The Journey

So I have been focusing on my career lately and it left very little time to actually get out on the water. (insert sad face emoji here) However time; as always changes as the seasons, and I am looking forward to getting out with friends this month. I have a trip planned at Lake Lanier the first weekend and one to Jekyll Island later in the month. It will not only be AWESOME to get out and stretch some lines it will be most excellent to see old fishing buddies that I have not seen in over two years. I looked out at my Yak today and the old song by Stevie Ray Vaughn came to mind "The kayak is crying!" I think it was the sky is crying but you get the idea. lol.

Looking back and reminiscing about the extent of the journey I have been on for the past ten years, it came to my mind that there is something spiritual about this journey and the ramifications of said experiences. To wit I will attempt to explain the reward of hard work and perseverance.

The way I figure it is; fishing is just like spirituality. We the anglers ply our trade in search of that elusive unseen prize with patience and determination.. If fish were so dumb as to grace a fisherman with their bite with no experience, with no desire, with no patience, with no perseverance and no effort then would the reward be any reward at all? Most do not appreciate things that are readily given to them, it is truly human nature to achieve or to earn. That being said; it is in fact the process where we learn many indispensable things in the pursuit of that catch, it is in fact a process. In the Bible Jesus tells a senior spiritual leader that to receive eternal life they must first be born again. This confused the leader as he literally did not understand the metaphor at all, he asked if he was to crawl back in the womb and be birthed again.

This metaphor simply meant that the pursuit of eternal life was a process that when you started on this path you did so as a baby, not knowing anything. Having to learn the simplest things and progress to the more advanced. There are no short cuts, no cheats, or get out of jail free cards. You must walk the path one step at a time one day at a time, taking all the data into account. It is impossible to solve a complex mathematical equation with out all the data to render an answer. Yes I submit that there are those who are lucky and seem to catch great fish from time to time, however will they be consistent? I think not. So just to wrap up this deep thought, Walk that path one step at a time refusing to be discouraged by a lack of success, instead focus on the things you learn along the way. If you will indulge me to use one more Biblical reference; Jesus told peter to go out and cast out his net, to which Peter replied "we have fished all night and caught nothing" Jesus then said "cast your net out on the other side of the boat" Now the other side of the boat was only a few feet from that side, but Peter complied and his net filled with large fish. So if what you are doing is not working, try something else!

Asking others where the fish are will not help you learn where to find fish, this is a short cut. I love seeing others catch their first kayak Striper as much as the next guy, however I also want to help them learn to find them for themselves. I can no more help you find Heaven than I can help you find fish, if you are not committed to putting in the time to learning and growing as a angler.


Fishing is not simply my escape; it is where I am supposed to be, it is not a place that I go, but a lifelong journey I am taking.
The reward is in the memory, the friendships, the setting and achieving of goals and the experience of being in Gods Great creation while maturing through the process.

Tight Lines,
Walt

Epic Sleigh Ride in Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90


Went down to Jekyll Island in October in my Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 just days ahead of Hurricane Matthew hoping to hook into some bull redfish. However this was the only trip I was able to make offshore as the water began to get really rough. I hooked into what I thought would be an awesome record fish, only to realize later that I did have a record. but it was not a red fish... it was the biggest sting ray that I have ever seen. I fought it until it became unsafe to continue the fight so I cut him off. This was by far the hardest fight I have ever fought in a kayak. Enjoy!


The Electronic Angler/ part six "Kayak Lighting and Wiring"

Part Six "Kayak Lighting and Wiring"

The Kayak Angler is always in a process of evolution when it comes to gear and setup of their kayak. There is a need to not only personalize ones kayak but as the kayak anglers skills and nerve grow their kayak will reflect this progression also. As the Kayak Angler begins to hone their skills they will begin to venture out further, fish after sundown, and other activities where more safety and operational concerns begin to become a real factor.

One of the ways that people will pimp out their yak is by adding electronics like lighting, imaging and sonar devices, cameras, power stake out devices, electric motors and power supplies for various electronic devices. This article is not and in depth, step by step installation guide as much as a general guideline for the do's and don'ts when installing electronics in you yak.

1. Keeping the kayak water tight. You will eventually pass wiring from inside the hull to the outside. Most kayaks already get a small amount of water inside the hull as it is, you will not want to add more water because of leaky fittings, as too much water in a hull will cause the kayak to become unstable and hard to paddle. The best way to prevent this is to; use water tight seals where you pass wiring through the hull. there are many types and some are better than others. The Hobie Thru Hull Wiring Kit works decently and gives you a lot of options. another one that I like is the Marine Plastic Mini Deck Seal  these work the best.


2. Keeping your connections corrosion free. Water and especially salt water creates a situation where connections will corrode. Corroded connections will cause most electronics and wiring to not work or over heat and will cause damage. any wires that are spliced together must be water tight. Any lugs on the back of switches must be protected. (Note) when using switches make sure that they are the type that has a water proof boot on the outside keeping water from penetrating into the switch. You can use a product like Lexell to cover and protect the back of the switch by covering any lugs and exposed connectors. For wire splices you can use what is called a Environmental butt splice. Blue Butt Connector 16-14 Gauge Heat Shrink. Splice Connectors Has Adhesive Lining For Watertight Seal. See illustration below.
This type of connector is crimped on just like a normal butt splice, however once crimped on it is heated on each end and has solder inside to make a better connection and the ends shrink around the wire to create a water tight seal.

3. Power supply (battery). This one should be a no brainer, however you would be surprised how much confusion is out there concerning what type of battery to use and how to install it. I have found that the Sealed Lead Acid Battery like the ones that are used as Home alarm system back up batteries work great. There is a plethora of sizes and ratings available. So I will give you a general guideline on which will work best for you.

If you are only using the battery for a fish finder then a battery rated at 12 volt and 7 to 9 amp hours will power your gear for several trips. If you are running other peripherals like lights, ect. Then you might want to step up to a 10 or 12 amp hour battery. These can be acquired at any Batteries plus bulbs store.

12V 7.2Ah SLA Rechargeable Battery for Security Systems/ Replaces Standard 7.0Ah

12V 12AH Replacement for Yuasa NP12-12 + 12V Charger - Mighty Max Battery brand product

These batteries are water proof and do not need to be placed into a water tight container. However it should be secured so it can not slide around inside your hull. You will also want to seal the connections on top of the battery once you wiring is connected to it with Lexell. This will keep the corrosion from forming on your battery posts. (note) if you do seal the terminals on the battery make sure too wire in a charging plug to hook you battery charger to the wiring harness.

4. Kayak lighting. There are some pretty cool LED lighting kits on the market today. These are very bright and consume very little battery power. They can be used to light up your cockpit, Bait well and on the outside of your kayak for visibility to powered craft on the water. One more benefit of LED lighting on the outside of your yak is that it will draw in bait fish in around your kayak. Green works best as the green wavelength penetrates the water deeper.When the bait fish show up it will not be long before the predator fish show up to take advantage of this situation.


You will have to attach the LED strips on the exterior of your kayak. These usually have a strip of 3M adhesive on them. You will have to drill a small hole in your hull just big enough to feed the wires into your hull to be connected to your wiring and switches. Once you have the strips in place you can seal the hole by using Sashco 13013 5oz Sashco Sealants Clear Lexel Adhesive Caulk, 5-Ounce.


These are just some general guidelines, take your time and do it right the first time and it will bring you many years of enjoyment.

Tight lines,
Walt

The Evolution


Kayak fishing has evolved over the last ten years from a couple of guys doing their own thing to something with a life of its own. I am reminded of the old Frankenstein move when Dr. Frankenstein screamed "IT'S ALIVE!!!" It has evolved from its humble beginnings to something that has surpassed all notions of normal expansion.

     There is a social aspect to kayak fishing that has also evolved drastically. In the beginning there were a few guys that were using things like yahoo messenger or other instant messaging formats to communicate amongst themselves to coordinate trips and discuss tactics. That evolved into using sub forums on other larger outdoor forums, then the eventual migration of each regional group hosting their own forum. This was an awesome source of meet people in your region and also most forums had a treasure trove of information in their archives for information seekers . Today Facebook is really expanding the ways in which people communicate and are exposed to kayak fishing. This one may be responsible for exposure to kayak fishing by those who were not first online looking for information on kayak fishing. Unfortunately Facebook has drastically reduced the amount of traffic on all but the biggest kayak fishing forums, this is a shame because a lot of the kayak fishing forums archives are a wealth of knowledge.

     Kayak fishing has also affected the direction and growth of an entire industry in just a short time. The commercial aspect of kayak fishing has moved into the future from a place where one bought a recreational kayak and with ingenuity, duct tape, bailing wire and PVC pipe made his vessel a fishing kayak to a place where there are a plethora of options and products designed just for the kayak angler. The amount of support and desire for kayak fishing products have really facilitated the rapid growth of this Industry.

     This rapid growth has been exciting to watch however it has created its own set of unique problems. As with any sport the more people that get involved, the more everything will fragment into specialized sub cultures. Unfortunately, this is the opposite of unity and sometimes does create friction between the different groups. As with any category I may put someone into; there is always pros and cons about each group that can attract people to the sport or send them running from the main stream culture of kayak fishing.

       Sub Cultures
       One of the first groups to evolve were the recreational angler. This is the person who could not afford to purchase a powered boat to go out fishing and settled for a kayak. This person originally thought that they were settling on something of a lesser value so they could just get out on the water. However as the case always is, they soon realize that they no longer want a powered craft because of the advantages of fishing from their little plastic boat. 

       Another of the groups that evolved from kayak fishing is the kayak tournament angler. These guys and gals often travel great distances to compete against their fellow anglers for the chance at winning prizes, cash and notoriety. In the beginning Anglers petitioned the larger Bass fishing tournament organizations to allow them to compete against their counter parts in powered craft. This however never could be because of huge sponsorships by boat manufactures, Motor manufactures, Fishing electronics, rods, reels, and tackle. It has always been my opinion that if some guy went out in a plastic kayak and beat all these highly sponsored anglers, people would be less likely to purchased their overpriced products and settle for a kayak. Therefore this would never be allowed and Kayak anglers went out on their own and organized their own events. 

      The next group that evolved would be what I call the Promotional kayak angler. This is the guy or gal that has official endorsements, sponsorships or represents a Company or product. However we can not discount the sub group here that just promotes the sport of kayak fishing and safety out their love of the sport and passion to share it with others. Many new kayak anglers look up to these people as experts and ambassadors. All Promotional kayak anglers should have the desire to help others and share their passion and experience. Unfortunately this is not always the case, Some get into positions of leadership in the sport and it completely goes to their heads. When this happens it is because they took the position for selfish reasons and do more damage than good. I would caution anyone about entering into any agreement or sponsorship as you always put more into it than you get out of it, and if you do not put more into the promotion instead of what you may get out of the arrangement you will not be around long.

      The final group will be the Professional kayak anglers. These are the people who make their living off of kayak fishing. Whether it be working for a kayak manufacturer, Guiding or working in kayak retail. These are often the people who have the most tenure and experience and are commonly a wealth of knowledge. They love the sport so much that they have honed their skills and are happy to work in the industry they love. Most are also very liberal in sharing their passion and knowledge with others.

       These groups will also subdivide into smaller groups like the river guys, the Lake guys, the pond guy's, the salt guys, the Flats guys, ect. you get the picture. 

   Summary 

    There have been many good things that have come out of this sport we all love so much like Regional kayak fishing clubs, Charities that help those in need, product testing and advancement, better kayaks and most of all a sport that we can all call our own. I have made some of the best friends a guy could have from a kayak. There is a connection that most kayak anglers feel one for another. However as with any rapidly growing entity there will be growing pains. Most of these stem from elitism, money, and lets face it some people are just jerks. However the good far outweighs the bad in this community and lets face the facts people, we are all Kayak Anglers! Doomed to enjoy fishing from a small tupperware container for the rest of our days.