As I talk to folks both new and experienced in the kayak fishing world, gear and rigging bubbles up as a subject constantly. Having been in the kayak for more than 10 years now, I have rigged quite a few boats. I have done the "all in, all at once rigging" and then the "little bit at a time because it's all I can afford" rigging. 
I don't really have a preference. It's more of a money thing. If I have the extra cash, more toys is more fun I guess.

What I wanted to do is give a break down of what, in my opinion, are the three phases of rigging. Not everyone does it this way but time and again, it's what I see and what people share they are doing. You can skip phases, do them all at once, or whatever suits your fancy but if you are looking for a starting point, try Phase I. Progress as you see fit. 

Phase I


Tracks- $10-$50- Some kayaks come with it already, some don't. These are or at least can be the base for all attachments. These also allow you to strip off attachments before transport. I use the YakAttack GT175 heavy duty tracks. Tracks come in all shapes and sizes so finding one that fits your needs is fairly easy. 

Adjustable Rod Holder- $20-$40- Flush mounted, molded in rod holders are great but typically mean you need leashes and there is only one angle to choose from. I just upgraded to the Zooka Tube as it handles multiple reel types and lengths. 

360 Degree Light- $40-$85- A must in many states from dusk until dawn, a 360 light lets other boaters know you are there, makes you legally compliant and gives you some light to see by should you need it. The VisiCarbon Pro is my light. I've had the others and this is far superior in every way if you can spare the coin. 

Net- $8-$125- Net styles vary as much as fishing pole choices now. The cream of the crop nets have yet to win my pocket book. I use my $10 Frabill net from Academy and sometimes regret it. I'm thinking my next purchase may well be a better net. 

Anchor- $0-$60- Depending on where you are going to be fishing, anchors have a variety of styles and weights. This is usually one of the first things people purchase who are going to be fishing in saltwater or big freshwater lakes. Some folks even make their own from an old barbell. Whether you are a bruce claw guy or not, an anchor is a quick way to stay on a spot. 

Hawg Trough- $15-$25- Quickly becoming the go to measuring device for Catch Photograph and Release anglers and tourneys, a Hawg Trough should be up there on your list. Need some pointers on how to get it setup? Go here.



Phase II


12 Volt Battery- $20-$30- Lots of ways to do this one but the easiest and most common is a deer feeder battery. 7.5A and rechargeable. Why do you need this? To power the next thing on the list!

Fish Finder- $60-$1500+- Dozens of options for this one. Get the best you can afford and upgrade as you want/need. I use a Lowrance Mark 5X-DSI. It isn't tip top of the line. It's not even color but I'm color blind anyway so yay for saving a few bucks!

Push Pole/Anchor Stick- $50-$100- These can be different or the same. If you fish frequently in water less than eight feet deep, this is a good way to go. I use the Park-N-Pole. I have the 6ft version and wish I had bought the 8. 

Anchor Trolley- $20-$40- So why is this in Phase II and not with the anchor in Phase I? Lots of people simply clip or tie the anchor wherever they can. Not until later do folks discover the advantages of this device. You don't need one to run an anchor but once you use it you will love it. I have the Hobie anchor trolley but several companies make a good one. With a couple of pulleys and some paracord, crafty folks can make one for a few bucks. 

Transducer Mount- Not everyone can or wants to do a through hull mount.Even fewer have a transducer ready boat. For those who like to hang the 'ducer off the side and remove when off the water, the options are few. I use the Mad Frog Liberator and it works well for my needs. 

Gear Box/Milk Crate- $0-$125- If you like to pack lots of baits, you'll need somewhere to put all of those boxes while still staying organized. For the DIYer, a milk crate is often used. I prefer a more rugged, UV protected, solid state box with a lid and attachable hardware with rod holders. For my money, The Black Pak is one of the best accessories I've ever purchased. Think it's a milk crate? Read more here.


Phase III


GPS- $100-$300- If not included in your fish finder, these devices can be helpful to mark those magic hotspots. If you don't mind using your cell phone, you can download the Navionics app and do this for $15. 

Video Camera- $100-$400- GoPro, Contour, Playsports and more are ready to capture your every single move. With a variety of mounts available the sky is the limit. I use a GoPro Hero2 currently.

Camera Pole- $30-$80- So you got a camera but need a unique way to get those cool angles. I use the PanFish mount from YakAttack and a couple of Dog Bones as well to mix up those shooting angles. 

LED Lights- $30-$250- Whether it's visibility or baitfish attraction, LED lights can be the ticket at night. You'll want to do a little research and comparisons to make sure you get a durable product. Need some help? Check here. I prefer 5050 LEDs from SuperNova lights.

VHF Radio- $65-$300- Depending on your destination, a VHF radio could be on your needs list. If you plan on going beyond the breakers, this should be in Phase I. 

Cooler- $20-$500- Again, this is all about taste. How rugged does your cooler need to be? Do you like the popular brands? Yeti, K2, Polar Bear and others offer a wide variety to choose from. 

EPIRB/GPS Locator- $100-$700- Another BTB Phase I item, this can also be useful to help family know exactly where you are at. 

Upgrades- Do you need a rudder? Want to try out some Turbo Fins? How about a better seat? Usually these are some of the last things added though usually intended to do up front. Are they necessary? No. Do they make life on the water easier? Yes. 


Keep in mind every person will prioritize differently but these would be the starting points I would recommend. Think it over, make a list, check your budget and then get after it! 

As always, if you have any questions or comments, let me know! 


Staying at a lake house, kayaks sprawled in the grass drying from a morning or afternoon excursion, enjoying nature is great fun. At least for me.

My family received an invitation from some close friends to join them at an East Texas retreat last week. The kids played all week, we introduced them to kayaking and had a very relaxing few days away from the rat race. For the most part.

It seems my wife and I are doomed when it comes to vacations. We now know to wait for the other shoe to drop and this week didn't disappoint.

On our honeymoon we needed a tow truck to rip our SUV out of 36" of snow we slid into off of an icy road. One summer the car popped a service engine light and was overheating 600 miles from home. We hit so many delays coming back from Washington last year we were literally the only people left in the airport who didn't work there when our bags finally arrived. I lost an extra day of work and no sleep + kids + 20 hours of travel in airports, ferries and cars makes Chris an irritable boy. Let's just say vacations hate us.

This last week was going pretty good. We had made it through three days and no problems. Sure it was storming every day but the fishing was ok and the time away with friends was great. Then the fourth day hit. I looked outside to see if the kayaks were still there or if one of our friends had gone out for an early paddle. I saw it.

A huge branch was laying across my kayaks! This could not be good. I ran out to assess the damage anticipating my new Hobie Outback and my son's Malibu Mini-X were going to be crushed. What I saw was surprising. Lightning had struck this large branch about 25 feet overhead. It fell directly on the Hobie Outback rudder and glanced off to the side, landing the heavy part of the branch in the grass and the leafy branches across the Mini-X.





 It took some time to CSI the place and figure out what happened but it eventually all came together. After checking the property, more limbs had been hit and some were ready to fall with the slightest of breeze. I returned to "The Blue Beast" as I am now calling her.I deployed the sailing rudder, checked steering, checked lines, hull integrity, bolts, and everything else I could think of. She was just fine. She possessed some scars on the rudder but nothing major or functionally inhibiting.  The Outback rudder had taken the brunt of a large limb falling from 25 feet and shrugged it off.

Did I get lucky? Yes, and no. I won't ever know what would have happened to a different boat and a different rudder but I do know that the Hobie rudder is one mean brute.

  



Mariner Sails will host a Heroes on the Water benefit this weekend in Dallas, TX. With raffles, guest speakers including Luther Cifers of YakAttack, Shaun Russell a noted North Texas kayak fisherman, provided lunch and 100% of the proceeds going to HOW, you should be there. Entry cost is $10 per guest and includes your lunch. Lunch has been donated so all $10 of your entry goes straight to helping provide help through on the water therapy for wounded war veterans.

If you are curious about rigging, kayak lighting, kayak fishing or just want to help out HOW, this is definitely the place to be. The seminars will start at 11, 1 and 2.

I have personally been able to attend a couple of events benefiting HOW and they always leave you with a great appreciation of what the volunteers are doing for our veterans. I am honored to have been asked to speak at the event. I'll be visiting with folks about kayak lighting and the tips and tricks to make sure you get it right the first time. Drilling holes in your kayak can be scary so make them count. I'll show you how!

Please share this post and let everyone know to be at Mariner Sails of Dallas on Saturday, July 27 from 11-3. Mariner Sails is located at 11110 Stemmons Fwy in Dallas, TX

I hope to see you there!


It's too easy to make a mistake.
You're loading up the truck with a kayak or two and that little voice rings through the garage, "Daddy, can I go?" You may have planned on her asking but did you really plan on her going?

According to the CDC, 350 children die every year in boating related drownings.

How do you prevent that?

Planning properly.

It's human nature to think that would never happen to you. You can protect them. You will hold them on your lap. The water's not that deep. I'm a great swimmer.

I've heard them all. The plain and simple fact is no one plans on disaster happening to them. With a little planning, a little awareness and some ground rules, most of those 350 would be at home with their parents instead of living only through the emotional scars their parents now bare.

I know it feels like I am preaching, and maybe I am, but this is IMPORTANT.

Here are the steps I have taken and believe you should too to ensure safety for every child that gets on one of my kayaks. This may not be the end all be all list but you need to have some list of rules and know it by heart. And then, once you have the rules, don't make exceptions. Again, these are my rules, not Texas State Law except where noted.

Any child in a kayak must have a proper life jacket on and secured properly.
Texas law states "Children under 13 years of age in or on vessels under 26 feet must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable PFD while underway."
Get a life jacket that is weight rated for the child and fits properly. A Type II is better than a Type III because it will, under most circumstances, float the child face up. PFD Types Click Here

Children under 12 cannot ride alone in a kayak until they have met my adult qualifications.  (My Rule)
It seems archaic and overprotective to some but, using a boat that can flip on top of you, weighs more than you do and is not an easy re-entry if you fall out are recipes for danger. 

All paddlers must go through an orientation with the boat. 
It only takes a few minutes but it is important to know safety on the kayak, regardless of age, but children especially need to know what to do.

Open water re-entry experiences are a must. 
The first time I took my eight year old out with me I explained what we were going to do. I said we would jump off the kayak into the water. I instructed him to stay where he was. I reminded him the life jacket will float him and I would come to him once I re-entered the kayak. I was probably over explaining things but he understood. We jumped off and he did great. He watched to make sure he didn't get run over by the kayak. When it got too near him he pushed himself away while I got back on. I scooped him up and he did great! He didn't panic. I had explained everything. Paddling back to the shore I purposefully dug in and flipped the boat without telling him. I watched him calm himself down quickly and take in the surroundings. He assessed the situation. He showed me he was ok and waited for me to get back on the kayak and scoop him up. Another success. You have to do this with your kids. You have to learn how to coach them when on the water. This is how people survive bad situations. Preparation. 

The water is warm now. Do this now. Don't wait until winter. Don't wait until the water is cold. 


This all takes some time and preparation but if it saves just one life next year that is one more child who gets to become an adult. One more set of parents who aren't grieving over a simple mistake. Take the time to be ready for when that little girl or boy asks to do what you are doing. When they ask to go kayak with you, have a life jacket, have a plan and have a blast making memories that will last forever.  
The idea of falling out of a kayak is the exact reason why people either:

#1 Don't/Won't buy a kayak

#2 Buy a particularly wide kayak

This is nothing new. People don't buy any floating vessel only to end up bobbing beside it shortly after launch but maybe they should try it.


In light of the post earlier in the week I want to talk about the first thing you should do for your first trip out with a new to you kayak.


Turtle! Jump out! Flip the thing and get wet! 


Don't just do it because it's 129 degrees right now (though that helps). Every kayak paddler should know how to get back IN/ON the kayak. When you are kayak fishing like  it becomes even more important. Let me tell you my first experience with turtling and why it's so important you practice re-entry.

I have been kayak fishing since 2003. In that time I have owned multiple kayaks of the sit in and sit on variety. During that time I had never fallen out/off my yak. After reading several stories of drownings, near drownings and bad events due to turtling during all times of the year, I decided for me and my family, we needed to practice. We practice all types of drills at work and that is to be prepared for the worst. The same can be transferred to the water. Practice so when the time comes, you don't panic and end up, well....dead.
In late spring a few years ago I purchased two sit on top Cobras, a single seat Navigator and a Tandem. These were the only boats in our fleet and would get a lot of usage. The first time out I told my wife and kids we had to know how to get back on. I told them I would go first so they could see how to do it and then they would try. I walked the kayak out to waist deep water with my PFD on and jumped on to the Cobra. No problems. This was more of a test for me before I went out to where I couldn't touch. It gave me some confidence and I paddled out to 10 feet of water. I counted to three and rolled off the side. 


Oh, crap! Something was wrapped around my leg. As I tugged on it panic started to creep in. Breathing was becoming more labored and I needed to let the PFD do its work. I relaxed and floated upright. I could feel the cable or cord growing tighter as the kayak drifted further away. Of course! The paddle leash. I grabbed the leash further up toward the connection to the yak and pulled hard. The boat floated toward me and gave me some slack around my leg. I loosened its grip from my leg and let go. I was free! So was the Cobra though and I had to swim for it. I kicked and thrashed my way along side and latched on. I rested for a minute, exhausted, and planned my attack. I would try to propel myself out of the water and grab the opposite side of the boat (perpendicularly), then hoist myself onto it and voila. What I didn't calculate was how tired I was and how heavy I was. 

I managed to get out of the water enough to grab the other side but promptly pulled it over on my head. This is not good. I pushed the boat off of me and righted it. Some boats are easier to right than others so make sure you test this out.Attempt two I didn't even grab the other side. People on the shore, including my family, are starting to wonder about this display I was putting on. I held on to the kayak for another five minutes and then gave it everything I had and finally, I got on top! I was out of breath, panting and glad to be aboard. And let's be clear, I'm no couch potato. I can still paddle 10 miles a day and at 6'2" was at that time about 215 lbs. 

Worn out. That stupid paddle leash got me.

Over the next few days I kept replaying that scenario in my mind, thankful I had done it. I had been arrogant about not turtling. I figured it would never happen to me. That all went away that afternoon. I was humbled by a paddle leash. I also went and bought a dive knife.Thank God that the water was warm and I had my PFD on. If it had been on one of my January outings when the water registers somewhere between 38 and 40 degrees, even with my PFD I could have died. The chill of water that cold takes your breath. You hyperventilate and usually end up gulping in water. You can drown while you are floating. If that doesn't get you the hypothermia will. The only way to survive the water in the winter is to get out of it as soon as possible.


You need to know how to get back in your kayak whether it's warm or cold. Things can go wrong. People die. If all you had to know to survive was how to get back in, wouldn't you do it? That is why I implore you to turtle now! Learn while it's warm. Wear a PFD. Turtle. Reboard. Practice. Anytime you get a new kayak, like the ones i have now, go do this first!


For a video check out the link below. This isn't mine but is very helpful.Credit to Ken Whiting of Kayak Fishing Tales.






by Robert Field


The day before Independence Day I set out for a four day kayak fishing excursion to the Texas coast. I would end up pushing my limits to the max, having a brush with death, and catching some amazing fish in the process. This was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. Here is my story…

I loaded up the kayak and all of my fishing and camping gear and began the long journey from Dallas to Corpus Christi, TX. I arrived after dark and drove along the beach to my campsite. Straight off shore on the horizon I could see the blinking lights of my destination: the Mayan Princess oil rigs. I set up camp near the water and climbed into my tent, thinking of nothing but the adventure that lied ahead.



Day 1


When I awoke the conditions were ideal: the surf was flat, the wind was calm, and the water looked like glass beyond the breakers. I was amazed at the beauty of this place; it was not at all what I think of when I hear “Texas coast”. The sand was white, the water green and clear, and hardly any seaweed in sight. At around 7:00 AM the guys I was meeting began to arrive so we loaded up our kayaks and set off into the surf.


Man O War

The three mile journey to the oil rigs could only be described as pleasant and serene. I saw a piece of trash floating in the water so I pedaled over to grab it and throw it in my kayak. My hand stopped inches above the bag when I realized it was not a bag but a huge Man o’ War. I looked up and realized they were everywhere. Needless to say, I elected not to go for a swim that day.


I was trolling on the journey out, and as I approached the first rig, BOOM one of my reels starts screaming as the line peels off the reel. I grabbed the rod, tightened the drag, and held on for the ride. The water clarity this far out was simply incredible. A half hour into the fight, I looked down and could see a beautiful shade of yellow and gray over 20 feet below me.

 
Jack Underwater

I had hooked into a gorgeous Jack Crevalle. This thing put up an incredible fight. I pulled it up into the boat and was grinning from ear to ear. I had landed my first deep sea fish from the kayak, and it felt amazing.


Jack Crevalle

When I arrived at the first oil rig, I was blown away by how massive it was. It is daunting looking up at such a gigantic structure while sitting a couple inches off the water. I tied off to the oil rig and dropped down some bait. Over the next hour I ended up landing several red snapper.


Red Snapper

As the sun beat down, fatigue began to set in, so I headed back to shore. I hung out on the beach for the rest of the night with my mind going a hundred miles an hour. Our target the next day was the formidable King Mackerel, or Kingfish.  I dozed off under the starry sky and dreamt of the day ahead.



Day 2


As the sun rose, I once again loaded up the kayak and headed out into the surf. This time, I made the paddle alone. I had grown confident in the open water and all anxiety had disappeared. I made it out to the oil rigs, but instead of tying off, I trolled around the rigs, weaving in between the massive structures. Not twenty minutes later, my rod bends over and the reel screams. Half an hour later, I had my first King in the boat. These things are massive, powerful, and have a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. What a rush!


First King

  
I would end up landing seven of these huge beasts. At one point, I had a fish on one rod and as I was reeling in the other to keep them from tangling, that reel started peeling line and I realized I had a double! I tried my best to juggle both rods, but would end up having one of them spit the hook. I did land the first one after an epic battle over 40 minutes, and it was a monster.


Massive King


A pod of porpoises was hanging out with us all day long. Some of the guys said they’ll take the fish right out of your hands on the side of the boat if you’re not careful. It was really cool getting to hang out with these extremely intelligent animals all day.



Dolphins

More Dolphins


The bite slowed down so I decided to head in a little after lunch. I had a long drive ahead of me to my next destination. Before I left Dallas, I had asked everyone I know where I could go to have the best chance of catching a big shark from the kayak, and everyone had the same answer: Galveston, TX.



Day 3


Where everything went absolutely perfect in Corpus Christi, everything began to go downhill as soon as I arrived in Galveston. I pulled onto the beach and before I made it ten feet my Jeep got stuck. An hour later I finally freed it and pulled up onto the firmer sand near the water. By now it was late, so I set up camp and fell asleep immediately. In the morning, I would be hunting sharks.

I awoke suddenly at about 3:30 AM to what I thought was somebody kicking my tent. I jumped out quickly, ready to defend myself, and landed in shin-deep water. The tide had come in further than I expected and my tent was sitting in a foot of water! I threw it in my Jeep, jumped in, and decided to just go sleep in my car in front of the bait shop until they opened.

I woke up, bought bait, and headed back to the beach. Unlike my trip to Corpus, I had nobody to meet up with on this trip. As I looked out at the ocean, I thought “We are NOT in Corpus anymore.” The water was chocolate brown, the beach was dirty, and there was a wall of seaweed three feet high all along the water’s edge. Well, this is where the sharks were, and I wasn’t there to sight-see, so I loaded up the kayak and headed out into the murky water alone. I paddled almost a mile out, dropped my anchor, rigged up my bait, and set my lines out.

Before long, one of my floats disappears and as I look over at my reel, sure enough it goes off.This is it!” I thought. I tightened down the drag in an effort to stop the fish, but it was not slowing down. This thing was FAST. I realized that I was running out of line on my reel, and if I got to the spool it was all over. I made the executive decision to release from my anchor and go along for the ride. This would end up being a grave mistake.

The fish took off straight in the one direction I did not want to go. About a quarter mile downwind from where I was anchored was Rollover Pass. This is an area with extreme currents, and if I were to get sucked into it I would almost certainly be killed. I tried with all my might to turn the fish around but it would not. Finally he decided he wanted to head off shore, and I felt an overwhelming sense of relief as he pulled me out to sea.

Half an hour later, I got a glimpse of my first shark from the kayak. It was a beautiful 5-foot Blacktip shark. It was not the monster I was after, but this was a moment I had dreamt of since the day I bought my first kayak and I cannot begin to express the feeling that overcame me. I admired him for a bit, got him on video, and released him to fight another day.


First Shark from the Kayak
Smile!

My What Lovely Teeth You Have!

I suddenly realized I was almost a mile from where I left my anchor. It had a small orange float at the end of the rope, but the conditions had suddenly gotten worse as I was fighting the shark, and the swells were now over my head. Finding this thing was going to be a challenge. I spent the next two hours pedaling into the wind and against the current, searching a vast ocean for a tiny orange float. I could not continue fishing without an anchor; the current and wind were too strong. Exhausted, defeated, and overwhelmingly disappointed, I decided to call it a day. As I turned to head in, sure enough, there it is! I was overcome with excitement as I pedaled over to it. I learned the hard way on this day, if you stop paying attention for one second, your whole world can get turned upside down. Literally.


Man Overboard

A HUGE wave crashed into the side of my boat as I was looking the other way at the anchor float. This was my first time ever flipping the kayak in deep water. I am now swimming in arguably the most shark infested waters in Texas, a mile out to sea, with nobody around to hear me scream. I cannot tell you what that feels like; it was a feeling unlike any I’ve ever felt before. I looked up and realized my kayak was floating away from me in a hurry. I swam for my life and managed to catch it. I swam around to the front of it and tried to flip it over. Not even close. I swam around to the back and again attempted to right my boat. It wouldn’t even budge. This is when the panic really began to set in. I tried my best to keep my composure and think logically. Then it hit me. I swam around to the side of the kayak and climbed up onto the bottom of it. I grabbed the opposite side, and threw my whole body backwards with every ounce of force I could muster. Sure enough, the boat flipped over. “Thank God,” I thought. I tried to pull myself up into it, but as I did the boat began to flip back over. I let go. I looked up and realized I was drifting straight for Rollover Pass. I was now less than 300 yards from where it started. It was time to make a decision. Either abandon the kayak and swim for shore, or stick with it and risk getting sucked into the pass. I decided I was not letting my new boat go, so I gave it one more shot. I threw my body across the boat and clambered in. I quickly turned and headed away from the pass. I had made it.


OJT Deep Water Re-entry

At this point, I decided I should probably call it a day. I rode the waves all the way onto the beach. Some people came over and asked me how I did, and as I began to tell them my story, three men ran up to the beach screaming “Whose kayak is this?!” I walked over and told them it was mine, and they all let out a sigh of relief. They told me a helicopter was en route, an ambulance was pulling up, and they were launching a boat as we speak. It turns out that a lady who owned a small shop that sells seashell necklaces had watched me flip through a pair of binoculars and had called the coast guard. She potentially could have saved my life that day. I got a chance to thank her later that day.


Coastguard

A family that watched the whole event unfold was kind enough to offer to let me spend the night in their RV as they were heading back home that night. I must have said no a hundred times, but they insisted. These people didn’t know me from Adam yet after a few hours of hanging out they trusted me to stay in their home away from home. I cannot say enough about the Meyers, and if any of you are reading this, know that I will never forget you and the kindness you showed me. For the first time in four days I got to shower and hang out in some A/C. It was an amazing end to an epic day. I reflected on the day’s events as I dozed off to sleep.

You know that voice that tells you when to just let it go? Apparently mine is taking the summer off, because I fell asleep with plans to head out first thing in the morning to give it one more shot. Once again, my judgment and decision making would cost me…



Day 4


I awoke the next morning before sunrise and walked outside towards the beach. I was immediately blasted by a very strong south wind. It was dark, but I could still clearly make out the huge breakers crashing into the beach. The conditions were significantly worse than the day before. “Well, I’ve come this far, I’m not going to give up now,” I foolishly thought to myself. I loaded up, dragged the kayak onto the beach, and set out into the surf. The waves I encountered were unlike anything I have ever experienced. A few times I vaulted over four-foot waves so hard that my kayak slammed down onto the water behind them.

Once I made it past the breakers, it was not much better. I decided to stick closer to shore this time, and dropped my backup anchor about 400 yards off the beach. I began to get an eerie feeling as I realized that not a single person was on the beach. If something went wrong this time, nobody would be watching with binoculars. I looked to my right and noticed a huge storm system off in the distance. I did not know it at the time, but a small tropical storm was due to land in Galveston around lunchtime. What I also did not realize was that I had unscrewed the drain plug in my kayak the night before to get some of the water out of it from when I capsized, and had forgotten to screw it back in before I headed out. I was out in the roughest seas I’ve ever been in, alone, and was taking on a lot of water without the slightest clue that it was happening. Well, somebody must have been watching over me. Within five minutes of dropping my bait in the water, an enormous wave crashed down right on top of me and broke my anchor rig. I watched the float slide off the rope, and the anchor rope slipped into the murky water. It was over. I could not fish in these conditions without an anchor. I was disappointed, but I would later find out this was a blessing in disguise. I reeled in my rod, secured my gear, and headed in as I watched the mountainous waves crash between me and the beach. I managed to successfully surf the first three or four waves that picked me up from behind, but then suddenly I heard a crash and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I knew it was bad. I turned around and two waves were crashing into me from two different angles. SWOOSH.


Cross Checked On The Way In
More Swimming
        
The View From Below

As my head broke the surface and I gasped for air, another huge wave crashed into my kayak and slammed it into my forehead. Dazed, I somehow managed to hang on to the boat. I was now getting pounded by waves while hanging onto my kayak for dear life. I was still about 100 yards from shore and could not touch the bottom. Somehow I managed to flip the kayak over with the method I had learned the day before, and stayed in it long enough to make it to the beach. As soon as I stepped foot on the sand, I fell to my knees and collapsed. My head was pounding and I felt extremely dizzy. I laid down in the sand as half of my gear washed up onto the beach. As I laid there, six words escaped my mouth: “You win this time, Mother Nature.” When I eventually opened up my hatch to look inside my kayak, about four gallons of water was sloshing around inside. That was after being out there for 10 minutes. I would have sunk in less than an hour had I stayed. My anchor breaking off was the luckiest thing that happened to me all weekend.

This trip was one of the most incredible journeys of my life. There were great moments, terrifying moments, amazing accomplishments, and many lessons learned. My only hope is that at least one kayaker reads this and learns from a few of my mistakes. I should never have gone beyond the breakers alone in those conditions. I learned that no matter what situation you find yourself in, you have to always keep a level head and think things through before you act. The ocean is a powerful force and your situation can turn on you in a split second. I realized that I need to give somebody a float plan before I head out, so that if something happens to me there is somebody who knows where I am heading and when I should be back. I learned that despite how badly you want to do something, sometimes you have to call it off and wait for a better day. No fish is worth dying for.



As you can see, I had my video cameras rolling the entire time. I will be producing an epic three-part film series from my trip. Trust me, you DO NOT want to miss it. Subscribe to my YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/YAKnAGGIE so you can catch the action when it airs.

In the meantime, I’ll be gearing up for the next adventure…

Also, COMING SOON…
We will be launching our new website, www.YakFishTV.com. This will be a site dedicated to kayak fishing films, but will also have sections for blog posts, product reviews, a photo gallery, and much more. We will be recruiting 4-5 kayak anglers with a knack for videography to join the YakFish TV team so that we can consistently produce quality kayak fishing adventures for you to enjoy. If you would like to apply to become part of the YakFish TV team, send a sample video to robert@yakfishtv.com.


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Thanks to Robert for sharing his story of triumph and trials. He knows there is a lot to be learned here and I plan on revisiting it later in the week. If you haven't subscribed to his YouTube channel, you should do that. Look for YakFishTV very soon and if you fancy yourself as a filmmaker, think about applying to the team. 
-----Chris





RIBZ Front Pack- Great for fishing!
The RIBZ Front Pack is a new and innovative way of carrying gear when backpacking. The Front Pack gives you 500-700 cubic inches of storage with only 12 ounces of added weight. Coming in three colors, (green, grey and black), RIBZ gives you three advantages to traditional backpacks:

1. Accessibility- All the stuff you need quick access to is up front. No more stopping and unloading just to get at that energy bar or your camera.

2. Weight Distribution- Not having everything on your back can help distribute supply weight and cut down on fatigue. 

3. Functionality- Why stop just to grab some water or a snack? Why waste time and energy? Get to where you are going more quickly and efficiently. 

RIBZ Front Pack- Great for Hiking!
The RIBZ Front Pack comes in two sizes, a Regular that fits waists 32-44 inches and the Small which fits a 26-36 inch waist. Both are made from CorDura fabric and keep in mind the Small has 200 cubic inches less in storage area. 

In true infomercial form, wait! There's more. 

I don't backpack a lot. I do some small hikes with my kids, I fish in a kayak and wade fish. I also like to bank fish occasionally. Anytime you go mountain goating for any period of time, you need to take some supplies. Backpacks are great but I like the front pack better. With only three straps on your back, everything you need is right there in front. You can adjust the height to manipulate where it sits. 

I took two adventures with the Front Pack. The first was a two hour hike with my two kids and wife. We went to a local nature trail with bridges and a waterfall. Anytime I take my kids, I also become the pack mule. Carrying tons of stuff on your back, sweating like a monster and constantly having to take the pack off, unload snacks, reload, remount and go again was annoying. With the Ribz Front Pack we kept hiking, I would open one of the many zippered pockets that held the snack I needed, handed it out, zipped it up and didn't miss a beat. It was a nice change for sure.

The second adventure was a bank fishing trip with my brother and one of his friends. I needed to carry several poles, a bait bucket, weights, hooks, bobbers, pliers etc. Carrying all of that was made easier with the Front Pack. I loaded up two Plano 3500 Waterproof Stowaway Boxes with all the fishing supplies, put the pliers in their own pocket, strapped up and was able to carry everything with no issue. I had climbed up and down that cliff side point before and this was by far the easiest trip. 

If you need more storage, better access to storage, want to make better time on hikes or just need something to balance out all the gear you carry, at $65, the RIBZ Front Pack should be at the top of your list. 








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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the RIBZ Front Pack for free from RIBZWear as coordinated by Deep Creek Public Relations.

Though it has been happening for years, this summer has been the most vocal, heated and polarizing time I can remember in kayak fishing. At times it is just a gentle murmur on forums and at others it is an all out Brand War.

From the sidelines, I can see owners of a certain brand of kayak wanting to defend their purchase. I get that. You did some or a lot of research and came to the conclusion that based on your budget, needs, wants etc that this was the kayak for you. If someone says they don't like it or it is an inferior boat, tempers might flare, some words exchanged or you just decide maybe you won't converse with that person any longer. Attacks on other manufacturers however, seem way out of place. Segregating based on motor, pedal or paddle seems wrong. We need to appreciate each other, regardless of the kayak and method we propel it.

Each kayak on the market has goods and bads about it. Every. Single. One. Wilderness Owner, Hobie Owner, Native Owner, Jackson Owner, none of you (us) are exempt. You see, there is no perfect kayak for all people in all conditions. Some of the things I don't like about the Native Slayer, my buddy Michael loves. We fish differently and expect different things. Michael and I had a great discussion around the campfire about what our likes and dislikes in kayaks were. I wish everyone could have those conversations and be that open to other opinions.

This is not politics where you are typically Democrat or Republican. More than two kayak companies exist. We live in a time where innovations are made quickly. The public has a great voice in how kayaks are being designed.

We need to use our voice for good. We need to use our voice for inviting others to the sport. The gift of growth is seldom captured but we are in a blooming sport that has no ceiling in sight.

It is my opinion that people looking to get into the sport will be more hesitant to buy a kayak if they think they will be looked down on.

I helped a man this weekend pick a kayak. He was torn between two, one of which was several hundred dollars more expensive. I asked him what he felt comfortable with, talked about all the options out there and reminded him, at the end of the day, getting on the water is the important thing. Your kayak experience is what you make it. If you decide to upgrade later, great! If not, that's fine too. You cannot know what you really like and dislike until you've spent some time on the water. He left with the less expensive kayak, all the gear he needed and felt good about his purchase.

I may get a lot of hate mail and comments for writing this. It's ok. You're just proving my point.

To grow the sport we have to create an environment desirous to people outside of the sport. If you are a brand fanatic, support your brand with all your heart and soul. Please support others who choose a different brand though. Not everyone has to be in your club as long as they are in the sport.

To those of you out there already living this lifestyle of kayak fishing love for all, thank you. To those of you who are not, please stop the hate. Conversations are good, downtalking other brands is counterproductive.

Please help me in encouraging others to create an environment welcoming of all kayakers.

This Public Service Announcement brought to you by paynespaddlefish.com

A new Caribbean Blue Hobie Outback is sitting in my garage.

I peeked in on it about twenty times yesterday. I'm beyond giddy about it and so today's post is more of asking questions and ramblings of rigging than anything else. No advice, no adventures. Just a guy and his yak.

I haven't named her yet but I have started the rigging process.

Last night I added Turbo Fins and a sailing rudder to it but I have yet to put a hole in it. I'll be adding some YakAttack GT175 GearTrac this week, an anchor trolley and roughing out where to mount some Supernova LED lights. I'll also be putting in a 1" Ram Ball post mount in the sail post up front. The Lowrance fish finder will get to come on board for the first time in several months which will be nice but that starts the great debate. How to mount the finder? I have a Mad Frog Liberator Arm and deck plate which I've been using but I am debating some of the alternative ways to mount the transducer and unit. I like to have the head unit where I can change settings quickly without too much effort. I also want versatility but I really like the looks of the rudder mounted transducer.

She is a blank slate right now. What else should i consider?

If you have some ideas, I'm all ears!




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