Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fun in the Sun

My son and I wanted to be able to float the creeks and rivers here in NC to jump shoot ducks.  Its a great way for us to spend time together in the outdoors.
This is an old military shelter half that has been cut and sewn with some velcro and old tent shock cords to hold it up. It is covered with cedar trees and some of my wife's ornamental grass from the flower bed  I haven't gotten to try it yet just got it put together last Saturday,  but I plan on using it over the thanksgiving holiday.
Hope you enjoy the photo, this one is in the full sun!

McDaniel, Robin C.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Boys of Summer

I grew up fishing the cranberry marshes of rural Tomah and Warrens. I recall as a boy riding our bikes to the marsh of choice and fishing all day long; catching  bass and panfish on worms and beetle spins.  As I grew older, I got away from fishing the marshes as much, forgetting the value of this unique fishery.
As an adult, I’ve returned to the the marshes, guiding the old stomping grounds and sharing the passion I have for my boyhood fishing. Each time, my clients leave spell bound at the vast quanity of bass, pike and panfish they catch.
534516_10151022698109301_961704925_nThis weekend, I was left with some spare time so I decided to make the 45 minute hike to one of the marshes I grew up fishing. I got there around 8 am and got the NuCanoes in the water. It is always nice to fish this pond, because it almost always produces nice bass, even mid summer.  Averaging a depth of about 5 feet; this marsh, like many others of its kind, has a sandy bottom coupled with weed beds and lily pads. A benefit to fishing these marshes is there are no gas motors allowed, making this a haven for canoe/kayak anglers.
Once we got going, I directed my guest to the far end of the pond.  Most anglers start at the front of the pond and work their way back. I like to start from the back and work towards the front.  The water is shallower at the end and there is more weed cover.
Temperatures this week have been in the hundreds, so I knew with the cold front that moved through was going to be a starting point for the fish to start hitting shallow water; and with the could cover overhead, I knew the big bass were going to be in the weeds.
Once we got to the location, roughly a 5 minute paddle, we got set up with Bombshell Turtles and frogs. Upon review of the bay I liked, I could see the bass were actively feeding and knew it was going to be a gamble that will pay out.
Our first few casts produced bass right from the start. They were slamming our bombshell turtles as we skimmed them across the surface. Once the cloud cover went away, the fish became timid so we threw on frogs, something that was weedless and could be worked slow.
One of the things I enjoy most about the NuCanoe and the Frontier, is how easy it is to stand while fishing. I could see from above the waterline where the bass were feeding and could see the fish’s reaction to my lure. It takes little water it takes to run the Frontier, we could silently skim the outside of these pockets and avoid detection from the tenacious bass and get to within casting distance of feeding fish without spooking them.
After being on a school of bass, I instructed my companion to not limit out, to keep four bass until the end of the trip, otherwise we would have to quit fishing early. We caught a few more bass, then at 1130, we each took our last fish.
One thing I like about the cranberry marshes is the quality of the fish, not in size but in flavor. The meat of the fish tastes clean and the water quality is phenomenal.

  Written by
 Anthony Larson of Coulee Region Adventures has been a guide for the last 5 years, but a life long resident of the coulee region. Anthony shares the many adventures one can have in the Coulee Region of LaCrosse, WI.

First Duck Hunt

Here are photos of the first time my son Derek and I went out duck hunting in our 10' NuCanoes.  We were able to lay down in the boats and cover ourselves with burlap at the edge of the weeds.  Not many people in our area hunt this way and we had a great morning.  The ducks get shy of the edges of the lake where most of the other hunters have blinds, but since the weeds extend out over 100 yards we are able to lay flat and take them by surprise.  The boats are amazingly stable and I feel safe having my son out on the water with his gun.  We spent all summer fishing from our boats and now we are using them in duck season - the pictures say it all!  
Thanks for a great product.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Father Son Fishing Trip by Chad Foster

"This past weekend I took our nine year old son, Graham, out to the flats in Mexico Beach, FL for his first-ever Redfish adventure. While I stood in the back of the Frontier and paddled, Graham stood up in the front of the boat looking for Reds. Only because we could both stand at the same time were we able to locate, stalk, and cast to a school of huge Reds. Graham hooked and landed not one but two 24" Reds on his first trip out!  Bottom line...But for the Frontier we would not have the special memories we now have from that amazing day on the flats."
Chad Foster - Host
ESPN's Fly Fishing America

NuCanoe Frontier 12 Review By D.H. Cushman

Part 1

As I paddled the old kayak through the secluded marsh near St. Simons Island, Georgia, I thought “there has to be a better mousetrap.”  It wasn’t because I was unhappy with my Wilderness Systems Ride 135.  The old yak had served me well, and at the time, it fit the bill for what I was looking for – a stable kayak to access fishing spots.  Just ask my patient, albeit eye rolling wife, about the ordeal leading up to purchasing my first Sit on Top (SOT) kayak in 2008.  Needless to say, I did tons of research and thought I was purchasing the perfect kayak.  What I came to realize is there isn’t a perfect kayak, but there are some that come pretty close.  For almost everyone, there are features that are more important (than others) and can change based on what your needs are.  So began the endless hours of searching for the perfect boat so I could join my fly fishing buds in pursuit of our quarry.  The Ride 135 was a quality boat, but it was pretty evident – I needed a change.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning.  I am a fly fisherman first and a kayaker second.  I have nothing against the casual or hardcore kayaker and canoeist.  I enjoy getting out on the water as much as anyone, but generally my purpose to be on the water is for reasons of the fly…

So my quest began.  To find a kayak, canoe or boat that would fit the following criteria:  stable enough to fly fish from; light enough to easily transport; versatile enough to allow one or two people (and maybe a dog) to comfortably use; durable enough to withstand use (ie. abuse); high quality design and craftsmanship; and simple design.  Alas, I again need to mention the most important feature I was searching for – the craft had to be crazy stable.  Not just a semi-secure platform from which to occasionally stand while only in calm, current free water, but stable enough to stand while thrashing about with a fly rod, poling, paddling or just stretching in moving and/or rough water conditions. 

The Search Begins

Pouring through the information highway (or maybe over it), I remembered NuCanoe (www.nucanoe.com).  I had seen their earlier version (NuCanoe 10 and NuCanoe 12) at a NuCanoe Dealership while on a kayak trip to Cambridge, Maryland in July 2011.  It was truly happenstance when my two fly fishing buddies and I pulled into the shop for some local fishing knowledge and there was a yak that looked like no other.  I was intrigued at the design and the salesman who emerged from the store quipped that the main draw was the craft’s stability.  Upon talking with him further, he let it slip there would be a new model coming out soon and this one was rumored to be even more stable and tout scupper holes.
I thought back on this encounter while scouring specs on the vast assortment of kayak models out there, including the Jackson Coosa, Hobie Mirage Pro Angler, KC Kayaks K12, Diablo, etc.  There were so many manufacturers and models to consider.  I took a step back and had to prioritize what I was looking for, so it came down to the main consideration – the ability to stand and fish.  Not stand and wobble, mind you, but stand while in wind, waves or current and cast (or thrash in my case) a fly rod.  Of course there were many other criteria to consider as well, including portability, weight, design and of course core qualities I demand in any equipment I rely on which include manufacturer’s reputation, warranty and their customer service.

As I searched and surfed for NuCanoe, I pleasantly discovered the Maryland salesman was correct.  NuCanoe was just starting to introduce their newest model – the Frontier 12.  I started researching the craft and found it not only would meet the stability criteria, but from the videos I watched it blew all kayak and canoe competitors away in the stability department. 

I also discovered the second box on my criteria was approaching a check mark too.  Portability wise, NuCanoe designed the ultimate personal transport system.  My research revealed the intentional hole in the transom of the craft – don’t worry it sits well above the waterline - served several purposes.  Most importantly, it was the quick install for their proprietary transport cart that allowed for traditional wheeling of the craft.  In addition, when one wanted to load the yak on the top of their vehicle – mine being a Toyota 4-Runner – the solo paddler could do it by themself.  Thanks to watching another video, all it took was to attach the cart, rotate the vessel 180 degrees to an upside down position, and rest the Frontier’s bow on the rear roof area or luggage rack.  The solo “loader” picked up the stern of the Frontier and slid the yak into place for tie down and transport.  What a great, and best of all, a simple design.  No more dead lifting a kayak by yourself up onto the roof of your vehicle.

I continued my research of the Frontier 12 and devoured as much information as I could find.  NuCanoe and You Tube offer many videos that will help educate any prospective user and/or buyer. 

I had another lucky break when I happened to find information on Tar River Paddle Sports (www.tarriverpaddlesports.com).  They are a NuCanoe Dealer in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.  Frank Bandy is the owner/operator, and as luck would have it he was going to be near Richmond, Virginia, participating in a boat show premiering the Frontier 12.  I arranged a meeting with Frank and got my first look at this new design.  First off, Frank is an absolute gentleman and I appreciate the willingness he showed to educate me on the Frontier 12. 

First Impressions

The boat looked fantastic and it appeared just as it had in all the media I had scoured.  The craftsmanship, fit and function were all there.  I want to also point out that this first model was NuCanoe’s preproduction model.  Frank assured me the “new” boat would look even better when it started rolling off the assembly line.

A list of the NuCanoe Frontier 12’s design features include:  Gear vault with dry storage bag, internal rod chamber, universal mount docks, multi-seat bases, cast & blast deck, 70″ freedom track, 360° mobility (with optional swivel seats), cup holders, paddle holder, figure eight cleat, scupper holes, talon pad, crate space and motor mount.  In addition here are the Frontier 12 specs: 
            Length                       12’
            Width                          41“
Deck Width               20”
Weight                       77 lbs
Capacity                    650 lbs
Draft                           3–5“
Max Power                2 HP or equivalent

One important question to ask in regard to the Frontier 12 – is it a kayak or canoe?  We could argue that question all day, but suffice to say it’s both a kayak and canoe and some would call it a hybrid.  Personally, I refer to it as a kayak but we all know about opinions and this article is full of my own – please take them accordingly…

More Research

As a follow up to meeting Frank, I called NuCanoe to get some further details.  By happenstance, I talked with Blake Young.  He is NuCanoe’s Director of Business Development and his demeanor further sold me on the customer service aspect of the company.  I asked lots of questions – likely above and beyond what the average prospective kayak owner might ever think (or care) to ask.  I was on a mission to learn and the Frontier 12 had stoked my learning desire.  Blake was happy to answer my questions and was equally eager to expand on many “what for” curiosities related to the Frontier 12’s design, function, durability and operation.  He also explained “they” were planning on shipping the Frontier 12 to buyers starting March 1st. 

Pulling the Trigger

Long story short and understandably, I needed no more convincing and worked out all necessary details and ordered a NuCanoe Frontier 12 in the hunter brown color – this was probably not a huge surprise.

I decided there would be a few items (i.e. necessities) I would add to the standard Frontier 12.  A transport cart was a definite “have to have” – this was one key feature that sold me on easily transporting the Frontier. 

Two folding swivel seats were in order for flexibility and maneuverability.  These seats with upgraded stainless steel swivels are secured to the included bench seats via a quick release mount.  The base of the swivel slides into the mount and can be taken off (no tools required) to facilitate a streamlined and lighter load for transport.  I have only used one seat for my adventures (up to now at least – my wife doesn’t share the same enthusiasm for fishing as I do) the beauty of the modular type system allows the user to position two seats for additional passengers.  The bench seat “base” secures to the freedom track system by a sliding nut held recessed in the rail.  A knob-ed bolt on each side of the bench attaches to the sliding nut and gives flexibility for custom seat positioning.  

Cannon manufactures 275 cm paddles specifically for NuCanoe to accommodate the wide profile of the Frontier 12.  I chose the lighter Cannon Wave Carbon paddle though the fiberglass version is only 1 ounce heavier at 35 ounces. 

Despite taking a minimalistic approach to my fly fishing, I also opted for two fly rod holders.  I chose the Ram-Mount version which NuCanoe distributes featuring a YakAttack MightyBolt.  They secure directly to the freedom track (no tools needed) which again adds to your ability to customize according to your style. 

A stand up handle and anchor rope line guide kit rounded out the purchases.  The standup handle connects via rope and carabineer near the front handle and provides something to grab and pull you into a standing position.  I didn’t really need this item and luckily it was inexpensive.  As I will report later, standing in the Frontier is a snap and I find his item would only add as something to snag a fly line.  The anchor rope line kit is a ¼” reflective line for the anchor but includes a rubber plug w/bushing intended to fit inside the hole in the transom and prevent the anchor rope from rubbing the boat.  The line is fine and I like the reflective strip weaved into the line.  However, more on the rubber plug w/bushing later, but let’s suffice it to say there is room for improvement on this small item.

My Boat

Finally, the wait is over.  I receive a phone call from the shipping company and I go pick the new yak up.  The securing and transport via my Toyota 4-Runner’s OEM roof rack is perfect.  I used a strap for each crossbar as I did for the old kayak and the Frontier 12 rides up there like it was made for it.  No pun intended about the “ride” but it’s important to note, I sold my Ride 135 as a prerequisite for my new purchase.  She was a good yak but it was time to upgrade.

As I described earlier, the transport cart made solo loading and unloading of the Frontier 12 a breeze.  I would recommend watching the NuCanoe video which provides great instruction, guidance and tips to employ.  After three times loading and unloading, this procedure becomes second nature.  I suggest using a towel or carpet remnant at the rear roof area just behind the roof rack to help prevent the possibility of scratches.  The NuCanoe video also shows side loading as an option if you so desire.

On the Water

My maiden voyage with the Frontier entailed a local lake.  There was no pomp and circumstance and I did not christen the vessel with champagne but more importantly I was indeed impressed.  Crazy stable are the first words that came to mind.  The lake conditions weren’t too harsh but this trip was a good start to become acquainted with this new craft.  No problem standing, walking from the seat to the bow and maneuvering around the boat.  I even caught a few fish by the fly.  My subsequent trip was to another lake in the Northern Virginia Area.  This one required a long haul of the Frontier behind a gate that prevented vehicle traffic – kayaks and canoes welcome but hauling came at your own power.  The transport cart made this a breeze.  Again, I was impressed with the Frontier’s stability.  I was on the water for three hours and paddled the Frontier a long distance.  Tracking was great and the moderate wind did not have an adverse effect.  Now, I was really hankering to get the Frontier out to where I had intended it to be – the river. 

My first river trip was to the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.  This adventure turned out to be a five hour trip and I introduced other variables and elements to test the Frontier’s ability.  Once again the yak triumphed and left me even more satisfied.  I use an anchor “system” which consisted of a 5 lb dive weight secured to the anchor rope.  I rig the rope to pass through the hole in the transom, feed through the anchor guides on the starboard side and secure to the figure eight cleat.  With this configuration, I can drop and pull the anchor much in the same way a drift boat utilizes its anchor system.  Many fellow kayakers realize a kayak shouldn’t be anchored sideways to the current because the risk of capsizing increases exponentially.  By anchoring the vessel from either the bow, or in this case the stern, the craft stays stable in a moderate current.  However, every kayaker needs to know their limitations and avoid getting into a dangerous situation by anchoring in a current too fast for conditions or not up to their ability.  This anchoring method opened up a whole new world of smallmouth bass fishing for me.  I was able to fly fish in a slow to moderate current while at anchor and more impressively while standing.  Yes, let me repeat, I can stand in the Frontier 12 while at anchor (and yes while drifting too) while casting a fly rod.  By fishing this method I can cover all the parts of the river at my pace – anchor, fish a section, pull the anchor drift down to another part and fish that area, repeat, repeat, repeat.  In my old kayak, I had to fish an area while drifting through, paddle back up, fish the same area while drifting, paddle back up – you get the idea. 

Now, wait a minute.  Remember the rubber plug w/bushing intended to secure inside the transom hole and prevent the anchor rope from rubbing the boat?  This is the one item that did not work as intended.  The rubber plug was too short and wide, preventing it from fitting inside the hole in the transom.  I attempted to trim the plug but even when slimmed down it was inadequate to prevent damage to the transom.  However, I employed a solution to correct the “issue”.  I obtained a ¾” outside diameter threaded PVC tubing and cut it slightly longer than the transom thickness.  I screwed a plastic nut on each end (to preventing the ¾” PVC from falling out) and ran the anchor line through the tube.  The tube helps the rope slide through (whether releasing the anchor or pulling it up) and prevents any damage to the boat. I plan on addressing this small issue with Blake at NuCanoe and think it would be worthwhile to offer an anchor tube as a standard item for all Frontiers.  The “tube” must be removed to utilize the transport cart that plugs into the hole in the transom – that’s one reason I only hand tighten the plastic nuts.

Other Design Features

The gear vault is a standard option which includes a hatch in the front providing access to the hull.  This inside hull area serves as the internal rod chamber and will accommodate additional gear.  A dry storage bag (also included) fits on the rim of the gear vault and the hatch “seals” the area from water intrusion.  I’ve had no issues with water seeping into this area.  However, I expect running rapids with standing waves (river) or large waves (ocean or bay) crashing over the front could potentially allow a small amount of water to find its way in.  I have stored a gear bag inside the hull and placed smaller items inside the dry bag as well.  This storage area will not accommodate tall bulky items.  Streamlined items will fit with no issue.  In a perfect world, I would like my backpack to fit in the vault without having to flatten out its contents.  I expect this design cannot be changed – making the storage area larger would alter the design (and ability) of the Frontier.  Personally, I do not care for too many hatches and storage ports in a kayak.  I am definitely “less is more” when it comes to this issue - I feel too many “holes” add just another area for water to find its way in.

The Frontier has seen quite a bit of action – I have spent over 24 combined hours in the craft putting it through its paces.  It has seen use on the Shenandoah River which we talked about earlier, but since then the James River and Potomac River also served as test platforms.  My fly fishing buddies have commented from the seated position of their respective kayaks that I sure am able to stand and fish easily.  Other river users have inquired about the Frontier too – often starting out the conversation by saying they haven’t seen “anything like it” but that’s a good thing…

The versatility of the Frontier has allowed me to fish and “cover” the water habitat I’ve only been able to previously enjoy from a drift boat.  In the near future, I hope to get the Frontier out in the Chesapeake Bay or other saltwater arenas.  I expect it will handle the salt conditions with the same results – unimpeded and in stride.

Other Tidbits

I wanted to take an opportunity to recognize and thank Luther Cifers of YakAttack (www.yakattack.com) for his help.  I initially spoke with Luther via phone back in March and he provided excellent information and ideas regarding “outfitting” my soon to arrive NuCanoe Frontier 12.  His expertise and patience were extremely helpful in deciding what I needed to properly outfit my new yak.  Luther was enthusiastic and came up with several alternative solutions to help me sort through available equipment and innovative mounting options.  After talking through many solutions, I knew the VisiCarbon Pro light (w/Mighty Mount Ready mounting option) and a Mighty Mount were the appropriate choices to get started.  As I noted above, the NuCanoe Frontier 12’s track system accepts the Ram-Mount Fly Rod holder w/Ram Ball.  Additionally, the MightyBolt found on the bottom of the VisiCarbon Pro also fits the freedom track.  Due to the potential for increased lateral force with the VisiCarbon Pro, I decide a hard mount of the Mighty Mount was in order.  I installed the Might Mount in the rear deck of the Frontier 12 in the mount dock location – port side behind the rear seat position.  I utilized one of the new vacuum plates to install this Mighty Mount.  There is no rear access hatch, and by using the rigging bullet “method” to help with installation it was an easy job even with the hard to reach back area.  The Frontier’s front hatch accesses the inside of the hull so the vacuum plate w/rigging bullet is the “go to” method to facilitate this install.

Conversations with both Blake Young and Luther Cifers confirm NuCanoe and YakAttack have an excellent and ongoing working relationship.  The progressive nature of both companies and their products will only help kayakers to better customize their vessels.

Final Thoughts

To sum it up – I couldn’t have picked a better solution for my needs – a well built and put together kayak with the added accessories are not only practical but simple, durable and quite simply, they work. 

I hope to do a follow up article to keep everyone updated on the progress of the NuCanoe Frontier 12 endeavor.  So far the NuCanoe Frontier 12 is not only a winner but it’s a home run.  The Frontier is a stable, well made and durable vessel which is easy to stand and fly fish from.  Sure, there are other kayaks out there that will get the job done but the beauty of the NuCanoe Frontier 12 hinges on getting it done right.

Thanks again to Blake and NuCanoe for their help, support and innovative ideas.

About the Author

David Cushman is one of the newer members of the Royalty Fly Tyer team with Umpqua Feather Merchants.  His newest fly pattern, the “Great Lakes Goby” will debut later in 2012 and is intended to target smallmouth bass in lakes, rivers and streams. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

NuCanoe Frontier: Swiss Army Kayak by Ric Burnley

As written in Kayak Angler Online Magazine NuCanoe Frontier: Swiss Army Kayak

NuCanoe Frontier: One Kayak That Does it All
NuCanoe's Frontier pushes the boundaries of kayak, canoe, and boat.
NuCanoe Frontier
Ric Burnley

It was still dark outside when I crept into my daughter’s room and gently poked her sleeping shoulder.  “Let’s go fishing,” I whispered.  “Ok,” she mumbled.  Saturday morning, an hour before sunrise, isn’t the best time to propose a fishing trip to a pre-tween girl, but Dasha was ready to go before she was fully awake.I packed lunch and Dasha grabbed warm clothes then we sneaked out of the house without waking her comatose mother.

A week earlier I had received NuCanoe’s new and improved Frontier and I was anxious to put the hybrid canoe-yak to the test.   Dasha agreed to be the crash-test dummy and the first cool days of fall signaled speckled trout and puppy drum to serve as target practice.  We headed to Little Creek Inlet in Norfolk, Virginia where I planned to find open water and cooperative fish for a proper boat test.

With the sun lifting off the horizon, Dasha took the front seat of the Frontier and I pushed us away from the bank then settled into the back seat.  Our Frontier came with custom Surf to Summit seats that clipped easily onto the elevated multi-seat base.

The lime green Frontier is only 12 feet long but 41 inches wide – making it extremely stable yet surprisingly maneuverable.  As a hybrid between a canoe and kayak, the boat has a 70-inch long deck that is 20-inches wide with a small hatch in the bow that houses a tackle locker and gives access to the inside of the hull.

We paddled in tandem to our first fishing hole using Frontier’s super-long 275 cm paddles that reach the water without banging the sides of this super-wide hull.  We were traveling light. Dasha had stashed lunch in the bow hatch and I wedged a standard 9 by 14 tackle tray on the crate space behind me.

At our first stop, my first cast was met with a steady thump and a stubborn pull – the calling card of a feisty puppy drum.  The mean little booger even pulled Dasha and me around the marina in the Frontier.  That’s a tough little fish.

I swung the bronze fish into the boat and Dasha got a quick picture.  Her next cast resulted in the same dogged fight and short sleigh ride.  She swung the fish in and I took the picture.  The
Frontier is so wide and stable that I was able to scoot to the front and help Dasha unhook her fish.  A few more casts went unanswered and we paddled on to our next spot.

 The elevated seats kept my old legs from cramping and seizing up. Dasha felt so comfortable, she took to paddling and fishing like a duck to water.  I was even able to stand and fish while Dasha paddled me along from the front – man, I could get used to this!

Because I could move from the bow to the stern, there was no need for an anchor trolley.  I simply chucked the anchor over and tied it to a cleat.

We continued to work our way down Little Creek then headed out the inlet towards the
Chesapeake Bay.

The rock jetties that border the inlet were lined with boats and kayakers, everyone catching puppy drum on almost every cast.  We worked our way around the crowd and headed to a hole that I hoped would hold glory.

The tide turned and started to flood as we worked our way down the jetty picking up more puppy drum.  Then Dasha hooked something bigger.  The fish grabbed her jig and shook its head madly. When it came to the surface swinging its orange mouth in the air I yelled, “Speckled trout!”

Dasha worked the silver and spotted fish to the boat as gingerly and carefully as possible despite me yelling and shouting instructions and encouragement from the backseat.  My excitement didn’t help. She got the fish to the boat and lifted it out of the water, but she hadn’t left enough line to grab the fish.  The fat trout swung from the rod tip like an amusement park ride.  It hit the deck, the gunnels, flew through the air, went back in the water and back around our heads with me shouting and Dasha panicking.  Finally, it hit the deck and Dasha pounced on it.  I tested the Frontiers stability with a happy dance and we both started laughing.

Fishing sure is fun!

That’s when the wind started to blow.  The steady breeze kicked up to a gusty headwind and we beat our way back down the inlet and into the creek.  Although our progress was slow, the boat handled the steep chop and wind-blown white caps well.  Dasha and I hooted and hollered as the boat slammed through waves and threw up spray.  As we cut across the inlet to hide in the lee of the rocks, the Frontier barely rocked through the two-foot slappers.

It was a long, slow paddle back, but working together and singing Katie Perry songs, we made it to the launch site tired and safe.

Riding home, Dasha asleep in the passenger seat, I reflected on the pros and cons of the Frontier. 

The two of us were able to fish comfortably and safely from a stable and ergonomic platform.  The boat is laid out to accommodate a variety of rigging options only limited by the creativity and budget of the angler. 

The elevated seats kept us off the deck, out of the water, and very comfortable.  The Frontier’s biggest attribute is stability – this boat is rock solid.  I could confidently move from the bow to the stern and gunnel to gunnel and fish 360 degrees with barely a wobble.   Even in snotty seas, the Frontier solidly blasted through the chop.

Of course, the width of the boat and the height of the angler make the boat tougher to paddle into the wind and waves compared to a low, narrow kayak.  The short length and relatively flat bottom does affect tracking, but the Frontier is designed with four deep channels running down the bottom and a short keel in the stern to keep its crew on course.  The Frontier may not be the fastest horse in the barn, but the boat will get you to the fish and back in comfort and style.

In short, Nucanoe’s Frontier is perfectly suited for the angler who is looking for a comfortable, ergonomic and stable platform to fish flats, backwaters, and hidden fishing holes solo or with a partner.  This is a perfect boat for older or larger anglers looking to get on the water with confidence and ease.  As we proved, it makes a great tandem for father/daughter fishing trips and will even accommodate two full grown adults.  Limitless options for mounting electronics and accessories means the boat can be rigged with everything from a depth finder to a trolling motor.  Rod holders can be sunk into the hull, mounted on the deck, or affixed to the long track system. 

  NuCanoe supports the Frontier with a long line of aftermarket bells and whistles; I recommend the 275 mm paddle and Surf to Summit seats.  The boat can be configured to fish solo or tandem, hunt, and even outfitted with oars for rowing.

While no boat can do it all, NuCanoe’s Frontier combines the best attributes of kayaks, canoes, and small boats, making this hybrid the best of all worlds.

Chronicle of an Outing By Luke Clayton

As published in North Texas E-News on September 24, 2012

This past week’s outdoor adventure was a month in the planning. While setting around an aspen wood campfire at elk and bear camp in the mountains of northern Colorado earlier this month, my longtime friend and frequent hunting partner Mark Balette invited those present to his ranch in Trinity County for a teal hunt. The assemblage consisted of Larry Large, my partner in the elk hunting operation, Billy Kilpatrick, our camp manager and cook, Bob Hood, longtime Texas based outdoors writer, myself and of course Balette.

Mark’s invitation was instantly accepted by all and the date was set for last week. You would really have to spend a bit of time around my group of ‘running buddies’ to get the full impact of their vast experience in the outdoors. These old boys know how to do it all when it comes to hunting and fishing. For grins one evening, we did a rough estimate of how many years combined, that we all had enjoying the outdoors. Between the five of us, it tallied somewhere around 255 years! That equates to a great many sunrises, sunsets and short nights in hunting and fishing camps. When you do the math, you can readily ascertain that several of us have reached out sixtieth birthday!  We might not have quite the ‘go’ we had thirty years ago but what we lack in energy we more than make up in experience! 

Large spent his early life hunting and fishing in the Pacific Northwest and for the past quarter century, guided bass trips on Lake Fork and for elk in Colorado and New Mexico. Balette grew up hunting and fishing on his family ranch and now hosts hunters from across the nations on hunts for hogs, deer and exotics. Kilpatrick grew up camping and fishing and for the past many years, guided crappie trips on Lake Lavon. He can kindle a fire and have supper ready by the time hunters have time to change out of their hunting clothes for the evening meal! Hood is a well known outdoors writer with more than 45 years spent writing about the outdoors and is one of the most well rounded outdoorsmen I know.  My group of buddies is never at a loss for hunting and fishing tales around the campfire; they all have plenty of past experiences to reflect upon!  

We arrived at Mark’s ranch in early afternoon with plenty of time to get a couple dozen decoys out and blinds brushed in. In a little over an hour Mark and Larry had the elk quartered and the meat chilling in the walk in cooler, the rest of us were busy bass fishing. I had thrown my little Frontier 12 boat by Nucanoe in the truck and as always, found the rugged little craft ideal for getting me into tight areas that were holding fish. We caught bass on everything from top water plugs to spinner baits to Texas rigged worms. The recent cool down of the water temperature had put the fish in the feeding mode. 
After a few hours of chunking baits and fighting bass, Mark asked if we thought it a good idea to break into two groups and go for a late afternoon teal hunt. 

“I know it will be a banner shoot in the morning but with all these birds present and two lakes to hunt them on, I don’t see why we can’t enjoy two hunts. What do you think?” asks Mark, knowing that we would be ready to go. 

We settled into our blinds an hour or so before sundown and after the first shot, teal were buzzing our decoys from every direction. Teal are suckers for decoys and they will readily decoy to anything from magnum mallard decoys to those made specifically for teal. Back at camp, we quickly turned the evening shoot into the makings of one very tasty duck dinner. Teal breasts, with a slice of jalapeno and wrapped in bacon are very tasty when grilled over hot coals. 

Teal hunting was great in East Texas for Luke and a few of his best friends but memories were made that will last a lifetime. photo by Luke Clayton
We debated on whether to enjoy grilled duck breasts for the evening meal or stick with the original plan of fried crappie. Billy had brought enough crappie fillets to feed the entire crew….twice! The teal breasts would freeze nicely for another meal. Teal are the tastiest of waterfowl but we all know how good those snow white crappie fillets are when fried crispy in hot oil!

The after dinner conservation went from recapping our recent hunt in the mountains for elk and bear to the upcoming white tail season. As we all joke, it doesn’t take long to spend the night at hunting or fishing camp but we managed to turn at a decent hour.
Morning’s first light found us back in the duck blinds, eagerly awaiting what we hoped would be a banner teal shoot. The birds took wing at first light and, as is usually the case, flew well for the first hour or so; long enough for us to add plenty of ‘new’ birds to the freezer bag of duck breasts back at camp. Bass again beckoned and we cased out shotguns and broke out the bass tackle. Fishing equaled that of the previous evening. 
By nine a.m. we headed back to camp, broke out Mark’s homemade wok made from a plow disk with two horse shoes welded on the side for handles. About 15 years ago, Mark made a couple of these very useful outdoor cooking utensils, one for himself and one for me. We’ve packed them along on many, many outdoor adventures. Our morning meal consisted of breakfast tacos made from elk sausage, eggs and potatoes, all cooked in the wok. 

Does it get any better than this? I think not, at least not for a bunch of outdoor types that have learned how to make the most of their “banker's holidays.”

DUCKS UNLIMITED BANQUETS - Ducks Unlimited banquets are being held across the country. For a listing of events closest to you, go online to www.ducks.org and click “events.” 

For many years, I’ve been present at the annual Dallas Ducks Unlimited Banquet. If you have never attended, I strongly advise you go this year, even if you might have to do a bit of driving to get here. This huge even it well worth your time and thousands of dollars are raised to held to benefit waterfowl. This year’s event is the 75th Anniversary Banquet and will be held at the North Texas Banquet Center at 677 W. Campbell Rd in Richardson. For more information, go online to www.dallasducks.org. I’ll see you there! 

Listen to Outdoors with Luke Clayton and Campfire talk with Larry Weishuhn at www.catfishradio.com. Email Luke via the web site with outdoors news from your area.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Frontier Duck Blind - Version 3

The latest iteration of the Frontier Duck Blind is complete.  Take a look at the pictures and videos and let us know what you think.  The doors on the prototype don't quite match the rest of the blind, but of course, that won't be the case on the production version. 

Post your comment on the bottom of the blog post or email them to blake@nucanoe.com.

Stern Slot to access handle and enable trolling motor use

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fishing with Nick in Tampa Fl.

I have really enjoyed my NuCanoe. I am 23 and I have always been fishing on a low budget while finishing my undergrad studies at Florida State University. I am now located in Tampa, Florida and most of the time I can come back with my limits on red fish and trout. I even catch big sharks on a regular basis. I have taught many of my friends how to fish and catch some keepers from your product.
The NuCanoe has great stability and I have only flipped it once in two years coming in to the beach and the wave came inside the canoe. I have some pictures of some trophy catches and some good pictures out on the water if you guys would want them I can send them to you. Thank you, From Florida Nick

Fishing in Cedar Key Fl.

My wife and I took our NuCanoe Frontier on its maiden saltwater trip to Cedar Key, FL. We have a 45 lb. trolling motor but opted to paddle on this outing. I caught this 25 lb. black drum on an 8-wt. Sage fly rod. It took a collaborative effort to land the fish but we did it after a 25 minute battle. The Frontier is an awesome craft and is perfect for stealth fishin’ for tailing red and black drum. Congrats on an excellent product! Can’t wait to start accessorizing it – the blog is very helpful in this regard. Donny Lowery

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Frontiers Everywhere at The Compound

Thanks to Frontier Owner Joe Maione for this great post on Yak Angler.com:

I was already planning a Sunday trip with Taylor when I got a text from Mark... Mark and Sam wanted to take the girls fishing so we planned to meet before daybreak. Ton of fun on the water even though the fishing was slower then normal. 3 kids, 3 adults, 3 Frontiers on the water ready for action:

The fishing was rather slow.. no topwater bite whatsoever and the only ones hooking up early were Sam's girls using worms under bobbers. I ended up with a nice tangle when I got hung up and yanked free only to tangle around the other rods in the back of the kayak. About that time Taylor hooked up with her first fish of the day on a senko... as I heard her familiar line "fish on" while I was working on the tangled rods.

Taylor's first fish:

I finally got on the board with this little guy:

Taylor switched over to some redworms and started to catch a variety of bass and sun fish.. here are a few more shots of her fish:

It was pretty cool that I was able to double with my daughter a couple of times:

Taylor is really getting comfortable standing standing and fishing:

I caught 13 bass and Taylor was able to bring 12 in the boat (8 bass and 4 gills).. I did get one really nice one at about 10:00am weighed in at 5.31 lbs... here are a few shots:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Prototype Frontier Duck Blind

We are working on an new & improved Duck Blind system for the Frontier 12.  We've worked through a few iterations, and now we need your thoughts & ideas.

The Duck Blind is one piece with two "hatches" built in.  It fits snugly over the bow and stern, and has an internal bungee that can be used to tighten it.  The blind extends 8" below the gunwale, so you won't have wind or water coming through.

The Hunter Hatch is in the center of the Frontier, extending 48" between the two gunwale Deck Rings.  It has a "U" shaped zipper that allows the hatch to be fully closed, fully open, or anything in between.
Hunter Hatch & Dog Pod, closed

Hunter Hatch, partially open
Hunter Hatch = 48" long

 The Dog Pod is behind hunter Hatch and features a similar "U" shaped zipper.  Again, it can be open, closed, or somewhere in between. The blind extends close to the gunwale so a dog can enter or exit the boat easily. If the dog needs a "lift", the hunter can reach around and help out.

Hunter Hatch & Dog Pod, open

The frame of the Duck Blind is provided by 2 battens (fiberglass rods) that are aligned with the gunwale Deck Rings.  Clips are sewn into the batten pockets and they fasten to the Deck Rings.  The entire system goes on in about 1 minute with no installation, drilling, or tools!
Inside the Blind from the Dog Pod.

The bow area has a slot to allow use of the Bow Handle when the blind is installed.

The transom area has a wider slot that enables use of the Stern Handle and allows a trolling motor to be installed.  It also has a slop for the Transport Cart frame to plug in to the transom hole.

 Now that you've seen our prototype, let us know what you think!  Comment on the blog using the link below....