A kayak, connecting the shore and your honey hole
I remember the first kayak I ever saw, and it was on a black and white television set, the kind with tubes and required a minute or more to warm up. There was a man sitting in a long, sleek boat that wrapped around his torso, on top of a rock cliff overlooking a deep pool. This was a peculiar situation. Why would he sit in a boat on land? 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 instant there was a great commotion, water churned everywhere, and suddenly he was upright and vertical, paddling down the river. I was awestruck.
Many years have passed since I watched that show, and I still have never paddled a boat as sleek as his. I do paddle a lot, but I favor a more generic boat. My hard-chined, open cockpit kayak more closely resembles a floating bathtub than a hydrodynamic, long-distance paddling machine. I need no special skills to maneuver it. I use no Eskimo rolls, no acrobatic insertions into the water, and no technical gear. I simply drag it down the sand to the water’s edge, toss my gear inside, and go. If my kayak gets swamped, so be it. I just swim away, no harm, no foul, and just a little wet for the wear. And on a hot day, not much feels better than a good dunking, except for maybe an ice cream.
Kayaks are light weight, easy to transport, and easy to paddle, a perfect vessel for getting a shorebound angler into the honey holes. They’re virtually maintenance free, and can fit on top any truck or car. Lots of shops are selling off their demo/rental models this time of year, so they’re affordable as well.
Some of the newer models are as equipped for fishing as a small bass boat, which is great for the avid angler. Some paddle, and some, like the Hobie Kayak fishing boats, have an innovative peddle/paddle system that enables anglers to use their feet for propulsion. That means that their hands are free for casting….and catching.
If you’re frustrated by being shorebound and want a way to reach those deeper honey holes, check out a kayak. Soon, you could be like me and just climb in and go fishing.
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Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits. When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters. His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.