Fall is finally upon us and for some kayakers this means putting down the fishing rods and picking up a rifle for some kayak duck hunting. Our good friend, Dustin Schouest, shares with us a great new product which will make your kayak duck hunting more productive, DukNutz Decoy Weights.
It is not often that a product comes out for my hobbies that I am absolutely flabbergasted by. Sure, I was blown away by the Vibe Sea Ghost 130. And yes, I love the innovations that you see from Yak Attack’s products: Luther, the owner, pushes American made products with top quality standards into a market begging for new tools and new takes on old equipment. But, I was recently introduced to a product that not only was exactly what I needed to make my kayak duck hunting easier, but was ran by a local man and ran out of a nearby city. When I first saw the name, I laughed as any immature child of the internet might. But when I got it and started using it and testing it, I knew this guy was onto something. This is my experience, and now love affair, with DukNutz decoy anchoring systems.
Since I started to break myself of what I call the cancer of Facebook, I had started to frequent Instagram more. In between fishing and hunting pictures and snap shots of cats, a friend had tagged me in a giveaway. The giveaway was for a Yeti Rambler with a logo on it: it said DukNutz. I did a double take at the name. If you grew up watching 90’s cartoons like I did (Rocko’s Modern Life molded me into the man I am today), you got used to sexual innuendos in product names and double or triple entendres with a dirty meaning to them. Seeing this name brought me right back to the time in my life I started to understand the meaning of my favorite moments in the cartoons I grew up with.
After the initial shock and chocolate-milk-out-of-nose-laugh-moment, I started looking at what DukNutz had to offer. Based out of Thibodaux, La, the owner, Hunter Andras, invented a decoy weight that would slide up or down the line attached to the decoy. What this meant is that the weight would be right beside the keel, and would not wrap up as it was put in, or stored in, a decoy sack. They were advertised as “tangle free” and easy to use. Right up this old dog’s alley.
I can say from experience with various decoy weight set ups, memory and tangles are a constant hassle. Many cords I had used in various decoy weight systems were made of a kind of nylon-like monofilament. And any fisherman can tell you the biggest problem with mono: memory and the ability to tangle up. This is especially apparent when the decoys are in a bag, being toted around and thrown about. With the weight fixed at the end, the hunter had two opens: either let the cords and weights hang freely and carry them in a big group, or throw the decoys in the bag with the cord wrapped around the keel, and risk them becoming a tangled mess.
In my previous duck seasons, I struggled with setting up quickly as the sun would paint the morning like the late Bob Ross. I would either have to reach into my decoy sack and deal with cords and weights tangled up like something from a bad baitcaster backlash, or I would have to carry the decoys by the weights, and have them sprawled allover my kayak as though a child had tried to store them. Both were frustrating as sin, especially because the mono always seemed to stay in a constant loop. Perhaps this was due to the packaging that most decoy weight setups come in.
I watched the videos provided on DukNutz’s website, and I was immediately on the shop ordering my first batch of 3 ounce weights. I ordered them on a Sunday night, and they arrived at my door on Tuesday morning. Talk about fast shipping, even if it was from a local company. The first thing I noticed with the cords was that they were made of a plastic material rather than mono or braided cord. They were folded up neatly, and were very easy to unknot and prepare. I already like that if I laid them out perfectly straight that there was no memory: they never tried to wrap back up together. That was a very big perk right there.
I grabbed my big decoys (my pintail and bluebill set), and got the weights tied on. If you don’t like to tie knots, you have the option of ordering snap swivels or crimps. The crimps require more work (you need something to crimp down with such as pliers) but are very secure, and the snap swivels make it easy to remove the weights in a hurry.
The weight system in and of itself is as inventive and original as the name. The weight is shaped like a nut: not one from a tree, but one that would look more in place on a massive diesel engine. These hex-shaped weights come in variants of 3, 4.5, and 7 ounce, with cords carrying from 3 to 5 feet in length. As I usually only hunt ponds that are no deeper than one to two feet deep, I opted for the three foot length cords. The nut is designed to slide up and down the cord, and is meant to be stored next to the keel of the decoy. With the weight so close to the decoy itself, the cords won’t be able to tangle like free hanging weights. Even if wrapped around the keep, weights at the ends of cords will, and have constantly, come loose, and have caused tangles of epic proportions for me.
At the end of the cord is a loop that is created via crimp. This loop makes it super easy to transport, carry, and catch decoys when picking up. I personally use a carabiner to keep my cords together so that they cannot tangle: I can effectively carry them in my decoy bag without fear of having to search for tangles and make a giant mess.
To test this, I set up my kayak in the yard and sat down. I brought my decoy bag in front of me and opened it. Now, it normally would take me about five minutes to get my big ducks spread out and tossed into the water. This time it took a little under two minutes. This may not seem like much, but when you are freezing, the sun is rising, and you can hear the beat of wings of flying ducks, every minute counts. Especially in cold weather when motor skills do not work at their best.
In an effort to make it easier to grab my decoys, I used a drill to gouge out a quarter inch line in my paddle, about two inches long, so I could more effectively grab my decoys. I use the gouge to catch the decoy line, and pull it toward me. Once the decoy is to hand, it is near effortless to slide the DukNut to the keel of the decoy, attach the line to the carabiner, and throw it in the bag. This system will make the most boring part of duck hunting, picking up the equipment, so much easier.
My final thoughts are quite positive on the DukNutz decoy anchor system. I love to buy locally made products, support local businesses, and make my life easier when enjoying the outdoors. Hunter knocked it out of the park with an innovative weight with a fun and catchy name. With a line of weights, clothing, decals, and even coffee mugs, I can see DukNutz having a long and successful life.
I have been looking at my calendar since February of this year, counting down the days and weeks till November 12th. Not only is it my girlfriend’s birthday, but, it is also opening day of the Louisiana coastal zone duck season. For me, opening day is a holiday, and it is to be celebrated with the fanfare of 3” shells, floating feathers, and a stack of ducks. She is gonna have a birthday dinner of red wine, bacon wrapped duck, and a birthday cake, and it will be, in part, thanks to the use of the DukNutz decoy weight systems.
About the Author
Dustin Schouest is a veteran angler from the small disappearing village of Pointe Aux Chenes, La. When not fishing, Dustin is usually found tying flies, editing video, or writing about his adventures from his Vibe Sea Ghost 130. He is a member of the Hook1 Fishing Team as well as a member of Team Filthy Anglers.