Monday, October 31, 2011

Product Review: Kayalu Kayalite - The Perfect River Fishing Light

Over the past few months I have been searching for a stern light for my kayak.  One of the most popular is produced by YakAttack and is called the VisipoleYakAttack was a small company that started in founder Luther Cifers' garage, so supporting the small business definitely appealed to me.  However, I kept putting off buying one.  As I searched for sponsors for the Froggy Waters Freshwater Slam, I stumbled onto the Kayalu website.  Kayaklu is another small company based out of Cambridge, MA and made entirely in the US.  They offer a wide variety of kayak fishing products, including an 18" light called the Kayalite.

My initial reaction was that it looked gimmicky...but then I started to look a little closer.  The concept was simple.  You attach the bottom of the Kayalite to an eyelet or deck loop via a clip attached to a bungee.  You then pull the bungee tight and tie it off around the cleat on the light's mast.  That was it - you were set and the light was safe and secure.

My next thought was - OK, so the light attaches easily and is a great idea, but at 18" is it high enough?  Well, a quick trip to their website and the US Coast Guard site revealed otherwise.  After a number of tests, 18" was determined to be the ideal height to be seen - even in high wave conditions.  The beauty of it, is that it is also short enough that I don't have to worry about hooking it on a backcast.

After exchanging a series of emails with company headman Steve Hollinger, I had a Kayalite in the mail.  When it arrived, the simplicity of the design really hit me and I was excited to get a chance to use it.  The "installation" was a cinch!

First, I drilled a hole in the back hatch of my Coosa.  The Kayalite came with a drill bit of the correct size, eyebolt, and nut - so everything I needed was already provided.

Yes - it is that simple

I then inserted the eyeblot into the hole and tightened the nut on the opposite side of the hatch.

The eyelet - bolted down to the back hatch

I clipped on the Kayalite and tightened it down.  Now I was ready to role!

The Coosa looks sharp with the Kayalite on the back!

Because of work and weather, it took me longer than desired to do some on the water testing.  When I finally did get out, I was nothing but impressed.

The first thing I noticed was that Kayalite had a little give.  If it hit a branch, it simply flexed around it and returned to the upright position.  That is something neither suction cup or rigid pole designs can do.  As a river fisherman, that was a HUGE perk.  I also noticed how incredibly bright it was, yet I didn't feel like it hindered my night vision at all.  I definitely feel better about having one of these lights on my kayak rather than a basic head lamp.  A huge thanks to Steve and Kayalu for hooking me up!

Full specs on the Kayalite via the Kayalu website:

Kayalite KLT-1050 Specifications


Mast Material: ABS black, textured
Base Cushion Material: EVA foam
Fastener: plated steel breech clip
Mast Hardware: marine-grade stainless steel
Bungee Cable: saltwater-resistant nylon coated
Bungee Rings: marine-grade stainless steel
Locking Mechanism: jam cleat
U.S. Patents Pending

Tektite Mark III (included) Switch: Twist On/Off
Depth Rating: 1,000 feet (300 m)
Lamp: 1 LED
Lamp Life: 10,000+ hours
Burn Time: 200+ hours
Batteries: 3 AA Alkaline (included)
Materials: ABS and LEXAN
U.S. Patent #6,168,288

General Specifications

Height: 18 in. (45.72 cm)
Weight: 10 oz. (285 g)

Manufacture and Assembly Made in the U.S.A.
U. S. Customs CBP Certification
(available upon request)

The Kayalite is incredibly affordable at $39.95.  I strongly recommend you check these out.  If you do a lot of fishing on rivers or small bodies of water these are the perfect light.  They also work for ocean kayaking and big water adventures.  Plus, with new laws in may states requiring a light on board at all times, these fit the bill perfectly. 

Tight lines!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Froggy Waters Outdoors Freshwater Slam Recap - October 2011

As the crowd gathered into the pre-tournament meeting, a sense of excitement grew. Prizes lined the room, including the camo Coosa featured as the grand prize. The premise was simple - the biggest 3 fish limit of 1 bass, 1 catfish, and 1 panfish would win as long as they were caught in a river, stream, or creek within roughly 40 miles of the meeting location in Bahama, NC. And as participants, youth and adults alike, exited the meeting - I knew it was going to be a great event.

Gary Ribet and I had been planning the event for quite some time and had worked extremely hard to secure prize donations, sponsors, and donations for the Schoolhouse of Wonder - our ever deserving charity. Wendy Tonker, one of the admins at Schoolhouse of Wonder, was also instrumental in our success and deserves a huge thanks.

Mary May and I spent the majority of our Saturday on the water with Zach and Julie - a brother-sister pair hoping to do well. Zach is a teen who loves to fish and his big sister agreed to fish with him for the day. Mary May and I were hoping to help them catch a few fish and have fun. It turns out, they didn't need much help from us. They caught a crappie as soon as we met them and went on to catch bream throughout the day. And Zach gave it his best shot, throwing nearly every bait he had, but couldn't come up with a bass or catfish to complete the slam. Although tired from fighting the wind, they had a good time on the water and met us later at the weigh-in.

I returned to the weigh-in location with Mary May and started prepping for the festivities. The BBQ chicken grilling outside smelled incredible and all sorts of reports were coming in. Anglers fished many different rivers in the radius. Some were muddy and others gin clear. Some were extremely shallow and others flowing at near perfect early fall levels. And some were near the outside of the radius, while others were a mere minutes away.

The room was near capacity as many of the participants had returned with friends and family - giving it the feel of a true community event. Photos were judged by Gary and two of the executive board members from Schoolhouse of Wonder and then passed to me and I put them into a short presentation.

In 5th place was the father-son team of Brandon and Tyler Olson. 4th place went to Wendy Tonker and her youth partner Diante - who found their fishing spot much lower than expected. 3rd place went to local Travis Olson who put together a nice slam. 2nd place was earned by Kyle Brafford who was new to most of the rivers of the area. However, he made a smart mid-day change to his strategy that paid off big time. The grand prize winner was Bill Kohls. Bill had a plan of attack on a local flow that required some serious work. For him, the legwork paid off. He caught a 21" bass early and a 22.5" catfish late to help secure the victory.

The biggest bass and biggest catfish prizes went to Bill Kohls and the biggest panfish went to John Hoke with an impressive 12" yellow perch. He also mentioned losing a 14.5" Roanoke bass that flopped off of his board before he could snap a picture. The biggest fish (any species) and smallest fish (any species) (courtesy of Settles Bridge Supply House) both went to Bill Kohls as well for his big catfish and 3.5" bream.

Additional prizes were then raffled off and literally every single person in the room walked away with something, the silent auction concluded with a ton of awesome items going to good homes, and Wendy Tonker took the floor for Schoolhouse. Not only did she announce that they had picked up new volunteers from the event, but we learned that the Froggy Waters Slam had raised $1500 for Schoolhouse of Wonder. We were so extremely happy and proud to have raised the money for such a great cause.

A huge thanks to all of our sponsors and donors, the participants, Schoolhouse of Wonder, Gary Ribet & Froggy Waters Outdoors, Brett Hinson & Carolina Custom Rods, Jackson Kayak, and many more! A special thanks to Mary May Pratt, who put up with me through my late night emails, random phone calls, and weekend meetings as well as tolerating the huge pile of prizes that stacked up in our dining room. I couldn't have done it without your help and support.

We hope to make the slam an annual event that grows more and more each year. If you want to make a last minute donation to the Schoolhouse of Wonder, you can do so at their website. Now it is time to relax a little and get back to fishing.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Suburban Creek Bassin' Vlog - October 2011

We looked at each other, back to the water, then again to each other.  This is where we were going to be fishing?  This stream, which drains a large section of city before entering a local lake, was inches deep.  The sandy bottom did not look conducive to fishing, and I was stuck wondering whether or not we were making a mistake.  Worried that it was going to be a day of pushing rather than paddling and dragging rather than floating, we proceeded to launch and meander down the creek.  It wasn't long before we were doing just what we had feared - dragging, pushing, pulling, and working very hard with no results.  But, around every corner it got a little deeper and a little more tempting.  Before long, we were floating, fishing, and happy we had decided to stick it out.  So, before you write off that small, neighborhood creek - check this out!

The best lures for the day were the Yamamoto Senko and Deep Creek Lures Sink & Catch worm - both 5".  Fish were also caught on a Buggs Fishing jig and Assassinator spinnerbaits.  Until next time, tight lines!

Outdoor Blogger Network Anniversary, Blog Catch-up, and Other Goodness

Ok, first thing is first, I have been a blog slacker.  It's not that I haven't been busy with the usual fishy stuff, I've just been up to my ears in other things as well.  Plus, the video blog I am going to publish later today has taken a while to edit while I learn my way around a Mac.  However, keep an eye out, the reports will be coming fast and furious over the next week - including the Froggy Waters Outdoors Slam recap.

Not long after I started blogging, I stumbled onto a site called the Outdoor Blogger Network.  The folks there run a site that acts as an uber directory for anyone who blogs about the outdoors.  The blogs you can find there range from fishing to hunting to cooking to nature to just about anything tied to the outdoors.  This week, they hit their 1 year anniversary - an awesome moment for the rapidly growing site.  All outdoor blogs are encouraged to join as long as they meet certain (very basic) requirements.  The perks from OBN run deep including weekly free gear giveaways, promotion of blogger events, forums, and all sorts of contests.  It has been an awesome resource for me as an outdoor writer and helped me connect with tons of other bloggers and outdoor enthusiasts around the world.  I owe them a lot of thanks for everything they do....happy birthday/anniversary/1 year success!  Check them out!