Paddle sports, particularly kayak fishing, are the fastest growing water sport today. Kayaking, canoeing and rafting are now destination activities. With all the green and eco friendly activities available, paddle sports have dominated the outdoor adventure scene. Paddle sports are low impact on the environment, inexpensive, thrilling and always memorable.
Not to be left out, the fishing and sporting communities wanted in on this explosion. Kayakers, anglers and sportsmen merged concepts and technologies. Along with diversity came opportunity. New specialty equipment, gear and accessories evolved. Fishing kayaks and kayak fishing hand paddles evolved from this call to action.
With the rapid growth of paddle sports, there has been a definitive diversification of the sport into various disciplines. All the technological and manufacturing advancements have fueled the sudden increase in the sport. Kayak fisherman and kayak sportsman have recently dominated the growth in the paddle sports arena.
Kayak fishermen, also known as kayak anglers, and kayak sportsmen require specialty equipment, gear and accessories to effectively pursuit their sport. Their fishing kayaks and fishing hand paddles are specifically designed to accommodate their dynamic environments and distinctive sporting activities.
Kayak anglers and sportsmen have designed boats for easy access and mobility. Many facets of their kayak design reflect accoutrements that were found only on motorized fishing vessels. Today you can find rod holders, live wells, storage compartments, battery wells, fish finders, anchors, etc. If they can fit a specialty fishing accessory on a twelve to fourteen foot kayak, they will try to get it on there! They even have twin hulled, foot propelled and battery operated kayaks for the hard core anglers.
For ease of access and dismount, the anglers use a modified version of the sit on top kayak, or SOT. SOT’s were a natural conversion platform for kayak anglers. These boats are self bailing, meaning that any water that gets in the kayak will be drained away by gravity. Getting on and off is much easier than a sit in kayak. Turning or sliding around to access tackle or gear behind you is a much simpler evolution.
With this approach to fishing from kayaks, came another conundrum that caused problems in the kayak angling community. How do you paddle and fish at the same time? Think about it. Can you hold your fishing rod and a kayak paddle at the same time?
Paddling your kayak and fishing at the same time became a comedy on the water. It takes two hands to wrangle a seven foot kayak paddle, no matter how you hold it. Throw in a fishing pole, and you soon realize you need three hands!
Kayak fishing hand paddles evolved from pioneering anglers solving this problem with ping pong paddles, Kadema paddles, modified badminton racquets and the sort. They could hold onto their fishing rod and with the other hand paddle their boat stealthily toward their prey.
It soon became apparent that flailing a seven foot paddle is not conducive to shallow water, or skinny water fishing. The fish can see you! The best way to sneak up on your prey is to glide stealthily toward them. While holding your fishing rod, using a little six or seven ounce fishing hand paddle to propel your kayak, about 16” long, is perfect for the task.
As you begin your foray into kayak fishing, do your research. Peruse the internet, talk to local anglers, visit local outfitters and try various kayak platforms and fishing hand paddles. That little effort will certainly make your fishing trip much more rewarding and memorable.