IÂ remember the first kayak I ever saw, and it was on a black and white television set, the kind with tubes and required a minute or more to warm up.Â There was a man sitting in a long, sleek boat that wrapped around his torso, on top of a rock cliff overlooking a deep pool.Â This was a peculiar situation.Â Why would he sit in a boat on land?Â With a whisk of his two-bladed paddle, he pushed off, plummeted a dozen or so feet, crashed through the waterâ€™s surface and disappeared.Â The boat surfaced, bottom up, and I thought for sure the man was dead.Â In an instant there was a great commotion, water churned everywhere, and suddenly he was upright and vertical, paddling down the river.Â I was awestruck.
Many years have passed since I watched that show, and I still have never paddled a boat as sleek as his. I do paddle a lot, but I favor a more generic boat.Â My hard-chined, open cockpit kayak more closely resembles a floating bathtub than a hydrodynamic, long-distance paddling machine.Â I need no special skills to maneuver it.Â I use no Eskimo rolls, no acrobatic insertions into the water, and no technical gear.Â I simply drag it down the sand to the waterâ€™s edge, toss my gear inside, and go.Â If my kayak gets swamped, so be it.Â I just swim away, no harm, no foul, and just a little wet for the wear.Â And on a hot day, not much feels better than a good dunking, except for maybe an ice cream.
Kayaks are light weight, easy to transport, and easy to paddle, a perfect vessel for getting a shorebound angler into the honey holes.Â Theyâ€™re virtually maintenance free, and can fit on top any truck or car.Â Lots of shops are selling off their demo/rental models this time of year, so theyâ€™re affordable as well.
Some of the newer models are as equipped for fishing as a small bass boat, which is great for the avid angler. Â Some paddle, and some, like the Hobie Kayak fishing boats, have an innovative peddle/paddle system that enables anglers to use their feet for propulsion.Â That means that their hands are free for castingâ€¦.and catching.
If youâ€™re frustrated by being shorebound and want a way to reach those deeper honey holes, check out a kayak.Â Soon, you could be like me and just climb in and go fishing.