The next big competition of the year had arrived - the Ocean Kayak Classic, a catch, photo and release competition held in Plymouth. The competition had been on the cards for months and Kieren would be coming up to fish it too. I had been for a couple of exploratory sessions a few weeks before but the venue was still largely unknown. Would we come away with any prizes?
Early in 2014 RTM announced they would be producing a limited edition Black series of the Abaco, K-Largo and Tempo. It wasn't long before i couldn't resist getting a Black Tempo. Here is an initial overview with plenty of photos.....
A day drifting the sands was planned from one of my favourite kayak fishing marks. The scenery is fantastic and the fish can be plentiful on the right day both in size and number of species. An early start saw me and kieren on the beach ready to launch at 10 after a long walk with the kayaks down a rocky track and a big sand dune - not too bad going down.... coming back up is a different story! The sun was shining with hardly a drop of swell, but a slight offshore wind was blowing, not too bad with the forecast predicting 8-10mph. We paddled out to a nearby headland and dropped our baits into a tidal run onto the sandy seabed 20m below us.
The weather has settled down and the sunshine is warm…. Spring has arrived and with it the mackerel have moved inshore to chase shoals of sand eels. The plan was to have a session afloat to hopefully find a few mackerel to stock up the bait freezer for future fishing trips. Me, Kieren and his friend Dwyer headed to a mark on the Lizard Peninsula in search of the shoals. Kieren and Dwyer shared the Hobie Outfitter Tandem and I used the RTM Abaco. The forecast was great, the sea was glassy calm and the tide would be pushing. All was looking well for catching mackerel.
An anchor trolley is a fairly essential part of anchoring up whilst fishing. It allows you to position the point along the kayak at which your anchor line will enter the water. This allows you to position the kayak in a comfortable and, more importantly, safe position relative to the wind, swell and tide......
It was time to fit my Lowrance Elite 4x DSI Fish Finder to the Abaco. I had fitted it temporarily for the first couple of sessions out but wanted to make it a more permanent fixture. I also wanted to rig it in a way that would allow me to transfer it between kayaks should i want to use it on my tandem. This would mean no wires passing through the hull thus allowing the complete set up to be removable.
Last year i made an extendable camera/go pro pole which fits within a flush mount rod holder but this limits the scope for filming angles. I occasionally like to grab the pole and jump in the water to get up close and personal with the local wildlife so require the camera pole to be removable. At the same time i want to be able to put the camera pole in lots of different angles for filming and photography.
The RTM Abaco 4.20 comes with 2 rear facing flush mount rod holders as standard and these are fine for holding the rods whilst on the move or for holding a trolling rod. Rod holders can also be attached to Abaco on the slide rails beside the foot wells but after using them i found that they were too low to support the rod properly and would require extenders to be used properly for fishing at anchor or whilst drifting. I searched online for alternative solutions such as rocket launcher/tube style rod holders and looked at various reviews on blogs and forums but it appeared that many people had problems with the stability of the rod holder, especially in choppy seas, and they seemed pretty expensive too. Shortly after purchasing my first kayak, a Teksport 330 Xplore, i installed 2 forward facing flush mount rod holders either side of the seating area within arms reach and found these to be perfect for practically all of my fishing. I wanted to replicate the same on the Abaco but space for installing flush mounts on the sides of the seating area is very limited - limited but not impossible! Here's how i installed them:
Slide tracks can be fitted to many kayaks for mounting various accessories onto. The RTM Abaco 4.20 luxe comes with slide rails factory fitted either side of the footwell. Some accessories such as the Yak Attack screw balls or purpose made Ram ball slide track mounts will fit directly to the rails. I was planning to mount a scotty base onto the slide track but wanted a solid board on which to attach it to. Slide track mounting boards can be purchased but seem very expensive for what looks like a simple strip of plastic so i planned on making my own.
The RTM Abaco comes with plenty of storage space. There is a large front hatch with removable basin, a sealed centre storage area with rod tube and a huge rear tank well. The front hatch is perfect for storing a C-Tug whilst out on the water with the basin removed, with the basin in place it makes a great space to store clothing or other smaller items. The sealed centre storage area is great for storing tackle and a spare lure rod. The rear tank well provides the largest storage space and is the perfect width to take a storage crate......
At the start of the year i was lucky enough to be offered a place on the 4-man RTM UK fishing team. I happily accepted the offer and will be sponsored/supported by the company over the next year. RTM are based in France and are Europe's largest kayak manufacturer. I very much look forward to using and testing their products over the year. After browsing through their catalogue i settled on getting a RTM Abaco 4.20 luxe, as it looks most suited for what i will be using it for. An order was placed with RTM and on friday i received my brand new kayak! Here's the initial overview with lots of photos.....
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