In 2014, fellow kayaker Redfish Chuck asked me for my address. Of course I asked him what he needed it for prior to giving him my coordinates but he was reluctant to say. All I got was that someone had something to send me. Curiosity always has me intrigued so I reminded him a few times about said object that hadn’t come yet before I ended up forgetting about it. Because of the countless people that say they want to go fishing and never go, I don’t hold my breath very long and continue with life. However, a few months down the road and I received a large box from RAILBLAZA and inside was a nice new C-Tug cart with a note from Mark Vlaskamp informing me to enjoy my new cart. The cart I owned at the time sufficed but it was far from what I would later find out the C-Tug could do.
The biggest counter balance between my kayaks and I is a well-built kayak cart. Unfortunately, when I started kayak fishing I really didn’t know much about them or if they even existed. Constantly dragging and dropping the cheap little boat I started off with, practically wearing a hole in the hull. Upon visiting Alexander Springs for my first time, I was introduced to a hefty metal cart that I quickly adapted to. With help from the wife, I loaded the boat up and went downhill towards the spring. What seemed like a giant breakthrough for me was yesterday’s news to the next guy. Unlike the next guy, I knew this would open a few doors for me. The very next month my Mom sent me a cart and I was on the move. It was a nice cart but as I adapted into the world of kayak fishing alone, it started to fall behind. It would easily get stuck on small curbs or rocks and give me a hard time.
After opening the new C-Tug box I immediately thought NASA had sent part of their moon rover to me. It looked futuristic with its beefy tires and heavy plastic. What came in such a small box assembled into an awesome, adjustable kayak dolly. It didn’t take long for me to test it out by rolling out of my garage and around my condo. The very first thing I notice was the ease of access back into my garage and over the transition from asphalt to garage floor. I could easily keep my boat on the cart without it falling off and it wasn’t even strapped on. When the boat falls off the cart, it can be a huge obstacle to get it back on but the built in kickstand works miracles.
A few months into my trusty kayak companion, I had an accident in my garage. My fully loaded Ocean Kayak fell off the rack while the cart was under it, smashing one of the pads. Independent I am but it doesn’t come gracefully. Luckily it only smashed that and not one of my lifeless feet. After contacting Mark and letting him know it definitely was not a manufacture defect, he sent a new pad. A crippled body and crippled cart made for a difficult few weeks.
Fast forward 9 months or so and I’m contacting Mark, AGAIN. ” Sooo I tried to do a good deed and help a guy and his wife unload their john boat and unfortunately the C-tug couldn’t handle it. Can I order a replacement wheel? I’m crippled without my cart.” That’s the PM I sent back in August. The argument between husband and wife on how to unload this large Jon Boat from the back of their pickup was too much for me to ignore. I was literally trying to help out some nice people and had all the faith in the world in the cart but it became just another example of operator error. Instead of helping the cart by relieving some weight, the fella let the cart do all the work and one of the wheels cracked as the boat went speeding down the ramp. Did I mention there was an 8hp Yamaha attached to it? It was a comical morning all before my fishing buddies showed up but the husband and wife got on the water safely with smiles and my new wheel came in a week later.
I often overlook the little cart and I have never sent Mark a formal thank you for thinking of me and how this small token of appreciation would make my life easier. There is not a fishing trip that goes by when my C-Tug is not in tow. Adapting to life with a disability truly has its ups and downs but with good equipment and good people, it is easily manageable.
To Mark, RAILBLAZA and all those involved, THANK YOU for making my life this much easier.