TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...


By Blue65
#2302351
I just purchased my first kayak. It is the Big Tuna from Jackson. I got it for my 9 year old daughter and I to go fishing. I now need to get some goodies. This is the list I have so far and thought I would try to get suggestions:

1. Rudder - Is Jackson the only one that makes rudders for the Big Tuna? I have looked around and have not found anything other than the Jackson setup, and boy is it expensive about $200. If there is an aftermarket one let me know please.

2. PFD - I am not doing any rapids, but still want an PFD, but don't want just a cheapo.

3. Paddle - I have no clue here. I am 5' 10" 180# and the Kayak is about 35" wide. So I think I am in the 240 to 250 class here, but aside from that there are so many options. I would like to get a decent paddle, but don't want to break the bank.

Also if you guys have any other suggestions on needed gear please let me know. Thank you very much!
By SteveRetrieve
#2302352
You get what you pay for in kayaks and paddles. $200 is about the fair price for a rudder.

That is a big, wide, heavy kayak so I wouldn’t cheap out on a paddle. A good paddle makes a world of difference, especially when the wind kicks up, you’re 2 miles from the launch, and you’re already tired from being on the water all day. You might be able to find one lightly used and save some money. Werner is everyone’s favorite brand, for good reason, and I’d say you got the sizing about right.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
By Blue65
#2302354
10/4, I just did not see any other brand on the rudder other than Jackson. Thought there would be a lot others. After the kids are in bed I can get to ordering.
By SteveRetrieve
#2302355
The guys at ACK can probably help you out with the rudder specifics, including installation, but I’m not sure if they’re open for business.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
By SWFinatic
#2302359
Congrats on the kayak! They're a lot of fun. Safety always comes first.

On the rudder I recommend staying with the Jackson rudder. You can easily run into other issues with an aftermarket rudder and find yourself having to modify and new kayak and likely spend more than what the Jackson rudder costs.

PDF- it's hard these days to try them on but there are some things to look at. If you want pockets keep in mind it's going to feel bulky when you put it on. That's the trade off. Honestly the bulky feeling will go away in no time though. For me pockets are huge. I also look at how thick the back of the PFD is which is why I use the Stohlquist keeper. It has a thin back that doesn't affect how I sit in the seat. NRS also makes a great PFD. Some models have low backs and some have high backs. Keep these things in mind compared to how they will fit you sitting in your seat.

Paddle- Neumie on here has a spreadsheet with kayaks, paddles and I believe PFD's. Maybe he can share that with you. It would be helpful in selecting your paddle. To me 250 cm is too long especially if you'll be sitting in the raised position in the kayak. 240 is pushing it. 35" is wide but a long paddle can be just as bad as a paddle that's too short. I would go 240 max.
User avatar
By Ron Mc
#2302361
my best pfd buys have been discounts or closeouts on-line, at places like Backcountry and Outside Outfitters. PFD is NOT an option.

I strongly recommend the $250 paddles from Werner - they're carbon shaft and glass blade and within 2 ounces of their all-carbon paddles that double the ante. My buddy bought a nice one on sale at Roy's (Corpus) when we were there late March for $200.
If you know your size, buying online can find discounts on overstocked colors and always with free shipping.
Also keep in mind with that boat, you want one of the larger blade designs, Coryvecken or Ikelos (Powerhouse, etc.)

Duckworks is a great place to look for rudder alternatives, hardware and installation tips - https://www.duckworks.com/footbraces-s/335.htm

ACK - San Marcos maintains the best ratio of service-oriented shop guys to 20-something sales staff.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Wed May 06, 2020 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Neumie
#2302362
Welcome to TKF and enjoy your time on the water with your daughter.

1) I would stick to the Jackson rudder. Although $200 seems high it's cheaper than most rudder systems from other brands (I genuinely do not know why kayak rudders cost $300 +. There's nothing special in material and the design hasn't changed in my nearly 20 years of kayaking). You could piecemeal a rudder system cheaper, but there could be unforeseen modifications and the quality may not be as good.

2) When looking at PFDs it's important to look at how the back flotation is done. You have two options; mesh or thin back. A mesh back puts the flotation high and up between the should blades which clears most high back seat found on today's SOT kayaks. Thin back PFDs the foam runs the entire back, but is thin enough to not to interfere with kayak seats. The most popular PFD for kayak fishing seems to be the NRS Chinook. It's a mesh back with lots of pockets. My personal PFD is the Astral V-Eight which has lots of mesh for ventilation and not as many pockets (which I didn't want). A reminder, although you are not required to wear a PFD, your daughter is until she turns 13. Depending on her weight she'll probably need a PFD designated for "Youth", which are for those who weigh between 50 - 90 lbs.

3) I think you're on the right track with the paddle length. I paddle a Ride 135 (31.5" wide, low seat) and am 5' 11" and use a 230 cm paddle for it. I think it's too short and really need at least a 235 cm or 240 cm. My seating position isn't as high off the water as you'll be seating. I would start with at least a 240 and would even look at one which allows you to adjust for length.

As others have said you should budget for the best paddle you can afford. Paddles break down into six different price points/materials:
0: $50 or less - Aluminum shaft with fiberglass reinforced nylon blades
1: $70 - $100 - Fiberglass shaft with fiberglass reinforced nylon blades
2: $135 - $150 - Carbon Fiber shaft with fiberglass reinforced nylon blades
3: $170 - $200 - Carbon Fiber shaft with carbon fiber reinforced nylon blades
4: $250 - $300 - Carbon Fiber shaft with fiberglass blades
5: $350 + - Carbon Fiber shaft with Carbon Fiber Blades

As you progress up in material and price your paddle becomes lighter and stiffer. A lighter paddle means less impact on your joints and muscles. A stiffer blade (note: stiffer does not mean more brittle) is more efficient at converting your input energy into forward motion. A blade with flex means a waste of energy.

As SWfanatic mentioned I maintain a Google Sheet with kayak, paddle, and PFD manufacturers. I try to keep it up to date, but at the very least it's a good starting point for research: Google Sheets.
User avatar
By Ron Mc
#2302363
one thing to keep in mind in the paddle hierarchy, since a spare paddle is never a bad idea, begin with a tier 2 or 3 paddle from Neumie's list, and later upgrade to a tier 4 or 5.

Also keep in mind with that big boat, at the bottom end of paddles, more of your energy goes into flexing the paddle and less into moving the boat. At the top end, you're buying the lowest possible swing weight.

Bent shaft paddles - these add a couple of ounces to the weight, and what you gain is indexed hand position for optimum efficiency, but you can accomplish the same thing on a lighter straight-shaft paddle adding indexed-position grips.
By mwatson71
#2302368
Congrats on the first kayak. I see visions of great memories ahead for you and your daughter. My kids used to ride around in the stern well of my T160 when they were little. One of my best fishing memories is when my son was in first grade I let him skip school to go fishing with me on a four-star day and he caught his first kayak rat red. He is almost 13 now and paddles it on his own.

Paddles are dependent on preference and price point. I would use Neumie's chart as a guide and also a lot of internet review searches. I started with a very basic Bending Branches and now have a middle of the road Carlisle.

PFD - I guess I fall into the lots of pockets category. I have the NRS fishing life vest. Pockets for everything. I will say that the back of it is a little bulky but I have gotten used to it. No so much an issue when I am paddling as when I am pedaling.

Enjoy!
By Ken S
#2302370
Congrats,, have lots of quality time with your daughter.
Why would a long paddle can be just as bad as a paddle that's too short? contemplating another paddle for my Pescadore 120 w/high seat.
TIA
User avatar
By Ron Mc
#2302378
a too long paddle adds unnecessary weight and torsion on your joints.

But few things about paddles depend on preference - everything about paddles depends on the design of the paddle, what you're trying to move, how it fits your seating position and boat width, and whether you paddle with a relaxed touring style or aggressive core muscles.
Have owned and used many, covering the whole gambit - outfitted me and my daughter from 9-y-o through college, and borrowed OP's for a decade before that. People who say such and such paddle is just as good as Werner have never owned a Werner, or chased their athletic daughter when she had a Werner and they only had a top-line A/T.
It's OK, I got a Werner, too, and got my edge back.

I have two, not counting my daughter's Shuna - my first Werner, the Camano is exactly the right paddle for my too fast and unstable Kestrel. The Coryvecken, largest blade area made by anybody, is exactly the right paddle to move my T160 the way I want it to go. The Camano is a great choice for just about any boat and long days in the saddle. When I tried the Coryvecken in the nimble chine-less Kestrel, it added instability and couldn't track the speedy little boat straight because it delivered too much power.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Werner glass blades are so thin and light they're transparent
Image
Image
Image
User avatar
By Neumie
#2302388
Ron Mc wrote:a too long paddle adds unnecessary weight and torsion on your joints.

But few things about paddles depend on preference - everything about paddles depends on the design of the paddle, what you're trying to move, how it fits your seating position and boat width, and whether you paddle with a relaxed touring style or aggressive core muscles.
Have owned and used used many, covering the whole gambit - outfitted me and my daughter from 9-y-o through college, and borrowed OP's for a decade before that. People who say such and such paddle is just as good as Werner have never owned a Werner, or chased their athletic daughter when she had a Werner and they only had a top-line A/T.
It's OK, I got a Werner, too, and got my edge back.

Conversely, too short of a paddle causes you to dip your shoulders, lean over, or sit slightly slouched to compensate for a short length. Basically, it promotes poor technique. I'd rather have a paddle that's just on the long side than the short side.

I never liked AT paddles, they always felt inefficient when compared to others. Werner is pretty much the gold standard if you're looking for higher end paddle. Of course, my Accent Paddle has done me a solid for 12+ years.

For reference purposes:
Werner is a stand alone paddle company
AT, Wilderness Systems, Harmony are owned by Wilderness Systems/Perception
Carlisle is owned by Old Town/Ocean Kayak
Aqua-Bound and Bending Branches are the same company
Accent and Cannon are the same Company

That covers about 80% of the paddles available on the market.
User avatar
By Ron Mc
#2302389
exactly correct.
When I bought my Tarpon, paddle was paddle, A/T was also made by Wilderness, was there at Kokomo Kayaks, price was right for entry level, so that's the one I bought. Bought the matching kid paddle for my then 9-y-o daughter. I mentioned on another thread, she learned to paddle in her sternwell cockpit without me ever saying a word to her.
Later bought the top-line bent-carbon-shaft A/T on close-out for $135, and stashed the first for a spare (later gave it to my UPS guy).

When she was 12 and in her Redfish 10, upgraded her kid paddle with a Werner Shuna bent-shaft, all-carbon, bought at a good price from Backcountry. We handled our first bent-shaft all-carbon Werner at ACK after a San Marcos River outing - holding the light thing with indexed hand position, you automatically started stroking as if pedaling a bike.

Many of the new paddles, will admit I've never handled, any of the old ones, I have either used for a day or owned.
(Bought a Carlisle at Jerry B's when we arrived to find a paddle left out - later sold it on this forum, and used many OP's in that previous decade)
But if I had $250 to spend on a paddle, would not pass up a Werner straight carbon shaft glass blade. They're so good, makes it hard to justify the all-carbon, bent shaft, etc.
Aside from delivering power, Werner goes in and out of the water more efficiently than any other blade design - it has nothing to do with the brand, but the design.

3 years later when I couldn't keep up with her, bought my all-carbon bent shaft Camano, and got my edge back - she's not the kind to enjoy being left this far down wind
(at 12, she beat 3 grown men upwind across B&R - Whit was there)
Image
Image
Last edited by Ron Mc on Thu May 07, 2020 10:15 am, edited 5 times in total.
User avatar
By kickingback
#2302392
PFD...NRS Chinook
Paddle...one that comes with the kayak or Werner for name brand
RADIO...most important. Horizon HX300 or best model HX890
Water...always plan to bring more drinking water than you need in case of emergency and you are stuck by weather or waves.

Good luck!
User avatar
By Ron Mc
#2302394
I have two HX890, and no other brand touches the features or performance for the price.
(a guy on another forum was complaining about mangroves blocking reception on his Uniden radios)
If all you want to do is talk on the radio and catch the weather, HX40 is the most compact VHF made, but you can also get the features of the HX300 for the same price.
By Blue65
#2302416
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for all the information on this thread. It helps so much. So far I have purchased the rudder and just went with the Jackson one specific for the Big Tuna. At the end of the day there was not a big aftermarket for the rudder outside of Jackson. It was just easier and made me feel more confident that it would rig up without modifications.

I purchased the PFD and Paddle from ACK. Since I am in Houston I could have the purchases almost the following day. Which is good b/c we are going to the Brazos this weekend. I went with the Chinook. I liked the high back and the pockets. The paddle I went with was the Accent Hero Angler 240cm. I think it is a carbon/glass blend on the shaft and glass blades. I picked it up on sale for just over $100. I also liked the part that $20 goes to a veterans fund. I felt like it was a great price on a quality starter paddle.

Now I had not even considered a radio. So the radios we are talking about are walky talkies with built in radio communications to get weather and such?

Now I am on to anchor setups. Not sure if I should start another thread or wait for suggestions. I think I need a special cleat assembly but not sure.

Thanks and I really appreciate the help alot, b/c I need it.
By SWFinatic
#2302479
Blue65 the radios mentioned are marine vhf radios and communicate with the coast guard and others on the water that have them. They are a must if you are going offshore and can be really helpful inshore too. I recommend having one but do some research on how to use it before you go out with it. You can't use them on land at all. If you get one make sure it floats and is waterproof. There are models that have built in GPS which is a great feature.

On the anchor the link below is a good choice for your kayak. Tie your anchor rope (paracord works ok) to the bottom of the anchor then use a small electrical zip tie and attach the rope to the top of the anchor with the zip tie. This way if you get the anchor hung up when you pull hard on the rope the zip tie will break and you pull the anchor up from the bottom. Most of the time this works getting it unstuck. I recommend to have at least double the amount of rope for the deepest water you'll be fishing. If you'll be in 50' of water you need at least 100 feet of rope.
https://www.kayakfishinggear.com/produc ... c867&_ss=r
By Blue65
#2302481
SWFinatic wrote:Blue65 the radios mentioned are marine vhf radios and communicate with the coast guard and others on the water that have them. They are a must if you are going offshore and can be really helpful inshore too. I recommend having one but do some research on how to use it before you go out with it. You can't use them on land at all. If you get one make sure it floats and is waterproof. There are models that have built in GPS which is a great feature.

On the anchor the link below is a good choice for your kayak. Tie your anchor rope (paracord works ok) to the bottom of the anchor then use a small electrical zip tie and attach the rope to the top of the anchor with the zip tie. This way if you get the anchor hung up when you pull hard on the rope the zip tie will break and you pull the anchor up from the bottom. Most of the time this works getting it unstuck. I recommend to have at least double the amount of rope for the deepest water you'll be fishing. If you'll be in 50' of water you need at least 100 feet of rope.
https://www.kayakfishinggear.com/produc ... c867&_ss=r


Thanks for the reply. So those radios would not really work all that well for rivers and streams inshore? If that is the case that is fine I probably would like to get some nice walkie talkies.

On the anchor I have seen that zip tie rig, and that makes alot of sense, especially when your in a kayak rather than a boat. You just can not create the kind of leverage in a yak that you could in a boat, as well as the power. Now I see quite a few trolley systems to deploy and hold the anchor and drift socks. Yak Attack has some, but they require drilling in the boat. I was going to contact ACK about it, but I just discovered they do not handle Jackson Kayaks and the last time I talked with them they just said they could not help me with my kayak.

Well off to work, and I am welding up my bed extender later this afternoon.
User avatar
By Ron Mc
#2302489
Walkie talkies work great in the river, plus you can use them on land.
I'm not even sure Marine Band is legal in a river, though it is legal on reservoirs.
Definitely not legal on land.
By SWFinatic
#2302492
An anchor trolley will make your life much easier. There are times when you want to be anchored up casting towards a bank but the wind has your kayak turned with your back to that bank. You can use an anchor trolley to help move the kayak to a different position. That said unless your kayak has molded in brass inserts like some kayaks do (Viking for one) you're likely going to have to drill into the kayak. I have seen some folks use the handles (bow and stern) to attached carabiners to and run the anchor trolley off those carabiners. Not sure if that's an option on your kayak. As long as you use well nuts to anchor the pulleys there's not much risk of it leaking. Well nuts hold well and are typically water tight.

Thanks for the report TexasJim. Glad you found som[…]

lake texana crappie?

Hope no one minds me resurrecting this old thread.[…]

Malibu Extreme

Needs a little TLC. Handle needs replacing, rudder[…]

Installing a Fish Finder

Thanks for the two responses. I've continued resea[…]