Thinking of moving up from shore fishing? The advantages of being on the water are many. I love the closeness to nature, and how peaceful and tranquil it is. Wild creatures are less intimidated by people when they are floating in the water. I have seen mule deer, coyotes, fox, and all kinds of waterfowl. My favorite times have been drifting through small herds of wading elk in my local body of water, Lake Estes, Colorado. I have taken photos of elk from five feet away. They took no more interest in my kayak and me than they would a duck or a loon.
There is also the mobility aspect of kayak fishing. A lot of times if the fish aren’t biting where you are, they are elsewhere. It’s easy to fish a bay here, a point there, a cove on the other side of the lake, the inlet etc. . . Estes Park is a small town, and often I’ll run across some of my fishing buddies in one of the lake's honey holes. My kayak has two rod holders so I can troll while I travel from spot to spot. The rod holders aren’t necessary, as you can place your rod in the bow of the boat and troll backwards.
Some lakes/ponds don’t allow boats, but do allow personal water craft. At these places you can fish structures that you can’t reach from shore. As my kayak weighs less than forty pounds. . . my tackle box weighs more. . . it’s easy to hike in.
Although float tubes are also a convenient way to fish, I prefer the kayak. Personally, I find them to be more fun on the water, but there are other advantages. To me the most important is convenience. By the time I get to a lake/pond I’m “jonesing" so bad to fish, I have to fight the urge to cast out the car window. There is no inflating, no waders to put on, and no awkward flippers to strap on. I simply unlock and unstrap my “yak" from the roof, throw it in the water and go.
Another very important advantage is speed. In Colorado the weather can change in an instant. In a tube I don’t feel safe if the weather looks as if it could turn for the worse, so I stay near shore. In the kayak, no matter how far out I am, I can return to shore in minutes.
I also like the fact that I can carry gear. It’s easy to tote two or three rods, a tackle box, and even a cooler. This is helpful during camping trips and family outings. I have used the kayak at bigger reservoirs, like Aurora, to carry gear from one side to the other to meet people shore fishing. Sometimes I’ll get lucky and catch one before my buddies get around the lake.
It easily crosses shallow areas in lakes. If you have fished in a tube you know the places I’m talking about. The water is less than a foot deep, but the ground beneath is like quick sand. In a kayak you can drift across areas that are inches deep with ease.
You don’t need a lot of money to get into kayak fishing. Obviously you need a kayak. I have a Heritage Feather Light 9, which was designed for fishing. Before that I fished from an inflatable Sevylor I bought off a Kool-aide vendor after he used it for a display, so any kayak will do. Oars can also be costly. I use a mid-range one now, however, the $20.00 one I had before was sufficient. I used to use a cheap foam and strap roof rack, which could be loaded and unloaded fairly effortlessly. However, I feel safer and more secure with the Thule rack I have now. It is sturdier, quicker, and wicked easier to use.
I highly recommend trying kayak fishing. It is both relaxing and exciting. It can bring you to areas of your local lakes that you have not fished before. It is a relatively inexpensive way to try trolling, which I have found very effective. It is a whole new fishing experience. A lot of lakes/reservoirs marinas’ rent out kayaks for a reasonable rate. So get out there and give it a try, you just may find yourself hooked.