Catching Redfish in Florida

25 Dec

Check out this video made by Jose Chavez using a YakAttack PanFish Camera Mount.

VisiCarbon Pro Review by Rob Appleby

19 Dec

I’ve had my kayak for over four years now and it’s been suitably modified from day one. One of the first modifications I fitted was a stern light powered from a 12v SLA battery mounted within the kayak. The majority of my fishing tends to either be at night or from day into night.

It’s a legal requirement for a kayak to be fitted with a fixed white light that provides 360 degree light and is visible for 2 miles whilst navigating/anchored at night. At that time there was very little available within the UK with regards to kayak lighting, little has changed to be honest. The Scotty light springs to mind, though to be honest its performance left a lot to be desired. I ended up fitting a detachable light designed for small boats and yachts with an uprated LED light.

A few weeks ago I read a couple of online articles where a new kayak light was mentioned, namely the VISICarbon Pro manufactured by YakAttack in the USA. Normally I’ve read any available reviews in advance of handling new tackle and equipment, though in this instance I hadn’t, hence I had no pre-conceived opinions. The unit arrived quickly and was neatly packaged, also enclosed was a RAM mounting kit.

With the unit out of the packaging it was time to have a close look. There was the light assembly, flag, product guide/instructions and a YakAttack sticker, though what really impressed me was the presence of a credit card sized customer service card with full contact details. That wasn’t something I’d really across before, nice touch.

Construction


The light assembly is a four piece affair, the lower three sections are of a similar length with the final section being the light itself.

The lowest section is similar is design to a rod butt, foam covered and approximately 1 3/4” in diameter. The design of the lower section allows the VISICarbon Pro to be fitted to most ‘rocket’ type rod holders. At the base of this particular model (CP2) is a 1.5” ball which also allows it to be mounted to a 1.5” RAM ball (Kit RM2 required).

A Scotty ready model (CP1) is also available with a Tallon flush mount. The lower section will also fit to many standard flush mount rod holders.

Above the lowest section is an elastic lanyard that serves two purposes. It allows the unit to be secured to the kayak to prevent loss should the kayak capsize or the unit be inadvertently dropped overboard. Secondly, with the unit collapsed it can be used to bind the unit together keeping it compact, it also aids stowage.
The centre two sections of the VISICarbon Pro are of carbon construction, similar to what you’d find at the lower end of a light spinning rod. The finish is good and there are a couple of graphics to compliment the appearance. The narrow diameter will keep the drag effects of wind to a minimum. The upper section is the light itself, more on that later.
What have the four sections got in common?, well, they’re all connected with an elastic shock cord that passes from the lower ‘butt’ section to the light, passing through the two middle sections.

The cord is under tension and allows the sections to either be quickly locked into place, or to be broken down into a compact size for easy storage. The principle is the same a used on many lightweight tent poles, though applying it to the light was most intuitive. When snapped together the unit is 48” long which when mounted vertically will comfortably put the light above head height.

Stowage, this is where yet again the unit proves to be most innovative. The red flag, which measures 18” x 6”, also doubles up as a stowage pouch.

There is a opening at one end, secured with Velcro, this allows the collapsed unit to be slipped inside and secured.

In this configuration the unit is very compact (14” long) and can be stored within a rear mounted crate or large centre hatch/rod pod with ease. It also fits into my dry box which is just perfect. As a result you can take the light afloat and fit it as required. It also allows the unit to be removed and stowed prior to a potentially difficult surf landing.

Getting back to the flag, attaching the flag is simplicity itself. The VISICarbon Pro uses ‘Silent Snaps’ to allow the flag to be attached to the light in seconds, it really is that simple. The ‘Silent Snap’ system comprises of two small elastic loops with a plastic tab on each. Pulling on a tab allows one end of the flag to be inserted.

The process is repeated on the other end resulting in the flag being securely attached to the light.

It’s very secure, the flag will not blow off and it’d happily survive a capsize. That being said, I’m not going to put the last statement to the test anytime soon!
That leaves the light itself.

The light unit has been custom made for the VISICarbon Pro and sports of section of reflective SOLAS tape with high visibility orange tape positioned at either side. The tapered clear lens houses the LED module. As standard it comes with a two LED module, though additional modules can be purchased to enable this to be changed to either a one or four LED module. Clearly this will vary the light output and battery life as a result. Again, this is an option I’ve not seen made available on any other kayak light.

There’s no on/off switch, operating the light requires a simple twist of the clear lens in order to make the internal contact. It’s simplicity in itself and by removing a mechanical switch it has removed a potential point of failure. The clear lens is removed by unscrewing it from the light unit.
The lens itself contains a twisted diffuser to provide enhanced 360 degree light coverage. Two O-ring seals are present at the top of the light unit, neither of which are likely to fall off whilst changing batteries/LED modules. The LED module lifts out to expose three AA batteries housed within the unit.
These are easily removed and replaced as required.

Performance
YakAttack claim a battery life of approximately 100 hours with the 2 LED module. Clearly this would be dependent on ambient temperature as I’m assuming those figures were attained at room temperature. However, even if battery life was far less than quoted it’s still very impressive and would easily last several trips before replacement was required.

The light output itself is impressive for a two LED system. It wouldn’t be fair to compare it to my current light as that utilises an 18 LED (21W equivalent) bulb, though it’s certainly very useable and will easily surpass the UK requirement of being visible for two miles. There is the facility to slide the flag over the light to reduce light output. Whilst this may not be particularly legal or advisable in open water situations, it may be prove useful when fishing close to structure to avoid spooking fish.

The light unit is claimed to be waterproof to 1000 feet. I kept it fully submerged in the sink for one hour and the initial results were encouraging with no water penetrating the light unit.

The VisiCarbon also floats, trust me, I’ve tested it!
So is it value for money?. Well it’s certainly not cheap, though I’m a big believer that you generally get what you pay for in this world, and I certainly believe that this light is no exception.
Clearly, an awful lot of thought has gone into its design. What with its collapsible mast, multi-purpose flag, multiple lighting/mounting options and excellent battery life it’s well ahead of the competition. Though that’s not all, it has full spares backup where virtually every part can be purchased individually direct from YakAttack.
Conclusion
In my opinion the VISICarbon Pro is a high quality innovative kayak light that’s well ahead of the competition. Sure it’s not cheap, though with its superb functionality and unrivalled product support it should last many years with the correct care.

Return of NiteStripe Reflective Pinstriping!

16 Dec


Back by popular demand, the NiteStripe reflective pinstriping kit will give kayak anglers yet another way to spice up their ride and improve their nighttime visibility. The availability in multiple colors means you can color match with your kayak to make the stripe stealthy during the day, or contrast colors to make it really stand out. Either way you choose, the NiteStripe will make a big difference in how visible your kayak is when a light is cast upon it at night.

NiteStripe is a 1/4″ wide, adhesive backed, reflective pinstripe and will stick to most kayaks. If masking tape will stick, NiteStripe will stick better.

Starts shipping December 19, 2011 in Orange, Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, and White. Will be available in Black starting early January.

At $12 for each 25 foot roll, NiteStripe is an inexpensive way to improve the nighttime visibility of your kayak, crate, rods, and other gear!

YAKATTACK VISICARBON PRO REVIEW BY SHAUN RUSSELL

15 Dec

When I go fishing my focus is on catching big bass. I don’t want to be worrying about my equipment or safety. I am also a true do-it yourself type person.  If I can build it cheaper and maintain quality I’m all for it. That was my mind set when I decided I needed a light for my Kayak. After several failed attempts (and a few wasted dollars) of making my own I found a product from Yak Attack called the “VISI-Carbon Pro.

The VISI Carbon Pro is built around a carbon mast that folds down to three 14” easily manageable lengths.


Inside the tube is an elastic cord that runs the length of the tubing allowing the unit to fold flat on itself.  Simplicity at it’s finest! Mounted on top of the carbon mast is an extremely bright 360 degree, 2 led light. On the Yak attack website they boast 100 hours of life with the three AAA batteries used to power the light. I’ve had mine for a couple months now and it is still just as bright as the first time I turned it on.

The body of the light was specially designed  to mount a flag secured by two small bungee cords to the shaft. The light is easily turned off and on with a quick turn of the diffused light cover. It’s a nice design that won’t allow the light to accidentally be turned on and drain the battery.  On the body of the light you will find marine grade reflective tape. I didn’t realized how well it worked until I saw it reflecting light as I was walking up to my kayak at night. The orange (also offered in green)  flag is 6”x18” and is constructed of two ply nylon.  It’s a nice size of compromise between improved visibility and keeping the drag down from the wind.  One end of the flag is sewn shut while the other is left open with two pieces of Velcro sewn in as to create a bag.

 


That’s correct, the flag also doubles as the storage bag to store the complete unit. What a great idea to save space!

Yak Attack offers different mounting options where the shaft connects to the kayak,.  Ram, Mighty Mount, and Tallon are all available. The base is covered with a buoyant foam allowing the entire light assembly to float in case it is accidentally dropped overboard. They had the forethought to make the outside diameter to fit in the flush mount rod holders on my Outback kayak. In the event the kayak overturns there is an elastic tether securing it to the kayak.

I’ve been using the VISI-Carbon Pro for a few months and am impressed with the illumination provided by the light. It’s so bright that I also use it to illuminate the area while preparing my kayak and fishing equipment in place of a flashlight. While in the kayak the height that it is mounted behind me doesn’t blind me while fishing.  Although I really appreciate the visibility the flag offers me I often forget it’s back there until I am fishing heavy timber. I love to fish back in heavy,  nasty stuff that most people will go around.  Sometimes the kayak will just barely squeeze though. Being mounted in the rod holder means that the light is kicked out to the side of the kayak like a rod would be. This is no problem in open water but if you are trying to squeeze through trees on both sides of you it will hang on the light/flag. This has allowed me to see the durability of this product. On numerous occasions I have  hung up on trees, branches,  vines, etc.  I will  tell you first off that the VISI-Carbon pro was NOT designed to scrape bark off a tree, be bent over backwards, or stressed out like I have done. However it has proven to be very durable and I have certainly put it to the test!

In conclusion, I’ll say that I’m extremely impressed with the design of this product.  This light is well worth the investment and I would recommend it to anyone.  It was money well spent!

Pros–    *Very bright light
*Long battery life
*Collapsible and compact design
*Fits in it’s own bag (The flag)
*It floats
*Reflective tape on the light
*Lightweight but extremely durable
*Tether to secure to the kayak

Cons–  *Haven’t found any

YAKATTACK GEARTRACK REVIEW BY SHAUN RUSSEL

14 Dec

“This is going to revolutionize the way people are rigging out a kayak” That was my first thought when I picked up a peace of Yak Attack’s new Gear Trac. It is a track system made from strong, but light weight 6000 series aluminum. I has a very attractive military grade hard coat anodized finish to protect it from the harsh elements to which it will be exposed .  The Gear Trac is attached to the kayak by countersunk screws that are set on 1 ¾” centers running the length of the track on both sides. The Gear Trac is offered in 4”, 8”, 12”, and 16“ lengths.

Placing the Gear Trac on your kayak will allow unlimited mounting options.  Placing Yak Attack’s screwball to the Gear Trac opens unlimited mounting options with ram mounts utilizing a ball mount.


Or by choosing the Mighty Mount system adapter, Scotty bases can be attached so that all Scotty brand mounts may be used.  Not only can they be mounted to the Gear Trac in one place, they can quickly be loosened and slid along the length of the trac allowing them to be secured to any place on the trac.

My 12” trac will be used to secure a Visi-Carbon Pro and a Panfish to mount my camera. It will allow me to mount the Visi Carbon pro light at the rear of the gear track and still give me plenty of room to mount the panfish.  The panfish will be mounted to gain a vantage behind the shoulder shot to record videos. I will also be able to mount the smaller panfish portrait to get those low to the water shots. For the kayaker that wants to record himself/herself on video,  the ability to place cameras in different places on the kayak by simply sliding it into and out of the trac is going to be a great feature.

One of the best features of the Gear Trac is it’s low profile. When the day is done and everything is removed from the kayak the less then ½” tall Gear Trac is unobtrusive and does not get in the way while loading or unloading the kayak.

To secure it to the kayak with screws is a great way to use the Gear Trac. However, it certainly lends it’s self for unlimited options.  In my case I wanted my Panfish portrait to be mounted  next to my  fish finder. This would allow me to get a great vantage point for my “grip and grin” shots while keeping me from drill more holes in my kayak. To allow more mobility with my fish finder and camera I mounted the trac on a double ball socket arm which attaches to a 1” ball mounted on my kayak. My camera and FF can now be moved together or independently to get angle I might wish.

With just a little imagination the Gear Trac and  Mighty Mount systems allow you to place equipment  on your kayak just about anywhere you want.

I made a video of the installation of the Gear Trac. I however had technical difficulties with one of the cameras.(I forgot to put a sd card in the forward facing camera) Anyway, I ended up with only one “overhead” view.

I also thought a short video to show the whole set up might be helpful.

In conclusion I think Yak Attack had hit another home run with the release of the Gear Trac. The amount mounting options are limited only to your imagination.

For a list of distributors and more information about the new Gear Trac and other products they sell can be found at
www.YakAttack.us

FullBack and Rigging Bullet Rigging Instructional Video

13 Dec

YakAttack NITEStripe Install By Mike Guyer

12 Dec
This weekend, I took the virgin Wilderness Systems Ride 135 to Farmville, Virginia, to the International Headquarters of YakAttack. Luther and I installed a ton of products, to include 4″ and 8″ versions of GearTrac. MightyMounts were installed utilizing the soon-to-be-available Fullback backing plate and Rigging Bullets. These items allowed me to remotely put a backing plate on the underside of a MightyMount where I was not able to reach it by hand. The video documenting that install is up on YouTube on the YakAttack channel. I’ll showcase those mounts and all of the various products that utilize them in coming installments.
I mounted a few 90 degree flush mount rod holders while there, as well as installing the first few pieces of  Silent Traction Systems 
For starters, a completely blank canvas, except for the KBF-green nerf paddle holder ball.

Even in my backyard, I always wear my PFD!

YakAttack will soon be offering the NITEStripe reflective tape kit again. It is vital that you can be seen at night, but for those who take night photos, you don’t want to “white out” your photos. Here, you can see in the first photo how close the orange pinstripe matches the color of the hull. You could just as easily choose a contrasting color, but I wanted to go sorta stealth here.
 
Well, stealth until some boater hits me with a light and says “Whoa – There’s a kayak there, and look at all the fish that guy’s got!”