There have been occasions over the last few years where I have forgone fishing altogether. They have been few but at the same time numerous enough to warrant further investigation. The reason was generally the lack of parking in close enough proximity to where I wanted to fish which would have resulted in dragging or carrying the kayak too great a distance to have sufficient paddling energy upon reaching the water’s edge!
My response to such a dilemma was to try and make my own trolley. I cut down an old golf cart and added straps and thought that this makeshift trolley would be perfect. It was on tarmac and concrete paths and roads. Then I came across gravel, sand and soft mud where the modified golf trolley became well and truly stuck. Not good for the Irish coastline where sand and gravel are a recurring feature and soft mud is a staple around our inland waterways.
Something had to be sourced that would be up to the job. I had read many reviews about the ‘C-Tug’ trolley by Railblaza. All were positive apart from one thing; there were many complaints about the inflatable tyres not holding air. The company obviously listened to feedback and the result of that is a new version of the trolley that features solid tyres. One was duly ordered and eagerly awaited.
The trolley arrived and the first thing that struck me was the rugged, well thought out construction. The pads that the kayak rests on are coated with a non-slip rubber (very handy), the angles they can be set to accept any kayak’s hull style, the webbing straps and fastener seems to be of very good quality, the wheels are indeed solid and very sturdy, everything fits together very well and it looks to be a super product. The only reservation I have at the moment is the kick stand for the cart; it looks a little flimsy and it will be interesting to see how long it lasts.
I didn’t order the trolley to look at it though so the only test for it can be a field test. I have used the trolley in a few different environments already and I have to admit that it has performed admirably. First off was a beach on the east coast. Consisting of loose shingle on a bit of a steep incline, the golf cart trolley went nowhere. No problem to the C-Tug though. To say it glided over the substrate would be an overstatement, it took a little effort to pull it back up the beach but at no time did the wheels sink, slide or get stuck. Shingle test – passed!
Next up was an area on the west coast that I have been looking at. A small, sheltered lake surrounded by trees is an ideal spot to hide from some of the horrendous weather of late. The lake is a slog along an uneven forest track to the lake’s edge and I can contest that dragging the kayak through this without a trolley is close to a murderous task. Recent rain had turned the track into soft mud when I arrived to test the trolley. “No chance!”, was exactly what I thought when I saw the state of the place. I loaded the trolley up with kayak and fishing gear and proceeded along the path. To my surprise the trolley chugged straight through the mud, sinking a small bit but not enough to get bogged down. I was very impressed, a lot more than I was with the afternoon’s fishing! Soft mud test – passed!
Wet sand was the next encounter and once again the trolley performed excellently. It rolled over this surface with ease. Things looked a little shaky when I came across large mounds of seaweed that had been thrown up onto the beach in recent storms. the trolley went up and over them with ease. Wet sand and seaweed test – passed!
Overall I am very happy with the purchase. The lightweight, rugged construction should ensure that the trolley lasts for a considerable length of time even with my ‘use and abuse’ policy towards outdoor gear. Loading the kayak onto the trolley is easy and the boat never feels in danger of falling off when in transit, even on rough terrain. The ease at which the trolley can be disassembled is very useful, allowing the pieces to be stowed in the bow hatch when on the water.
I would have no problem recommending the version of the C-Tug that has the solid wheels. Having not used the inflatable type I would be in no position to comment or pass judgement on them but the updated version certainly seems to tick a lot of boxes for me. The most important feature of the trolley is that it opens more inaccessible waters and launch points to the kayak angler – well worth the investment in my opinion.