ICAST Recap: Day Two | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
FeelFree's Dolphin Kayak Images by: Kayak Angler Magazine

Feel Free 

The folks at FeelFree have been designing a new tandem fishing kayak, developing a motor/pedal drive for a new model and spawning a new fishing kayak brand. 

Starting with the new tandem Lure. At 14-foot long and 36-inches wide, this tandem has enough room for the whole family. At only $1499, the two-seat kayak fits in the family budget. Two Gravity seats keep anglers comfortable all day and are easy to adjust from high to low. Gear tracks and FeelFree’s innovative gear management system make it easy to keep stuff organized. The boat can be set up with one center seat for and it will be compatible with the new Overdrive system. And it’s easy to wheel to the launch with the Wheel in the Keel system.

The big show was buzzing about FeelFree’s new Dorado kayak. This is a massive fishing machine with pedals, motors and paddle power. The boat features all the FeelFree favorites like the Gravity seat and Wheel in the Keel. Then, they added great new features not seen on any other kayak. 

The boat comes pre-wired and rigged with five LED lights: nav lights, two cockpit lights and a stern light. When we walked into the booth, a crowd had gathered around the Overdrive motor and pedal system. The Dorado comes with the pedal system and rigged lever-controlled rudder. The motor system is available as an add on. The brushless motor is operated with a remote control and a digital display shows battery power, speed and other information. The motor and lights operate off any 12 volt battery.

To accommodate the weight and power of the motor and pedals, the Dorado uses a cathedral tri-hull that has two outer pontoons and a central pontoon with deep channels in between. This keeps the boat tracking straight and super stable. On the top side, they installed molded inserts in the gunnels that make great storage for tackle trays and gear while increasing the hull’s stiffness and reduce weight. The Dorado comes in at 12-feet, five-inches long, 38-inches wide, and weighs 100 pounds. The price with pedals is $2999 and add the motor for $1400 dollars more. It will be available this winter. And they’re already working on a 32-inch wide open-water model in the works.

Somehow, in all the excitement, FeelFree even spawned a new kayak brand. Offering two new kayak designs, Three Waters brand is a simpler version of the FeelFree kayaks. The boats have a tri-hull and three-position seat. An open, flat deck makes it easy to stand and fish. It even has flush mount and horizontal rod holders. A sonar console makes it simple to add electronics. The Big Fish 120 will retail for $999 and the Big Fish 105 comes in at $799. 

 OK malibu

Ocean Kayak Malibu

Everyone wants a pedal-driven kayak, even weekend warriors. To answer the demand, Ocean Kayak has released the new Malibu. The boat features an open bow well and stern well. There’s a jump seat in the stern for the kids and room in the bow for the dog. 

The brightly colored boat has an adjustable, removable seat similar to the Element seat in Old Town’s Predator. A hatch under the seat provides access to the inside of the hull. The rudder is controlled by levers on either side of the seat. 

We were stoked to see Ocean Kayak borrowed the PDL pedal system from the Old Town Predator for the new Malibu. This tried and true pedal system is easy to lift, lower and remove. It provides plenty of reliable power in forward and reverse.

Ocean Kayak is marketing the Malibu as a “recreational” boat for beach bums and easy lakers, but I can see a few rod holders and a crate would make it a light and simple pedal fishing boat.

Bending Branches

Bending Branches

I’ve been using a carbon fiber Bending Branches paddle for the past six years. It’s scratched and the lettering has worn off but the paddle still goes like a bandit. I love that paddle, but I think I found a new baby. Bending Branches has been working on improving the Angler Pro for the past year. The changes are barely noticeable to the eye, but immediately evident on the water. In addition to cool new color patterns on the fiberglass blades, they’ve redesigned the blade shape to be more efficient and lighter. A closer look reveals a more rounded but shorter high-angle blade. The front side has a raised rib that reduces flutter. On the backside, the reduced core profile saves weight. The whole blade has been reinforced for stiffness and toughness. The Fiberglass model comes in at 28 ounce and the carbon fiber blade and shaft version is only 24 ounces. While the changes in the blade may seem minor, the folks at Bending Branches sweated over the details for months to save you from sweating on the water. The more I ran my fingers over the blade details the more excited I am to get the new Pro Angler on the water. This is the last paddle you will ever have to buy. 

malibu kayaks 

Malibu X-Factor and Stealth

There were a lot of kayaks at the ICAST New Product Showcase, but my eye caught the new Malibu Stealth. I immediately recognized the famous wide-body and flat floor with large hatches. On closer look the boat has a new X-Factor high-low seat with a super high back for more support and a wide, comfortable seat. In the middle of the cockpit, they’ve molded in a dry hatch that can be plumbed as a live well. In the bow, there is a huge hatch that has two compartments. The hatch cover doubles as a jump seat to carry kids or pets. The new Stealth is available at 12-feet and 14-feet and they made improvements to the open-water-approved Stealth, too. We hope to get the new ‘Bu on the water soon.

wilderness accecsories

Wilderness Systems Accessories

Wilderness Systems has turned its creative efforts at designing a line of accessories to accompany their kayaks or fit any brand’s boats. Starting last year with a bunch of smalls, this year they added big gadgets like kayak crate, live well and gear bags. 

The first thing that caught my eye was Wildy’s new Kayak Krate. The rectangular crate has two sections. A clear lid opens to a shallow top compartment that can hold smaller gear. Below the top compartment, the main compartment will accommodate bigger stuff. The huge compartment can be separated to organize gear and make it easier to find. One of the coolest features is the rod holders which can be moved to any side and mounted higher to keep the rods out of the water. 

Next, the Thrive live bait well is a modern marvel. The low-profile tank actually has tons of room for live bait. A spring loaded lid pops up to reveal a large bait well. They even included a bait net that makes it easy to grab livies. The bottom of the well is plumbed with a low-profile outlet and inlet feed. The pump is run on a rechargeable battery that is housed inside the well. Two USB and a mini USB port on the front charge electronics from the battery. 

On my SUP and smaller kayaks, I’ve eliminated the crate and gone with a gear bag. I saw stoked to see Wilderness has designed a soft-sided cooler and water-proof gear bag that fits in a triangular tank well. The bags are overbuilt with tough zippers and intelligently designed with separate internal bags to make finding gear easier.

One of the smallest and coolest gadgets at the Wildy booth is their new track system. The gear tracks use counter-sunk screws that make sliding gear on and off easy. The base has a pin that allows the angler to switch accessories without having to remove the base from the track. 

As expected from the designers at Confluence, Wilderness System’s long line of accessories are a functional as they are cool. 

Yak Gear fish stik

YakGear Fish Stiks

After seeing photos and reading info on the new Fish Stik from YakGear I was anxious to get my hands on the new measuring board. With all the hoopla surrounding tournament bump boards, YakGear put a year into designing the ultimate measuring tool. The Fish Stik is 36 inches long and folds down to 12 inches. It comes in three colors, but the owner will have to ink in the numbers and lines. Fold out the three sections and push in two tabs to lock the sections flat. It’s made out of tough, injection molded ABS plastic that won’t crack or break. They even included a slot in the end of the bump board so you can leave your fish attached the FishGrips while measuring it’s length. I like the center pivot point that allows the Fish Stik to be attached to a gear track. Best of all, it floats. The new stick will cost $33.99 and they plan for a longer version soon.

Yakattack rod holder

YakAttack Rod Holder, Transducer Arm and Gear Track/Mount

While accessory manufactures seem to be playing catch up and copying each other, YakAttack is moving ahead with new, unique gadgets that make fishing easier. A new, Versa elevated rod holder will hold spinning rods, fly rods, conventional and baitcasters. Add the new Versa Pro extension arm and the rod holder will also hold a stake-out pole. The rod holder is track mountable on the new LockNLoad mount. Speaking of the new LockNLoad mount, YakAttack solved the problem of slipping and spinning accessories. This gadget will replace unreliable ball mounts with a lower profile, tougher solution. One of the coolest accessories is the new SwitchBlade transducer arm. The articulated arm allows the angler to drop his transducer overboard when he’s fishing the remove the transducer to paddle. It also makes it possible to completely remove electronics from the kayak between trips. The arm is thin so it doesn’t create turbulence and water resistance. The arm can be attached to a gear track or the CellBlok.

hobie worlds

Hobie Announces Location of 2018 Hobie Worlds

Hobie, the worldwide leader of personal watersport products,  announced today that the scenic, lakeside community of Amal, Sweden, will play host to the seventh annual Hobie Fishing Worlds presented by Rhino Rack, in May of 2018. Hobie Fishing Worlds is the premier, global kayak fishing competition, with expert anglers from over 20 countries vying for the grand prize.

“Amal is a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Vänern, Western Europe's largest lake with over 22,000 scenic islands, islets and reefs. It’s an amazing place to showcase the abilities of our Mirage Pro Angler kayaks, and the skills of the talented anglers that will pilot them,” said Keeton Eoff, director of global strategy and development at Hobie.

Over 50 kayak anglers will be selected to compete at Hobie Fishing Worlds by winning an official qualifying event or series in the preceding months. The Worlds features a multi-day tournament structure, with a catch-photograph-release competition. In Amal, kayak anglers will be vying to catch the greatest three-day aggregate of European perch and the predatorial Pike, submitting up to three of each species per day.

"Since its inception in 2011, anglers from all over the world with similar interests not only compete but share expertise, knowledge and skills. In the end, there is one World Champion, but everyone goes home with new friends, new skills and having had an unforgettable cultural experience.” said Steve Fields, Hobie Fishing World's Tournament director.


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