I have been fortunate enough to travel all over Florida, meeting and fishing with new friends and writing blogs about it. I have met a lot of people and learned a lot of new things. One thing that has really impressed me is the inventiveness of kayak anglers when it comes to customizing their gear. Whether it’s their tackle, accessories or even vehicles, kayak anglers have a knack for putting their ideas into practice.
I met up with Marty Meakin earlier this year to fish the Palma Sola Bay area. Marty is one of those individuals who takes great care of his gear. While we were packing up our stuff after the fishing, I noticed Marty placing his rods in a device attached to his kayak rack. There were tubes under the cross bars of the rack that allowed the rods and reels to hang freely and securely. I normally place my rods in the bed of my truck and secure them with bungees. This can cause wear on the rod and line where they are pinned against the gate. Marty explained that he can rinse his kayak, truck and rods all at the same time using this rig. He said he came up with the idea after watching his expensive rods and reels bang around in his truck bed during transport.
Luther Cifers of YakAttack says this is not a new phenomenon. YakAttack (yakattack.us) manufactures some of the most innovative products for kayak anglers. When asked about the success of the Mighty Mount and Gear Trac systems that allow kayakers to customize accessory mountings, Luther responded, “Our rigging platform has done very well in the marketplace and continues to grow rapidly”.
While fishing with Brian Stauffer at Mason’s Creek we were joined by Mark Knowles. Mark is very serious about his tackle and can advise you at length about lure selection and presentation. I noticed he was doing well and catching his share of fish. He told me about his specially made tandem weedless spoon rig. Mark said he looked all over for tandem spoons that were weedless as well and couldn’t find any. He began making the rigs out of necessity and they had been working well. They were very well made with good quality components. Mark said “I just make these for myself but I suppose I would make them for anyone else who wanted one”.
Many of the kayak angler forums out there have specific areas dedicated to modifications and customization. You can peruse these for ideas on your own mods, or as a guide for a project that has you stumped. YakAngler (www.yakangler.com) has just such a forum called “Look What I Did”. Mark Wantanabe, Owner of YakAngler said “I’m constantly amazed by the creativity and problem solving abilities of kayak fishermen. They don’t sit around waiting for a company to develop a solution to their problem, they break out the PVC and Duct tape and handle the issue themselves. I see it everyday on the YakAngler.com forums, DIY kayak rudders, Jackson Cuda seats mounted on Hobie Revos, and crate mounted trolling motors”.
Either out of necessity or an ease of use issue, many kayak anglers are customizing their own gear to suit them. What will you do next to modify your kayak?