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Jon S. in Star Ledger

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congrats on getting some more press....should we be ordering autographs yet? I noticed the reporter didn't really even mention anything about saltwater fishing with the yak. Still, it was good to see some positive publicity for an outdoorsman in the same paper as the article about a guy in North Brunswick, NJ that might be charged with firearm discharge for shooting at a bear in his yard that was trying to attack his family. Anyway, good job.



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Thanks guys. The author is the freshwater writer so that's why the article has a freshwater slant. The salt is Al's domain. Nanz turned me onto the author as his wife works with Nanz. He was looking for subjects to write about and obviously kayak fishing was suggested by Nanz. I referred him to a few other guys who fish northern NJ in the fresh with their yaks on a regular basis. He got ahold of Nanz and pmjasper.



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Here's the article. I obviously knew that it was coming but I didn't know when. I don't get the Ledger. I received a call from my sister. My neice was reading the paper at work and then yelled out there's a picture of my Uncle in the paper. So she called my sis and sis called me.


Just sharing the Darkside with more people. Thanks Nanz for the referral.



In a kayak, there's no fish out of your reach


Sunday, November 03, 2002



For the Star-Ledger


Jon Shein and his fishing buddies are incurable addicts and they dare you to taste their favorite pastime.


Be warned, says Shein. Once you try fishing from a kayak, your waders will go to waste, your bass boat will be boring and water once deemed unfishable will become your playground.


"We affectionately call kayak fishing the Dark Side of fishing," said Shein, a 47-year-old Rockaway Township resident. "Once you try it, you never go back."


A universal thought seems to go through the minds of anglers who eventually find themselves casting and trolling from a "yak." It comes on a day when they know for sure that big, hungry fish are lurking in a place they can't access.


"Basically, we were tired of watching fish we couldn't reach" said Shein. "It was one of those things where we said, "Boy, if I could only get out there."


Because kayaks sit on top of the water, they can be paddled over just-below-the-surface rocks and stumps that would bring even canoes to a halt. They can be silently floated into weed-choked corners of lakes or maneuvered down tiny brooks.


"You can go in less than a foot of water," said Frank Nanna, a 40-year-old Califon resident who began fishing from a kayak last March. "And it's quiet. Canoes, especially aluminum ones, can be loud."


Indeed, kayak anglers regularly sneak up on fish. The low profile of the vessel, compared to a canoe or bass boat, seems to have something to do with its invisibility to fish. "I can't tell you how many times I've been in the thickest of weeds, I plunk a lure down and get a bass who didn't even know I was there," he said. "I was on a pond one day and there was a big pickerel under me with his head on one side and his tail on the other."


The Manasquan River has become a popular place to fish for sea-run trout, and Phil Metz of Parsippany had his eyes on a section nearly impossible to reach. "There's lots of brush and overgrown vegetation there," said the 27-year-old. "It's very hard to fish from shore." He tried to get in with a canoe, but was stymied by trees and stumps. Once Metz made the move to the Dark Side, the Manasquan surrendered. "I got a nice, 8-pound trout last year," he said.


He and Shein use their boats for fishing almost year-round. In the winter, striped bass make their way up New Jersey's rivers and Shein loves to find them. He often takes his kayak out into the brackish water of the Meadowlands.


Kayaks are lightweight and -- compared to full-fledged bass boats -- light on your wallet. Nanna said he bought a used one. Even adding in the cost of a paddle, an aftermarket seat and his vest, Nanna spent only about $700.


He and Metz said they love the way they can toss their kayaks in the back of their pickups and head for the water. Places with no road or parking lot access to the water are not a big problem for kayak fishermen. Most of the boats weigh under 60 pounds and can be carried to the shore.


Equip them with wheels and you can pull a small kayak down forest trails to hidden ponds. "People don't realize that New Jersey actually has some hike-in lakes," said Shein. "We don't have a lot of them, but we do have some remote lakes in our forests."


He said he pulled one of his small vessels, an 11-foot-long, 40-pounder, down a path to get to a secluded pond in Sussex County. "I literally went down a trail," he said. "The kayak would just pivot around trees and stumps."


There's no maintenance and storage isn't a big deal either "as long as you don't let it sit out and bake in the sun," Shein said.


He said the boats, being hollow, have lots of room for storing tackle, camping gear and other stuff. While most kayak anglers are of the catch-and-release school, it's easy to stash a flexible cooler in the hull if fish for dinner is the goal.


One of the nasty joys of kayak fishing involves finding a spot bubbling with fins and visible by -- but inaccessible by -- anglers watching from other vessels. Shein says he loves to put on a show, pulling up fish after fish while the envious watch through binoculars.


On the other hand, a kayak angler might find himself the butt of a laugh or two if he happens to land a monster fish. Sometimes, the kayak lovers acknowledged, a strong one can take a kayaker for a ride.


"I've been pulled around Spruce Run Reservoir," admitted Nanna. "I hooked into some hybrids that towed me around."




[This message has been edited by JonS (edited 11-04-2002).]

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Thanks guys. All this promotion of the sport has a selfish part to it for me. I wanted people to fish with ie. do shuttle trips and more adventurous things that can't be done alone, and for the manufacturers to recognize the sport so we'd get better gear. I want better gear. Its working as there's some neat stuff coming about and we the kayak fisherman will be the beneficiaries.


Its also neat that we (and by we I mean all of us) have an active part in helping a sport develope and grow. 5 years from now it will be amazing the number of people who will be fishing from kayaks. There are app. 22 million fishermen (making it the activity that has the greatest participation in the nation) in this country and a kayak makes sense for millions.



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