Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Perfect Kayak

I used a fast and maneuverable Tarpon 140 to reach the island to catch this Black Drum. 

I am often approached by prospective kayakers  with the question of what the perfect boat out there is. What I don't get asked, but wish I did, is "Which kayak is best for my application?" More times than not a prospective kayak angler gets hooked on a pretty kayak and falls for its looks or a particular option. They don’t generally  think about long distance paddling or moving through currents. What many don’t realize is that while a boat may look beautiful on the bed of a truck, it may not be suitable for the purposes in which it is intended. That angler purchases a fast boat having been told it’s the perfect boat, only to find it lacks in stability. There goes stand up fishing. The cycle continues until either the angler sells all of their boats because it’s not enjoyable or they run out of money. I did this exact thing, settling on a boat that was decent at everything but didn’t excel at any. Then it hit me I needed a boat for each application.  

Used a Ride 135 for its stability for fighting big stripers and a lazy day of drifting.

Yes that’s right. I am here to tell you there is no perfect kayak for you unless you plan to only fish one type of water one particular way. While many boats are good in many arenas the fact remains a specialized boat will bring you more enjoyment and with that enjoyment more time on the water and more fish. I fish areas with heavy current three miles from shore during some times of the year, and others that require standing in areas miles from the launch with little to no current, to neighborhood ponds.  

The first question I ask myself is "What am I going to do with this kayak?" You have to be honest with yourself. If you’re bass fishing a small pond you don’t need the fastest kayak on the market, but a shorter more stable boat for standing and ease of turning. I wont get into which boat is best for each application because there are many voices who speak to that,  but I always suggest buying two separate boats specialized for what you want to do. Many will scoff at this idea until it comes to fishing day. I'll spend more time on the water, enjoying myself and will most likely catch more fish because the attitude makes the difference. When I am struggling with maneuvering my kayak I am not catching fish.  

Used the fast Tarpon 160 for crossing the Chesapeake Bay

If your  financial situation doesn't favor more than one kayak, look on forums and take advantage of the angler moving to another kayak after only using it a few times. Look on Craigslist, at garage sales, or even in kayak shops that took the boat they just sold back in on a trade. I just crossed the Chesapeake Bay on my kayak and I had a shorter kayak that could make the trip but I knew of another sit on top that would fly so I saved for a few months while practicing on the shorter kayak. I purchased the kayak when I could and on the day of the crossing people asked how I felt after and the answer was surprisingly well, I had the right tool for the job. 

Another site to check out for used gear is Kayak Fishing Buy, Sell, Trade on Facebook. Located here: