In this category on the ANGLR fishing intelligence blog, you’ll find articles related to ANGLR products like the free fishing app and optional connected devices. Learn how to use weather, water, and location data to improve your fishing.

Planning a Fishing Trip: How to Plan a Kayak Trip With the ANGLR App

Featured Image Credit: Scott Beutjer

One of my favorite parts of the ANGLR app is the number of different ways it can be used. The more I use this app and the more updates are released, the advantages offered are only expanding. When I first started using the app, I thought I would simply track my fishing trips and mark good spots to fish and areas where fish were caught. I soon realized that I was only utilizing a small sliver of what the app could provide. 

During the days leading up to a fishing tournament, anglers are constantly sharing tips and information with each other and while I appreciate the communication, I’ve never cared for a last-minute change in approach. I’ve been around many anglers who’ve completely changed their game plan based on some information they heard from someone that turned out to be third or fourth hand. Using the ANGLR app to breakdown a body of water, I’m able to see things for myself and target areas that I think will be productive based on my confidence baits.

Here’s a rundown of how I plan a day out on the water using the ANGLR app.

Planning a Fishing Trip: Find Water

This probably seems silly to read at first, but there are plenty of weekends that come up where I’m set on going fishing just not certain as to where I want to go. To assist in my decision, I open the ANGLR app and take a look at what’s around me. With satellite imagery or topographic imagery, I’m able to easily locate a body of water and assess it’s accessibility. 

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There have been plenty of times when I’ve located a body of water close to my house that I never knew existed. Some of my biggest bass this year have come from small bodies of water that aren’t popular fishing spots. These fishing holes would be tough to find without detailed maps. The ANGLR app’s topographical maps can even give you a sneak peek of what the depths look like on a pond or lake before fishing it.

Planning a Fishing Trip: Check the Weather

As a kayak angler, it’s really important to be aware of the current and forecasted weather conditions. Kayaks these days are super stable, but they can only do so much when the weather gets bad. Not only does ANGLR Premium provide a live weather radar, but it also provides a 72-hour wind map which has become a staple in my fishing preparation. 

Knowing what the wind is going to do allows me to decide if it’s safe to go fishing but also where the fish should be active based on the wind direction. The weather on the ANGLR app is regularly updated and can be checked while you’re out on the water as well just in case something changes. 

Planning a Fishing Trip: Logbook

For years, I’ve planned to start a fishing journal where I record the details of every fishing trip I go on. I had the intention to start, but I’d never actually done it. Well… until this season.

Now, the ANGLR app does it for me by tracking your trips, catches, and waypoints that you record with the Bullseye. Come next season, I’ll be more prepared for events when I can just refer to the previous trips on a body of water. I’m looking forward to using this historical information to help me ensure my pre-fishing and events are more focused and my approach is more effective.

Kayak Fishing Apps | The Top 5 Kayak Fishing Apps

There has never been a better time to be a kayak angler. Advances in the design of kayaks and their accessories have provided all kinds of advantages for the kayak angler. To go along with kayaks and their accessories, developers have created kayak fishing apps that put a whole world of information within the palm of our hands. 

This work has resulted in powerful applications that allow anglers to access all kinds of information, log information about their trips, connect with other anglers, hold kayak fishing tournaments, and more. Here are my top 5 fishing apps.

Kayak Fishing Apps #1: ANGLR

You’re most likely reading this article on the ANGLR website, so let’s address the obvious concern right off the bat. I write for ANGLR but I’m not obligated to include this app on my list. The ANGLR app is rated at the top of this list because of my own usage and experience.

I first heard about this app at the 2019 KBF National Championship. During that time a friend gave me an ANGLR Bullseye and I started using it immediately. At first, it seemed like the app was more of a tracker, something that you turned on at the start of your trip to see where you went. That seemed interesting to me but not really enough to get me using it all the time. 

When you add the ANGLR Bullseye, the app becomes an all in one fishing experience, allowing you to log your trips, plan future trips, and check current weather conditions. The folks at ANGLR are hard at work as you read this, adding new features to the app itself while increasing the functionality of the Bullseye. 

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With this app, I’m able to look back through fishing trips and remember what the conditions were like and what the fish were biting the last time I was there. 

I’ve intended to start a fishing journal for years and with the ANGLR app, I’ve finally done that. With this app, I can track every spot that I’ve fished, every location that I’ve caught a fish, and with the new updates, track the equipment I was using when I made the catch. This app, along with the Bullseye, has changed how I fish.

Kayak Fishing Apps #2: TourneyX

If you’ve ever competed in a kayak fishing tournament, then you’re probably well aware of what the TourneyX app is. If you’re unfamiliar, TourneyX is an online fishing tournament management application that allows anglers to compete in tournaments without requiring them to bring fish to weigh in. 

The app works like this, you catch a fish, place that fish on a measuring device in accordance with your clubs rules. Take a photo of that fish then upload that photo to the app. Once the photo is uploaded, it’s reviewed by judges who determine that the fish is a legal catch or not. These tournaments typically go by overall length and use a unique identifier code and GPS location in order to prevent cheating.

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This app has changed how fishing tournaments are run and for kayak fishing tournaments in particular, has completely changed the game. 

If you get a chance, check out TourneyX’s site and their social media pages, Dwayne Walley is always sharing new updates and features that they’re trying out in order to improve the app and its service. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into an app like this and it really benefits kayak anglers everywhere!

Kayak Fishing Apps #3: Navionics

One of my favorite things about kayak fishing tournaments is the number of places I’ve fished that I wouldn’t have otherwise. A major challenge with this is not always having the time to pre-fish or scout out a body of water before a tournament. 

This is where Navionics comes in. If you’ve never heard of Navionics, think of it as a Google Maps on steroids, for water. Navionics offers maps for bodies of water that displays depth, hazards, and other markers on the water. This resource can easily be the difference between catching fish and not. There have been countless times where I’ve spotted a drop-off that looked interesting, gone to that spot, and found fish.

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The number of details on these charts can be overwhelming, but once you get the hang of it, you won’t fish without checking Navionics first.

Kayak Fishing Apps #4: Scoutlook Fishing

Scoutlook fishing is an app that I’ve used on and off for the past few years. It’s a great app for really breaking down weather and how it could impact the fish and what they’ll be interested in. To be completely honest, I don’t use this app much anymore due to the recent additions to the ANGLR app, but Scoutlook is still a trusted back up.

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This app has changed quite a bit over the years and now seems to have settled on the weather as a focus, offering some great detailed forecasts.

Kayak Fishing Apps #5: Fishidy

Fishidy is a great platform for anglers to find fishing hot spots while breaking down the water. Known as a map based social fishing app that allows anglers to network their data with others, it’s a great way for anglers to find a honey hole. I have to admit, I’ve found myself obsessing over this more than a couple of times. 

Nevertheless, this app connects anglers from all over the world and lets you follow along on their adventures and fishing trips.

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This app offers many great features that will get you acclimated to a body of water in a hurry.

Planning a Fishing Trip With the ANGLR App | My 4-Step Process

So you want to go fishing on a fishery you haven’t been to in a while, perhaps ever. How do you maximize the effectiveness of your time on the water? I get this question a lot on social media in some form or another. I’ve had people ask, “How do you prep for a one-day tournament without practice?” or “What do you do to get ready to fish a lake you’ve never been to before?”

For me, it’s pretty simple: research. Now I’ve never been one to call up a guy and ask him to tell me exactly what they’re biting and where. That’s not research. That’s pointless to me. You might get a check but you miss out on the sense of accomplishment that you get from finding and catching fish on you’re own. And even if someone “puts you on them”, they’re typically either lying to you or mean well, but have you chasing ghosts that even they couldn’t catch. 

So what does research look like to me? I like to do a lot of map study, check the forecast for both weather and water conditions, review my personal previous experiences on that body of water, and then I also research past tournaments held on that fishery. 

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Planning a Fishing Trip With ANGLR: Map Study

I do lots of map study when I’m preparing for a day on the water. Because I’m a shallow water guy, I prefer satellite imagery first and then topographic maps second. For the satellite imagery, I used to use Google Earth primarily, but now with the ANGLR app, I can pull up satellite imagery of a fishery and also drop waypoints or pattern points within the app to make notes for where I want to fish when I get there. 

I can find little hidey holes from the aerial point of view that I might overlook when I’m on the water. I can also see grass lines and other vegetation much better from above. On a fishery where there is a drawdown or winter pool, I can use older satellite imagery to locate laydowns and brush piles that are exposed by the low water. Using the ANGLR app, I can map out a game plan before I ever even hit the water. 

Likewise, with topographic maps, I can determine if certain oxbows or creeks are accessible and find where shallow and deep water meet for times when fish are transitioning in the spring and fall. I used to primarily use the Navionics app for this, but ANGLR has also added some topographic maps to their app that are useful for comparison. What’s neat about the ANGLR app is that I can even drop waypoints to mark something that caught my eye in the Navionics app.  

You can see how I do this in my Predicting Patterns episodes on YouTube. Here’s an example from the Major League Fishing Redcrest!

Planning a Fishing Trip With ANGLR: Forecasts

Wind, weather, and water forecasts are extremely important when planning a fishing trip. The  ANGLR app allows me to check all of these leading up to a fishing trip from within the app, which is very handy. 

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ANGLR is still working to incorporate more and more water current gauges. For some of my local fisheries, I have to use an app like Alabama Shorelines or the TVA  app to see what the current is doing. 

When it comes to weather forecasts, the 72-hour wind forecast feature on the ANGLR app is really handy, as well as the realtime radar so that I’m not bouncing around between a dozen different apps. With ANGLR’s Premium Maps, watching the weather and predicting the weather can be done all in one place!

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Planning a Fishing Trip With ANGLR: Reviewing My Personal Experience on a Fishery

I have fished a lot of places over the years and I also have a terrible memory. Which isn’t good for anglers. I have actually put in at a lake before thinking it was my first time there and realized at some point during the day that I actually have had the boat in the water there once before in the whirlwind of my past life as an outdoor journalist covering fishing tournaments for B.A.S.S. and FLW.

So for me, a logbook is a huge asset… had I been keeping one all these years. 

Unfortunately, I only recorded scattered experiences here and there over the years. Mostly details about good days on the water which ironically are the ones I don’t really need help remembering. 

The ones that matter even more to my future success are those where I didn’t do well. 

‘What was the air temp and weather like the day I bombed on Guntersville throwing a frog?’ 

‘What was the date and water temp when I threw a jerkbait all day on Martin but only had 3 bites?’ 

The answers to those questions keep me from making the same mistakes twice. The beauty of the logbook feature in the ANGLR App is that it writes itself regardless of how well the day is going. I just start the trip in the morning and whether I catch 20-pounds or don’t get a bite, the logbook is constantly gathering weather and water data and associating it with my GPS track and the time of day. 

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When I do mark a fish catch with either the app itself or my Bluetooth connected Bullseye, the GPS location and conditions of that exact moment are frozen in time for me to review from here to kingdom come… and it’s all stored privately, just for my eyeballs to see. 

Having the ability to go back to the day I had 29-pounds on Okeechobee and see all the invisible factors like barometric pressure and wind speed that were happening all around me would be wildly beneficial. And now thanks to the ANGLR app, I will have similar information someday to look back on and study when preparing for a day on the water. 

Planning a Fishing Trip With ANGLR: Looking at Past Tournaments

To get a feel for the weights a fishery puts out, I’ll go back and look at previous tournaments there. Obviously, if I’m fishing a tournament, I want to catch as much weight as possible but doing well in a tournament and especially throughout an entire season requires being realistic at times. Knowing if a good bag is around 13-pounds or 20-pounds helps me determine whether I’m going to split my time between a limit hole and a big fish pattern or go for broke and dedicate my whole day to trying to get 5 big bites. 

Coverage of past tournaments can also tell you if you should look shallow or deep and perhaps give you a few hints to patterns and baits that work well on the fishery. But again, don’t get caught up buying into too much of that. If there’s one thing I learned in my time covering tournaments, anglers lie

But not me. I’d never lie… unless you ask me something and I don’t want to tell you the truth. But hey, what do you expect. But I will say this with 100 percent earnestness, I would never offer up a lie unprovoked… probably.

Try the ANGLR app for free today! 

How the ANGLR App Has Helped Me Become a Better Bass Angler

As a competitive bass angler, we’re always searching for the next best thing that will give us an edge over our competition. Oftentimes, we look at new baits, rods, reels, or lines that might help us improve our catch ratios. For me, I grew tired of the monotony of looking for the newest techniques or baits, so I found something even better. 

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I started keeping a logbook to learn from each and every fishing trip. 

Now, most of you might think I’m crazy for writing every little detail down… well here’s the surprise… I don’t write down a single thing. I use an automated, virtual logbook that records all of my fishing data for me. I use the ANGLR app.

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The General Basis of the ANGLR App

I will start off by explaining how the ANGLR app works with the ANGLR Bullseye. The ANGLR Bullseye is a small, Bluetooth device than can be clipped on your hat or a lanyard. I prefer the lanyard as I can see what I’m doing with the Bullseye whether I’m marking a waypoint, marking a catch, or changing my gear. 

Every time you press the button on the Bullseye, it will mark either a catch or a waypoint on the ANGLR app. The app records weather data such as air temperature, wind speed, wind direction as well as barometric pressure and water data such as temperature, flow, and gage hight. The app also allows you to record the equipment you use from the rod, reel, line down to the bait, this is key to improving your game!

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How the ANGLR App Has Helped Me Improve

The ANGLR app has helped me improve as a bass fisherman because it allows me to learn from every trip I take. Prior to heading out for a fishing trip, usually the evening before, I will log in to the ANGLR web application. I will look for trips that I have taken in the past around the same time of year. I will also research the weather pattern that I will face during my day of fishing. 

I have found by using the ANGLR app, I am putting a game plan together based on my past fishing experience. For example, based on the barometric pressure data I have collected, I can typically predict whether or not the bass will be active enough to go after a topwater bait. This little tidbit of information helps me plan out my day on the water and what baits I need to have tied on. 

The ANGLR app has given me a ton of confidence while I am fishing because I know I am doing the right thing to catch fish at all times throughout the day. I have been to quite a few lakes that I have never fished before and have caught fish simply by looking at my data in the ANGLR app from similar bodies of water.

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I have also been able to repeat successful fishing trips while using the ANGLR app. 

For example, there is a small body of water near me that receives a ton of fishing pressure. I went there one Saturday morning and caught 9 bass in 3 hours of fishing. I came home and analyzed my data and was been able to return and duplicate my day of fishing due to recording the trip in my ANGLR app. Knowing this, I can come back and check the conditions of this trip to see if they are comparable when I’m planning my next trip. If they are the same, I know what techniques to use and if they are not comparable I will know what not to use. All in all, it makes piecing the puzzle together easier than ever. 

Try the ANGLR app for free today! 

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!

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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!

ANGLR Premium Maps: How 72-Hour Wind Forecasts Help You Catch More Fish

For years and years, anglers have been caught off guard by windy conditions while out on the water. Whether it’s simply a 5 mph increase over what you expected, windy conditions will change the way bass and other species eat and stage on any given body of water. 

We will get into how wind affects where fish will stage a little later, but when it comes to planning your trip, knowing how strong the wind is going to be and the direction it will be coming out of is key. Many weather forecasts do their best to provide an accurate depiction, but it isn’t always easy to read or find for that matter. With ANGLR’s 72-hour wind forecast overlay, it’s easier than ever to check the forecasted winds for your body of water.

How Anglers Use 72-Hour Wind Forecasts to Catch More Fish

With the ability to view an accurate 72-hour wind forecast overlaid on a map (similar to how you’d view live weather radar) anglers are able to plan their trips more effectively and decide when their body of water may be too rough due to the windy conditions forecasted.

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Use Wind Direction to Know Where the Fish Will Congregate

For those of you reading this that have fished in windy conditions, you know how frustrating it can be to get blown off of your honey hole when 4 to 5-foot waves come out to play in some nasty windy conditions. If you’re out on the water and run into this issue, don’t worry, there are other places to check where you can use the wind to your advantage! 

Heavy wind on any body of water presents two conditions, waves and current. Both waves and current will congregate baitfish and actually put them in various vulnerable positions where a hungry bass will be lying in wait. When the wind picks up and stays steady in one direction, it will push the baitfish with it. So, this means if the wind is coming from the south, you can fish a point from the northern side and catch bass and other species lying in wait for the baitfish to use said point as a current break. Not only will you be sheltered from the wind, but you’ll also be fishing in a high percentage area! 

This same phenomenon can also occur on the bank. If the wind is coming from the south, the northernmost bank will be fielding the larger waves, but with those waves comes a stronger current which will push balls of baitfish up along that bank. Depending on the size of the waves, fishing that windblown bank can pay dividends in exchange for braving some rougher than normal conditions! If the waves and wind get too rough, the bait and other species will actually stage at the next closest current break where the water isn’t similar to that of a washing machine, so keep that in mind as well. 

Plan Your Trip Effectively

Deciding where the fish will be staging isn’t all you can use a 72-hour wind forecast for! Are you trying to decide whether you should go fishing on Saturday and mow the lawn on Sunday or vice versa? 

It wouldn’t make much sense to go out on Saturday if you’ll be fishing in gale force winds with 4-foot waves rolling down the lake when it is forecasted to be calm all day Sunday while you’re riding your John Deere… so don’t make that mistake! 

Simply check the 72-hour wind forecast and decide which day will present you with the wind conditions that fit your style of fishing! Take the guesswork out of your decision!

Know When Your Body of Water Might not be Safe to Fish!

To go off of the previous section, those of us who fish larger bodies of water consistently know how quickly a fun day on the water can turn into a less than ideal situation when you have to run 5-miles in 4-foot waves. With the great lakes and lakes like Kentucky Lake and some of the TVA bodies of water, the wind can build waves for miles upon miles before they get to you. This can lead to “getting caught” in a bad situation. 

Don’t get caught in a bad situation! 

Simply check the 72-hour wind forecast in your ANGLR app and have a better idea of when the heavy wind is supposed to pick up! If you check and see constant 25 MPH winds the next day, maybe you’ll make the decision to stay at home, or fish a different body of water. Either way, you won’t be that guy who shows up at the boat ramp to be disappointed they drove so far to not be able to launch their boat safely due to the waves and strong winds! 

In short, 72-hour wind forecasts simply make you a more proficient and safe angler. These maps give you insights to your body of water that our ancestors only dreamed of. 

The best part? You’re one step closer to deleting that fishing app folder!

Now you can have 72-hour wind forecasts at your fingertips! With the release of the brand new Premium Map, 72-hour wind forecasts, the ANGLR app now offers you the ability to check wind forecasts on the fly from your phone! Whether you’re on the bank, in a kayak, or on a boat, these maps will help you plan your trips efficiently and stay safe on the water!

 

Learn more and start your free trial today here!

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Download the app today and try it out for yourself!

ICAST 2019 Top Products – Shaye Bakers Top 10 New Products

Featured Image Credit: ICAST

ANGLR Expert Shaye Baker takes us through 10 of the ICAST 2019 top products that caught his eye. 

Well, iCast is here and now it’s time for a lot of innovation, some knockoffs, and a lot of noise. I’ve been combing through all the new products and have picked out the 10 that caught my eye. I’m not going to say that each of these are ‘game changers’ that will revolutionize how we fish, but some of them are pretty substantial additions to the market. Others are new products from companies I have been impressed with and have come to trust over the years. And then some just look like they could add a little fun to my next fishing trip. Without further ado, here are my ICAST 2019 top products!

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ICAST 2019 Top Products – Livingston Walking Boss Part II Junior

On a recent video shoot with Randy Howell for YOLOtek, Howell pulled out a prototype topwater he wanted to show me: the Walking Boss Part II Junior. He made a cast and the action was intense, to say the least. I’m a sucker for a good topwater bait but with the plethora of poppers, walking style baits, and now dozens of Whopper Plopper knockoffs, it’s hard to actually catch my attention with a topwater. 

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But the action of this thing was different. 

The action is more like that of a wake bait but can be reeled a lot faster than most wake baits so it moves a lot more water and stays on top. What also caught my attention is that the action is at the front of the bait. 

As many of you probably know, one of the most popular and innovative topwater baits to hit the market in the last decade was the Whopper Plopper. Not only was the Whopper Plopper’s design of a spinning prop tail innovative, but it also gave off a much more aggressive action than most topwater baits. The one downside I have seen with the Plopper is that I have a lot of fish boil on the tail end of the bait and miss the hooks, especially recently with the rise in popularity of the bait. 

Moving that aggressive action to the front of the bait should make the hookup percentage drastically rise. At least that’s the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw this thing in the water. I’m excited to get my hands on one soon as Howell has just recently approved the fourth round of prototypes and Livingston has put into production both the Walking Boss Junior and the Walking Boss Part II Junior (lipped version). 

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This bait may seem to have a throwback feel to some of you old school anglers or historians of the sport. That’s not coincidental.

The original full-sized Walking Boss Part II was inspired by the old Jitterbug lips from the old days. I liked that subtle sound of the Jitterbug, so they made a clear plastic molded version of the lip and we kept playing with the depth of the cup in the lip until we got a unique pitter patter sound and hard resistance to push and splash lots of water. Then we put it on a broken back Walking Boss body and dialed in the ballast until we nailed it.” – Randy Howell

ICAST 2019 Top Products – Lowrance Ghost and Garmin Force Trolling Motors

The Ultrex from Minn Kota was certainly the greatest evolution in the trolling motor over the last decade. I have it on my boat now and feel the same way about it as I do about my Power-Poles (full disclosure I paid full price for both products and would again). My point being, those two pieces of equipment effect how I fish so much that I can’t imagine being as productive without them. 

Now it looks as though the Ultrex has some serious competition on the immediate horizon with new trolling motors from both Lowrance and Garmin. The little I have seen of these things I can definitely say, they’re different. 

Lowrance scrapped the whole playbook. They went back to the drawing board on this one. They (whatever other clichés you want to insert here) to make this thing different and in theory better. One of the biggest complaints with all preexisting trolling motors is the noise level. And that’s exactly what Lowrance’s marketing campaign for the Ghost is focusing on. This motor is said to be quieter. Likewise, Garmin touts that their Force trolling motor is brushless making it far quieter than anything previously on the market. 

The other glaring area for improvement is energy efficiency: can a trolling motor be made to use less power, thusly extending the lifespan of our batteries in a days time? Eliminating the rotation of the head of the trolling motor is said to address energy efficiency with the Lowrance Ghost. And again Garmin makes similar claims stating that their Force trolling motor has both 24 and 36-volt options with their 24-volt option offering more thrust than their competitors 36-volt models.

With such radical new designs and both Garmin and Lowrance diving face first into the trolling motor market for the first time, there will certainly be some growing pains. Both the Ultrex and Power-Poles had their faults in the early stages before they were dialed in to perfection. So I’m not going to jump out on a limb sight unseen here and say that either of these motors will live up to all the hype just yet, even though they very well may.

What I will say is this, competition creates a better class of product. Dumping two new names into a market where there has basically been a duopoly for decades now between Minn Kota and MotorGuide will certainly create an environment where innovation is more important than ever. In one last effort to save the cliché from a world that wants to eradicate it, a rising tide raises all ships, and I believe we will see just that with Lowrance and Garmin entering this market. 

ICAST 2019 Top Products – Fitzgerald VLD10

The VLD10 is the latest product from the ever-growing lineup that is Fitzgerald Fishing.

Now a little back story because I value transparency. I have been friends with the guys at Fitzgerald Fishing since they first started making waves several years ago. I still have one of their first rods in my boat that has long since been discontinued and I now primarily use their Vursa Series of rods that debuted at the 2016 iCast show.

The thing that I have noticed with Fitzgerald Fishing following their company from the beginning is their attention to detail and drive for excellence with each new product they bring to market. They are passionate about growing, not only in the quantity of product lines they offer, but also in the quality of each new addition. They put a ton of time and energy into vetting their products on the water and they also strive to bring a lower price point, quality product to the market than many of their competitors who have been doing it much longer and at a far larger scale.

Their Vursa Series of rods, for instance, is a caliber far superior to rods from other companies at that price point ($129). As I previously stated, I know these guys personally. And I’ll also add that I do get their rods at a discount. But I should also mention that I could get a discount from a lot of different rod companies and have over the years. There are a lot of great rods out there. Praising one company does not condemn another. But the more I used Fitzgerald’s rods the more they gained my confidence and I have now settled in quite comfortably with them.

I expect the same will hold true for their new reel, the VLD10. Fitzgerald Fishing brought their first lineup of reels to market at iCast 2018. The Stunner reels are good reels for the price point of $149.99. I believe the VLD10 will be a great reel at $169.99. 

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The VLD10 has a heavier drag, more ball bearings, a beefy all-metal frame and is available in additional gear ratios up to 8.0:1 versus Fitzgerald’s Stunner casting reel. That’s not a jab at the Stunner reels, it’s just a direct comparison by the specs. 

The Curado by Shimano is a great reel, but it’s not their Metanium. My point being, Fitzgerald Fishing’s first reel to hit the market was a solid reel that’s been extremely well received. The VLD10 looks like it’s just the next step in the evolution of their company, another great reel for the guy willing to spend a few more bucks for an extra bell and whistle or two. 

Fitzgerald’s proven track record makes the VLD10 another product I’m excited to get my hands on. Look for it in late 2019.

ICAST 2019 Top Products – Storm Arashi Glide Bait (AGB)

A swimbait three years in the making… I’m going to need one of those. Brandon Palaniuk is a big bait aficionado and he’s been particularly OCD in putting together what he touts as the “best glide bait out there in its size”. 

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That size is 7.5 inches and 3 and 1/8 ounce and it’s available in 9 colors. I don’t know much else about it yet, but I do know Palaniuk. If he’ll put his name behind it, it’s going to be legit. And if he worked on something for 3 years, it’s going to be a level above legit.

We will be putting out a behind the bait article in the coming weeks where we’ll talk through everything from the conception of Palaniuk’s new baby all the way through its realization as Storm brings it to market. Really looking forward to diving into the process of perfecting a bait over the course of 3 years when so many companies these days seem to throw products together and rush the process.

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Click here for more info or to pre-order the Arashi Glide Bait. The baits are expected to ship in November.

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ICAST 2019 Top Products – 13 Fishing’s Motor Boat

The Motor Boat from 13 Fishing isn’t some product that will radically change the way we fish, but it looks like a fun bait to throw and just different enough that I found it worth mentioning. To me, it’s a bit of a marriage between several really good baits: the Whopper Plopper, Skinny Dipper, Senko with a tail spinner and a skirtless buzzbait trailed by a soft plastic

The Whopper Plopper has garnered a good bit of attention in recent years and influenced the bait market in a lot of ways. There have been numerous direct knockoffs of the bait but we’ve also seen a few companies get creative in an attempt to address the main issue with the Plopper, it’s definitely not weedless. There have been several hollow-bodied frog style baits that have come to market in the last couple years that have one or even two prop style tails like the Plopper. 

But the Motor Boat is a little different still. 

Mainly because you can submerge it from time to time like a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper, giving little bursts along the top with the prop but then letting the bait dip back down into holes in the vegetation. 

Another bait that has flown a little under the radar is a Senko or other similar stick bait with a small blade screwed into the rear of the worm. Keith Poche drew national attention to the rig in his near win at the Bassmaster Classic in 2012. The Motor Boat to me looks like another variation of this style bait but again just different enough that it’s not a knockoff per se.

The other bait that this mimics to me but has the potential to improve upon slightly is a skirtless buzzbait with a soft plastic trailer. We’ve seen in recent years a big rise in the popularity of this style of buzzbait. They skip well and at times just seem to get bit better than a traditional, skirted buzzbait like a Lunker Lure. But the one thing the Motor Boat offers up that’s a little different is that it’s weedless. The bait should still skip very well also, perhaps even better. 

ICAST 2019 Top Products – Sufix Advance 100% Fluorocarbon 

This next product isn’t flashy but it is one that I am excited about. The new Sufix Advance 100% Flourocarbon. Any of you that have followed me for any amount of time will know that I have used and recommended Sufix 832 Braid for a long time now. I don’t know the science behind how it’s made, I just know that it works. Line is a very important part of fishing and something that I don’t bounce around on a whole lot or recommend lightly. It would make me sick to my stomach to know that someone bought or used a line based on something I said and then it failed. So I’m very careful with what I recommend, with line and any products for that matter. 

I’m sure there are other good lines out there. I have tried Fitzgerald Fishing’s Vursa Braid for instance and would also feel comfortable recommending it as a good braided line. I’ve heard good things about Daiwa’s and Sunline’s braid as well but can’t attest to those personally. Over the last 9 years or so since Sufix 832 came out, I have used it almost exclusively from 15-pound test on a spinning reel to 65-pound test punching and frogging with a bait caster. It’s great stuff and has never failed me. 

Failure was the reason I went looking for another line company to begin with. I had used another braided line for a while before that. I won’t bash that company here by name (if you want to assure that you avoid buying that line then try one of the two lines I just recommended because it definitely wasn’t one of those). But in one day, the line I was using at the time failed on me twice on big fish while flipping with 65-pound test. I wanted to throw up. That’s a terrible feeling, especially in a tournament

Sure, I could have just bought a bad spool or at first, I thought I might have had a nick in a rod guide but couldn’t find any such culprit. The company had just been bought out at the time and I believe the new owner must have made some hasty changes to the manufacturing process. Regardless, I had lost all faith in their line and wouldn’t dare gamble on it again. So, I set out to find another braid and after sampling a few I ran across Sufix 832 and the rest is history. 

A few years ago as I built more and more confidence in the Sufix braid I decided to try some of their fluorocarbon and I bought a couple of spools. I had good luck with the Sufix Invisiline Fluorocarbon Leader and still use it to this day. But I just couldn’t get comfortable with their Castable Invisiline Fluorocarbon. It was on par with some of the other brands’ fluoro offered at similar price points, but I’m admittedly a bit of a snob when it comes to my fishing line. I’ve had my heart broken before so I’m careful to do all I can to prevent that from happening again. 

The Castable Invisiline is probably a good entry level fluorocarbon line because it is available at a very competitive price point. It didn’t break on me or anything so I don’t want to knock it too hard. It just didn’t feel good enough to withstand the torture I would surely put it through. I fish for money a lot and also like to fish for big fish around some pretty rough stuff, so I prefer to spend a few extra dollars to buy really good fluoro that I can leave on my reels for a while.

I have used Seaguar InvizX Fluorocarbon for several years now and would put that line against any other fluoro on the market. Sure there are lines that cost twice as much and offer a 0.001” reduction in diameter or something like that, but I think we can all get a little carried away sometimes. 

Fluorocarbon should be malleable, abrasion resistant, strong, and not hold a lot of memory. That’s pretty much it. And that’s a lot to ask for in itself. The diameter should be taken into consideration for the visibility and vibration of the line in the water and the amount of line that will fit on a reel, but as long as we’re talking a few 100ths of a millimeter, the diameter is an even playing field between most fluorocarbons in my book. 

So Seaguar InvisX is my gold standard on reasonably priced, quality fluorocarbon. As a member of the media I got my hands on a spool of the new Sufix Advance 100% Fluorocarbon a couple of days ago and the very preliminary testing I’ve done has me very optimistic. I’ve tied several knots with it and the knot strength is on par with InvizX. I’ve intentionally rubbed it on some pretty gnarly stuff to see what it would take to fray it. It takes a pretty good bit of abuse and the spool I have is only a 10-pound test. It feels great. Really soft and malleable which really helps with the casting and knot tying. 

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My first impressions are really good, but the true test will come on the water soon. I want to get a few other pound-tests and spool up different setups so I can test them on a day when I won’t be in a tournament. Depending on how that goes I’ll start to consider incorporating it into my lineup on a permanent basis. But I am optimistic. I would already feel comfortable recommending that you test it out for yourself and let me know what you think on my Instagram. I’ll fill you in there on how I’ve been faring with it. The line looks like it will be available for purchase later this month or you can pre-order it here.

ICAST 2019 Top Products – Megabass I Wing 135

As previously stated, I’m a sucker for a good topwater bait. The new I Wing 135 from Megabass looks and sounds legit. Though I haven’t bought one yet, it will probably be in my next Tackle Warehouse order. 

Ever since I watched Aaron Martens win his Elite Series title on Havasu in 2015, I’ve often wondered how often a bass thinks my topwater is a bird instead of a frog or struggling baitfish. Aaron was using a black hollow bodied frog to mimic blackbirds that were nesting in the reeds along Lake Havasu. The baby birds were falling from the nest and being devoured by big bass waiting below. 

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This bait belongs to the crawler family of big baits and really does look like an injured bird trying to gain momentum to take flight. But honestly, I don’t know if it really matters what the fish think a lot of these bigger baits are, they just see and feel something oversized and react aggressively. Accompanying the aggressive action with the solid thump of the knocker inside this thing, I do believe this is one of those baits that is going to draw big blowups. 

The price isn’t as high as other lures in the big bait world but it’s still significant at $59.99. And that’s honestly why I didn’t order one right away. Still though, one of these baits would probably outlast $100 or even $200 worth of soft plastics so it just depends on how you look at it. 

The Megabass I Wing 135 is available for order and ready to ship now here

ICAST 2019 Top Products – Lunkerhunt Hollow Body Phantom Spider

Oh boy, Lunkerhunt Hollow Body Phantom Spider. This thing is gross, in both a good and bad way. You’ll have to checkout the video here. Of course, it’s catching fish in whatever stock pond it’s being thrown in, but focus on the action. It really does look super realistic. I know it seems a little gimmicky at first… but the action is wicked. It almost crawls in some of the shots as it’s worked. My biggest concern is that I’ll forget about it, open the rod box and bail out of the boat to get away from it. 

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Really the only thing I worry about is that the bait only weighs 1/4 ounce. I’m not sure how far you’ll be able to cast it since most hollow bodied frogs weigh at least twice that. But it is nasty looking and definitely grabbed my attention. I’ll have to try one to see for myself if it’s one of those baits that’s just built to grab the angler’s eye, and see if it will truly live up to the hype. Available here for pre-order now and expected to arrive in late summer 2019. 

ICAST 2019 Top Products – The Abu Garcia Virtual Rod Powered by ANGLR

Last but not least, Abu Garcia has teamed up with ANGLR to create the world’s first virtual rod. For those of you who don’t know, the company I’m writing this article for as we speak (ANGLR) built a free fishing app that is basically a digital logbook at its core. Each time you mark a waypoint in the app, a whole treasure trove of data is stored: location, time, wind, weather data and more all privately and securely saved for your eyes only. That’s the free version. 

With Premium Maps and the ANGLR Bullseye you have even more capabilities. The Bullseye is about the size of a quarter and can be worn on your hat, life vest, or anywhere for that matter. Once the Bullseye is linked to your phone via Bluetooth, you can drop waypoints and gather all this additional data for your digital logbook without ever taking your phone out.

Now, Abu Garcia and ANGLR have taken the Bullseye technology and inserted it into the butt of a whole line of rods, 20 to be exact. Linking multiple rods to your ANGLR app will allow you to not only capture all the data you were already capturing with the Bullseye, but also customize each button to associate your rod, reel, line, and lure to your waypoints. 

For example, imagine you’re preparing for your annual trip to your favorite destination fishery and you want to make sure you have everything you caught them on last year. Now you can go back into your ANGLR digital logbook, find the fish catch and there it is: your waypoint, the conditions, and weather when you got that big bite last year and the rod, reel, line and lure that coaxed her into the boat. Pretty revolutionary stuff. And all with the simple push of a button.

More info will be coming soon on the Virtual Rod lineup. The rods are expected to be available late 2019 or early 2020. But you can purchase the ANGLR Bullseye here now

ANGLR also announced another Bullseye integrated fishing rod with Pro Fish Gear. That lineup will be available in early 2020 as well. 

Editor’s Note:

We are also incredibly excited to announce a first of its kind, one of a kind, kayak with a Bullseye built in! The NuCanoe Flint SMART Kayak Powered By ANGLR is the first SMART fishing kayak in the world. You can enter to win this fully rigged, one of a kind kayak here!

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ANGLR Premium Maps: How USGS Paper Contours Help You Catch More Fish

Long before the days of down imaging sonar and mapping chips, anglers relied on a variety of tools to find depth change and contour lines. Whether it was using visual topographical cues or simply counting down a weight to the bottom, these old school tricks and tactics could only get them so far.

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When the technology finally advanced far enough for anglers to map out bodies of water, a whole new breed of fishing emerged. Underwater humps, ledges, and channels that were once hidden under the surface now came to life in the form of paper maps. USGS paper contour maps are one of the most commonly used maps by anglers as they allow you to map out depth changes and locate high-percentage areas to fish.

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How Anglers Use Paper Contour Maps

With the ability to find a specific depth range, channels, and points by simply looking at a map of the body of water, you’ll be able to hone in on where fish should be staging for a certain time of year.

See Under the Water’s Surface

For example, in the springtime, bass tend to congregate around main lake points. With the use of contour maps, you can easily find those long underwater points and target those areas heavily. Before contour maps, it was much more of a guessing game as to which points actually extended under the water column.

Quickly Identify Areas to Target.

During the late spring, finding flats where bass and brim congregate to spawn is the key to having a successful day on the water. With contour maps, you can see exactly where those key areas are and target those areas exclusively during your day on the water.

Fish More Efficiently

In short, contour maps simply make you a more proficient angler. These maps give you insight to a body of water that our ancestors only dreamed of.

The best part? You’re one step closer to deleting that fishing app folder!

Now you can have contour maps at your fingertips! With the release of the brand new Premium Map, USGS Paper Contours, the ANGLR app now offers you the ability to check contour on the fly from your phone! Whether you’re on the bank, in a kayak, or on a boat, these maps will help you find those key areas so you can catch more fish!

Learn more and start your free trial today here!

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Download the app today and try it out for yourself!

The Value of the ANGLR Electronic Fishing Journal to Kayak Anglers

It wasn’t that long ago that I had no idea what ANGLR was about, or even that it was an electronic fishing journal. I saw buttons on people’s hats or lanyards with the name, but felt it was either anglers with a secret the rest of us were not a part of, or some branded gear I had never seen.

Maybe some secret fishing society?  

If you watched them on the water, they would reach up and touch the button; was it just for good luck or some sort of secret handshake? I had absolutely no idea, then my friend Scott Beutjier cleared this up for me during a phone conversation.

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The Electronic Fishing Journal for the Future

ANGLR is a fishing app that allows you to record your fishing trips with an incredible amount of detail, with all of your data stored privately. The best part? This technology is available to everyone. The button is the Bullseye. After pushing the button on the bullseye, a Bluetooth signal marks your location; allowing an angler to capture what was caught. As the day progresses, changes in water and weather conditions and location are recorded. Combined, the two can help create an incredibly detailed fishing journal of the day, but the app can also be used without the button.  

I was hesitant to accept it.

How would the data be used by the folks running the company?  Who was buying the data? I typically do not journal trips, I just blog about some… what was the value to me as an avid kayak tournament angler?  

After expressing my concerns, Derek Horner at ANGLR informed me that the data is mine. I choose to share it with who I want, or not at all. It is not sold unless I decide to create “Intelligence Packs” (I see these as guide trips for others) and offer them to the public. We even had a great discussion about why I should journal; and I hate to admit it, but he convinced me of the value by explaining the amount of data and how it has improved his fishing efficiency.  When he later informed me that the data will soon be exportable so it can be reviewed, the data guy in me got a little excited.

How Can Kayak Anglers Use This Fishing Journal

For us in the kayak community, choosing the correct location can be critical. Launching in the kayak is making a commitment to a location. You cannot decide to run ten-miles across the lake after you have paddled or pedaled for four, so the homework before the tournament can make or break the day. Scouring maps, searching Google Earth for launch sites, prepping lures to match the time of year, and weather conditions is critical; sometimes you still get it wrong. I have skunked in tournaments (while a ramp just across the bay was productive) by simply selecting the wrong ramp on a body of water.

So, what if we had one more tool?

If I had data on every body of water I had fished, could compare conditions and time of year along with success… I would have an invaluable guide map to help me. Say last year a KBF event on the Mississippi River had landed me a solid finish, and this year I was geographically close to location and time, could I draw some conclusions about the opportunities? Had I collected data at Toledo Bend or Kentucky Lake over the last two years, I feel certain (being a true data geek engineer kinda guy) I could easily draw correlations to help me be more competitive at the next event.  

All of us go watch YouTube videos of tournaments as part of our research; this data could also be committed to the app.  I mean, who hasn’t watched MLF to get general locations to where the guys were crushing them? If I took that a step further and documented (we all do in our heads anyway) where I knew others had fished our events on those same days – those guys who keep winning – I might even increase those chances more.

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Scott and Derek have convinced me to join what I thought was a secret society.

I now see ANGLR as an opportunity to raise my game and increase my knowledge of fishing. Added to the research I already lose sleep over trying to make sure I don’t launch on the wrong end of the lake, well, I think I will be better prepared to compete in KBF, Hobie, and all of the local events… might even win a few more!

Download the app today and try it out for yourself!

Kayak Bass Fishing Welcomes ‘ANGLR’ of the Year Title Sponsor

ANGLR, the world’s most popular fishing intelligence platform, has become the title sponsor of the prestigious Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) Angler of the Year award. Not just for 2019, but for 2020.

Kayak Fishing History

If you’re unaware of the kayak fishing movement, it’s time to wake up and smell the freshly molded plastic. It’s a movement and something that we think has been way overdue.

There was a huge gap between bank fishing and buying a $60,000 bass fishing boat or inshore skiff. We couldn’t be more excited and supportive of the 10-13 foot piece of plastic that is beginning to bridge this gap. The kayak fishing era is now and we’re not going to watch it happen from the shore.

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2018 ANGLR of the Year, Cody Milton with Chad Hoover

“KBF is constantly looking for new ways to enhance the kayak angler’s experience and improve the caliber of competition and opportunities for our members. Because of this we are delighted to be working with ANGLR who shares our commitment to continuous improvement, lifelong learning, and deeper enjoyment of the sport.” – Chad Hoover, KBF Founder and President

“It’s so cool to find another brand who is as passionate about growing this sport as we are.” – Joe Haubenreich, KBF COO

“Kayak fishing has become incredibly popular in recent years and continues to grow,” said Dave Washburn, FLW Vice President of Operations

Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF), the nation’s foremost organization supporting kayak bass anglers, has been a key player spearheading this movement since 2009. The KBF was formed in 2009 to offer kayak anglers the opportunity to compete for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and prizes at premier fisheries around the country. They are currently in their seventh season for live events. KBF offers more than 25 professional-level bass fishing tournaments to kayak anglers. For complete KBF details, schedules and updated information, visit KayakBassFishing.com.

About the KBF AOY Program

Only four years old, KBF’s Angler of the Year (“AOY”) award recognizes season-long, consistent, outstanding performance and commitment to competition in all KBF TRAIL series.

The award is based on a points system. Points are awarded based on performance of KBF members who compete throughout the tournament season. Points are summed up from three primary trails:

  • Top three scores from the 2019 KBF TRAIL Series Tournaments
  • Points from one Regional KBF TRAIL Series Championship
  • Double points from the 2019 KBF TRAIL Series National Championship

See the current rankings!

The New ANGLR of the Year

Cody Milton, the 2018 AOY will be the first official “ANGLR of the Year” title holder. ANGLR also stepped up to sponsor the upcoming 2019 crowning, AND we’ve picked up the future 2020 race as well! We are committed for the next two years and wanted to show our enthusiasm for this segment of fishermen right off the bat.

“To me this partnership is massive, I believe in both companies, the people working for them and the community around them. Some of the best people in the world paddle these little plastic boats. This community is unlike any other, this is something special. AOY will never be the same…” – Scott Beutjer, Kayak Angler and Industry Developer

Much More Than a Sponsorship

We wanted to form a closer working relationship with KBF and their members to learn how we could better serve their community. Chad’s expertise in the Kayak fishing industry will be critical to help us shape the ANGLR app and future development of features for the kayak fishermen.

We loved the play on the name and how well it fits, but we also loved what this title represents to KBF members. It is a symbol of the ANGLR mission in many ways. It represents drive, constant improvement, learning, and commitment to the craft. The title encapsulates everything we stand for. We exist to help anglers constantly improve.

We’re committed to the kayak community and love the passion these anglers exhibit both on and off the water. This community has repeatedly proven they put the angler first, and that’s what we’re all about. This partnership is just the first paddle stroke of many in the journey ahead into uncharted waters with kayak anglers. We couldn’t be more excited for what the future holds!

 

Photo Credits: Scott Beutjer