Showing posts with label 2015. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2015. Show all posts

Four Tips to Find a Great Deal on a Kayak

Labor Day marks the end of summer for most folks. It's back to school time for the kids. Businesses are starting a new fiscal year soon and the holidays are within sight. What Labor Day also marks is the beginning of sale season for kayaks.

Kayaks, both used and new are at the end of their cycle for the year. Dealers are reducing old inventory for the winter months, increasing new year models, doing some trade-ins, selling off the rental fleet and clearancing out. They know the pattern. It's their business. Craigslist will be flooded with people needing to sell a kayak for this or that. There are nomadic, seasonal kayakers who often sell a boat just to make a lease payment for deer season. Then there is dad, who thought he could convince the family to kayak with him, who instead is needing to sell a tandem to get a solo kayak. It takes all kinds. Often it works out for both parties. Everybody gets what they want and the cycle continues into next year.

Commonly thought of as a summer time hobby or sport, kayaking enjoys a bolus of participants between May and September. The crowds on local lakes start to thin more and more as the weather becomes more tolerable. Hunting season has started and for some that means dove hunting and then deer hunting. For me it's always DEAL hunting. 

Over the last several years I have used fall and winter as a time to upgrade. Often, there are folks looking for a boat I have, rigged and ready to fish and are willing to pay a fair amount for it as is. I'd then turn that money into a better deal for me by finding great deals. Here are a few tips to help you find a great deal:

1. Look at Buy/Sell/Trade Sections on Your Local Forums

Chances are you belong to a local forum or six. Kayaks can often show up here for not a lot of money. Make sure you do your research though. A few unrealistic (or opportunistic) folks will try to get you to pay retail prices for a used kayak. Don't want to risk getting swindled? Check out the next tip.

2. Call a Kayak Dealer or Two

Dealers can't advertise their best prices. The kayak market for the most part has fixed pricing. If you can go in store it is even better but sometimes a phone call works if you are far away. This time of year it is very important to move inventory from the previous year. Brand new kayaks needing new homes can be had at better than used pricing very often. Don't believe me? Call HOOK 1 at (866) 486-8412 and ask if they have any deals. Tell them Chris sent you. 

3. Don't Forget Craigslist

Depending on where you live, CL can be filled with kayaks. In Texas, especially Dallas, Austin and San Antonio options abound. Just please, reread #1 and do some homework. Some sellers will try to take advantage or just really have no clue that a kayak depreciates. Take a buddy, meet at a place where you can demo the kayak. Speaking of demos.

4. Demo, Demo, Demo

Don't be a knucklehead like me and buy a kayak you've never paddled. It's exciting and sometimes the deals are great but what if you drop $500 or $1,000 on something that you hate. Good luck reselling for the same price. Demo at least the model if at all possible. It doesn't have to be the exact kayak but at least a very similar one. 

Scouting Swaziland

Have you ever had a far off adventure that keeps crawling back to the front of your consciousness? I have. More correctly, I do. My adventure is in South Africa.

The Background

My wife's cousin and her family live in Swaziland, a country hugged by South Africa on its Northeastern border. She and her cousin are basically sisters who grew up in different houses. Our children and theirs are very close in age so get togethers are always fun and entertaining for all. I have been receiving increasing pressure to take a trip to Swaziland to see them.

She's a smart woman, my wife. After several failed attempts, she knew how to hook me into going. Swaziland has become somewhat of a jewel in Africa for fishing. They have trout streams, largemouth bass lakes and are almost pollution free. An untouched paradise if you will. Just across the border in Mozambique is saltwater and Maputo Bay. Further working toward me going is a private lake that the cousins have access to.

Honestly, this would be a once in a lifetime trip. I don't foresee being able to travel very often to Africa or even South America. I daresay I may only get to do Africa once.

Enter my imagination.

If I am going to do this, I want to do it big.

The Plan

Local intel is telling me there a few to no kayaks on any of these lakes. Noted.
I also know that Lake Komati is a growing hotspot for South Africans to seek out big largemouth. With only a few years since development, the lake has already produced an 11.9lb behemoth. Regular catches are bass between 5 and 8 pounds. Yes. You read that right! The bass are getting fat on a fish called a Blue Kurper which is in essence a Tilapia.

The streams are fished by conservatory fly fishermen some but not with the pressure like Colorado gets here in the States. I might have to try that too.

As for Maputo Bay, I'll have to do more research. Security is a huge concern for me while there. Inside of Swaziland, threats are minimal, security is tight and tourists are welcomed. Mozambique may prove to be a different story.

In scouting out Swaziland I feel like I would most likely be out of the US for 14 days. Four of those would be for travel and then 10 for exploring. I would like to spend an entire day at Lake Komati, maybe two if we stay at the lodge. It's only 75km from where we will be staying and has a nice highway (if there is such a thing) to and from. I'd like to spend three days on the private lake looking for different species of fish. Both of these excursions I would want to do in a kayak. More on that in a bit. The third leg, if it proved safe and worthwhile would be to cross the border into Mozambique and fish Maputo Bay. For safety this would also likely be a surf casting trip and not a kayak trip. Great white sharks are no joke, not to mention those crazy currents.

The How

The hardest part of trips like this is lodging. Luckily, that part is figured out. This trip would most likely take place in November or December of 2014. The seasons are different of course and the November/December time frame has temperatures from the mid 50's to the low 80's. That also allows for time to gather what will be needed. To make this happen, I would need sponsors to be able to donate equipment. The idea would be any equipment that doesn't fit in a suitcase would have to be shipped and stay there when we leave. The cousins run the African Christian College in Swaziland. Ideally all shipped equipment would then be donated to ACC for their use. A write off as a charitable gift.   So what items would we need?

Kayak, 11-13 feet in length.*
Video cameras to film along with batteries and memory cards
Fishing reels, rods, line, artificial baits*
Kayak cart for transport*
Rope for tying down kayak*
Pliers, gaff, anchoring method*

*donation items

The Finished Product

Ideally, I would like to be able to produce a documentary and a book about the adventure. If a company wanted to send a crew to film it, I could help make arrangements for lodging and most likely at no cost. The other logistics we could work out. I do not expect any payment for this adventure. I want to be able to show people around the world Swaziland and its natural beauty as I discover it for the first time from a kayak with a fishing pole in hand. Only a few anglers in the United States will be able to discover what I am planning for. I'll be bringing my story through video and writing even if I am unable to receive help. There is time to plan, come on board and be a prominent and integral part of the adventure but it needs to start taking shape now. If you have an interest in helping and being a part of "Scouting Swaziland", please contact me. 

If you are unable to help, be ready for a completely new adventure in early 2015. Thanks for reading!

Chris Payne
(512) 517-3936

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