Showing posts with label paddlesports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paddlesports. Show all posts

The Pause Button

Can you smell that? That coming rain smell? This morning in Central Texas the skies are a puffy gray, bloating with rain and just waiting for the right moment to let the dry ground drink. It feels like Spring. It smells like Spring but it's still January. Basketball is still going strong but more and more people are venturing out on the water.

Inevitably as more crowds emerge, more problems will as well. In short order we will start to hear more complaining about a certain person or kayak or power boat in "my spot". The talk of "meet me at the ramp" will bluster up and someone will get hurt. Sometimes the cops are called, sometimes not. One of these times it will escalate and someone may well lose a life, maybe not intentionally but it will happen. Someone will slip when pushed, hit their head and the lights will fade out. A family will be in mourning because of a dust up over "rights" to be somewhere or do something involving fishing.

This year needs to be different. This year we need more fishermen to hit the pause button. While the pause button is a metaphor for self control, it works in practical application. The fact of the matter is, when we get upset we need to step back and hit pause. Especially when we are fishing. Look at this rationally right now as you sit at a computer reading this. Do you fish to provide your family's only food source? Most of us will answer no. Do you fish in a tournament to provide electricity and shelter to your family? Most of us will answer no. Will the fish in this "spot" have a tattoo of your name along their lateral line saying they belong to you? No. They won't.

Will your world change if you can't fish that spot right now? No, it won't.
Yet, a lot of people act like it will. I've been guilty of the grousing that comes with finding someone already located where you want to fish. It's disappointing. Is it worth a life? No. Most folks won't evaluate it that way. What's a little yelling? Maybe a little pushing? The fact of the matter is, you don't know what the other guy will do. You don't know what you will do if the adrenaline gets going. Don't let it get up. Be a bigger man and understand: IT'S JUST FISHING.

No one should have to pay fines, go to jail, get seriously hurt or die because you WANT to fish a spot. It won't always be the other guy who gets in trouble. We have to be more like men and less like school yard kids. Hit the pause button and think about what you are upset about.

Some may say this is not an issue. I've personally witnessed three fights in the last two years. It never ends well. It also doesn't speak well to the sport we all love so much. Refined sportsmen react with patience and are slow to act on anger. Take a deep breath and paddle on. We need more sharing and less flaring to truly make others feel welcomed.

Share some time on the water with friends this week if the weather cooperates in your area and enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer. Enjoy the brushstrokes of purple and orange as you watch a sunset from your kayak. Hit the pause button and soak it all in. And remember, keep that remote handy in case you have to hit the pause button again when someone else catches a fish in your spot. Instead of wanting to slap them, slap them a high five and share in their success. Stay level and have fun. That's why we do it, right? To have fun. 

My Goals for 2013. What are Yours?

Welcome to 2013! The Mayans were wrong. We're all still here and we need to keep moving forward. The last four months of Payne's Paddle Fish has been a great one and I sincerely thank those who have visited and keep visiting the site. I couldn't have predicted what has become this truly great experience. I have met so many bloggers, fishermen, kayakers, interested onlookers and outdoors types since August and look forward to meeting, fishing and paddling with many more of you in 2013.

I have, for as long as I can remember, been against making a resolution on New Years. When I think about what I would resolve to do, it's often things I don't want to do in the first place and it becomes counter productive. They are great for most people, just not me.

Instead of resolutions, I like to set goals. I try not to make them too lofty but also not too easy. For 2013 I have several. A list of goals helps me forecast the year, see progress when it is made and refocus energies when necessary. If you don't yet do this, I encourage you to pick one or two things you really want to work on this next year and write them down. Even better yet, make them public. When others know what you are working on, they will often provide encouragement, ask about progress and keep that fire stoked to push through the slow times.

Without further ado, my goals for 2013.

1. Sponsored Fishing Partnerships-

As of today, I don't really have any fishing sponsors. I work with a couple of really great vendors and do some gear reviews etc but the long and short is, I pay for almost all of my stuff. Reels, rods, boats, paddles, pfd, fishfinders and other gear comes out of my pocket. I feel I have a lot to offer as an ambassador to the sport of kayak fishing. I have a platform that is both informative and has a worldwide reach to those into kayak fishing and just curious onlookers with many questions. I would love to be able to travel to trade shows and talk to more people about kayaks, rigging, finding the right kayak for each individual person, fishing in both fresh and saltwater, gear, gadgets and more. I'd like to be able to pair with a company that feels the same way I do about the sport, wants to grow the sport as much as I do and in the end, I can refer people to this company and know they will be taken care of individually and not just put in a boat. Ideally the company would be able to furnish a kayak or two for me to demo with people and then refer them for purchases. I know these opportunities are few and far between but you dream big to achieve big.

2. 300% Growth in Monthly Visits-

The site is still in a growth pattern but has averaged a few thousand visits per month. I'd like to grow that number to 100,000 visits for 2013. It's an aggressive number but I think that as our sport grows more and more people are searching for content, instruction, humor, recommendations and answers. I hope that I can be one of those places that are sought out. I also hope that visitors will visit the sites that I read. Alan, Pat, Bert and others do a great job of providing fresh new content. You can see their newest posts linked on the right column of any page.

3. Participate at Three Trade/Boat/Tackle Shows-

Helping others understand the intricacies of kayak fishing is important. Finding the right boat fit, rigging and gearing up are all important aspects of kayak fishing that are done too hastily and too cheaply at times. Being a 10 year alum of the School of Hard Knocks with a major in Kayak Fishing has taught me many things (and cost me lots of money). If I can save just one person the headaches and money pit that I endured, it would be worth the trip. This is a venue (or 3) that would allow the largest reach for a live audience.

4. Instructional Videos-

I will produce 12 instructional videos over the 2013 calendar year on different kayak fishing topics. Some people just don't like to read column after column on X or Y. They want a 5 minute video showing them what they need to know so they can go on about their business. I want to reach that market in 2013 and give those folks what they are looking for.

5. My First E-Book-

I have been working on and plan to release a kayak fishing book in the late spring. It will be an E-book so I can offer it for free. It will have some stories, some instruction, some insight and really highlight the fun and adventure kayak fishing can bring to anyone's life. It's not so much about a budget as it will give options regardless of available cash flow. I hope everyone enjoys this book and it becomes a resource for teaching others why we love this sport so much.

6. Tournament Fishing-

I plan to fish 8 tournaments this year. I won't be able to start fishing them until March so it will mean some cross trail fishing but that's okay. In fact, it will allow me to meet more people who share the passion. This year won't be about placing as much as fishing and networking. I look to fish in the NTKBF, NTKT, PKAA, KATS and KBF events this year. The NTKT will be a primary focus for me.


Maybe these goals seem out there to some or too easy to others, but the important thing is, they are out there now. If we cross paths on the water or at a trade show, ask me about them. I hope to meet even more of you on the water this next year. If you would like to partner with me on any of these goals please send me an email : paynefish@gmail.com.  Have a great 2013!!!

I Got A Kayak For Christmas. Now What?



Every year it happens. For the last decade that I have been around kayak fishing, Christmas brings a great new flood of people to the sport I love. Thousands of new anglers, looking for a way to get on the water or maybe a different way to get on the water, ask for and receive a kayak for Christmas.

Often times these gifted kayaks are not the $2,000 super decked out angler editions. They are sit-in or sit-on kayaks purchased at major chain stores. You know what? And hear me say this: THAT IS JUST FINE!

You don't need to have a BMW 7 Series car to drive on the highway and you don't need the Hobie Pro Angler 14 to get on the water. Would it be nice? Dang skippy. Is it necessary? Not even close.

I fished my first six, almost seven years out of a $200 sit in kayak from Academy Sports and Outdoors. And it was great. I fished differently then than I do now but every kayak owner fishes a little differently and some of that comes from the type of kayak they fish from. The important things to remember are safety, time on the water and customization to fit your needs.

These throngs of people often find their way to kayak forums and ask the same questions. That is when they get a good taste of what our sport is about. Sharing. More specifically, sharing information.

The questions typically revolve around accessories, where to try, and what is all this I hear about tipping over?

Today, I want to give you some of what I have learned both from the school of hard knocks and by others in the sport who have mentored me.

So I got a new kayak:

What accessories do I need? 
MTI Dio F-Spec


PFD (Life Jacket)- Most people go straight for the paddle. The only reason I recommend a PFD first is safety. If you blow all of your money on a fancy paddle and end up paddling in an $8 PFD that fits like an albatross, you won't be paddling for long. Choose a good PFD and always wear it. Check out the NRS, MTI and Stohlquist PFDs. I also recommend a knife and a whistle to attach to the PFD so you can call for help or cut your way out of a tangle or hung anchor. If you are going to paddle at night, get a 360 degree light. The YakAttack Visicarbon Pro with Flag is a popular choice amongst kayakers everywhere.The PFD and whistle are legal requirements in Texas. The light is also if you are out at night.

Paddle- This is your motor. Use this paddle guide and find the right one for you. If you only have two upgrade things you can buy, they need to be a good PFD  and a paddle. That seems like a no-brainer but lots of people skimp on the first and sell their kayak shortly after from non-use.

Park-N-Pole in a Trolley
Anchor Trolley- It seems strange to buy this before an anchor but believe me when I say you will be much happier if you do. An anchor trolley allows you to use a drift sock, stake out stick and anchor while positioning yourself to take advantage of the wind, not be a victim of it. This also will allow for a quick release if you get into trouble. This is the one I use. Inexpensive and easy to install.

Anchor- This is the most widely underpurchased item under $50. Anchors exist in all shapes and sizes. The most popular one is the collapsible anchor. If you are going to be in water eight feet deep or less, I suggest a YakAttack Park-N_Pole. It can double as a push pole, GoPro camera pole and many other things. Very versatile and it floats. It comes in three different lengths to fit exactly what your needs are.

Anchor Rope (and accessories)- Most anchors don't come with rope. If you are going to be fishing in any current or wind at all most people will recommend 2X the length of rope for the depth you are fishing. So if your fish are in 20 feet of water, you need at least 40 feet of rope. If you are fishing on the coast it is recommended 3X the depth. I like 3/16" rope but choose what you like. Just don't buy 1/16" rope and expect to raise a big anchor easily. While you are there in the rope section, pick up a carabiner and rope float to attach to these as well.

Rod Holders- These come in different varieties. You can get flush mount, rocket launchers, trolling rod holders for baitcasters and spinning, rail mount, and the list goes on and on. Look at some rigging pictures, sit in your boat, see where you can reach and then go buy one.

YakAttack BlackPak
Milk Crate- You can buy one or ask a retail grocer for one. Either way, you can strap this down to the back of most kayaks and hold tons of tackle and gear. You can also add some PVC to be additional rod holders. Cheapest investment you'll love forever. Eventually you may want to upgrade to a YakAttack BlackPak. This is the king of all packs to haul gear and hold rods.

Everything Else-These things will get you going pretty well. After you have the above mentioned items, you should look at, in no particular order: a fish finder, stabilizers (depending on the kayak), drift sock, stake out stick, VHF handheld radio, scupper plugs (for sit on tops), waders, paddle gloves, really the list goes on and on.


Your fishing adventure is just that. Add things as you can and see what others are doing. Go to get togethers. Visit kayak shops like HOOK1 if you are in Tennessee or Mariner-Sails if you are in Texas. Talk to guys who have years or even decades on the water. Talk to the new guys. See what's new, what's a need, what's a want and go for it. And if you buy something that doesn't work out, there is always the buy-sell-trade forums. Most of all, have fun and catch some fish!




Cooler Weather Means Camping in Texas

Let's face it. Summer in Texas is hot. And when I say hot, I'm not talking sweat a little bit hot. I'm talking about the hydrate or get kidney failure hot. But with October winding down, Fall is here and bringing with it beautiful weekends to get out and enjoy nature. Whether you have a large family or it's just you and a couple of friends, camping is one of the best ways to soak in the beauty that nature is wrapping us in.

Camping mixed with some fishing and kayaking is my preferred envelopment in the season. While I would love to be down at the Devils River right now, a weekend escape to a local lake can be just as fun (and a whole lot easier to do with the kids).

Some people (me included) worry about camping with kids. It's easy for adults to go and enjoy the outdoors but ankle biters add a different twist. Here are a few things to keep in mind that have caught many a parent unprepared.

Kids are curious. They may be a bit overstimulated the first time to a new spot. Plan flexible segments of time where they can explore their new surroundings with you. They often will want to look at animal tracks, interesting sticks, cool rocks, every piece of scat on the trail and the list can go on forever.

Kids have patience at times and at other times don't. You need to understand from the get go that your time frame and theirs may be considerably different. It may also change as their mood does. A three night camping adventure could very likely only last a couple of hours. It is as variable as the Texas weather and you should plan for that. It's ok to leave early. Don't set yourself up for disappointment. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. If you power through and "force" the kids to stay for your planned duration, it may be the last time they ever go camping with you.

Kids love activities and snacks. This is a simpler one to navigate. Have some things to do while you are at your campsite. Kayaking is a favorite of my kids. They love being on the water, paddling around and looking at things. They also like to walk trails and look for things. Things is not specific here for a reason. Sometimes it's leaves; sometimes it's footprints. It depends and we leave it up to the kids. Snacks are the other key ingredient. Having smores is great around a camp fire. Having trail mix or juice that they can have while on a hike or paddle is also a good way to keep interest up. Look at 4 year olds playing soccer. For most of them, they play to get the snack at the end. Camping is no different. What develops is an association of a good time around camping or kayaking or hiking because there is not a distraction of "when can we eat?". When it is readily available they can focus on nature.

Pack for all weather. You will want to pack for cold and hot when you go. Little kids especially have a harder time with temperature shifts than we adults do. Have clothes, sleeping bags, jackets and shoes for all weather. Also don't forget a few changes of clothes if you are going to be out for more than a few hours. (And even then it is a good idea).

Hopefully as Fall joins us over these next few weeks, you will be able to enjoy the great outdoors in a tent, a kayak or on a trail with those you love.

Helping people to get motivated to get out there is Austin Canoe and Kayak. They are giving away some sweet outdoor gear now. For your chance to win check it out below. Even if you don't win, ACK is a great place to stock up on all your outdoor needs.



Friday Fun Pics

I have some trips coming up and will be prepping for those but wanted to share some more pictures from Terry Rascoe of our day on the Leon River. If you would like to see some of Terry's other works from around the world, check it out here.




Kayak Fishing as a Gift

As a parent I make a lot of lists. I talk to myself internally and sometimes even externally. I plan, to the best of my abilities, what my children will do, sometimes well into their future. As my babies grow older into their teens and twenties, they will parade a front of false knowledge and in essence build a fortress of solitude that little information can penetrate. 

I'm not quite there yet.

 Z is 7 and AK is 4. Those are fun ages of discovery, curiosity and the insatiable appetite that drives them to ask "Why?".  I also know those brains are sponges that are collecting data and storing it in categories which usually revolve around the question, "Would I do that again- Yes or No?". I recognize that and am attempting to give my kids a gift. This gift isn't wrapped, nor is it purchased. The gift is something, actually two things, that I love and want them to love: kayak fishing.

Some Dads want their kids to be a great football player, a doctor, a lawyer, a fireman or something else. Some of us just want our kids to be healthy and responsible. I want my kids to have a hobby and let it grow into a passion. I know my kids. They are a brilliant mixture of their mom and me. I know Z is going to get stressed out in life. He wants everything to go smoothly. He doesn't like conflict. He internalizes. He is going to need a pressure relief valve just like I did. Fishing was my outlet. What I later discovered in 2003 was that combining fishing and kayaking also gave me an endorphin release from the exercise which in turn made me feel better about life. So for you mathletes out there: Exercise + Stress Reliever = Chilled Out Dude with a Good Attitude. That is important. 
AK is a different story. She looks just like her mom but her attitude is all me. She is my daredevil. She will try anything if you let her. If she gets bored, she makes her own fun. That is what I did. My parents gave me fishing at a young age and because I grew to love it, I spent most of my teens and twenties fishing rather than carousing and raising hell. Give me some spare time and I'd fill it with fishing. I still do. I hope to pass that along.

I am proceeding slowly with my plan. I could have them at the lake three times a week and kayak fishing could be their soccer, ballet or basketball. I don't want them to see it as a chore. I want them to ASK to go kayak fishing. 

Z and I made plans to do a boys trip last Saturday. He likes fishing because he usually gets good snacks, he loves the water like a Lab and it's time spent together. I always have to remind myself, this is a trip for him, not me. He reminds me of it every time. Some days we spend six or seven hours out and some days just one or two. I'd take ten minutes to get to share this with him.

We got to the lake and portaged to the water with all the gear. He thought it was cool the kayak was making a trail in the sand. It looked like a snake trail he said. Before I could hop in the back of the tandem he was poling out to deeper water with the paddle. I grabbed the back of the kayak and hopped in to join him. We talked about the methods of paddling we had gone over on previous trips and he was ready to go. 

With Z in the front he couldn't see me but he could sense the rhythm of the paddle strokes I was making behind him. He stayed in sync, left, right, left, right...I was beaming. My seven year old was doing something I didn't do until I was 25. Watching him move a boat three times his length and one and a half times his weight made me glow on the inside. We paddled about 300 yards and took a break. With kids, you have to stop when they need to stop. Watch them. Their body language will tell you. I don't know that he would ever stop if I didn't ask him if we should take a break. 

We rested a bit, put our feet in the water, laid down for a spell and just chatted. He had a ton of questions about kayaks, fishing, water clarity, water depth and tons of other kayak fishing related ones. I answered them all and was asking for more. A little while later he was ready to fish. I had purchased some minnows because he loves to observe them, hand them to me, throw the dead ones out and other elementary school experiments. We baited out and drifted for a while. He lounged out in the front and just soaked in the Vitamin D. After twenty minutes and just one fish he was ready to go home. My first instinct was to try to convince him to stay longer but I quickly talked myself out of it. This was HIS trip. 

We totaled almost two hours total on the water. I got to spend some time with my son doing something we both enjoy and he got to play in the water, go fishing, paddle the big boat and spend some guy time with Dad. I wasn't sure how they day had registered with him so I asked. He said it was fun but the real testament  that the slow and steady pace is working came later. About three hours after we got home he asked when we could go again. 

He really liked the gifts. Almost as much as I liked giving them.

A Tourney Ready Hawg Trough

Earlier this week I confessed some rookie mistakes I made at the NTKBF Tournament at Purtis Creek. One of the things I vowed to fix was my Hawg Trough measuring device. It was hard to keep the fish on it, hard to measure and hard for the judges to judge a proper length. I was using it as it came and in most cases this would work fine but for tournaments, I needed to do some modifications. My friend Bryan, a seasoned angler and kayaker, showed me his mods and I was blown away. So simple but so useful. Bryan was kind enough to send me some pictures and give me permission to, in essence, copy his design. I changed the mods slightly but this is very much inspired by Bryan's design. Without further delay I present the New and Improved Hawg Trough.

For this project you will need a Hawg Trough. These can be purchased many places in different colors. I got mine at Austin Canoe and Kayak with a Texas Kayak Fisherman discount for about $15. You will also need some bungees with ball ends. I got these at WalMart in the camping section. 6 bungees for $3. You'll need a Sharpie, a knife, a drill with a drill bit, some packing or duct tape and some type of styrofoam or pool noodle (for floatation).




The first step is actually the most tedious. If you notice in the above image, only the numbers are marked. Each Hawg Trough has ridges to mark each quarter inch but as you can tell, seeing them in pictures is difficult. Let's help the judges out and run the Sharpie down each ridge to mark the quarter inches and allow the judges to see a more accurate measurement. See how much clearer this is?!



Next we need to lay out the bungees where they are going to go and mark the spots we need to drill. You will have to drill on both sides (a total of six holes). On most of these troughs there is a double ridge that runs along each side. You only want to drill through the outer most ridge, not both. You hole size should be just enough to get the bungee through tightly. This smaller hole and single ridge will provide a friction point to keep the bungees in place.




After you drill the holes, thread the bungees through. It should look something like this. Your selection of hole placement is preference really but I am planning on catching some fish over 20 inches so I put the last bungee at 18 inches. 



Next you'll need to cut a piece of styrofoam or pool noodle to float the board. I used styrofoam and chose to wrap it in tape so it wouldn't shed all over my kayak. This is less necessary with a pool noodle. 


It is pretty easy at this point. Slide your float between the bungees and trough and voila! You can vary the thickness on the float but I wanted it to float and sit up off of my lap a bit. 


Hopefully this will help a few folks avoid some of the foibles of kayak tourney fishing that I committed last week. This rig should float, keep fish attached to the board better and keep those judges from having to guess at your lengths. 

If you like the idea, please share it with others. Thanks Bryan Row. This will be a huge help next time for me!


Kayaking Events This Weekend into Next Week

Sometimes it is hard for folks to get connected to other kayakers. It's not like the lakes most of us are on are full of them. It's even harder to meet folks on a secluded river. Keeping that in mind, I wanted to let everyone know about some upcoming events in Texas that will allow for folks to fish together, meet new people, test out new boats and everything else kayak related. Without further ado, here you go:

September 15th:


Austin Canoe and Kayak Demo Day
Where: Hyde Park Quarry, Austin
When: 9A-5P rain or shine
What: Over 90 models of kayaks with up to 30% savings on select items
Cost: FREE
Contact: 512-719-4386 or 888-828-3828

Kayak Instruction, Inc Demo Day
Where: Paddle Point Park, Lake Ray Hubbard
When: 9A-1P
What: Jackson Kayaks with Tips, Tricks and Lunch Provided
Cost: FREE
Contact: 214-629-4794


Kayak Angling Clinic by Dean Brown
Where: Demo Pond at Bass Pro Shops in Grapevine
When: 3PM
What: A kayak clinic covering some very specific tactics and tricks that Dean has developed over the past few years, as well as some of his photography techniques (pertaining specifically to the kayak).
Cost: FREE


September 16th:


Austin Canoe and Kayak Expo
Where: Austin Store
When: 10A-5P
What: Lots of New Product, Savings and Lunch Provided
Cost: FREE
Contact: 512-719-4386 or 888-828-3828

NTKBF Kayak Fishing Bass Tournament
Where: Purtis Creek State Park, Eustace
When: 5:30A-4PM
What: Bass Fishing Tournament for Kayak Fishermen
Cost: $10 + $4 for Park Admission

September 17th:


Mariner Sails Wind and Water Sports Scotty New Product Open House
Where: Mariner Sails Wind and Water Sports, 11110 N. Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX 75229
When: Monday, September 17th, from 6:00pm -- 8:30pm

What: An informative open house and to to acquaint (or refresh you) with the Scotty line of fishing accessories. Our special guest for the evening will be Ryan Emile, from British Columbia Canada, our International Sales Representative for Scotty. Ryan will be presenting new Scotty items, ideas, as well as many helpful tips and suggestions from Scotty's vast line of fine fishing and marine products. Included in his new presentaton will be several new and upcoming "YakAttack inspired Accessories" that were co-created by 
Luther Cifers, the amazing YakAttack genius.Cost: FREEContact: 972-241-1498





Come back tomorrow for more events happening next weekend!


Serenity and Connection

I have a group of friends. Most of them I have never met.  Most of these guys are from North Texas (DFW) but I don't think of them as strangers. Many of them have nurtured my love of kayak fishing over the last several years through the TFF.Guys (and gals) from all over the state talk daily about kayak fishing.

We are almost outcasts. We are often thought of as weirdos. The fact of the matter: we don't care.

There is a serenity that overcomes you as a kayak fisherman. When you put that first paddle stroke into a glassy pool, you are transformed. I can't describe the feeling accurately but it is akin to a warm numbness. Depending on where you are, the only sound you might hear is a mallard in flight or the water falling like rain drops from your paddle.. Feeling the liquid metronome lap gently under your boat as you slip into a secluded cove or bend in the river gives a man pause to appreciate what he's surrounded by.

You survey the water that you have been dreaming about. Scheming about. Plans that you have made for fishing this particular spot race through your mind. The perfect lure, the perfect conditions, the perfect cast and then the anticipation of what may or may not be. The minute you start to crank your lure in, you also start to imagine the fish approaching the lure. Now you only hear your heartbeat. It's getting faster. "There has to be a fish here!" you reason in your head. You feel a tick-tick on the line. Was it a weed? Some timber? A fish? You feel it again. Reeling up the slack quickly you hold your breath as the line goes taught and you unleash the hookset of your life.

This fish is unbelievably strong. It's causing the kayak to rock back and forth! This fish is out of control! You let out a howl as you fall out of the kayak into the depths of your blankets. As the water of your mind clears, you are confronted by a confused wife who has woken you from a deep sleep. Complaints of fishing in your sleep again are drowned out by that warm numbness radiating from your smile. "Just one more cast before work" is the last thing you think as you slip back into your kayak for another try at that bass.

Once you have experienced nature in the way that kayak fishing allows you to, it is hard to think of any other way. I love fishing but kayak fishing is more than love. It's ... a passion. I love a good steak, garlic fries at the Ballpark or an Old Style at Wrigley but I don't dream about them. I dream several nights a week about kayak fishing, the perfect spot, being in nature and the envelopment of it all. If you are passionate about something, I believe you should share that passion. That was the true motivator behind Chris Payne's Paddle/Fish. I wanted to help others how others have helped me. I want to preach a bit on safety and conservation and share stories of triumph and failure on the water. Passions are gifts that should be shared. We have to tell others why we have a passion for the things we dream about. For me, kayak fishing is serenity and connection. I can have a good time whether I catch fish or not. The challenge is to always pass it on. Gifts like passion shouldn't be bottled; they should be shared. 

Summer is Over and Deal Season is Here!

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.

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.

Kayaks, both used and new are at the end of their cycle for the year. Dealers are reducing inventory for the winter months, 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.

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 then turn that money into a better deal for me by finding great deals. I scour the dealer sites for clearanced or blemished kayaks daily. I look on Craigslist, Texaskayakfisherman.com and Texas Fishing Forum for deals. If you are patient, you can find a great deal.

It is important to note I paddle/fish year round so my investments don't rot away in the garage waiting for summer. My experience on the water tells me what I like, don't like and helps me create new ways to rig up for fishing. When I am looking, I narrow my field to a handful of kayaks. I do homework on widths, lengths, capacities, storage, known issues and the like to be able to wait for that one sweet deal and then pounce when it arrives.

I went to look just now and here are a few that I found:

Austin Canoe and Kayak has this one right now-

Wilderness Systems Commander 140 Kayak - 2012 Closeout >
Description: Save big on this 2012 closeout color. With even more storage space, leg room, capacity, and speed than the Commander 120, the Wilderness Systems Commander 140 hybrid sit-on-top/sit-inside is the ultimate hobby machine.
MSRP: $1149.00  Our Price: $849.00  
SAVE: 26.1%

With $49 residential shipping, that is a really good deal!


Mariner-Sails.com has this one:


Kayak - Native Watercraft Ultimate 14.5 Volt - Demo
 
Product #: 
LP ULT145VOLT_DEMO 
Retail Price: 
$2,199.00 
Online Price: 
$1,495.00



Craigslist has a Hobie Pro Angler listed for $2000 right now with lots of upgrades and extras. The ad reads:
2012 Hobie Pro Angler 14. Olive. Almost new condition. Comes with Hobie paddle, mirage drive with turbo fins, supernova kayak led lights and battery. 2000 .

Also a pretty good deal. 

There are several used kayaks on TKF and TFF for 50-70% of retail right now. 

As the weather cools, the deals will heat up. Be on the look out and you could get a great upgrade this winter too! 


If you have some deals you would like to include here please post them in the comments section. No charge at all, just post them up! You can also email me and I will post them for you or provide links.

Let's Talk About Seats!

Kayaks come in all shapes and sizes. So do their seats. Some have tall lawn chair style seats while others have a molded butt scoop. It really depends on the type pf kayak you have AND what you plan on doing with it.

There are four types of seats that you can find in your typical kayak. Of these only two are really seats to speak of but I'll let you decide.

Backrest
The Backrest-
This "seat" is actually no seat at all. It is made to give back support and usually connects to some pad eyes to rest your back on. These are fairly in expensive and pair well if you are going to sit in that molded butt scoop that a sit on top kayak has for you. It's almost as if they were saying, "Hey, Dummy! Sit here." The backrest serves it's purpose and can get you on the water for a longer amount of time as it can reduce fatigue in the back. These run anywhere from $25-$89 and fit almost every kayak. A sub category in the backrest section are those backrests for hard molded seats like the Wilderness kayaks. These serve a different purpose but because they are a smaller subset, I am going to move on. Here is a good selection from Austin Canoe and Kayak.



Bottom Pad
The Bottom Pad-
If you are going to be in heavy chop, rapids, beyond the breakers at the coast or paddling like you're on a bucking bronco rather than a sleek boat, this might be a good choice. Filled with varying materials, this seat will give your posterior added cushioning to avoid bruising and saddle sores. Another added benefit is that it elevates you slightly off the deck so if you don't have scupper holes in the seat well you reduce the occurrence of a wet backside. These come in varying thickness and can be very helpful as well as easy to store. Prices start at $12 and go up but chances are you can find a good one for less than $40. Make sure you check out the varying thickness, method of attachment and get good measurements. You want to make sure it will fit.
Wanna check these out? Go here.

The Lawn Chair-
This is a newer style of seat and it only works with certain kayaks like Diablo, Jackson and a few others. The kayaks sometimes come with one of these if it is made for it but in case you need a new one, bought a used model without it or need to add as an upgrade (as in the Diablo models), these are available. The lawn chair style chair (more than a seat) has great back support, comfy bottom support and allows for a higher vantage point when fishing. If you really want to check one of these out look here. If you want to learn more about Diablo kayaks then you should check them out here.
Jackson kayaks can be found here.

The Full Seat-
Skwoosh Voyager
The combination of a back rest and bottom pad all in one nice, neat package makes up a full seat. They come in regular and high back styles and vary as much as your imagination can dream. Some of these seats have rod holders attached. Some have tackle boxes. The things to look for here are dimensions of the bottom pad (to make sure it will fit) and four attach points. Some seats only have two attach points and will side back and forth which causes less support. Bottoms of these seats vary in thickness and padding as well. One of the seats I paddle with is a Skwoosh Voyager seat. it has added gel padding in the bottom pad and is a high backed seat with some storage on the back. This seat has four attach points and does well in most applications.
The other seat I have is a Surf to Summit seat for angry water situations. It has a foam reinforced bottom pad that is two inches thick and is high backed
as well. Full seats are by far the most versatile of the group but that comes at
a price. Full seats range from $20 up to over $200.


Regardless of what you choose, always remember to try before you buy!










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