Showing posts with label technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label technology. Show all posts

The Five Kayak Fishing Gadgets I Want (But Don't Have Yet)

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.

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

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

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

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. 

Kayaking Events This Weekend into Next Week

Sometimes it is hard for folks to get connected to other kayakers. It's not like the lakes most of us are on are full of them. It's even harder to meet folks on a secluded river. Keeping that in mind, I wanted to let everyone know about some upcoming events in Texas that will allow for folks to fish together, meet new people, test out new boats and everything else kayak related. Without further ado, here you go:

September 15th:

Austin Canoe and Kayak Demo Day
Where: Hyde Park Quarry, Austin
When: 9A-5P rain or shine
What: Over 90 models of kayaks with up to 30% savings on select items
Cost: FREE
Contact: 512-719-4386 or 888-828-3828

Kayak Instruction, Inc Demo Day
Where: Paddle Point Park, Lake Ray Hubbard
When: 9A-1P
What: Jackson Kayaks with Tips, Tricks and Lunch Provided
Cost: FREE
Contact: 214-629-4794

Kayak Angling Clinic by Dean Brown
Where: Demo Pond at Bass Pro Shops in Grapevine
When: 3PM
What: A kayak clinic covering some very specific tactics and tricks that Dean has developed over the past few years, as well as some of his photography techniques (pertaining specifically to the kayak).
Cost: FREE

September 16th:

Austin Canoe and Kayak Expo
Where: Austin Store
When: 10A-5P
What: Lots of New Product, Savings and Lunch Provided
Cost: FREE
Contact: 512-719-4386 or 888-828-3828

NTKBF Kayak Fishing Bass Tournament
Where: Purtis Creek State Park, Eustace
When: 5:30A-4PM
What: Bass Fishing Tournament for Kayak Fishermen
Cost: $10 + $4 for Park Admission

September 17th:

Mariner Sails Wind and Water Sports Scotty New Product Open House
Where: Mariner Sails Wind and Water Sports, 11110 N. Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX 75229
When: Monday, September 17th, from 6:00pm -- 8:30pm

What: An informative open house and to to acquaint (or refresh you) with the Scotty line of fishing accessories. Our special guest for the evening will be Ryan Emile, from British Columbia Canada, our International Sales Representative for Scotty. Ryan will be presenting new Scotty items, ideas, as well as many helpful tips and suggestions from Scotty's vast line of fine fishing and marine products. Included in his new presentaton will be several new and upcoming "YakAttack inspired Accessories" that were co-created by 
Luther Cifers, the amazing YakAttack genius.Cost: FREEContact: 972-241-1498

Come back tomorrow for more events happening next weekend!

The Excursion to Galveston Island - A Preview

In Central Texas we have the best of both worlds. We are close to great freshwater fisheries and great coastal fishing. Four hours in a car can get me to Lake Fork or Port A. Depending on my excitement, sometimes less. My next trip will be the fourth trip of its kind that I have taken with a group of men that share my passion for saltwater fishing. I refer to us as the hardcore fishermen of our circle but in essence, it is more like "Salt Core". The trip to Galveston has become an annual affair and is one we have been dreaming of for several months now. 

This will be the first time we have gone that we will have kayaks for everyone and we plan on doing some teaching, fishing and getting in lots of paddle time. We started with some freshwater time yesterday getting everything lined out, getting everyone oriented to what's going on and making final preparations for Wednesday's departure. 

When we get together, fishing becomes the focus. Among the six of us we have close to 200 years of fishing experience. Fishing is our pressure valve. We use the time to re-attune with our natural instincts. Reading the weather, the wind, the fish, the tides adds something back to your soul that corporate jobs, grinding 40-60 hours a week, and a work focused culture seems to slowly siphon away.  Cell phones become GPS navigators and tide predictors. Computers are rarely, if ever used, except to report the days catch and log what's going on for future trips. 

I'll be writing some while I am there. I may or may not post until I get back but will be gathering information, testing gear, logging conditions and the like. The Astral Brewers will get their toughest workout to date and I have an Okuma reel I want to report on. Also tumbling through my brain are ideas on: kids safety on the water, a "Get These First" accessory guide to kayak fishing and some new  rigging guides for outfitting that new kayak. 

Stay tuned for more late this week and maybe a few pictures along the way. 

Technology on the Water

Nearly 128 million Americans have smart phones now according to Pew and Nielsen. That is approximately 50% of the US population. Of those numbers, you have a lot of kids under the age of 10 so the %ile goes even higher. I am going to go out on a limb and say if you are reading this blog, you probably either have one or know someone very close to you with one. That's a pretty sturdy limb. 

So now the question is not do you have one but rather, are you utilizing its full potential? 

Traditionally cell phones and water sports don't mix but as a paddler/fishermen you may be missing out on some things that could give you: an advantage at tournament time, cut homework in half for fishing prep, make sure you don't get a fine for launching in the wrong place and  tons of other information and add-ons that will make you a mobile intelligence station. 

The first thing you need is phone protection. Options are going to vary depending on the phone you have. The things you need are a case that is as water tight as possible and possibly a dry bag for it. Here are my recommendations based on trial, error, frying a phone, and feedback from other paddle/fish friends.

iPhone 3GS or 3 and HTC EVO Android Phones- 
OtterBox Defender
The OtterBox Defender, $40. I have used this case for quite a while. It doesn't claim to be waterproof but with three layers does a good job of making it tough for water to get to the phone. Couple this case with a Dry-Lock bag and you are good to go. Through the three layers you can still use the phone's touch screen and not worry about moisture on your hands. It's a really good case for the money and the rubber backing will hold it in place on a dash board, console or wherever. These come in multiple colors so go wild! Just remember, it doesn't float.

LifeProof case
iPhone 4, 4S-
LifeProof case, $80. This is a case I have seen in action multiple times. This one is water proof, shock proof, dirt proof, toddler proof (I added that), and a variety of other things. With this case you don't need a Dry-Lock bag at all. Keep it in your pocket, your jacket, whatever and it will keep on ticking. If I had an iPhone 4S (come on October!), I would put it in this case. "But wait (he says in an infomercial voice), there's more!"
Also available from LifeProof is a LifeJacket for your LifeProof case. Drop it in the water and yes, your phone and the $600 you've invested in it floats at the top of the water awaiting your rescue. Finally! How long have we needed this!

Now that your phone is protected, we need to talk about how it can be of more use than just the boss calling. 
Myriad apps exist that are supposed to make fishing, paddling and the like easier but in actuality, most of them are junk. I have waded through several that were so cumbersome that I wanted to throw my phone in the lake. I am going to help you out and give you the best of the best that I have used. These are not the only apps that work but for a paddle/fisherman, this is what I recommend. 

Solunar TablesSolunar Calendar by Solve the Puzzle A/S 

This app syncs the solunar tables into your calendar based on your location and can set reminders. It will tell you when to fish or when to just paddle. It's designed for iPhone and works with older and newer iOS. For 99 cents it's handy to never have to find a copy of Field & Stream at a gas station. I saw one rating in July that said "Outstanding", usually it would be "Excellent". I had never seen that description before and the fishing was on that day. 
This tool is nice to have because it gives corresponding moon and sun times and works for the coast or the lake. 

Navigation- Marine&Lakes: US&Canada By Navionics 
This app has saved me several times. From boat lanes to topo maps, it has everything I could ever need. At $15, some people balk at the price but to get this chip for a handheld or fishfinder it's $100. I figure I am getting an 85% discount and who doesn't love that? If you need to mark those spots where you are slaying fish or mark a route through that mangrove forest, this is your app. Waypoints are limited only by storage and if you have that many waypoints you need to share. With me. Not only do you get regional coverage but anywhere you draw a box around in the US and Canada, it will download all the info. Super sweet for the budget conscious.

Launch PointsACK Kayak Launch Points 2.0 Pro by Austin Canoe & Kayak
The gang at Austin Canoe and Kayak have just upped your expectations. With an interactive store, kayak launch spots across the US and a social feature you can get all your supplies and info right here. At only 99 cents, the Pro is the way to go. You can search for points based on distance, most liked and set up favorites. While you are at it, submit a launch point or just search the map. If you need a break you can read the ACK newsletter, lookup how to's or just watch a video. This app is amazing and I am sad I just found it last week.

TidesTide Graph By Brainware
Want to know when the tide is moving? Checkout Tide Graph. I've been using this app for about 18 months and it is very accurate. You can select different points along coast lines and know exactly when the fish are going to be moving. For $2 you won't have to trust that printed card for accuracy. You can pinpoint where you are going to be and know exactly what's going to be moving and the rate. If you are fishing in salt even once a year, this will be the best $2 you spend. If you couple this with the solunar table, you'll find some hungry fish. This isn't just innovation, it's information at your hands when you need it. 

As I implied earlier, this is not the end all be all list but it has definitely improved my fishing over the time I have had a smart phone with these apps. Learn to read them and the water is your oyster. Open it up and see what you find. Additional apps you find helpful are more than welcome in the comments section and are encouraged. 

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