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Sunday, September 3, 2017

IF I DON'T GET PAID, DOES THAT MAKE ME — PROMISCUOUS? : I Perform an Unsolicited Review of the Danuu WingMan Kayak Fishing Seat Accessory Pack


I carefully chose my kayak to be my ultimate photography platform, beer-barge, expedition capable, multi-tasking water-craft, and it has exceeded my expectations.


One thing I hadn’t foreseen, however, was my evolution as a fisherperson.  At first, pressured into fishing by my growing awareness of what I’ll term a sort of ‘karmic imbalance’…


…I soon began to experience brief bouts of not just ‘fishing’, but also ‘catching’, and the catching part turns out to be — really, really fun.


But much like photography, the activity of fishing soon suggests a plethora of accessories and additional tools that need to be juggled in the confines of the kayak cockpit. Obviously, there’s fishing poles and lures and baits and anchors that need to have their places — places where they can be easily and quickly acquired.

The manufacturer of my kayak (Wilderness Systems) is way ahead of me here. They’ve thoughtfully included something they call the SlideTrax Accessory System and of course, a molded cup-holder.  For normal people, these components allow for attaching anything from fishing rod holders to state of the art electronic fish-finders to the point where today’s fishing kayaks begin to rival aircraft carriers in terms of their relative complexity.  But for me, it all turns out to be an elegant way to dump expensive fishing gear into local lakes and rivers (all I did was unloosen a screw — granted a little too much — to adjust the rod-holder’s position, and now it rests at the bottom of Crescent Lake. I can still see that nut, flashing silver, lure- like, as it escaped down the scupper hole.)

Other fisherpeople on a budget have come up with milk crates as a storage solution (with very fine videos available on Youtube showing how to make your own), and while I like the price, I’m concerned about where to put one.


Most fisherpeople seem to put their milk crates right behind the seat, but that spot is reserved for my ice chest, for what I think are obvious reasons.

If only there was something that could fit in that little space between the back of the seat and the ice-chest.


Well, enter the WingMan by danuu Paddle Gear (Editor’s note: to conform to danuu's own logo, our convention will be to spell ‘danuu’ with a lower case ‘d’).

The WingMan is a kayak fishing seat accessory pack, meant to strap onto metal-frame kayak seats. Danuu’s literature says it’s, “Packed with Features! “ Essentially, it has two bottle holders, two rod holders, a central storage pocket and several Gear/Leash points.

Now those of you who are familiar with the Tarpon 140’s seat know that it is not a metal–frame kayak seat. This didn’t escape me either. So when I stumbled upon the WingMan at Next Adventure Paddle Sports Center (624 SE 7th Ave, Portland OR) I asked a salesperson (who called himself Autzen) if it would be O.K. to try attaching one to a tarponesque seat. Autzen not only said it was O.K., but helped me strap it onto the nearest tarpon.


The red arrows show the parts of the seat where I attached the WingMan’s straps, being careful not to interfere with the seat’s own rigging.


Note: If you like your seat back to ride really low, this accessory may not be for you. As attached here, the accessory pack prevents the seat-back from reaching its lowest position.


This side view of my kayak seat shows that the WingMan’s vertical length isn’t really an optimal fit for the tarpon’s diminutive seat-back . Notice how far the lower straps have to reach. Never-the-less, as the straps are tightened, the device proves rigid enough to hold firmly.


My initial trials reveal that the bottle holders are reasonably placed. You don’t have to be a contortionist to reach them, and inflexible as I am, I could easily reach my beverage without turning around in my seat. The fishing-pole holders were a little bit harder, but with practice, I don’t think I’ll need to turn around to get fishing poles in and out of those either. I can already access the pole on my right-hand side as well as fasten and unfasten the Velcro strap that safeguards the pole while stowed. I really like the placement of the leash lash points. Having them right on the rod holder makes a lot of sense. The leashes will mostly be behind me and out of the way, and I have high hopes that this will eliminate the current fishing-pole-deep-water-migration rate of two per season.


The danuu WingMan isn’t designed for my kayak seat, but still manages to provide me with all of its advertised features.  Initially I was concerned that the minimal anchor points available on my seat-back might result in the pack shifting over time with use, but so far that has not been the case.  While it wouldn’t be difficult to undo the straps and remove the WingMan after using the kayak, I prefer leaving it attached. It has a low profile when empty and folds out of the way with the seat-back during kayak transport.

Spiffy Kayak outfitted with Danuu's WingMan Kayak Fishing Seat Accessory Pack
at Rock Islands in The Narrows on the Willamette River above the Falls.

I think danuu’s kayak fishing seat accessory pack is a good idea and a good product.  I’d be pretty happy if danuu came out with an accessory pack specifically designed for Wilderness System’s Phase three seats, but not as happy as I would have been if I hadn’t already bought one that isn’t. I’m glad I took a chance and decided to give this new storage solution a shot. Hopefully, enough information is presented here to help you make similar decisions for your own kayaks.


Editors’ note:  This essentially has been an exercise in writing a review for an actual real world product. I have not received any compensation, samples, or even minimal political influence for writing this blog entry. But why not ask yourself (if you are a businessperson) if you think you could find a use for high quality images like these and honest reviews for your product(s) — because I know a guy…

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