Gearing Up for the Kayak Fishing Boondoggle

It’s Almost Boondoggle Time!

Cannot wait for the Boondoggle!
Cannot wait for the Boondoggle!

The Boondoggle is only two weeks out and we’re getting excited to send off Jerron Wosel and Andrew Moczygemba (our ACK two man team) to go meet the community of kayak anglers from all over the nation who have helped build the event. It seems like each day I hear something new that Jerron and Andrew are getting excited about – be it the beard competition, some new rigging accessories to show off or just plans to fish with people they’ve never had a chance to meet in person before.

As time draws nearer for the 2013 Columbus Day Kayak Fishing Boondoggle, I took a moment to sit down with Jerron and talk about his expectations for the event.

I understand there’s a bit of a funny story behind how you found out about the Boondoggle. Care to share?

About three weeks back Chris, ACK co-owner and VP of store-operations, walks up to my desk and says to me “You’re going to Pensacola.” Before I can say anything he just tells me to look up the Boondoggle and walks away. And that was it. I started looking into and it didn’t take long for me to start getting excited. When I found out my buddy Andrew was going too..well, that made it even better.

Tell me a little bit about your experience kayak fishing and why you think you and Andrew were chosen to represent ACK at the event?

Jerron landing a shark offshore the Texas coast.
Jerron landing a shark offshore the Texas coast.

Sure, before I moved to Austin to work on the ACK merchandising team, I was living in Houston and doing a lot of offshore kayak fishing. I got my start kayak fishing a little over 8 years back when my friend asks me if I want to go out to the Galveston ship channel with him to chase some flounder. The next time he took me out, my second time kayak fishing, we went beyond the breakers and I’ve been hitting the coast from my kayak ever since.

In 2010 I wound up asking Andrew, who was managing the ACK Houston store at the time, for a job at the store. I worked up to assistant manager under Andrew and just under a year ago I relocated to Austin to work at the ACK corporate office as part of the merchandising team, mostly focusing on kayak fishing gear.

Andrew is now the regional manager for our two Houston stores has been with ACK since 2008 – actually coming to the company from a position where he focused on power boat sales. He’s a long time angler and the two of us have spent a lot of time together fishing the bays and taken a couple beyond the breaker trips together. He’s a great resource for all things kayaking and a great person to talk to about hull design and things of that nature.

What are your expectations for the event? Is there anything you’re particularly excited about?

I’m excited to get out there and put faces to names. We’re very active in online communities and social networks at ACK and I’ve met a lot of people whom I only know through those types of interactions. The Boondoggle is going to be an opportunity to see these people up close and in person, so I’m excited about that.

A little while back, for example, I sent a private message to a guy named Rich Winfield after watching his video about kayak fishing for sailfish and we ended up having a good discussion about coastal kayak fishing. Turns out he’s based out of the Pensacola area so he’s going to meet up with Andrew and I and take us fishing for sailfish, kingfish and snapper. We’re both pumped about that.

As for my expectations, I’m just looking forward to hanging out at the booth talking about ACK, having a cold one and listening to all the fishing stories that are bound to come out at an event like this.

What will the two of your be bringing along to show off at the event?

Andrew's Moken...still in progress.
Andrew’s Moken…still in progress.

We’ll be bringing a pair of rigged out kayaks to show off at our booth as well as fish out of and use during our seminar. Andrew has linked up with Bill Bragman from Yak Gear and, I’m a little jealous about this one, gets to take a new Moken 14.5 through the Yak Gear warehouse to pick out whatever rigging accessories he wants. It’s going to be like he won a kayak fishing shopping spree.

I’ll have my Ultra 4.7 out there which I have been using forever and all the rigging accessories that I use. Mostly YakAttack stuff like the Zooka Tube, BlackPak and plenty of GearTracs. I use it mostly for off shore stuff so I’ll be referencing it during the Beyond the Breaker seminar we do on Saturday for sure.

Can you give me a sneak peek into you and Andrew’s Beyond the Breaker seminar?

Absolutely, it’s a topic I’ve spoken about before and my favorite type of kayak fishing. I’ll be covering things like safety equipment, online resources, rigging tips, gear you need and what to expect when fighting/landing offshore species of fish and more. You can actually get a sneak peek at some of what I’ll talk about in a recent blog I wrote about offshore safety and weather concerns. I’m hoping I’ll actually learn from some of the audience members as well during the Q&A at the end too. Everyone has different styles of fishing and gear that they rely on, and I feel like meeting those people and learning from them is what the Boondoggle is all about.

The Beyond the Breaker Seminar is going to take place Saturday at 12:00 PM (see it on the Boondoggle Event Schedule here) and you’ll have a chance to win some ACK gift cards for attending, so hope to see you there!






The Rail Deal

No matter how many installs I do while working for ACK, it is always a bit nerve-racking to drill into someone’s boat. In the best-case scenario, the customer has been paddling for a while and knows exactly where he/she would like the item mounted. Even still, there is the process of finding which mount will work best for that specific location, for that specific piece of gear. It isn’t a huge leap in logic to see that a maneuverable mounting system can save loads of headaches.

There are three major things to think about when installing accessories on a Canoe or Kayak:

The YakAttack Gear Trac

Deck Space – Boat manufacturers have varying ideas about cockpit and deck layouts. There are some designs that designate spots for specific bases but lots of times we are improvising to make a mount fit where it is functional. Even with several companies to choose from, it is sometimes hard to find a base with just the right size or shape needed for an install. With limited deck space on streamlined models like Hobie’s Revolution or Necky’s Vector, a thin rail like Yak Attack’s GT90 Gear Trac makes otherwise impossible installs a reality.

Feel Free Uni-Trac Mount

Paddle Stroke – The biggest placement issue in a canoe or kayak is paddle clearance. You might not realize it, but accessories could get in the way of your paddling stroke, so plan ahead! The manufacturers that do factory-installed rod holders tend to leave at least 32’’ of clearance in front, and 6” behind the seat for a paddle stroke. When I can, though, I like to have the customer sit in a cockpit with a paddle to get a feel for where a mount would work the best for them. Even so, there is not always a space for one in the “sweet spot”, so having the ability to move an accessory closer to you when using it, and away from you when paddling, can be a huge boon.

Functionality – Besides paddle-ability, there are other factors that can determine the placement of accessories. Fish-ability is a key point for a lot of people, so whether a person is right or left-handed or if they mostly use a spincast/baitcast can factor into the placement. Also in the case of fish finders and other electronics, it is nice to have them within reach.

Groove track from Native Watercraft

Last but not least, is the question of weight distribution. A heavy surf or trolling rod can put a lot of stress on the plastic when installed on a smaller mount. A rail, however, would disperse the tension throughout a larger area.

The RAM Screwball

With all the benefits of these accessories, it is no wonder that most kayak companies are embracing them. Wilderness Systems, as in lots of areas, was ahead of the curve in this regard. They included the Slide Trax rail into all of their Sit-On-Top boats starting in 2010.  Native was not far behind with their Groove Track, and now  Feel Free is including the Uni-Track on the Moken 12 and 14. Furthermore, third party companies are introducing new ways to become part of the rail world. RAM’s Screwball and Scotty’s Gear Track Adaptor now make it possible to bypass the mounting plates and dashboards that used to be conventional wisdom, although sometimes they still make more sense.

With the ever-evolving systems, there are lots of things coming on line to help with the search for the “Holy Rail” – good luck! If you ever need assistance with mount placement or suggestions, please let us know, we are always happy to help.

Randy @ACK San Marcos

New Products From Yak-Gear!

Yak-Gear has come out with a new “Build-A-Crate” milk crate customization product. These are available with either 2 or 3 rod holders and they come with all of the mounting hardware included in the package. The mounting brackets also have slots built into them to hang your knives, pliers, lures and other tools. Get ready to be creative!

Another new product is their Track Nut Kit. This is a universal track nut that easily fits into Wilderness Systems, Native Watercraft, YakAttack and other track systems. This gives you the ability to take any accessory and mount it to whatever boat you would like. For example, do you like your Harmony Universal Slide Trax Mounting Plate but can’t install it on your new Native Slayer? No longer a problem as this handy kit will allow you take your plate off one brand of boat and place it on the other. These come in packs of 4 track nuts, 4 socket head screws, 1 allen wrench, 4 wing knobs that will fit onto the screws (just in case you do not want to use the allen wrench to install every time) and installation instructions.
Jerron @ACK

Product Reviews: Tested by a Winter Texas Coast

Stacking them with a Thule Stacker

I recently spent a few days down at the Texas Coast with some family and friends. We were able to take advantage of the beautiful weather to do some paddling back in the bays, attempt a little fishing and have lots of fun! Naturally, for Christmas, I acquired a few items from ACK and couldn’t wait to try them out. Among them were a Wool Buff Headwear, a Yak Attack ParkNPole Stick, Thule Stacker and a Sandbar FlatFire Charcoal Chimney starter.

The Wool Buff was awesome. When the mornings were a little brisk and slightly breezy, it kept me warm. It also helped shield my face and neck from the wind, sun, and spray. The beautiful thing about wool is that it works to keep you warm when it’s cold, but also keeps you cool when it warms up. I highly recommend trying one of these out, especially if you are spending significant time in the outdoors. I plan on using this for hiking, running, and backpacking as well.

The Yak Attack ParkNPole Stick works very well. Some of its benefits over other stakeout poles I own and use is that it is lightweight, has a comfortable handle that doubles as a push pole, and it floats if you drop it in the water. I was able to pole my Tarpon while standing when I encountered some pretty skinny waters.

Firing it up with a Sandbar Charcoal Chimney fire starter!

Fire — humans have an innate attraction to it for obvious reasons but when it comes to grilling with charcoal a chimney system such as the Sandbar FlatFire Charcoal Chimney is the best. Personally, I dislike the taste and the idea of having lighter fluid fumes near my food, and it takes longer. This system uses no lighter fluid, takes only a few minutes to create glowing red coals (all of them), and only requires a few sheets of paper and a match to light. Plus, here’s the best — it folds flat. I spent four months hauling around a round chimney on a road trip. I wish I had found this solution a lot sooner. All in all, a must have, and I liked it so much I bought one for my father as well.

Last but not least, the Thule Stacker enabled me to bring all 4 kayaks on one vehicle. A slick system, I have used this several times to haul multiple kayaks. Sturdy and easy to install, the Stacker makes it easy to bring your friends along for a paddling trip.

Can’t wait to get out again soon!

Kristian @ACK Austin Store