Innova Helios II EX Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Innova Helios II EX Tandem Inflatable KayakKayaking has become one of my favorite things to do within the past few years. I’ve gone from a recreational kayak angler to a seasoned kayak tournament competitor. Over the years I’ve paddled many different kayak types from well known brands. I’ve owned and currently still own several kayaks. Every time I go on outdoor adventures I almost always regret not bringing my kayaks along. Most of the time I’m dealing with space issues and I have to decide what items are most essential for my trip. Unfortunately my kayaks generally take up more space than other essentials so I end up leaving them behind.

Recently I was introduced to Innova Kayak which instantly solved my kayak space issues. I had the opportunity to test out the Innova Helios II EX tandem inflatable kayak and it quickly became my ‘go to’ kayak for traveling and camping. I honestly never gave thought to an inflatable kayak before but since testing it I can certainly see the many advantages of owning one.

Innova Helios II EX Tandem Inflatable Kayak

The Helios II EX is a 12.5 foot tandem inflatable kayak rated for up to 396lbs (2 person). The total weight is 36lbs and completely folds to fit into the included drybag/backpack. It is constructed of a fully rubber-coated Nitrylon fabric making it rugged, fast drying and easy to clean. It’s also very puncture and abrasion resistant. The kayak includes deck netting and gear bungees along with adjustable footrest and carry handles. It also has a river rating of Class 1.

Innova Helios II EX Tandem Inflatable Kayak

The Helios II EX along with other Innova Kayaks are easily packed into their respective dry bag/backpacks. The Helios packed dimensions come in at 20x14x8″ and with a weight of only 36lbs, it is can easily be carried using the included backpack.

Carrying a full sized kayak in a backpack? I bet you never thought that was possible! I surely didn’t, but am excited that Innova Kayak makes this possible. From this point forward I will always have a kayak with me on camping trips and traveling.

Innova Helios II EX Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Setting up the Innova Helios is also quick and easy. Each kayak comes with the necessary pump and attachments to get you quickly into the water. The Helios has three main compartments to fill, port side, starboard and the base of the hull. There are three additional small areas to fill on the top as well. The kayak uses push button air valves for inflation that allow you to pump without losing any air. This feature is excellent if you’re inflating solo. Once you’re familiar with the setup, inflating can take roughly 10 minutes.

Innova Helios II EX Tandem Inflatable Kayak

After the easy setup, it was time for the maiden voyage. I had the perfect opportunity to put the kayak to the test. I was on a camping adventure with a group of 22, and mostly everyone got a turn. Before paddling tandem I test drove it solo and was immediately impressed at how fast and straight the kayak tracked. The Helios does include a fin that assist in tracking as well.

I gradually increased the weight load as I continued to test. The next paddle consisted of one adult and one child. The kayak was still very sturdy and fast on the water. Next I paddled the Helios with 2 adults on the kayak and obtained the same results. Still tracking very well with good speed. To further this testimony on the speed of the kayak, I only had 1 paddle while testing. I can only imagine how fast the Helios tracks with 2 adults and 2 paddles.

Innova Helios II EX Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Not once throughout the testing did I even question stability. There are some kayak hulls that compromise stability to gain speed, the Helios doesn’t compromise. Instead the hull is well balanced to allow for good speed and traction while maintaining a solid balance. While on a subsequent paddle with my son, he was eager to try standing while I paddled and that also had favorable results.

If you’re looking for a quality kayak that is light, portable and pack-able the Innova line of kayaks will certainly have what you need. This particular model is excellent for exploring rivers, paddling along ocean shorelines, lakes, fishing in the back country and much more.

The video below is a compilation of the different environments which the Innova Helios II EX kayak was tested.

Have any questions or thoughts on the Helios or the Innova line? Leave a comment below.

More information can be found on Innova Kayak’s website as well as their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.



Disclosure: The product was provided to TheOutdoorBoys to facilitate the review. All opinions and comments stated are our own. All photos posted are taken by and property of TheOutdoorBoys.

JimyJigsUSA – Testing The Rudo 225G: Mahi & Japo 180G: Nemo


Testing out new gear is something I enjoy very much. It gives me a reason to go out and do the things I love. I recently had the opportunity to test out a couple saltwater fishing jigs from JimyJigsUSA. Specifically, I tested the Rudo 225G: Mahi Mahi and the Japo 180G: Orange Nemo.


JimyJigsUSA is a company that prides themselves in creating high quality fishing jigs. Each jig is hand crafted and painted with a high gloss durable coating. If you’ve ever fished with jigs you know the importance of a high quality paint job. As you see from my small collection, I’m no stranger to jigs. I try to keep different styles and colors readily available as the type of jig I use would depends on water conditions, depth and fish bite in general. I’ve also lost more than my fair share of jigs due to toothy fish or unfortunate tangles with structure.

JimyJigsUSA Mahi Rudo 225

I set out to test the jigs on my last offshore kayak fishing trip. I started with the Rudo 225G which produced 3 Bonita for the day. Although Bonita are not my fish of choice, they put up a decent fight no matter the size and are always fun to catch. What was more exciting to me was seeing the friends I was fishing with were coming up empty handed while the JimyJig was producing. Not to say I like my friends NOT catching fish, I simply was thrilled to see the success of the jig I was using.

It’s always a great feeling when catching fish. I switched up to the Japo 180G but didn’t have the same success. I did have a hookup on it that came loose halfway through my fight. It was interesting to feel the difference in the retrieval from the previous Rudo style. I am confident that on my next trip I will have better success.

JimyJigsUSA Mahi Rudo 225

JimyJigsUSA Rudo 225G Mahi Mahi Super GlowJimyJigsUSA Mahi Rudo 225JimyJigsUSA Japo 180G Orange Nemo Super GlowJimyJigsUSA Japo Nemo 180gr

Both styles of jigs have a distinguishable retrieval. They are each designed for a certain style of retrieving. The Rudo is a speed jig that drops quickly at any depth. I found that the retrieval was effortless as the jig cuts through the water quickly. Speed jigging with the Rudo was a pleasant experience as I didn’t experience any muscle fatigue or general tiredness due to the ease of retrieval.

The Japo drops to the ocean floor at a slower rate, but can vary based on weight. However the jigs design is that of a flutter jig. The jig will naturally descended slower and more erratically giving the impression of an injured or fleeing fish. On retrieval the jig will have more resistance due to the dancing motion.

More information about these awesome jigs from JimyJigsUSA can be found on the web at They have plenty of different styles and color variations that can certainly help you catch that trophy fish you’re after. Also, be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram.







Disclosure: The products were provided to theoutdoorboys to facilitate the review. All opinions and comments stated are my own. All photos posted are taken by and property of The Outdoor Boys.

Memorial Weekend 2015

Memorial-weekend-2015-web-logoEvery year the last Monday in the month of May marks America’s Memorial Day. It is a day of mourning and rejoicing. We honor the lives of the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for the freedom we enjoy today. People around the country commemorate the fallen in their own special ways. I believe its important to pay tribute to the heroes of this great nation but equally important to rejoice in the freedoms that they fought to protect.


My weekend started with early morning kayak fishing on Saturday. With the recent heavy winds I hadn’t been out kayak fishing in a couple weeks. I had a pair of new jigs by Rapala waiting to be dunked in the ocean. I had a new Williamson Vortex black/purple jig and a pink Williamson Abyss. I try to keep my tackle box filled with jigs. Toothy fish are notorious for biting jigs off the line and sometimes the occasional wreck in the ocean floor can claim a jig or two.


I caught a stud Bonita using the Abyss at a depth of 165 feet. It was a slow day since we didn’t have much live bait to troll. My trusty jigs always save the day! It was my only catch for the day but I went home happy even though this is a fish I don’t keep. This was a “throw back” for me, but not before taking some photos of this big boy. I fished the day with my good friend Rob of South Florida Kayak Guide . He landed a big King Fish and was able to put a client of his on another big King. Great day on the water overall, couldn’t ask for more.


My weekend wouldn’t be complete without a family beach day. Sunday consisted of the entire family hanging out at Fort Lauderdale beach. The kids played in the sand for most of the day while the adults lounged back enjoying the ocean breeze playing some tunes. It wasn’t until later in the afternoon that we went into the ocean for a swim. The waves were ripping hard so it was actually fun tumbling around with the surf.


We capped off Memorial Weekend with an awesome BBQ at my neighbors house. The kids had tons of fun at the pool & slip and slide with their friends. The entire weekend consisted of fun in the sun with good friends and good vibes.

I hope everyone had a safe weekend. On behalf The Outdoor Boys I offer condolences with much respect and appreciation to the families of the brave men and women who lost their lives for this great nation. Thank you.




Disclosure: Products listed were provided to theoutdoorboys to facilitate a review. All opinions and comments stated are my own. All photos posted are taken by and property of The Outdoor Boys.

Kayak Drift Fishing Off The Waters Of Boynton Beach

Disclosure:  All photos posted are taken by and property of The Outdoor Boys.


Fishing off a kayak is definitely among my favorite things to do. Nothing beats an exciting day catching your own dinner. I love being able to try new techniques as well as test out new gear to help improve my fishing game. On my last fishing trip I tested out some new gear from Rapala. I use their fishing lures, jigs, fluorocarbon leader and braid lines from the Sufix brand. Having quality gear will go a long way to help you catch your trophy fish.


This past weekend I got together with a good bunch of friends and headed off to fish the waters of Boynton Beach, Florida. Our day started just before sunup as usual. We headed for depths of about 70ft before dropping in our baits. We had an action packed morning slow trolling live google eyes.

My first hookup was with a beautiful Mahi that I’m not proud to say I lost. I was heartbroken losing such a great fish. After that I dropped in another live goggle eye that was immediately hit by a king fish. After almost surfacing the kingfish, it went for a last run. I noticed my reel didn’t stop screaming as more line was rapidly peeling off. Suddenly I had a hard tug on my pole and I began going on a 20 minute speedy kayak ride heading south.

Unfortunately I never got a chance to see what took me for a ride as my freshly installed 500 yards of 40lb braid was completely peeled off my reel. In other words, I got spooled! Yes, I know… another thing not to brag about. It was my first time ever getting spooled. Not sure if it was a rookie mistake but nevertheless it was an adrenaline packed experience. As seen in the photo above, I’m holding on to my pole for dear life as I’m being pulled on the kayak.

Judging from the non-stop pull on my drag, I’m speculating that a big Wahoo could have possibly ate my Kingfish. Not so sure a shark would have peeled line fast and without any stopping. I’d love to hear thoughts on this subject, feel free to leave a comment.

After that exciting experience I immediately switch poles and reach for my jigging rod. This paired with my Williamson Gomoku Pink Jig proved to be an effective combination. I head into deeper depths averaging 250 to 300 feet of water in search for tuna. After my first couple drops I got the first hit on a football sized black fin tuna. The jig turned out to be tuna candy for sure! This will be my go-to jig for tuna. I was able to pull 4 in total that ended up being dinner for the night. All in all, I had a great time fishing and a successful day.


As for dinner time, I’m more of a cooked meat kinda guy. I know the sushi lovers will cringe at seeing cooked tuna. I do plan to try to cook a medium rare Ahi style tuna some time soon.

The simple meal I prepared was on a recipe passed on to me by my friend Rob. Ready for it? Sear it in Sweet Thai Chili sauce….. that’s it! Easy right? I guarantee you will love it if you try it.


Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament – 2015 Sailfish Smackdown


The second annual Sailfish Smackdown hosted by Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament team took place in the waters of Pompano Beach, Florida on January 17th & 18th. The highly anticipated tournament consisted of sixty one anglers. As with all Extreme tournaments, anglers come from all over the country including Canada.


The morning of Saturday January 17th marked the first day of the tournament. The Extreme staff did a great job as usual putting together an awesome event with many sponsors such as Nautical Ventures, Turbo USA, Brus Room Pompano Beach, Global Fish Mounts, Zona Fresca, Hoo-Rag and many more.


Anglers were competing in the main billfish division for a 1st place prize of $3,000.00 sponsored by Turbo USA , 2nd place prize $1,000.00 sponsored by Nautical Ventures and 3rd place prize of $500.00 sponsored by Nautical Ventures.


In total 5 of the 61 anglers successfully landed beautiful sailfish. There were many hookups that resulted in lost fish. One lucky/unlucky angler even had a double hookup that resulted in 2 lost fish. That is still a pretty good fish story! There were also many other species landed throughout the tournament. The top three prizes went to Jon Venarchick placing 1st, Robinson Rodriguez 2nd and Joe Kraatz 3rd.

day1 firstplace copy

The 2015 Sailfish Smackdown was nothing short of an awesome tournament. The next scheduled tournament will be the Battle In The Bahamas on April 23, 2015. Follow the Extreme tournament series for updates on upcoming events at



Fisheating Creek Outpost – Camping With Friends


Fisheating Creek Outpost in Palmdale, Florida is among my favorite places to go camping. It is located just west of Lake Okeechobee in Glades County. The camp grounds sits in a wildlife management area surrounded by beautiful cypress swamps and hardwood forest.


Every winter I get a group of friends together and plan a fun weekend at these campgrounds. Since the kids sat out the last trip here, we made sure to include them this time around. We told them stories of the fun adventures we had camping here and they were excited to be joining us.


Our first night we kept it simple. Setup the camp site, light a nice fire and cook yummy dinner. The night cap consisted of sitting around the campfire cooking smores for the kiddos. Very early morning the next day the kids tried their luck with some fishing on the lake next to our camp site.


The previous night we had built up the anticipation for kayaking and canoeing on the gator filled creek. The kids thought we were just trying to scare them until we actually spotted our first gator. The waters in Fisheating Creek are home to many gators. Most of them sit resting on the waters edge while others float in the water disappearing underneath when approached. While this originally seemed scary we learned that respecting their space will keep them away, after all, this is their home.


After a morning paddle we head back to camp for burgers and hot dogs for lunch. Once fed and energized we head for a trail hike on the beautiful nature trails. The wildlife management area is home to alligators, turtles, deer, wild boar, turkey, wading birds, raptors, an occasional black bear and more. Aside from gators we spotted a few deer along the trails.


The best part of camping for me besides the general relaxing is the night sky. After settling at camp for the night I grabbed my camera, tripod and flashlight and set off for a quick walk just off camp to photograph the beautiful night sky. Located away from the light pollution emitted from the city, you are able to really see the beauty of the night sky with your own eyes. Gazing into the night sky has always put the universe into perspective for me. Its truly is amazing what you can see away from the city.


Camping is an excellent way to unplug from everyday life and enjoy what nature has to offer. Sleeping in a tent outdoors hearing nature around you and breathing fresh air instead of being inside of an air conditioned home is a great feeling. Every morning feels refreshing and best of all, worry free. Get out and enjoy nature! Don’t forget to respect the environment and respect its natural inhabitants.



Kayak Kaddy – Floating Storage Accessory


Are you a kayaker, stand up paddle boarder or like to cruise on a canoe? If so I’m sure you’ve run across the same issue I’ve encountered. Storage, of course! Everyone knows that vessels such as kayaks, canoes and the popular stand up paddle board have very limited storage capabilities. Kayak Kaddy has come up with a solution for that!


Kayak Kaddy is a 42.9 in (L) X 22.5 in (w) X 10.22 in (H) floating storage made from roto molded high density polyethylene resin. It is made from the same durable materials that kayaks are constructed from. The kaddy has the sleek shape and design of a small kayak with plenty of storage room in its easily accessible hatch. The hatch has an internal storage volume of about 35 liters with a Gamma Seal lid to keep your contents dry. Also comes equipped with bungees for securing items as well as pad eyes to use with the straps included.


The best part of the kaddy is that it can be customized to your personal specifications and colors. Kayak Kaddy offers many accessory options such as rod holders and different attachment configurations to fit your towing needs.

Towing in the rain

Pulling from anchor trolley

Everytime I’ve been out on the water towing my awesome kaddy I have had people come over to me and ask questions about the kaddy. Not only does the kaddy look good but it can be used in many ways in the water. If you’re going on a kayak access camping trip you can tow around extra items that don’t fit in the kayak. I’ve personally used it many times for fishing on the flats. I’ve been able to store away everything from extra gear and tackle to actually storing my catch of the day. The uses for the kadddy are endless. If you’re a flats angler I’m sure you’ve jumped off your kayak once or twice to fish standing in the water, I know I have. Instead of anchoring the kayak to me I’ve secured it to the mangroves and just walked around with the kaddy tethered the my belt clip!


The best part of towing around the kaddy was the ease of use without too much added drag. I initially thought I would encounter a lot of drag while towing the kaddy and quite the contrary, I haven’t felt much difference. Of course you will have some drag but the slight difference is worth the convenience of having the kaddy. I’ve used the kaddy under 2 different towing configurations. For my standard paddle kayak I have simply attached the strap to the handle on the back of the yak. While using my Hobie Outback that uses a rudder system I have simply attached the kaddy to my existing anchor trolley. I found that for easy towing I prefer the back handle attachment but for over ease of use and accessibility I prefer the anchor trolley. The trolley gives you the ability to tow the kaddy as close or as far as you’d like. To get a good idea of how well the kaddy tows have a look at the video above.

For more information on this awesome floating storage solution check out Kayak Kaddy’s website. Don’t forget to visit them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament – Summer Slam Part 2

Disclosure: Photos are used with permission of the owner(s) and Extreme Kayak Fishing Inc.


This past Saturday August 16, 2014 I competed in Summer Slam Part 2 from Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament. I had been putting in time in the water every weekend for the past 3 months in preparation for this awesome event ran by Joe Hector. The Extreme tournaments are one the largest offshore kayak tournaments in the country. They attract yak anglers from all over to compete. They are fished in the waters of Pompano Beach, Florida where we are among the closest cities to the edge of the gulf stream. The presence of pelagic fish closer to the shore provides excellent fishing opportunities.


The morning of the tournament started out at 3:30AM for me. I was so stoked for the competition that I could hardly sleep. I made sure to prepare everything I needed and pack my car from the night before. From the bottom of my heart I can say this tournament was not win or lose to me. I actually felt humbled competing against a talented group of anglers.


My goal for the tournament was simple, catch a fish. I was able to land a small 25 inch King Fish that was by no means a contender. That was plenty to put a huge grin on my face. I also had a brief sting with a big Amberjack on a jig that I ended up getting cut off on, lost my brand new jig as well.

John Sims - Cobia

Everyone in the tournament was tuned to channel 74 that morning on the VHF radio. Was hearing reports of fish being landed early in the morning as I was still paddling from launch. I told you these guys are talented! John Sims was one of those who had an excellent day fishing. He landed a 46.3lb Cobia that single handedly placed him in 3rd place over all for the tournament. John hooked his Cobia using a white buck tail jig at around 100 feet of water. Initially he thought his jig was snagged on the bottom but as he tugged his line to break free his drag immediately began screaming as line was peeled away. His fight lasted just over an hour and surfaced the fish for the first time after 45 minutes into the battle. It was not until the 3rd time bringing it up to the surface that he realized what he had and babied the fish the rest of the way. He surfaced it a total of 6 times before being able to gaff it. The Cobia ended up being the heaviest single fish caught that day.Talk about an epic battle, congratulations on 3rd place John!


Another honorable mention as usual was my good friend Robinson Rodriguez of South Florida Kayak Guide. He took home the Wreck the Weight category by landing a 38lb Amberjack, Blackfin Tuna, 2 King Fish and a sailfish. His prize was an awesome custom made rod by Adrenaline.

Brandon - 2xKings

My other buddy Brandon of Adrenaline Fishing Custom Rods pulled 2 impressive King Fish in the tournament. Unfortunately we have no photos of him from tournament day, the photo above is just for reference. Not only does he build awesome rods but he has fine tuned his King Fishing technique and lands impressive fish with ease.

Overall the tournament was great as expected. Sailfish, Wahoo, King Fish, Cobia and Amberjacks were caught by the contestants. Joe and the gang put together an amazing event with tons of awesome prizes, raffles and sponsors. If you’re into kayaking and love to fish I would highly recommend signing up for any of the Extreme tournaments. The next tournament scheduled is the Sail Fish Smack Down schedule for 2015, exact date is TBA. For the full Summer Slam 2 results visit Extreme’s website.




Offshore Kayak Fishing – Pompano Beach 8.3.14

Disclosure:  All photos posted are taken by and property of The Outdoor Boys.


“Pay it forward” is something I try my best to do any chance I get. Life has been great to me and I show my appreciation in any way I can. Since March of this year I began kayak fishing. It has been a slow but fun and exciting adventure. I never imagined that I would be paddling out several miles into the deep blue sea while fishing. I used to think offshore fishing was something that could only be done on a boat.


For the past couple months I’ve had the honor of fishing with one of the best South Florida offshore kayak anglers. My buddy Rob from South Florida Kayak Guide took me under his wings and has patiently been showing me the ropes. His help has been instrumental in my development as a kayak angler. Kayak fishing is a sport that requires not only some physical ability but it also requires keen observation and situational awareness. Having Rob as a teacher has definitely shortened the learning curve and improved my over all skills, so for that my friend, I am very grateful.

Since my recent decision to compete in the next Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament: Summer Slam Part II, I’ve been making my way to the ocean weekly to tune in. Time and experience in anything you do is the key to improvement and overall success. I’m looking forward to just being out with all the kayak anglers from all over Florida and just have a good time.


Today I brought out my good friend Mike who has hardly fished, let alone kayak fish. The day was meant to be instructional and recreational. We were just looking to have a good time, it didn’t matter much to us if we landed huge game fish or tiny Grunts. We just wanted to fish!


With a little direction and paddling Mike was able to land a Barracuda. I think it’s safe to say this is his first fish ever. Within a few minutes of dropping our live baits and paddling Mike’s bait was nailed. I immediately reeled mine in so I can get closer and assist him. His drag was screaming as the feisty Barracuda took line. Luckily Mike kept his composure and remembered how I showed him to fight the fish. He let the drag do the work tiring out the fish while he patiently waited and reel while the fish took a break. After several minutes, he owned it!


I was also able to fight a nice fish. I landed an Amberjack that fought me for just about 5 minutes. These guys are fighters. He kept my drag screaming as well, swimming down as fast as he can. I was at about 60 feet of water so I was able to bring him near the surface a couple times before he sent my drag screaming again.

The day was a success. We managed to avoid the storms, catch some fish and made it back home safely. Always remember, try to pay it forward any opportunity you get. There’s always a chance for you to do something good for someone else, it will always be fulfilling for you as well. In this case, I simply got to fish with a good friend. I know that Barracuda made his day.

Until next time my friends, tight lines!





Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament – Part 1 June 2014

Disclosure:  All photos posted are taken by and property of The Outdoor Boys.


The Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament Part 1 kicked off this past Saturday June 21, 2014 in Pompano Beach, Fl. It is the biggest kayak tournament in the entire east coast. The tournament attracts anglers from all over Florida as well as other states. Part 2 of the tournament is set to kick off on August 16, 2014. With the right set of elements in place, The Outdoor Boys will be competing in Part 2.


This time around, I was there supporting my good friend Robinson Rodriguez of South Florida Kayak Guide along with my new friends Brandon and Jordan of Adrenaline Fishing Custom Rods. Both Robinson and Brandon are a part of Team Adrenaline and fished the tournament together.


From about 5:00AM until launch which was about 6:15AM, anglers gathered on the shoreline preparing their equipment for the great battle ahead of them. I walked the beach and spoke with many of the guys while photographing. Every person I spoke with was energetic and kind, that’s what I love most about the fishing community, a bunch of great people!


Since I was not fishing the tournament I hitched a ride with my other good friend Captain Lu of Lucky Lu Charters to support and cover Team Adrenaline from the water in case they needed anything.


I was able to photograph Brandon fighting something early in the tournament. He eventually lost his fish which is a shame, but he looked good fighting it! The tournament seemed pretty slow across the board in terms of fish bites.


Although my friends did not place in the tournament, they did well and had a great time. For me, it was fun being out on tournament day and seeing a great bunch of anglers compete in Part 1 of the tournament. I look forward to the Part 2 of the Extreme Tournament and will keep you updated if I will compete.