A Look Back at 2015 on The Plastic Hull

MT addlesport2015A Look Back at 2015 on The Plastic Hull starts in the spring as winters frigid cold had a strong grasp up until mid April. Although it was freezing cold out the Indoor Fishing and Kayak Expos went on. Attending 5 and representing Jackson Kayak at 3 the itch to get out fishing was growing incredibly strong. The introduction to fly fishing was fascinating. Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) and Steve Monahan were kind to bring me on board their team for the season. Paddle Sport 2015 was 3 days of fun and was able to do my Yak Action Seminar on camera mounting and shooting video. Its great meeting so many like minded people there whom were interested in the sport of Kayak Angling.

me with 23 bassvail_basssunrise beach Big RigThe early days of the mid to late Spring out bass fishing was phenomenal for a few weeks. Every time out fishing fish were caught! This year breaking a record for the longest day fished from sunrise to sunset! Just after the Jamaica Bay Kayak Fishing Classic the big Blues were everywhere and Bass fishing became tough. A few bad weather days with fog and wind but found a way to save most of those days by relocating out of the wind. However the majority of days were perfect conditions with light and variable winds along with warm sunny days.  It was great to see Justin Vail catch his first Striped Bass. That is what its all about!

HOW group LD (Large)


val and i at denmark green_tphcabins kayak villageIt wasn’t long before kicking off the first NJ Heroes On The Water outing at Lake Denmark along with a special overnight retreat at the Picatinny Army Base Cabins. An opening to an incredibly successful HOW season that consisted of over 20 events including the new Midweek events. Also holding my record of bad weather at HOW events I have coordinated. Cancelling the Port Monmouth event was one of the hardest things to do after everyone who showed up and having a donated lunch already paid for. The program is one of the best for helping US Veterans and their family’s have a good day to smile and enjoy the simple things in life. I am proud to be apart of this amazing group of people and to continue on donating time for something that is very needed in our sport.


me fluke 0border1200Opening day of Fluke/Summer Flounder and landing the first Fluke of the season in an area that the thought never came to mind to target them! Fishing the back bay more over 2015 and traveling much more than previous years. Managing at least one keeper Fluke on every trip it was the first season I did not fish at Sandy Hook. Took the opportunity at targeting a bucket list fish down in MD/VA. Mattawoman Creek was the destination and Snakeheads were on the list. Mark Wheeler made the drive up from VA Beach and we bade a day out of it unfortunately not landing one snake head but the LMB were a ton of fun!

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awardsJuly came fast and on a whim deciding to participate in the Sunshine Foundation Fluke Tournament. canopyThe weather was great but only short Fluke were caught. This being a kill tournament no keepers were caught therefore there was no winners for the kayak division. It was a great tournament with good people and a nice experience fishing a new area. The pulled pork was awesome!!! Looking forward to fishing it again in 2016!

It was now time for the Elks Fluke tournament. There was a decent turnout with 38 kayak anglers. Again had amazing weather. A few of us fished the Manasquan river where the bulk of the guys went up to Raritan Bay. However the ocean prevailed producing a 27.5″ fluke and a bunch of others over 20″. Chris Baggott cleaned up again as he did in 2013 winning 3 of the 4 divisions and even winning the bucktail raffle.



Big Rig 21-5 flukeFollowing the tournaments a phenomenal limiting out day fishing the Back Bay with Brian Pickard tops the list of Fluke fishing 2015. Although late it was September just before the closing of the season. It was fish after fish! These days are the ones we could only dream of!

IMG_1366_up_RVCamping became the norm in 2015! Embarking on trip after trip I was literally not home on weekends for 3 months. It was great to get out and be away from everything there. Which brings me to the excellent camping trip of the year! Round Valley Reservoir. This slice of beauty is situated 20 minutes from my home but is incredibly wilderness camping. The first time kayak camping and was an excellent time. Put the 65 QT Orion cooler to the test. Towing a canoe loaded with firewood and gear over the 2.5 mile distance across the reservoir. Camping with good friends in the wilderness is incredibly relaxing and great times! Camp fire cooking and dinner at sunset!

IMGP1361-2After the close of the Fluke season I ended up hanging more with Ricky at his camp Chips Folly in South Jersey. That place is a little slice of heaven! Bass fishing Great Bay and the Mullica River in some top secret spots. Its such a thrill to get out of the ordinary and explore! Fishing these areas extended my knowledge of fishing different techniques that you wouldn’t tend to use in my home waters of Raritan Bay. Fishing these types of backwaters and sod banks is a Kayak Anglers dream.

IMG_2995The final get together in Cape May typically closes out the season with laughs stories and good brews. Tautog fishing was insanely good this year and that is always a plus! The guys at The Kayak Fishing Store do a great job as always providing a great weekend for over 100 anglers. Really nice raffle prizes that benefit the NJ HOW Chapter!

Fishing November in Delaware was a treat as it was a first for me. The ability to meet anglers out of state and the realization of the divide between saltwater and freshwater anglers. Hopefully more salt guys will join in on the KBF series tournaments as they are well put together and a ton of fun. This also works both ways as the freshwater guys I hope come out to the big saltwater tourneys in the future!

Truxx release-2PickerelMAKBFFishing a number of tournaments over the year including J-Bay in Queens NY,Sunshine Foundation in Tucketron NJ, CBKA in Kent Island MD, MAKBF Delaware, and Commissioning the Point Pleasant Elks Kayak Division for my 2nd year. Fresh water fishing was on my list of improvements and have put in more time.

2015 had many incredible days spent on the water! Im stoked that 2016 is to be even better. Please do drop me an email if you would ever like to get together and hit the water! Trust me its a blast.

Thanks again for reading my articles! I hope they inspire you to get out there and fish!

Jackson Kayak Kraken Sealect Designs Trucourse Rudder System Install

Sealect Design ProductsThis article describes step by step how to installation for the Sealect Designs Tru Course rudder system and footbraces on the Jackson Kayak Kraken. The Sealect Designs Tru Course steering is an upgrade to the JK factory kit offered. The Gas Pedal style foot braces are much more comfortable to steer. This install is for both the Kraken 15.5 and the 13.5.

This install begins with a stock “Rudder Ready” Kraken kayak. The definition of “Rudder Ready” is all of the tubing for the control cables and trim line has been installed in the Jackson Kayak factory. Every Jackson Kayak fishing line boat is “Rudder Ready” from the factory. This saves a ton of time on the install not having to drill and run the tubing for the lines.



Materials and Products:

Sealect Designs Tru-Course Rudder K748150-3

Sealect Designs Tru Course Foot Braces w/ Rudder Control K747205-1

Sealect Designs Trucourse Grudgeon (Rudder Mount Bracket) K748280-1

(2) Sealect Designs Cable Adjusters K747260-1

(4) 1//4″ x 2″ long 7/8″ Hex Bolts

(4) 1/4″ Hole x 1/2″ OD x 5/8″ L Nylon Spacers

30′ Stainless 1/16″ cable rope (Local Kayak Shop)

(2) Swedges

3/8″ Heat Shrink Tubing

Nylon Stop Ball K655140-1

Bike Chain Lube

8″ Length 1/8″ Shock Chord

6 feet of 500 para-chord

Tools:hex keys


Diagonal Wire Cutters

Heavy duty pliers for crimping Swedges

Screw Drivers

3/8″ Wrench

7/8″ Wrench

Hex Keys (Some Included with kit)

Madd Skillz (Just Kidding) This is a pretty simple install/upgrade!



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Step 1: First you will need to remove the stock foot braces. With a Philips head screw driver and a 3/8″ wrench remove the bolts and the foot braces in their entirety.






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Step 2: The holes drilled for the stock foot braces are 14.5″ O.C. which is the same for the new Tru-Course Footbraces. You will need to drill out the existing 1/8″ holes to 1/4″ in the deck of the kayak to accept the new hardware.

Step 3: Pop out and remove the included Tru-Course footbrace hardware. Set aside the washers and nuts. You will reuse these with the new hardware.





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Step 4: Using 3/16″ Bungee tie a knot in one end. Feeding the un-knotted end through the hole in the back of the foot brace pedal then tying a knot in that end after passing it through the tie down point on the pedal. This will act as an auto rebound to the center position when not controlling the rudder.






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Step 5: Replace with (2) 1/4″ x 2″ long 7/8″ Hex Stainless Steel Bolts each footrace (4) total. The bolt head will counter sink with the outside of the foot brace U shaped poly brackets along with the new cable adjusters. The threaded portion will penetrate the kayak hull along with the 1/4″ Hole x 1/2″ OD x 5/8″ L Nylon Spacer on the exterior and a washer and the nylon lock nut on the inside of the hull.




foot braces installed

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Step 6: Now to run the steering cable. Feed the cable from the foot brace side through the “rudder ready” tubing to the stern of the kayak. While feeding the cable use the bike chain oil on the cable as you pass it through the tubing. This will help keep salt water and dirt out while keeping the cable sliding freely. You can also feed from the stern if it is your preference.




kraken stern bracket

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rudder and cables

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Step 7: At the stern of the kayak locate two 1/4 20 plastic screws in the molded inserts. Remove them. Using the Sealect Designs Tru-Course Bracket and the stainless 1/4-20 screws along with blue loctite fasten the bracket to the stern. The Bracket should be mounted as pictured with the longer end down.  Slide the rudder post through the horizontal holes in the bracket and secure using the split ring.





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Step 8: On the rudder remove both plastic covers (2 small hex screws) on the rudder exposing the cable tie down point. Loosen the hex screw on the metal cable stop. Slide the cable through the hole in front of the rudder and slide under the metal plate or cable stop at a 90 degree angle so the cable points towards the back. You only need a 1/2 inch of cable beyond the plate. Tighten down on both sides.




foot brace pinned

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Step 9: Back at the foot braces using the included hex key locate a small hole on the face of the foot pedal. Slide the hex key into the hole with the pedal in the upright position find where the key slides in holding the pedal in place. This will be the center position.




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Step 10: Loosen the grooved guide at the top of the pedal enough to accept the cable. From the stern run the cable through the guide counter clockwise front then to the back through the groove and under running the cable through the adjuster. Now tighten the top guide.






loop and swedge

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Step 11:  Thread the cable adjuster almost all of the way in. Pulling the cable tight using a swedge make a loop and crimp. Cut the excess cable.

(Sealect Designs prefers to install with the cable swedged or terminated at the footbrace first at the cable adjuster then aligning the rudder and terminating the cable at the rudder.) This is your preference as i have found both ways are as good.



Step 12: Repeat steps 9-11 on the adjacent side.

trim line at rudder

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Step 13: Run the para-chord from the starboard trim control location. There is factory installed tubing that runs to the stern at the rudder. Tie the trim line to the hole at the top of the Tru-Course Rudder foil.





Trim cockpit

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Step 14: At the trim control location slide the trim stop ball onto the para-chord pull the rudder into the trip up position. You do not want the rudder to be parallel to the kayak let it be on a 30 degree angle. This will allow the rudder to trim down automatically. If tied down to tight the rudder may not deploy easily. Tie a loop in the end of the trim line around the J hook to secure.




This completes the Sealect Designs Tru-Course rudder install on the Jackson Kayak Kraken. Good luck, this was the best upgrade to the Kraken I have experienced! Much better turning of the boat keeping her straight in the wind top of the line rudder control and the most comfortable setup out there! The kayak was made for it!

Check out SealectDesigns.com for a local dealer with the dealer locator or call for availability! Phone Ryan at 425-252-2149 and let him know The Plastic Hull sent ya!!

Fishing Journal 2015_12-06 & 12-07:

Kayak Fishing December in South Jersey

With the unseasonable warm weather here in New Jersey many kayak anglers have been taking advantage of the extended fishing season. The striped bass are still around making their way south during the 2015 fall migration. Typically this time of year they have gone past the Jersey Shoreline and are into Delaware and Virginia. Also around still are the Tautog. So for the weekend the plan was to target both of these species from the kayak. On my way south again!

Although it is Unseasonably warm for this time of year dressing for warmth and safety are still a concern. The mornings temperature prior to sunrise are below freezing in the high 20’s but by 11 AM its border lining 50 degrees. For these trips dressing warm is important.

Dressing for the Occasion

On the base layer I am wearing hunting thermal bottoms and Under Armour cold gear compression top. Over the thermal bottoms i am wearing only Exofficio fishing pants and then Kokatat Tempest pants.  Top I’m wearing a wool shirt a fleece jacket and then Kokatat Tempest Dry Top. On the feet wool socks and then heavier wool socks to keep the feet warm! And a wool beanie under my wide brim hat. Dressing this way I felt actually warm enough to not use the Glacier gloves. If it were windy gloves would have been necessary and a wool face mask or neck gator.

Preparation for the next day
loaded on the trailer

Arriving to meet Ricky at Chips Folly on Friday night after work. The drive was pretty smooth making it to camp in 1.5 hours. It was already cold in the high 20’s  good thing Ricky already had a fire going to keep us warm. After catching up we proceeded to load the kayak trailer with my Jackson Kayak Big Rig and Ricky’s Native Propel. Loading our gear into Ricks car was to be easier than driving 2 vehicles.






Fishing Hard or Hardly Fishing

frosty big rig


The plan for the AM was to leave around 6:30 to North Wildwood for bait and then down to Cape May for Togging the inlet. We needed to be on the water no later than 8:30 AM to ride the tide out the inlet. Well in the morning the alarm didn’t sound and I awoke seeing it was beginning to get light out. It was already 6:30. Then it took 45 min to get out of camp due to the dog and various other things. We arrived at the bait shop at 8:00. We both made the decision to try fishing in N Wildwood due to the idea of not making the outgoing tide which is needed to make it out the inlet.

At the Kayak Fishing Store boat ramp we say Chris Parson, Charlie, and Rob were already fishing the bridge. When we launched they were done with that not finding a single Tog. They were off to go out on a rental motor boat to cover more water.



Launch at The Kayak Fishing Store North Wildwood NJ


Ricky and I hit the water minutes after and headed straight out to the rock wall jetty’s within the inlet. The tide was just about slack which are prime conditions for togging this area. There were people fishing from the jetty’s which was different for me as I typically fish is area when one fish is allowed to be taken due to regulations. This time of year the ability to take 6 over 15″ attracts more fishermen to the shore.


Ricky with a Tautog

It was a really slow day fishing with Ricky and I only landing one fish a piece. The day was beautiful and that enjoyment was welcomed. We tried just about everything. From plugging trolling jigging. There just weren’t any fish inside the inlet. The ocean was another story. Hundreds of boats were killing the striped bass. All day long hearing guys transmitting over the radio limiting out on Stripers. The inlet was too dangerous that day to pass on a kayak. The fish were in reach but these are the limitations of kayak fishing sometimes.




A Panorama of North Wildwood


Chris Charlie & Rob



We ended the day hanging out with Chris, Charlie, Rob, John and Kennith. Talking fishing and the sport while enjoying some pizza.Ricky and I left around 3:30 and went over to the Cape May Brewery where I purchased a growler fill of their Belgian Double called Devils Reach. We headed back to camp as the sun went down and the temperature dipped back into the high 20’s. Enjoying some brews and a nice warm campfire. The plan in the morning was to get up early and fish Oyster Creek.







IMG_3573Well my alarm went off and meaning to hit snooze I shut the alarm off. OOps. Ricky woke up at 5 and it wasn’t looking good to get to the spot prior to first light. THis was to be my first time fishing at Oyster Creek. It is a special place as it is an outlet from cooling the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Generating Station. The water temp says a constant 55- 60 degrees all winter long making it very unique.

We left camp around 6 AM. It was a chilly 27 degrees but was supposed to heat up to around 50 degrees at noon. Arriving at the IMG_3577launch the fog coming off the water looked neat! Taking the tide out we reached where the creek dumps into the bay. Just before casting various lured 4 boats went by one at full power. Spooking whatever fish may have been there. Unable to find any fish we called it a day around 11:30.

I would love to fish there again preferably under the lights in the dark. From what i understand is the place is a Striper heaven. We stopped at a bagel place for a bite to eat then headed back to camp to winterize the camper and then head home. Prior to leaving I was able to capture some beautiful hues of the days sunset over the Mullica River.IMG_3668





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