Articles for June 2015

Caught Redfish

Wilderness Systems Fishing Kayak Recommendation

It’s a new season and it’s time for sight casting in the grass again.  The pattern is the same although the shape may change (or something clever like that).

This is the time of year you really need a boat that allows you to stand and fish and right now there is nothing better for it than a fishing kayak like the Wilderness Systems Ride 135:


I say “right now” because the new ATAK is hitting the market as we speak and is changing the shape of stand and fish kayaks for the future:


Look for them at the Backpacker near you real soon!

So a few other things you will want to have for this sight fishing season:

  • A great pair of shades in brown or red lenses
    • A solid paddle for poling around – I recommend any of these three

good – Harmony Adventure

better – Bending Branches Angler classic

best – Adventure Technology Oracle Glass

Fishing in the grass is hard work.  Stay hydrated and keep your body fueled up.

I like to get right in the grass and fish out from it:


But I produce good results even the greens to go with the protein!



For more information go to

For all your gear needs get to the Backpacker nearest you or shop


Bill Crawford has acted as a Wilderness Systems Fishing Team Ambassador and is currently a member of Team Backpacker.



Damaged Mirage Drive Fins

Protecting Your Hobie Mirage Drive Fins


Here in the shallow marshes of Louisiana we long ago discovered a natural nemesis to the Hobie Mirage Drive fins. Wild oysters have sharp edges and will slice, dice and chew up your fins. (See photo below.)

BP1My chewed up Mirage Drive fins after PaddlePalooza XII

     Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a condemnation of the Mirage Drive fins, they’re great and are usually pretty tough but asking Hobie to make them oyster-proof might be asking a bit much if we also want the fins to remain affordable.  Making Mirage Drive fins with a Kevlar™ weave would probably be pretty expensive endeavor and most people simply don’t need them to be that tough since most people don’t spend time in shallow, oyster laden waters like we do.  We expose them to harsher conditions that most people in the U.S.

Every problem needs a solution.  Here’s mine:

An affordable solution someone shared with me several years ago is pretty easy to do and seems to be pretty effective.  It’s not perfect (nothing is) but is works well enough for me that I’m confident that I can recommend it.  You can still damage your fins but it becomes a lot harder to damage them if you’ll take a little time to properly apply a triple layer of Gorilla Tape to the bottom half of the leading edges of your fins.  My method of application, developed after years of trial and error, goes like this:

  • Clean the area with soap and water.
  • Dry it very well.
  • Scrub the area twice with rubbing alcohol and a lint-free cloth.
  • You’ll need 6 strips of Gorilla Tape to protect both fins:  4 @ approximately 5” x 1” and 2 @ approximately 6” x 2” (full width of tape). Lengths are approximate here but it’s important that the full width strip covers the entirety of the other strips after they’re applied. You can increase them by an inch or so but I’ve found no reason to cover the entire length of the fins.  Almost all of the damage I’ve ever suffered from oysters seems to occur on the lower 4-6” and especially in the lower 2-3”. (See above photo.) Also noteworthy: I prefer to cut the tape with a razor as opposed to tearing it. I believe a cut edge adheres better in the harsh environment you’ll be subjecting the tape to.


Strips of Gorilla Tape ready to be applied.

  • Apply the first 5” x 1” strip so that it covers the leading edge from the bottom, 5” up. It should cover the front but mostly be on the left or right side. (See photos below.)


First piece – side one


First piece – side two

  • Apply the second 5” x 1” strip so that it covers the leading edge from the bottom, 5” up. It should cover the front but mostly be on the side that you didn’t cheat to with the first strip. (See photos below)


Second piece – side one


Second piece – side two

  • Apply the larger 6” x 2” strip so that it completely covers the two narrow strips you just applied. (See photos below.)


Third piece – side one


Third piece – side two

     Repeat on the second fin and viola!!! You now have a triple layer of protection for the most vulnerable part of your fins.

This protective layer typically last me some 6-12 months depending on how often I fish and where I fish.  Eventually you’ll need to replace it.  In a pinch you can just add an extra layer for the day but this should be seen as a temporary solution.   When it’s time to do things right and actually change the tape, peel it off and clean off the exceptionally sticky residual adhesive left by the Gorilla tape. I’ve found that paint thinner and a small stiff brush (a little stiffer than a toothbrush) work well.  Goo Gone and/or rubbing alcohol won’t cut the residual adhesive and neither will several of the other common household products I’ve tried.  After cleaning off the adhesive, start over with step one from above.

Hope you found this helpful! Tight lines!!!

Todd Lewis

Aka: Yak-a-Lou

Todd Lewis is a Hobie Fishing Team Member, has served as president of the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club and a member of Team Backpacker.