Ric Burnley
Smart new storage options will kill the old milk crate.

A key concern for kayak anglers is keeping gear dry, safe and secure. At the 2016 ICAST show manufactures broke out great options for storage that will make the ubiquitous milk crate a distant memory.

Wilderness Systems and the other Confluence brands are famous for great boats and great accessories to rig them. This year, Wilderness is taking the gear side of their business to the next level. One of our favorite goodies is the new live well and a innovative fishing crate. At the ICAST show, David Maughan showed us the live well that was still in development. The live well fits in any kayak tank well. It has inlet and outlet tubes flush out of the bottom of the live well so hoses can be plumbed out of scuppers. the top seals to keep water and bait inside. A bracket on the back will hold rod holders or other gear. We like the integrated USB and 12-volt chargers in the front of the livewell. Wilderness also designed a smart, new fish bag, storage bag and other cool gear that fits any kayak and every kayaker’s needs. We can’t wait to see the final versions of these accessories.

Wildy Live Well sm

We’ve been a fan of YakGear’s fishing crate for years. The complete kit includes rod holders and accesories so you can carry gear without stealing a crate from the local convenience store. Now they’ve added the Crate Well, an insulated livewell bag made out of dry bag material that fits inside the crate for dry storage or a convenient live well. The bag top secures with velcro closure and full zipper. The seams are heat sealed to be waterproof and water tight. The Crate Well is a great addition to any kayak crate, or use it to store tackle and gear between trips for quick and easy loading.

YakGear crate

Propel Paddle Gear has jumped into the kayak fishing gear scene with innovative products perfect for the every-day angler. Their new Insulated Crate Bag fits over a standard milk crate to provide weather-proof storage. The tough material will take abuse of kayak fishing. They’ve even included rod holders and gear holder to the package. Outside mesh pockets hold tackle trays and often-used gear like cameras and fish grips in reach but out of the way and out of the conditions.

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The coolest anglers keep their catch and beverages cool in a Yeti cooler. But hard-sided coolers are heavy and cumbersome in a kayak. Now the Yeti Hopper 12 Flip will provide dry or cold storage that is a perfect fit for a paddle craft. We got a sneak peek at the new semi-soft cooler at ICAST 2016. The Hopper 12 is made of the same material used in white-water rafts. The zipper is water proof and snag proof and runs around three sides of the cooler. Inside, an inch of closed cell foam keeps catch and drink cold while a special liner makes clean-up easy and prevents mildew and mold. Molle loops on the front accept Yeti’s line of matching accessories and offer a solid tie-down point. The Hopper 12 Flip ha a 3.2 gallon capacity, enough to hold a 12 pack of cans. It will be available by the end of the summer for $279.

Yeti cooler

Last year I replaced all my tackle trays with Flambeau’s new ZeRust trays. These sturdy tackle trays come with ZeRust inserts that prevent corrosion from growing on tackle and tools. They come even come in a waterproof model that fits perfect in the kayaks. This year, Flambeau has introduced a line of soft-sided tackle carriers that will fit any anglers lifestyle and budget. Flambeau dumped all of their tackle management experience and knowledge into the new line of tackle bags. The bags feature internal structure to keep them rigid while still being soft enough to stuff into a kayak tank well or hatch. Many of the bags are modular so you can load the bag with your gear then detach a smaller bag to carry for the day. The bags are designed to accept all sizes of tackle trays. Many of the bags have Molle attachments and outside pockets and holsters for gear and tools. We look forward to seeing Flambeau’s new line in stores this fall.

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“Thank God my dad wasn’t a podiatrist,” jokes Ric about following in the footsteps of a famous outdoor writer. After graduating from Radford University and serving two years in Russia with the Peace Corps, Ric returned to Virginia Beach and started writing for The Fisherman magazine, where his dad was editor. When the kayak fishing scene exploded, Ric was among the first to get onboard. His 2007 book, The Complete Kayak Fisherman is one of the first tomes to introduce anglers to paddle fishing and hundreds of articles and seminars have brought countless anglers into the fold. When he’s not chasing every fish that swims, Ric teaches English at a school for at-risk teens.


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