Most outdoorsmen can identify with the plight of young Ralphie Parker in his quest to get an official Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. If you aren’t, then tune in to WTBS on cable or satellite TV beginning on Christmas Eve, and you’ll get 24 hours’ worth of it.
As paddlers, we often know what we want to outfit our plastic watercraft, but since it’s nearing the holidays, it’s somewhat self-serving to just go out and get it for yourself when your significant other has probably already asked you a dozen times what you want for Christmas anyway.
Like The Christmas Story plot, all you’ll need to do is open your copy of South Carolina Sportsman to this page and conveniently leave it where your loved ones are sure to see it. You might even take a red magic marker and circle one of the items below, or if you’re like me, hand it to your wife, tell her exactly where to find it, give her your credit card, sign for it when the UPS guys delivers it to the house, check to make sure it’s the right size/model, then hand it to her and tell her to wrap it up and put it under the tree.
On the other hand, if you’re having trouble making up your mind, try one of these suggestions on for size:
Power Pole Micro Anchor. Just like the one the shiny bass-boat guys have, Power Pole makes a micro-sized version of their now-famous anchoring system for kayaks. Also, just like the shiny bass-boat guys, you won’t find a lot of uses for it except when you absolutely need it to hold tight on that shallow flat while making not a sound because you just slipped up on a whole school of feeding fish. Dropping an anchor or even taking time to stab a stake-out pole and wait for the wind to push you into position will ruin the fish’s mood. And how cool would it be to just push a button and start slinging topwater baits at those fish.
The Power Pole Micro Anchor retails for around $600 and is available at West Marine, Cabela’s, Bass Pro or most of your favorite kayak accessory stores.
Seat upgrade. Since you and I may or may not have the same kayak, this suggestion will be a bit of a stretch because seat upgrades vary based on model. The first to come to mind are Wilderness Systems AirPro Phase 3 Elevated Seat, Hobie Mirage Deluxe Seat Chair or a Jackson Kayak Elite Seat. You can choose the OEM version seat upgrades, or you can find a number of air and foam-filled supports that will work for your particular boat.
Upgrades run from $39 to $250, again depending on model. Hook1.com or Austickayak.com are good places to start.
Yak Attack CellBlok. The CellBlok is a track-mounted battery box whose top surface serves as a mounting platform for your sonar-display unit and transducer-deployment arm. The Cellblok attaches to standard accessory rails, so there is no more drilling holes in your kayak or routing wires. Simply loosen the two track-mount knobs and the CellBlok allows you to quickly and easily move your depth finder from one kayak to another.
It’s a one piece sonar unit/system easily removed for storage and security and keeps all your wires and sonar battery in one spot. Retails for $60 from yakattack.us.
Spider-rigging set-up. The hottest new Facebook Fan page is Kayak Pan Fishing, and with its rise is the rush to convert the plastic boat to mimic those spider-armed, crappie-catching machines. The beauty of this movement is that no manufacturer has captured the market, so kayakers, who are very ingenius at heart anyway, can create their own designs.
Ram and Scotty mounting blocks and arms are probably the way to go if you want to stick with the plastic boat motif. Metal holders and bases are available from Driftmaster. The key to mounting the system is to get two to three holders to line up on either side of the yak. Using track mounted rails lets you remove the garb when it’s time to go back to flinging for bass or redfish.
Tackle bag/organizer. Hard-sided or soft-sided is up to you, but all kayak manufacturers make that storage well right behind the seat for a reason — to put something in. A kayak tackle bag/organizer can be distinguished from other tackle bag/organizers because of the built-in rod tubes that allow you to store additional rods vertically, behind the seat.
Tackle bag/organizers help you prepare for a day’s fishing by giving you a place to keep five to seven fully stocked plastic tackle boxes, tools you’ll need for crimping, de-hooking, weighing, measuring and all other kayak-borne duties. Such bags also allow you to remove expensive tackle from the boat during storage or when transporting.
Camera and mount. Everyone needs a video camera, mounted at an angle in the front or rear of the boat so they can capture that conquest on video and post it to Youtube. GoPro leads the pack, but several manufacturers are catching up at more competitive pricing. For the mounting arms, Ram Mounts is also the top dog. Gopro.com and rammounts.com.
Milk crate. Here’s one for the old schoolers in the group. Milk crates to store your gear behind your seat can be found in the parking lot behind your favorite grocery store. The general rule-of-thumb is if it’s more than 50 feet from the building, they didn’t want it anyway.
Merry Christmas, y’all. Don’t paddle your eye out.