Courtesy MTI
Hot new gear, like MTI’s Neptune inflatable PFD, will be on show at Outdoor Retailer’s Summer Market.

OR 2017 Preview

With over 1000 vendors and 20,000 attendees, Outdoor Retailer Summer Market tradeshow is the place to be for gear makers and gear junkies. The Rapid Media crew including editors from Kayak Angler, Adventure Kayak, Rapid and Canoeroots will scour the show floor to dig up the best new gear for 2017. Here are some of our favorite products that we can’t wait to see at the big show.

MTI Neptune

A PFD only works if you wear it, and anglers looking for all day comfort with reliable performance will be happy with the new Neptune inflatable from MTI Adventurewear. Inflatable PFDs have a tendancy to dig into an anglers neck, but MTI gave the Neptune an ergonomic collar and breathable, mesh yoke to keep the vest in place under the active pressure of fishing and paddling. The jacket promises to be so comfortable, an angler will forget he is wearing it until he needs it. When you need it, the Neptune automatically inflates a split second after it hits water. There is also a ripcord to inflate the PFD manually. A window in the PFD shows arming status and the CO2 cartridge is easy to replace. We like the the zippered pocket and D-rings that make it easy to carry necessary gear. The vest even includes a safety whistle. Neptune comes in blaze orange or RealTree Max-4 camo. If you fish in heat and humidity or hate the feeling of a bulky foam life vest, check out MTI’s Neptune to stay safe all day. Price:$159.99

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StraitEdge Angler PRO:

There will be a lot of innovative kayaks at OR, but we’re excited about the new StraitEdge™ Angler PRO. A wide beam and Drop-stich floor allows and angler to fish this inflatable kayak like a stand-up kayak.  yMulti-layer material and multiple air chambers provide maximum durability for aggressive conditions. Its revolutionary Accessory Frame System offers a variety of easy access options. By adding aftermarket 1” rail-mounts you can customize the StraightEdge with rod holders, a fish finder, or other equipment. Its AirFrame PRO™ seat with mesh paneling  provides real support and comfort on long days. With additional features such as stainless steel d-rings, bungee deck lacing for abundant gear storage, paddle holders, and their patented aluminum rib-frame technology, for superior tracking and performance this inflatable fishes like a plastic kayak.

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Confluence goes Full Force

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 tradeshow last month, 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. We look forward to learning about more kayak fishing accessories from one of the biggest names in the business.

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Outdry Outdone

At last summers Outdoor Retailer tradeshow, Columbia introduced their ground-breaking Outdry material that stays dry inside while wicking moisture outside without a spray-on coating that can wash and wear off. At this summer’s ICAST show, we were stoked to see the material used in their line of water shoes. Kayak angler’s feet are constantly under attack from hooks, fish spines and teeth and sharp rocks or shells. These running-shoe inspired  water shoes come in models with or without Outdry material in the upper that breathes, keeps feet dry and resists stains. The shoes feature famous Vibram soles that are molded and sipped to stick to wet surfaces without leaving a mark. The soles are channeled to drain water and dry fast. Wear these shoes in the kayak to keep your dogs safe and dry. We can’t wait to see what Columbia has cooked up for this year’s OR show.

Columbia shoe


Many kayak manufactures are adding motors to their kayaks to satisfy anglers looking for the ease and accessibility of motor power in a small, light and low-profile craft. French kayak manufacture, RTM has added a light and compact Torqueedo motor to its sleek Abaco 13 kayak. The motor runs off a lithium-ion battery that is the size of a cereal box and weighs less than 10 pounds. The motor attaches to a bracket on the back of the boat and is controled with a remote that displays speed, charge and even GPS location that connects with a smartphone. Direction is controlled with foot pegs and the motor is deployed with cables on either side of the boat. For 2016, RTM added more fish-friendly features to the Abaco. A center hatch and gear pockets offer anglers more storage. A large hatch and flushmount rodholders round-out the fishing package. The boat will travel over six-miles-per-hour and the battery will power the motor for over eight hours. This is possibly the sportiest motor kayak on the market, we can’t wait to take it for a test drive.

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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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