Nature Coast Kayak Fishers Club

Gary Rankel, from Hernando, Florida, launched his kayak fishing club and website in 2015.
Since then, his website has become a useful source of information about fishing Nature Coast and Citrus County, kayak fishing techniques and rigging tips, the Nature Coast Kayak Fishers Club schedule and activities, and the Wavewalk 500, from which Gary has been fishing for the past seven years.
Gary offers lectures and advice on these subjects, and he organizes fishing trips, mainly to the Ozello wildlife refuge, where he and his friends fish for snook, redfish and seatrout, as well as other species. He is also active in campaigning for wildlife and fisheries conservation, following his decades long work as a scientist in this field.

Many seniors who would like to go out there and fish are prevented from doing so because handling and driving a regular size motorboat is too hard for them, while fishing out of a common (SOT or Sit-In) kayak is too uncomfortable for them, mainly because of back pain problems, leg circulation, difficulties in launching and beaching, and the need that some have for an extra source of power, namely a motor, due to the fact that their range of travel as paddlers is even more limited than that of younger anglers. Some elderly anglers, such as Gary himself, who’s in in seventies, no longer enjoys a perfect sense of balance, and appreciates the extra stability offered by the Wavewalk.

Gary wrote a comprehensive review of the Wavewalk 500, which was published in the magazine Southern Kayak Fishing.

Good news for elderly kayak anglers

It’s as simple as that: Thanks to a new generation of fishing kayaks, which are lighter, stabler, and more comfortable than common kayaks are, anglers in their sixties and even anglers in their seventies can spend long hours on the water, and enjoy paddling and fishing without suffering from wetness, instability, back pain, leg numbness and cramps, or premature fatigue, which are all symptoms that are commonly experienced by people who fish out of kayaks, especially if they happen to be middle aged and elderly. They can even motorize their kayaks and by doing so travel long distances, and fish in remote locations, without being constrained by the limited physical power they have when paddling is concerned.

Gary is a retired biologist who worked for decades assisting Indian tribes throughout the country in managing their fish and wildlife resources.
He’s in his seventies now, and he lives in Florida.

Says Gary –

Fishing has been my passion since I was young, and I prefer to fish in saltwater, where I go for redfish, sea trout, snook, and other popular local fish species. I practice catch and release, unless someone close (wife or neighbors) orders a particular fish from me for dinner. I fish alone and with other kayak anglers.
Over the years, I’ve owned various fishing boats, and I stuck to the Wavewalk for several reasons; its unmatched stability, comfort and dryness, and the fact that unlike other kayaks it doesn’t hurt my back even if I spend the entire day fishing in it. I can stand up and unkink anytime I want, or lay down on the saddle and stretch.
It’s also lightweight, and that makes it easy for me to take it from my pickup truck to the beach, and back, even with all my fishing gear loaded inside its hulls.

Paddling my W is easy for me, even in harsh weather as it tracks perfectly without the need for a rudder.
In recent years, I’ve discovered the pleasures of wildlife photography out of my W kayak.
I’m planning to add a motor at some point so I can cover even greater distances. I had first opposed the idea of motorizing my kayak, but the numerous videos posted on Wavewalk’s blog have changed my mind.

All in all, it’s the most comfortable and functional fishing kayak I’ve seen.

Here are some pictures of Gary and his senior fishing buddies Bob and Dick:

 

“The W500 Rules the Water!” Says Kayak Angler With Fibromyalgia and Sciatica

Neither the fibromyalgia nor the sciatica that Rox suffers from would stop her from fishing for stripers (striped bass) in her W fishing kayak, which she outfitted with an outboard motor, so that she could cover more distance. Rox fishes standing up most of the time, yet another thing she can do only from a W kayak:

Epic, That’s what this day was……Epic. 🙂

I took the W500 fishing kayak out for my first solo Striper fishing on the Connecticut River In Windsor Locks, CT.
My buddy Mike was already on the water, I launched at 12:00 noon. I took the 1.2hp Gamefisher outboard since I knew I could count on it running well. My first slam came at 12:25, but the fish came unbuttoned.
I was drifting and casting my top water lure and working it slowly back to the W500, when BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fish on, and it’s a big one………………..ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Off goes the drag, and the sleigh ride began. It was an awesome Battle, she circled me twice, and shot up river, still towing me ………….. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

I start to tire her, and get her yak side, went to grip the lip with my boga, and ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ she wasn’t ready.
Now she is tired, I get her yak side one more time, reach with the bogas ………… and SHE IS MINE!!!!!
You could here me hooting for miles I’m sure.

big striper in fishing kayak, CT

29” Fat and Healthy, 14 1/2 lbs of fighting fury.

Many more Battles happened after that.

Today was one of the Best Fishing Days of my LIFE!!
I landed 3 keepers, and 9 smaller Stripers.

big striper in fishing kayak, CT

I had some awesome blow ups, and Lost 4 Bigger Stripers, but That’s okay, that’s why its called fishing.  😀

I can’t Thank Wavewalk enough, for this wonderful yak, The W500 Rules the water.

Rox

kayak angler standing with big striper in stand up fishing kayak, Connecticut river
Ergonomic, stable, stand up fishing kayak

big striper in fishing kayak, CT

big striper in fishing kayak, CT

big striper in fishing kayak, CT

big striper in fishing kayak, CT

“I honestly don’t think there is any chance that this old man could have landed that fish in any other kayak but the Wavewalk”

It was too windy to fish in the river so I stayed in the lagoon by where my friend lets me keep my “W” kayak on his floating dock. I had been out in the morning about 7:30 AM and caught a small snook about 14 inches – a beautiful fish and since I got him on a small foam rubber “gurgler” fly it was fun to see a fish take that surface fly less than a foot from the mangroves in about eight inches of water. It took a little while reviving him in the water before releasing him before I could go looking for his big brother.
Fished until about noon got a couple of hook ups but nothing came to the boat.
I went back just about 7 PM and staked out at the corner of a nice grass flat in the lagoon next to the mangrove creek that feeds in from the Indian River.

It was low incoming tide one of the best times for the bigger fish to get in close to the flat in about four to five feet of water, they slip up on the grass flat and raid the little mullet fingerlings and grass shrimp and can dash back into the deeper water for cover.
So I fished different flies and different sides of the flat for about an hour… fifteen minutes after sunset I was making my “last cast” for the night and bang a freight train hits my fly about thirty five feet from the kayak I am standing on my platform on top of the center tunnel and all the line starts to shoot out of my striping basket and (for once it is not tangled up) whiz all the line is out of the basket probably 125 feet or so and I am on the reel and it is buzzing. First time I am down to my backing line it is still going out to open water in the lagoon (not back to the mangroves like sneaky snook usually do). So I let him go I mean he is too big and hot to horse in with an eight weight and 10 lb tippet. Three good runs, a couple of tries for the mangroves and 15 minutes later I have him in the boat.

snook caught in kayak night fly fishing, Florida

26″ snook WOW the first really nice fish I have ever caught out of the “W” and it was a beauty it took me almost 10 minutes to revive him pushing him through the water next to the boat. But finally he swam off before I was eaten to death by Florida mosquito’s it was almost dark but I was as high as a tree frog just paddling back to the dock whistling Dixie.

I have caught a few smallish fish in the lagoon but started to think that all the nice ones are in the river.

Oh yeah all you northern woodsman who are wondering why I released a five pound snook instead of eating him, there is a limit here we call “slot” fish, 28″ to 32″ inches if they are in the slot then they are keepers but he was a little shy of the slot. And after one of the best battles I have had on fly since my Trinity river steelhead days, I figured he deserved a second chance anyway.

snook caught in kayak night fly fishing, Florida

I love my “W” fishing kayak … when that fish was on I was thinking he went 360 degrees around the boat did three really long runs and in general made 15 minutes feel like about three. I honestly don’t think there is any chance that this old man could have landed that fish in any other kayak but the Wavewalk. I mean I fish with a friend who has five kayaks SOT and Sit in type and he is an athlete, but I have seen how little room to move and how cramped it is and if your line snags on anything when you have a big fish on a fly (even just for a moment) it is good by fish.

OK the truth is my one man fishing machine is a blend of “W’ stability and flexibility and my friend Rick Rosenberg’s outriggers system, and I JUST LOVE IT.

Going back out now, back to the snook lagoon “Middleton Cove” named after my friend who lets me store my boat on his floating dock – just lift on the bow handles and slide it in the water and I am gone Fishing !

Thanks for listening,

Ted ,
Florida

FL lagoon great for kayak fishing at night.jpg

No Yack Back Kayak Fishing, Now Down Under

Some people mistakenly think that older people are the only ones who suffer from back pain as a result of paddling conventional kayaks and fishing from them. This notion is false, of course, and young people suffer from yack back and kayaking injuries as well.

Kayak anglers down under! -Here is some good new for your lower back:

Steve suffered from kayaking back injuries, which brought him to look for a solution.
-“I have a love for water and paddling but after experiencing 2 months of pain and subsequent treatment as a direct result of using a S.O.T Sit On Top) Kayak, I thought there must be a better way. After spending many hours researching different options, I was convinced with out doubt that the Wavewalk was the way to go. I purchased a Wavewalk direct from the US in December of 2011 and has not looked back since. NO more PAIN or INJURIES.”