I remember the first kayak I ever saw, and it was on a black and white television set. A man sat in a long, sleek boat that wrapped around his torso on top of a rock cliff overlooking a deep pool. With a whisk of his two-bladed paddle, he pushed off, plummeted a dozen or so feet, crashed through the water’s surface and disappeared. The boat surfaced, bottom up, and I thought for sure the man was dead. In an instance there was a great commotion, water churned everywhere, and suddenly he was upright and vertical, paddling down the river. I was awestruck.
I have yet to paddle a boat as sleek as his, but I love kayaks. They are stealthy, and I can sneak right up to the fish. They’re easy to transport, and I can access skinny water where I can get out and wet wade. In warmer climates, sit a-tops are all the rage. Many come complete with rod holders, anchors, and storage compartments. One of them, the Hobie Mirage Revolution 11, has a unique pedal-drive system. Foot pedals propel the boat which enables anglers to focus on fishing. And get this; a sailing kit can be added to reduce travel time by harnessing the wind.
My hard-chined, open cockpit kayak is a portable fishing machine. I use no Eskimo Rolls, no acrobatic insertions into the water, and no technical gear. I drag it down the sand to the water’s edge, toss my fishing gear inside, and go. When I’m done fishing the kayak turns into a family paddling machine.
In recent years, kayaks have been a boon to fishermen. This year, give one a try. You’ll cover more water, catch more fish, and have more fun.
Tom Keer is a freelance writer who lives in Massachusetts. He writes for over a dozen magazines. His book a “Flyfisher’s Guide to the New England Coast” was published in 2010. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.