This kayaker came down from Arkansas to fish the Lacassine NWR Non-Motorized Watercraft Area this past weekend. (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of John K. Flores)
No sign of enthusiasm for kayaking fishing peaking yet
This past weekend, Mrs. Flores and I spent part of the weekend canoeing. You remember, canoes are those un-motorized watercraft dating back thousands of years, where up until the past decade were American’s most popular paddle craft.
Though kayaks also date back several thousand years, the enthusiasm for them of late has taken the market by storm. What’s more, their popularity as a fishing vessel in Louisiana has put the average Joe into public waters catching limits of bull reds and every other species of gulf coast game fish.
Christine and I fished the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge Pool, specifically Unit D, set aside for non-motorized watercraft only.
During the morning outing, I spoke with no less than four anglers, all in kayaks, who were fishing the pool for the first time. Moreover, three of which were trying out new kayaks for the first time.
Keeton Eoff, director of Global Strategy and Development for Hobie Cat, says the biggest reasons for kayaking popularity is accessibility.
“Ninety percent of the rapid growth in the kayak market is due to accessibility,” Eoff said. “Kayak fishing developed on the coast first. You basically have a 12- month season there. Then, during the last 10 years, we’ve seen this progression inland. But, with fishing bass using a boat and motor being so popular, the idea of fishing them with a kayak was slower to develop.
“That’s what Hobie is doing now – promoting bass fishing out of a kayak,” Eoff added. “So, the inland is slowly starting to catch up with what’s been going on in the coastal areas for a decade now.”
A secondary reason for the growth in kayak fishing, Eoff said, is roto-molding or rotat i o n a l m o l d i n g . Rotational molding is a thermoplastic production process that has been around since the 1940s, to form hollow plastic parts of limitless size.
“With roto-molding, we’re able to develop kayaks that are ergonomically designed to fit the angler’s need,” E o f f e x p l a i n e d . “Anything you need on the water can be done with roto-molding. Things like sit-on-top kayaks that are very stable platforms can be molded.
“But, also you’ve got rod holders, you’ve got cup holders and you’ve got connections for every bungee gadget you would want that can be incorporated,” Eoff added. “So, that’s another aspect – just the development of the tool itself and having a kayak fitted to your needs. That’s something that wasn’t doable 10 years ago.”
Eoff says there are no less than 10 kayak brands manufacturing quality watercrafts today that fit an individual’s price points and needs.
When considering a first-time kayak purchase, Eoff suggests asking yourself, “How much will I use it? Is this going to be a dock toy that gets used twice a year? Or, are you going to use it and get out and fish every or every other weekend.”
Today, kayaks range in price from a few hundred dollars to two or three thousand dollars. Therefore, they can be a sizeable investment.
Essentially, anglers may want to consider quantitatively, will their kayak investment match the time they will spend using it. The more time that’s going to be spent in the kayak may justify more investment in the product. Another question is, with so many brands, with such wide price ranges, how does an angler choose the right watercraft? Eoff said though kayaks are affordable, individuals may still shell out thousands from their pockets. Therefore, the best thing a person can do is go demo it.
“Every kayak is different,” Eoff said. “We highly encourage our Hobie dealers to have demo days. We say go try-em. Go get into ours,and go get into another brand. But, I wouldn’t buy one without a dealer letting me demo it first. And if you can’t demo it, don’t buy it. You’re not dropping a piece of plastic in the water. You’re dropping a tool.”
Christine and I, basically being boat poor owning a bay boat, a small aluminum boat for knocking around the deer lease, and a canoe, probably aren’t going to be in the market anytime soon for a couple of kayaks. But, I have to admit, I am intrigued by them. I have fished redfish in Fourchon during the winter using a borrowed kayak. I also have a couple of friends who live in them.
Awh heck! Scratch that last thought. I guess I could be persuaded if the right deal came along.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Flores is The Daily Review’s outdoor writer. If you wish to make a comment or have an anecdote, recipe or story to share, you can contact Flores at 985395-5586 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Facebook page, Gowiththeflo Outdoors.