Big Savings for Paddlers at ACK

Zydeco Bend
Grab a new (to you!) kayak and hit the water!

Save at Your Local ACK Store

Our stores are full of savings for paddlers with plenty of ways score a good deal on a kayak, canoe or SUP and the best place to start is the Used Kayaks section on our website which shows you everything you can find at our various store locations. Do those price tags excite you? I thought they might…but that’s not all, oh no! On top of big savings off of the regular price, our stores offer a $50 store credit* towards accessories with the purchase of a used, blemished or clearance kayak.

But wait, there’s more! If you’re on the fence about a specific model, we always have our rental reimbursement program to help  you make your decision. Our rental fleet is full of models that you can try out with 24 hour rentals and the freedom to take the kayak anywhere you want at reasonable prices. If you’re thinking about one that’s not in the fleet, we’ll do our best to accommodate you needs. And if you decide to buy a used or new kayak, we’ll reimburse your first 24 hour rental fee!

Online Savings for Paddlers not in Texas

Sorry out of state customers, due to the nature of used kayaks we do not sell them online, but we do sell a large number of clearance, discontinued or blemished models in the ACK Outlet! Save up to 30% on an ACK Outlet kayak and score our ongoing deals like FREE kayak shipping to your door* and 15% off* accessories with purchase. Not bad, right?

So what are you waiting for? These kayaks won’t be here forever, jump on this opportunity before it’s too late!

Here’s the fine print:

*Free shipping offer excludes Hobie kayaks and accessories. $50 Store Credit offer only applies to in-store purchases. $50 Store Credit offer and 15% Off All Items offer excludes Hobie kayaks and accessories, Thule and Yakima products as well as all kayaks, canoes, standup paddleboards and other boats, trailers, electronics, gift certificates, lessons, trips, events, any closeout or specially priced products.  All offers exclude prior purchases and cannot be combined with other offers. Free shipping excludes all items of hazardous materials. HI, AK and international orders are never eligible for free shipping.

Kayak Bass Fishing Texas Open

There’s Never Been a Better Time for Freshwater Kayak Fishing in Texas

Bobby Clark snagging a nice bass from his kayak.
Bobby Clark snagging a nice bass from his kayak.

A few years ago you would be hard pressed to find a kayak fishing tournament in Texas for freshwater anglers. Certainly they existed, but mostly hidden among forums or in the minds of those in the know. Today, it’s a different story, with multiple tournament series holding monthly events and one-shot events popping up left and right. And ya, the best place to find Texas kayak fishing tournament information is still going to be local forums like Austin Kayak FishingTexas Kayak Fisherman or Texas Fishing Forum.

Kayak Bass Fishing Texas Open Joins The Scene

The most recent of these events to appear in the Texas scene is called the Kayak Bass Fishing Texas Open. What’s exciting about this event is that it aims to unite a widespread demographic of Texas anglers, separated mostly by region in the state.

“I’m hoping it will bring three big segments of Texas kayak anglers together for one big event,” says tournament director Bobby Clark, “You have your Austin and Dallas guys already competing regularly in tournament trails and events and then there’s those of us in Houston just now putting stuff together. The goal of this event is appeal to all of these people.”

And Clark has picked a perfect venue to do just that, Houston County Lake, which resides pretty close to the middle of all three major metropolitan areas.  Already, he says it’s off to a good start with nearly 50 pre-registered competitors when I checked in with him a week ago.

Supporting a Good Cause

Another great thing about the Kayak Bass Fishing Texas Open is that it will be supporting a good cause as 10% of all the entry fees and 100% of all raffle ticket proceeds will be going to the Texas chapter of Heroes on the Water. And with raffle prizes ranging from an ACK donated kayak, a custom engraved BlackPak from YakAttack, fishing gear and more, there’s plenty of reason to help raise money via the raffle!

Lots of sponsors, including ACK, have signed up!
Lots of sponsors, including ACK, have signed up!

Interested in competing? Here’s what you need to know:

Date: Oct. 5th
Time: 6:00 AM Launch Time and 2:00 PM Weigh In, with a mandatory 5:30 AM Captain’s Meeting
Location: Houston County Lake Crockett Family Resort
Registration: $75
Big Bass: $10

Competitors will be required to bring a Hawg Trough measuring device as well as a PFD, to be worn at all times. See complete details in the official tournament rules.

Hope to see you there!

 

Save the Date – Fall ACK Demo Days Almost Here!

ACK Demo Days - Fall 2013
Hope to see you there!

ACK Demo Days – Fall 2013

Mark your calendars – The ACK Fall 2013 Demo Days are only two months out!  As always, this FREE event will feature a HUGE selection of paddlecraft for you to check out plus paddling & outdoor clinics from our vendors and other experts, and of course, some killer deals.

Dates & Locations

ACK Austin: September 14th & 15th
ACK North Houston (Spring): September 14th & 15th
ACK Houston: September 21st & 22nd
ACK San Marcos: September 21st & 22nd

We’ll be posting more information on locations, available models, clinic schedule & more on our ACK Demo Days webpage as the event gets closer.

What To Expect at the ACK Demo Days

Well, we’ve already told you about the massive selection of canoes, kayaks & paddleboards to demo, the free paddling & outdoor clinics put on by our vendor representatives and local area experts and some great prices. All that’s left to do is show you what it’s like! Check out this gallery from our 2013 Spring Demo Days in Austin and watch this video from the 2012 Spring event:

Team Austin Kayak – Casting for a Cause Kayak Fishing Tournament

Pre-Game - Kayak Fishing
ACK managers Andrew & Brock arrive early in Port Aransas to pre-fish before the event.

Who Can Say No to a Little Kayak Fishing for a Good Cause?

ACKer’s Chris Hackerd, Andrew Moczygemba & Brock Nedland have set course for Port Aransas today with plans to tackle some coastal fishing in the Casting for a Cause Fishing Tournament  that starts tomorrow (June, 28th). The volunteer-driven event has grown to become the premier charitable fishing event in the Coastal Bend of Texas and last year had 160 kayak anglers participate out of a total of 500 anglers.

Always looking for a way we can give back, ACK is proud to be a sponsor this year and is donating a Feel Free Moken 12.5. Proceeds from this event benefit amazing charities such as Heroes on the Water(HOW), the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as well as several other local charities.

Kayak Fishing Takes Strategic Preparation

ACK Truck with Kayaks
Chris’s truck loaded & headed to Casting for a Cause on the coast.

Forming Team Austin Kayak, the guys have put all hands in; working together to come up with a strategy for this event.  After reading over the Hook-n-Line fishing maps for the area and consulting with fellow kayak anglers who have experience in these waters like Fil Spencer (who ironically will most likely be fishing in the tournament as well), they’ve got the best fishing spots mapped out and ready to go.

Plus with ACK’s own kayak fishing gear-head, Jerron Wosel, giving them tips and equipment suggestions, they are locked and loaded with some sweet gear like the Engel Live Bait Cooler and the brand new Predator 13 Kayak from Old Town.

Wish them good luck!  We’ll keep you posted with the results.

[Trip Recap]: Venturing West

I was born in Texas. I have a full-sized state flag on my wall. I’ve seen every single episode of King of the Hill (that’s about 95 hours of my life). I love this state and when I was recently planning a vacation I didn’t see any reason to leave it so I headed out West which is arguably the most beautiful portion of this grand land I call home.

The plan was to stay in Marfa, the small, “weird” town featuring more art galleries than stop lights (to be fair, there’s only one stop light) and a very friendly, eclectic population. I’d taken a trip out there a couple of years ago with several friends while I was in college and one of them moved to the town after he graduated so now I had a place to lay my head in between my day trips. The format of this trip was designed more for maximum exploration rather than relaxation which has its pros and cons but I sat around Marfa a lot on my last trip out there so I wanted to see more of the sights this time.

I made the drive in a a lot less time than the first trip and that was a nice surprise. I was expecting to arrive in the evening on Thursday but instead had the whole afternoon to relax and wait for my friend to get off work so we could catch up. He showed me around Marfa’s NPR station, KRTS, where he works and I had the chance to venture out around the town and see what had changed since my last visit. Someone told us about an art opening in what appeared to be some sort of old refrigerated building so we had a walk through the (seemingly) makeshift gallery. Later in the evening, we ate at one of the many great places to eat around town, Maiya’s, which turned out to be the most expensive meal I’d ever eaten but hey, I was on vacation! Afterwards, we walked a few blocks to the Lost Horse Saloon for a $1 beer and then Padre’s for some live music followed by some much needed rest.

There was one thing on Friday’s agenda: Big Bend National Park. I’ve wanted to visit the park for as long as I can remember and it’s a shame I didn’t spend more than an incomplete day there but my time in Big Bend’s “splendid isolation” was truly awe-inspiring and I know I will be back as soon as I can manage. The drive from Marfa to Big Bend included a stop in another “weird” West Texas town, Terlingua. They claim to be the birthplace of all chili cook-offs worldwide and it’s also (basically) a ghost town. The old cemetery and ghost town are both worth checking out and I’ve heard there’s good food and drink in a couple spots in the tiny town but I had to get moving on to Big Bend.

After crowd-sourcing ideas for my trip to Big Bend on my Facebook page, I decided to climb to the second highest peak in Texas, Emory Peak. I looked over a map at Panther Junction, one of the park’s information centers, and made the short drive down the road to Chisos Basin where I parked my car and headed to the trail. With excellent maintenance, the trail was easy to navigate for a novice hiker and it took about five and a half hours roundtrip with breaks for water, food, rest along the way and a moment at the top to take it all in. There were signs all along the trail warning hikers to look out for bears and mountain lions but the most ferocious beasts I saw were a couple of mule deer and the birds along the way, which are a birders dream and it’s a shame I didn’t know more about them. The trip up to the peak basically consisted of walking up stairs from switchback to switchback which was quite a workout. Once you get closer to Emory, the trail gives way to a rocky, steeper hike with plenty of “false summits” and getting to the peak wasn’t a piece of  cake but it was well worth the view. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky that day and I could see clear into Mexico from the very top. The trip back down took about half the time and I didn’t pass many people on the way up or down. It turns out, Big Bend is one of the least visited national parks which is even more of a reason to go. I should also mention that the weather was absolutely sublime. I barely broke a sweat on the way down and there was a nice breeze to keep me cool as a climbed to the peak.

After a much needed shower and a good night’s rest, it was off to Balmorhea State Park for their crystal-clear, San Solomon Springs-fed pool for some relaxation. Lots of fish, including Mexican tetra and channel catfish, swim alongside you in the pool and there were a good number of scuba divers enjoying the 25 foot depths as well. The pool wasn’t too crowded but is large enough to avoid being cramped during the less-visited months. There was a nice horned owl in the tree right near my chosen spot and a group of bird watchers came to admire it as I was leaving. From the springs, I made my way to Monahans Sandhills State Park for their rolling white sand dunes. You can’t see the extent of the dunes from the highway coming into the park but once you get over a hill past the entrance they come into view and they are gorgeous. I’ve never seen anything like them and I was glad I made the stop. There’s plenty to do there, from camping to horseback riding, but I was pretty tired by that point and stayed around long enough to take some photos and get buried in the sand. After heading back to Marfa, I went to see the Marfa Mystery Lights which I’d missed on my first trip. I’m not quite sure what to make of what I saw out there but others at the viewing area were convinced they were seeing something otherworldly and their excitement was certainly endearing. I’m all for the paranormal though, so keep the mystery alive, Marfa!

The next morning I sauntered around Marfa for a bit and then headed back to reality here in Austin. I can’t imagine the trip having gone much better and it certainly couldn’t have been much more beautiful. The big open skys of West Texas and the friendly people will call me back sooner rather than later. In the meantime, enjoy the photos while I enjoy daydreaming.

Stay tuned for another blog from me detailing some of the products I used on this trip including the Goal Zero Nomad 7 / Rock Out Speaker Combo, the NRS Dura Soft 6 Pack Cooler and the Molokai from CamelBak among others!

-Trent @ ACK

Happy 50th to Texas Parks & Wildlife!

50 years ago, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department was created by the merger of the Texas Game & Fish Commission and the State Parks board. Since then, they have been working to make “life better outside” in Texas and we really do appreciate their efforts here at ACK. Be sure to check out their celebration page at www.lifeisbetteroutside.com, to share your outdoor stories, read others, become a Texas Parks & Wildlife Ambassador and more.

Joseph @ACK

Attention! ACK’s Spring Location Grand Opening Details

We will be opening a fourth store at the beginning of December and we couldn’t be more excited to share some new details about the grand opening weekend!

Click on over to Facebook and check out our new Spring Store page and check out the event posting for more details. We will be updating the page with more information as December draws nearer so that’s where you’ll want to look for all the details. So far, we can tell you there will be event-exclusive discounts and plenty of chances to walk away with some door prizes, so if you’ve been putting off that purchase you might want to stop by the new store on the weekend of December 1st to see what kind of deals we’ll be offering.

As we get closer and closer to the opening of our fourth store, located in Spring, Texas, we thought it would be nice to share a few more details with you if you aren’t already familiar with the big news.

The new store is located in Spring, TX at 23310 North IH-45, north of Houston and just south of the bustling communities of The Woodlands and Conroe. The store is conveniently located on the service road of 45 North just south of where the Hardy Toll road connects. It’s about 45 miles from our store on Bissonnet in Houston. The drive will be considerably better for outdoor enthusiasts that live in the Cypress, Conroe, Spring, Humble and Kingwood areas — the same folks who were making the long trek to get to the Bissonnet store.

We can’t wait to see you there!

-Trent @ ACK

A First Paddle Race Experience

Everyone preparing for the race.

A little while ago, ACK had the opportunity to get involved with a local Texas paddle race called the La Grange Kanoe Klasika. We sponsor paddling events every chance we get, usually sending gift certificates or gear – occasionally, we are able to participate or attend. This particular race took place on an 18 mile stretch of the Colorado River in east Texas and was open to SUPs, canoes & kayaks. My weekend had no foreseeable conflicts and long paddles are not foreign to me, but I knew there would be no way I’d be able to participate competitively – even as a frequent paddler. Still, as I thought more about it, the accomplishment of paddling 18 miles began to stick out in front of me like a carrot on a stick. Soon, I was registered.

I landed a rudder-ed Wilderness Systems Tarpon 160 Angler from ACK’s local rental fleet (not exactly a racing kayak but it got the job done) and got in as much training sessions as I could before the event. I had no idea what to expect, but I held onto the hope that I wouldn’t be the only one there just hoping to finish in time for lunch. When I arrived on the day of the race, other competitors greeted me by helping to quickly unload my vehicle and wishing me luck – it was a very positive and friendly group! I surveyed the other kayaks and canoes and noticed that they ranged from an Ocean Kayak Frenzy to high end racing canoes. One canoe tandem had even decided to bring along a Yeti Cooler full of their favorite beverages.

Almost time to start!

Approximately 60 paddlers began the race together but it didn’t take long for us to thin out. I fell somewhere near the middle and after a while sightings of other paddlers became so rare that it ended up just feeling like a rushed day trip down the river. In the end, it took me about 4 and a half hours to finish the 18 mile paddle. I didn’t win any medals, but I did feel that dead tiredness you get only from pushing yourself to your limit. As I sat with the other paddlers afterwards, enjoying the music and lunch provided, I knew that I would do it again in a heartbeat…just maybe after some time to rest.

Thanks for reading and if you have a paddling event experience you’d like to share, we always love to hear them! Just comment below! – Joseph@ACK

 

Inks Lake Trip Report – Texas

About 2 months ago one of my closest friends, Ben, and I decided to encourage each other to lose weight and get in shape. Ben had already been at it for 4 or 5 months and I was just starting. A few weeks later we decided to sit down weekly to discuss our experiences and release the discussion in the form of an oddly named podcast called “Bacon Tastes Good“. During our discussions Ben mentioned that he would be spending the summer in our native state of Michigan at his in-laws cottage on Intermediate Lake and he was interested in getting a kayak. I suggest he come down to ACK’s San Marcos Demo Days as the Austin Demo Days had already passed, but he was unable to make it down. I then suggested we could rent a couple of kayaks from ACK and take a day off to go paddling and with that the plan was set in motion.

Our mutual friend, Daniel, ( Who also works at ACK. ) has been telling me for years how awesome Inks Lake is so I decided that we’d head there to check it out for ourselves. Ben decided that he wanted to try the Wilderness Systems Ride 115 and I really wanted to try a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120. Since it was Ben’s first time kayak I took it upon myself to over plan/prepare for the trip. Inks Lake is about an hour from Cedar Park, Texas where Ben and I both live so there would be no running home for anything we forgot. When all was said and done we ended up having everything we needed for a comfortable day of paddling.

After days of torrential rain in Central Texas the sun rose on a cool clear day. Around 7:30am we loaded the kayaks and packed the car with the final bits of our gear. We got on the road shortly after 8am and arrived at Inks Lake State Park a little over an hour later. After paying our entrance fee’s ($6 a person) we made our way to the boat launch and unloaded the kayaks. Ben scouted out the General Store and the bathroom situation while I unloaded the rest of the gear.

Around 9:45am we started on our first trip of the day to Devils Watering Hole. Not really knowing anything about Inks Lake we were pleasantly surprised to find a small waterfall once we reached the end of Devils Watering Hole. There’s no wonder why that part of Inks Lake is a popular swimming spot. The route to Devils Water Hole is littered with submerged boulders and rock formations. They are tough to see when they are right in front of your kayak. I ran up on one and almost tipped my boat but I was able to keep my balance and stay dry. The nice thing about the paddle from the boat launch to Devils Water Hole is it’s all inside a no wake area so there’s no boat wakes to contend with although I’m sure on the weekends there are a lot more swimmers back in that area.

After an hour of paddling we returned to the boat launch area and pulled the kayaks up on the beach area next to the launch. We ate lunch at a picnic table behind the General Store and recorded a quick 30 min episode of “Bacon Tastes Good”. Before heading out toward Inks Dam we refilled our water bottles and applied more sunscreen to defend against the Texas sun. The trip to Inks Dam would take us outside the no wake area but it wasn’t a real issue as we had the lake pretty much to ourselves except for one ski boat and a couple of fishing boats.

The trip along Inks Lake’s Southern shores to Inks Dam has several inlets that would be tough for motor boats to navigate as they are either littered with submerged trees and rock formations. The coolest being an inlet where there’s part of a forest that is mostly submerged under Inks Lake. At the end of the inlet there’s a small “beach” area where we saw a few fisherman, but except that it would seem that the submerged trees limit access to this area of the water only to human powered boats. Even in our kayaks we couldn’t avoid hitting the tree trunks just below the surface. Our journey into the “forest” proved worth the effort when, from a few feet away we saw a bird, which we were later told was a blue heron, snatch a fish from the water and eat it.

Another inlet led to a neat hidden cove where we found a small motorboat had anchored up. The driver of that boat must of had nerves of steel as there is only a narrow channel between rock outcroppings leading into the the cove. Once we reached Inks Dam we crossed over to the other side of the lake that is lined with houses and Camp Longhorn which made me wish I was a kid again so I could go there for summer camp. From what we could tell it seemed that many of the “cabins” are floating on the water with cool “obstacles” strung between them like a zipline and a wire “bridge”. Once we neared the boat launch we crossed back over to the other side of the lake and once again pulled the kayaks up on the beach.

After a short rest we switched kayaks and did one more paddle to Devils Watering Hole. Then we packed up and headed back to Austin to drop of the kayaks at ACK. Then it was back to Cedar Park in rush hour traffic for food and much needed naps. We had paddled for a total of 4 hours and had a great time. We decided that we needed to come back in the fall to camp at Inks Lake State Park and do some more paddling. Ben decided we will be buying a Wilderness Systems Ride 115 to keep at the cottage in Michigan and in the spirit of building healthier lifestyles we are talking about doing some kayak races in 2013 with the goal of competing in the Colorado River 100 in September.

Jeremy

Event Recap: Fly Fishing Downtown Austin, Texas

Last week I got to step into the Paramount Theatre here in Austin, Texas for the first time and catch the 2012 Fly Fishing Film Tour and to represent ACK as a sponsor of the event. It was a neat evening with many familiar faces. I have seen many of these folks in our stores or at CCA (Coastal Conservation Association) events, but a lot of people I had never seen, and mostly because fly fisherman can be a pretty subdued bunch. They aren’t looking for a high catch count as much as the perfect cast, presentation and of course the land. I consider myself to be an amateur fly fisherman and really do enjoy the sport but in some circles I am deemed “the worst fisherman on the planet” — I at least find peace in the cast and man, these movies make me want to get better!

My top 3 movies of the night were:

The Kodiak Project – I have longed to visit Alaska for many years. I think its beautiful country and this wild bunch of fellas seem like the kind of group I would fit right in with. I laughed so hard when I saw the guy in the bear costume and the fella I thought looked like an accountant turned out to be a Deadhead…Rock on! He could still be an accountant for all I know but he was slaying the steel head. An all around great video that got me excited to plan a trip.

Eli Sierra - Proud owner of a beautiful Wenonah Argosy Canoe donated by ACK

Reverb – I liked this movie for the sheer weirdness of 3 guys entrenched in the Chicago punk rock scene finding common ground in, of all things, fly fishing. How does that happen? Punk rock is angry, loud and in your face…and fishing is, well, the exact opposite unless you like the lunacy of Mike Iaconelli. I’m not much of a fan of Iaconelli; act like you’ve been there before bro. Now if I caught a fish I would do a back flip out of my kayak…errr fall out of my kayak and tell people I was attempting a back flip.

Doc Of The Drakes – Just a touching piece about a guide and a retired doctor with Parkinson’s Disease chasing big fish after the hatch. The story was just the right pace to reflect on where you’ll be when fishing may not be the easiest thing to do anymore. The spirit of the outdoors still lived in Doc and I’m sure his guide learned a lot about life.

All in all an outstanding night! Got me fired up for the CCA banquet and I’m crossing my fingers that this is the year I finally win some prizes.

Chris @ACK