Kayak Paddle Leashes | The Top 5 Kayak Paddle Leashes

While kayak paddle leashes aren’t the most flashy or exciting piece of gear to think about, they’re essential in making sure you don’t lose hundreds of dollars worth of gear. If you’re like me, you enjoy purchasing quality gear and really take your time in doing so. That being said, the last thing you want is to head out for a nice day on the water only to lose a piece of valuable gear, especially a paddle. 

Paddle leashes are a great way to make sure that if you drop your paddle, for whatever reason, it isn’t going to float away and leave you stranded. These leashes are really affordable can save you a lot of frustration. Kayak paddle leashes can be used to secure a variety of accessories, not just paddles.

Kayak Paddle Leashes: Neverlost Rod Leash

Neverlost is a company that makes quality leashes for a variety of kayaking accessories. Every product from Neverlost is manufactured in the United States which is always important to support. 

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What sets the leashes from Neverlost apart, is the quality of the materials and the engineering that has gone into the products. 

Now when I first set out to write this article, I really wondered how could paddle leashes be all that different? Well, Neverlost has shown me. Neverlost’s leashes are built out of paracord with a nylon core that is coiled in order to save on space while offering a secure attachment point. The hardware added to the leashes offers a no-compromise aluminum ferrules that allows them to hold as strong as a metal cable. Other features like a quick disconnect, make Neverlost’s leashes really easy and intuitive to use.

Kayak Paddle Leashes: Sea to Summit Paddle Leash

Sea to Summit is a great company that’s known for the quality of its products. Their line of kayak accessories is no exception. The Sea to Summit paddle leash is a very straight forward product that will keep your paddle safe and secure during those crazy days out on the water.

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The big benefit of this leash is the length. 

Initially, the leash is 43-inches long but has the ability to extend out to 75-inches giving you a full range of motion for paddle strokes. Having stretch in a paddle leash allows it to stay out of your way while also allowing for some flexibility when needed. This leash has a velcro strap to attach to the shaft of your paddle and a loop on the other end allowing it to be attached to all kinds of equipment.

Kayak Paddle Leashes: NRS Bungee Paddle Leash

NRS is simply a powerhouse when it comes to kayak gear and accessories, their paddle leash is no exception. NRS’s paddle leash is extremely straightforward and effective. Consisting simply of bungee cord and two attachment points, this leash is reliable and discreet. 

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Kayak Paddle Leashes: YakGear Coiled Paddle Leash

Similarly to the Sea to Summit paddle leash, Yak Gear’s coiled paddle leash offering is constructed of a coiled bungee that is covered by a sleeve of nylon material. This allows the leash to maintain a smaller profile while being able to stretch if needed. The stretch can be extremely important when fighting a fish, you may potentially need to toss your paddle out of the way. This leash allows you to move your paddle without the fear of losing it and being stranded out there on the water.

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Kayak Paddle Leashes: Harmony Paddle Leash

Harmony has made quality kayak accessories for years and the Harmony kayak paddle leash lives up to this reputation. Very similarly to the other leashes mentioned in this article, it’s constructed from a coiled bungee cord that’s wrapped in a nylon sleeve. This option comes with a carrying bag which makes traveling with it easy with it not taking up much space.

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2019 KBF Central Trail on Mark Twain Lake – Recap

The final stop for the regular season of the Kayak Bass Fishing Central trail series made its way to the Salt River Hills of north-central Missouri at Mark Twain Lake. 45 anglers from nine states would battle it out for those final points in this dog days of summer bash. KAMO (Kayak Angler of Missouri) would be the host partner club for the event.

Mark Twain is renowned for it’s beautiful scenery, and when the fishing is tough at least there is some nice nature to get lost in. Sprawling out over 18,000 acres and the water level being down 30-feet prior to the event, the anglers would really need to cover water during pre-fishing to find those key spots where the fish had transitioned to.

KBF Central Trail on Mark Twain: Alan Reed’s Approach to Pre-Fishing 

ANGLR Expert, Alan Reed, of Columbus, Indiana put in close to 3 days of pre-fishing, traveling to multiple launch points to dial in his bite. 

On my first day of pre-fishing, it took me about 4-hours to find my first bass. The sunfish were spawning and very aggressive towards any lure that came into their vicinity. I found a pattern of where they were staging and near those areas, I would find the bass.” 

On his second day of pre-fishing, Alan went up another creek arm and his pattern stayed the same. With another day of pre-fishing ahead he had his pattern dialed in and was feeling confident heading into Saturday’s event. 

“Now that I was confident in my pattern which was rocky banks with timber holding the bass, I upsized my lure to a 4-inch Snack Daddy Elite Tube and on the first cast I reeled in a 19” largemouth. I finished running the creek arm marking all the similar spots with my ANGLR Bullseye and decided to move to a different location to retest the pattern” said Reed.After putting into the water, I traveled over to the new location that met all the criteria to match my pattern. I decided to throw the tube to see if there were bigger fish in the area. Within 20 casts I I hooked into a good one right where it should have been, further strengthening my pattern to the spots within the spots.”

KBF Central Trail on Mark Twain: Richie McMichael’s Approach to Pre-Fishing

Richie McMichael from Kansas City, Kansas had one day of pre-fishing to dial in his pattern but it didn’t take him long finding limits in two areas. 

I fished the Shell Branch area early and caught a quick limit, so I packed up and went to the Little Indian area in the afternoon and caught a limit with a 19″ kicker so that’s where I decided to fish on tournament day.” 

Both Richie and Alan went into this event in the top 5 in points for the KBF Central AOY title and this event would play a key role in deciding who would be on top heading into the regional final at Table Rock at the end of September.

KBF Central Trail on Mark Twain: Tournament Day

Richie would start his tournament day off with a 3-mile pedal to his first spot at a channel swing in the back of a creek full of shad. The day didn’t start out well and he had 3 small fish jump off his board.  

“I couldn’t get the better fish to bite in that area so I decided to move to a few shallow pockets nearby. There were a lot of smaller baitfish in the smaller pockets so I picked up my fluke and senkos and started catching some better fish. By 9:30 AM I had a limit of 77″ and was able to get one more cull by about 10:30 AM.”

Reed would start his day off with a bang, landing his kicker fish and eventual big bass of the tournament. 

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Tournament morning, I headed out to my first spot which was where I had caught a 19” a couple days prior. Within 25 minutes, I had my kicker and big fish for the tournament at 21 inches on the tube.” 

Thrilled to get the big fish off the bat, Reed knew he had to keep his head down and fill his limit. He knew if he finished out his limit, he should be near the top of the board. By 9:00 AM, he had his limit. Between then and 12:00 PM, he had culled up twice by going back a forth between the tube and the Big TRD. After noon, he had a couple bites but nothing of any size to help.

McMichael would need to make a change mid-day to try and catch Reed.

I moved out to the main lake points and was able to get a decent fish to bite on a zoom fork tail worm but it spit the bait before I could get her in the net.”

The summer bite would prove tough for many anglers with only nineteen filling their five fish limits.

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In the end, Alan Reed would take the win, his first national trail win with 82.50”. 

Richie McMichael ended up settling into 3rd with 79.25”. His score would tie with Missouri native Jerry Cornelius, with Jerry edging out 2nd place based on biggest fish caught. “I ended up with 79.25″ which I was extremely happy with after hearing how tough Mark Twain Lake can be.” added McMichael. Jerry would take home 1st place honors for the KAMO portion of the event.

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Reed would also take home his 2nd KBF Pro Tour win of the year with Cornelius and McMichael finishing 2 and 3 respectively. 

It’s an honor to have my first Trail win. There are several great anglers at all of these events. To come out on top is very satisfying. The entire week things were falling into place and setting up for a good tournament. I show up to every tournament with the goal to win” says Reed. “It was a great event held in conjunction with the local club KAMO. The awards ceremony was nice and the local club had a cookout/pitch in and they invited us to partake in.”

Next up for the Central region angler will be the regional championship at Table Rock Lake on September 21st. Heading into the Central regional final, Richie and Alan are 1 & 2 respectively. Both are in contention for overall Angler of the Year with Richie sitting in 5th and Alan in 10th, putting both in the running for KBFs “The Ten”, an end of season shootout between the top ten anglers in Kissimmee Florida.

KBF Central Trail on Mark Twain: Top Ten from TourneyX

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ANGLR’s Summer Update Features New BackTrak Feature & Redesigned Logbook!

The ANGLR Summer update is here to help you get through these dog days of summer. 

This update is focused on two main areas:

  1. A completely redesigned profile (now referred to as logbook)
  2. A brand new BackTrak feature

Let’s dive in on this hot new release!

bass fishing on a budget

Introducing a Completely Redesigned Profile

Have you been told you’re obsessive about your Logbook? Do you want to log every imaginable detail about each trip you take? We get it. We have the same issues… and the new ‘Logbook’ area is built to simplify the navigation of your trips! Just in time to learn how to target finicky bass during the dog days of summer! 

The new Logbook organizes all of your trips with a snapshot of the trip and the date of the trip. The new Logbook allows you to easily navigate through each and every trip you’ve recorded with ANGLR. This makes learning from your trips and preparing for the next trip easier than ever before!

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The new ANGLR Logbook also features a native data set. This means you can check your Logbook and past trips even without service! For all of you anglers who fish areas with minimal cell reception, the new Logbook will make sure you never have to worry about checking past trips when you don’t have cell service.

Other new highlights:

  • New ‘My Stats’ gives you insights into your past 6-months of fishing trips
  • Each individual trip shows you the conditions, stats, and photos
  • You can now add waypoints to the trip map at the top of each trip
    • Simply hold your finger on the trip map to add a waypoint

The Brand New BackTrak Feature

The Summer release introduces a brand new feature to help you build out your Logbook!

With ANGLR BackTrak, you can allow an automated system to privately and securely scan your camera roll for fishing photos! Don’t worry, this system is automated and your photos won’t be seen by anyone but YOU.

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As BackTrak analyzes your photos, it will pull in location, time, and conditions data associated with each fishing photo. Using this information, our automated system will build out fishing trips for your new Logbook using those photos.

You will be able to manually select which photos you’d like to have included once the photos have been analyzed, which makes this process seamless and easy to build out the perfect trips using all of the fishing photos you have stored in your camera roll! 

With the #ANGLRSummerUpdate, building out your Logbook and organizing your Logbook is easier than ever before! Start improving and building your new Logbook today!

Get the update today and try out these new features for yourself!

Kayak Fishing Technology | Graphs, Apps, and Other Tools

Featured Image Credit: Scott Beutjer Fishing

Most folks who look at us in our plastic boats don’t see it as a high tech industry. And to be very honest, a lot of those in kayaks are happy to be in them because of that; happy with the fact that they are just much simpler. If you have a boat, a paddle, and a PFD you are set for fishing or just being offshore and exploring. It doesn’t take a 250 HP motor with the latest electronic fuel injection linked to a system that allows you to know fuel levels, depth, weather, battery life, allows you to order food, etc. to enjoy the water or fish in tournaments; that doesn’t mean there isn’t technology available for the kayaker.  Anything made for the boating industry is compatible with kayaks, including kayak fishing technology.

Kayak Fishing Technology: Graphs

Pick any depth finder on the market for the larger bass boats, it will fit on the kayak. Just because you have less boat doesn’t mean you have to settle for less when it comes to finding fish. The size of your craft or the type of kayak fishing you will do is all that should be the consideration. I have a Lowrance Elite TI 7 on my Hobie (wish I had gone with the 9-inch) because it is a multipurpose unit and meets my tournament needs – I am still not the best with it; it keeps me from hitting the bottom, tells me the water temperature, and I have found success by finding fish on the side scan. Now, I will be very upfront about it… a twelve-inch monitor can be similar to a sail for a smaller kayak, so consider that when choosing your electronics, but do not limit yourself by thinking you cannot have side scan, live scans, Lowrance Point 1, or the latest technology.  

Kayak Fishing Technology: Apps and Maps

Phones and internet access are the best friends of the kayak tournament angler. They are how we photograph bass, load them into apps like TourneyX or iAngler and how we find our way to the ramps… or to the lakes five states away. If you run into kayak tournament anglers during pre-fishing, you will see many of them head down on their phones. I can assure you it is not because they are trying to avoid you.  Most of them will be scouring maps on apps like Google Earth, Navionics, or Hummingbird looking for ramps or just studying the layout of a new body of water. I personally also carry an iPad on (and off) the water; giving me a poor man’s dual-screen setup. Not only does this give me the ability to follow what is being charted (depth, temp, etc.), I then have a larger screen for charts. As I said, I wish I had gone with the 9-inch monitor because my eyes are older; the iPad gives me the ability to add scale to the charts while still looking for fish or structure on the finder.

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Apps like ANGLR are also changing the way we look at fishing. 

I never kept a fishing journal, I trusted my “gut” to get me to the fish and home. By the time I woke at two in the morning to drive 2-3 hours, fished for 8-10 hours and then back home, the last thing I was interested in was recording what had happened.  But the new technology allows it to be a friendlier process so myself and many anglers are beginning to use that data to track patterns in the weather conditions, water conditions, location data, and their relationship to how the fish are acting. By simply pushing a button either on the phone or a Bullseye, you can log a catch using pre-stored lures and gear. It is a new way of thinking when it comes to logging data and planning return trips to a body of water.

Kayak Fishing Technology: Security Devices

One of the big concerns for tournament anglers is keeping your kayak secure while at hotels, VRBO’s, campsites, or at gas stations along the way. More than a few kayaks have fallen prey to thieves because some are very easy to “grab and go” from the back of a truck, and it can be difficult to lock them down.    Some anglers have incorporated devices used for bikes as anti-theft systems accompanied by locking straps or cable; many of these devices will link to your phone with Bluetooth to allow notification when someone is tampering with your gear. There are now companies realizing the need who have started to create devices that are better suited to the kayak market, but this is just starting to grow.  

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An Arachnet security “web” keeping kayaks safe. Photo credit: Arachnet

Whatever your thoughts on kayak fishing technology (a purist with only a paddle, or a tech junkie), there is no reason to limit yourself just because you are in a smaller boat. I fished out of a regular boat for many years and didn’t have the money invested that I see in most kayaks on the tournament trail. 

If you can find the space for a 12-inch depth finder or want to install a stereo system – do it. If you plan to fish tournaments, make sure to invest in a solid phone and a waterproof case; it is one of the most essential items for a tournament angler after the kayak and tackle. And when you load it all on your truck and head all overlooking for bass… consider how to keep it safe from theft.

Stand Up Kayak Fishing | Tips for Standing in a Kayak

Featured Image Credit: Scott Beutjer Fishing

I feel confident saying that when I was half my current age of 56, I would have run down a ramp and walked into a kayak; pushing it offshore with one motion. I most certainly would run up to shore in my Hobie, like my friend Will Son, stand up and walk across the hatch just before it beaches. But back then, I had balance and was fearless and stand up kayak fishing hadn’t really taken off yet.  

It was an incident with my first Hobie (a skateboard), a playground slide, and an ego that taught me the reality of the physics behind the equation force=mass x acceleration… and aging that has shown me that all things change, especially balance – or maybe just my willingness to accept falling down or out of a boat has changed? 

Regardless, I am going to share a few things I have learned about standing in a kayak which I think are important; you really need to understand your kayaks primary and secondary stability and at what point the latter kicks in, you should be aware of where you are in the water if you are going to stand and you should choose a kayak or gear that makes it possible for you.

Stand Up Kayak Fishing: Primary Stability

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The primary stability of your kayak is the initial steadiness you feel with the kayak on flat water, the secondary stability is what keeps the kayak upright when you pass the primary point.  

If you haven’t spent a lot of time in a kayak, this may not seem that simple to understand, but get in a kayak and lean to one side.  You will feel the kayak moving with you fairly easy to a certain point, then you can feel it “grab” and seems that it will not tip further… this is the point that the secondary kicks in (very simply stated); just know, it will go further. If you really want to understand it, stand waist-deep in the water beside your kayak and push down on one side until it rolls.  Now, there are body shape and size factors, hull shape, buoyancy… and on and on… and on… but to learn your boat, learn where it tips with you in it and you will know when the waves or your movement are putting you at risk.  

If you are a bit of a science geek (guilty) and really want to gain a deeper understanding, this is a pretty cool explanation – kayak stability from Guillemot Kayaks.

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Raymond Jones testing a Caney Fork Outdoors Kayak for stability

I have demoed a lot of kayaks and can tell you the primary stability of many cheaper kayaks has kept me from attempting to stand up. In shorter, narrower boats, I refuse to raise up out of the seat unless it is warm and I am certain I am shallow because the motion of paddling causes the boat to lean deeply from side to side. It is in these kayaks that I will place my hand on the side of the kayak and push down to test at what point the secondary kicks in before I lean at all. 

If both seem to be fairly stable, I will stand with my feet wide for added stability. But this seemingly simple motion of standing has shifted the center of gravity and completely changed the physics of the kayak, and you will see increased instability with even the best kayaks on the market. If you have just purchased a new boat and are a person who likes standing to fish, learn the tipping point before trying stand up kayak fishing.

Stand Up Kayak Fishing: When I Stand or Sit

So you took the time to learn how far you can push your kayak to stay upright and are headed out to tackle a new body of water. Is the area filled with stumps or submerged timber? Is it an open and deep lake, or shallow and stump filled? Since I shared that I thought riding a skateboard down a very long playground slide was a good idea, let me share something else; I walked right off the end of my bass boat and face planted. The trolling motor brought the boat to a dead stop, but objects in motion tend to stay in motion, so my big ‘ole butt stayed in motion until it hit the ground after snagging a rock with the trolling motor. This was in an extremely stable boat on a calm day. Now picture the less stable kayak busting wide open into a submerged object; the likely hood of you falling in the kayak is increased drastically.

Another reason I recommend you understand the kayak’s stability is that one day, you will run upon a submerged object that will cause you to think that you are rolling.

 It may be a tree just under the surface, a log, or even a rock that causes this to happen and if you panic, you will go over. The first time it happened to me was at Toledo Bend and I had just encountered my first alligator. I will not go into more details, but just know that had I not understood the point at which my Hobie would tip, I may have leaned myself right out of the boat; and well, I was already more than scared by the 12-foot gator! So be aware of the water you are in when deciding to do some stand up kayak fishing.

Since you will eventually stand up in your kayak just to test it, make sure you have the right kayak for you. First and foremost, the Hobie Vantage seat is a godsend to us older kayakers who have suffered back surgeries (probably related to the playground slide now that I’ve thought about it). With its height and side rails (and the width of the kayak itself), standing is extremely easy. But even with those advantages, you need to be aware of the center of your kayak. If I were to stand up in the PA14 with my feet together like I was on a balance beam, I would find myself in the water. I have several Hobie buddies who have found a way to roll them by forgetting to keep their mass centered. 

Stand Up Kayak Fishing: Helpful Accessories 

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Some kayaks come with a stand assist strap. Photo credit: Rogue Fishing

My first kayak was a Jackson Big Tuna with a “stand assist” strap to allow me to pull myself to an upright position. Without this device, I would have not been able to physically raise myself out of the seat while on the water. Many versions are available, but Rogue Fishing has an assist that also serves as a strap to pull your kayak. 

This can be connected to the kayak inline with the kayaker to allow them to have a wide and balanced stance before raising completely to an upright position. A lot of boat manufacturers offer these along with the kayak as accessories. There are also stand assist rails that allow you to pull yourself up and stand for long periods, but as a tournament angler, the value they provide versus their interference with casting does not make them a good deal for me personally.

I rarely in stand up kayak fishing, most of my standing is for biological reasons or to enter/exit the kayak, but I have learned (through experience) that I need to know what it takes to be safe because there are times where I need to get a better vantage point. Your trips will be more enjoyable the more you’re aware of your capability, the boats capabilities, and your surroundings. I hope you find this helpful and it helps you to stay inside the kayak… and I hope if you are still young enough that you reconsider taking a skateboard down a slide… just saying.

Winning a Bass Boat Tournament from a Kayak | How it Went Down

I decided to fish a little pot derby out of my kayak a couple of weeks ago. We have a weekly Wednesday nighter from 6 to 10 PM on Yates Lake here in central Alabama. At the time I was fishing out of Tea Cup, the Sun Dolphin Journey SS I bought from Tractor Supply for $299. I recorded the whole brutal experience and you can watch it here. Some guys laughed when I showed up, including myself. We all had fun with it. But in my first attempt, I zeroed and that always stings. 

Fast forward to a week later and I decided to fish the Wednesday nighter again in a kayak I had borrowed from a buddy of mine, Scott Beutjer, a Bonafide SS127. You can check out the boat here in the video I put together when I picked it up.

How I Kept Bass Alive for Weigh-Ins

The previous week in the Sun Dolphin, I didn’t have room for a cooler to try to make a livewell, so I brought a wire basket that I was extremely anxious about using. I hate to kill a fish and figured it would be very difficult to keep a fish alive in a basket in the July heat in Alabama, but I had no other viable option. 

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Fortunately for the fish, I lost the only little keeper bass I hooked all night. 

However, the SS127 has a large area in the back with enough room to try to rig a livewell. So I grabbed a cooler, did a little redneck engineering and voilà, I had built my first kayak cooler/livewell, which you can see me assemble at the start of this video. The 2.0 version of my livewell is coming soon. It’s almost complete and I’ll have a DIY article on the build process out to you guys as soon as possible. 

My Second Attempt to Win a Bass Boat Tournament from a Kayak

So, I set sail with my DIY livewell in tow and decided to make a little “run” to a spot where we catch fish in a bass boat sometimes. It was about 90 degrees and a billion percent humidity. Hot, muggy and miserable. I stopped to make a few casts here and there but mainly kept my head down trying to reach some water I had confidence in. 

The week prior I chose to fish near the ramp and try to keep a bait in the water as much as possible. After getting only one bite that night, I decided to try to reach a good stretch at the most optimal feeding time near sundown. 

I have seldom had a game plan come together as smoothly. I caught a solid fish near 3-pounds right away during one of my pitstops. I was literally shaking once I got the fish in the boat. 

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I’ve caught hundreds of fish bigger than that one in my lifetime, but for some reason being in a kayak just changes things. 

The challenge makes each little bite a victory in itself and gets my adrenaline pumping. This lake is notoriously tough in the summer with 5-to-7-pounds winning some nights and as little as a 2-pounder winning big fish at times. So with all that in mind and after zeroing the week before, I was all jacked up and off to a great start. 

As dark grew near and I reached the supposed money stretch, I caught 4 little keepers in about 20 minutes. The most we had ever caught on that stretch in that length of time. 

My livewell worked great at keeping the fish alive (all were released and swam away great at the end of the night), but man was it sketchy opening the lid to put the fish in. Each time I cracked it to add a keeper, there seemed to be miles of opportunity for the other fish to escape (I have fixed that problem on my new setup though).

So the first two hours leading up to dark were action packed and saw one of only 2 or 3 limits my dad and I have had in about 14 tries in the Wednesday nighters this summer. 

Since I had a limit, I decided to throw a spinnerbait and buzzbait after dark in hopes of catching a big fish, though I had no idea how I would cull or even get the fish into the livewell without losing one of the others. But all of that proved moot by the end of the night. I had one more bite but missed it. I made the paddle back to the ramp and it was time to see how I faired.

Weighing In and Seeing the Results

I was excited regardless. I had managed to catch a limit in a kayak and keep all my fish alive all night. But the previous week it had only taken 9-pounds to win and I figured I had around 7-pounds so I thought I might have a chance. 

I bagged my fish, toted them to the scales and they settled in around 7 and a half pounds. I was so excited that I didn’t hear the exact weight but I knew it was more than anyone else had weighed. My big fish came in at 2.94-pounds and after a couple of other guys weighed-in, the results were in. 

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I won!! 

I beat 5 bass boats in a $30 pot tournament and you’d have thought I won the Bassmaster Classic. I was so jacked up and proud. It seems so silly. But that’s what I’m loving about fishing from a kayak. It just amplifies everything. All the work and adversity involved with it just makes fishing fun and meaningful again. 

The True Meaning of Kayak Fishing for Me

Little derbies like that or fishing on ponds and creeks that I have lost interest in, I now see in a brand new light. I’m having a blast. Feel free to join me over on my YouTube channel if you’d like to tag along or give a rookie kayaker a little advice. I know very little about the sport of kayak fishing but I’m soaking up as much as I can and loving every minute of it. 

Will I win another little derby like this from a kayak? Highly unlikely. Should I quit while I’m ahead and keep my record at 50/50? Probably. But I rarely do what I should do and don’t see it happening here either. I’m already eyeing the Tuesday nighter up on Lake Martin. 

If you decide you want to try something like this, just please be safe. If you’re fishing after dark be sure you have Coast Guard approved navigation lights like I do, wear your PFD and stay close to the bank. Obviously, make sure you’re in compliance with all other safety regulations and applicable laws. 

Have fun but don’t forget you’re a small fish in a big pond. 

As a final note, please make your best effort to keep your fish alive. We have to protect the resource. You can checkout my first livewell system here. It did the job but was inefficient. The new livewell build is going to be legit. You can find info on it here through Anglr or on my YouTube channel soon.

Kayak Storage Rack | The Top 3 Kayak Storage Rack Options

Figuring out the best way to store your kayak isn’t exactly the most exciting part of this kayak fishing obsession. It is essential however to ensure that your kayak is securely stored and in good condition giving you years of enjoyment. If you’re like me and you live in an area that experiences all different weather and temperatures throughout the year, you know how important it is to make sure your kayak is stored safely and securely, normally with a kayak storage rack.  

Being made out of plastic, kayaks are extremely durable and can take all kinds of abuse. Despite being able to take the abuse, plastic is really susceptible to changes in temperature. The best option for storing a kayak is in an indoor setting that is climate controlled. That may sound simple and straightforward, but many of us don’t have enough free space indoors to put a kayak without it being in the way. Luckily, kayak gear companies understand this and have developed some great products that allow us to store our kayaks safely and free up some space in the process.

No one wants to think about the fishing season coming to an end, but it’s a reality for most of us, especially in the Northeast. When the temperatures drop, it’s important that kayaks are stored properly. If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have temperature-controlled storage, a kayak storage rack can offer a great solution for keeping your kayak off the ground in a safe and supported way. A kayak storage rack can come in different shapes, sizes, and approaches, each offering their own advantages and disadvantages.

Here are a few of the common kayak storage rack types and some key information about them.

Kayak Storage Rack: Kayak Rack Stands

Kayak rack stands are a simple and easy solution for storing kayaks in safe an organized fashion. Maybe you don’t want to mount a permanent fixture to the side of your house or garage, storage racks offer sturdy support on a stand-alone structure. Standalone kayak racks can range in price, typically the higher the price, the more kayaks or weight the stand can hold. These stands typically have arms extending out of them allowing you to store your kayak in different positions, sideways, upside down, or just right side up depending on the model. 

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You’ll want to consider the location and length of time that your kayak will be on the rack before deciding which orientation is best. 

When storing a kayak for the winter in areas where the ground freezes and snow accumulates, it’s good practice to keep your kayak either upside down or right side up. This allows the weight of your kayak to be distributed evenly while also preventing snow build-up from putting undue pressure on one side of the hull. When frozen, the plastic that kayaks are made out of will usually remain strong but is still more brittle than in warmer weather. Knowing this, any and all steps should be taken to prevent additional pressure being put on your kayak. 

A really nice tip for kayak rack stands is putting them on wheels.

This gives you the ability to move the kayak around whenever you need to without having to remove all of the kayaks first. This can really come in handy when your kayaks are kept in an area that you also work in, like a garage or basement. 

Kayak Storage Rack: Wall Mounts

Similar to kayak rack stands, wall-mounted racks offer a similar level of support and convenience but are mounted to your wall or other fixture instead of having its own stand. 

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This is a great option for those who aren’t looking to add a larger structure to their garage or basement area but would rather just add some kayak cradles to their wall. 

These mounts need to be fastened to a stud in the wall to make sure they have a hold strong enough to support the weight of a kayak. While this option is a very convenient one, it’s not recommended for some of the larger kayaks out there such as the Hobie Pro Angler which could potentially damage your wall due to its weight. There are some options such as the Boonedox Yak Rak that boast a 200-pound weight limit on their wall-mounted hooks, so just be sure to pay attention to the specifications before making a purchase.

Kayak Storage Rack: Ceiling Lift

For many folks, they have space in their garage but they don’t have space on the floor. This may sound silly but think about it, your cars take up the ground surface area of your garage, but above them is a ton of space. If you find yourself to be one of these people, you’re in luck because there’s an option for you. 

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Ceiling lifts use the joists of your ceiling to create mounting points and using a pulley, your kayak can be stored up off of the ground. 

These systems are great because they typically leave enough clearance space to still park your vehicles below. This option also works wonderfully for kayaks that are larger as the pulley system also acts as a load assist making it easier to hoist your kayak towards the ceiling. Simply fasten the straps around the hull of your kayak and start pulling on the rope to raise the kayak up. Once the kayak is in place, use a cleat or other fastening point to ensure your kayak is locked in and won’t fall down and you’re good to go. 

Be sure to distribute the weight of the kayak evenly between each strap to avoid warping. If you leave more weight on one side, that side will be more prone to warping or cracking under the pressure from the straps.

Regardless of which kayak storage rack you select, you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that your kayak is stored safely and securely. On top of this, you’re protecting your investment while ensuring you’ll be able to enjoy your kayak for years to come!

Kayak Trailer | An Overview to Help You Select the Right Kayak Trailer

My first kayak was only intended to be a boat to carry with our camper; allowing us to get out on the water on weekend getaways. I added a TracOne TracRac to my truck to make it possible to haul it and the camper without them hitting each other, then I would throw it in the bed (with a bed extender) once we had set up the site. It was a pretty good way to haul it, but it was a lot of work throwing a hundred-plus pound kayak on top of the rack.  I actually carried a milk crate that would make it possible for my short legs to reach high enough – which is not a pretty sight to see. I would have killed for a good kayak trailer during those days!

Kayak Trailer Options: How to Find the Right One for You

Before we go much farther, find a kayak tournament check-in and you will be able to see just about every possible type of trailer… utility, jet ski, boat, homemade, DIY kayak trailer…some you may not be sure what it really ever was, but it is functional. You will see small tires, big tires, narrow tires, fat tires; tires that most likely show air through them due to the miles they have traveled. Brand names, no names… renamed…. you name it, it is hauling a kayak to the water somewhere across the globe.

My original trailer was a Harbor Freight trailer that took me two long days to put together. It came in two boxes with what felt like thousands of nuts, bolts, and washers. About halfway through the assembly process that tested my years of engineering skills, I considered dragging it out of the garage and putting an “almost finished” for sale sign on it – but then knew I would have to fight the HOA, so I persevered. 

It was a decent trailer and served me well for almost a year; but I hadn’t considered one thing, how far and fast I would be traveling. A Tennessee State Trooper was kind enough to point out that doing 70 mph heading back from Guntersville with such a small and light trailer, with small tires, was not too safe. He was even quicker to point out that the speed limit was 45 mph, but that is another story for another time.

I hadn’t considered the safety of what I was doing. To be quite honest, I never thought I would travel farther than Yellow Creek or maybe Kentucky Lake (40-minutes from home) with the cheap utility trailer. But as I watched him writing a ticket in my rearview mirror, I thought about what he had said. Was this the best trailer to haul my Hobie PA across the states?  When I made it home, I went on a quest to determine what would be my ideal trailer.

I made a list of the things I was looking for:

#1. 12-inch Tires. 

I wanted larger tires because I planned to put a lot of miles on a trailer. I didn’t want 8-inch tires, nor did I want skinny tires that might allow the trailer to shift from side to side under the weight.

#2. The Ability to Haul Multiple Kayaks. 

My wife Joy and I love to be on the water. I wanted to be able to haul my Hobie PA, her Hobie Compass, at least one of the other Hobie’s I keep in the garage for company that may join me or to demo.  Also, if I needed to complete a float trip with folks, I wanted to be able to haul a few.

#3. I Wanted a Trailer with Substance. 

I had no plan to haul the trailer with my wife’s Nissan Sentra (which we have traded for a Frontier), I am using a full-size Titan. As functional as the Harbor Freight trailer had been, it bounced, rattled, and shook while traveling. I had lost a fender somewhere between Clarksville and Cedar Creek Lake in Kentucky; not exactly sure where.

#4. It Had to Fit in the Garage. 

One side of my garage is too full to breathe in, much less add a trailer. The other side is shorter. So I had a length restriction to consider unless I wanted to empty the garage – and I wanted to be fishing instead of digging through all that stuff.

#5. I Wanted it to Look Kinda Cool. 

Ok, so maybe this is not a real quality to search for in a trailer but I wanted it to look like it was meant to be a kayak tournament trailer… I know that makes me a bit shallow, but I had seen trailers at events that were pretty awesome and I caved to that desire.

Your list of “wants” may, and will most likely be different based on space, needs, or the amount you want to spend. But regardless of the trailer you choose, you need to understand how to set up your vehicle for towing. Reese Hitches has a fairly informative page with links that can educate you about the differences. 

Also, make sure your trailer has lights and the correct wiring for your vehicle. If you are comfortable with searching yourself, this link can get you started. If not, contact someone locally to help.

In Tennessee, we are not required to register all trailers. Make sure to follow your state and local requirements when it comes to registration. The last thing you want is to pay money for a ticket that you could use to buy a toolbox or rod tubes for your trailer.

So without further ado, let’s walk through a few trailer options…

Kayak Trailer Options: The Bed Extender

A lot of guys still carry theirs using bed extenders like the Boonedox T-Bone or any number of other versions like the MaxxHaul, and it can be as simple as throwing it on top of your car or you can add a ladder rack (or just the bed of a truck).  

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Casey Kunder’s T-bone bed extender.

Kayak Trailer Options: The Utility Trailer

You will find many guys trailering their boats using this method; there is nothing wrong with it and is where I started; with a converted utility trailer.  

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The mod can be as simple as just throwing your kayak on it (like Donald Guthrie above) to some fairly elaborate setups.  

I had assembled the trailer then added some 3-inch PVC to serve as runners for the kayak.  In an effort to allow multiple kayaks to be hauled, I added a truck rack. Many anglers have done the same; there are even kits that are meant to be used on utility trailers for this purpose.  Malone has several options for converting trailers like the utility trailer cross bar system.

A friend of mine, Jay Minor, had used his trailer to haul kayaks on the weekend, then would throw sides on it to haul trash or leaves when he needed to clean up around the house. He eventually added a Malone cross rails conversion kit, removed the sides, and created a nice kayak trailer that he still uses today. It still allows him to remove the bunks if he needs to do some work around the house.  

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Jay Minors Trailer with the cross rails conversion kit!

Anthony Shingler hauled his Jackson on an old utility trailer that I often worried wouldn’t make it home. Its sole purpose was to be a kayak trailer, he had attached a cooler and PVC also, but the real issue to me was the tire size.  It had 8-inch tires and he was constantly wearing them out running mile after mile each weekend. Those tires left us sitting at ramps changing them… which is why I knew that I wanted to have larger wheels on my “dream” trailer.

Again, there is nothing wrong with using utility trailers. They can be modified to fit whatever your needs; even adding camper shells to use it to sleep in. Just make sure that before you build a tiny house to haul along with you, that you know the weight limitations of the axle, tires and the hitch you will be using to tow it.

Kayak Trailer Options: Boat/Jet Ski Trailers

These trailers are perfect for kayaks; they are smaller, lighter than a bass boat trailer, and tow really well. Most kayaks are in the 10 to 14-foot range, so there is little more to do than adjust the bunks on the trailer. A quick search on Craig’s List or the Facebook Marketplace (even just watch local kayak club pages) will turn up a few very reasonably priced versions. I know some guys who bought them for a hundred bucks, then put a hundred more in them; now they have a virtually new trailer. If you are looking to haul more than a single kayak, you can add kits like the cross rail conversion kits, or you can go with a larger trailer designed for a full-size boat.

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Shingler has finally converted from the old utility trailer to a jet ski trailer. 

Jeremy Hines, a guy who fishes with our local club, has taken a full-size trailer and modified it.  It has a truck box, a ladder rack to haul more boats and he took the time to paint it; an extremely nice trailer that he bought then put some elbow grease into. 

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He took the time to bring his vision of what a trailer should be for him to life.  

You can do as much, or as little as you choose. I would recommend if you buy a used trailer, especially one that had been submerged in water, that you check the bearings. Grease them, replace them or at least check them. It is hard to find an auto parts store that carries the bearings for your specific trailer open on Sunday on a remote country road… trust me on this one, it is very hard!

Kayak Trailer Options: Trailers Designed For Kayaks

The availability of trailers designed specifically for kayaks is growing at the same rate as the interest in kayak fishing is growing. There are companies that offer several different models of trailers. These are lightweight and fairly sturdy; with many configurable to meet your needs and the number of kayaks you want to haul. Malone is one of the most recognized names with many models, and Yakima has some nice offerings including the new Easy Rider. There are many companies across the states that recognize the need to offer more robust trailers for anglers; many willing to build custom designs for you.

I personally chose one of those companies, Tennessee Trailers, after doing quite a bit of research. It had larger tires, could haul multiple kayaks, had some substance to it (a heavy-duty trailer), fits in the space I had available and looks pretty cool. I chose a galvanized version for extended durability; I don’t ever want to buy another kayak trailer, and this one should last.

The only problem I’ve had with the trailer is that one of the fenders collapsed while driving home from Wisconsin. I was driving through Illinois at about 70 mph (ok, maybe more) when I heard a “BANG” and looked up to see the trailer raised up in the air over my tailgate. I stopped to find that a deer had run into the trailer and crushed the fender against the wheel. The kayak was untouched, with just a bit of deer on it, and the trailer was still completely functional. I contacted the folks who built it, they fit me in, and I was back on the road in no time with a new fender. Had I not opted for a more substantial trailer, or been hauling the small utility trailer when this happened, I am certain the outcome would not have been so positive. 

You do not have to use a kayak trailer, there are days where I do not because it is too remote where I am launching.

There are a lot of anglers who will never switch to trailers and will be perfectly content. But if you are going to haul one of the larger kayaks on the market, or carry friends and family along on the trips; you might want to consider a kayak trailer. It just makes it so much easier to launch. I can get all of my gear ready, then back down and push it off; then when I come back, I can pull it on the kayak trailer and move out of the way to unload the gear. 

Either way… if you do get a small utility trailer… when you get pulled over for going too fast the correct reply to “Do you think it is safe to go this fast with that little trailer?” is not “oh yeah, it handles 85 pretty easy”… just some parting advice.

Buying a Kayak | The Process (or Lack Thereof) of Selecting My First Kayak

Ok. So let me shoot you straight from the giddy-up. I have always been slightly interested in the idea of kayak fishing but never really gave it a chance. I just didn’t think buying a kayak and hitting the water was for me. I wouldn’t say I looked down my nose at it per se, I’m just a fairly big guy coming in at 254 pounds and not really a nimble, agile, or steady person. The last thing I thought I wanted to do was get in a small boat and paddle around while trying not to fall out. 

I was wrong on so many fronts.

Buying a Kayak: Why Not Use My Bass Boat?

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting at home on a Sunday and had finally had enough. I was wanting to go fishing but frustrated with the un-sustainability of fishing out of my fiberglass bass boat. I have a ‘very reasonable’ payment by today’s standards of $350 per month. 

But add on top of that the insurance ($70 per month) the gas and oil for the boat each time I want to go fishing (say an average of $75 per trip) and then the fact that I’m usually fishing a little pot tournament each time I go fishing in the summer (an average of $50 per entry fee). Not even factoring in truck gas or any fishing gear, I’m at about $1,000 per month to fish 4 times. 

Fishing is supposed to be fun. 

That’s all it was ever supposed to be. For me, it had become a part-time job that I wasn’t even making money at. Even if and when I won a little money in one of these pot tournaments, I was still going backward in a hurry and only fishing a few days a month. I just couldn’t afford it anymore.

I work two jobs and have no kids or wife or ex-wife or any financial responsibilities really outside of my house, land, truck, and boat. And if I can’t afford to fish out of a bass boat I don’t how in the heck most people are doing it with so much more on their plate.

Buying a Kayak: The Shotgun Purchase of My First Kayak

All of this was running through my head and I said to heck with it. I got up off the couch, drove to the local Tractor Supply of all places and picked up a kayak for $299 plus tax. (The full video from that day and my first trip out in a kayak can be viewed here.) 

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Y’all… I had a blast!

I took that thing to a local lake and it was a complete train wreck, but I did manage to catch 4 fish and had a brand new experience that was so genuinely rewarding and freeing that I couldn’t wait to go again. I loaded my little Sundolphin Journey 12 up in the back of my truck and fished 6 of the next 7 days out of it, an hour or two before or after work, I even fished a local pot tournament out of it. Footage from that week is all available on my YouTube channel

I’m not going to sugar coat it, kayak fishing out of that boat was backbreaking at times. You sit down in that one, and after about an hour and a half, my lower back would be in a world of hurt. I didn’t feel comfortable enough to stand up in it, so for a couple of those longer trips I was literally wallowing in my own misery for 5 or 6 hours or would get out on the bank for a minute to stretch. 

But every bit of it was still fantastic. I know that sounds weird. But it’s like that saying “embrace the suck”. Every ounce of misery that went into it made each fish catch that much more exciting and rewarding. How do you measure the tallest mountain peak without the lowest point in the valley? 

I think the arms race in the big boat world has spoiled those of us who could afford it and put those of us who can’t afford all the gadgets at such a disadvantage that it’s not that much fun anymore. I would catch a two-pounder in my bass boat and casually discarded it out the back of the boat while fixing my eyes on where my next cast should go. I’ve found myself just staring at a two-pounder after buying a kayak. 

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Looking at all the detail in the fish and just appreciating the battle. It’s just different. Pure and simple.

Buying a Kayak: Looking Forward to Learning More

Now how long it will stay pure and simple is in question. There are already thousands of gadgets out there to make kayak fisherman “better”. I’ll admit several are very appealing to me right out of the gate. But the ones I’m most interested in aren’t the ones that really give me a huge advantage on the fish or the other kayakers, but instead, the ones that make kayaking a little more sustainable long term physically.

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Buying a kayak… a better kayak… is going to be essential. 

The Sundolphin (aka Tea Cup as so adequately named by my mother) is a cool boat. A lot went into it for a few hundred bucks. It would be something worth looking at if you want to leave a kayak on your dock to fish for an hour here or there without worrying that someone might steal a $2,000 rig. But if you’re a little heavy set, got a little age on you, or want to spend more than a couple hours on the water at the time, I found out quickly that you’re going to need more. 

I have been very fortunate in the last week to borrow a couple of Bonafide Kayaks from a buddy of mine named Scott Beutjer, and they are awesome. I’ve only fished out of one of the models so far, the SS127, but it is a night and day difference. Customization is so key in this kayak deal. Using every inch of available space efficiently and having everything at your fingertips is essential. The layout and design of the SS127’s are so intentional.

Here’s my first trip in it! 

In time, especially if I get into the Kayak Bass Fishing tournament scene, I’m sure I’ll want a graph, motor, and Power-Pole. Even then, tricking out a kayak is so much more achievable. You’ll never be tempted to mount four 12” graphs like in a big boat, an Elite 9 Ti2 would be plenty. You don’t need 2 Power-Pole Blades for $4,500, just their $600 Micro. The Torqeedo isn’t exactly cheap around a couple thousand bucks, but we’re not talking about $20,000 for a 250 horsepower outboard. 

All that will come in time. For now I’m just loving fishing again. And that’s enough for me!

Kayak Paddle Clips | The Best 3 Options for Kayak Paddle Clips

Featured Image Credit: Scott Beutjer Fishing

Kayak paddle clips might very well be the most overlooked accessory in kayak fishing and kayaking in general. Nowadays most kayaks, especially fishing kayaks, come pre-rigged with a paddle clip. These clips act almost like a third hand while out on the water, they hold your paddle safely and securely which allows you to use both of your hands to land a fish or grab yourself a drink. 

Being able to put your paddle down in a spot where it’s secure and out of the way allows you to focus on making a cast rather than managing your equipment. Despite seeming really simple, kayak paddle clips allow you to make more casts and spend more time fishing each time you hit the water.

Kayak Paddle Clips: YakAttack RotoGrip

When it comes to paddle clips, nothing beats the RotoGrip from YakAttack. YakAttack is known industry-wide for their amazing quality accessories and the RotoGrip is no exception. The RotoGrip is constructed out of super-strong plastic with two rubberized wheels that allow a paddle to be securely seated without risk of falling out. The rubberized wheels create a snug fit as well as friction that prevents the shaft of a paddle from shifting out. I use two of these RotoGrips currently to secure my paddle while not in use and I’ve never had any issues with it. 

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On top of the great design, the RotoGrip can be added to any kayak that has a track for accessories. 

Simply loosen the nut, slide down track, tighten back down, and you’re good to go! On my kayak, I have RotoGrips mounted on my Boondedox Landing Gear which works great and keeps my paddle securely fastened behind me. I’ve even bumped my paddle few times with fishing rods and such but they never budge! 

Kayak Paddle Clips: Ram Roller-Ball

The Ram Roller-Ball is very similar to the RotoGrip in terms of its shape and how it works, but there are a few things that make Ram’s offering different. The first is the roller-ball always ensures that whatever it’s holding down maintains three different points of contact. The bottom part of the paddle holder is spring loaded ensuring a custom fid for any paddle shaft. 

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The Ram Roller-Ball also offers a hook for attaching a leash which would come into play if for some reason the Roller-Ball were to fail, your paddle wouldn’t go very far.

Kayak Paddle Clips: Scotty Paddle Clip

The Scotty Paddle Clip is a great example of a classic paddle clip design. This clip has been around for ages and has been used in a variety of applications. I’ve even seen this paddle clip used to on a paddle clip belt that a YouTuber created. 

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These things are extremely versatile and affordable. 

While this clip won’t be able to mount to your gear tracks, it only takes two small screws to attach and you’re ready to roll. 

You can’t go wrong with any of these 3 options for paddle clips. Consider your kayak fishing style and how you like to store your gear and pick the one that you think will work best for you.