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.

Need A Seat For A Child On Your Kayak?

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Want to take a child on a single person kayak but don’t have a seat for them? That’s a dilemma I faced when I began kayaking. I have a six year old son that loves fishing with me off my kayak. I had the space on my Hobie Outback and Ascend FS12T kayak but didn’t have a seat for him. I didn’t want to make holes on my yaks in order to setup and extra seat so I came up with a very simple solution to my problem.

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I shopped around for different seat options until I came across the perfect solution from Dicks Sporting Goods. I found a canoe seat by GCI that met my needs. It was an inexpensive option and best of all, its portable with no hardware to install. I’m able to add it or remove it from my kayaks as needed.

Ascend FS12T with GCI Canoe Seat

I generally secure the base of the seat on the kayaks bungee cords. The weight of the child will keep it in place as well. The Ascend FS12T I have has plenty of space on the  bow or stern, which my son fits perfectly on. I also use the canoe seat on the stern of my Hobie Outback secured to the bungee cords.

The GCI canoe seat is not the only thing that can work for you. There are many options for seats you can use that include stadium seats as well. Shop around for what works for you.

That was easy right? Now don’t forget safety, make sure your child is wearing a life vest and you’re ready to have fun!

GCI Canoe Seat

 

 

 

 

 

Kayak Drift Fishing Off The Waters Of Boynton Beach

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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T-Reign: ProSheath Fishing Pliers and Sheath Combo – Review

Disclosure: The product was 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.

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As I get more and more into offshore kayak fishing I’ve been slowly acquiring quality gear to help me on my adventures. Fishing off of a kayak is different from fishing from a boat. With limited space to work with your precious gear can either be lost or even worse, accidently take a dive into the deep blue. I actually had this happen to me with my last set of fishing pliers. Boy was that disappointing! Having your valuable equipment secured via a leash or a tether is very important while fishing from a kayak.

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I recently came across the ProSheath Fishing Pliers and Sheath Combo  by T-Reign while flipping through the pages of the early summer 2014 edition of Kayak Angler magazine. Just looking at the description of the tethered retractable plier had my attention immediately. I knew this was the exact type of tool I would need for fishing.

As soon as I received the package in the mail I was ecstatic. Once I opened the package I immediately linked the tether to the plier and mounted the sheath on my hip. First impression, I thought wow, super light quality tool! I immediately walked to my garage to begin rigging some of my fishing combos with new leader and hooks for my next fishing trip. Solid tool with razor sharp teeth for easy cutting of line.The features from T-Reign are listed below.

  • Heavy-duty, thermoformed sheath covered in 600 denier nylon with 36″ Kevlar® self-retracting tether reel
  • Two belt attachment options: stainless steel belt clip and two fixed loop straps
  • Pliers: aluminum body with replaceable tungsten carbide cutters to easily cut braided wire and mono line
  • Corrosion resistant stainless steel jaws featuring split ring opener and crimps
  • 5-year service policy for pliers; lifetime service policy for sheath

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The picture above was taken after my third trip to the ocean. I use the pliers with the sheath mounted to my hip while in the ocean. Every trip I submerge myself waste deep while mounting and dismounting the kayak. Normally I simply rinse my gear with fresh water when I’m done and air dry. The quality of these pliers are great, they have not rusted and perform flawlessly. All the while being so light I barely even remember I’m wearing them, until I need them of course. I try to keep it simple with tools and use these pliers to remove hooks from fish as well as to cut line. My latest use, which they were a life saver, I had to do a quick repair on my Hobie Mirage Drive in the middle of the ocean while the nuts came loose from the bolt. I’ve never been more glad to have an easily accessible tool without worrying about accidently dropping them into the ocean.

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T-Reign also makes other high quality tools that can be found on their website. They have everything from tethers for different gear to holsters for different gear and cases for cell phones. Follow T-Reign on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with the latest gear. Drop by and let them know you heard about T-Reign from TheOutDoorBoys.

 

 

 

 

Offshore Angler Frigate Spinning Rod and Reel Combo FG6000 – Review

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.

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Finding a good versatile fishing reel is hard to come by, let alone a rod & reel combo. When choosing a good all around combo to use you need to consider several factors. The first consideration is the type of fishing you are looking to do whether inshore or offshore, salt or freshwater. If you’re fishing offshore, different setups could be used depending on the fish you plan on targeting or whether you will be trolling, jigging or using live bait.

For me, I needed a good spinning combo that I could use for kayak fishing offshore. I alternate with live bait, cut bait and jigs depending on the day, depth or fish I’m targeting. I’ve learned that there is nothing set in stone while fishing. Different things work for different people and I kept that in my mind when testing rod and reel combos that I could use in different scenarios.

As of lately I’ve been using the Offshore Angler FG6000 combo that pairs up with the FG6071530 7’0″ rod as my “go to” setup. First impression while opening the box, I must say I was very impressed with the quality build of the reel. Offshore Angler really spent time putting together this winner.

Offshore Angler Combo FG6000 Specifications

Line Capacity – Rated 14/265 : 30/300
Retrieve Ratio 4.9:1
Inches Per Turn (IPT)
36.5″
Weight
18.8 oz
Bearings (8) 7 + 1
Max Drag ~18 lbs

The FG6000 reel uses a double-anodized forged-aluminum spool with a special rubber braid strip that prevents the line from slipping on the spool. That was an awesome feature for me, as it is the first reel I own with a rubber strip. Any person who has spooled a reel with line knows how important it is to get your line nice and tight on the spool. The rubber strip makes it that much easier.

The reel also has a Carbon–Teflon® Drag System that uses a drag stack that is made of carbon and Teflon washers. This gives the reel a max of 18lbs of smooth drag to help you fight your fish. The Powerlock™ Instant Anti-Reverse gives you a consistent wind of the handle without any back play which is a great for hooking your fish. Sometimes even the slightest back play on a handle can mean the difference between landing or losing your fish. The flared knob on the reel makes reeling very easy and comfortable in your hands as well. Overall the reel is very ergonomic and fits comfortably in your hands. This is essential to reduce stress on your hands.

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Since I mostly fish offshore, either from a boat or kayak, I spooled my FG6000 with 300 yards of 30lb braid line. The spool accommodated the entire 300 yards perfectly. This gives me a decent amount of line to fight my fish. My first run with the combo was off of my kayak fishing 2 miles off the coast of Dania Beach, Florida. Here I caught several fish using cut bait which included trigger fish and snappers fishing at a depth of about 140 feet of water. The rod is very sturdy and I was able to fight my fish with minimum effort. The reel handle cranks smoothly with a crisp drag as well.

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Overall, the Offshore Angler Frigate FG6000 reel combo is a very well made reel that can help you land many fish. The sturdy rod is built to handle line weight of 15-30lb and has plenty of muscle to bring up your big catch. This awesome setup will easily make your list of your favorite combination of rod & reels that you have. When you drop by Bass Pro Shop be sure to give the Frigate a second look, you won’t be disappointed!

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For more information on the Offshore Angler Frigate combo visit www.basspro.com. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

New Ascend FS12T

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I was recently in the market for a decent fishing kayak at a reasonable price. I really wanted something I could bring my 5 year old son out on occasional trips without actually going for a tandem kayak. Tandem was not an option for me because I knew that I wouldn’t be spending the majority of my time on it with another person. My research found one kayak that suited that need, the Big Tuna by Jackson Kayak, but it was out of my price range at an average of $1,600.00. With that in mind I set out searching local shops that sold kayaks such as Dicks Sporting Goods, West Marine and Bass Pro Shop.

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A friend of mine who currently fishes off of an Ascend gave me a great review on them so I headed to Bass Pro Shop once again to give it a second look. I had my son pose in front of the Ascend and it seemed like plenty space to safely stroll him around on peaceful creeks or the intercoastal waterways here in South Florida. After checking into the hardware required to add a second seat on the stern I decided the Ascend FS12T would be an excellent starter kayak for me. At $550.00 from Bass Pro Shop I couldn’t go wrong. It came with good sturdy seat, what more could I ask for. I went ahead and made the purchase. I mounted the kayak on top of my Ford Taurus using an Attwood kayak car top carrier that I purchased from Walmart and the help of a few straps for added support. This is by no means my ideal or permanent solution to transporting my kayak, but it will do for now. When tightly set with the straps, it made little to no noise even as speeds up to 70-75 MPH.

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Once the kayak reached home I immediately rigged it up with some fishing poles and let it pose for photos. Up to this point I have yet to bring it out to the ocean for fishing. As soon as I take the Ascend fishing I will post a review about my experience on it.
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