Headed out at 5:45 AM, hoping to beat the expected 108 degree temperatures.
We are fishing the Norfork River, a small but storied tailwater beginning at the base of the Norfork Dam and ending four and one half miles later at the confluence with the White at the little town of Norfork, Arkansas. The dam’s two generators are shut down, and the river is extremely low, gin clear but cool. These conditions require a specialized floatation tool, the Wavewalk, very thin tippets, and long casts with pinhead size flies, size 18 and 20.
The fish are easily spooked, and getting to them requires traversing eight shoal areas, that dissect the stream and limit access. Without a craft capable of moving well through skinny water, light enough to be manhandled, and tough enough to be dragged through rocky terrain, one simply fishes the public areas, does a lot of wading on slippery rocks, or fishes somewhere else.
My “Personal Trout Assault Vehicle” allowed such a trip and it paid off handsomely with many fine rainbow, aggressive browns, and resplendent cutthroat trout being brought to hand during our six hour day.
My paddling skills are improving, and my ability to read the fast water allowed me to have to exit the vessel less frequently, remembering that I test the recommended single occupancy of our vessel. My much lighter companion rarely if ever had to push off, but did manage to nail a large rock in a swift shoal and stick. He jumped out, the boat eased off, and he reentered, hardly deterred.
This fishing kayak gives me access to water that before would have not been available to me. That’s why I fish in a kayak, my trout assault vehicle.
I had a great day today catching bluefish, jack crevalle and ladyfish on just about every cast for an hour or so. The only problem was a few sharks in the area also took an interest in these fish resulting in me reeling in one bluefish head, one tailless trout (see pictures) and a second bluefish sawed in half. I also got big a lizard fish, a small sea bass and a catfish and jack crevalle which both hit my lure and got hooked at the same time. All the fish blood was coloring my yellow noodles red, but I managed to clean them up when I got home. I lost about $40 worth of lures to the toothy critters today, but was it worth it – Oh Yeh.
Bob Smaldone and his wife spotted me and came over to say hi in his power boat – said he lost an anchor today. Oh well, we’ll see what the next trip hold for us.
Kayak fishing is a tried and true sport that many senior anglers have had years to master. However, kayak fishing has never been very popular with kids and teens, who might find it lackluster and tedious. However, the W Fishing Kayak has proven to be a solution to this issue, for its ease of use, super stability which allows stand up paddling, and aesthetic appeal has made it a hit among younger users. Youth kayak fishing, a new blog dedicated to highlighting the younger segment of the kayaking and kayak fishing community, is now up and running with plenty of great content. Check it out!
This is a most unusual, yet most revealing story.
It says a lot about kayak anglers and the sacrifices some of them are willing to make for their love of fishing.
It also shows that propelling fishing kayaks with outboard gas engines is picking up, has a future, but it also faces certain limitations.
This story also shows that pedal drives for fishing kayaks simply can’t substitute a motor – any motor, in any way, and that when push comes to shove, they can’t replace the paddle.
And last but not least, it shows that two elderly people can go out for a long, offshore kayak fishing trip on a cold day in December, catch fish together, and enjoy each other’s company while doing so, without suffering from back pain, leg numbness, discomfort, wetness, or any other undesirable phenomenon that elderly anglers suffer from when they attempt to fish out of kayaks.
Members of the South Korean Sea Dreamer Kayak Fishing club, who are all courageous and avid anglers, outfitted their fishing kayaks with outriggers and outboard gas engines. These unusual people went out for an offshore kayak fishing trip December 31st, in cold weather. The fishing expedition included a few traditional SOT kayaks, and a W500 kayak, which unlike the other kayaks, was operated by a crew of two: And elderly couple who loves fishing, and enjoys fishing together.
Sungjin Kim, Wavewalk’s distributor in South Korea, published this story (in Korean) on his Korean kayak fishing website, and his post there includes a link to the kayak fishing club’s website.
Here are the fish this tandem crew of kayak anglers caught in the ocean:
The reader should be aware that imported fishing kayaks are expensive in Korea, and so are outboard motors and outriggers. For the cost of their motorized W kayak, this couple could have gotten a nice small motorboat, but not necessarily one that they could car top:
Another inconvenience with a bigger boat could have been the need to launch it from a boat ramp, which is neither easy nor convenient.
But let’s not forget that winters in south Korea are cold, and so is the ocean there. This means that elderly people can’t go fishing offshore out of regular SOT, sit-in or hybrid fishing kayaks: They need to fish out of a kayak that keeps them dry, which wouldn’t be the case if they used anything else than their W500:
And last but not least, elderly people need a level of comfort that can’t be found in kayaks other than the W kayak: They need to stand up easily and whenever they want to stretch, change positions, be free from any pressure on their lower back, and be able to fight and prevent leg numbness.
The reader has surely realized that fishing in tandem out of a kayak can be problematic, due to the small space available, and the reduced range of motion of the crew. But this was not the case for this tandem crew, obviously – They managed just fine.
In other words, while the other anglers who participated in this cold water and weather, offshore expedition practiced kayak fishing as an extreme sport , this elderly couple practiced traditional, cozy fishing – as it should really be. The only difference between their motorized W500 and other motorized W500 kayaks is the fact they outfitted it with outriggers, like all the other participants in this fishing trip did. This safety measure is understandable in view of the hazardous environment and the risk of hypothermia in case of an accident, the fact that two people were on board the W500 and not just one, and the fact that these were elderly people whose sense of balance might be impaired by age: Seniors are usually more cautious than younger people are, and rightfully so.
Interestingly, the other motorized kayaks that participated in this expedition were of the type that features a push pedal drive, but all the other anglers carried a paddle on board as a safety measure in case the motor stalled, and in order to propel their kayaks in shallow water, when launching and beaching. In other words, out of the three propulsion devices (paddle, motor and pedal drive), the drive was redundant. The fact they didn’t count on their pedal drives for such a long, offshore trip also shows that such devices cannot be counted on as means to extend a kayak’s range of operation, and cannot serve as a substitute for some kind of motor when currents and wind are to be dealt with.