dreamed about the sun and sand, but mostly the fish. Tomorrow would be my birthday and I had no intention of doing anything other than sitting on the beach, swimming in the ocean, playing horseshoes and doing countless 12 oz. curls while watching the sea gulls glide over the gleaming swell of the Gulf of Mexico. All this did occur but only after a mandatory 5-mile run on the beach — Thanks Jacqie!
The following morning, I was prepared to come face-to-fin with a whale of a fish. I was plenty hydrated and my nutritional needs were met by a wonderful seafood platter from Jay’s Seafood and Spaghetti Works the night before.
Gear check: A Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140 with it’s lovely Phase 3 Seating, hassle-free Orbix hatches, adjustable foot pegs and countless bungees; an older model Tarpon 120 (which paddles the same as the newer ones, but requires a butt cushion) and a Werner Camano full carbon straight-shaft paddle that weighs in right at 25 oz. Imagine paddling with a feather rather than a sledgehammer? Lucky for me, I had the feather. Other accessories included a couple of dry bags, dry boxes, PFD’s, whistles, flares, biodegradable soap, soft-sided NRS coolers, neoprene wading boots, bruce-style claw anchors with rope, clips and anchor floats and a Mud Stick anchor (I highly recommend). Right about now you’re probably thinking, “how do you fit all on that on the boat?” Oh yea, let’s not forget the fishing gear: two Penn reels accompanied by Falcon rods, tackle, landing net, bait bucket, bait and of course a map of the area. I assure you that my gluttony for gear is not the only reason I come so heavily prepared. It’s the shear ruggedness of the coastal environment and countless encounters with despair that cause your hope to crumple beneath your waders all the while making you realize what you’ll bring next time. Believe me when I say that it’s not so much a problem fitting all this on the kayak, it’s the time it takes to pack and unpack all of this gear that hurts. I always plan on setting aside extra time for this very reason.
There we were, finally on the water. After loading up the kayaks at the Lighthouse Lakes public area off of Hwy 361 we paddled across the Aransas Channel. We were not alone, several other ambitious and hopeful kayakers had beat us to the spot, so we went deeper into the Lighthouse Lake’s endless channels of mangroves and bird sanctuary islands. The waters are shallow but crystal clear. Here, people sight fish for red’s, a protected and much-prized game fish, hoping to launch a bait front and center of their flaring nares (nostrils). As we paddled through this magical place, I kept an eagle-sharp eye on the mirror-surfaced water looking for several things including tailing redfish, ripples and anything with a fin on it! I have caught many fish in the flats around this area but I can say that it is not without effort. The waters can be rough and the winds can be devastating. While the fishing can be world-class or non-existent and let’s not forget violent thunderstorms can come in un-announced. This is not a place for kids. You must be prepared to give it your all, or die trying. All joking aside, kayak fishing is a sport that must be taken seriously and you must be well prepared.
After paddling several miles, we began our return to the channel but first stopped in South Bay. Here I skimmed over a lost sheepshead and decided that this spot was fishy enough. I used my mud stick anchor to quickly anchor and proceeded to bait up. I was using both thawed menhaden (shad) and live shrimp for bait. After only a few minutes my rod doubled over and started making that sound that fishermen dream of. I set the hook and began the fight. I am at this point pretty confident that I have a redfish on the end of my line and that its going to give me its best gift — a challenge. I fight this fish in as it melts line off my reel making its powerful runs. Soon enough it surfaces and flashes its gorgeous humpback sized-tail with a nickel-sized black dot. Suddenly, Aerosmith’s “I’m Back in The Saddle” starts playing in a silent frequency that leaves my girlfriend looking puzzled as I play the air guitar with my fishing rod. The day has just taken a turn for the best, when suddenly this stubborn hardheaded fish makes a run directly at me, pivots, then hightails around the boat and gets wrapped up in my anchor line. It wasn’t the Discovery Channel landing I was hoping to share with you, but nonetheless this 25-inch red was available for a quick supra-surface photo shoot.
As for the stingrays; as many times as I slid out over the edge of my mango colored Tarpon 140, I always made sure to shuffle my feet and slowly land onto the underwater soft-bottom. Many times I saw these bottom feeding creatures eye me with their beady little eyes as they swam just past me. As with gators and crocs in the Everglades, grizzlies and buffalo in Yellowstone and the snakes of swampy Caddo Lake, my motto remains “if you don’t mess with them, they won’t mess with you.”
Have you paddled and fished Lighthouse Lakes? I hope to make it back soon but in the meantime, share your story with us!
After talking to a friend about the Hobie Adventure Island, I got to wondering if any companies made after market stabilizers for any kayak. Well after doing a bit of research I found that Scotty does in fact make a universal stabilizer kit that fits any canoe or kayak. These easy to inflate inner bladders offer over 30 lbs. of extra buoyancy.
This system fits into any Scotty mount or can easily be adapted to fit on most canoes without drilling holes by using the Scotty No. 449 Portable Clamp Mount.
Each pontoon includes a Scotty locking mounting system for easy installation and removal. Simply unlock and swing the system inboard to move them out of the way.
Each Stabilizer Kit includes:
2 – inflatable pontoons
2 – 28″ anodized arms with post
4 – No. 241L Locking Combination Side/Deck Mounts
2 – No. 280 Baitcaster Rod Holders
Each 28″ anodized aluminum support arm includes a gear and post system at either end that allows you to make subtle adjustments to properly fit your stabilizer system to virtually any water craft.
The 30 inch long x 8”diameter (zipper opening) pontoons are manufactured from heavy-duty puncture and tear resistant PVC outer shell material.