“Sliming” your kayak simply means christening your fresh new kayak with that first catch. Just like a cruise ship gets an expensive bottle of champagne broken against her bow, that first landed fish in a kayak is a special affair and the slime coat carries with it serious symbolic meaning.
The tradition of christening a vessel dates back thousands of years to Vikings and other seafaring cultures. They consecrated their vessels with bloody human sacrifice in order to protect the lives of the warriors and sailors aboard, as well as for safe seas and favorable winds. Human blood was, fortunately, replaced with animal blood, which was then phased out for the spilling of fine alcohol.
Kayak fishermen, being a frugal lot, couldn’t stomach the wanton waste of fine alcohol. They determined that the slime coat of a game fish smeared across the hull of the kayak as the successful fisherman dragged it over the sides was a much more fitting means of christening. The fine alcohol was then to be enjoyed around warm campfires, while extolling the virtues of their craft and gear and with stories of large fish landed and even larger lost.
My new Jackson Kilroy received a fine coating of slime this weekend when I trapped a feisty 19”spotted bass against the hull, lipped her firmly, and drug her over the side. I hope this omen means the fishing gods bless me this tournament season with fair winds, mild rain, and hordes of large bass!