Kayak Fishing for Beginners

Do you like to fish?

I love to fish and I have found that it is even more fun on a kayak!

We are going to break down some basics of kayak fishing for beginners in this article.

Choosing the Right Stuff

Now, this is a very broad subject. Stuff encompasses a huge amount of categories, but I am going to try to contain myself and keep it simple. I am sure you have seen the KISS metaphor. Keep It Simple Stupid! Well, let us relate this to kayak fishing.

First, what is the perfect kayak for fishing? I say the perfect kayak for fishing is the one you already have. With that being said, while you can fish off any kayak, ideally there a few things you are going to want to look for if you are shopping for the perfect kayak for fishing.

  1. Stability/stand ability – meaning your kayak is stable enough if you want to stand up and fish, and you won’t flip the first time you set a hook.
  2. Storage – you are going to want to have adequate storage for gear.
  3. Comfort – you want to be comfortable.

You can check out a couple of my previous posts for more about kayaks in general and the different types that are out there.

Second, where do you plan to go fishing? There are going to be distinct differences in what you need depending on what you are fishing for and where. For instance, the gear you take with you when fishing a river with trout will be different from what you take if you are fishing in saltwater.

Third, How are you getting there? Getting to the lake, river, bay or ocean. Transportation is important.

Fourth, What are you going to wear? Dressing for a fishing trip is going to be a little different from dressing for a recreational float trip downstream.

Fifth, Do you have your safety gear? Safety is always high on the priority list. We do not want to ruin a great fishing trip because we have been lax on safety. Check out my Kayak safety post and check off the safety boxes.

The basics of kayak fishing are essentially the same as the basics for any kind of kayaking. If this is your first experience with kayaking or fishing from a kayak, check out my posts on kayaking for beginners. Everything from choosing the right PFD to the right paddle for you.

OH, I almost forgot! Make sure you have the proper paperwork. Get your fishing license, and a rule booklet. All states and countries are going to be different and you don’t want to get in trouble.

The Basics of Outfitting Your Kayak

There are a ton of upgrades or modifications you can do to your kayak. Most kayaks come with at least one flush-mount pole holder. One trip to YouTube will show you a plethora of people modifying their kayaks to work better for them. Honestly, you don’t need to doing any upgrades to go fishing. There are some tho that will make your trip more pleasurable.

  1. A secure rod holder or at least a rod leash to secure your rod and reel to the boat out of the way.
  2. A paddle leash. You certainly do not want to have to worry about losing your paddle while fighting the big one.
  3. A fishing crate. This is a popular way to secure your tackle boxes and other gear to the kayak, out of your way while fishing.
  4. Some kind of wheel rack to get you kayak to the water from your vehicle.

While the top four options are handy and basic, there are so many things you can modify your kayak for and with. Everything from electronics (fish/depth finders, GPS), anchor systems, extra pole holders, etc.

It’s Not a Fashion Show

Dressing for a fishing trip is more about comfort and function rather than fashion.

Be prepared for weather conditions and changes in the weather. Be mindful of the hot sun reflecting off the water. Light-weight, long sleeve shirts, hat, sunglasses, face protection and loose, light-weight pants or shorts.

You will want to do likewise for colder weather. Use layers, that way you can shed them if needed. Have something that is waterproof to put on the outside layer.

Shoes are also a basic need. Summer, some kind of water shoe or kayak boot. Steer clear of flip-flops. Remember there will be fish and hooks in the boat.

I do not recommend wearing waders in the kayak. They could potentially turn into a giant sinker if you fall into deep water.

The Basics of Fishing

While fishing can be a very basic sport, it can also turn into a complicated passion of craziness. If you have ever stepped into a Bass Pro Shop, you know what I mean.

When I was a child fishing with my dad, I thought there was really only 1 or 2 types of rods and reels and there were worms, minnows and the black rubber worms my dad used. Now obviously, I now know that wasn’t true back then, nor is it true today.

You can get very overwhelmed, very quickly with all the shiny objects out there associated with fishing. For us here as beginners, put on the blinders and march on. All you need to get started is a fishing pole and reel, some kind of bait, and a will to catch a fish. Everything else will come with time and practice.

Now there are some other things that I would recommend, just to make your life easier and we will get into those. Here is a short list of things I carry for convenience.

  1. Small tackle box w/extra line, hooks, sinkers and a few lures of choice and bait.
  2. Some kind of measuring tool. Most places have length requirements on certain fish and a scale.
  3. Fish Net, this will help land those fish in the kayak
  4. Pliers or Fish grip to hold the fish or extract the hook
  5. Towel, to wipe my hands

This is just my basic list. You will find so much information that varies from one person to the other. It really comes down to preference and what you are comfortable with.

The Fishing Pole

This is going to be an item that is really specific to you. I will say that if you are someone with shorter arms, you may want to consider a shorter pole when fishing from a kayak.

There are an exuberant amount of different kinds of fishing poles and reels on the market. If you already fish, you probably already have 4 or 5 in the garage. You know they are like potato chips, you can’t have just one!

The poles come in various lengths and strengths. I personally have a 5′ Crappie Max rod with a spinning reel on it and love it. I also have a 7′ and a 6.5′ rod, and found that it can be hard to get fish off of with short arms and lack of coordination. LOL

Choose what works for you!

Tackle Box/Fishing Crate

This is what will determine if you are minimalist or a crazy, obsessed angler that gets sucked into shiny objects, LOL.

I say as a beginner, keep it small and just the basics, until you know what you need or what works for you. Don’t take everything you own. Mostly because you are going to be limited by space and you don’t want to lose it all if you happen to knock it into the water.

Extra line, hooks, sinkers, some reliable lures that you like to use, a pair of pliers or fish grips. Just the basics to get you started. It will also depend on the type of fish you are fishing for. Crappie will not necessarily hit on the same thing as Bass.

Make sure you have your measuring tool. There are some cool measuring things out there. Even some paddles have measuring tools on them. You might also want a scale of some kind, for those fish stories.

Are you keeping your fish or releasing them? You will need a means to keep them if you are. A stringer, basket, cooler, or a bag. There are options, but depending on where you are, put some thought into it. Don’t set yourself up to be bait for larger prey (alligators, sharks, etc.).

Fishing Net

Again, there are options. Everything from folding, collapsing, long handles, short handles, neoprene, and rope or string nets. You just want one that is going to be easy for you to handle while sitting in your kayak. This tool can be a huge help when landing a fish or a hindrance if it is not suited to you.

Fishing Skills and Techniques

Your skills and techniques are going to vary wildly in a kayak. Everything from your basic balance, paddling, using your kayak and fishing equipment and how easily you can access and handle everything.

Casting from a Kayak

While you could be the absolute best at casting your rod and reel on the bank, casting from a kayak is going to be quite different. I found that the first time I cast my pole from the kayak that it felt a little wobbly. Now, after relaxing into it a bit, I found it to not be too hard.

Practice, practice and practice. Learn to have confidence in your boat. You are not going to tip your kayak over with a simple cast. It may feel like it, but if you took your kayak out before attempting to fish from it, you would realize how stable it really is. You will surely improve and get more comfortable the more you do it.

You may have to adjust the way you cast. I found that while I cast over my head with some power from the shore, I tend to cast from the side more at an angle with not as much power from the kayak. You have to adjust to the terrain you are in as well. You will find your sweet spot.

Now, you are going to see folks standing in their kayaks fishing. I am sure it is much easier to cast that way. Although, I can tell you that, that is a learned skill. If you are used to skate boarding or paddle boarding, should be no problem, as long as your kayak is set up for it. Again, practice, a lot!

Boat Position

Learning to position your kayak can be a challenge. Even more challenging is keeping it in position. You should practice working your paddle with one hand while holding your rod in the other. There are a couple natural conditions that are going to affect your position. Watch the current and the wind will play heck with you.

The first time I went out, I found that I spent more time correcting my position, than actually fishing.

You can use an anchor set-up to help with this, or if you are in an area where there is some weeds touching the surface with no real current, try docking yourself on it for a bit.

Drifting

I see kayakers doing this a lot on the river. They start at the at a point and let the river carry them along while they cast or troll for the fish. If the current isn’t super fast you will not have to correct your kayak too much. Minor corrections will keep you path. This method can be very effective though.

Catching Fish!

This is the moment we have all been waiting for!

We are now set up to go out and catch some fish. Now we have to think about how we are going to land those fish in the kayak.

One of the things you need to consider is the fact that when you set the hook on even a small to medium fish, you are not anchored to a mass that is larger than the power of the fish. Even a 5-6 pound fish can and will tow your boat around if given the chance. Just be prepared.

Your kayak will act as a secondary drag system to your fishing pole. This just means that you could potentially be fighting a fish longer and breaking less line. You could also potentially go for a ride depending on the size of the fish. While this could be very exciting, it could also turn scary very quickly in the wrong situation.

Once you get the fish close to the boat, remember to use your net, and to keep your body centered in the kayak. You do not want to go swimming at this point. Place your pole into the hand that is farthest away from the fish and use the closer hand to net it or grab the fish.

Another thing to keep in mind. Depending on the fish, you really don’t want to place anything in the kayak between your legs that has teeth or spikes. Just saying! Keep your pliers or fish grabbers handy.

Don’t forget about Safety

Even though we are out there to have fun, please do not forget to be safe. Check out my “Kakaking for Beginners-Kayak Safety” post for the basics in kayak safety.

There are few more safety things you need to be aware of when fishing.

  • Make sure you have enough water and snacks to get you through the day. Inevitably you will be out longer than predicted.
  • Watch out for flying hooks or spilled hooks. Accidents happen and some fish can be ornery.
  • If you are fishing in the South or in open waters like the ocean, watch out for critters that may want to eat your fish or you. There are other concerns with wildlife. Watch out for low hanging limbs in dense areas and for snakes. They have been known to drop into boats. Don’t Panic and remove them as quickly as possible.
  • Weather can always be a concern. Wind, lightening, rough waters. Be weather aware.
  • Finally, other boats speeding around on the water. Probably the most dangerous animal out there are other humans racing around in the fancy boats.

Let’s Get Out There!

So, we now have the basics to get us out on the water with our fishing poles. The best way to get better at fishing from our kayaks is to just get out there and do it. Like I said earlier, Practice!

I’m going to leave you here and hope that you found this post helpful. I hope I was able to get you educated and excited about getting out there and catching some fish.

Please, add and comments below about your experiences. Meet me over on Facebook and share some pics with me of the fish you have caught or the stories of the ones that got away.

Until Next Time!

Kayaking for Beginners – The Checklist

Are you a list kind of person?

Lord knows I make lists all the time, and sometimes I even use them!

In this installment of Kayaking for Beginners, we are going to work on a basic checklist to get you started.

What is a Checklist?

Now we all know what a checklist is. We make them all the time.

  • Grocery Lists
  • Chore Lists
  • To Do Lists
  • Honey Do Lists

We have all made them. This checklist is going to be geared to you and your kayak adventure. Now, depending on the adventure, this list is going to grow, shrink become a living creature, who knows.

We are going to break our list into a few categories.

  • Essentials – Items you cannot do without.
  • Safety Gear – items you shouldn’t do without
  • Navigational – items to keep you from getting too lost
  • Clothing/footwear – items to keep you from going naked
  • Personal – items to enhance your adventure

10 Essentials List

A little history here. The original 10 Essentials List was introduced by a group of outdoor adventurers called the Mountaineers back in 1974. It was published in the third edition of “Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills.” While the origin of the list dates back to the 1930s, the purpose has always been to answer two basic questions.

  1. Can you respond positively to an emergency or accident?
  2. Can you effectively survive 1 or more nights outdoors?

So naturally, over the years this list has evolved with new technology, equipment, and activities. But, the basics remain the same. The Classic List resembled this: Map, Compass, Sunglasses and sunscreen, Extra clothing, Flashlight or Headlamp, First-aid supplies, Firestarter, Matches, Knife, Extra food.

In 2017, the Mountaineers released a new and improved version of their list known as: Freedom 9 Systems.

We are going to tailor our list to kayaking and primarily recreational kayaking.

Our Kayaking Checklist

Our Essentials – You cannot go kayaking without these items. Quite frankly, if you try you are going to get awfully wet and you won’t get far, LOL.

This is going to be your kayak Pre-trip list.

  1. Kayak – you obviously need your kayak.
  2. Paddle – again, we won’t get far without it. So, store with the kayak so you don’t forget it.
  3. Seat – this will only matter if it is not already attached and not stored with the kayak.

Safety Gear – You should not go out with at least some of these items. Depending on your adventure, this list is going to grow.

Kayaking_for_beginners-pfd

  1. PFD – In my book the most important safety item.
  2. Whistle – in case you need to signal for help
  3. First-aid kit – just in case.

Check out my post “Kayaking for Beginners – Kayak Safety” for more information about safety gear.

Navigation – depending on where you are going this could be needed or not. I personally take my cell phone.

  1. GPS – Some of these have tracking systems
  2. Map – Handy if you are on an unfamiliar lake or river system.
  3. Compass – I would only worry about this if you know how to use one. I personally use landmarks to navigate, so North/South probably wouldn’t help me much.

Clothing and Footwear – dress appropriately for the climate you are in. Again, this list could become a much larger list depending on the trip you are taking.

  1. Kayaking shoes or water shoes – I recommend some kind of decent water type shoe or sandal with a fairly hard sole. I DO NOT recommend flip flops.
  2. Hat – something to keep the sun off your head. A wide brim is recommended.
  3. Quick drying pants or shorts – again weather dependent. Swimwear is okay if it’s warm enough. Take an extra set.
  4. Dry top/Jacket – even if you don’t wear long sleeves, I recommend having something in case the weather changes or you just want to protect yourself from the sun.

Again, this list will grow if you are going out for a longer period.

The Fun Stuff

The Personal Category can and will get out of control if you let it. Totally dependent on the trip. Are you going on a short day float, or a camping float or a fishing trip. It will make a difference in the personal gear you carry.

For a day trip this is my short list. Now, I consider a day trip a couple of hours close to home.

  1. Dry Bag – to carry your personal items that you want to keep dry.
  2. Sunscreen – don’t think you won’t burn out there. Remember, water is reflective.
  3. Sunglasseskayaking for beginners-sunglasses
  4. Lip Balm
  5. Cell Phone
  6. Water Bottle/snacks – chocolate is essential, but we will put it in this category.

Okay, again, this list can grow exponentially depending on the circumstances. I also like to carry my camera and sometimes I remember my little video camera.

Obviously, if you are going fishing that is going to add a whole new category to your list. We will touch on that in a later post.

Start Checking the Boxes

This is just a starter list for you to start checking the boxes. There are certain things I would hate to forget and then there are something I can live without if I am going out close to shore and not for very long.

I hope this helps to you start your list and gets you more prepared for being out on the water.

Thank you for checking in on the next installation of Kayaking for Beginners. Share with me some of the stuff you cannot live without when you go out on the water.

Until Next Time!

Best Way to Store Kayaks

In this post we are going to talk about storage options for your kayak.

Storing kayaks can be a task, depending on the length and the space you have available. So Let’s spend some time to find the best way to store kayaks.

Inside or Outside

Where are you planning on storing your kayak now that you have it?

I do not recommend that you just lay in the yard, out in the sun till the next time you use it.

Ideally you are going to want to store it in a secure location, out of the harsh UV rays of the sun, with easy access and where no critters are going to build their forever home in it.

There are many options for either outside or inside provided you have the space. I am going to talk about several options in this article for both places. Obviously, if you have the room to store it in your garage or shed, where you can control the climate a bit and lock them up that would be awesome.

However, not all of us have that option. I personally live in a RV, so storage of a 10′ kayak can present a challenge and generally speaking my only option is outside.

Rack Systems

There are a ton of rack systems available on the market. I focused on several that you can easily pick up through Amazon.

There are basically three different styles.

  • Free-Standing
  • Wall Mounted
  • Overhead Mount

Let us start with the Free-Standing style of rack. These are going to require a bit of space, but can be used inside or outside depending on what you need. There are several options for this, so let me highlight a few that I found.

This rack is the king of racks. It is going to require space or its own building. I show this to you because, if you have more than one kayak or plan on getting more than one, it can handle it. It also would provide storage for paddles as well as other stuff. You could ideally use it as a multi-functioning rack if you put it in your garage or shed.

Let’s break it down.

  • It will hold 6 kayaks
  • made from steel
  • Easy to assemble
  • Comes with wheels for easy movement

This rack measures in at: 51 x 47 x 72 inches. The product description claims it will hold up to 11′ kayaks, but the reviews state that it can handle longer boats as long as they are not over 32-34″ wide. This rack rated 4.9 stars out of five and had many great reviews.

This rack just looks sturdy. I picked it mainly because you could also adjust it for the length of your kayak. The heavy-duty steel will hold up to 100 lbs per set of hooks. They are padded nicely to protect your kayak as well.

Key Points

  • Sturdy tubular steel
  • Space saving design
  • Easy Assembly
  • Good for indoor or outdoor use

This rack measures in at: 48 x 28.7 x 7.2 inches. This rack had good reviews and rated in at 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If you only need to hold up one kayak, this rack would do. They are lightweight, come in a set of two and are inexpensive. You can use them anywhere and adjust them to the length of you kayak.

Key Points

  • Lightweight Aluminum construction w/stainless steel hardware
  • Indoor/outdoor use
  • folds into compact mesh carry bag
  • Weight capacity is 100 pounds
  • Stands 17″ tall
  • Sturdy, even on uneven ground

This inexpensive set of racks come in at 4.4 stars out of 5. People were pleased with the quality and stability of the product. There were many good reviews about this system and based on the price you cannot go wrong.

Wall Mounted Racks are another option for saving space. You can mount them on the wall either inside or out. Imagine the possibilities. You could place them in or out on the garage, shed, or tiny house.

For a Wall Mount set-up, this set came highly rated. The customer reviews gave it a 4.8 out of 5 stars. They look nice and are sturdy.

Key points

  • Heavy Duty powder-coated steel
  • Lightweight
  • Nylon covered foam padding
  • Weight capacity 100lbs
  • Affordable

Most of the reviews I read, the folks really liked them. Most used them inside, but one used them outside in the north. While the hooks are rated at 100lbs, if you are to purchase these make sure you mount them properly on a wall that can handle the weight, just saying.

This is the king of wall racks. If you are not worried about space and you have multiple kayaks or paddle boards. This is the rack for you. Rating 5 out of 5 stars, you cannot go wrong.

Key Points

  • Holds up to 4 kayaks
  • Steel Construction, 100lb capacity per rack or 400lb total
  • Adjustable rack levels
  • Easy Assembly, easy adjustment
  • Protective felt padding

Again, this is a sturdy built, adjustable, wall-mounted rack. Built tough to handle whatever you want to put on it.

The only real downfall to wall-mounted racks that I can find is the lock-up factor. You would have to get creative with locking your kayaks up, unless you are keeping them inside.

Over-head systems are great for saving space. Ideally you are using these inside or you are building something outside to mount them on.

This is a basic hoist system. You would ideally put this inside a garage or shed, mounted on the ceiling. Hoisting your kayak above everything else in the building. This particular system rated 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Most of the hoist systems rated in this range.

Key Points

  • Space Saver
  • Easy Installation
  • Heavy duty Straps – weight capacity only 60lbs
  • Affordable
  • Will fit any length or width kayak

The downside that I found to these systems, was strength. Most reviews on any of these systems complained about the weight factor and not feeling secure about the rope sent with the kits. Also, they said in several reviews across the board that it takes some effort to hoist the thing up. Just be prepared.

DIY Rack System

Are you handy? Have tools, build your own system. Pinterest has a ton of really cool ideas to build your own storage for kayaks and the like.

I found some great options made out of wood and PVC. You know, the white or black plastic pipe used for water and sewage. You got it, how imaginative.

Here is a fun little video to show one option found on YouTube. The possibilities are endless with some imagination.

Tiny House Options

For those of us that have opted to live tiny the options are not as vast. This is also dependent on whether you are stationary or mobile. Most of the RV dwellers I have seen store their kayaks either on their extra vehicles with vehicle racks or they have racks on the RVs. If you have a toy hauler, you have the garage option to store inside.

As I mentioned earlier, I store mine outside. I currently slide mine up underneath the RV, then I cable lock it to the camper. It is hidden, out of the sun and secure.

Stationary tiny homes can have shed options or outside kayak huts, if they are on their own property. Check out Pinterest for great ideas.

Here is an example of a kayak/bicycle rack I found on YouTube designed for those that camp or are on the road.

Stored and Secure

So, there you have it. There are a ton of options for storing and protecting your kayak. If nothing else, I hope I got your creative juices flowing and you are thinking of different ways to get your kayak out of the weather and helping it last a good long time.

Hope you found this helpful and enjoyable. If you have any questions, comments or ideas, leave them below. I would love to know what you think.

Thanks to all those that take the time to visit.

Until Next Time!

Kayaking for Beginners – Kayak Safety

This is probably the first post I should have written. Safety is and should always be first.

As it is though, Welcome back for the 4th installment of Kayaking for Beginners. We are going to discuss some important things in this one, so hold on to your hats!

Safety First

Safety is vital, not only for your health and enjoyment, but for others as well.

We never go out on any kind of adventure and expect an accident to happen. Unfortunately, they do happen and they affect not only us, but the people that are closest to us and those called out to rescue us.

So, ALWAYS do your due diligence and be as prepared as you can be.

The Mistakes We Make

Everyone makes mistakes. Some are what we would conceive to be minor, while others can be real whoppers. Here are 5 common mistakes people make when going out on a kayak.

  1. Not paying attention to the Weather
  2. Not knowing what is happening with Tides and Currents
  3. Not wearing or packing proper clothing
  4. No Life preserver or PFD
  5. Mixing alcohol or drugs

When you look at this short list, you are probably thinking, who would go out and not do these things. My answer to that is all of us. Maybe not every time, or all these things at once, but I can tell you that even I have taken my PFD off on occasion and thought, I can swim if need be, or I am close enough to the shore it will be fine.

So, let’s address these common mistakes and see how we can fix them.

Always Check the Weather

Weather can change in the blink of an eye. It amazes me how many people pay so little attention to what is happening in the sky. I tend to be a bit of a weather bug, so I am always checking the weather. I live in a RV, so weather is huge for us.

Check the weather where you are going to be for the day. Check it for the whole day, not just the morning or midday when you are planning to be on the water. Depending on where you are, you may want to check the surrounding areas as well.

For instance, if you are going to be on a river and the weather is fine where you are, remember, if it pours a bunch of rain North of you and it flows into the river upstream, guess what? You may get more than you bargained for downstream.

Storms can blow up on large bodies of water quite quickly. You don’t want to get stuck in that kind of scenario. Lightening and water do not mix well. Be prepared.

Kayaking for beginners-stormy weather

If, you are going to be out for a couple of days check into a battery operated weather radio.

We all have cell phones, no reason to not know what the weather is up to.

Tides and Currents

Even our little Lake Taneycomo here in Missouri has a current. You can check with the COE (Core of Engineers) to find out when they are releasing water from the dam. Check the USGS for river conditions where you are.

Kayaking for beginners-currents and tides

If, you are going ocean or surf kayaking, you will certainly want to pay attention to the tides and currents. You can check these through the NOAA’s current and tide charts.

Dressing for Success

It is really important to have proper clothing.

Whether it is 90 degrees and sunny or 32 degrees and cold, proper clothing is a must. There are so many options on the market today for both occasions.

When it is hot and the sun is high, you are going to want something that breathes and dries fast. You can even get long sleeve shirts now that will help protect you from the UV rays. A hat is a good idea as well. I like to pack extra in my dry bag just in case.

Cold weather kayaking would require warmer clothing, obviously. You might want to consider a wet or dry suit. Hypothermia would be a real problem if you got wet in colder weather.

Running whitewater in a kayak will require a helmet in most cases and I would recommend one even it they didn’t. Rocks and noggins don’t make a great combination. Just make sure it is the proper helmet for the task.

Common Sense

Common sense tells us that a PFD or life jacket is one of the most important if not the most important piece of safety gear needed. You know that the US Coast Guard reported in 2018 that 77 percent of boating fatalities were from drowning and that 84 percent of those were not wearing a PFD.

Kayaking for beginners-pfds
Photo By Denise Hunter

Find a proper fitting PFD and wear it!

Having Too Much Fun

Studies from the US Coast Guard also show that alcohol is still the leading cause of accidents on the water.

I get that we are all out to have fun. I do however recommend saving the drinking for the campsite. We all know that alcohol diminishes our ability to react and make decisions.

I am all for having fun, and I certainly enjoy a drink now and then, just know there is a time and a place, and it is not out on the water.

Tip for Staying Safe

Now that we know kind of what not to do and some things to look out for. Let me break it down into a list of tips to keep you safe.

  1. Know Your Limits: Know what your experience and physical limits are. If, you are a beginner, don’t jump into a river with category 5 rapids.
  2. Know you Boats Limits: Know what kind of kayak you have and what it is capable of. Don’t take a $200 recreational kayak out in the surf or over a waterfall.
  3. Lower Your Risk for Hypothermia: Dress accordingly for the weather and water conditions.
  4. Visibility: Make sure you can be seen. Especially on a busy lake or on the sea. Reflector tape on you kayak or paddle, light colored clothing, a flag, etc.
  5. Boating Regulations: Know the regulations for your area. Follow the rules and be mindful. You can generally get a booklet at any marina.
  6. Take a Class: It never hurts to take a paddling class.
  7. Go with Friends: Paddle in a group. If, you must be alone then tell someone your plans.
  8. Plan your trip: Especially if it is going to encompass more than one day. Then revert to the previous tip. Let someone know what your plan is.
  9. Practice: practice the many techniques you have learned. Practice climbing back into your kayak in deep water. You may not always be close enough to shore when and if you flip.
  10. Be prepared with the right safety gear

Safety Gear, the Short List

Here are some basic items that come to mind that you will want to include in your safety collection.

  • PFD
  • Dry Bag
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Whistle
  • Bilge Pump
  • Spray Skirt (for those sit in kayaks)
  • Light or Headlamp

Kayaking for beginners-first aid

This list would certainly grow for more extended trips or more complicated trips.

For those types of trips you may want to add a couple of these items.

  • Float bags
  • Paddle float
  • Paddle Knife
  • Change of clothes
  • Throw Line
  • Radio
  • compass

Just to name a few.

Recap

Okay, so we have talked about safety and some things that you need to stay safe. A safe trip makes for a fun trip, and ultimately that is what we are after. Fun and Adventure.

So, let me recap the top 10 safety tips for you.

  1. PFD
  2. Dress Appropriately (including a helmet if necessary for you whitewater folks)
  3. Follow Local Boating Rules
  4. Pick a Suitable kayak location
  5. Practice you deep water entry
  6. Check Equip.
  7. Tell Someone about your plans
  8. Know your cold water safety
  9. Check the weather
  10. Leave the alcohol at home or for later

I hope you found this helpful and I hope you guys have a great safe adventure the next time you go out in the kayak. Thank you for joining me here for another installment in the Kayaking for Beginners Series. Leave and comment, suggestions or experiences below.

Until Next time!

Kayaking for Beginners – How to Launch Your Kayak

Welcome back to number 3 in our Kayaking for beginners series!

Today we are going to launch our kayak! It’s getting real now.

Pre-Launch and Pre-Landing Check

Just like a truck driver, we should always do a pre-launch check. Once you get your kayak to the launching area, make sure you have all your gear and it is where you want it. Make sure your foot rests are where you need them.

Make sure your PFD is secure and properly fitted!

Be aware of your surroundings. Especially if you are in a remote wildlife area. Don’t land your kayak in an area where there could be heavy traffic from predators. No one wants to become dinner for a bear. Also, watch out for nesting areas for waterfowl and such.

Don’t forget the snacks and water.

Launching From the Shoreline

This in my opinion will be the easiest way to launch your kayak, as long as you do not mind getting wet. I personally would rather get my feet wet rather than taking a swim due to lack of balance.

Depending on the type of kayak you have, will determine the way you get into or on your boat.

Sit-on Kayak

For those of you that have a fishing style sit-on top kayak, like myself. Getting on the boat from the shoreline is relatively easy. While the first time I did it, it wasn’t graceful, I got better each time I did it.

Look for a calm, shallow area near the shore. Either place your kayak in the water parallel to the bank or vertical, it really doesn’t matter. You just want to make sure you have everything you need and didn’t leave anything on shore.

Walk into the water with your kayak. We are going to enter our boat bum first. So, place yourself with your bum at the seat area of the kayak and holding onto the sides, sit our self down on the seat, gradually. Once your bum hits the seat firmly, rotate yourself around, bringing your feet into the kayak.

Make sure your fishing poles and or other gear is out-of-the-way so you don’t get hung up and throw yourself off balance.

Sit-in Kayak

For those of you that have a sit-in style kayak, this could potentially be a little less graceful. Especially if you are anything like me, LOL.

Look for calm shallow water. If you have a narrower kayak or you have longer legs. Straddle the kayak and lower your bum into the seat, then bring your legs into the cockpit.

Now, if you are like me and not a yoga master, and you have a smaller cockpit, you may need to place at least one foot into the kayak first. If, you do this, try not to put any weight onto that leg, it will require a bit of balance. Then slide yourself into the seat, bringing your other leg after.

If your kayak has straps on the front, place one of your paddle blades in those straps. The other end can hang out and act as an outrigger.

If you are going to launch at a boat ramp, please be mindful and courteous of the boaters that are also going to be using that ramp.

Launching From A Dock

Now, I personally have not done this. So, upon my research, her are some tips or steps you will want to consider.

Depending on whether the dock sits high or low in the water is going to determine how or where you place your hands and knees for the best leverage for getting in and out of the kayak. Adjust as needed.

After placing your kayak in the water parallel to the dock, place your paddle on the dock about an arms’ length away for easy access.

Sit on the dock with your feet dangling into the kayak to keep it close. Depending on the height of the dock, this is where you may need to make adjustments.

With one hand still on the dock, lower your bum into the cockpit to the seat. Rotating your body a bit to keep your connection to the dock, slide your feet into the cockpit to the foot pegs. Once you are seated, grab your paddle and off you go.

Now, the steps are basically going to be the same with a sit-on top style, except you will be sliding onto the boat rather than in.

Mastering the Landing

Now landing your kayak and exiting the boat is going to be the exact same steps as above, just run them in reverse.

If landing on the shoreline, be mindful when exiting the boat of the possibility of boat waves and such that could shove the kayak towards the shore. If you are in the way, it could cause an injury.

Also take into account, if you are a newbie paddler like myself. Your arm strength, leg strength and overall flexibility is not going to be the same at the end of the float as it was in the beginning. No joke! Don’t get in a hurry, stabilize yourself and you will be fine.

Besides, it’s just water and you will still have your PFD on if all else fails. It gets easier the more you do it.

We Did It!

In this “Kayaking for Beginners” lesson we learned how to launch our kayak!

As I have said in previous posts, I am not an expert and there is a great deal to learn. I recommend taking a lesson or two from a qualified trainer if you don’t feel comfortable on the water. Safety always comes first.

I hope this was helpful though, and I hope that you will return and hang out and learn with me some more. Leave any comments or even suggestions you may have for more lessons below. I look forward to providing you with great content here and I want to help you be the best you can be in your kayak.

Until Next Time!

How to Kayak for Beginners – Basic Kayak Paddle Strokes

Welcome back for the second installment in my series of How to Kayak for Beginners.

In this article we are going to dive into the mechanics of paddling your kayak.

When I got started I just jumped in and wore my arms plumb out. So, let me save you, if I can, and show you some basic strokes needed to get you going.

Proper Holding of the Paddle

Lets start with holding the paddle. I hope you have decided on the right paddle for you and are ready to roll. If you haven’t head over to my post “Choose the Right Kayak Paddle” for some helpful information.

Before we can start stroking, we have to hold the paddle properly and in the right position. Sit-up straight, yes, posture is important! Check out the first post in this series for this information.

There are basically four things we want to consider when preparing to start paddling.

  1. The type of paddle blades you have
  2. The orientation of those blades
  3. Where you grip the shaft of your paddle
  4. And relaxing your grip on the shaft

Are the blades matched (parallel) or feathered? It will be easier to learn with matched blades. You should be able to adjust the to be so on most paddles.

Do you have Asymmetrical (one side is shorter than the other) or Symmetrical blades? You can learn with either style, it is just good to know what you have.

Are the blades concave (curved)? This is typically yes, so make sure to pay attention to where the curve is when you grab the shaft of your paddle. They should be curved towards you.

For proper orientation or position of your blades, pick up your paddle and hold it out in front of you. Look for a couple of things.

First, your knuckles should be up and the edge of the blades should be perpendicular to the ground.

Second, the shorter side of your blade should be on the bottom. If you have symmetrical blades, not a concern.

Third, you want the concave side of both blades facing you.

The Paddler’s Box

Now we are going to adjust where we grab the paddle along the shaft.

Take the paddle and place it on the top of your head, holding it on both sides. Adjust your hands along the shaft so that your elbows are at a 90 degree angle and the paddle is equal on both sides. Now, without losing that 90 degree angle in your elbow, bring the paddle back out in front of you. This forms the space referred to as the Paddler’s Box.

Lastly, Relax your grip. Make a loop around the shaft with your thumb and first finger. Loosen the rest of your fingers and breath. If you keep a death grip on the paddle you will strain your hands, wrists and arms. We definitely do not want that to happen.

Before We Can Stroke

We have to get our groove right!

We are going to call this Kayak aerobics or the love handle twist, LOL

Meaning, we have to learn to use our torso or core and our legs to help power our stroke. If you depend solely on your arms, you will be exhausted and in pain by the time to return to the car.

Take a seat on the floor or in your kayak. We are going to practice our proper position and posture, and we are going to twist our upper body from the left to the right. Focus on twisting from your core (belly button).

Now with your arms out-stretched in front of you with the paddle, maintaining our Paddler’s Box, twist from your belly button to the left and hold. Do not drop your elbow. Now to the right, again, maintaining our box.

When, first starting to use this technique we can feel like we are rotating correctly when we are not. Pay attention to where your rotation is coming from. Do not just rotate your shoulders. You want to focus on rotating from your belly button.

Set Up For Forward Motion

Now we are ready to move into the most fundamental stroke and mostly used stroke.

The Forward Stroke is just that. It is the stroke that moves us forward, hopefully in a straight line through the water. I say hopefully straight, because until you get the hang of it, you will find yourself zigzagging across the lake. Yes, I know this from experience, LOL.

The Forward Stroke starts at the front of your kayak. Using your torso rotation technique, place the paddle into the water just above your feet. Keeping your paddler’s box, rotate your torso the other direction pulling the paddle through the water parallel to the kayak. When your hand reaches about your hip, slice the paddle up out of the water. This will set you up for the next stroke on the other side.

Maintain the upright sitting position and focus on the energy from your torso. The upper hand should stay at about eye level throughout the 3 phases of the stroke. The first phase or Catch Phase is when the paddle first enters the water at the front of the kayak. The second phase or Power Phase is when the paddle slides through the water along the side of the boat. Lastly, the Release Phase is the point at which you pull the paddle out of the water.

Mastering this stroke will have you cruising through the water and on your way to adventure.

Wait a Minute

What if I need to slow down, stop or back off the beach?

Then we are going to use the Reverse Stroke. This stroke is virtually the same as the forward stroke, only you are going to start with putting the blade of your paddle into the water behind you. So, do the same thing as when you went forward, but start the stroke from behind your hip.

Keeping the submerged blade parallel to the boat, rotate your torso pushing the paddle forward to your feet. Remove the blade from the water at this point.

We are going to use the same torso rotation technique and always keep your paddler’s box intact. Proper position and posture will help to keep you balanced and centered.

The Sweep Stroke

This stroke is meant to help you change direction or turn your kayak.

Same fundamentally as the Forward stroke. Except instead of keeping the blade next to the kayak and vertical to the water, we are going to keep it low and horizontal. Imagine the paddle is coming out of your chest. Rotate towards the front of the kayak, place the blade in the water up by your feet and sweep it in a wide arc back towards the stern of the boat.

The result should be a gradual turning of the kayak. If you need to turn more, then repeat on the same side of the kayak till you are where you need to be.

Last but not Least

Is the Draw Stroke. This stroke is used to move the kayak sideways, like up to a dock or another kayak.

You start this stroke by placing the blade in the water off to your side and draw towards the kayak. The key to this stroke is to stop about 2-3 inches away from the boat. To recover the blade from the water turn your wrist enough to slice the blade back and out of the water.

If you don’t, it could result in an unwanted swim. If the blade gets to close to the boat under water, the momentum of your stroke could drag it under the boat, throwing you off balance. If this happens, Let Go with your upper hand and release the pressure.

We Are Stroking Now

So, today we learned about the Paddler’s Box, our Love Handle Twist or Torso Rotation, The Forward Stroke, The Reverse Stroke, The Sweep Stroke and finally the Draw Stroke. I know it’s a lot to take in. The most important part is to relax and breath and have fun. The rest will come with practice.

Thank you for joining me on the second installment of How to Kayak for Beginners. If you have any questions, comments or input, please leave it below.

Until next time!

How to Kayak for Beginners – Position and Proper Posture

Welcome to my first installment of How to Kayak for Beginners.

This is going to be a series of articles designed to help your grasp the fundamentals of kayaking. Folks, we are going to Kayak school!

Importance of Proper Posture

Lets talk posture.

Per the Merriam – Webster Dictionary: Posture means – the position or bearing of the body whether characteristic or assumed for a special purpose.

Vocabulary.com states that Posture is the way your position your body and arrange your limbs.

Back in the day, and some of your know what I am talking about, we were constantly being told to stand up straight, sit up in your chair, NO slouching. Posture used to be taught in girls schools in the day of corsets. Maybe they still do, I don’t know. I do know that your can see a whole lot of people with bad posture these days. With the age of television and video games we have almost made a science out of slouching.

There are many reasons to practice good posture.

Many medical studies have shown that good posture can not only improve balance, but improve your mood and energy levels.

It also reduces your risk of injury and aches and pains. Psychology studies have shown that good posture can even help with the way people feel about themselves.

Slumping your shoulders forward can affect your breathing, as it limits the diaphragm and lung capacity. Lord knows, breathing is important.

What does this have to do with kayaking your ask?

Bad posture in a kayak will affect everything your do and how your feel when your are done.

While your may still have a few aches and pains from using muscles your haven’t used in a while, good posture will certainly improve the chances of being able to walk back to the truck or car.

Achieving Good Posture

Achieving good posture is not hard, but it is something your have to think about. It does not come naturally. Ideally we want to achieve a relaxed, comfortable position while sitting up straight and tall. Don’t forget to breathe.

If your have ever taken horse riding lessons this will bring back a whole lot of memories, LOL.

Tips for Achieving a good paddling posture

  • Have a seat either in your kayak or on the floor.
  • Place your legs out in front of your. If your are in your kayak this is a great time to adjust your foot pegs, if your can. You want them to provide your with a slight bend in your knee.
  • Now, sit up straight, imagine there is a string running from the center of your hips up through the center of your head. We want an imaginary straight line from our hips, to our shoulders, to our head.
  • Now, Breathe and allow yourself to release the tension just slightly.

Now remember I stated earlier that good posture doesn’t come naturally. So, at first this may seem uncomfortable to your and your will probably have to keep reminding yourself to straighten up. That’s okay, your can practice this anywhere and everywhere. In an office chair, at the dinner table, on the couch. You will be happy your did.

Good Posture has many benefits, as most of us know. Unfortunately, I think a lot of us have forgotten or were not taught. In a previous post of mine “Kayaking for Health Benefits” I talk about some physical benefits of kayaking. Good posture plays a big part in that.

Becoming Part of Your Kayak

How does becoming part of your kayak relate to this?

Remember when I mentioned those foot rests? Well, those foot rest, whether they are adjustable or if your kayak has molded foot rest provide an important connection point to your boat.

What do I mean about connection point?

These are the points in your kayak where parts of your body make a connection to the kayak. The basic connection points, depending on your kayak, are:

  • Your butt or seat
  • Your back
  • Your Hips
  • Your Thighs
  • Your Feet

All of these connection points play a different role in maintaining correct position and posture, as well as, control of your kayak. Each connection point provides a different form of support to help your maintain your posture and position, no matter the circumstances your encounter.

With Posture there is Position

Position in the kayak is important. Certainly, we know to sit in the middle of the seat to avoid flipping over, but there is more to it than that. You want to be comfortable as well as effective with your position.

There are 3 basic paddling positions

  • The Forward Position
  • The Central or Neutral Position
  • The Backward Position

The Forward position is achieved by sitting straight up, relaxed and slightly forward. This allows your to remove the weight off of the stern of the kayak.

The Central or Neutral position is where your sit straight up, relaxed and remain in the center of the seat. This is the position we will primarily use while floating on flat water, or calm waters.

The Backward position is going to be the opposite of the Forward position and allows your to remove the weight off of the front of the kayak.

With all three positions, posture is key and vital to coming off the float trip feeling good.

What Did We Learn?

We learned that Posture is key to everything we do and is vital to functioning effectively in a kayak. It sounds like such a small thing, but if your have ever played any sports or done any kind of dance, then your know how important posture can be. While posture is key, position is vital in helping your to maintain that posture.

Now I am not a medical professional, nor am I an expert by any means. Through my research this is an article to help you be the best your can be while in your kayak.

I hope that it was helpful and interesting. Please leave your comments below and if your have any knowledge to add, please do. Thanks for visiting and come back for number 2 in the series of “How to Kayak for Beginners” for more fun stuff.

Until next time!

My First Kayak Adventure – how I fell in love with kayaking

You have heard a bit of my story, but my first kayak adventure is where I really fell in love with kayaking.

Getting Started

Okay, so let me paint the picture for you.

It was an absolutely beautiful day here in the Ozarks. The sky was mostly blue with a few clouds lingering in the distance. The sun was warming things up and the lake was pretty calm. Now, I was staying in an RV park right on Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri. Lake Taneycomo, also known as the White River is not overly wide, but it is very cold and is used by a lot of fishermen in fast boats.

Anyway, I pulled my beautiful, red Ascend D10T kayak out from under the camper for the first time since bringing her home. I got her loaded with my paddle. At this point I didn’t have my dry bag or my wheels yet, but my husband was home to help me get her to the water. I had my life jacket in the boat all ready to go. I should also say, that in my excitement, I totally forgot my water bottle and snacks.

Getting Past My Fear

Now, my nerves kicked in. You see, being a 50-ish yr. old female with an adventurous heart does not mean we do not get a little anxious at times about doing something new.

Even though I spent most of my childhood and early adult years fishing, hiking, out on pontoon boats and floating down small rivers in inner tubes with the kids, I had never been on a kayak, much less on a body of water with speeding boats by myself in a tiny boat. This was new territory for me. Too say that I was a bit nervous is an understatement. But, I was determined to make it happen.

I wasn’t sure how I would handle the boats throwing waves at me or how well I would handle being out there alone. It kind of made my heart skip a beat. Not kidding!

Down to the Water

So, now that the boat was loaded and I got my nerves in check, down to the water we went. I grabbed the front of the kayak and my husband grabbed the back. 65 lbs doesn’t sound like a lot, until you add 10 ft of length and 50 yds too it. Holy cow, that boat was a task to get to the lake. Anyway, we set her on the rocky beach area on the bank of the lake and I put my life jacket on. We are set!

Well, not so much. Now I had to figure out how to get into the boat without tipping that puppy over. Thankfully, my kayak is a sit-on top style of kayak. I am not so sure getting on or into the boat that first trip would have gone so smoothly if I had had to climb into it. I stepped into the water, HOLY CRAP, that water was cold! Lake Taneycomo is roughly 45 -50 degrees year-round, the trout like it that way. So, holding onto the kayak, freezing my toes off, I backed-up to the side and lowered myself onto the seat. Yeah, who are we kidding, it wasn’t quite that smooth, LOL. I flopped into the seat, thankfully, without flipping the kayak and it’s contents into the cold water.

I am now sitting in the boat, feet in the water, trying to figure out how I am going to gracefully swing my legs over the side, past the paddle, and get myself adjusted into the seat without providing entertainment to the men fishing off the dock about 20 ft away. Oh, and they were watching! One leg, then the other followed over the edge. Let’s just say that at that moment, I realized that maybe yoga should be in my future. I still haven’t started that.

I got settled, without flipping, and sat there with the boat stuck on the rocks. Now my husband had already walked back up to the camper, so I ran through my head all the scenes of me trying to get the boat unstuck, LOL. Again, without providing the guys on the dock entertainment.

Finally, after many pushes with the paddle, rocking my body weight and a few waves from a passing boat, I was full on floating! Yay, I was on my way.

Learning To Paddle

Okay, paddling is a whole other story. While paddling in and of itself is not complicated, paddling effectively and efficiently without soaking yourself can be a challenge. My paddle came with these little round objects made of foam to divert the majority of the water that runs down the paddle shaft. For the most part they do a pretty good job. I am not sure I can explain how to paddle really to get you to be effective. I am still working on it myself, but I managed to make it work well enough to get me moving. You have to find a paddle that is going to work with you as far as weight, length and style for sure. When I figure it out, I will let you know.

Getting The Hang Of It!

While my first adventure out on the lake was primarily to prove to myself that I could do it, it became so much more. I finally got the hang of paddling and headed across the lake into a small waterway called Turkey Creek. I knew it would be calmer and easier to get acquainted with my abilities and my kayak. As I entered the mouth of Turkey Creek, low and behold the first thing I encountered was a snake. Guess I didn’t think about that much when I got started. Not afraid of snakes generally, but I certainly do not want any accompanying me in the kayak.

As I paddled further, I realized how silent it was. I could here the birds, the turtles didn’t dive off the logs for cover and I could even see the fish in the clear water. It was AMAZING! As a photographer and nature lover I could so see the potential for some great shots in the future. I was really getting the hang of slowly moving through the water and I was even pretty comfortable adjusting my seat. My kayak is really stable in the water, so I soon lost my fear of flipping. I also lost total track of time!

When I did finally look at my phone, I noticed I had been out on the lake for about 2 hours. Time sure flies when you are having fun. Not to mention, I was getting a little hungry and thirsty.

So, I headed back to the campground beach, where I started my small adventure. I made relatively good time getting back and when I neared the beach, it dawned on me that I had to get out of the kayak. Yes, I had to figure out how I was going to get out of the boat without flipping and getting everything wet!

So I paddled to the beach and flipped the boat around so I could back into the beach. My theory was, if I beached the heavier end of the kayak, then I would also be in shallower water to step out in. Yeah, totally didn’t think about the fact that I had been sitting on my butt, legs stretched out in front of me for over 2 hours. I don’t know about you all, but when I sit on the couch or in a chair too long, sometimes it is hard to stand up and start walking. I am usually a little stiff and have to give myself a moment.

Well, sitting in a kayak for a couple hours takes that to a whole new level if you are not conditioned to it. Needless to say, the exit out of the boat was not as graceful as the loading of the boat, LOL. I swung my legs over the side. Got, what I thought was, my balance and stood up. The kayak floated sideways, I hit a rock with my foot and SPLASH! Yep, down I went. Didn’t flip the boat, just got a little wetter than planned. Again, 45-50 degrees, even on a hot day is flipping cold!

At The End of the Adventure

After my short adventure on the lake, and my not so graceful exit from the kayak, I called the husband to come down and help me haul the kayak home. I swear, that 65 lb.,10 ft kayak now weighed 150 lbs and was 14 ft long. Who knew that paddling, what I thought was a leisurely pace, would turn your arms into pudding. But boy oh boy, did I fall in love with kayaking, and I couldn’t wait for my next day off to do it again!

I hope you all enjoyed my little story of my first kayak adventure. I look forward to sharing more of my adventures with you guys. So, find me on Facebook at https://www.Facebook.com/coolkayaker and watch for updates and other fun stuff.

Thanks for joining me here and sharing my kayaking journey. Tell me about your kayak adventures, either below in the comments or on Facebook. Would love to hear all about them.

Until Next Time!

Ascend Kayak Accessories – What Do They Offer

Okay, we have talked about Ascend kayaks, so Let’s see what Ascend kayak accessories are out there to trick them out. Cause you know you want the goodies and bling!

Basic Accessories

These are the accessories I think you just need to get you through the float trip.

The first is the paddle, of course! Ascend does have a couple of choices for paddles. In my post about how to pick the proper paddle I give you a chart on how to decide what will work for you. Here I will provide a link to the Ascend paddles. I have the Ascend Trek Paddle. It seems to work pretty good for me. It is a two piece paddle which makes it easy to store and transport. The Trek has a durable rubber coated aluminum shaft and fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades and weighs about 2.6 pounds. The Trek also comes in 3 different lengths.

Ascend also has the Tournament Paddle which is a fiberglass shaft, which makes it a little lighter. The Trek also has the fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades, but this one sports a handy hook for lure retrieval for those anglers out there. This comes in 6 different lengths, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding one that works.

Second is the Dry Bag. I spoke about my Ascend dry bag in a previous post. I love my lime green bag. It is plenty big enough for the important things, such as my phone, camera and snacks. Mine is a heavy-duty bag, but they also come in a bright orange light-weight material w/ a window, so you can see what you packed in it.

Third, you need to be able to transport your kayak to the water. So, you are going to need a rack on your car, unless you have a truck or trailer, and you are going to need to get it from your vehicle to the lake or river. I have a truck so I do not need the car rack. But, getting it to the water from the truck by myself can be a challenge. So I have the Ascend sit-on top kayak cart. I will say, that while it is easier to pull to the water once the wheels are on, it is no easy task to get these wheels on or off. Ascend does offer another version though, and I think I am going to try them when I get a chance.

Fourth is a Life Jacket. I am only going to shortly mention the Ascend life jackets here cause I did a post recently about life jackets that I like much better. Ascend does have a few options, and I currently have what they call a universal, one size fits most, type PFD. I do not care for it, and their life jackets fit on the small side. I tried on the womens largest size and couldn’t get it zipped.

So, those are the basic must-haves in the Ascend choices.

Fishing Accessories

These accessories are some options by Ascend to get you on the road to fishing from your kayak. While I know that there are a lot of options out there, we are going to focus on what Ascend has to offer in this post.

First, you are going to want an anchor. Ascend offers an Anchor Trolley Kit. I personally have this kit and plan on adding it to my kayak this spring. I fished many times last year, and trying to fish and maintain my position in the water was exhausting. So, the anchor kit is going on.

All the Ascend fishing kayaks come standard with flush-mounted pole holders. Ascend doesn’t offer much in the line of fishing pole holders that you can add-on.

The last accessory for fishing in the Ascend line is this awesome Ascend Fish Ruler Decal. It is made of a heavy-duty laminated vinyl. Just stick it to your kayak and let the fish stories begin!

Replacement Accessories

Ascend does provide a few replacement accessories. The first of those is the Scupper plugs. You know you are going to lose those things a few times, Just saying! These are for the sit-on top models of kayaks for the self bailing scupper holes. Your kayak will come with what you need and you can replace as you lose them. They typically come in a 2 pack.

Next, you can also get replacement open base cleats. My kayak did not have these on it standard, but some do. I am looking at getting some to add to my kayak just for functionality.

You can also get a replacement seat for the sit-on top D10T. I will say, that while it has decent reviews on the Bass Pro site, I am looking for something a little more comfortable for mine.

Lastly, you can get deck bungee kits by Ascend. This kit comes with everything you will need and easy to follow instructions to replace or add a bungee system to your kayak. It’s good to be able to fix stuff, cause Let’s face it, Life Happens.

Fun Accessories

I’m going to get a little off topic here, because Ascend just hasn’t gotten on the band wagon of fun stuff yet. I know that blinging out the kayak is just a must. There are lots of options out there to make your kayak yours. Whether you are looking for fishing stuff, like fishing crates, fishing nets, pole holders, electronics, etc., or if you are looking for safety items such as flags, reflectors or lights. I even know a guy that painted some crazy faces on the front of his kayaks. How fun would that be. I will do another post about some of these other fun accessories later, so look for that in the future.

Ascend is a wrap!

So, there you have it. There is the line of Ascend products that you can utilize for your kayaking needs and some of your wants. I hope that you found this post useful and if you purchase any of these goodies. Please, let me know what you think. Good or bad, I want to know. I will update this post when I get my anchor trolley kit in place and tell you what I think.

Ascend Fishing Kayaks – What You Need to Know

Let’s take a look at the Ascend Fishing Kayaks primarily sold at Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas. In this article we are going to focus on the 12′ kayaks. I discussed the 10′ FS10 model in a previous post.

Why Ascend

Why Ascend you ask? Well, cause that is what I have. LOL

Also, the reason I am discussing the Ascends when there are so many other options out there, is due to the fact that they are not incredibly expensive and you can find them easily at any Bass Pro Shop or Cabelas. They are also an American made product, which I do like to promote.

While, you will find mixed reviews on these products all over the internet, this is my opinion on what I found. I used several resources such as, YouTube, Bass Pro’s website, I went personally to the store and checked them out and like I said. I own an Ascend product myself.

Ascend 128T Sit-on Top

The 128T is the tank of the fishing kayak world. Many referred to it as their barge. It is 12′-8″ in length with a weight capacity of 350lbs. It weighs in at 96lbs. I will say that is quite heavy and large. For someone like me that usually goes kayaking alone, this kayak would be hard to manage without help. I do like the look of it and after watching many videos it seems many that own this boat really like it.

  • Rotomolded custom-crafted tunnel hull
  • Durability, standing & fishing stability, and tracking
  • Comes with Yak-power system, wiring harness, master controller & 3 strategically placed plugs
  • Flat casting deck w/non-skid foam mat & pull-up assist strap
  • Deluxe removable, adjustable seating system and adjustable foot rests.
  • Port and starboard accessory mounting rails

This boat also offers several storage options throughout the kayak. It includes no less than 4 flush-mounted pole holders and it has a removable rod-tip protector for those clumsy folks like me. The 128T also comes with bungees and scupper plugs for the 8 scupper drains. It has carrying handles on the bow and stern. I will say that many have added handles on the sides to help with transport.

Overall, this kayak was well liked, very customizable for your personal needs and is a stable boat for the price point.

Ascend 12T Sit-on Top

This kayak did not rate as well as the 128T. It is 8″ shorter and has a weight capacity of 350lbs and is only about 77lbs. That in my opinion is not enough, based on the reviews to convince me to spend the money on this kayak. With that said, let us look at the basics of this kayak.

Some Basic selling points as mentioned on the Bass Pro website are as follows.

    • Some selling points as mentioned on the Bass Pro website are as follows.
      • Rotomolded custom-crafted tunnel hull
      • Durability, standing & fishing stability and tracking
      • Flat-casting deck w/non-skid foam mat
      • Many storage options
      • Port and starboard accessory mounting rails
      • Deluxe removable seating system
      • Large stern tank well w/D-rings & recessed stern storage w/bungees
      • Bow & stern carrying handles

Again, this kayak offers flush-mounted pole holders and paddle storage. It has 6 scupper drains and plugs just like the 128T. I will say though, that this kayak is priced just under what you pay for the 128T and the value is less as well. After doing the research, there were some that said that the material of this kayak was thin and they wore holes in them by dragging them to the water and back to their vehicles. There were several that complained about asymmetrical hulls, which affected the tracking and that they were hard to stand on.

Now, with all the complaints I found, there were a few that really liked the kayak. Any of the complaints could have been from misuse or poor care of the kayak and/or just a poor batch from the manufacturer. If it were me, I would personally spend the extra dollars and upgrade to the 128T.

Ascend H12 Sit-in Hybrid

So, this kayak had the best reviews of all three of the kayaks to date. This kayak is a hybrid version. It gives you the best of both the kayak and the canoe. This kayak is 12′ long, has a weight capacity of 450lbs and weighs in at 76lbs. Again, not a light-weight kayak, but given its purpose not terrible.

Some basic selling points as mentioned on Bass Pros website are as follows.

      • Hybrid tunnel style advanced hull design
      • Multi-purpose open deck design
      • Extra large cock-pit 53.5″ x 23.5′
      • Accessory rails, bow hatch and bow bungee hold downs
      • Adjustable foot braces
      • Soft storage saddle bags and a soft storage backpack on the seat.
      • Expandable mesh stern cargo cover
      • Threaded-sealed drain plug’

Again, with kayak the reviews were good. They really liked the space, stability and versatility of this kayak. They also sell a compatible duck hunting blind accessory that will work on this kayak. The biggest complaint I found was that it is a slow kayak and that if you are trying to go backwards and a wave comes up behind you it could take on water pretty quickly. Not sure this boat is meant to run any races anyways and by golly, watch what you are doing and I think you would be fine. I personally think it would be a fun kayak if you were into photography, hunting, fishing or just meandering around the lake.

There You Have It!

That is my opinion on the Ascend Fishing Kayaks. I hope this helps if you are looking at these models of kayaks. I do not think they are bad for the person looking to get into the sport of kayaking fishing and looking to just have some fun with it. I know that mine is a fun kayak to just get out on the water in. It has its faults and could be improved, but I also feel that for the price point these are great boats. If you have any opinions of your own or any comments please leave them below. I would love to hear them.