Holiday Buyer's Guide - Rivers E-mail
Written by Ema Grey   
Saturday, 07 December 2013 00:00

The past year brought the riverine milieu to the forefront of our attention.  We had the opportunity to float Oregon's John Day River, and are forever enamored with moving water. River-based angling demands gear that is both rugged and functional, and it was with those characteristics in mind that we set out to assemble the following list.  We sought to include items perfectly matched to the often soggy conditions found on multi-day floats; quick-drying and waterproof are common themes of our quest. Our list is also comprised of many of 2013's most anticipated releases - items sure to bring joy to an kayak angler lucky enough to find them under the tree.

predator

Old Town Predator 13

As one of the most anticipated kayak releases of 2013, Old Town's Predator lived up to the hype, and brought to the marketplace a wealth of innovation and performance. Our editorial staff was fortunate enough to attend a release party, of sorts, and piloted a fleet of Predators down Oregon's fabled John Day River. We were most impressed with the stability of the vessel, and put the attribute to the test by standing upon the deck as we tackled the river's moderate rapids. Equally striking is the Predator's capacity for effortless and ample rigging; the six mounting plates allow for unparalleled customization. River rats seeking multi-day adventures will have no trouble storing their necessary overnight gear, and the Element seating system enables the hours to slip by in comfort. The Predator 13 is available in four color choices and can be had for a street price of $1299.

From the manufacturer: The Predator brings anglers closer to the water and the action with nearly unlimited options to customize the kayak around their specific equipment and unique needs. Featuring six strategically-placed, removable mounting plates, the Predator enables consumers to install rod holders, GPS units, fish finders, cameras and more virtually anywhere around the boat without drilling into the hull.

The Predator boasts standout features including the three-stage Element™ seating system that can be lowered for paddling, raised for fishing, or even flipped out of the way in stand-up mode for poling, sighting, and casting. The proprietary, slip resistant Exo-Ridge™ deck is designed for sure footing and superior drainage, while the Tri-hull construction provides both incredible durability and stability. A package unique in the marketplace, the Old Town Predator ensures anglers can paddle in comfort, arrange equipment to their exact specifications and even stand to fish.

More info: www.predatorkayak.com
Price: $1299

 

Howler Bros Leaping Largemouth Gaucho Shirt

gaucho- leaping largemouth - copy cropped

The traditional, snap-laden Western shirt has long been a favorite of river runners, and venerable dry good maker, Howler Bros, has brought to the table an offering that elevates the genre through style and durability. Available in a variety of designs, the Gaucho Snapshirt features quick drying fabric and full length sun protection. The Leaping Largemouth embroidery, however, struck us as the perfect complement for both a day on the river and an evening of fish tales at the local pub.

From the manufacturer: It is said that whales are horses that adapted to live in the sea. Or maybe it's the other way around. Regardless, there's a connection between the cowboy life and the ocean that can't be denied - especially when you're donning the Gaucho Snapshirt. Constructed of lightweight, quick drying poly-cotton blend and featuring a cooling mesh lined vented back yoke, this one is ready for everything from the dusty trails of Wyoming to the salt spray of Ambergris. Add in pearl snaps, pleated chest pockets, and custom embroidery and you'll be the envy of any camp fire.

More info: www.howlerbros.com
Price: $75

 

sprtm001-2t

Baffin Trail to Rapids Amazon

After a summer's worth of abuse, our demo Amazons are showing no signs of age or degradation. A shoe perfect for wearing over a drysuit or atop bare feet, the Amazon is ideal for situations in which an angler needs to leave the kayak and move about for extended periods of time. With quick draining capabilities and an overbuilt sole, the Amazon keeps the wearer's foot warm and protected; the traction of said sole is ideal for loading kayaks on slippery, algae-covered boat ramps. Pedal-powered anglers will appreciate the cut of this Baffin offering, as it perfectly caters to the motions necessary for extended adventures. If your home river requires portages or harbors islands beckoning exploration, you will have a hard time finding a shoe more fitting to the tasks at hand.

dscf9095 Adam Harbuck, Wilderness Systems Pro Staff

"The Fish Grip, is made in Jackson, MS and available at your favorite paddle shop and major sporting goods retailers. MSRP $14.95. Here is why I don't leave dry land without it. Catch a toothy critter and want to get your bait back as well as your fingers? Use The Fish Grip. Catch a notable fish and want to get set up to take a great photograph? Lock The Fish Grip (attached to your kayak with cord) and put the fish back in the water to set up the shot. Your fish of a lifetime is secure and healthy, just waiting for it's screen debut. It's corrosion resistant, floats, and inexpensive; perfect stocking stuffer."

From the Manufacturer: A lightweight and highly breathable trail shoe. Incredibly comfortable. Designed to allow water to drain right through while a metallic grid, in the sole, prevents rocks or debris from entering. Whether walking through a stream or hiking the trails, the insole channels are designed to drain all moisture.

More info: www.baffin.com
Price: $75

 

vision dry bag

Outdoor Research Vision Dry Bag

Sure, there exist many capable offerings within the dry bag genre. Outdoor Research, however, improves upon the time-tested design, and brings to the buyer a product that is easier to load and utilize. Available in a variety of sizes, the Vision features a mesh-like construction that slightly stretches when folded or crammed into a tight fitting hatch. This attribute allows for maximum utilization of space when stowing block-shaped objects. The material is clear, and thus allows for an angler to easily locate a stored item. For overnight river trips, the design leaves little to improve upon. A headlamp's beam easily penetrates the material, and small camping items can be found within seconds. In our tests, the smallest model proves most useful when housing a sonar unit's battery. The miniature Vision was placed into the leaky bow hatch of a well-worn boat and subjected to numerous waves. Even with cables exiting the bag's opening, the battery remained free of dampness. With an affordable price and game changing design features, the Vision dry bag is unrivaled insurance against the gear-ruining hazards of any river environment.

From the manufacturer: A common annoyance with many dry bags is their polyurethane construction, which causes a lot of friction when you load and unload them. The new Vision Dry Bag employs a polyester mesh covered with TPU instead. This waterproof material offers a bit of stretch, is clear so contents are visible from the exterior, is more durable than polyurethane, and slides in and out of boats with ease. Variety of sizes available.

More info: www.outdoorresearch.com
Price: $29-$59

 

Costa Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades

costa hdr

The attributes of Costa sunglasses are well known throughout the kayak angling community. Cherished and endorsed by many of the sport's top professionals, Costa's products bring together superior optics, top-notch protection, and fashion forward aesthetics. Many of the most popular models are now available in one of the outdoor world's most favored motifs - Mossy Oak camouflage. If your shopping list includes someone needing a new pair of optics, you could do far worse than this truly unique new offering.

jmp-head Joe Poole, Wilderness Systems Pro Staff

"Sham Wow towels - It's hard to keep stuff dry when you kayak fish - especially glasses and hands for handling your smart phone or camera. Sham Wows are great! I always carry one in my dry bag so I can dry off my hands or wipe off my glasses. And they can be used like a sponge to remove water in your kayak, too."

From the manufacturer: The Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades pattern is known for its precisely arranged blades of grass, designed to help hunters and anglers disappear in the marsh. The new frame color is available in Costa's Caballito, Fantail, Fisch, Hatch, Rockport and Tuna Alley. Each of these frames feature Costa's signature performance technology, such as sturdy integral hinges, nearly indestructible co-injected nylon frame construction and no-slip Hydrolite™ nose pads and interior linings. All work together to provide Costa's "forget-they're-on" fit.

The camouflage styles are available with Costa's patented 580™ lens technology. The lenses block yellow light – the harshest light – from entering the eye, allowing the eye to truly relax. The result is razor sharp color enhancement and unparalleled polarization. All Costa sunglasses are 100 percent polarized, eliminate glare, and protect against harmful UV rays. Costa's 580 lenses are offered in either hard-coated, optically-ground glass (580G) or super lightweight, impact-resistant polycarbonate (580P). Available lens colors include gray, copper, amber, sunrise, and blue, green and silver mirror. The specialty sunrise lens is ideal for early morning or late afternoon prime hunting and fishing hours, when outside light is low.

More info: www.costadelmar.com
Price: $179

 

Be sure to check out our editor picks and 2013 holiday guides to lake, inshore, and offshore fishing, as well.

 

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