Showing posts with label brands. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brands. Show all posts

Stop Apologizing!

Hey, new guy. Don't be sorry and stop apologizing!

At the boat show this weekend, myriad people walked up and chatted for a bit. It was great to talk about rigging and fishing and all the fun things associated with our sport. The recurrent theme that kept coming up was a bashful, almost apologetic air that was taken on when I asked several people if they had a kayak already.

"Yeah, I do, but it's one of those cheap ones from {Brand X Store}."

My immediate reply was my elevator speech about how I spent the first six and a half years of my now 11  years of kayak fishing in a $200 sit in kayak and loved it. I would always remind them they were off the banks and out there doing it and that was what is important.

After mulling over the number of times this happened over a two day period I have come to a conclusion.
I think the kayaking world needs to apologize to all the new guys. I'll start.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I may have given you the idea that kayak brand was ever more important than kayak fishing. It's not. Being on the water and enjoying the sport outweighs ANY brand or marketing scheme.

You can kayak fish out of near anything. You will not hear me decline an invite based on a kayak brand. I will never be too cool to fish with someone in a Brand X boat. I am the antithesis of cool already. No need to alienate the rest of the world.

Many, many, many of the kayak anglers I know will fish with anyone on any given day as long as the drama stays in your truck. I love to fish with new folks. Crowds are ok. Not my favorite but ok. Get me on the water and I'll talk your ear off.

Kayak fishing is about that first moment you paddle out. Reliving every time the peace and serenity that washes over you as you glide across the water. The water doesn't care what brand your kayak is. The fish don't care either. Kayak anglers shouldn't either.

Some of the happiest kayakers I know are paddling Pescadors. Would they take a Slayer Propel or a PA14 if someone handed it to them? Probably but enjoying being off the banks is what it's about. The great thing about our sport is the buy in. You can get into it for $100 or $4,000. You can make all your own accessories or you can buy them. There is room for everyone.

To you new guys, welcome to the sport. Don't let the brand snobs discourage you. 95% of us are pretty good folks and we'd like to go fishing with you. You should stop apologizing. The experienced kayakers should be the ones to say sorry. We've mislead you to feel like you don't belong. On the contrary, maybe it is us who don't belong.

How to Really Grow Kayak Fishing

The buzz is in the air. As spring approaches rapidly, anglers start prepping for the ice out, the prespawn staging or the white bass run and the buzz grows louder. Kayak fishing is growing across the world and rapidly but not as fast as it could or as well as it could. The buzz about industry growth can be seen and heard everywhere. Think of the options you now have for kayaks and the retailers that sell them. Think of the number of manufacturers who have angling specific options. Think of the number of posts you have seen on the internet from various forums and Facebook groups on "Which Kayak Should I Get?" There are tons of them.

So why would I say we can do better when it appears the snowball is rolling downhill? My view is that the snowball is lopsided. It's not a perfect sphere. It may never be a perfect sphere but a well formed snowball, spherical in shape will go farther and build greater momentum than a lopsided sausage shaped snow mass rolling down a hill.

So how would I change it?

The first thing I would do is to plead with kayak fishermen everywhere to slow a little bit on the brand pushing. I understand you are passionate about your SuperJohn 987.M super stealth kayak with a jet motor on it. It's cool. Almost everyone who sees it thinks it's cool. The problem is it may not be the best fit for all of the folks looking to get into kayak fishing. We can't put them all into the same category. The people looking to get into kayak fishing make between $0 and $1Billion dollars per year. They are men. They are women. They are tall, short, chunky and skinny. Some drive sedans while some drive trucks. They can lift 0 pounds or 500 pounds. They are young and they are old. Some of them even have red hair!

So with all of these different variables  we should  be purposeful about what we recommend. I visited yesterday with the owner of a business that sells kayaks about the best kayaks for 10 year old kids. The most expensive kayak was not the best fit. Not even close. He gets it and that's something I really appreciate in a business. Custom fitting to your customers' needs. I realize most of us are not dealers and most folks are not repping for a business but I would ask that you use forethought and questions to help people find the right boat, even if it is not the one you like or paddle/pedal. Some prospective kayak anglers only have $200 to spend. Pointing them to a used boat on Craigslist could be a great help. Talking them through questions to find the right boat is usually very helpful. The sheet I designed is a start. Regardless of the boat they choose, offering to meet up and fish together is a HUGE step in building the sport. Kayaks are cool but kayak fishing with good people and having a great day on the water is something that creates memories and an urge to tell other friends about it. Offer to let them paddle your kayak around for a demo, offer to bring an extra kayak just so they can get on the water and offer to help them rig their kayak when they finally purchase one. Camaraderie will help make that lopsided snowball much more of a sphere.

I know lots of people that do tall of those things but I also see the infighting amongst kayak anglers. And it's not one particular brand. To an insider it may seem you have a great passion for your SlugSlime Deluxe but to an outsider who wants to be an insider, it can come across as, "Unless you paddle a SlugSlime you are inferior".
True kayak fishing ambassadors don't care what boat you paddle/pedal, they care more about getting you kayak fishing. Very few of us started in an expensive boat. Let's not forget our roots. I paddled a Pelican sit in for almost seven years. It was a great boat for me at that time and for what I could afford. It taught me a lot and I was lucky to be mentored by people who just wanted to show me how much fun kayak fishing could be.

If we pass on the true generosity, acceptance and great joy we all experience kayak fishing, the sport will grow and that will push our sport even faster into the lives of so many in need of the joy, peace and great times on the water. Help me make it a sphere. I'm not saying don't recommend your favorite brand. We need passion. Just make sure it is the right fit and we always include anyone who wants to join in.

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