A Redfish Fool of Trout

ACK’s Grant Heatherly takes us on a Redfish turned Trout adventure using his brand new Ocean Kayak Ultra 4.7

The Ultimate Kayak Fishing Machine

One of the perks of working at ACK is being eligible to participate in our “Go Play for the Day” program which allows employees to go out in the field to test drive products or experience a day paddling, hiking, camping or whatever else they wish to do out in the great outdoors. Taking advantage of this privilege, I decided to take my new Ocean Kayak Trident Ultra 4.7, Werner Cyprus bent shaft paddle, Seattle Sports Catch Cooler and my trusty Wildcat Lighting System to one of my favorite Texas coastal fishing spots in pursuit of Redfish.

When I arrived at my  destination I was pleased to find calm waters, clear skies and only a few other boaters and kayak anglers. In some ways, I pretty much had the bay to myself. I knew the day would be a good one with water that was like glass and the birds were feeding right on top of where I was planning to fish which only meant one thing — fish! Without hesitation, I geared up, double checked my Wildcat Lighting System, filled my Catch Cooler with ice, hopped into my Ultra 4.7 and made a beeline to my destination.

Keeping the Catch Cool

It didn’t take long before I started seeing signs of Redfish with tails popping in and out of the water all around me. I started to cast into the action but something didn’t seem right. Every time I cast, I pulled in “keeper” trout. Those weren’t Redfish that were tailing, those were Trout! I could have easily caught my limit but carried on.

I decided to move on closer to a spoil bank I knew would render some Redfish. Once again, Trout kept hitting my lure every single time but it was Redfish that I was in pursuit of so decided to hit deeper waters. Putting my Ultra 4.7 to the test, I paddled for several miles. It was around this time when the wind had started to pick up out of the south so the paddle was easy but I knew that my return might be a brutal one. Nevertheless, I carried on arriving at my destination and to my luck, once again, no Redfish. However, I did manage to catch some larger Trout so I decided to put my Catch Cooler to the test especially since the day was coming to a close.

Lighting up the night with a Wildcat Lighting System

At this point, darkness quickly made it presence and I started noticing more boats arriving by the minute so decided this was a good time to flip the switch to my Wildcat Navigation System. It helped keep me visible to other boaters especially since my kayak is a darker color.  Then it was back to paddling. Like most people, I hate paddling into the wind even with a fast kayak like the Ultra 4.7. The good news is that even after a long day on the water, investing in a top-notch paddle like my Werner Cyprus really helped reduced the fatigue.

I fished a few more holes on my way back hoping to catch at least one Red but none were to ever be found on this trip. However, I was pleased to have caught several keeper Trout and even more pleased that I was able to keep them fresh in my cooler as opposed to having them hanging off the side of my kayak on a stringer.

As I made my way back to shore in darkness, I reflected on a good day of paddling and fishing. Along with a top-notch fishing kayak and comfortable paddle, knowing that my lights kept me visible and my fish were fresh on ice made for a pleasurable experience.

Grant Heatherly
ACK San Marcos

Event Recap: Alamo Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation Banquet 2011

The Banquet Hall

ACK recently attended the 2011 Alamo Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation Banquet. The event was held in San Antonio where over 200 members and guests attended making it a great success. This yearly banquet is held to raise funds to help restore, conserve and manage wild turkeys and their habitats.

The Manta Ray 12 Was a Popular Bidding Item

The NWTF did a great job of organizing this event complete with good food, friendly conversations, a raffle and of course the ever-popular auction. This year, ACK contributed a camouflage Native Watercraft Manta Ray 12 Kayak outfitted with a tag along wheel, rod holders and a Wildcat Fishing Light System with custom navigational lights. The kayak ended up being a popular item in the live auction generating an excellent winning bid that went towards supporting wild turkey habitat restoration.

While there, we had the opportunity to showcase a variety of other kayaks and handed out store coupons. ACK had a great time at this event and we look forward to supporting the NWTF in future events.

ACK San Marcos

Night Fishing with the Wildcat Lighting System

Kayak with lights installed.
Mad River Kayak with Installed System

For me kayak fishing is not just a hobby or an activity to pass time, but an obsession. I am always on the water whenever I have a few hours to spare. However, since I am a working college student, my spare time is very limited so I usually fish at night. Fishing from a kayak poses some challenges but I recently discovered a new product that ACK carries — a fishing light system by Wildcat Lighting. This system not only makes it easier and safer to fish in the dark but it actually attracts fish to my kayak!

At first I was a big skeptic because I have previously spent lots of money on fishing lights that just flat out didn’t meet my needs. Unlike most lights out there, these Wildcat lights are 100% waterproof and work well in both salt and freshwater environments. I installed the “Basic Kit” on my Mad River Synergy 12, which consisted of two 15.75” green light strips and two 6” amber light strips. The green lights are placed on the outside of the kayak and provide deep penetration into the water to attract more bait, which in turn attracts more game fish. The amber anti-bug lights are installed in the cockpit area and are designed to discourage pesky bugs and also provide enough lighting to bait my hooks in the dark.

Bait in the Water
Bait in the Water Attracted to the Lights

It works! One evening, I was fishing the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels Texas, and within 10 minutes of using the lights, I had a ton of bait schooling around my kayak. The first fish that I saw was a stealthy alligator gar that swam right underneath my kayak and shortly thereafter more fish followed. I had bass, catfish and perch chasing the smorgasbord of bait that was attracted to the light. That night I was able to reel in some nice bass, a few catfish and just before I called it quits for the night, I decided to try to catch an alligator gar for sport — I want to let it be known that reeling in a nice alligator gar at night is an exhilarating challenge.

It’s also a well-built product. The lights are super bright, durable and the system was easy to install. I was initially concerned that the lights would drain the battery but my lights stay on for over 8 hours on a 12V battery. Now that these lights are a permanent fixture on my kayak, I am not only catching fish with them, but they are also serving as a great safety feature helping me navigate in the dark and keeping me visible to motor boats.

After using and having great success with the Wildcat Lighting System, I am happy to give this one two thumbs up. I highly recommend this product to anyone who is looking for a way to fish at night and increase your visibility. Do you have one installed? As always, we want for you to share your experiences with us…comment below!

ACK-San Marcos