I enjoy kayaking year round, but tend to slow down during the winter. When I do decide to head out, wearing the right gear becomes a major factor for an enjoyable outing. If you’re thinking about kayaking in those colder temps, start with this guide by Austin Kayak, on cold weather paddling apparel. And as always, safety should be your number one focus.
I like the infographics! If you're thinking about taking a kayak camping trip, check out this infographic published by Austin Kayak. This graphic is a good place to start your research. Keep-in-mind that your gear could change based on your kayak storage, weight capacity, environment and trip length. Also, what activities are you planning for the trip. If you enjoy fishing, make sure you save room for rod, reel and tackle. I think some of us would forgo the tent and sleeping bag before we would leave the fishing gear behind. Plan ahead, make sure your trip is a safe, fun and enjoyable experience.
New to kayaking or just plain confused on what kayak to buy? Here’s an informative video posted by Austin Kayak on the basics of choosing the right kayak. With so many kayak models and styles to choose from, it can be difficult to pick one that best fits your needs. Doing your research, can save you time and money in the long run. The video covers sit-inside, sit-on-top, whitewater, touring and canoe / kayak hybrid. Once you narrow your search, good luck on picking a color.
If you’re new to kayaking the main issue you’ll struggle with is which kayak do I purchase. If you’re like me, you’ll spend weeks going back and forth trying to pick the right yak for every situation imaginable. It’s difficult to find one kayak that does everything well in lakes, rivers and oceans.
Here’s a link to my blog post last year on the process I went through to select my kayak, titled… Pick The Right Kayak.
A great place to start your research is with this kayak selector tool (below) from Austin Kayak. Narrow down the activity with the different types of kayaks for a suggested ranking. To read the full article check out their ACK blog post, Don’t Have a Yak Attack.
Good luck and don’t over think it.
When picking out a kayak there are so many options out there that it can be overwhelming. Should I go with a recreational, touring, angler kayak, sit-in or sit-on-top? What is the best length, the best price, the best manufacturer? The list goes on. I thought a good place to start would be to write about the kayak I chose and the features that helped me make my decision.
When starting my kayak research I had a list of key wants:
Based on this short list I was able to narrow my search down to an angler, sit-on-top kayak, in the 12 foot length range. This size boat is good for tracking in lakes and manageable in rivers with smaller rapids. Most sit-on-top angler kayaks have a wider base, which gives it the stability for standing. With the wider base and shorter length you give up speed and those longer day trips will give you a good workout. This type of kayak is not light, it’s on the heavier side compared to recreational and touring kayaks.
The right way to shop for a kayak is to find outdoor retailers that offer demo days, where you can test ride the models and see what feels right. After all my research I narrowed it down to three kayaks, the Wilderness Systems Ride 115, Jackson Cuda 12 and Old Town Predator MX. You can’t go wrong with any of these manufacturers, they make great products that get terrific reviews.
For me the final decision came down to cost. I was able to grab a Wilderness Systems Ride 115 at a lower price point that I was comfortable with. This boat is rock steady and weighs close to 80 pounds. A kayak at this weight will take extra effort to lift and carry on the roof of your vehicle. So the money I saved with the Ride 115, I was able to put toward a Malone Sports Trailer. It made a huge difference with loading and unloading time and the weight I’m lifting. With this trailer I found myself hitting the water more often.
Here’s one of the videos I found in my research on the Wilderness Ride 115 from 2011. It’s a video interview with Chad Hoover host of Kayak Bassin TV, an on-line show focused on kayak fishing. This interview was through Rapid Media – Paddle Forever.
I'm a big fan of infographics! Words with pics... can it get any easier? If you're starting to fish from a kayak this infographic published by Austin Kayak is a good guide to get you started and make your experience that much better.
When I started out, I was content with a recreational kayak, paddle, life vest, rod/reel and tackle box. As I grow in this sport I’m starting to add a little more gear like, rod holders, anchor, fish grips, and a small cooler for drinks and snacks. I haven’t tackled electronics yet like fish finder and Go-Pro video camera, but there’s always tomorrow.
Based on your kayak trips you can tailor what gear will work best for you. For me my outings are usually half-days on weekends at local lakes, so too much gear, besides the essentials, would be overkill. My goal is to hit the water as quick as possible and not spend time loading extra gear and hooking up electronics. I just enjoy being out there, and catching fish is a bonus. My advice as you start out, keep it simple and add as you go.
On this outing I set out to do some kayak fishing at Stonelick Lake in Clermont County, just East of Milford, Ohio. Boats with electric motors only are permitted on the 200-acre long and narrow lake. This is a great lake for beginner kayakers or for a few hours of paddling and casting.
Over the years I’ve had luck with bass and crappie at Stonelick, but on this trip the weather was not cooperating. The weather conditions changed quickly, dark clouds moved in, the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. This is a reminder to always be aware of weather when heading to the water. The weather report for that day was a 20% chance of rain and slight chance of storms. I picked Stonelick to kayak that day because of its size and if the weather did change I could quickly get to the boat ramp.
At no point did I see lightning, if so, I would have left the lake immediately. This outing turned into a scouting trip looking for new fishing cover, a chance to grab some extra exercise and take a few pics.
Welcome to my creative outlet for freshwater kayaking and the great outdoors.