Kayak Fishing: Get To Where the Fish Are
By Scott Hamilton

"I keep my eyes clear and I hit 'em where they ain't." This was baseball’s Willie Keeler's famous explanation for his .432 average in 1897. This applies well for baseball, but not fishing. To be successful, you need to be able to get where the fish are, not be “where they ain’t” and a great way to accomplish this to use a kayak.

As a child, I sat on the bank of many a river and many a small lake with my grandpa trying to catch fish. While I cherished the time we spent together, we did not catch as many fish as I would have liked. In fact, I know that I would have enjoyed these trips more if we would have had more action. Now that I have my kayak, I am mobile. If I spot feeding fish I can get to them with just a few short strokes, make a cast, and BINGO “Fish On!” This makes for a much more exciting day.

My favorite lake to fish is Lake Angelus in Michigan. This is a private lake; I am fortunate that my sister has a house on the lake and allows me access. Anyway, my point is that I have discovered where the fish are and now I can get to them. The lake has a “flats” area that cannot be reached by heaving bait as a landlubber. Also complicating things is that the fish are easily spooked from the sounds of boat engines. Consequently, the kayak is the ultimate tool for achieving success. I have literally “snuck up” on 5-pound small mouth bass, seen the lunker lying on the bed, worked my “Texas” rig, through the shallows, and then had the fight of a lifetime. At times, the fish have towed the kayak quite some distance before being landed.

Serenity Now!

For those of you familiar with the comedian Jerry Seinfeld, you may remember the famous episode when one of the characters thought they could obtain peaceful bliss by screaming “SERENITY NOW!” Of course, this did not work, and the character ended up being institutionalized. However, I know how you can obtain bliss, simply take the kayak to a secluded place and enjoy nature. I am a good angler, but I am sure there are many other fishermen who have developed more skills at this sport than I have. Consequently, I do not have a fish on constantly (nor do I want to have a fish on constantly). When things slow down on my quests for fish, I can obtain Serenity by paddling around the lake and observing nature.

I also am a birder and like to identify the different species that gather around the wetlands. My kayaking trips have allowed me to observe birds and other wildlife that could not be seen in suburbia, where I live. Some examples are a bald eagle in Upper Michigan, an elk on the Two-Hearted River in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, some loons also in the U.P., and moose and Grizzly bear in Alaska.

Okay, let’s say you don’t like fishing, and birding isn’t your bag either. How about surfing? Or riding the rapids? Or sailing? The kayak can be used in all of these sports. No kidding, I have surfed in the Atlantic Ocean with a kayak. I paddled out to the breakers, timed the wave, and rode it to shore. This was very exciting! I have also taken my kayak through white water on a river, an adrenaline rush. Before you try this, you must make sure you are properly equipped and have the skill to make it through safely.

Sailing is something I have yet to try, but I’ve seen it and want to give it a go. The kayaks really move out on a windy day!

Lastly, I am 5’7” tall and weight 200 pounds (sometimes more). The reason I bring this up is to let you know that I need exercise. Sadly, I do not have the svelte physique I used to have back in the day. The kayak provides me with an aerobic workout opportunity. It helps me keep my weight down and to keep my muscles toned.

The above reasons are why I have the passion for kayaking. Dollar for dollar, the kayak is the best investment you can make if you share the same interests that I do.
Scott Hamilton, Kayak fisherman http://www.kayakquest.com

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