Rock/Creek kayak ambassador, Matt Brooks, says that while he’s not sure whether kayak fishing’s popularity is measured on dollars or participation, he’s witnessed its growth firsthand and notes an “obvious” boom. Here are 3 indisputable reasons we believe you should give it a try:
1. You won’t need to empty your wallet.
Brooks started kayak fishing just a few years ago, eager to spend time with his son, who had just taken an interest in bass fishing. Although Brooks initially opted for a kayak rather than a speedboat for financial reasons, he couldn’t be happier with his decision today for the slower-paced, natural process.
Generally, fishermen spend about $60,000 or more on speedboats, so purchasing a kayak is a drastically cheaper alternative. However, altruistic reasoning is just one small reason for the appeal of this particular mode of fishing.
2. You’ll enhance your experience with nature.
“It’s also much slower,” said Brooks, adding that while some people don’t like going slow, zipping by in a fast boat makes it easy to miss out on the beautiful scenery. “The slower pace allows you to enjoy the entire trip, not just the casting and reeling.”
3. It’s good for the body (and the soul.)
Brooks also believes people are picking up the sport because it presents a challenge and demands some physical strength, which is more appealing to outdoorsmen and women. “There’s a generation of people who live for adventure, and it’s definitely more adventurous fishing in a kayak than it is in a high-speed boat,” he pointed out.
While taking a trip and getting involved with the sport is fairly easy, Brooks says that our modern lifestyle also makes it easy to find excuses. He says that in today’s world people find all sorts of reasons to not make time to do the things they love, with the people they love. “We work more than we’d like to, which means we have less time to do the things we enjoy,” he says. “Learn how to get out to do what you love. Say yes to your family and to the people who matter most. Get out and get on the water; just do it!”
What are your options?
To meet the increasing demand for kayak fishing, related brands are similarly quickly evolving. Companies such as Hobie , Jackson , and NuCanoe are just a few of the noteworthy brands making waves (literally) in the outdoor industry.
Today, Brooks credits leading brand, Hobie, for making his kayak fishing experiences so enjoyable. Since the beginning of his bonding time on the water with his son, the duo has gone on a number of offshore trips together, catching “reds and specks” (redfish and speckled trout); and last year, the two set out on a nine-mile journey off the Panama City coast, to catch mackerel and mahi mahi. Brooks says that if it weren’t for his Hobie, these kinds of trips wouldn’t be possible, or enjoyable.
Though the company’s kayaks are the most expensive on the market, the price is set for good reason. According to Brooks, Hobie—a trendsetting brand that first revolutionized the surf world, then sailboats, and now kayaks—is unarguably the best company out there for this sport. “They’re designed with fishing in mind. They’re a fishing kayak company, so every boat they build is built literally with the fisherman in mind,” he says, adding that the construction allows for free hands, ensuring a secure, wide range of motion for casting lines.
Hobie’s pedal drive system, called “MirageDrive”, is what makes this brand so cutting edge. The drive replaces a bulky and unwieldy paddle with an efficient, sleek device, making kayaking easier than ever before. And, of course easier kayaking is an incentive for longer days spent on the water, and longer days almost always mean more fish.
“You’ve got to be comfortable to do good fishing. If you aren’t comfortable, you won’t catch anything. If you’ve got a quality kayak, you can stay 10 plus hours on the water.”
Jackson Kayaks, founded by world champion whitewater kayaker Eric Jackson, is known for its impressive line of specialty boats designed for varied water types. Whether you’re looking to paddle leisurely along the river, take a trip out to sea, or muscle through technical rapids, Jackson has you covered.
NuCanoe offers specialized fishing kayaks, ranging from hunting-focused kayaks to fly fishing, motorized and non. Two of the brand’s most popular fishing models are Pursuit and Frontier. Pursuit features a quality blend of speed and stability, with a wide, open deck and countless top-of-the-line features. This particular kayak utilizes a “Multi-Height Pinnacle Seat”—a seat constructed to maximize comfort, without hindering the natural range of motion necessary for fishing and paddling. Frontier kayaks boast similar stability and a wide, open deck. With tandem seating capabilities and a customizable deck, the Frontier could perhaps be one of the best products on the kayak fishing market right now.
To transport the boats easily, Brooks uses a custom built trailer he constructed several years ago. However, he recommends Boonedox hitch extenders, which provide a bed-like setting for kayaks to be mounted.
Brooks also notes that safety and fun are key to a successful kayak fishing experience. “I’m a big advocate for safety,” he says, adding that preparation can literally save your life, and that safety ensures a good time on the water. “Learn all you can about safety and always wear your lifejacket.”
Additionally, Brooks says that location plays a huge role in the experience. He nods to some of his preferred spots in the Southeast, such as Wheeler Lake and the Tennessee River; however, his favorite is the Coosa —a tributary of the Alabama River that runs through Alabama and Georgia. This easily accessible river is great for a long day and oftentimes guarantees a bountiful catch. “There’s truly nothing better for kayak fishing in the Southeast than there!” he says.
Opportunities to try before you buy:
Typically, deciding which kayak is right for you is the most difficult decision to make without consulting an expert or taking the kayak for a test drive. Rock/Creek Paddlesports Shop employs local kayak fishing experts, has the largest selection of kayaks in the southeast, and offers several opportunities to try before you buy.
In addition to official demo days, you can rent several models of Hobie and Wilderness Systems kayaks or stand-up paddle boards at the Rock/Creek Rentals and Outpost locations at the Hubert Fry Center and Chester Frost Park throughout the summer.
Featured image provided by Jim Noetzel