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Should I invest the time to make the Adventure Island a flats fishing machine?
Yes. Having it all is well within your grasp! 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
No. There's a reason you dont see catamarans being poled around on the flats. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Doesn't the grass need mowing? 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:12 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 30
As a Floridian, I have access to a wide variety of fishing, and fishing environments. The Island series are incredible offshore platforms and the internet is full of rigging and fishing videos for that particular aspect of the game, but after a few searches, I've not seen anything when it comes to flats fishing the AI. Has the Island crowd just ceded that ground to the Pro Anglers, and the other mainsail-challenged Hobie craft?

I love flats fishing and do it by traditional stand and pole sight fishing, which means I stand in the kayak, pushing it through the shallow water with a pole, and spot the fish before casting to them. I love versatility. I know that something which does everything, usually does nothing well. But I'm an optimist and a tinkerer, so I can't just go quietly into the night and leave well enough alone. I have a Pro Angler, and its proven capability both offshore and inshore is great, but I love to sail also. Conveniently, the perfect time to sail in the Central Florida Lagoon System is early afternoon when the winds pick up about the same time the fish stop biting.

Can't a guy have all three?

I gave the AI a go the other day and this is how I rigged it and my experience, but before I do, let me explain what I love about the Pro Angler on the flats that it unfortunately doesn't share with the the Island series:

Maneuverability. The need to turn on a dime is crucial when following a fish. (Remember, we're poling.)

Top side storage. Virtually everything you need in a moment (bait, tackle, cast net, dip net, fish cooler, drink cooler, rods, lipper, pliers,) is somewhere within easy reach, with plenty of storage in hull for incidentals.

Stable, wide open deck. This is really where it shines. Easy to stand, and for a long time, without foot fatigue from an uneven surface, for the purpose of spotting the fish hopefully before you're spotted, while having your gear close at hand.

My first time on the flats with the AI, it was rigged with only one pontoon and trampoline, primarily for the purpose of ease of maneuverability and minimizing the kayak "signature," (Shallow water and high fishing pressure makes these guys very spooky, yet that more rewarding when you do connect.) while still having enough "wheelbase" to stand and maneuver comfortably, and to deploy the sail on the return home.
On the tramp went the coolers and mirage drive. The std soft kayak seat was replaced with a Native seat and base, tied down front and back. Immediately behind the rear crossbar was a series 29 battery and box nestled snugly between that and a 2x4 attached to pvc rod holders which functioned as the mount for a 45lb trolling motor slung over the outrigger side. It's not uncommon for a calm morning to give way to a 15+ mph blow by early afternoon and it's nice to have alternative means to deal with such a headwind. Behind that went the tackle bag which also serves as storage for knives, measuring sticks, TP, and other essentials. I had to forego the bulky Hobie Bait bucket and/ or my own custom 5 gal bucket nestled in a custom pvc rod/ bucket holder combo, for a smaller "trolling" type bait bucket. Cassette in mirage well. Sail, paddle and 8' push pole bungeed to empty side of the cross bars.

This morning had more wind from the start than I usually fish in and really picked up before reaching the fishing spot. First time standing in it brought home the fact that, more than the Outback, more than the Outfitter, the Adventure was not made to stand in. The second struggle which was initially blamed on 10+ mph winds was that the kayak did not want to track at all. I figured it would skew one way consistently due to the outrigger, and that I could compensate for that, but it became a nearly impossible handful that left not enough focus, attention, and maneuverability to find, let alone stalk a fish. (The rudder could not be deployed due to shallow water depth.) But hobble along I did for the better part of an hour and half before cobbling together a barely useable method. After a bit of success with two trout and the targeted redfish, I could give more attention to trying to make this a viable flats fishing platform. Ruminating on the possibilities, I remember a friend telling me how a friend of his would guide folks in the Bahamas by taking them out in a small tender and then swapping ends so that they could pole from the bow, while the client fished from the stern, poling the boat "backwards" because it tracked better that way. Eureka! Immediately the boat's tracking and controlling manners improved to a workable degree. The only issue now, is standing in the cramped area around the mirage well. I was able to practice and explore a good while after that though the wind, which eventually came back up and reached the mid-high teens played havoc trying to keep the kayak weather-cocked.

The sail back in high winds was exactly as expected. Slightly furled was uneventful on a starboard tack. Port tack required me to share the tramp with the coolers, or be quick to sheet out when the pontoon became airborne. Very doable.

Overall, the thoughts I'm left with are that I can:
Construct a removeable standing platform over the mirage/ footwell, as there were no other difficulties found when poling backwards. Maybe even fix a hard "dodger" of sorts that can accommodate usage/ removal of the mirage drive? (You can never make a poling platform too high.)
Utilize a rigid haka instead of a flimsy trampoline. One candidate I'm looking at is a plastic table with metal folding legs that once the legs are removed will be light and sturdy, and the perfect size. Glue a little thin foam padding and it'll be perfect.
That leaves making the boat more nimble which may be an impossible task.

What do you think? Can we make Frankenstein live, and be a fully functioning member of the flats fishing community with the added benefit of exemplary offshore chops? Or, given that 90% of my fishing is on the flats, though that is subject to change, my efforts would be better invested into making the PA an improved sailer with a custom sail/ mast, and possibly a jib? I once floated the idea of putting a spare AI mast and sail on a custom built step between the front hatch and mirage well of the PA, (couldnt decide whether to call it a "Pro Island," or "Adventure Angler,") but was advised by a hobie rep familiar with their kayak and sailing products that the additional power would drive the bow down creating an unstable at best, sailing platform.

Please chime in, especially if you've had experience in these areas. There's so little info (possibly for good reason,) on this particular usage of the Adventure Island. I will post pics of the configuration soon for suggestions on improvement.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:57 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:01 am
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The Adventure Island can catch 'em on the flats.

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