Saturday, 26 January 2013

Rainbow pants! New Palm kit in stock.

At least 50! 
We are now stocking the new range of dry trousers, bibs and splash pants from Palm Equipment.

As modelled by some hooligans above l-r:  Palm Ion pants (red and grey available), Neon pants with neoprene ankle seals (green and grey available), Ion bibs (yellow and grey available) Maya pants (purple and grey available).

All these pants and bibs are great. super sturdy with excellent cuts and the grey options for those who don't like their kit quite so bright.

Purchase online here: Palm Pants and bibs.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Its Devizes - Westminster time! EUCC take up the race.

Through the dark cold and harsh winter months there lurks a special bread of paddler.  Found on the coldest and bleakest days on frozen canals, bleak estuaries and flat rivers. Beanie hats on, hands jammed in pogies and warm breath hanging in the freezing air. 

Yes, its the Devizes to Westminster race teams going about their training.  

The Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Marathon is one of the most demanding open-to-all endurance events on the planet. 125 miles by kayak or canoe from Devizes along the Kennet & Avon Canal to the River Thames and down to Westminster in the heart of London. Those entering the non-stop race will be in their boats for around 24 hours with no breaks.

This year there is an intrepid team from Exeter University Canoe Club (amongst other SW teams) entering.

The Team of Ashley and Sam are aiming to complete the race in 22 hours or less which is a tough challenge. 
The guys have been training hard since September and will be competing in some of the Waterside series of races, one of 13.5 miles and one of 34 miles. 

The guys are raising money for a couple of charities, the Alzheimer's Society and the Devon air Ambulance.

Help them along with some fundraising by donating via their Just Giving page. 

You can find it here:  Just Giving - Exeter University DW Race Team

Follow the guys race preparation on their Facebook page here: Exeter Uni DW Race team

Find out all about this very historic race on the the official race website.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Ollies Go-Pro camera kayak rig

AS Watersports youngest team member, Ollie, loves trying to film his paddling antic with his Go-Pro camera, but has been after some sort of rig to allow him to get better camera angles, rather than just having the camera stuck straight on his deck or helmet. 
 After much discussion, and ideas of bodging something up out of broken tripod parts we had a brain wave! Everything we needed to create a versatile and adjustable camera rig was in-stock and available straight off the shelf.
The whole system is made with Parts from Scotty, who normally cater to the fishing market, but even kayak fishermen like to take pictures and video of their catch. They make a ready made camera mount, that will accept either a Go-pro camera, or a standard compact camera. The Mount allows plenty of adjustment and rotation and comes with a fitting that will either fit to Scotty Mounting points or a rail mount that fits to rails 12mm - 32mm in diameter. We then combined that with an adjustable gear head mount, that offers extra height and reach for the camera mount, allowing more camera angles than you can shake a light meter at! To attach it all to a boat we used a Scotty locking base with a rail mounting adaptor that allows the rig to be attached to any solid security handles/grab handles/rescue points on your kayak. The Rail mount is designed to work with diameters from about 21mm - 26mm so it does need a little bit of hard foam, or plastic, or even a bit of old hose pipe just to beef up the diameter of the grab handle to make a solid mount. The Base unit measures approx 90mm x 50mm so check your kayak first. We have currently fitted it to kayaks made by Dagger, Liquid Logic, Wavesport, Big dog and Eskimo. But be aware that it needs enough space to fit onto. Look carefully at the pictures below, and if your un-sure give the shop a call on 01392 219600

 The Rig offers a whole range of new camera angles, and can easily be adjusted on the water.

 A front camera mount option

 Easily extend the camera beyond the front or rear of your kayak

 Hanging the camera off to one side is quick to set up and offers a great angle
The Camera mount on its own (cameras shown for illustration purposes only)

All of these parts are available now from stock, so get yours now, and get planning your next kayak film...

To make a complete Rig you will need

 Total £69.96

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

I've always loved water.

I’ve always loved water! Ponds, rivers, lakes the sea, in it, on it or under it doesn’t really matter.  I’m also equally fascinated by those things that choose to make it their home. I’m sure my love for all things watery comes partly from my father who from an early age introduced me to the local rivers and sea, teaching me to fish and swim.
Fast-forward thirty years and I find myself combining primitive urge to gather/hunt with my love of being on the water in the form of kayak fishing. I purchased a 13 foot Ocean Kayak Prowler from Mitch and the team at AS water sports some 7 years ago. This was when they were fairly new on the scene and an insatiable addiction lasted for several years. It has to be said kayak fishing was in its infancy then and thus for me it was a solitary pursuit. I spent the vast majority of the time developing skills and techniques through trial and error on the North Coast of Devon. Prior to owning the Prowler (affectionately now known as the Growler) I used to spend a great deal of time lure fishing for Bass from the rocks. The growler opened up the coast exposing all those spots I had previously been unable to access. It has to be said to great success!

So over the years the growler has taken a beating, dragged over barnacle encrusted rock outcrops, dropped from great heights, blood stained and still she is as seaworthy as she has always been. Perhaps now even more so as I have now decked her out with various new toys! Including a hummingbird fish finder 385cxi, an anchor trolley system and a Scotty rod mount.
After this summer (if you can call it that!) of poor weather and less favourable conditions for spear fishing I found myself getting an urge to get out on the Growler once more. So one Saturday in late September the growler and I set off for a day’s fishing off the South East coast of Devon. Conditions looked okay sunny, good visibility and a steady 12-15 mph South Westerly with little change forecast. A little bumpy but manageable for someone eager as I! My plan for the day was to target Bass. Has to be said one of my favourite fish aesthetically as well as taste wise. I wanted to use a technique I was taught in New Zealand, this involves free lining live bait, In this case a freshly caught Mackerel.
 So firstly  get out into some deeper water catch some Mackerel, keep them alive, high tail it back closer to shore searching for some rough ground or structure (using the fish finder) then drift over free lining the live bait. Simple....... nothing is ever simple at sea!
So I set my two rods with trusty feathers into their rod holders and started purposely paddling out to sea. I guess I was a good mile offshore when I must have disturbed a large garfish on the surface that proceeded to jump, into the air tossing and flipping like a miniature marlin landing straight between my legs!! Needless to say this is not an everyday occurrence and one that would not be healthy for anyone of a nervous disposition or suffering from angina! I nearly jumped out the boat in shock. Said garfish flipped and flapped almost giving me a slap in the face as it exited out the other side of the boat back to his briny home! Once I had resumed my composure I set about the task of catching the mackerel. Not long had passed before the tell tale violent nodding of the rod indicated I was in. I reeled in two good size fish. I worked quickly trying to unhook the fish without causing too much damage, popped one fish onto the free line set up and the other into the bucket.  I needed some more fish for bait just in case! I continued to drift feathering for all I was worth. Within a short time I heard a familiar sound. My head snapped around just in time to see two young porpoise swimming by about 10ft off my port side! Even thought I was completely alone I found myself talking out loud as if someone was with me “Well would you look at that” then embarrassingly I started making what I thought were enticing dolphin like noises (thinking back these are more akin to dying sea lion!) These beautiful animals seemed interested and spent some time cruising around the Growler! However I definitely was not catching any fish with these fella’s hanging around!      


 I had drifted some distance by then and needed to get going as the tide was against me. I headed off paddling purposefully towards the shore and area I wanted to fish. It was a hard paddle and this was hindered by catching another line full of mackerel that helpfully tangled themselves into knotty mass that only frenetic Mackerel can. By the time I had sorted this lot out I had drifted back to almost where I had set off! Eventually I arrived somewhat red faced and blowing hard at the mark, I could see from the fish finder that the reef underneath me was littered with large boulders and kelp, great hiding places for the elusive Bass. I paddled up tide of the reef and set about setting my live baits. Once I had paid out the right amount of line, no weight and a good 7ft heavy monofilament trace, I slowly drifted back over the reef.  While drifting I kept a steady eye on the structure on the sea floor so as not to get snagged up on any large boulders

This is what kayak fishing is all about for me, the anticipation the wait, not knowing if or when, being completely absorbed and immersed in the elements. All of this and the need for constant concentration and tweaking of equipment enables you to completely disengage from your everyday pressures and worries, it focuses the mind.  I digress!
After several drifts I paddled back up the reef for one more drift. By this time I was well overdue a coffee and a sandwich. Just as poured my coffee the clutch on my reel screamed off! The end of the rod nodded hard bent over with the tip touching the water! I spat half the coffee over me buoyancy aid and slung the rest as I desperately scrabbled for my rod. I tightened the clutch and struck trying to drive the hook home. Adrenaline pumping I started to reel in. This was a good fish! It made another dash for freedom and took more line even with the clutch being tightened. However I started to gain ground and despite her best efforts she was now close to the boat. I craned hoping for a glimpse then I saw the back and swirl of a beautiful fish, I hooted with excitement. She must have seen the boat and decided that this was it death or glory and made her final bid for freedom. The rod tip bent double, I didn’t want to test my knots and line too much! So I eased the clutch giving line. This was it what I had worked hard for all day possibly a double figure fish, a fish of a lifetime! Then NOTHING! The line went dead, limp, I reeled in, the hook was there the fish was not! B*****R! Joy to despondency in 2 seconds flat.
Staring in disbelief I realized that patience is a pre requisite to being a successful fisherman. Now even more determined knowing that there were fish around I plucked my next most lively mackerel and attached him to the line heading back up the reef for another drift. A shiver passed over me and it suddenly dawned on me how late it was getting. The light was starting to fade and the temperature drop, I had been out for 6 hrs.

Well, one more drift and home I thought. Just as hope was fading lady luck smiled on me and as I reached the end of the reef the reel sang out again. Like before I struck, harder this time setting the hook. This time it held and after she gave a good account for herself the battle was won. I felt this fish was smaller than the previous but after some swift gaffing a magnificent 8lb bass lay safely between my legs.

I often feel guilty about taking such a magnificent fish but this fish would be feeding family and friends the following weekend so felt she had gone to a good cause. ‘Tight Lines’ as a certain TV personality used to say!
Matt Ashford.