Monday, March 30, 2015

Review of the NB Sportsman Show

This past weekend was the three day NB Sportsman show, held in Moncton. Much thanks to fellow kayak angler Craig Cochrane for coming with me for the weekend and helping out, without Craig I would not have been able to pull this off!

Here is an album with pictures from our booth and from around the entire show. These pictures do not do the event justice as they cover only a small portion of the hundreds of booths at the show, but hopefully they give an idea of some of the great presentations and products that were available to attendees.

In our booth we had both the new Old Town NEXT kayak/canoe hybrid, and the Old Town Predator XL on display. The Predator we have is the one with the utility console, and it will be given away in August at the Hammond River Classic!

Throughout the event we accomplished several things:
  • Introduced the sport of kayak fishing to thousands of people.
  • Promoted our derbies held later in the summer
  • Promoted the heck out of the Old Town Predator XL and NEXT, and I suspect helped to sell numerous boats throughout the weekend.
  • Promoted many of the great products that our various sponsors donated to the events.   Of note the Railblaza C-TUG, Yak Attack BlackPak, Scotty Canoe Clamp, Grappler Anchor, LineCutterz Ring, and SonarPhone all raised more than one eyebrow!   
  • Sold tickets on and gave away Denali Rod, which helped cover some of the costs of the weekend trip.
  • Promoted the sport of sturgeon fishing which is a treasure of a resource in our area.
  • Promoted my own service of guided kayak fishing.   
  • Met with the Pure Fishing team who I look foward to working with throughout the year
  • Met several key players in the fishing industry here in Atlantic Canada, many of which I'll be touching base with again soon on some great initiatives!
Now that this big weekend is over, I'll need to take some time this week to recover and and then write a number of e-mails updating our sponsors, connect with some of those I met over the weekend, and so forth.  

Oh, I seen a touch of open water on Darlings Lake on the way back yesterday, we could have open rivers in 2 weeks!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Heading to the NB Sportsman Show!

Tomorrow is the start of the 3 day NB Sportsman Show, a huge event covering all things boating, fishing, hunting, archery and so forth!   Thousands of people will attend this event every day, and I've been asked to run a booth to promote both kayak and sturgeon fishing! 

Together with a couple of other dedicated kayak anglers, plus a few who will drop by here and there through the weekend to help out, we will have a fantastic time promoting our sport to countless anglers who may not have yet considered fishing from kayak. 

On display we will have the Old Town Predator XL with the Utility Console, a kayak we will be giving away a the Hammond River Classic later in the summer!    We will also have the new Old Town NEXT canoe/kayak hybrid.    These are two fantastic boats, brand new on the market suited to two different audiences, and should appeal to a very wide variety of people.   It will be great promotion not only for Old Town, but also Ecological Adventures and Outdoors NB, two local retailers who sell these great products.  We may even sell the NEXT right at the show!

We will also have banners and products on display from a whole host of companies who have been very generous in their support of the kayak fishing community.   Rods, tackle, clothes, kayak accessories, paddles and more will all be on display at the show to promote these great companies.    All these items will then be given away later in the summer at one of our two paddling derbies!

In addition to promoting the sport, the derbies and those companies who have given their support, I'll also promote the recreational sturgeon fishery we have here in New Brunswick, which is the only one of it's kind not only in Eastern Canada but in all of North America!     We have a treasure of a resource here that needs to be respected and protected, but also enjoyed which I'm thrilled to educate people on!    I've put together a few custom sturgeon rigs which I'll sell at the show, but I only had the materials to spare to make 5, so those should go fairly quickly!

Finally, I'll also be taking advantage of the situation to promote my own little venture of guided recreational kayak fishing.   I'll offer certificates for full and half day outings in case anyone wants to purchase one as a gift, and take bookings directly should anyone wish to make one.   To help promote this, I'll give away a couple of half day certificates throughout the show.

Put all this together and we will have a lot to discuss with any attendee who is interested!   Aside from discussing all these topics, we will also:
  • Accept registrations for each of the paddling derbies, and also sell additional tickets on the kayak draws
  • Have a brand new high end fishing rod up for raffle, in hopes of making a few dollars to help cover our expenses over the weekend.
  • Give away a couple of half day guided kayak outings by drawing from submitted business cards.
  • Sell certificates and accept bookings for guided kayak outings.
Stay tuned for updates on how the weekend went, it should be a blast!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New Kayak for Fynn

Last summer our canoe didn't see the water one time, which was really a shame as it is a fantastic canoe, an Old Town Saranac 146 Angler. I was on the water a lot, and often with the boys, but always in kayak. So a few weeks back I sold the canoe, and this past weekend put those funds into a new kayak for Fynn! Well a used kayak in like new condition, but perfect for our needs just the same!     Also new is a 190 cm Carlisle Paddle, the perfect size for Fynn!   A proper sized paddle should make a world of difference for him this summer!  

The kayak, an Ocean Kayak Tetra 10 Angler is a perfect kayak for a small/medium person.   It is light at just 50 pounds, and has a weight capacity of 250 pounds, perfect for Fynn and eventually Rowan as they grow older.    

There are 2 flush mounted rod holders, a mod-pod in the center and a storage hatch in the front.    Also there is a recessed storage area in the back perfect for a milk crate or even the YakAttack BlackPac.   While Fynn won't need to make use of all this kayak offers today, he'll certianly be able to grow into it. Perhaps we will be able to pack it up and use it on a camping trip eventually!

I picked up the kayak while on a trip to Fredericton to promote the sport of kayak fishing at the Reel Paddling Film Festival.   It was my first time to this event, and I have to say it was pretty awesome.  Films about canoeing, kayaking, and even kayak fishing were shown which really got peoples excitement up for the Spring.   

Here is my display at the festival.   It was a great practice run before the NB Sportsman Show this coming weekend where I'll be set up to show off the new Predator XL and the NEXT, both from Old Town!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ready for a new Kayak?

With New Brunswicker anglers in the midst of going through serious withdrawl symptoms while waiting for the melt to finally start, our only solace is knowing that Spring is offically starting this weekend, at least according to the calendar.    Rest assured, it won't be long before the rivers start to break up and we deal with the annual floods along the Saint John and Kennebacasis Rivers.

So now is a great time to start thinking about your ride this summer.   Ready to move on to a new kayak or perhaps purchase your first?   The lineup of fishing kayaks from Old Town and Ocean Kayak quite likely has all your needs covered with the highest quality products and best customer service in the industry!    We have two great dealers in Ecological Adventures and Outdoors NB here in our area, and they would be happy to help you choose the kayak that is right for you!

 Traditional sit inside kayaks are still available for kayak fishing, however today sit on top kayaks are most commonly used and the ones I'll focus on here.    These kayaks are more stable, provide more freedom to move around and store gear and typically have scupper holes allowing any water that comes into the kayak to flow right back out again making them virtually unsinkable.   Not all sit on top kayaks are alike however as there are several things you need to consider which you may not have yet considered:

Hull Design - The shape of the hull will imapact stability, speed, tracking, sensitivity to cross winds, and how much water will splash in during rough water.    Some kayak hulls are designed to perform better and be safer in ocean conditions, while others are targeted strictly at freshwater ponds or fast moving rivers.   When you look for your kayak, make sure you consider where you plan to take it, and ask what conditions the kayak you are considering was designed for.

Weight Capacity -  If you think you may want to pack up your kayak and take it into the woods for an overnight camping trip, you are going to need to plan for a fair amount of weight... especially if there is going to be a cooler involved!    Between your own body weight, camping supplies, and I assume fishing supplies the weight will add up quickly, and be very noticable in how your kayak steers and paddles.    Do not overload your kayak as you could run into windy conditions or rough water by surprise and really put yourself in a dangerous position.

Seat and Confort - Many freshwater fishing kayaks now come with adustable seats allowing you to sit in a raised or lowered position.   Personally, on my Predator 13, I find the lower position better for paddling longer distances or for any speed, but the higher position more of a platform to cast and fish from.   If you are going to use your kayak for fishing, you are likely going to be in it at times for 6, 8 or 10 hours with little or no breaks.   Make sure you pick a kayak that is comfortable for you!

Being a fan of Old Town and Ocean Kayaks, here are the sit on top kayaks they offer, and the target audience who may want to consider these kayaks for their next purchase.

Ocean Kayak Tetra Series

These are the introductory, light weight and lower priced kayaks, but extremely well built and engineered for the price point.   They do not have all the bells and whistles of the more expensive lines, but they definately are much better vessels than anything you will find at Canadian Tire!    With the central mod-pod ready for your rod holders or accessories and two rod holders behind the seat, these kayaks are fairly well equipped!

The 10 foot model is just 50 lbs and ideal for a kid or smaller adult who wants something light and nimble, but yet still has room for multiple rods and gear for normal outings.     I'm actually getting a Tetra 10 Angler kayak for Fynn in a couple weeks, he can't wait!    With a max weight capacity of 250 lbs, it isn't a boat I'll be able to use, but for most any adult who has a more reasonable waistline, it certianly is a boat that could be used for any basic outing!

The 12 foot model has a weight capacity up to 350 lbs, and is still only 56 lbs.  This is a nice kayak for a smaller to average adult who doesn't want the burden of carrying one of the heavier model kayaks but still would like a decent amount of room and all at a bargain price!

Old Town Predator Series

For primarily fresh water, this family of kayak can also be taken into the salt water.  Of course, I wouldn't head out in rough or windy conditions, but I wouldn't do that to fish any kayak!   The Predator kayaks have a fantastic 2 position beach chair style seat, ample storage space and options, and replaceable plates on which you can mount any type of rod holder or accessory.  

Predator MX 
The lightest and shortest of the group, it is a fantastic kayak for what I would consider someone of medium stature.   While it doesn't track as well as it's longer siblings, it is remarkably stable, can hold lots of gear and is quite agile if you are planning to run down any rivers.

Predator 13 
My personal ride, I love the boat!   Able to hold over 400 lbs, it offers a ton of cargo space for any adventure you can imagine and is fast in the water.  I often put one of my kids in the back and spend hours on the water.    If I had a dog, I suspect it would be out fishing with all the time on the back of my P13!   This boat is ideal for a cross section of conditions from rivers to large open lakes to ocean fishing, I've had it everywhere and always felt safe and in control!

Predator XL
The newest and biggest in the family (600 lb capacity!!), it offers a whole new twist never before seen in fishing kayak.... an interchangable center console!   Really I could do a blog post on this kayak alone, but having not had the chance to ride it myself yet, I recomment you googling and reading some of the other great reviews on this amazing boat!

With a choice of three very different consoles, you have the ability to customize this kayak to meet virtually any need!    The Exo-Ridge (flat floor) console makes for a wide open deck on which anyone can stand to fish comfortably.    The utility console is built to house your fish finder, batteries and tackle, while the Minn Kota motor means you can ride and steer hands free all day long using your hands to control your rod while trolling for stripers!  

Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game II

If you like the looks of the Predator 13, but want something more suited to the ocean, then this is the kayak for you.    Looking down from the top, it is hard to tell this boat apart from the Predator 13, it even has the great element seating system.   The rear storage area is a little different, and it is about $100 cheaper!

Ocean Kayak Trident Series

Trident 11 and 13 - These boats are well suited to salt water or for skimming along fresh water at a nice pace.   They are a little narrower than the Predators, but still offer great stability and weight capacity for their size and lots of storage options for rods and tackle.    The Tridents have been a favorite of serious kayak anglers for years.     As a big guy, I would want the 13, but the 11 is definately more than enough kayak for most people, especially if you aren't looking at packing for an overnight trip.

Ocean Kayak Ultra Series

If you want speed an versatilty, these are the kayaks for you.   Engineered to be fast and handle the ocean swells with ease these long beasts can cover serious ground with ease.     Load them up with gear, or just take what you need and fly on the water, you can do pretty much anything in one of the long sleek Ultras, the boats many say are the best on the market for serious salt water anglers!     If there is a secret santa out there who is feeling generous, I'd love to add one of these to my fleet!  :-)

 Think you are ready to take the next step?   Then call Paul at Ecological Adventures, or Jeremy or Dan at Outdoors NB and they will be happy to help put you in a new ride!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pre-Season Event Calendar

Well it is one month till the start of fishing season... at least on the calendar.  But don't tell that to Mother Nature.    After coming in from shovelling though 3 foot high drifts to make it back to my chicken coop, I have serious doubts that any water will be ice-free come April 15th!    I am holding out hope that the Kennebacasis river will be breaking up by then and I'll be able to get the kayak out for sturgeon, but I can't really see much else open, at least not without a bit of a heat wave.

In the meantime, there is a ton of great events coming up on the calendar.   I will be at each and every one of these and I hope to see many of you there as well!

Saturday, March 21st - Reel Paddling Film Festival at UNB in Frederiction.    Sponsored by our friends at Ecological Adventures, this event will show many films dedicated to paddling sports from around the world.   There will many great door prizes, including a new kayak, and I'll be on hand to promote and discuss fishing side of the paddling world!

Sunday, March 22nd - Spring meeting of the Saint John River chapter of Muskies Canada.   Starting at 11 AM at the Red Lantern Pub in Frederiction, this is a great place to come and meet most of the best muskie fisherman in New Brunswick, take in a tackle swap, and possibly even win a free 1 year membership to the group!   If you are at all interested in fishing for muskie in New Brunswick, you need to come meet these guys!

Friday March 27 - Sunday March 29th - The HUGE NB Sportsmen Show in Moncton.   This is the event of the year for anyone interested in boating and/or fishing.   Listed as one of the feature presentations of the show, I'll be hosting a booth along with a few other kayak anglers promoting the sport of kayak fishing and also sturgeon fishing.    If you haven't been to this show, you really need to go, as it is a massive show featuring way more than I could possibly describe here!   I'll be booth #544, so please, drop by and say hi!

Saturday, April 11 - Two events on this day!   First, head to Oromocto in the morning for the annual tackle  swap put on by the NB Sportsfishing Association.   I went there last year with Rowan and IPop (local legend) and had a great time meeting anglers, getting a few odds and ends, but mostly watching Rowan finesse a bunch of free lures for himself!   If you are in need of some more gear at a good price get there early.   While I don't have exact details outside of the date just yet, I'm sure those details will come soon, so keep an eye on the forums!

Then in the evening, be back in Saint John for the Fishing for Memories annual Steak & Stein at Buccaneer's Pub in Saint John.   This is a great fundraising event for a fishing tournament that raises money for the great cause of alzheimer's research.   There will be lots of prizes up for auction here, including a half day guided kayak fishing trip with yours truely!    Don Paterson does a great job running this event, so be sure to come out to say hi and support the cause!   Contact Don at (506)468-9098 for details or tickets before they run out!

May 9th - The annual Hammond River Angling Association Fundraising Banquet.    Last year was my first year attending and was blown away!  First off the food was amazing and there was more than enough to ensure no one would walk away hungry!   There were a ton of prizes up for auction, silent auction, games of chances....etc.     I can't wait for this year's event and to see if I may be lucky enough to bring home another nice little prize.  Last year I won a Streamside fly reel which I was able to give to my Dad!

I suspect there will be another tackle swap as well sometime in April or May at the Hammond River Angling Association.    So there are lot of events and activities happening to keep us busy while we wait for open water!