Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Feelfree Lure 11.5 initial thoughts

Hi all ....
Dave Fowler here from The Headwaters Fishing Team with my review of the new FeelFree lure 11.5. 

With the weight of this kayak at around 75lbs the wheel in the keel is a great design. It rolls great on flat ground back and forth to the launch ramp with no problem, however if you had a long walk to a remote launch you might want to bring some regular kayak wheels. I was able to take the Lure out this past weekend to Lodi Lake with a good breeze on the water. I caught a break in between storms which was perfect, so I headed straight out to the main body of the lake and with a chop on the water this boat did great it cut right through. The boat tracked surprisingly well and the bow offered a very dry ride lifting and rising over the chop. I was thinking there was going to be a bit of a drag with some off tracking due to the wheel in the keel design, but I was wrong! The Lure 11.5 cruises right along with very little yaw. One option that I would consider for the lure is the rudder set up just to keep yourself on a nice angle to drift along those banks on windy days.

I started out the day with the FeelFree gravity seat in the low position. With one hand I was able to pick the seat up and raise it to any level. The seat has some crazy adjustment. Something like 10 different levels that is can be adjusted to. I was also able to raise and lower the seat with one hand. Right up to the highest position and had no worries of feeling tippy with a higher center of gravity. At 36in wide this boat is super stable I was able to turn myself around while standing to access some gear in the back without falling in the drink or having to grab the rails to regain balance. The lure has a padded deck for standing and feels fabulous on the feet after standing on its platform for some time.The lure also comes stock with uni-track that runs down the rails on both sides of the yak from the center hatch to about the seat. It also comes with a set of tracks in the back with a convenient tie down that allows you to securely hold a small cooler or tackle box.

This is a great boat with a lot of options. The unique uni-bar that hooks securely on to the tracks that allows you to hook up anything from a fish finder to rod holders or whatever else your heart desires. A feature we added on to this lure is a stand up bar, but with the stability of the lure11.5 I found myself not really utilizing it too much. 

I do believe this boat is going to make a big splash in the kayak fishing world and its a great addition to the FeeLFree line of kayaks. You will see me on this ride again! Thank you for taking the time to read my review of the FeelFree lure 11.5. I hope I was helpful in adding some insight on this kayak and to how well it handles. Now its your turn to get into The Headwaters and try it out for yourself! I guarantee you will not be disappointed. 

David Fowler Headwaters Team Paddler: 
Currently paddles a Jackson Cuda 12. 

Rigged up and ready to go. 

Low Seat

Friday, February 21, 2014

Stand up bar on the Jackson Kilroy.

A few of us on the fishing team have adopted the Kilroy as our Inland Bass Yak. This yak won us over because of its lighter weight, speed, stability, comfort and fishability. The lack of scuppers makes this boat glide through the water far better than its 12' sit-on-top counterpart the Cuda 12, and because of the low center of gravity it is significantly easier to stand in. Even so, we wanted more. We love the new standing bar that comes standard on the Big Rig and we wanted to see if we could adapt something like this to our Kilroys. So Bam took the tape to it only to find out that the dimensions for the stand up bar would work perfectly on the Kilroy. So we started taking apart a Big Rig we had in stock and adapting it to Bam's Kilroy. The extra point of contact that the bar makes when it meets your hips creates even more stability, as well as making it easier to stand up and sit down. The front pieces mount to the flat part of the deck in front of the dashboard cover, and the rear supports were easily adapted to the track using Yak Attack T Bolts. Here is the finished product. 

Looks factory

Bam was happy with the result. 

It fits perfect on the deck and we added a little clip to bungee it down. 

Stowed position.

This is how we adapted the rear clip to the track.

The front mount.

It's important to note that this mod will also work on many other Jackson models including the Coosa and Cuda series. Here is a Cuda 12 we just got done tricking out for a customer.

Bam and I shot this little video walkthrough at the shop to show you how it all works! We will be selling this as an add-on for existing Jackson customers. The Mod will cost about $150 if you want to have it rigged here for free or shipped to you. Hit us up at:
The Headwaters on Facebook
Headwaters Kayak on Instagram
@headwaterskayak Twitter

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spring Kayak Fishing Trips

     February fishing on the Delta has been successful, yet different than usual. The strange, constantly changing weather patterns that we have been experiencing have the delta in a different condition almost daily and the fish are in different places every time we go out. With one day providing excellent striper action, the next has been a day of searching. This has not slowed us down, as we have still gotten on quality fish from our kayaks with a little bit of hard work. The fishing will be picking up in the coming weeks with warmer weather and the spring striper run. The Headwaters Kayak Shop is looking to share this experience with all of you. This spring, kayak fishing trips with Bam Miller will be offered from the Delta to the Sierras, chasing stripers to Brook trout, and everything in between. These trips will include a fishing kayak, a paddle, a PFD, and kayak fishing instruction. Learn the ropes of fishing from a kayak from one of the area's premier kayak fisherman, and guests from the Headwaters Kayak Fishing Team. The first trip will be Wednesday, March 12, 2014 on the Delta for bass and stripers. Space is limited to four paddlers per trip as one on one attention from Bam and fishing team members remains a priority, so sign up now!

Fly fishing from kayaks is a great way to catch fish

Be sure to use quality hooks when striper fishing to avoid this!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Crabfest 2014

Crabfest 2014
Victor "vwool"

Crabfest 2014 was a huge success, and this was the biggest Crabfest to date! Despite there not being a great amount of Dungeness crab, there was not a lack of good times.
On tournament day I awoke from my teardrop trailer rental at 5:45 am and noticed what looked like a line of cars waiting for the gate to open. I couldn’t believe the amount of cars waiting for Crabfest. At this point I knew it was going to be a great day.  With minimal wind, we were able to get the day started and anglers registered starting at 7:20 am. The line in the morning for registration seemed like it was never going to end, but Narisa and Bill were able to keep the line moving. 

Getting the morning started

Dan and Family
Sun on the Jetty

About an hour and a half into the event the first Dungeness crab came in for measurement. It had been caught after a 30 min soak. Shortly after that more and more crabs were brought in for measurement. In the end there were an equal amount of Dungeness and Rock crab brought in for measurement. At 12:30 pm most of the kayaks were on the beach and the potluck started. There was a great array of food that five star restaurants can’t compete with, NCKA potlucks are in a league of their own. 

Eddylines on the Beach

Shortly after the potluck, the awards were given out for largest Rock crab and 1st, 2nd, 3rd largest Dungeness crab. 

The largest Rock crab measured in at 6.23”, 1.38 lbs and was brought in by Scotty Swehla. 

3rd place Dungeness went to Nate Lee (Spinal tap) with a crab measuring in at 6.6” and 1.48 lbs

2nd place Dungeness went to Tracey Ziomeck (sctrace) with her catch measuring in at 6.66” and weighing 1.82 lbs. 
1st  place Dungeness came in measuring in at 6.78” and weighing in at 1.93 lbs. The winner of the biggest Dungeness went to Aaron Peters. 

This year’s Grand Prize was a Eddyline Caribbean 14 donated by Eddyline kayaks. It was great to see all ten people at the end up there waiting for their number to be called. Wendal took home the prize and was super stoked, which was awesome considering it was his first NCKA event.
This year’s raffle proceeds went to the Diabetes Youth Families (www.dyf.org), an organization close to my heart. The raffle raised over $1600 and will support families and children living with Type one Diabetes. 
This event would not have been possible without all the work behind the scenes, a big thank you goes out to: Dan Arbuckle, Ashlie Arbuckle, Bill Beckett, Jack & Kay Arbuckle, Joe & Terri Arbuckle, Ron and Suzanne, and my lovely wife Narisa. There are probably a few that I missed but know you are appreciated!

This event has been free since day one and it is all because of the great sponsors: Headwaters Kayak Shop, Eddyline Kayaks, Promar/Ahi, A.Bachar, Yakattack, NRS, Malone, Vacations in a Can, Costa, Liquid Image Company and Kala Brand Music.

And the biggest thank you goes to all the participants who make this the biggest kayak crabbing tournament in the world. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sea Kayak Fishing Course at Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium

Well it has been awhile since I have posted. I have been busy learning to use a sea kayak so that I could aid in instructing an Introduction to Sea Kayak Fishing course at the annual Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium. Dan and I were graciously invited by Sean Morley to co-teach with JF Marleau.
I had the best rigged kayak for fishing.

Utilizing the buddy system.
The day of our class was of course the worst weather we had had all weekend. It was raining, and the wind was blowing about 16mph. Determined to make the most of it, JF, Dan, and myself agreed that our best option was to start the day off with some classroom time and see if the weather improved. We had been looking forward to the class for months and there was no way we were going to let a little foul weather get us down. This was after all, the first time a fishing course had been offered at Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium (GGSKS) and we were determined to make it a memorable event. We introduced ourselves to our student and then shared our knowledge of kayak fishing. Unfortunately when we wrapped up our talk the weather had not let up. Despite the weather, we headed for Baker beach, hoping that the southwesterly wind was blowing over the top of San Francisco, creating a wind shadow at the beach.

Dan's best crabby face!
When we arrived, we were pleased to see that indeed the wind was barely blowing at Baker Beach. We had lunch, geared up and hauled our kayaks down to the surf. The plan was to drop crab pots and fish for surfperch out of the 'yaks, since most other sportfisheries are closed this time of the year.

Our one and only surfperche caught by JF Marleau.
We launched the kayaks into the surf and paddled out with determination. First we dropped the crab pots. We had been seeing people catch crabs off the beach using snares all weekend, so we figured this would be our most successful endeavor. On a comical side note, Dan, JF, and I were so engrossed in the rest of GGSKS that we did not manage to pick up proper crab bait. We are resourceful fishermen however, and scrounged up some left over chicken salad and cold cuts from the event kitchen.

Stowing crabs in Dan's kayak.
With the crab pots launched it was time for surfperch fishing. We helped each other remove our fishing gear from inside our kayaks. Unlike a sit on top, the best place to store your gear is inside the hull, so the buddy system is often required. Once we had our rods put together we paddled ourselves into shore where the waves were breaking and began fishing. After about 30 minutes JF hooked up and landed the one and only surfperch of the trip. The crab pots, proved much more successful. We ended the trip having caught around 20 crabs, 3 of which were legal. Overall the class was a success, having educated our student and accomplishing our goals of catching surfperch and crabs. Can't wait until next year!

Awesome end to the day.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Port O Sac + Backstory on the 2013 Fresh Kats Tournement Series Winner.

Headwaters Team Paddler David Fowler, winner of the 2013 Fresh Kats Series.

I would like to start off by saying thank you to all the hard work done by all that made this years 2013 Freshkats series a success. There was some awesome prizes that were handed out from life jackets to fish finders and rods to paddles even a really cool fish cleaning station plus lots more. For me this years Freshkats series was the first time I have ever fished a kayak tournament. I have always fished tournaments off my bass boat and I was one of those guys who always said "man a kayak looks like a fun time but it takes so long to get anywhere its not fast enough and looks like too much work". Well ladies and gentlemen my name is David and I'm a kayak-aholic.

David Sporting his new Shuna Hooked Paddle donated by Werner Paddles as the Grand prize for the FreshKats 2013 season.  
I never realized how much scenery is missed by launching the boat and putin the hammer down and doing 65 mph to my favorite fishing hole. Now don't get me wrong I still get the need speed but the boat has taken the back seat to the Jackson Cuda.

Add caption
We finished up this years Freshkats series at the port of west Sacramento it was a great tournament I don't know the actual numbers on how many of us fished this event but I want to say it was somewhere around 40 anglers possibly more. The port of sac is a great fishery with free access and a easy launch. It gives the average angler a chance to catch multiple species from pan fish to bass and stripers to salmon and I think they were all caught at this years event. I pulled into the barge canal access at about 6:00 am in the morning there was already guys getting ready for the days tourney so with high hopes I put the truck in park take a sip of coffee and look at the temperature on the dash and it says ice 28*deg yep it was a cold cold day.
Jedmo sporting his golden down jumpsuit to stay warm

I meet up with Jim and get signed in and make my way down to the water I put the Jackson Cuda in get seated and start my trek to the turning basin as I'm paddling a thin layer of ice is forming on the deck of my Cuda from water splashing up through the scupper holes. I start marking fish right away so I send down some secret agents (minnows) to do the dirty work. It was a beautiful and clear day with  just a little chop on the water but cold about 10:00 I get a good take down but like every good fish story the fish got away. about 10:30 I met up with bill and victor from the headwaters team and they had drawn a big goose egg too no fish .check in was at 1:00 so at about 12:30 we make our way over to the launch and Victor hooks up with a keeper striper. It was a great day had by all with a nice amount of trash collected by anglers from the banks of the river and as always it would not be a true NCKA event without food family and friends so we all met at the pizza joint down the road shared stories and went on our way. I just want to say thank you again to everyone for great sportsmanship and to all the hard work from everyone who made this year a success cant wait till next year.

By David Fowler, Headwaters Fishing Team!


As with all Fresh Kats events, a ton of trash was collected. Rider wins the trash prize again!


Naoaki sporting a nice Striper.

Ron was the "King of the Port" with his two fat Stripers


Rons catches.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Is bigger better? Jackson Kayaks Big Rig thinks so.

The debate has been raging lately in the kayak business about "Is bigger better?" Many companies are focusing a lot of money and effort building the new ear of bigger feature rich stand up stable fishing kayaks. The Pro Angler, Jackson Cuda and Tuna, Nucanoe Frontier, Oldtown Predator, and the list goes on. Each boat is coming more and more rigged up and with features rigged up for anglers, but all these trick features come with a hefty burden when trying to move your kayak from place to place. The new Jackson Big Rig seems to be the antipathies of this new era of fishing kayaks. Abet 53lbs lighter than its pedal drive counterpart, the Big Rig is still beast at 85lbs. The kayak features the elite high low seat, horizontal rod storage, several feet of Yakattack track, Ram Rod holders, stand up casting bar, power pole ready rear end, and the most stable hull design yet from Jackson. I'm excited for Jackson to be making a kayak to service this market. It think the stock features are going to be ahead of what most other brands are doing, and having paddled most all of these big boy boats, I can confidently say it paddles better than most. So is this the future of kayak fishing? I think the answer to that is YES! and NO!

At Headwaters we are working to bring kayak fishing to the masses. For many people that means a large stable boat that allows you focus on fishing and not stability is the answer. While for others it may mean a 45lb Eddyline Caribbean that they can throw on top of their car and carry to the water in one hand. Both ends of the spectrum are great, and there is a lot of middle ground for people to explore. I honestly think that the era of kayak fishing is upon us and there has never been a better time to get into the sport. Their has never been more options for people looking to get started. The best advice we can give....... DEMO DEMO DEMO! At Headwaters we stock over 25 different kayak fishing models, and we have a demo model of every one. We encourage you to try out as many kayaks as you can, and we try and provide a one stop shop for that. We also apply any money spent on your rentals or demos to the price of your kayak. We are not here to push plastic boats, we are here to make sure you get the best kayak the first time. So come see us and start the process. The first Big Rig demo will be hear late December early January.

Click HERE for Video