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Gear Review

I have not had much time to sit down and write lately as I have been busy – busy with work, busy with family, busy with life in general.  That being said this blog has been nominated again this year in the YakAngler 2014 Kayak Angler Choice Awards.  I’m honored to receive a nomination because it shows that there are kayak anglers out there that appreciate and are entertained by this blog and for that I am very thankful.  I hope I can keep things fresh and promise I will eventually find time to write (and fish) again.  If you’d like to extend a vote my way I would be happy to accept it: YakAngler 2014 Kayak Angler Choice Awards

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If you don’t know whom else to vote for in each category I will offer some suggestions:

Angler of the Year – Hands down Steve Lessard.  I can’t think of a more deserving kayak angler out there than my friend Steve.  The man consistently whoops our behinds in BCKFC and IFA tournaments and he was up to the task on foreign soil in the Hobie Worlds.  He is an exceptional angler and a great guy – he is my AOY.

Kayak of the Year – I’m a Jackson guy so I may be a little biased  but I’m torn here between the Kraken and the Big Rig.  Each of these boats is a game changer in their own way.  I got to paddle a Kraken at the Dealer Summit and can tell you that this is one slick ride.  They don’t mention it much but guys like me can stand and fish from the Kraken and still have the fastest boat on the water.

Paddle of the Year –  The Manta Ray carbon and the Surge carbon from Aqua Bound have been my two favorite paddles I’ve ever owned.  Surprisingly the Surge carbon wasn’t on the nomination list, so the nod here goes to the Manta Ray. Compare it’s weight and blade size with other paddles that have been nominated – you won’t find another high angle paddle under 30oz.

Forum of the YearBayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club is my local club.  It’s a great group, no surprise they were nominated.

Outfitter of the Year – Another local favorite here – Pack & Paddle.  Why do I love Pack & Paddle?  Let me count the ways – huge kayak rigging section, local tackle and flies, a knowledgeable staff that fishes, great seminars and demo days, Beer & Gear, and one of the best kayak displays I’ve ever seen.

Location of the Year – Grand Isle, easy.  The site of the biggest kayak fishing tournament in the World in Ride the Bull.  This place is kayak fishing mecca and I have some converts from freshwater Alabama that may agree.

Video of the Year – Business as Usual by Team HookedonYak.  I love this video because its fun, original, it comes from regular guys like you and me, not some video professionals who want to blow you away with drones and forced fishing drama.  These are some South Louisiana boys going to work on some reds showcasing the incredible fishing we have to offer.  If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and watch below.

Some of you may remember I got a new toy for the Cuda awhile back, the Power-Pole Micro anchoring system:

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I’d love to give a review on it, but unfortunately it has been sitting in that box in my garage, unused, for several months.  I haven’t gotten a chance to use it because there wasn’t an easy way for me to mount it on the Cuda.  The Power-pole Micro comes with it’s own adjustable bracket mount, but another bracket is still needed to get it to fit right/anchor properly on the back of the Cuda.  My options were to fab something up of my own or wait patiently until a commercial mounting bracket was available.  I chose to wait because I trust the folks at YakAttack a heck of a lot more than I trust myself when it comes to kayak rigging.  I also didn’t mind waiting because I really didn’t want to have to run power to the unit and I knew a battery pack for the Power-Pole would be available in October.  So with the bracket for the Cuda now offered by YakAttack online, it will be sooner than later that I will get a chance to use it!

The installation of the bracket is actually really easy, the hardest part is getting over the fear of drilling holes in a kayak.  It doesn’t matter what I’m installing on a kayak there is a lump in my throat every time I put that drill bit(or rivet gun) to the plastic – you’d think by now this would be no big deal for me, but that’s not the case.  So I always measure and line everything up a trillion times before I do anything. Here is what is included from YakAttack:

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No instructions came with the mounting bracket.  I’m not sure if that was an oversight or the product is so new that none have been typed up, but you’re in luck because Damon Bungard of Jackson Kayak has already posted an instructional video going through the process with a prototype mount.:

Tools you’ll need:

– Drill

– Phillips head screwdriver

– 15/64 drill bit

– 7/16 socket or open ended wrench

As you can see in the video it is pretty simple, so simple you probably don’t even need instructions.  The main thing is to just line the bracket up parallel with the handle on the left.  The bigger holes that mount the YakAttack bracket go over the kayak, while the smaller holes, which are for the Micro anchor, sit with two of the holes over the water.  The bigger holes on the right follow the contour of the boat:

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Then drill your first hole:

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After the first hole is drilled you can mount the first screw to make sure the rest of your holes line up. Remember you’re drilling into the bigger holes, not the smaller ones:

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When you have all four holes drilled and and your screws in place, you can open the rear hatch of the Cuda and tighten down the locking nuts:

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With the YakAttack bracket mounted and tightened you can now install the Power-pole mount, with screws that come in the YakAttack mounting kit:

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As you can see the YakAttack mounting bracket is designed to work with or without a rudder, as the Power-Pole will anchor off to the right side of the boat.  Installation was super easy and with the YakAttack bracket it was super clean as well. I look forward to getting that battery pack in so I can finally put this anchor to use and see what the fuss is all about.

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In keeping with the product release theme, another new offering this year from Jackson Kayak will be a Realtree edition Kilroy.  This boat comes loaded with features that all hunters will enjoy, but I see it being especially useful for my duck hunting friends.

“The Realtree Edition Kilroy comes with features specifically designed with the waterfowler’s needs in mind, including custom Realtree Max-5 camouflage boat graphics by CamoWraps, and these other Realtree Max-5 features:

• Soft Deck with large pocket for storage of the fitted blind system, ammo, calls, headlamps and any other items requiring quick access,

• Fitted Blind System that allows you to convert the boat to a mobile layout duck blind, sporting zippered panels to allow access to gear, space for a dog, and other smaller openings to access the YakAttack gear tracks for use of RAM or other accessories,

• Removable Decoy Bag that stores securely behind the seat and comes with a shoulder sling for easy carrying out of the boat,

• Slip-on Seat Cover to conceal the seat when the hunter is not in the boat or just protect the seat from muddy paw prints.

Ideal for a wide range of sportsmen and women from 120 – 250 pounds the Realtree Edition Kilroy is made of incredibly durable and abuse-resistant rotomolded polyethylene. The kayak weighs 69 pounds and has a recommended load capacity of a beefy 375 pounds. MSRP is $1799.

The Realtree Edition Kilroy will debut to sporting goods buyers at the upcoming Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City Aug. 4 – 9.”

This is an ideal boat for the Louisiana sportsman – think of it as an improved pirogue.  Imagine going on a duck hunt in the morning, then spending the afternoon stalking redfish – the perfect cast and blast.  Very cool to see Jackson recognize that it is not just fishermen out there that can benefit from the use of a kayak.  All sportsmen can take their hobbies to the next level, what a great boat for those wanting to do so.

For more information, check out Rapid Media online.

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Kraken-top-JM-modified-V7Another announcement from Jackson Kayak last week was the release of their new offshore fishing kayak – the Kraken.  This is the boat that Jim Sammons has been working with Tony Lee and the design team at Jackson Kayak to create.  After fishing in Panama with Jim for a week back in February, I know that he is pretty stoked that this boat is finally a reality.

“Our core mandate was to build a great paddling boat for fishing, instead of a fishing boat we can paddle,” said Jackson Kayak design team lead Tony Lee. “The end result reflects all our design experiences pulled together into one very awesome paddling kayak.”  This is a paddler’s fishing kayak, something speedy for the big water guys, which is right up Jim’s alley.

“Key features of this monstrously equipped ready-to-fish kayak include the following:

  • A new and improved Elite seat with fore/aft adjustable trim to compensate for large load swings;
  • All new, more comfortable foot pegs;
  • New hinged center hatch for easier hull storage access
  • 4 behind-the-seat rod holders: 2 RAM Rocket Launchers, 2 Flush Mount;
  • Neoprene sealed dual-level front hatch;
  • Bait tank pump scupper;
  • Transducer scupper for fish finders.

Rotomolded of linear plastic, the Kraken weighs 75 pounds and has a capacity of a whopping 550 pounds. MSRP is $1799; $1999 with rudder.

The Kraken will debut to sporting goods buyers at the upcoming Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City Aug. 4 – 9.”

For more information on the Kraken, be sure to check out these links:

Jackson Kayak release 

Kayak Fish article

Kayak Angler article