But I did not stop there. I also researched what PFD and mod attachments I should get, car carrying attachments, and even how to paddle properly and self rescue. This was on top of what I learned from reading the state regulations and some small previous knowledge I had of kayaking and fishing . I felt like I was on top of everything. I knew exactly what I wanted and needed.
Demo, Demo, Demo
I asked Santa to bring me a kayak - even a cheap one just to get started . But Christmas came and went, and no kayak waiting under the tree for me. So, I started looking at craigslist. After looking around for about a month I found a great sit-in touring kayak. Just what I was looking for - a sit-in, 12' long with a comfortable seat. I couldn't pass up the price. It was only used for two years, had very few scratches, no mods, and it came with a paddle and car rack.
It has been just over a year since I got my kayak. I still love it, but am now saving my money to buy a Sit-on-Top (SOT) fishing kayak. My point - This might not have happened if I demo'd some kayaks before I purchased one. If I had some seat time in my current kayak and others, I might have wanted a SOT instead of a Sit-In-Kayak (SINK). Remember - any time you buy a kayak, make sure you demo it and others to make sure you are extremely happy with it before you spend money.
Where should I install this?
After I purchased my SINK, I bought two flush rod mounts. I already had an idea of where I wanted them. On the first decent day we had when I had some time to kill, I installed both rod mounts. When I finished, I was beaming with pride. I then took the kayak out on the water the very next weekend. The mounts were in a good place, or at least I thought they were. I noticed that I kept bumping the rod in the right rod mount. “Uh-oh!” I said, “I can't move it now…” So I changed my paddle stroke slightly, and made it work. But I still bump it from time to time. My point - make sure you take your kayak out many times and be sure you know exactly where you want your gear. The anticipation might be killing you at the time, but you will thank yourself later.
There's different kind of propulsion?
I am very lucky to say that as far as my paddle is concerned, I am in good shape. Well, OK shape... I never gave a second thought to my paddle, because it came with the kayak. Thankfully it’s not aluminum, but fiberglass. It is light weight and seems to be quite efficient. However, it would be nice to have a slightly longer paddle, because I am a taller guy. My point - any paddle will get you where you need to go, but it may not be as comfortable as one that is better quality and fitted for your size and style of paddling. The proper paddle will lead to less fatigue, a more efficient stroke, and more enjoyment.
What's this pole and line thing anyway?
When I first got back into fishing I was using my ten-plus-year-old rod and line, along with the baits that I had with them. This was a great way to get back into it. But when I decided to get into fishing more seriously and kayak fishing, I decided that I wanted a better rod and reel. I once again hit the internet, searching for suggested length and strength. I already knew about the closed reel and spinning reel, but had never heard of a baitcaster. I went ahead and purchased a 7' spinning rod and reel from Cabela’s with a gift card. Nothing fancy, but I was very excited to have something new. I still have and use this rod and I like it, but I never knew specifics about reels and rods. Once I joined YakAngler I learned so much, and more. This lead me to even more research. My point - just like your paddle, any rod and reel will get the job done, but a better quality one that feels like an extension of your arm will lead to less fatigue, more enjoyment, and hopefully even more fish caught.
There's an art to fishing?
As a kid, I thought of fishing as throwing a line and bobber into the water and seeing what strikes. I knew a little bit about depth and crankbaits, but that is really about it. This stayed as my thought process until I was hooked (pun intended) back into fishing. I then researched the heck out of bass - where they live, depth, eating habits, etc. I took what I learned from the web and applied it to the water, with minimal results. My fishing success started to turn around when I started getting out with my friend and cousin. They’ve taught me so much, and I learn bits and pieces every time I am out with them. My cousin taught me how to fish the wacky worm, and what spinners to use where and when along with shore structure. My friend taught me more about crankbaits, jigging, and deep water structure. I look forward to going out with them and picking up more techniques and styles.
I am still a newbie as far as fishing is concerned, and I want to learn as much as possible from as many people as possible. A big thank you to everyone who was taught me so far, whether something big or small. My point - find friends who know fish and how to hunt them. Listen to them, and try new things. I learned a lot by researching online, but it was only theory until it caught me fish. Even then, I am not sure I am doing it correctly. When you fish with a buddy they can help you make your delivery of your bait perfect.
These are just a couple of the things I wish I had known before I started kayak fishing. I believe that my hours upon hours of research helped me out a lot and were very useful – but no research result was complete until I had spent time physically in it or using it. Everyone has these kinds of stories and experiences, some more than others. Hopefully you can reduce your number of "I wish I'd known…" moments by completely and thoroughly researching, demo’ing, trying on, casting, etc. whatever you are looking for. Good luck, and have fun researching and testing!