We’ve all seen “that guy’s” kayak. You know, the one with everything, including the built in grill.

I remember salivating over what other people had done while rigging out their kayaks. As I counted down the days until my first Feelfree Kayak was in stock, I placed order after order for accessories and add ons that promised to make my kayak the very best bass catching craft around. I spent a full day rigging that first kayak before taking it out on the water. I thought that I had created the ultimate kayak.

I had not. I had just attached a bunch of accessories to my hull that I would never end up using. If I could go back, I wish I could hand this blog to myself in 2017, and just say, “Please read this first.”

“Dear, Bobby. I hope you are doing well. There are some big changes coming to the world in 2020 and beyond. But don’t worry about that right now. Just focus on that Feelfree Kayak that you just ordered. That thing will change your life in really great ways. You will meet some really great people, both locally and even internationally. You will love the sport of kayak fishing far more than you realize right now. And before you push that “Purchase now” button on all those accessories in your cart, just wait. You will thank me later.

When you get your kayak, get to know it by itself. Understand how the seat works. Get to know the Overdrive and rudder systems. Get to know the Uni-track, and how the hatch works.

Take it out on the water a few times, I would recommend three times minimum before doing anything.

Learn how you fish. You don’t even know this yet in 2017, but because your reels are left handed, it means that you will usually land fish on the left side of your kayak, so that you can keep your rod in your right hand. This seems insignificant now, but it will play out in tangible ways in the future. Because you will land fish on the left, you should consider mounting accessories on the right track. You don’t want a bunch of gear in the way when you land your PB in the summer of 2020.

Because you will always want to take far more than what you need out on the water, you will want a good crate. Both the Feelfree Crate Bag and the YakAttack Black Pack are good choices. You will probably end up taking 5-6 rods with you each time you head out, and both offer plenty of rod and tackle storage.

When the time is right, get yourself a good net. Don’t skimp. You don’t have to pay a lot of money to get a well made rubber net that is easy on the fish. After a bunch of time researching, you will end up getting a folding Plusinno net for just under $25. It will hold up really well. Just stick it under your seat, or mount it on your crate on the left side. Remember, you tend to land fish on the left, so you’ll have your rod in your right hand.

You won’t fish a lot of moving water, so a small anchor will help you keep your place on those windy days in Spokane, Washington. I know you want to buy a grappling hook style anchor, but your lakes are really weedy, and those tend to bring up a lot of weeds and mud. When you decide to pull the trigger on an anchor, get one of the cannonball style anchors. They will come up much cleaner than other types of anchors. They wouldn’t hold you in a river, but you won’t need to worry about that.

See those circular raised areas on the front of your Lure 11.5? Those are meant to be points to hard mount hardware to your kayak. Don’t be afraid to drill into those spots, or to add an anchor trolly. Neither of those will void your warranty.

I know that you see other kayaks with what seem to be 55” tvs on them. You don’t need to be one of those guys to be successful on the water. In fact, you know your local lakes pretty well. You know where the fish hang out. So until you start to venture out to new places, avoid the temptation to buy a fish finder. It just won’t help you that much.

When you do start fishing some new waters, a fish finder can be worth its weight in gold (though not Bitcoin, which would be a wise investment in 2017). The main things you need in a fish finder are the ability to see water temperature, and bottom conditions. Water temp will help you so much in the pre-spawn, and bottom conditions will be beneficial year round. You can add side scan if you’d like. It is pretty helpful, especially in identifying where fish are hiding in the colder months. Also, don’t feel the need to go big. In the future you will want to buy a 9” display for your Lure, but a 7” would be plenty big.

When you begin mounting accessories, think about weight distribution from left to right. If you mount everything on the right (because you tend to land fish on your left) you will need to lean to the left just to stay balanced in the water. Because of its weight, just mount your anchor system on the left, and then put your other gear (paddle, rod holder, fish finder and lithium ion battery) on the right. That will give you a pretty balanced kayak.

I know you care about what your kayak looks like too. So while you want some of your favorite brands to be represented, forgo all the colorful stickers, and just go with black. You will thank me (or yourself) later. That Lure will look sharp.

Man, you have no idea the adventures you will have on that first Feelfree Kayak. You will love it so much that you will end up getting another one. There is a version 2 coming, which will have some sweet upgrades. You will also end up getting a Moken and a Seastream Angler 120 PD (though don’t tell anyone about this yet, it’s still a secret).

Cherish every moment on the water. And take your boys fishing as often as possible. They will grow up way too fast.


Bobby Ulrich (future) Feelfree US Pro Staff Team Member (I know, RIGHT?!)”

Written and edited by Bobby Ulrich, Feelfree US Pro Staff Team Member

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