Why Fish From a Kayak
By Jerry White
This article is reprinted with permission from our friends at Paddling.Net.
Ask ten different people and you’ll likely get ten different answers. But all will agree that for them, paddle fishing is the only way to go. I’ll attempt to focus on just a few reasons why many people have chosen to embrace this sport.
Once you’re on the water other opportunities will become clear. See that tiny opening in the tree line over there? Point your bow through there and you may be rewarded by entering a protected cove loaded with fish that are convinced that they’re completely alone. These days I like to think of the fish as "locals" in a tourist town — they know the good places to eat, know how to get away from the crowds, and that’s where you’ll find them. In that respect, kayak anglers are ahead of the game before they ever make that first cast.
ELMER FUDD WAS RIGHT:
Humans are never content where they are — they're always trying to find ways to obtain what is currently out of reach.
LESS IS MORE:
GOLF, WITHOUT THE PROFANITY AND FUNNY SHOES:
In kayak fishing you’re the captain, the first mate, the navigator, you’re it. As in golf, you can envision where the fish are as if it was the pin sticking up on a distant green (in kayak fishing you can use a GPS if you like, it’s not cheating like it would be on the PGA circuit). You plot your course based on the hazards around you (you still want to stay out of the sand). You choose your rod/reel/lure as you would a golf club. As you approach the spot where the fish should be, you calculate that cast as if you were sizing up a birdie putt at the Masters. Too hard and in to the rough you go — too soft and you’ll never get it to the target — gotta watch the wind — gotta watch the current — gotta be quiet. But at the end of the day, whether you catch fish or not, it will always be the result of your efforts and your abilities to overcome obstacles. But always remember — unlike golf, being in the water is a good thing, and extra (paddle) strokes don’t count against you.
ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN:
PEACE OF MIND:
I have a number of reasons why I kayak fish, but this is probably the main one. And, I happen to be in the best, most content portion of my life (so far). For me, I guess I’m not running from anything, but running toward something. That something being a chance to breathe some non-recycled air, listen to the birds, look for any signs of non-human life, fin or feather, erase the thoughts from the previous week, and collect my thoughts for the next one. It’s a good time to pay attention. After giving all week long it’s a good time to be the sponge and take some back in. It’s also a good time to listen to an old friend. I often find myself talking to God when I’m in the car, stuck in traffic, Seems I choose to speak my mind at the loudest part of my day, because I trust that He can hear me. But, God talks to me when I’m on the water, very softly. Like I say, this is a good time to soak it all in, and a good time to pay attention.
… OR IS IT TO CATCH FISH?
$500,000 worth of boats and trailers at the ramp, and the guys who won picked their boats up by hand and walked home past all of us.
You know where this story is going, but humor me — I love telling this story. All contestants had to launch from the same ramp at the same time. Reportedly, some teams motored as far as 40 miles away to predetermined GPS coordinates in search of the 2 winning fish. The kayak team waited for the initial wakes to clear, and then paddled to a secluded area about 1/2 mile from the launch. They could see and hear the motorized mayhem but due to the shallow draft of their kayaks, they had the area to themselves. Yes, they won. When it was more beneficial to get out and wade, they did. The power boats brought their live catch back to the weigh-in in special live wells — these guys simply put the fish on a conventional stringer and towed them back to be entered into the record books, and then released. This victory certainly created a buzz in the powerboat crowd as well as in the paddle angling community. However, one of the other contestants summed it up best, when he said, "… but, it was a heck of a sight … $500,000 worth of boats and trailers at the ramp, and the guys who won picked their boats up by hand and walked home past all of us …".
If you’re the competitive sort, it doesn’t get much better than this. Many attribute this win to luck. But luck is sometimes seen as the place where preparation and opportunity meet. So maybe on this day it took a plastic vessel to get them there. But, it’s almost not fair. I can see numerous advantages that paddle anglers have over their fossil fuel fired counterparts. But, that will just have to be our little secret. I can trust you, right?
So there you have it, just a few reasons why thousands have come to love this sport of kayak fishing, the numbers are growing, and show no signs of slowing down. There are a host of other reasons too, including spending time with your family on the water, teaching your children a little about conservation, and even getting some exercise. Whatever your reason may be, rest assured you are not part of a fad — kayak fishing is here to stay.
I’ll close with some words from a wise man. It would seem he was way ahead of his time.See you on the water… "Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after." - Henry David Thoreau