The Kraken is a fishing machine but can always be made better
You know that no matter how great a kayak is there are always things you want to tweak to get them just how you want them.
Today I broke out the saw, drill and a few parts to do a couple mods to my Kraken kayak, to get it ready for a long fishing season.
We do at times here in San Diego get into some pretty big fish, my biggest white seabass for instance was 62 pounds. I have an insulated game bag that fits inside my hull with ice packs that I keep my catch in for those time that I do keep fish. Just to make getting the bag, as well big fish, into the hull a bit easier I cut away the inner lip inside the center hatch. This gave me close to an inch of extra width and length. This easy mod has no affect on the integrity of the kayak or the water tight seal of the hatch.
Like I said quick and dirty, I actually did this with an angle grinder.
The next thing I did was grab a small hack saw and cut out the back side of my battery tray. I have been using small Nocqua lithium ion waterproof batteries, I love these things but on a real long day I do need to swap them out. By cutting out the back of the battery tray I can still get my batteries up off the floor of the kayak but have a bit easier access to them if I need to swap them out.
Cutting away the back of the battery tray
Now I have access to the batteries from the front and back.
The last thing I did was swap out the plastic gear track that the boat came with for the aluminum gear track with back plates. The reason I did this was to make the center hatch much more rigid so no flex when punching surf. Also I like to use a small down rigger at times and with the combined stronger tracks and the plates I got from Yakattack for attaching my finder and rigger my hatch is super solid.
New aluminum gear track
additional backing plates
This is the mounting plate for my A78 Raymarine. I will use a similar plate for my downrigger once I get it.
You can see how it mounts to the gear track in this shot.
You can see in the above photo how the plate attaches to the two tracks. SUPER solid
Always tinkering with the yaks. I hope this gives you some inspiration to cut into your boat.
Maybe do it a little cleaner than I did.
I have said many times that Panama is right at the top of places I love to visit and go fishing. I have also said many times that if you have to have good fishing to have a good time you will be disappointed a lot. Fishing is fishing and even at the most remote, little fished areas you can at time hit a cold spell where the fish just don’t want to bite, and this was kind of the case in my most recent trip down south.
Because we had to canceled some trips late in our shooting season, due to weather, we were down a few episodes for the upcoming airing season. I approached our friend Hennie Marias from Paddle Panama to see if he could squeeze us in for a week of fishing at his place in Jaque Panama and he very nicely obliged. Of course because it was a last minute thing we had very little flexability on when we would be able to make the trip and just picked the dates that worked for all of us. I am not one to generally make excuses for not catching fish but this area was just too pristine and perfect habitat to not catch fish unless there were extenuating circumstances, so here goes, here is my excuse. It was about as bright a full moon as you will find without a cloud in the sky each night. When I am planning trips I generally try to avoid the full moon periods of the month and this trip just proved why.
Now just because we had tough fishing doesn’t mean we didn’t catch fish, it just wasn’t up to the standard I have come to expect in Panama. We worked hard every day to get on fish and when not out fishing had a wonderful time at this amazing location. Heck even if we were not down there to fish this is just an incredible place to paddle and explore. This place is an absolutely beautiful location and it is filled with friendly people.
To start off the trip we flew into Panama city and stayed the night at a small hostel, just a quick nights sleep and we were back at the regional airport for our hop to Jaque,
Heading to Jaque
Joining me on this trip was Andy Gilbert from Raymarine, he was a great guy to fish with and also gave us some good tutorials on how to fine tune our fish finders.
Hennie’s house in Jaque is right on the beach and made the perfect base of operations, perfect for launching for our fishing days, perfect for our nightly surf sessions and perfect for just hanging out and rigging up gear.
Jim Rigging up his new FOX travel rods
Andy getting ready for his first run at kayak fishing.
AS you can see we did catch a few fish.
Nothing huge on this trip but we did get some decent fish
As mentioned we did a bit of kayak and body surfing each night out in front of the house, which in that heat brought welcome relief and was just a whole lot of fun.
kayak surfing is fun.
Here is a little video I put together of the surf in front of the house.
If you are just looking for an awesome place to paddle you would have a hard time finding a cooler place.
Jaque is the closest village in Panama to Columbia and because of this we had to check in with the local military each day when we left to go fishing and when we got back. This was rather interesting to me but they were always very friendly about it so other than the few minutes it took out of our day it was no bother.
One of our daily checkpoints.
I think all of us on the trip agreed that the highlight of the trip for us was a visit to a small Indian Village about an hour upriver from Jaque. This was not a tourist destination and the people live a very simple life. They were so warm and welcoming to us on our visit and we had an entourage of from ten to twenty kids with us the entire visit.
Good fishing or bad fishing I don’t think you would ever regret making a trip to Panama with Paddle Panama, it will truly be an experience you will never forget.
A huge thanks to our host Hennie Marais for helping us make this trip happen on such short notice. This really was a trip to remember.
Have a half hour to stare at your computer screen? Here is a fun little interview I did with Mark Melnyk for his Outdoor Atlas pod cast. I think it gives you a good idea of why I love the many aspects of this sport and also why I am so passionate about keeping people safe while doing it. I hope you enjoy it.
Recently one of our own, our good friend Paul Lebowitz lost his son very suddenly to a brain aneurism. Through a very tough time the Lebowitz family made a courageous decision to donate their son James’s organs, in hopes of helping others. To this point five lives have been saved and many more people helped. In order to keep their sons name alive they have started a scholarship fund at Cal Poly Pomona, the school he was attending when he passed.
Thanks to the support of some of our friends and sponsors we have put together an amazing kayak fishing package that is now up for Auction on Ebay, with all funds going to the scholarship fund. Please read about this great package below and if in the market for a new fishing kayak please consider bidding on it.
See just one of the ways that James was able to help someone else, in this video.
Brand New 2015 Jackson Kayak Kraken
Fishing package loaded with gear.
This is the actual kayak you will win, complete with James’s signature
(Item listed as local pickup only but may be shipped for an additional fee depending on location. Arrangements for shipping handled between OEX kayaks and buyer.)
All funds from this auction will be
going to the James Lebowitz memorial scholarship fund at Cal Poly Pomona
Jackson Kayak has donated a custom
Kraken kayak for the fund raiser, with the Cal Poly colors and James Lebowitz
signature molded into the plastic.
Watch the making of this custom kayak here.
Included in this awesome package.
New Kokatat Bahia PFD (Blue)
New Werner Hooked series Camano Paddle 240cm
NEW Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Fishfinder
Fishfinder professionally installed
New Full functioning live bait system professionally
Battery and Battery box from OEX Kayak Fishing
Additional rigging package from RAM and Yakattack.. (Camera mounts, Light pole, transducer mount, phone/gps mount…….)
Package valued at over $3600.00
More information on the Kraken
kayak is designed for some of the most challenging paddling environments in the
world and meant to be for the offshore and big lake kayak angler.
This kayak marks the first
collaborative design between legendary kayak angler, Jim Sammons and Jackson
Kayak’s design team led by Tony Lee. The end result is a boat shaped and
built to accommodate those hitting the open water, those looking for speed,
comfort, perfect trim and big water management. It’s a paddlers fishing
kayak! It’s designed for punching surf, handling rough off shore
currents, swells, beach landings and those wanting ultimate performance when
putting in long distances to get on fish.
Other items included with this boat.
Eight rod holders
Plano ammo can style tackle box.
Nine sections of gear track.
Nalgene water bottle
JKrate which will be turned into a bait tank
You can read more about this great
kayak and other gear at
The first photo of the Yellow and
Green kayak is the actual kayak you will receive.
Item listed as local pickup only but may be shipped for an additional fee depending on location. Arrangements for shipping handled between OEX kayaks and buyer.
The kayak will be on displayed and shipped from OEX in San Diego. If you would like to discuss shipping options or get a shipping estimate please contact Brent. Santa Clara Point Recreation Center, 1010 Santa Clara Pl, Mission Bay, CA 92106
More information on the Scholarship fund:
The James Lebowitz Memorial Cal Poly Scholarship
James Andrew Lebowitz, 18, was a successful freshman computer science major at Cal Poly Pomona when a brain aneurysm cut short his journey. Always a giver, James offered the gift of life to many in desperate need.
His strong heart went to a fellow California 18-year-old. One kidney saved the life of San Diegan George Martinez, a substance abuse counselor credited with rescuing a family friend who’d watched James fight and win his own battle. The other rescued a child. His lungs give breath to an educator; his liver saved another life, the fifth in all. Two people received the priceless gift of sight.
James was one of one of only 120 students admitted to Cal Poly Pomona’s Computer Science Program in 2014 – a signal achievement for a young man who had to overcome many difficulties posed by an autism spectrum diagnosis. James loved the campus community, and was loved in return. He’d found his place. He was never happier.
In the midst of the worst tragedy any family could possibly endure, Paul Lebowitz and his wife, Susan, sought to serve the Cal Poly student community by establishing a scholarship in James’ name. The James Lebowitz Memorial Cal Poly Scholarship will be awarded annually to a computer science major, in perpetuity. “Helping other young people much like James is a fitting honor for our son. Long after we’re gone, his name and story will live on at Cal Poly,” Paul Lebowitz says.
JAL Memorial Sticker Sale YakAttack, Yak Gear, Native Watercraft, and Wilderness Systems are working together to raise money for a scholarship fund at Cal Poly Pomona in honor of James Lebowitz. Stickers are $5.99, with an optional $10 add-on for a raffle entry.