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Getting a Wilderness Systems Radar 135 with the Helix PD has totally changed the way I kayak fish.
Radar (135) Love
by: Thomas Philippi
Getting a Wilderness Systems Radar 135 with the Helix PD has totally changed the way I kayak fish. I’ve always been a paddler, even when trolling for striped bass in the fall. I had to find ways to get the job done, which consisted of having my rod in a holder in front of me so I could keep an eye on it while paddling. I had to rely on a proper drag setting to set the hook. Wind and tidal currents often made these trips interesting but I could get the job done most day. I was more selective on the conditions I would fish. This past spring I got my hands and feet on a Radar. Fall trolling for stripers was one of the main reasons I wanted this kayak, along with drifting for flounder in the spring and summer. This kayak and it’s pedal system has far exceeded my expectations! I’ve put together some reasons how my approach to trolling has changed with pedal power. I now longer worry about wind. The Helix PD is a beast and going against wind and tides. I can get to and from my fishing spots without fear of fatigue. Trolling sod banks is a breeze. I can stay as close as I want with my rudder control. The Helix PD can get me going fast or I can instantly slow my speed by pedaling in reverse. My hands are free so I can hold my rod in my right hand while steering with my left. I now get feedback if my tube and worm keel weight or my weighted swimbait is in contact with the bottom which is prefered. I can also feel the extra weight of weeds if the get on my bait. The best part about holding my rod is feeling the strike and getting a good hookset before turning around.
Once I’ve got a bass hooked up, the rudder can be used to steer away from the bank into deeper water for the fight. Depending whether I’ve been trolling with or against the tide or if the bank is to my rod side or rudder side, you may need to pedal in reverse as you steer away from the bank, but it is always possible to keep the striper to your rod side. The ability to pedal forward and in reverse at any time really helps when fighting these fish. I usually have quite a bit of line out while trolling depending on the depth of the water and stripers are unpredictable. They will often run straight at you at some point in your battle and pedaling in reverse can give you the ability to keep your line tight. I’ve also had a striped bass dive under my kayak as a last ditched attempt to free itself so be prepared as you try to land your trophy. I fish with the South Jersey Kayak Bass Fishing Club and I also noticed how much the pedal system helps fight fish in sweetwater too. Reverse allows you to pull your hooked bass away from the bank and obstructions. I did lose a bass when it dove under my kayak while I was still pedaling so don’t make the same mistake!
Lastly I wanted to mention how the Radar Helix PD can help while drifting. I love spring flounder fishing but the winds and tides often made paddling for them a nightmare. With the Helix PD I can easily look at my electronics and hold my drift right through the honey holes that hold those delicious flatties! I still have a paddle kayak, a Wilderness System ATAK 140 that I use if our bass club is fishing very shallow or weedy lakes. If I am in salt water or in any larger, deeper lakes, I will be pedaling my Radar 135 with pride and confidence! I am no longer just a kayak paddler.