Kayak Fishing is for Girls…Too

Trip after trip on the water I meet new faces. I talk to folks from all over the state and country about kayak fishing at shows, get togethers, informal gatherings and social situations. After talking way too much and not paying attention enough, I finally realized a lesson I learned well last week and it was driven home this
morning: Kayak fishing is for girls…too.

Kayak Fishing is for everyone. I rarely see the gentler sex on the water, fishing pole in hand doing battle with the scaled phantoms so many of us guys chase. Last weekend however, I had the privilege of fishing with Nina Kavon of Team Hobie-Finland. Nina grew up around fishing. Her family owns and she now runs a fishing shop in Finland. She can also catch bass with the best of them which she proved by winning a big bass award at the 2nd Annual Hobie Worlds last Fall. Nina has the instincts, science, and desire to be on the water that all of my kayak fishing buddies do. She’s not the first that I’ve met though. Just the most recent. A handful of female anglers have shown their prowess in our sport but it was a group of seven year olds that opened my eyes.

This morning I presented kayak fishing, the science of fishing and the motivation to work hard to accomplish dreams to an elementary school. Almost 200 kids attended my sessions and during each period, the small group was asked the same question: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Keep in mind this question was setting me up for a “work hard to accomplish your dreams” segue but four little girls sitting together stopped me cold.  Each one of them answered the question the same. “I want to be a kayak fisher.” It never dawned on me that little girls might want to do something most little boys think is cool! I have a four year old daughter and she loves kayaks but I always attributed that to osmosis. These little girls at the school had 15 minutes of hearing about the sport so many of us love and they were ready to jump in. I thought that was so cool! After mulling it over through the day today, I realized I have neglected talking about cool things that might apply to the female readers of the site. Or even the guys who care about style and design.

Today I would like to rectify that. As much as I can currently. 

Pink ConSeal and Shock Cord
Chad Hoover over at HOOK1 started to recognize this trend long before my brain cells connected and started carrying bungee (shock cord) in different colors. Most of us guys look for a cool colored boat but see the accessories as utilitarian (with a few exceptions, Walker N.) Being utilitarian, most of the kayak accessories on the market are black. Black is easy, it doesn’t get dirty quickly and has a manly Darth Vader look to it. Some of the folks out there are looking for a little more pop in their accessories and that is available more and more. The pink shock cord will add a dash of color to any kayak but looks great on a lime green kayak. It even looks good on camo! 

Chad has been working on expanding colors in not only shock cord but also sound dampening materials and clothing options. He’s helping the industry expand and listening to you ladies. Let us know what you’d like to see. Leave a comment here, on Facebook or at the HOOK1 site.

I can’t speak for Chad, but for me, you’ll get results a lot quicker if you tell me what you’d like. I’m listening now. Let me know!

And The Winner Is.....

A big thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway. I hope to do more of these as the site continues to grow. Trying to do contests out of my own pocketbook is limiting but it also keeps the site unbiased and able to give you true feedback on kayaks, products and gear. Please note that you can see all the pictures, videos and other cool things on our new Pinterest page (the link is on the right side of every page). Also, you can subscribe through Networked Blogs and be the first to know when new content hits the site.

I have some exciting new stuff coming up this spring including the launch of my first book. It will be an e-book and absolutely free! Look for that around the end of May.

If you like what you see here please tell a friend, share a post and subscribe. The more subscribers, followers and readers that come here, the more reviews and articles I can do for you. I do want to say thank you to Mariner-Sails of Dallas, TX for allowing me the opportunity to test so many kayaks and give you, the reader, my honest feedback of the good and the bad.

So, without further ado,

I'll send you a Facebook message to get your information in the next 24 hours. Thanks for entering!

Final Thoughts on the 2013 Hobie Outback

Below you will find my thoughts, the good with the bad. Being an ambassador for Mariner-Sails allows me to speak freely about kayaks regardless of brand and to offer what I feel is advice to both consumers and the manufacturers. I am very grateful for their support.

Some people may agree, some may not, but these are my thoughts.

For the last several weeks I have been field testing a 2013 Hobie Outback from Mariner-Sails in Dallas, TX. Mike from Mariner installed the rectangular hatch in front of the seat and I installed two , 4” GearTrac GT-175Rails. Other than that, no modifications were performed to this kayak. I fished in this kayak eight times, all trips were over 4 hours in length and all were recorded on video so I could go back and review.

I originally chose the Outback because of a trip to Lake Fork. I knew with March weather, it could be rough. I didn’t want to be limited by just my paddling strength and liked the thought of speed and less fatigue that the Outback represented. I needed to be able to rig it out with my fish finder, a Lowrance 5X-DSI, fit my BlackPak from YakAttack in it and past that, just be able to fish and put the kayak on top of my Ford Escape.
With all of these criteria met, I picked up the Hobie Outback in early February, rigged it out and got to fishing.

The Good

The Outback is light enough to cartop by yourself. At least for me it was. Anything under 75lbs is typically able to be put on top of a car or SUV. Some folks are stronger, have load assist bars etc and can do more but if you have a factory rack or foam blocks, 75lbs is a pretty good threshold. The Outback comes in under that. My rigged weight was 74lbs.

Though not advertised as such, you can stand and fish in this kayak. The platform is not quite developed to promote it but I stood and fished a crankbait out of this kayak with no problems. At 33 inches wide and just over 12 feet long with a tunnel hull, the Outback is very stable. I sat side saddle, stood and even disembarked by walking straight up the centerline to the bow. With increasing demand for stable, standable kayaks, this one should be on your list.

Outbacks come with a rudder already installed and have tiller steering. For those of us who brace with our feet, this is a great feature. I spent an afternoon trolling for hybrids by pedaling the Outback while enjoying a large soda. Not a lot of platforms offer hands free fishing. Another nice feature to the rudder is being able to stay on a line with the wind blowing. All rudders offer this but a tiller style is easier in the wind for us “bracers”.

Mirage Drive
The Mirage Drive comes with standard fins that are upgradable to turbo fins which are narrower and generate more power. While the option is nice, don’t think it necessary to immediately upgrade. The standard equipment will move this boat well.

The draft on the Outback is much shallower than I thought. With the fins spread I was able to fish in less than a foot of water multiple times in many conditions. If you remove the Mirage Drive, the kayak is limited only by your poling ability. I crossed over a stretch of water standing and poling the Outback at Lake Fork that was four inches deep.

The back well storage is large. I pack a lot of things when I fish. Typically, the added gear weighs another 60-80lbs. It has to go somewhere and above deck is where I like it in freshwater. I was able to store everything behind my seat and still have room for a small cooler if I wanted.

The front hatch is a nice size. While not the largest of front hatches in the market, the Outback has enough clearance to stow rods, paddles and other gear below deck. The sail post just in front of the hatch also gives easy access to install a fish finder or other accessory post if you don’t plan on sailing.

The Outback seat is not your normal seat. Usually strap in seats are flimsy and give you about a four hour max seat time before your back wants to leave the country. Not this seat. With adjustable support via air intakes (you just twist) I had no issues fishing six or eight hours without a shoreline exodus.

The Bad

These are the things I see as needing improvement for future models. Not everyone will agree but these are what I encountered.

The tunnel hull offers great stability in the water. It makes it very difficult to transport with other kayaks or by itself while upright. You cannot stay rigged when transporting this kayak. The hull causes it to lean to one side which means all of your gear will shift and your rods are at a funky angle. I suppose you could fix this with PVC, a trailer, Hydro Glide pads from Thule or something of the like but it still remains a nuisance. Lots of preplanning has to go into transport.

Straight gunwales are at a minimum. The longest GearTrac I could add to a front gunwale was four inches. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for adding accessories and made me think long and hard about where everything would have to go. A straight eight inch section of space would be nice (that’s NOT in the recessed areas by the handles).

Move the rear carrying handle already. People have complained for years that the rear carrying handle is hard to get to and covered by the rudder in the stowed position. I don’t want the rudder flopping around while I’m loading and I don’t want any more scratches and cuts from fighting the rudder while carrying the Outback. Move it to an offset position on the back and front, four inches from where it is and problem solved.

The Outback is able to be fished standing up currently but is not designed for it. Steal six inches of the back well and move the seat back to add a flatter, larger surface just in front of the seat. And while we are talking in front of the seat, make the rectangular hatch standard so you can fit a paddle and larger gear underneath.


The Hobie Outback shines as a fishing boat. It is a nice hybrid between the sleek, fast Hobie Revolution and its battle cruiser brother the Pro Angler. If you want a kayak that is able to be car topped, transported via cart easily, is versatile enough for almost any water and comes with tons of features built in, this is a great choice.  

The Spring Giveaway Contest is Now Open

The Prizes:

5 Packs of Hag's Tornado Baits in F4
5 Packs of Hag's Undertaker Jr
A $25 gift card to either Tackle Warehouse
    or Academy Sports (winner's choice)

Here are the three ways you can enter:

Option #1
If you "Like" the Facebook Fan Page of Payne's Paddle Fish = 1 Entry

Option #2
If you "Subscribe" to Payne's Paddle Fish = 1 Entry

Option #3
If you "Follow" Payne's Paddle Fish on Networked Blogs = 1 Entry

All of these options are available from the right side of the website (see image)

You may enter with all three options. People who have liked, followed or subscribed previously are already entered.

The Rules
There must be 100 new entries for a winner to be chosen. We will be running this contest for one week so please get the word out. If the 100 new entries are not reached, one extension period of an additional week may be granted. If not reached at that time, the contest will be void.

To help this along I will add in one more way to enter:

Option #4
If you share the posting about this contest from the original Payne's Paddle Fish Facebook Page or from Chris Payne's personal Facebook page you will get an additional entry. IT MUST BE FROM THE ORIGINAL POSTS. Shares from friends shares will not garner an additional entry.

I realize this is Facebook heavy but most of my blog marketing is done via Facebook. Option #2 is a way for everyone to be able to enter with just a valid email address. Any discrepancies will be handled by Payne's Paddle Fish. The winner will be announced via Facebook and on Texas Fishing Forum the day after the contest ends.

Good luck and get the word out!

The Fish Talk. Listen.

I've known it for years. Fishing for trout teaches it to you. Fishing for bass teaches it to you. Fishing for reds teaches it to you. The problem is we bury it under piles of maps, tackle, gear, reports and fishing forum gossip.

So what is "it"?

Here "it" is: The fish will tell you what they want to eat. Figuratively of course. More accurately stated, for those willing to observe it, the fish you are looking for will show you what they want to eat. And upon further inspection, how.

I relearned this lesson on Saturday at Lake Winnsboro. While scouting kayaking locations from the bank, my brother and  I found bass actively feeding on shad. We launched the kayaks and set off in hot pursuit. After 45 minutes and zero strikes on myriad baits, I changed my mind. I reanalyzed the situation.

What were the bass feeding on? Shad.
What size were the shad? About two inches.
What colors imitate shad? White and silver.
What speed were the shad moving? Fast.
What baits did I have that I could mimic the shad? One. An Excalibur XR25 Lipless Crankbait in Sexy Shad.

I tied it on and second cast landed a fish. I immediately called to Lance and let him know what the pattern was. He tied on a Strike King Red Eye Shad in Chrome and started catching them as well.

Why did I spend so much time throwing my confidence baits? Because I was confident I knew what the fish wanted. They told me otherwise with their closed mouths near my baits and continued feasting around me. The fish offered display after display of what dinner they preferred. I just didn't want to see it. I wasn't actively watching for it.

Sometimes we need to slow down, watch, listen, learn from our surroundings and then and only then, using our acquired knowledge from past and present, give the fish what it wants to which it in turn will give us what we want.

This lesson applies to more than just fishing though sometimes it takes a day on the water to remind us. A simple fish can teach us what we refuse to hear from others. Well played Mother Nature. Well played. 

Second Thoughts on Quitting Tournament Fishing

Lance with his second kayak fish
Wishy-washy. Go ahead and call me that. I'll own it. I am not saying I am the world's biggest fan now but what I can tell you is that the group of guys that fishes a tournament can make a huge difference.

I went to the PKAA tournament this weekend and discovered a nice balance between the love of fishing and competitive spirit. Though the tournament was cancelled, I rediscovered what is nice about tourneys, how to balance fun and competition and why kayak angling is a unique but rapidly growing sport.

A dozen or so of us decided to drive up on Friday, do the pre-registration and have dinner at Tiffany's. As always, the stories, fun and dreams of a big day flowed. After three hours of camaraderie, the group decided to retire to the cabins for the evening. (A good portion of the group was staying in the same area which made it easier to find for those of us out of towners.) The good times didn't stop once there. Lots of talking, a few adult beverages and lots of map gazing passed the time.

As it neared 10:30PM, three of us decided to turn in. I knew the drive home after the weigh-in was going to be brutal and a couple hours sleep would not suffice. Just as I was starting to get settled I heard a knock at the door. Someone was wanting us to go next door. They wanted our input. I hopped up to go see what prank might lay waiting. But it wasn't a prank. The others joined as we talked about the impending weather. Forecasts had now changed to potentially dangerous and life threatening conditions. Wind gusts to 40 or 50 MPH had all of us weary. After some lengthy discussion the tournament was cancelled.

So what do a bunch of guys at Lake Fork do when the previous off limits period has been lifted? You go fishing! We all grabbed a rod, or kayak, and headed down to the nearby pier. In just an hour three fish were landed and a good time was had. Some of us retired around 1AM. Others may have slept less than two hours before the breakfast alarm sounded. Apparently the "I NEED COFFEE" alarm went off at 4AM next door. An hour later we were all up and moving towards Tiffany's again. After much discussion, almost everyone dispersed to fish or start the long drive home.

Money in hand, I fished with my brother and others at Fork and then the Payne boys went to a lake that calls our name later in the afternoon. While on Winnsboro, Lance, my brother, landed his first, second and third fish from a kayak.

So why the second thoughts?

After all was said and done, I would have been just fine not winning anything and going home empty handed. The bond that kayak fishermen show, especially when sharing meals, talking around the ramp or fishing at midnight reminds me that it's always more about fishing and growing the sport than winning to almost all of these guys. While they like to win, they also like to share. That is why I may be at a few more tournaments than I had planned. A fellow kayaking fisherman, Bert Turner, reminded me of this weeks ago and I just had to feel it for myself. Thanks Bert. I understand completely now.

My Baits for PKAA on Lake Fork

Wondering what I'll be throwing this weekend at Fork for the PKAA tournament? To lighten the mood and just have a good time, here is what I'll be throwing. It might change if baits are not producing but these are tied on and ready to go right now. The captions are links if you want to learn more and even purchase.

Catching Fire in the Marketplace

Every 6-12 months a new kayak, new gadget, and new widget seems to catch fire in the retail and barter markets. The object becomes desirable and sells like crazy and then more often than not comes back down to the normal rate of sales a few months later.

Remember when everyone had to have a Native Ultimate? Remember when the Hobie Outback was THE boat? Remember the Jackson Coosa craze? Are you paying attention to the Wilderness Systems Ride craze that is going on simultaneously with the Hobie Pro Angler craze? If you said yes to one of these questions, the follow up to it is why? Why do these things “catch fire” or “sell like hotcakes”?

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called The Tipping Point. In it he talks about diffusion models, and three key players: Mavens, Connectors and Salespeople.Don't worry too much about the diffusion model piece.

Let's look at the three players.

Mavens are idea people. They are always thinking of new ideas, inventions, new ways to do certain tasks. I think Luther Ciphers is a great example of a maven. Luther is always pushing the envelope to do things better. He can take an idea, tweak it and give you something better. He also has the skills to make it. Often idea people are just that, full of ideas. Luther can take it from idea to merchandise with his own tool set.

Connectors get the word out. These folks seem to know everyone. If someone asks about a good plumber, they have a guy. If someone wants to know who to talk to about getting a new kayak, they have a guy. The Connector doesn't forget many folks, if any, and has great recollection of where he met someone and under what circumstance. I have often been called a Connector. I like people and like to know what they do. I can remember where I met someone even years or decades later. I have freaked people out when they have no idea who I am but I remind them we met at a party in Abilene, TX in 1997. And I can recall the house, who else was there etc. I've had to limit myself with this skill when someone doesn't remember me. It comes off stalker or uber nerd. If you need a guy for this or that, I can get you in touch with them.

Salespeople are not paid to sell in a lot of cases. They sell things without knowing it sometimes. It doesn't have to be a product; it could be an idea or thought too. These sales folks drive sales just by talking about them. Have you ever been in a room and been fired up to take action? A Salesperson just sold you on something. Motivational speakers are like this as are football coaches. Chad Hoover is a Salesman. When you watch his U-Stream videos you can see the passion. You are drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Chad breathes kayak fishing. People are attracted to his passion. How many of you went to his seminar in Dallas? Did you leave pumped up or did you feel blah? I bet it wasn't blah. 

When the three types work together, products and ideas can catch fire. The Connectors are the hubs. Chad and Luther have hubs all around the world, people referring the folks they know to HOOK1, YakAttack, Wilderness Systems, World Fishing Network, KBF and others. Usually a Connector will recommend you to look at a product or idea by a Maven and then introduce or encourage you to talk to a Salesman.

An example would be the BlackPak by YakAttack. How many of us have heard Chad talking about, Luther building and been referred to both by others?

What makes it even better is when a person with one of the types is also strong in another category. Luther and Chad both have qualities of the other two types. This can create a Perfect Storm in a selling environment.

Passion, when it meets with innovation and need (or want) drives the market. This is why it catches fire.

All New Posts Available on Facebook

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick announcement that all new posts will be automatically feeding to the Payne's Paddle Fish Facebook page.(Make sure you go by and like the page). You don't even have to visit the PPF site if you are already playing games and socializing. I hope this makes it even easier to get updates and see what's going on.

Look also for a newsletter, subscription options and more in the coming weeks. I'll be posting one more article this week and then concentrating on preparations for the PKAA tournament on Lake Fork this weekend. Catch us tomorrow on the site or on Facebook and then come back next week for more exciting announcements and content. We might even have a contest or two or three!


Tournament Fishing and Scotch

As I find myself less than two weeks away from my first tournament this year, and one of only three, I am hustling. Not hustling in the sense of selling things but in the sense of constant preparation. This is a good reason why I am only fishing a few this year. I can’t just let it be fun. It will be fun but it will also be agony. I only fished two tournaments last year and placed Top 5 in both but neither were super serious nor well attended. This event will most likely be different. 

The PKAA tournament is March 16th on the legendary Lake Fork.  I want to do well. Maybe it’s because I have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder. In the last month I’ve been called a paper fisherman. Apparently I am more writer than fisherman to some. I suppose we will see. It’s a little extra motivation. It actually reminds me of a book I enjoy reading every couple of years, Think Like a Fish: The Lure and Lore of America's Legendary Bass Fisherman by Tom Mann and Tom Carter. In it Mann talks about war, sports and fishing. This is at least two of the three if not all three, symbolically of course.

“In war, men are taught to think like their enemy. In sport, contestants should think like their opponents. Fishing is the only sport where the opponent, or prey, is usually invisible. If you can't think like him, you won't outsmart him. If you catch him without thinking, you're not skilled, you're simply lucky. Luck isn't as much fun, or as fulfilling, as strategy-born thinking.”

I am pouring over maps, journals, reports, temp logs, rainfall totals from past years, baits, presentations, water clarity reports and talking to a bevy of informants to try to gain a slight advantage. I’ll have my work cut out for me but it is all a part of it. I am trying to think like a fish.

If conditions are X, where would I be, what would I be looking for? Am I lethargic or am I feeding up? Am I looking for a bed or am I just storing up after the winter?

The voices of fish that have no voice or inner thought are filling my dreams both day and night. It is setting up to be a nerve severing couple of weeks. I have reorganized my tackle twice, respooled all of my reels, selected the five rods I’ll take, the baits they will fling and even what accessories I’ll be taking along.

Tournament fishing to me is like a fine scotch. Taken in small doses it is able to be enjoyed and my presence to others is equally enjoyable. Largely consumed, no one wants to be near me or my warped verbal ramblings.

I will do my best to remain refined over the next two weeks. If you see me talking to my self and flailing wildly in the air however, best to just leave me be. It’ll go away March 17th.