Keep It Simple

Keep It Simple

Kayaking is an activity that does not require a whole lot; a kayak and a paddle is all you really need. Fishing is another pursuit that does not require much gear. Both are meant to be leisure hobbies and are very enjoyable to partake in. Combine the two and we have created the ultimate sport that should be an easy way to have fun.

Of course, it is not always that easy. Human nature takes an ordinary idea and twists it in a way that will hopefully benefit us more. We are always trying to "perfect" any given object or idea to make it more efficient and enjoyable. When it comes to both kayaking and fishing, the products available have advanced dramatically in the last 20 years. I am thankful for the progress that we have made because it does make our life easier. The problem comes when you take two individually simple hobbies and combine them; I believe this is where we overcomplicate kayak fishing.

As we all know, kayaking has been around for thousands of years and just now we are starting to perfect it. There are several types of kayaks that suit any paddlers need. They have them for people fishing inshore and offshore; sight-casters to river runners; and paddlers and peddlers. You name it and there is a kayak built specifically for your style of fishing. They also cater to everyone; there is a kayak for whatever shape, size, and age that you may be. It really is incredible how far kayaks have come recently and this evolution is what has made it popular.

Fishing, of course, has always been popular and we are always improving our gear. We are able to buy graphite rods and high-dollar reels to bring in any fish that we want to target. The prices vary, which makes owning a rod and reel accessible to anyone who wants to purchase one. Depending on who you may be, I am willing to bet that you have anywhere from 2-10 rod and reels. You also probably own a tackle box that is the size of a suitcase filled with every style of lure and you have at least two of every color. Having all this gear and equipment is nice when you have a way to carry it and, on the right days, it's useful.

Now let's take the simple art of kayak fishing; it consists of an angler sitting in a little plastic boat paddling around with a rod and reel at their side. That's it! There is no need for the sport to be any more complicated than that. For one, you are limited on space, so bringing your full arsenal of rod and reels is out of the question. Even if you were able to bring more than a few, do you really need that many?

Some of my more productive days on the water have occurred on spontaneous trips. I would jump up at the last minute and decide that I was going fishing. It would consist of me throwing my kayak in the back of my truck, grabbing a pair of rods, stuffing a pack of Norton Sand Eels in my pocket and heading out. I found that when I make a trip like this, I would spend more time actually fishing. My lure was constantly in the water and stayed in the strike zone longer. Why? Because I was not worried about what other lure or tactic that could be working. I was stuck with the lures I had tied on and it is either catch fish with them or don't. Fishing like this has molded my current style and I believe has made me a better  fisherman.

Also, I do not own a tackle box. I use to have one but I found that it got in my way of fishing. Not only was it taking up prime real estate on my kayak but I was constantly digging through the plethora of lures wondering what color or type may work better. I have seen people retie and change lures every ten casts thinking that the next lure they tie on is going to be the golden ticket. They will spend 75% of their day swapping lures instead of fishing, ending with mediocre results at best. This has led to my lure selection being narrowed to a few that I have greatest confidence in. If it cannot fit in an Academy bag it's not coming with me. Period. (Yes, my tackle box is a plastic sack.)

When I hit the water, I bring at least two but never more than three rods with me. Any more than that and they begin to get in the way and have a greater chance of tangling with others. When I target trout I will only bring two rods. One rod will have a topwater tied on, She Dog or Skitter Walk. The other will be rigged for soft plastic, 1/4 ounce jighead with a black and green Norton Sand Eel. I will have a spare pack of these and also purple and green–that's it for trout tackle. When I hit the marsh for reds I will usually carry three rods rigged as follows–one with a gold spoon, another with jighead and Zoom Super Fluke, the third with popping cork and GULP. In my Academy bag I carry a few extra corks, a tub of GULP, several packages of Norton Sand Eels and Zoom Flukes (no more than 2 colors) and spare jigs. I also have a topwater or two lingering around but that really is all you need.

The point I am trying to make is that we tend to spend more time over-thinking the fishing instead of actually fishing. We believe that we have the fish outsmarted by having eight rods rigged with eight different lures and colors and this is not necessarily the case. It is more efficient to downsize your tackle selection and stick with a few presentations that can cover every part of a fish's strike zone. So next trip you make, fix up a few rods, grab a bag of lures, and hit the water. Keep it simple and you will catch more fish!