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New Yak Bits and Pieces
  |  First Published: April 2009



It’s good to see that despite the current Global Financial Crisis (GFC) people are still going fishing. What’s more, most people I know are still buying some new fishing gear, it’s just that they probably aren’t purchasing as much of the top-of-the-range gear as they used to. The GFC has prompted anglers to look more closely at where they spend their dollars and how cost effective their fishing practices are.

Take kayak fishing for example, this branch of our sport has become incredibly popular of late, no doubt assisted by the fact that the outlay required to get into it is very modest in comparison to buying a regular boat and motor. The running costs are way down too, which leaves more room in the budget for buying and replacing the more limited range of fishing gear you need.

With that in mind, have a look at the following bits and pieces, most of them have at least some application for kayak or canoe anglers and all offer pretty good value which makes them a win-win for local anglers.

Plano Yak Vest

These Yak Vests from Plano are a clever and very practical idea. As a relatively new (but super keen) kayak angler, I’ve already learned that space is at an absolute premium in most sit-on-top personal watercraft and you have to pack pretty carefully.

In most cases, you’ve only got room onboard for one or perhaps two little tackle boxes within easy reach and they have to hold all the hooks, flies, lures and terminal tackle that you might need for a day on the water. However, if you wear this vest, you can easily sneak a few extra goodies along.

This vest has been specifically designed for kayak anglers and it has stacks of pockets and compartments for holding all those little bits and pieces you are going to need. There are larger pockets at the back to hold your wet weather gear or snacks, while the front ones are designed in such a way that they fold down and provide little rigging stations for you.

It’s designed to sit up high on your chest and upper back, so it doesn’t get in the way of your seat and even when fully loaded, it doesn’t stick out too far and get caught up when you are casting or fighting a fish.

However, it must be stressed that this is not a floatation device and shouldn’t be worn in place of a PFD. I mainly use mine in fresh water and it’s particularly handy when I’m flyfishing off my yak as it has even got a built in fly compartment complete with foam fly holder.

Black Box for Kayakers

Plano has also put out a range of Guide Series Cases, which are ideal for yakkers who want to keep their valuables dry and safe. These waterproof, and crushproof polycarbonate cases are great for storing wallets, mobile phones, keys, and GPS units and provide much more protection than the usual soft sided dry bag.

Each size of case comes in a different colour and I use the black box (9.75” x 7.5” x 4”) to store my camera aboard my Hobie Outback. The beauty of this box is that it fits through the access port in front of the seat. This means my camera can safely be stored below decks out of the sun and it won’t matter even if a bit of water does come onboard.

Lightning changes colours

Lots of kayak anglers chase bream on small hard-bodied lures. While favourite Lightning Minnows from Trollcraft have been around for fair while now, the range has recently been upgraded to include some attractive new colours and finishes. These lures now look just like their expensive Japanese counterparts but the good news is: they only cost about a quarter of the price, which is a real bonus.

The new line-up includes some almost see-through designs and very subtle colour schemes. There is also a matte brown colour scheme that is hugely popular in bream fishing circles. All in all, these patterns have really jazzed up the Lightning Minnow range and are sure to make them even more popular with budget conscience anglers in these tough times.

Stand Out Hooks

Brisbane based kayak anglers often fish for bass in the numerous lakes around South East Queensland. The bass in these waterways grow big and tough and one of the best times to target them is when they school up in winter.

Now these fish can be notoriously fickle about taking lures and you often need to keep your boat right above the schools of fish and use pin point placement with your lure to keep it in their face long enough to get a positive reaction. Not surprisingly, drop shotting is one of the best ways to achieve the correct presentation, however due to the specialist knots required to create the rig, it has never seemed to achieve the popularity it deserves.

Well, that was prior to the arrival of these new Stand Out hooks, which are one of the more ingenious developments in fish hook design that I have seen in a long while. As the name suggests, these hooks are designed specifically for drop shotting with soft plastics, and there is no need for any fancy knots to attach them.

With the Stand Out hooks, you just tie a normal knot to the kink in the hook shank and then run the tag end through the eye of the hook, which gives you a perfectly rigged drop shot setup every time.

They also look like they would be good for freshwater bait fishing. They would probably work okay as a bait hook for bream and flatties in the salt too but I don’t think they make them in a large enough size for reef fishing so you offshore kayakers may have to wait a bit longer yet.

Salt Runners

Some of you may have heard of Road Runner lures, which are popular in bass fishing circles. Road Runners are basically a marabou jig with a spinning blade hanging off its nose. The blade provides extra sound and vibration and they work a bit like a mini spinnerbait.

Well, these new Salt Runners are just a bigger version of the original Road Runners and as the name indicates, they are intended for use in saltwater. Down south, these types of jig heads are popular with anglers chasing bass and estuary jewfish but up here, they are probably going to get more use chasing barra, jacks and flathead. The hooks are fairly solid, the swivels are the ball bearing kind and the blades are gold plated to help them last in a saltwater environment.

While they have been designed to cope with a saltwater environment, I’ve already used these from my Hobie to catch a range of freshwater natives as well. All in all, a very worthwhile bit of gear to take on your next soft plastic foray.

Pioneer Perfect Cast Heavy Rods

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Pioneer graphite rods in general and especially when it comes to fishing from my kayak where the possibility of loss or breakage is magnified significantly.

Pioneer have just added a new heavy baitcaster to the Perfect Cast line-up and these sticks have been upgraded to fit with the heavier braided lines which are a necessity when chasing impoundment barra.

While these rods come in both threadline and baitcaster formats, my favourite is undoubtedly the new BC602, which is a Medium Heavy baitcaster designed for 10-12kg lines. At 6ft, it is a little longer than the other baitcasters in the range but it has plenty of guts. So far I’ve used it for a bit of estuary work chasing jacks in amongst the rocks and oyster, where the rod excelled. I’ll be taking it to see how it goes against a serious barra on my next kayaking trip up to Monduran.

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