Tag Archives: Jackson Kilroy

Kayak Cockpit Rod Storage in Jackson Kilroy

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When floating rivers in a drift boat upon first learning to fly fish, one of the very useful aspects  I liked in that type of watercraft was a rod storage system with secured tip protection.  One of the most important features to a fly angler fishing in a kayak is a clean layout where everything has its place, not imposing on fly line management.

Normally, I carry two or three fly rods rigged up with different scenarios for reducing time spent changing out flies.  Carrying multiple rods maximizes the number of casts to fish while on water.  Getting a little older, my shoulders remind me they don’t like reaching 180 degrees behind seat to release a rod from atop a milk crate.  When shopping for a new kayak a year ago, the Jackson Kilroy’s very efficient rod stowage system intrigued me.  This system, designed much like what I’m used to in a drift boat, allows the angler to store up to four rods along the inside left and right cockpit hull walls, where the rod tips are also stowed securely.

Rod stowage secured along side seat (image taken from rear of kayak)

Rod stowage secured along side seat (image taken from rear of kayak)

Rod tip stows securely inside hull of kayak

Rod tip stows securely inside front hull of kayak

Upon viewing the system for the first time, I was suspect as to whether extracting the rods could feasibly be accomplished while fishing.  Yet I found that when the seat is in the highest position, which I prefer, the rear bungy location can easily be reached without twisting torso, and stress on my shoulder is no more due to the low position of fly rod in storage.  Sliding the rod tip out of the protective sleeve is also a smooth operation.

But I normally like to have one extra rod where I can change out in a matter of seconds very quietly, and as of late hadn’t yet found a solution for this additional need, even in the Kilroy.  As an engineer, I prefer simple solutions to problems.  Taking a little closer look to the options on the current design of the Kilroy this past week while fishing, I realized by simply utilizing the forward bungy strap location of the existing stowage system, the fly rod could be secured backwards!  Securing the rod in this position enabled me quick access to the rod, set a low profile angle for stealth compared to using a rod holder positioned on a milk crate or on top of the kayak, and reduced risk of tip getting caught up in forage behind the kayak due to minimal tip length projecting beyond stern.  Problem solved!

Using the front bungy location of cockpit stowage system to position the rod backwards for quick access.

Using the front bungy location of cockpit stowage system to position the rod backwards for quick access.

The next question that came to mind is whether to use the top or bottom position when carrying another rod on same wall.  Testing with another rod in stowage, I found the rod positioned rearward tucks nicely in behind one positioned in the design intended forward direction when bungied in on top.  When trying the bottom bungy position of the rearward facing rod, the reel protruded into the cockpit, reducing foot room.  Therefore, I recommend utilizing the top position for most efficiently storing the quick access rod in rearward orientation.  Removing the reel from behind the additional rod when needed was a snap.

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I’m really excited to stumble upon such a practical way to utilize an existing feature on the Jackson Kilroy for an additional purpose.  This alternative way to stow a quick use rod will free up space elsewhere for other functions, and make the fishing experience a simpler one that my shoulders will thank me for later!  Are there multi-use features on your kayak?  I’ll bet there are utilities there just waiting for your discovery.

Rear of kayak shown:  Fly rod positioned rearward, using front bungy position within hull just forward of seat.

Rear of kayak shown: Fly rod positioned rearward, using front bungy position within hull just forward of seat.


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Copyright 2016 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved

Kayak Fishing Upper Peninsula Michigan Wilderness Brook Trout Lake

Naomikong Lake Fishing 11 300Since beginning my fly fishing journey eighteen years ago, I’ve read stories of little known wilderness brook trout lakes nestled away for the adventurous angler to explore.  During my most recent trip to the U.P. of Michigan, I did some research in attempt to seek one out.

I found a potential candidate through studying maps and confirming with some local knowledge from native Yoopers.  My father, two sons, and brother-in-law set out on a hike where the creek crossed a backwoods U.S. Forestry road.  We were hoping for a trail, but quickly realized we’d be blazing our own atop a high bank on the west side of a creek.  The creek itself seemed to offer high potential of successful fishing, but our desire to find the lake kept us pushing upstream in hopes of discovery.

Boys Hiking Trail 300We trudged left and right across each fallen tree and low covering conifer.  Maps showed the lake to be due south of where the creek crossed the road.  In contrast, as we hiked our compass revealed the creek actually flowed from the southwest.  We knew we were likely close, but decided to call it a day and hike north from our location to understand where we were in relation to the starting point.  We came out just a short ways from a two-track heading directly south into the forest.

On day two, instead of parking the Jeep at the creek, we headed straight for the two-track in hopes it would lead us closer to the lake.  The two tracker ended 1/2 mile from the forestry road, where a foot trail picked up and continued south.  We lathered on bug spray, tucked our pants inside socks to prevent ticks from finding a cozy home on lower extremities, and set on our way with anticipation.

Naomikong Lake Trail Hike 4 300The foot trail crossed two small feeder creeks and opened into a clearing another 1/2 mile from where we parked the vehicle.  We had made it to our first wilderness brook trout lake!  Dad and I decided to wake early the next morning around 4AM with a deer dollie cart prepared to accommodate the hike in with the Jackson Kilroy kayak aboard.

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Dad is creative. He has brought out many a deer on his dollie cart, and so decided to adapt it for transporting the kayak through the foot trail.

Deer Dollie 300

I used to watch “The Red Green Show” on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation network.   Ole Red would be proud of our duct taping job of securing wood cross beams to the dollie cart for supporting the kayak!  According to Red, duct tape is “the handyman’s secret weapon!”

The extra height the dollie provided for clearance in gullies of the two creek beds worked great and we soon were at water’s edge.  Hiking a kayak in changes the mindset of how much gear to carry and how to transport it.  So, we were selective in only bringing what would fit in a backpack with an additional few lightweight items tucked inside the kayak.

Dad Hike Kayak 300  The water was glassy on a beautiful sunny morning.  Unfortunately, the lake was silent of any fish feeding, and I wasn’t able to entice a brook trout to take a subsurface offering either.  With all that work and no fish to hand, one would think it all a waste of time and effort.  Then again, exploration is an ongoing process and how can one say the view of tranquility a waste of anything?

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Backdrop of a wilderness brook trout lake in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, as seen from my kayak.

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Photos by Aaron Rubel and Paul Rubel

Copyright 2015 by icastinayak.com.  All rights reserved

Installing a Kayak Anchor Trolley System

Trolley Assy 300Over the years I’ve learned that an easy to use and quiet anchor system is key to successfully closing the deal on an approach to feeding fish or settling into position for searching a potential spot.  It’s difficult to beat an anchor trolley system as it provides options for a stake out pole or anchor on a line.  The system made by Hobie provides all working parts including the screws and washers.  The installation takes about an hour and a half.

Supplies 300The directions are easy to follow, right down to drill bit size for holes.  Drill as few holes as possible through the hull of your kayak, but when doing so adds value like this assembly does make sure and squeeze silicone into the holes of the pulley bracket and onto the screw shaft for good measure.

Silicone 300There’s different philosophies of how far forward to assemble the front pulley bracket, but I put mine about 24″ from the tip of bow although the instructions advise twelve inches.  However, I do follow directions on assembling the rear pulley twelve inches from stern.  With assembling the front pulley farther aft, I can be assured the anchor rope will be underneath surface of water before plane of the nose so I don’t clip the line with my fly or line when retrieving from a cast.

The other day I fished with Jackson Kayak Pro-Staffer Justin Seiffert.  He recommends installing the front pulley at the mid-kayak/cockpit region.  The reasoning behind this, according to Justin, is to minimize the risk of a fish getting caught in the line when fighting anywhere out in front of the angler’s seating position.  Another idea that Johnson Outdoors Pro-Staffer Blake Walters utilizes is an anchor and rope that is coiled onto a floating buoy.  Blake disengages the buoy assembly from the trolley ring when he catches a fish.  This is a great idea for the angler who wants to drift away from the risk of being wrapped up in an anchor line while fighting a fish, and then able to re-unite with the anchor by visibly locating the small buoy.

Screw in Trolley Pulley 300Once the pulleys are in place, thread the line back through the pulleys to required length for your kayak.  It will be important to tighten the rope prior to securing onto pulley system, as it will stretch a little over time.

Trolley Up Close 300The anchor rope will feed through the trolley ring and you can store the excess rope underneath, beside seat, or in a netted pocket if available.  I prefer to use an 8 lb polymer coated dumbbell as an anchor.  A metal claw anchor works well, but they make a lot of noise inside the kayak and as they hit the floor of the water column, they become great conservation tools (scaring fish away)!  It should be noted that I don’t recommend using an anchor if fishing big open water or flowing rivers for safety reasons.  In the case of expansive open water, large swells can lift and then flip the kayak if an anchor is deployed, making for a bad day.

Anchor 300A cleat is a nice addition to secure the rope for easy operation of maintaining anchor depth or quick release when retracting line.

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If there’s one accessory that will increase enjoyment of kayak fishing, it’s adding an anchor trolley.  The Hobie anchor trolley system is easy to install and a feature of your kayak that will be used often.  Check it out at your local kayak dealership!

 Copyright 2015 by icastinayak.com. All rights reserved

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