Gadget Fire: A Letter to the Editor

I get emails each week asking questions, chatting about gear or fishing and general correspondence. Last week I received some thoughts that have been expressed more and more each day on various forums. It seems as more gear and gadgets come out, some choose to indulge and others prefer simplicity. The question is, will it form a wedge in kayak fishing like it has in power boat fishing? I'd be very interested in everyone's thoughts on this. A great thanks to Art for sending in his thoughts. He has graciously agreed to allow me to share. I hope you find this as thought provoking as I did.

Regardless of how you feel, I think it is worth a read. This discussion has caused me to reflect on the past as well as the future and what I hope things will be. We are indeed on an upward climb in the popularity of kayak fishing. Hopefully when it all settles out, the cozy village feel of our community remains as it is today despite who has what toys, boats and even vehicles.




THE GADGET FIRE

Ok, so I’m reading about all this stuff that guys are putting on their kayaks. And I’m wondering where it ends. 

Things like crates and sonar I get. Personally, I like to create a lot of the stuff I use on my yak, and I’m pretty good at it. But we all have different talents. For many, purchasing these items is their best option. Obviously, creative writing isn’t my strength. But I was attracted to this activity by the pureness of it, and especially the closeness to nature. I’ve been an avid fisherman for over 4 decades, and I’ve owned a boat for almost every day of the last 35 years. I still own a bass boat, and I love the visceral feeling of skating across the lake at eye watering speeds, but these days my kayak fishing trips outnumber my bass boat fishing trips at least 7 to 1.  I can still catch many more fish from my boat than I can from a kayak, and bigger fish, too.

But at 60 mph, or even 40, there is so much that you miss. The things I see when I’m in my kayak I haven’t seen since I owned a jonboat with a 25 hp Johnson. I had forgotten those things, and they are what helped hook me on fishing so solidly when I was young. It’s the biggest draw for me in this “addiction” that I have come to embrace.

And the only camaraderie you experience in a bass boat is with your fishing partner. Most bass boaters that I meet I don’t want to associate with. Not so with kayakers. They are a great lot. A man that I had known for 10 minutes helped me carry my heavy-as-heck Commander 200’ down the boat ramp at the recent GTG at Grapevine. Another that I had met twice helped me carry it back up. And another that I had never met handed me a NIB camera pole and base because someone else said I was looking for one. That almost never happens at a bass tourney. I know, because I’ve been there.

But now I’m seeing the ‘gadget fire’ beginning to burn in the kayak fishing community. I saw this happen about 18 years ago with bass boats, and it has gotten completely ridiculous in that arena. Will it attract the same self-centered, me first group to kayaking? I sincerely hope not. I may have 15 good years left on the water, and I want to spend it with good people that love life outdoors. I believe that many of those people will be in kayaks.


Here’s to seeing you on the water.


2 comments:

Jason Le said...

Chris I just found your blog and am slowly working through your many posts. Being new to kayak angling this post got me thinking.

I'm a gear junky, and always have been regardless of what hobby I've been into, and I've learned that many yakanglers are as well.

The one thing that I think has helped me to embrace Yakangling is the camaraderie I too have experienced. The group of people I've been fishing with, while they all have their opinions, have never looked down on others that I know off because of what they did or didn't have to get them on the water. They seem to live by the "if it floats and you can fish from it, use it". If it wasn't for the random angler in the Outback I said hi too as I passed on my first yak fishing trip, I wouldn't have the sweet hero pic of my very first fish from a yak/first Redfish ever.

Even many of the pro-staff members I've met at various demos rarely had a bad thing to say about their competitors.

Over-all I don't think it will change things, short of the "bad apples" every group has, as I've learned entering this community we all just want to fish.

Jason Le said...

As a gear junky and "very" new kayak angler, I don't foresee this being a huge problem, short of the "bad apples" every group ultimately has.

The group of people I've gotten to know the last 8 months seem to live by the credo "what ever floats and gets you on fish" and are some of the most laid back people I've met. Same goes for the people I just happen to run into at the launches or on the water.

If it wasn't for the random angler in the Hobie Outback that I just happened to say hi to as I passed on my first fishing trip, I wouldn't have the sweet hero pic of my first fish from a kayak and first Redfish ever. If it wasn't for people like this welcoming newbies to hobby I imagine