Crabbing in the Sea Eagle 300x Explorer

A small batch of Dungeness crabs caught off the Vancouver coast. Photo courtesy of Jay Santos.

By Tom Schlichter

We’ve seen some interesting ways to put Sea Eagle kayaks to good use, but this one from Jay Santos, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is truly unique. Santos uses his Sea Eagle 300x Explorer inflatable kayak to catch Dungeness crabs, which he then sells to co-workers and friends.

“I actually got started when a buddy told me he enjoyed catching crabs in tidal waters from his paddleboard” explains Santos. “One day we went out for a paddle and he showed me how it’s done. He offered to lend me one of his crab traps to give it a try and I pulled six shorts and two keepers on my first haul. I’ve been hooked on crabbing from my Explorer 300x ever since.”

At first, Santos worried that it might be too much work to lower and raise the hoop-style traps in the 50- to 80-foot depths where he’s had the most success. He was also concerned that sitting so low to the water might make the task even more difficult by taking away the leverage advantage of standing that his friend had on the paddle board. But things went smoothly right from the start said the 56-year-old store coordinator of medical supplies at Vancouver Hospital, who now has a regular route of acquaintances awaiting his deliveries. Interestingly, Santos isn’t a seafood lover himself, which, he says with a chuckle, makes it easy to part with his catch at day’s end.

Only the best will do. Photo courtesy of Jay Santos.

“The combination of crabbing and paddling has really made a difference in my life,” reveals Santos. “It’s been a great way to get outdoors and have some fun, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. All the work and exercise has helped me melt away a few pounds, too. I don’t even realize the weight is coming off while I’m crabbing or covering water on my kayak, and the workouts make it easy for me to sleep at night. So, this has been more than a business venture, it’s really a life-style choice. When I called and placed my order with Sea Eagle, the salesperson told me: ‘You won’t regret this,’ and he was absolutely right. I’m definitely satisfied with my purchase.”

To be sure, Santos was interested in buying an inflatable kayak before he thought about crabbing, and he eventually took the plunge after doing considerable research online. He described his first purchase, from another manufacturer, as “boring” since it had been designed mostly for getting out on placid ponds. Eventually, he discovered Sea Eagle and was immediately intrigued by the 300x Explorer because it seemed rugged, stable and river ready. Additionally, it was rated for tackling up to class 4 rapids, and some reviews even mentioned using it for surfing. “I watched a ton of You-Tube videos on this model,” he stated, “and it just looked like a true multi-purpose kayak that could be a lot of fun.”

Santos does his crabbing along the Vancouver coast, spending time around Jericho Beach, Burrard Inlet and at Deep Cove in the Indian Arm waterway. “I love it,” he says, “but this is hard work. I use Promar Ambush, 32” diameter hoop style crab pots and they weigh about 5 pounds each. When you pull the rope, the sides rise up and the crabs tumble to the center of the pot. I check my traps every 30 or 40 minutes. We’re only allowed to use two crab traps at a time, and a license is required. While my traps soak, I head for the nearest beach or cove.”

Batch of Dungeness crabs just out of the water. Video courtesy of Jay Santos.

That down time between pulls is what Santos calls his special time. “Exploring is what having a kayak is all about. I love looking at maps and deciding which new places to check out. We bring folding chairs, which is fine because the 300x has plenty of room for those, plus my pots and provisions. I put the pots in the bow where they receive good support from the deep pontoons. I never feel squeezed in this kayak because it has lots of leg room. It’s also exceptionally rigid and stable, and it tracks easily in the water thanks to its removeable skeg.”

Another plus for Santos is the Explorer’s toughness. He’s scraped it on barnacles, dragged it across rocks, and bumped it against docks and says it holds up remarkedly well in rugged conditions. It sports self-draining valves – which are key for running rapids or paddling on the ocean – and has D-rings for securing gear. “I attach my paddle leash to a D-ring so I can simply dump the paddle on the side of the kayak when I need to pull a trap,” he says.

Taking a break and enjoying the view from shore. Photo courtesy of Jay Santos.

Of course, like most who own Sea Eagle inflatables, Santos appreciates that the Sea Eagle 300x inflates in less than 10 minutes and can be left inflated for several days if necessary. They’ll fit easily in a closet or garage and can be placed in a car trunk or on a car roof for transport. In fact, Santos often leaves his kayak inflated for the ride back home so it dries before he gets  back. At that point, a good wipe-down is all it needs before being deflated and stored.

“There’s one other thing I really love about this ‘yak,” concludes Santos. “It’s great to loan to friends. Most are hesitant to try it at first but once they see its’ easy to get in and out, and has plenty of leg room, they hop aboard and head right off. It’s a great feeling to see them paddle out and start having fun.”

TIMING IS EVERYTHING WITH THE PACKFISH7™ AND SEA EAGLE SPORT KAYAK SE370

Little-Dell-New-Raft

Sea Eagle’s PackFish7™ is lightweight, easy to transport and remarkably steady making it the perfect choice for Larry to target lunkers well off the beaten track.

For Larry Lutton, the release of Sea Eagle’s new PackFish7™ couldn’t have come at a better time.

“I was just about to buy a float tube and kicking fins when I saw an ad for the new PackFish7™, which had just been released. What a break that turned out to be. I’m so pleased the way things ended up.”

Lutton, 69, loves to fish in the beautiful rivers, lakes and reservoirs around Salt Lake City, Utah. He regularly targets rainbow, brown, brook and tiger trout on these waters with both fly-fishing and spinning gear and now his new PackFish7™ gets him off the shoreline, out among the lunkers in comfort and style.

“I have a bad back,” explains Lutton, “but I’m able to transport, inflate, launch, paddle and break down my PackFish with no trouble at all. It’s easy to row and the four tracking strips on the bottom keep it going straight ahead so it isn’t easily blown off course by the wind. The entire boat weighs a very manageable 32 pounds – with the floor board inserted! Packed away, it fits in my Mini Cooper for easy transport so I can head up to my favorite lakes and reservoirs for a day of fishing. If you purchase the optional back straps, it is very easy to hike into the lake after the PackFish has been inflated, even with the floorboard in place. It takes only five minutes to inflate everything using the foot pump and the two side pouches have enough room for extra tackle, fly boxes and water bottles.”

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Lutton’s PackFish7™ and SE 370 both fit right on top of his Mini Cooper, making them ideal for a quick and easy getaway to his favorite mountain rivers and lakes.

About those floor boards: Lutton loves them!  “It adds a degree of stability and safety that other inflatable rafts don’t have,” he states. “I’ve had inflatable rafts before and getting into them is like stepping onto a waterbed. With the PackFish7™, I can get in and out very easily and actually stand-up and fish if I want to.”

Most of the time Lutton prefers to fish from a seated position and that, he says, has worked just fine so far because the seat rides high enough to be comfortable while also providing a good look into the depths below. “I spent three hours sitting and fly-casting the other day and my back felt great,” he added. “Everything about his boat is well thought out. There are two big pouches for storing gear, two rod holders, and the oars can be left hands-free or secured to the side with hook & loop closure straps when I’m casting and landing fish. The PackFish7™ is comfortable, stable, lightweight, easy to maneuver and – unlike conventional float tubes and kick boats – you stay dry! I really think the Pack is a terrific choice for anglers of any age – even old-timers like me.”

this is the reason why. rafting in the beautify Uintas

With his new PackFish7™, Larry Lutton can now easily get off the shore even in remote waters, expanding his opportunities to connect with trophy fish.

Lutton, it should be noted, is no stranger to Sea Eagle products. He also owns a SE370 kayak, which he takes out paddling with his wife, Carol, and their friends who introduced them to the SE370. “What my wife likes about the Sea Eagle is how stable it is,” he explains. “Unlike hard shell kayaks and canoes, you never feel like you are going to roll over. The inflatable floor makes it easy to step in and out of as well.”

“We also like that the seats on that inflatable kayak have flexible positioning – so my wife and I can adjust them to fit our own needs even if we switch places during the course of a trip. With only one seat it is still easy to paddle and makes for a great one-person kayak.”

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In addition to the PackFish7™, Larry Lutton also enjoys family time aboard his SE370.

Lutton hopes to squeeze in a lot of fishing and paddling over the remainder of the summer and fall seasons. “With my new PackFish7™ I can cover a lot more water than I could in a float tube,” he says, “…..and I plan to take full advantage of that opportunity. My first love is fly fishing streams and rivers, but the PackFish will get me out on my favorite little lakes in the Uintah Mountains for some still water fly-fishing that was otherwise difficult, if not impossible to do from shore.”