Shane has been kayak fishing since 2009. Inshore saltwater kayak fishing is his addiction of choice. However, he enjoys the occasional offshore and freshwater trip as well. He most frequents the saltwater lakes, bayous, and marshes of Southwest Louisiana.
It’s that time again, the time when top water action heats up! This past week I went out to Calcasieu Lake (Big Lake) and although it was a little slow, I managed to pull out a few specs and redfish. The nice thing about it was, except for one flounder they were all on topwater. I did attempt to throw other things, but the surface action is what they wanted.
Many of us have heard the phrase, “It turned on like a light switch!” when anglers refer to a good bite - the type of bite which goes from non-existent to an all-out frenzy within a matter of seconds. The thing is, these bites are usually short-lived. We can only try to take full advantage of them for as long as we can.
At the end of May, I had the opportunity to fish the IFA Tournament in Lafitte, LA, which also meant two days of pre-fishing. I spent most of my time in Grand Isle, LA. It was new water for me, so I thought I would share about an easy yet productive place to fish, even for a beginner.
I am a big fan of topwater, especially the “Skitterwalk” by Rapala. A while back, a friend asked what techniques I used other than changing the retrieve speed of walk-the-dog type lures. I immediately chimed in, “Don’t be scared to let it pause.”
Let me give you a little background of what I was looking for. I wanted to store my kayak at the ceiling of my garage. I looked at different storage methods on the market. Many are comprised of a pulley system. The issue I had with these systems is they left your kayak hanging down a good distance from the ceiling. I wanted mine to “hug” as close to the ceiling as possible. I then began looking for DIY methods and came across several that looked appealing. I decided to give them a try with maybe a few of my own nuances.
I purchased four anchor points (pictured below). They each have a rating of about 100lbs. I screwed two to the ceiling where the bow of the kayak would be located and two where the stern would be located. I made sure to leave a space between each set of anchor points. I attempted to make them about the same width of the kayak but was unable to do this exactly because I wanted to make sure that I fastened the anchor points to the ceiling rafters.
Next I purchased two cam buckle straps (pictured below). I bought the longest set I could find at the time. I needed them to be able to reach from the floor to the ceiling when doubled in half. This will vary for each person depending on the height of your ceiling and to be honest I don’t remember exactly what length I bought, maybe around 16’-20’. I then hooked each end of the cam buckle into each set of anchor points to form a “sling” from the ceiling to the floor of the garage.
To use this method, all you do is place the bow and the stern of the kayak in each sling when they are closest to the floor. You then pull the tag end of the slings to raise the kayak. You want to make sure you bring it up in a “see saw” motion, one end at a time. This will prevent one side being raised to high, causing the kayak to slide out of the slings. I will say the kayak has a tendency to turn on its side but I normally make adjustments as a go. When the kayak is about shoulder height, I just push one end of the kayak to the ceiling and pull on the tag end of the strap, which normally cinches it close to the ceiling. To let the kayak down, I follow the same procedures. Just make sure when you press the release on the buckle you maintain tension on the tag end of the strap. Otherwise the kayak will come falling down. The nice thing about this method is I can lower the kayak onto the bed of my truck. Also, when it is rigging time I just lower the kayak to about waist level which provides a nice work platform.
I hope this sheds some light on how I store my kayak. It may be a method you try or may give you some ideas for your very own. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below. Also, if you have any other similar ideas I would like to hear them. Maybe it is something that I can use to improve my method.
After a couple of weeks of some freezing temps and lots of rain, the short spell of sunshine and warmer weather was a relief. I decided to take advantage of the situation and get on the water. The day was forecast to have a very light wind out of the southwest. I chose my spot for the day accordingly.
All too often, we hear of kayak anglers losing their rod and reels. Most loathe the thought of having lost “X brand” reel on “Z brand” rod, and reiterate the loss by giving the cost of the setup. To remedy this, many anglers use rod leashes.
Fall fishing is upon us. Here in Louisiana, we are starting to see lower temperatures and more pictures posted on social media of coolers filled with specks and reds. With this in mind, my local kayak fishing club hosted a “Pot Luck” tournament, where the angler with the biggest fish would take all. We hit the water tournament morning with great hopes of taking advantage of fall fishing.
When I first started kayak fishing many years ago the question on whether or not I needed a rudder crossed my mind on a few occasions. However anytime it was a serious consideration, my mind was quickly made up when I would see the price tag on the after market rudder systems, which can range on average from $200 - $300. There was no way that I was going to drop that kind of money on something that I could not see the value in. This brings me to my question… To Rudder or Not To Rudder?
It's no secret that local kayak fishing clubs are a great way to promote kayak fishing. They provide a "grass roots" platform to kayak anglers for organized events such as tournaments, rigging days, workshops, seminars, and many other things. They also provide a place for newbies to have their questions answered and to cut the learning curve. And let's not forget camaraderie... They are a place where kayak anglers can come together and share experiences. After all, we still are a relatively small community and sometimes it's nice to be able to chat with someone that understands our addiction.
In Louisiana, we are lucky to have several strong and excellent kayak fishing clubs. They have done a phenomenal job at promoting kayak fishing. In my local area we did not have this benefit, although other parts of our State did. Seeing a need, I set out on a long journey last year to make this happen. So, if you do not have a local kayak fishing club in your area and have thought about starting one, I would like to share with you my experiences and suggestions on how to make it become a reality.
1) Bring Your Local Kayak Anglers Together
The first thing I wanted to do was to find out who all the local kayak anglers were and to bring them together. I knew many of them but there were many more. Even if you do not think there are others in your area, chances are they are there and probably more than you realize. The question is, how do you find them? This is where you will have to get creative. I set up a community Facebook page with this mission. The community page quickly grew and it served its purpose. However as time went on, the community page grew so much that it became difficult to distinguish those who were seriously interested in starting a kayak fishing club from those that were there for some other reason. Either way, it promoted the sport and people knew that kayak fishing was growing in our area. The next step was to separate those who were seriously interested in a kayak fishing club from the general public on the community page. So, I began a closed Facebook group page for those who were seriously committed to starting a club. This served as the platform for which I addressed things specifically related to the future club but I continued the community page to promote kayak fishing to the general public.
2) Look For A Sponsor Or Place To Meet
During this time, I was able to make contact with a local kayak shop owner, who agreed to assist in our endeavors and sponsor the future formation of a club. This proved to be an invaluable asset. The shop owner helped in more ways than I can even begin to sum up. Most importantly, he provided a place to hold events and greatly assisted in the promotion of the club to people visiting his shop. It was a good fit. He helped us and it was good business for him. Honestly, the shop owner has such a desire to promote kayaking in the community, I believe he would have helped even if he didn’t receive benefit and I say that wholeheartedly. I realize that not everyone will have a local kayak shop in your area but certainly you may seek other businesses that may benefit from the formation of such a club, like a tackle shop. Even if none of these exists, you will need to find a place to hold meetings and other activities.
3) Informal Group Activities
After we (and I use “we” now) were able to establish a solid and committed group of kayak anglers, we then began to promote and hold group activities. We started by hosting different events such as rigging days, meetings, and group fishing trips. This gave people an idea of what a club was all about and the many possibilities and benefits it could provide. It gave people an idea of what they would be committed to and more importantly it excited kayak anglers about the formation of such a club. During this time, the word about the group spread and it grew tremendously. In these events, friendships were being formed and newbies were coming aboard. Also, it gave everyone an opportunity to see who they would want to take leadership roles in the future. Once we were able to build a strong base of committed kayak anglers through such events, it was time to make the jump to an "official" kayak fishing club.
4) The Business End Of Things
Going from an “unofficial” group to an “official” kayak fishing club was a bit of a headache, more than what I expected. This is a time when several business type meetings were held, which at times can try a person’s patience. It is a time when officers were elected and decisions were made about membership dues, club constitutions & bylaws, applications & waivers, bank account, and of course legal status with both State and Federal government. During this process, we were lucky enough to receive advice from both a lawyer and a CPA free of charge. If you network in your area, you may be able to find someone to offer this to you as well. I would like to break each of these “business” things down and offer suggestions.
- Membership Dues: We decided to keep it cheap so that it would be accessible to anyone who wanted to join. A club is fairly inexpensive to run but there are expenses, especially in the beginning. We still have yet to setup a website and forum, but this is an example of one such expense.
- Club Constitutions and Bylaws: There are many clubs that have already paved the way, so don’t try to “reinvent the wheel”. Most clubs have this information posted publicly, so you may decide to use other clubs information to know what needs to be included and then write your own. In some cases, there are clubs that would not mind if you use their basic format and just change the name and any other things to fit your club’s needs or situation. I would suggest making contact with their officers before doing this to get approval. I have also seen generic formats that can be located online.
- Application and Waivers: This is simple. An application is just a way to gather basic information about the individual or family that will be joining. Waivers are also simple. There are places online that can generate generic waivers for adults and minors of a kayak club. The only thing you will need to do is just put your club name in the blank.
- Bank Account: You will need a place to keep your membership dues and any other money received. This was a little more complicated than I expected. In order to setup a business non-profit account, you will need to be established as such. This is beneficial because many banks will offer free account services for non-profit organizations. So before setting up an account, you probably will need to be recognized by the State and Federal Government.
- Legal Status for State and Federal Government: I won’t go into detail here because I am not qualified to make statements about what you need to do. I will say that it will need to be done. Again, I suggest you consult a lawyer and CPA to get recommendations on how to proceed.
The whole process from idea to reality is lengthy. If you choose to start on this road, don’t get discouraged. It requires perseverance and it requires a firm belief and desire in what you are trying to accomplish. If promoting kayak fishing is your goal, it is an easy sale. Establishing a local kayak fishing club is a noble task, one that may be passed on, shared, and enjoyed by future generations. My biggest word of advice is to make people feel welcome, no matter where they may be in their kayak fishing journey. We can all see the importance of this from YakAngler. There is no doubt that “making people feel welcome” is one of the many attributes that have made this site so successful!
Disclaimer: I am by no means an authority on forming a kayak fishing club. This article is not an attempt to offer legal advice. If you have any questions, you should always seek qualified individuals.