Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
JonS

A True Story that we can learn from

13 posts in this topic

Here's a story which should be of value. It was told to me by Joey.

 

Recently a gent who contacted Joey wanted to get into kayak fishing. Joey reccomended that he contact me and that I would help him make a good choice for what he needed as I had access to both kayaks and the accessories needed to properly equip it for fishing. Also I fished these same waters and was familar with the requirements of the area. The gent wanted to go down to a local kayak shop to poke around. Joey told him not to buy anythng but looking couldn't hurt. Well he bought a kayak and all the trimmings ($1100) at full retail and got a kayak neither of us thought was appropriate. What sold the gent was that the kayak was a special "fishing" model. It even said so right on the kayak! It came with 2 built in rod holders and was ready to go. The salesman told him that it was just what he needed. The gent should have asked if the salesman even fished because both the company who builds the kayak (more on this later) and the salesman don't know what is required in a fishing kayak.

 

So the other day Joey and a friend were fishing off of an island where they had beached their kayaks. They noticed this gent fishing out a ways in the area with his new kayak. He hooked a striper and when it fought perpendicular to the kayak it pulled him over into the water. The gent was in his 60's and it appeared that he was tangled in a line. He had 2 rods with him. Joey wasn't near his kayak so he swam out to help him out as he was beginning to panic. His inflatible PFD didn't inflate and the fish was still on the tangled line. Joey got him straightened out and went back to fishing. The gent was fortunate that Joey was there.

 

It just so happens that this kayak model was the first one that I personally owned. I got to meet the designer when I picked the kayak up at the factory. The designer of the kayak doesn't fish and I'm actually the one who gave him the idea to come out with a fishing model. I told him how popular I felt that kayak fishing was going to become and if he designed a model specifically for fishing that it would be a good seller. Unfortunately his mindset, as with many companies, is that in order to make a kayak into a fishing model all that is required is to add a couple of rod holders and you've magically transformed a kayak into a fishing machine. The design of this particular kayak, I believe (IMO), was at fault and is the reason it capsized when the fish pulled perpendicular. The inexperience of a novice kayak fisherman didn't help but I feel that the design doomed him. This particular yak is long and narrow and has significant front and rear skegs. This design makes it very fast and it tracks extremely well. It has a tight cockpit and virtually no on water storage. Its also designed for and comes with a backband which affords little comfort. In most kayaks when a fish runs it will actually change the direction of a kayak. Even a cocktail blue will do this with a yak like a Cobra Explorer. Models like the Explorer are manueverable and fairly wide providing a good mix of variables which make them good general purpose fishing kayaks. Longer kayaks, due to having more yak in the water, resist the turning of fish. I have access to several kayaks to fish and when I fish the Sound I opt for the Cobra Tourer. It is a long yak at 15'. Last time out fishing I hooked a striper of app. 28". It ran from starboard to port and I was surprised that the nose of the yak didn't follow it. The Tourer has incredible initial and secondary stability so the fish being perpendicular had no affect on stability. In both the Explorer and the Navigator a fish of this size would have easily spun the bow and towed me. The kayak the gent was using, due to the skegs, resists this turning of the bow to an even greater degree. Unfortunately for the gent the kayak is also very tippy and would be difficult to keep up under these conditions. Someone who doesn't fish would never think of this. This particular company has a model which would make a much better fishing model but the designer doesn't know what the fishing atributes of a fishing kayak are. He thinks that kayak fisherman are kayakers who happen to fish. I admit that I enjoy kayaking but I've only kayaked once without a fishing rod and I regretted it. We are fisherman who happen to have recognized that a kayak equipped for fishing is a great fishing tool. It is such a basic difference in philosophy.

 

It is often said that a bad example is often the best example. There are a great many kayak designs out there but only about a dozen that you ever see mentioned as good fishing kayaks. There's a reason fisherman are adapting these particular models for fishing. Its because they work. So when making a decision on which kayak to get I strongly suggest that you go with one of the established models. I admit that this site is biased towards Cobra because 2 of its major contributors (myself and barrell) prefer them. There are other companies that are popular and good as well. Between Cobra and Ocean Kayak you've got half of all of the fishing models being used. With the growth that kayak fishing is experiencing there are going to be many "fishing models" coming out. In time there will be some valuable additions when fisherman are brought into the design rooms.

 

A properly setup fishing kayak will enable you to do some spectacular fishing safely. Please heed my next statement. The wrong choice could be very dangerous as there is little margin for error in the wrong craft. Some of the best fishing is done in some dangerous environments. Stripers love rocky, fast moving water. Places where many boats can't go but a good fishing kayak can. Freshwater rapids offer equally good but challenging and potentially dangerous water. With the correct gear and experience you'll be amazed at where you can fish. Conversely with the wrong gear and little experience its amazing how quickly it all can end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is a forward skeg? Do you mean a keel or crease in the bottom of the hull?

I was considering a Heritage "Fisherman" and this seems to be the one that you are refering to. What is wrong with this one?

Do you have any experiance with the Wildernes Freedom? thanks, Eddie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very well written narrative Jon!

But please let us know (for informational purposes) what kind of kayak was the gent on?

 

My kayak is hardly ever outfitted for fishing, but I think it's one of the most stable platforms around. (It better be, cause it sure won't win any races). I have a Malibu 2. It's gotten faster since I learned to paddle with my body, instead of just my arms.

 

My weight approaches 300 pounds. Do I have to tell you why a Hippo spends 90% of it's life in the water?

 

What's "right" for me, is just plain silly for someone half my weight!

 

Flounder

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys, without naming names its the one mentioned above with the name fisherman following it. wink.gif

 

Eddie, the skegs, as I call them, are the creases in the keel (front and rear) you're asking about and are extremely pronounced on that particular model. It makes the kayak track incredibly well. To well for fishing. I remember that turning the yak around took a lot of effort. I learned that the proper technique in this yak is to lean it substantially so that the skegs would be out of the water and facilitate turning rolleyes.gif Yeah right, I'm a fisherman not an advanced kayaker. I found that it needed a tremendous radius. So much that on a lake I'd paddle backwards for 100 yards to repeat a drift rather than try to turn it. If you wished to buy a kayak from that company the model below it is a much better choice for a fishing kayak. I tried it the day I also tried a bunch of models at an on water demo day and my #1 choice for the fishing I do was the Explorer. I owned the above kayak and only fished it 3 times but after the first time I knew that I wasn't going to keep it so I didn't put any holes in it. When I sold it I had a few people who wanted it for fishing and I told them that they should look at other kayaks. I sold it to a non fisherman who loves it. Also Eddie, have you considered where you would store the gear that you'll need when on the water? Things like a clipper/scissors, pliers, lure boxes, anchor, drift sock, anchorline, flashlight, etc. There isn't any accessible access. The 2 hatches aren't reachable and if they were they're at water level. Spike, from Coastal Kayak Fishing (CKF) told me that he almost swamped this model when he tried to get something from the hatch. He's been kayak fishing since the mid 80s and has a lot of experience and got into serious trouble with this model. Spike told me that he feels that there are only about 10 kayaks that are good fishing yaks. That's a fairly small list. This model would make an excellent flats fishing kayak but it isn't a good choice for this region. It is very fast and with it you can cover a tremendous amount of water and then wade fish. For here you can do much better for less money. I do know a gent who's probably going to be selling one wink.gif . Would you like his info?

 

I don't have any experience with the Freedom.

 

Malibu 2s are used by a number of people for fishing and are one of the kayaks that make the list as making good fishing yaks. Big guys like them as solo craft.

 

Pete, its not that the kayak has a bad design. As a intermediate to advanced recreational kayak its a superb kayak. We're fisherman who happen to use kayaks for a means to an end, fishing. We're not kayakers. When kayak companies recognize this it will be great, however as long as designers think that adding a couple of rod holders is all that's required to make a kayak a fishing model, be very cautious. That's why I reccomend, especailly for a first yak, to go with one that has a fishing pedigree. Some designs suit what we need them to do. Most don't because they were never intended for fishing. This particular kayak is near the upper end of performance for a recreational kayak and doesn't have the broad, more forgiving characteristics that fisherman need.

 

 

 

 

[This message has been edited by JonS (edited 08-15-2001).]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JonS,

 

Be carefull who you may be characterizing with that broad-sweeping "we". I was kayaker and a fisherman (both) long before I was a kayak-fisherman. I heartily enjoy the benefits of a capable kayak (sea-, whitewater-, or otherwise) and I encourage others to learn the finer points of paddling because it will benefit your goals as a fisherman.

 

I notice that you didn't share the full list of those that Spike (a true pioneer of the sport in this country) recommended. I would hazard a guess to say that the top of his list is the OK Scupper Pro. Most of the left-coast guys that kayakfish 50-100 days a year paddle them but, for reasons I don't fully understand, they haven't caught on on the east coast.

 

Also, you would do well, no matter what boat you paddle, to learn how to do a leaned turn. The stroke and the body movements, once learned, will assist you in many situations, especially big wave and surf paddling.

 

Fine points you made, though, about knowing what you and your craft are capable of before getting yourself in a situation that you can't handle.

 

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris, I do recognize that some people who have gotten into kayak fishing have had previous kayaking experience however it is a great minority. I use the term "WE" to speak of the majority. If a poll were taken of kayak fisherman who were kayakers before purchasing a fishing kayak I'm fairly certain that it probably wouldn't make double digits especially on this site. Most are surf fisherman who are tired of watching fish break 300 yards off the beach and never coming within casting range. That was my motivation and most fisherman who ask about getting into the sport tell me the same thing.

 

Learning to kayak is of course important however most fisherman purchasing a kayak throw some gear in the yak and go fishing as this gent did. This is very common. I met a guy today up at a sport shop where I was picking up a few items. He wanted a rod holder for his new kayak. We exchanged #s since the shop didn't have any and I do. He was taking his maiden voyage to go fishing and he didn't consider going out without gear. A first kayak needs to be forgiving. The gent who got into trouble with the fishing model had a kayak that was anything but forgiving and that model is not suited to what the gent intended to do with it.

 

I agree that Spikes favorite is probably the Scupper Pro. I didn't share the list because we didn't discuss all the models however we both agreed that more than half the list consisted of OK and Cobra. Also I didn't list the choices because I want to encourage people to get opinions other than those expressed on this board when deciding a kayak choice since there is a very heavy Cobra bias here. Anyone reading this board recognizes that Cobra has several kayak models that make good fishing kayaks. By reading boards like yakfish and CKF they'll learn more about other kayak brands and what others are using.

 

The Scuppers are very popular especially out west. Joey and I met because he was selling his Explorer to purchase a Scupper. He wanted more speed. He primarily fishes the sound and covers some water. More speed is a good thing in that environment. I now take a Tourer when I fish there. If the Cobra Tourer wasn't considerably more money it may have been his choice. I had little experience with the Tourer at the time but I use one often now. It is my choice for the big water and I won't be surprised if Joey doesn't have one before to long. Both he and Frick are still undecided whether they prefer the Scupper to the Explorer. The Tourer has many of the freindly and convenient features of the Explorer/Navigator and additionally has great speed and better initial and secondary stability than either and is very easy to use. It has high end performance but is also very forgiving and rock solid.

 

I have paddled the Pro and I owned a Classic. For the fishing I do I needed a shorter kayak and the Explorer or Navigator better suits the wide array of waters I fish. In the big water I feel undergunned in the speed department and my kayak of choice is the Tourer. Its faster than the Pro and IMHO a superior kayak in all categories, but it does cost more. One thing that I don't like about the Scuppers is that the new ones seem to have a nasty habit of having a turning bias to one direction. Joey has learned to live with it and on the OK website when he asked about it he was welcomed to the world of Scuppers by other Scupper owners. Its one of the things like having a wet ride that's part of their idosyncracies. Please dont misunderstand me. I'm not bashing OK. I think that they are excellent kayaks to be adapted for fishing. After the Tourer (of the kayaks I have tried) I think that the Scuppers are the best choice for big water fishing kayaks where distance needs to be covered. OK innovated the SOT. They have some features which I prefer to Cobra and some that I don't. The store I'm associated with is also an OK dealer and I can just as easily own an OK.

 

What I try to do most is educate. When people call and ask about kayak fishing or Cobras I reccomend that we get together and go out and play with the yaks. It answers many of their questions and we can go on from their. I want to help people get into this wonderful sport and do it safely. The last thing that I want is what happened to the gent in the story. If Joey hadn't been there it might have ended in tragedy.

 

Kayak fishing is a terrific way to fish. Over the next 5 years its going to explode the way saltwater fly fishing did in the early 90s. We have to recognize that most people who enter this facet of fishing are fisherman and very few will have previous kayaking experience.

 

[This message has been edited by JonS (edited 08-16-2001).]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I try to convince all my cccustomers to paddle flat water at least 6 times before getting involved with currents,chop,sand waves. They dont always listen. Afterall they bought the boat to catch fish out of, and they have been fishing for many years, so whats the problem?

The problem is they aren't going to learn much about paddling if they are busy fishing.

And being a good paddler and kayaker is the key to being safe while fishing.

Barrell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amen, when I first got my Explorer I did a lot of practice. Initially it was all flat water fishing. When I wanted to step up to more challenging environments I left the fishing gear out of the equation. For rapids I went to a very popular place on a busy Sunday so if I got into trouble there were plenty of people around. I practiced all kinds of manuevers including anchoring in the rapids.

 

To learn the surf I went in August and played in the surf practicing launches and landings. Its so important to do this.

 

Unfortunately many people do what the gent in the story did. First day out he went fishing with 2 rods in a rough environment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see what you are talking about in the heritage fisherman however do they still have that model on the line. It doesent show it on the heritage site but i could be wrongkooky.gif I own a heritage redfish12 and think it is an awesome fishing machine and i have only heard good things about the heritage redfish 12 and they are wide and great for a fly fisher like me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

headscratch.gif

 

Please pay attention to the dates on the threads you want to post to, this happens to be seven years old. I would think in seven years, the models of yaks offed may have changed a little from manufacturer to manufacturer. rolleyes.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.