Yak Gear Fish Stik Unveiled at ICAST

One of the industry leaders in kayak fishing, released their new measuring device this week at ICast, the Yak Gear Fish Stik,. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned.

Yak Gear Fish Stik

Yak Gear got into the ‘measuring stick” game because the other options on the market aren’t necessarily ideal. The most common complaints about its competitor the Hawg Trough is:

  • It doesn’t float
  • By necessity, it’s long, awkward, and can be hard to store.
  • The lines are the same color as the Hawg Trough.
  • Did I mention, it doesn’t float?

So, naturally, Yak Gear wanted to address each of these issues and throw in some of their own improvements. Let’s take a closer look and see how they did.

What do I like about the Yak Gear Fish Stik?

It Floats – Finally, someone realized that these measuring sticks need to float. The light weight design of the Fish Stik means it is naturally buoyant, eliminating one of the biggest complaints aimed at their competitor.

It’s compact– Taking a 3-foot measuring stick and reducing it to 12 inches, is a great concept….in theory. More on that later.

Notches on the nose board: The two main problems when using a measuring stick in tournaments are: 1) Keeping the fish positioned properly 2) “Releasing” the fish prior to photographing. By adding a notch to the nose board, they have eliminated the first issue and lessened the second. Simply slide the line through the notch and pull. This will position the bass’ lip properly against the nose board (make sure to close its mouth). If the bass does release itself early, you stand a good chance of being able to re-boat him.

What concerns me about the Fish Stik?

Light Weight – The thing that makes it float is also the thing that makes it prone to breaking. While researching the product for this article, I spoke to several ICast Attendees who handled the product. Without exception, they all said some version of “it just feels flimsy.” In fact, while one individual was unfolding it at the Yak Gear booth, both hinges broke, leaving him holding the three individual pieces. This is unacceptable for tournaments.

fish stik by yak gear

Hinge Placement – In their design, obviously the hinges have to be placed somewhere. The problem is that there really isn’t a good place to put them.  The combination of fish placement, hinge placement, and the camera angle will most certainly lead to more disagreements about the actual length of the fish.


The lines: Why didn’t they fix the dang lines?! (Lines in the previous picture were colored in manually)

Their solution? The following is taken directly from their website: “Comes with a marker for self-applied darkened measurement indicators…” So, they knew it was an issue and didn’t fix it?

Is it suposed to do that?!

Yak Gear Fish Stik

Photo credit: Ryan Lambert

It bends: The photo explains it all.

Although there is some debate about whether this will add length (shortest distance between two points) or remove length (geometry magic), the end result is still the same. People are already questioning the accuracy of the Fish Stik. Chad Hoover posed for a photo with the Fish Stik saying it has been approved for KBF Tournaments. At the same time, there are those on the leadership team for KBF saying publically (social media) that there is no way this will ever be allowed.

Here is my question for you. Would you want to compete against a guy using the Yak Gear Fish Stik?

Those are my thoughts on the Fish Stik from Yak Gear. What are yours? Post your comments below, and if you found the article helpful please don’t forget to subscribe.

Click here see the other gear we’ve reviewed. 


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