Let's face it. Summer in Texas is hot. And when I say hot, I'm not talking sweat a little bit hot. I'm talking about the hydrate or get kidney failure hot. But with October winding down, Fall is here and bringing with it beautiful weekends to get out and enjoy nature. Whether you have a large family or it's just you and a couple of friends, camping is one of the best ways to soak in the beauty that nature is wrapping us in.

Camping mixed with some fishing and kayaking is my preferred envelopment in the season. While I would love to be down at the Devils River right now, a weekend escape to a local lake can be just as fun (and a whole lot easier to do with the kids).

Some people (me included) worry about camping with kids. It's easy for adults to go and enjoy the outdoors but ankle biters add a different twist. Here are a few things to keep in mind that have caught many a parent unprepared.

Kids are curious. They may be a bit overstimulated the first time to a new spot. Plan flexible segments of time where they can explore their new surroundings with you. They often will want to look at animal tracks, interesting sticks, cool rocks, every piece of scat on the trail and the list can go on forever.

Kids have patience at times and at other times don't. You need to understand from the get go that your time frame and theirs may be considerably different. It may also change as their mood does. A three night camping adventure could very likely only last a couple of hours. It is as variable as the Texas weather and you should plan for that. It's ok to leave early. Don't set yourself up for disappointment. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. If you power through and "force" the kids to stay for your planned duration, it may be the last time they ever go camping with you.

Kids love activities and snacks. This is a simpler one to navigate. Have some things to do while you are at your campsite. Kayaking is a favorite of my kids. They love being on the water, paddling around and looking at things. They also like to walk trails and look for things. Things is not specific here for a reason. Sometimes it's leaves; sometimes it's footprints. It depends and we leave it up to the kids. Snacks are the other key ingredient. Having smores is great around a camp fire. Having trail mix or juice that they can have while on a hike or paddle is also a good way to keep interest up. Look at 4 year olds playing soccer. For most of them, they play to get the snack at the end. Camping is no different. What develops is an association of a good time around camping or kayaking or hiking because there is not a distraction of "when can we eat?". When it is readily available they can focus on nature.

Pack for all weather. You will want to pack for cold and hot when you go. Little kids especially have a harder time with temperature shifts than we adults do. Have clothes, sleeping bags, jackets and shoes for all weather. Also don't forget a few changes of clothes if you are going to be out for more than a few hours. (And even then it is a good idea).

Hopefully as Fall joins us over these next few weeks, you will be able to enjoy the great outdoors in a tent, a kayak or on a trail with those you love.

Helping people to get motivated to get out there is Austin Canoe and Kayak. They are giving away some sweet outdoor gear now. For your chance to win check it out below. Even if you don't win, ACK is a great place to stock up on all your outdoor needs.




I am in the final stages of prepping for my trip tomorrow morning so writing has taken a bit of a back seat right now. I did however add some blogs I like to read on the right side bar. One of those blogs is from Pat Kellner who writes Fish Tattoo. Pat loves to kayak fish, especially in rivers that hold the Guadalupe Bass. He has a new post about the "Top 5 Lessons Learned in Kayak Fishing" that I found myself shaking my head in agreement to over and over. It's worth a read so go check it out here: FISH TATTOO



Let's be honest. There will always be a new gadget, toy, accessory or tool that, regardless of your hobby, you will want. In kayak fishing it seems almost weekly some new item enters the market to improve the on the water experience. I spend plenty of time scouring the web for the newest, coolest item that will change my fishing time in the yak for the better. Some of these are fairly inexpensive; some not so much. Some of you may have some of these. A few of you may have all of them. To those few, I am jealous. It was hard to do but I have boiled down the catalogs and websites to the five items I don't have yet but would love to try.

Revolution Rod Holder

5. Ram Rod Revolution Rod Holder 


Being able to pivot and tilt any direction is valuable when you only want to mount a couple of rod holders, if that many. Coming in at just under $32 the Revolution Rod Holder is a great buy and a great tool. The dual pivot points allow 360 degree turning on the bottom axis and almost 360 on the top axis. This is definitely going on the Christmas list.




4. Feel Free Camel Kayak Trolley

Feel Free Camel Kayak Trolley

The Feel Free Camel trolley is truly a personal beast of burden to get your kayak, plus all that gear, in and out of the water without making you feel like you have already paddled 10 km. The Camel is designed not to tip over when loading. Simply let it kneel to load your kayak aboard, then tighten up the tie strap which automatically locks the trolley to the shape of your hull and off you go. The Camel Trolley adjusts to most kayak beam and length dimensions and can be stowed easily using its unique folding mechanism and quick release wheels.
-from ack.com

At $129 this one comes in a little more expensive but well within the range of other trolleys. 




3. Yeti Tundra 50 Cooler

Yeti 50
The construction of Yeti Tundra Coolers is carried to the extreme, because there are elite groups of outdoorsmen and adventurers who seek extremes. Desert sun has scorched these coolers. Blizzards have frozen them. Bears have gnawed on them. They have tumbled off trucks and cliffs. All the while, Tundra coolers have kept their cool. This is one ice chest that puts no conditions on reliability under the harshest conditions. There's no better choice to keep food and drinks cold in a campsite, job site, pickup bed, or over your favorite fishing hole. One piece roto-molded UV polyethylene construction is extremely durable and a full length, self-stopping hinge can't hyper extend and break. You'll never buy another cooler! Replaceable nylon rope and textured grip handles make carrying easier. Padlock holes are molded into the cooler body and lid for added security. Dry goods rack included.- from ack.com

The most expensive item on the list, the Yeti 50 lists at $329.




2. YakAttack PanFish Camera Mount


YakAttack PanFish
Getting your camera pointed in the right direction just got easier with the YakAttack PanFish Camera Pole for Scotty Mount Systems. The PanFish features a split mast design with adjustable friction disks that allow quick and easy horizontal panning. Just grab the foam grip above center mast and rotate. Nothing to loosen, nothing to get loose. Just point and let go. The PanFish was designed for over-the-shoulder video with lightweight cameras. Maximum payload is recommended at 1 lb, including camera and housing. Mighty Mount and Scotty Mount versions available.- from ack.com

At $60, this is one accessory that can be added and utilized with existing hardware that doesn't break the bank. 




1. The Ram Aqua Box Pro 10


Ram Aqua Box 10
The RAM AQUA BOX™ product line has been keeping mobile phones and devices safe for years. Now, with the introduction of the AQUA BOX™ Pro, you have access to side buttons and full use of the touchscreen. Weather resistant and splash proof, this unique patented design allows access to all side buttons on the phone while in the case. Are you one of those people that can be a little rough on things? Our PVC Vinyl screen is replaceable so if you start to lose that crystal clear appearance, we’ve got you covered…literally. Allowing easy operation of the touch screen while in the case, the compact and sleek design means traveling with your AQUA BOX™ Pro is never a hassle. Think an enclosure will slow you down? Think again. Send text messages, listen to music, take photos or capture video, make calls all while protecting your phone. Includes a standard belt clip and safety lanyard, the AQUA BOX™ Pro series is perfect to carry along on your next adventure. -from rammount.com

When you have fishing apps, contacts and honey holes marked on your phone, the last thing you need is an oops moment. The Ram Aqua Box will prevent that, keep the phone safe and usable and hard mounted to your boat. It's a good day when all of it comes together. For $54 you can make it come together sooner!


If any of you have some of these gadgets I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you think on these and other things I might not have seen yet. 
I have some trips coming up and will be prepping for those but wanted to share some more pictures from Terry Rascoe of our day on the Leon River. If you would like to see some of Terry's other works from around the world, check it out here.




This weekend I was able to buy my first Jackson Kayak. I chose the Coosa, an 11'2" river kayak that was designed for river running, rapid shredding, stand up fishing and all around versatility. It was new to me but had been fished some before. It's been quite a while since I have purchased a boat that wasn't used. Fishing mojo is transferable you know.

Sunday I had the opportunity to scout a stretch of river that has had little to no activity from humans for the better part of 40 years. There is a project  I am working with that is looking to make this land a public access take in/out for kayaking on the river. I'll have more on that later in the month but I wanted to set the scene of how special this outing was for me. Sunday was the first day in a new boat on a virtually untouched river. My Coosa was the first kayak in that river in a very long time or possibly ever. It is really hard to tell but it was special either way. I learned a lot about the boat, the river and myself. The latter two will have to wait a bit. Today I want to talk about the Coosa.

I have spent the better part of a year reading about different kayaks. I owned two already but knew I wanted to upgrade. In September I fished a kayak bass tournament on Purtis and saw what I wanted. I fished around a Coosa a good part of the day that a friend named Chris owned. He was seeing things I couldn't see and fishing standing up, sitting down, sitting elevated. After that weekend I started reading everything I could on the Coosa. Many folks encouraged me to also look at the Cuda, which I did, in both 12 and 14' models but the Coosa just fit what I needed. I had several offers to test boats out and just couldn't make the connections work out; (it flash flooded for the three days I had available). I watched all the videos, asked tons of questions from Jackson team members, Jackson owners not affiliated with the brand and to the general internet audience. I received dozens and dozens of answers, questions and thoughts. I found a good deal from a friend on one of the forums I frequent and we set up a meet. I bought the boat and headed home, breaking all my own rules and unloaded a kayak I had never sat in, paddled  or fished from. I had never even been in the brand much less the model. It was scary but I had to trust my research.

Sunday came and in true river runner fashion I dragged my kayak through the overgrowth down to the edge of the water. It was clear immediately why the replaceable keel guard was so important. The water had a lip to it and in 50 degree air temps I didn't want to get wet so I put the boat in the water parallel to the bank, with the Elite Seat in the high position and made my move. With a swift move I was in the seat and on the river. I paddled around like a puppy the first time they see water just to test out how it handled. It was amazing. I could 180 with a single paddle stroke. The "tippy" feeling I had heard so much about in the high position was so much of a non-factor I chuckled a bit. I didn't see what the issue was. I suppose it is a balance thing for most folks and understanding the core and the center line balance but after having a 14' Heritage kayak that was only 26" wide, this thing was a surf board. It just felt right.

I could instantly see more than my counterparts who were now in the river. I would point at an underwater landmark and they couldn't see it. At this point, I needed to try "it", a selling point for Jackson Coosa: almost everyone can stand. I have seen this done. I just had to get up the courage. I pulled on the strap and there I was, towering more than six feet above the water looking down on fish like a hawk in the sky. The feeling quickly turned serious as I realized  I didn't yet have my sea legs. I was wobbly. Think brand new baby horse, or giraffe. I kept my balance but there was some wobble. I wasn't trusting my feet and I later learned they weren't in a good spot. When I widened them out to the edges and rested my heels against the low position molding I gained a significantly more stable posture. With the excitement just beginning I sat back down and started paddling up this peaceful, resting river. I fished, I paddled and took in the views. I wanted to try different things.

The things I noticed that hadn't been talked about were evident quickly.

The Coosa is a shallow drafting boat. I was skimming over water 5" deep with no issues. The kayaks that were with me, a Hobie Outback and Heritage Redfish had a little more trouble. I was also the heaviest of the people on the trip.

The turning ability had been talked about but the ability to hard stroke once and 180 was not talked about much. My guess is this is a more advanced paddling technique or strength issue or some sort to where this is not a-typical but not typical either. Regardless, I loved it.

All of the videos I remember seeing that talked about rod stagers showed casting rods, not spinning. Spinning rods don't fit well in the rod stagers or the rod rest on the sides. I had to flip the reel skyward to secure it down on the side and the downward facing eyes on a spinning rod don't sit on the v style stagers. A groove in front of the stagers could accommodate those of us who like spinning gear on the river. It would cradle one of the eyes on the rod and keep it from sliding everywhere. I have seen another fix for this but it means hauling extra gear. I don't want to do that.

Storage was a huge surprise. The Coosa has vast caverns inside of it just begging for a camping trip. When I opened the hatches I felt like I could keep a dog or a cat in there it was so big. As I am rigging the boat out, the reach toward the back will be so much easier. It resembles a cargo plane on the water. I love that.

The handles were also nice. They are wrapped in a fabric cover but underneath is a very hard handle, great for getting the boat up a hill or onto the car. I appreciated the rigidity at it didn't fail when I needed it.

All in all, the Jackson Coosa exceeded my expectations. That is saying a lot. I can't wait to get to paddle it again this weekend and more next week. Hopefully soon, we'll be able to have everyone down to discover this river with me and see what beauty a virtually untouched river can hold.





As we near another Presidential election here in the United States, many minds, even those of us obsessed with fishing, turn to politics. The first debate is in the books and sides are emerging more clearly. People tend to polarize quickly this time of year. Most will spend the next month trying to convince you of their candidates good qualities and at the same time gleefully share the other candidates flaws. In a family that has both Democrats, Republicans and Independents, I try to steer clear of all of it. Will I vote? Yes. Will I tell you who I voted for? Not a chance.And to alleviate the clutter that fills my brain, I do, as several of our nations past presidents did, and relieve the stress by going fishing.

Not only is October a stressful month but is also a great fishing month. The weather is turning cool, the fish are eating to store up for winter and those 105 degree days are but another memory. The long pants and light jacket, stuffed into waders to go stalking in a stream or river or coastal lagoon brings a bit of solice to the soul.

Herbert Hoover, in  Fishing for Fun and to Wash Your Soul said this:

Herbert Hoover Fishing-
from history.com
That Presidents have taken to fishing in an astonishing fashion seems to me worthy of investigation. I think I have discovered the reason: it is the silent sport. One of the few opportunities given a President for the refreshment of his soul and the clarification of his thoughts by solitude lies through fishing. Fishing seems to be one of the few avenues left to Presidents through which they may escape to their own thoughts, may live in the own imaginings, find relief from the pneumatic hammer of constant personal contacts, and refreshment of mind in rippling waters.
Many other Presidents have been seekers of the streams refuge. Washington, Coolidge, Cleveland, Carter, FDR, Eisenhower and Bush Sr have all been touted as avid fishermen. They remind us in many different articles and interviews about the rest, peace and relaxation that lies within the environs of fishing.

Grover Cleveland, known for fishing regardless of weather conditions, (including hail storms) made a timeless  remark by saying:

In these sad and ominous days of mad fortune chasing, every patriotic, thoughtful citizen, whether he fishes or not, should lament that we have not among our countrymen more fishermen. 

The very people we often argue over this time of year take time to do what many of us do here- go fishing. So I challenge each of you to take time this month to step away from the debates, recharge your soul and go fishing.


It's been a little hectic lately so my writing has been more limited than normal. Some great things are happening behind the scenes here at PPF and I wanted to give an update on what we are working on.

In the next month we will be doing a feature on a true gentleman of the kayak fishing. He is involved in many avenues that are furthering the kayak fishing world, especially here in Texas.
 I will also have a new post on Kayak fishing the Texas Gulf Coast as well as a report on chasing Reds.
There are also a lot of behind the scenes things that are happening locally in the Central Texas area that will be announced very soon involving more ways to get the public kayaking.

Thanks for sticking around. We should have more content up by the end of the week.



Chris