Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kayak Fishing

Last year, I purchased my first kayak for a float/fishing trip on the Manistee River (MI) over Memorial Day. Since then, I have used it on many fishing trips on my home water, the Grand River (MI). The kayak I purchased is the Mainstream Kingfish, a 12 foot sit on top kayak that is specifically set up with the fisherman in mind. (Lost my camera charger, so it's out of commission at the moment: will have some pics added later.) I picked mine up from Dick's Sporting Goods on clearance for $300 bucks, what a bargin!! It is wider than most kayaks and very stable. I have found that it paddles a bit slower than other kayaks, but this is not a problem for me. The Kingfish features a generous water tight storage area in the hull of the kayak, and has a spot molded in behind the seat that will hold a crate or a 5 gallon bucket. I have found that both these items fit very securely in the pre-molded indentations. The only complaint I have about the kayak is the seat, it's not very comfortable for long trips but this is easily rectified by replacing it.

I'm really excited to start customizing my 'yak in the next month, but already added some nice touches to it. The first thing I did was add a rod holder for trolling and for that "extra hand." It is important when installing rod holders and other accessories to coat the base with silicon sealant to prevent leaks. I also added a "brush clip" in order to clip onto tree branches or dead fall. I took about 3-4 of rope and tied a quick clip carribeaner to the end which allows me to wrap the rope around a branch, etc. and then clip it back onto itself. This provides an easy and fast means to hook/unhook as necessary. A 5 lb. dumbbell weight on about 15 feet of rope serves as an anchor. A milk or office crate works great for carry and organizing your tackle and can be customized to suit your needs. I took a "bucket mate", which wraps around a 5 gallon bucket and has various pockets, and attached it around my crate. This holds various items such as: extra line, pliers, sinkers, and other misc. items you would normally put in the large compartment of your tackle box. For my tackle, I just use the clear plano 3700 boxes and stack them in the crate.

There are definitely some items I plan on adding to the 'yak this year. The top priority is to install rod holders on my crate to accommodate extra rods. Right now, I use my rear scupper holes to stow my spare rods. It is easy and affordable to make your rod holders, and I plan on using PVC pipe to rig one up on the backside of my crate. Also, I plan on adding another front and side mount rod holder. The front mount will come in handy for that "extra hand" and the side for an additional trolling rod. Another accessory I would like to add is a mount for my fish finder, and my transducer. As soon as I build this I will post pictures and describe the materials I used to make it. My anchoring system is in need of a serious overhaul, and I plan on constructing a system that uses pulleys, much like that on a boat.

Kayak fishing is very addictive and a great way to stay in shape. You are right down at water level, and often bigger fish will tow you around. They allow you to easily pack up some camping gear and make an extended float trip. Kayaks are easy to launch and open up all kinds of possibilites you would not have open to you in a boat. They are perfect for exploring remote and shallow waters, and allow you to fish areas without a boat launch. Overall, I am extremely pleased I purchased mine and will put it to very good use for years to come.

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