As I sit here getting ready for the upcoming boat shows I think back about how great of an “off” season it was. For many paddlers that reside in Texas, late November through January is considered the “off season”. Of course, we do experience a few days where temperatures will get back up into the 70’s, but for the most part it stays just cold enough, especially early in the morning to keep most folks off the water.

Early Morning Sunrise

Well, I guess you can say that I am not like most folks. For me personally, it’s one of my favorite paddling seasons. This is mostly due to the fact that it is hunting season and with it being a bit more manageable at the store I am able to take more days off to chase after waterfowl.

Looking back over the past few months, I think about my most memorable times which started with opening weekend, paddling out into the dark at 1 am make sure that I got the spot of my choice on my favorite lake. Second to that was taking a few extra days off just before Thanksgiving to head down to the Gulf Coast for a “Cast and Blast” with my best friend which ended with a 2 day paddling trip with limits of ducks and trout. It may not sound like fun but hunting just before a cold front only to have to paddle back across the lake in 30+ mph winds and 2-3 foot swells was an exciting experience for me. Admittedly, that trip was a little too wet and cold but it was made easier utilizing a Hobie Mirage Kayak. I must also add my recent hunting trips during the coldest days of the season as of yet. There is nothing like breaking through ice in a kayak when its 22 degrees outside with a wind chill of 15 degrees. And of course, the countless days of getting up at 4 am for a short hunt just to make it back in time to open up the shop. Yes, good times indeed. I do always recommend that if you plan to paddle during the colder months, be sure you are outfitted with the proper apparel.

Another Early Morning Shot

Now, the off-season wasn’t just about hunting and taking time off either, I was able to get some work done too! We took the time to focus on remodeling several areas of the Austin store. This includes the addition of a fully outfitted camping section, an expanded fishing section and an increased apparel offering. I am also staying busy planning for the Austin Boat Show, which is this week.

Enjoy the pictures and I invite you to drop by the store sometime soon to see how we’ve improved it. We’d love to hear about your winter paddling experiences, or better yet tell us all about these experiences by commenting below.

Justin Fees
ACK Austin Store Manager