A couple of weeks ago, I got
the urge to finish off a kayak design that I had started over
a year ago. The design has sat in front of me while other boats
have had my attention. I wanted to take a look at some roto-molded
polyethylene kayaks to get an idea of how their bottoms were shaped.
These plastic kayaks seem to be very popular, and I see a lot
of them on Perris Lake where I sail in the evenings. Although
roto-molding is not a do-it-yourself material, I thought I could
pick up some ideas from examining them.
I went to Sports Chalet, which is a chain of sporting goods stores
in California and Nevada, and they had a good supply of kayaks,
paddles and other accessories. While there, a sales person said
“come on out to Lake Perris next weekend and you can try
all the kayaks in the water”. There was a small fee of $5.00
paid in advance. I decided to take my wife and grandson who were
both interested in trying out the kayaks. The store handed out
a flyer for the event, and on the flyer was mention of a “free
kayak fishing seminar”. Heck, I like anything free especially
if it involves fishing.
kayaks were everywhere
We arrived at 9:00 AM and what a surprise! There were manufacturer
tents and kiosks set-up on the beach at Sail Cove, and kayaks
were everywhere. Hobie, Ocean Kayaks, Perception, Dagger and others
were there with boats and helpful staff. Just walk down to the
beach and someone fits you with a PFD, someone else hands you
a paddle, and off you go to pick out a kayak. I should have counted
the kayaks, but over time as more people showed up, more kayaks
were brought out of the trailers. Over 200 people showed up to
take advantage of paddling all different models of kayaks over
the day for only $5.00, what a deal. Not once did I hear “be
careful with that boat” or “watch out don’t
scratch it” - what I did hear and see were helpful knowledgeable
people helping adults and kids get the best out of the gear and
having a great time. No one had to wait long for a kayak as there
were plenty at the event.
The highlight of the day for me was the fishing seminar. I had
pictured paddling along in a quiet lake casting flies to rising
trout. Wrong, what I found was quite different. How about trophy
sized saltwater big game fish pulling a kayak around the ocean.
I met Jim Sammons, owner of La
Jolla Kayak Fishing, which is located in La Jolla, California.
Jim is a fisherman, guide, kayak paddling instructor, Baja California
expedition outfitter and equipment supplier. Jim was also giving
the seminar that day.
Jim showed how to outfit a kayak
for fishing in the ocean. Rod holders, life bait tanks, fish finders,
game bags, gaff and rod holders, the equipment list reads like
a 30’ sportfisher, yet all this equipment is on a 14’
Sit-on-Top plastic kayak. Jim was quite helpful about how to rig
and fish for big game on a small boat; using 20# line and letting
the fish tire out pulling the kayak around makes a lot of sense.
Organization is very important on a kayak, as everything has to
be easily accessible yet you don’t want it falling overboard.
organization is very important on a kayak
Knowing where to go and how to
launch from the beach was a subject that was touched on. I have
always thought it would be difficult to land a kayak thru the
surf line, and doing it loaded with fishing equipment seemed even
harder. Jim assured me that his class on Surf Survival would give
me the skills to get out and back on the beach without crashing.
Kayaking is a fast growing sport, and Kayak Fishing seems to
be growing even faster. The equipment that has been developed
for Kayaks would work well on any small boat. Two of the items
that Jim has developed and has available on his website www.kayak4fish.com
are the 12V live bait tank and his fish storage system he calls
a “Game Bag”.
The game bag fits inside the hull and is tapered to match the
hatch opening in the bow of the kayak, it is constructed from
vinyl covered foam and is opened with large zippers. With the
fish they are catching from kayaks, a “stringer” just
isn’t going to cut it. The small portable live bait tank
was really interesting; it is powered by a small 12V battery that
fits in a watertight compartment at the top of the tank. The game
bag and live bait tank are shown below.
Game bag and live bait tank
Kayak fishing looks like an exciting way to fish big game without
a lot of expense or boat costs. A fully outfitted roto-molded
kayak is surprisingly inexpensive. If you have any questions,
drop Jim a line at Jim@kayak4fish.com,
and be sure to check out his website
which also includes a kayak fishing forum
I will be incorporating some of these items and ideas into the
kayak that I am building. I hope to have it finished for the Kayak
Fishing Tournament in La Jolla.
What nice events Sports Chalet and the Kayak Manufacturers and
Jim Sammons put on, I’m sure not everyone there will buy
a kayak but everyone came away with a fun day on the water. Cold
bottled water, snacks, and lots of give aways were appreciated
Here are a couple of first time paddlers
after receiving some instruction on beach