What is it that puts flyfishermen off about using a kayak for a fishing platform?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Krusty, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 909
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +601 / 0
    Not being a smart-ass. Just wondering why I so seldom see anglers...especially flyfishers...using a kayak?



    Can't be the cost....a high quality Sit-on-Top fishing kayak costs comparable or less than a high quality pontoon craft.



    Doesn't require special skills....a well designed SOT fishing kayak angler doesn't need to learn how to do eskimo rolls (in fact, a SOT is basically unsinkable)...and if you would capsize (an extremely rare experience) you just climb aboard, and the water runs out of the kayak via the scuppers....you're high and dry.



    Kayaks are quiet...just quiet paddling action...no legs and flippers hanging down like a bellyboat.



    Kayaks are not as easily affected by the wind, and they can move much faster around a body of water than a pontoon craft. They can get into and through as shallow a water as such craft as well.



    Comfort? With a decent padded kayak seat they're like sitting in a lounge chair. In cold weather your legs and torso stay warm....they're not submerged. In cold weather you wear a pair of neoprene or breathable chest waders (WITH A CINCHED Wading Belt!), a PFD over some sort of shell (a breathable waterproof kayaking windshirt over poly clothing), and you're as snug as a bug in a rug.



    Difficult to flycast in a kayak? Nope....at least as easy as casting from a bellyboat, and it's a much more stable platform.



    Weight? They weigh less than most pontoon craft.....I can easily carry my 13 foot fishing kayak from the back of the truck to the water with one arm.



    Finally....the damn things are tough as hell....a good rotomolded polyethelene kayak doesn't mind 'full ramming speed' through rocks and logs.
  2. troutpocket Active Member

    Posts: 1,776
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +326 / 0
    Here's your answer. Legs and flippers are your boat control so you can float/drift and fish simultaneously. I see kayaks as a nice mode of transportation in most fishing situations. A double anchor system would improve them in stillwater trout fisheries. No doubt they are useful in situations where you don't need precise boat control while you fish. My .02 . . .
  3. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 909
    Spokane, WA
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    Nah...that's a misconception (but sincerely appreciate you taking the time to comment). You use a small single bladed sculling/hand paddle on still and drifting water....or you can use a microdrive system. You can position the kayak precisely....and you're not spooking the big boys...and you can float in extremely shoals and cast out to the drop offs. When you want to anchor, you use an anchor trolley (a loop of line that goes down the entire side of the kayak from the bow to the stern....with a carabiner for the anchor line to go through)...and move the orientation of the kayak to current and wind by moving the loop...the anchor attachment point becomes infinite.

    On cold water I see the bellyboat boys shivering and spending a fraction of the time on the lake I do...in total comfort. On a good sized lake, they leave the distant places alone, because it's such an effort to get there. On a really windy day, the bellyboats (and especially the pontoon boats) are blown off the water, while I can simply orient my slow drift and work the likely spots....or set a drift anchor.

    The real reason I think so few flyfishers (or anglers) use kayaks is that few kayakers are fishermen, and few fisherman are kayakers....it's not a common nexus. The same people don't often share the same skill sets.
  4. Shapp Active Member

    Posts: 222
    Back to the state of my birth (OR)
    Ratings: +37 / 0
    or an IK, casting the bamboo on the NF John Day
  5. Milt Roe Member

    Posts: 396
    Taco Ma
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    Because they are sub-optimal for use in many fisheries and/or for different fishing techniques?
    How come more people don't fish from a skiff?
  6. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 909
    Spokane, WA
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    Ye gods man, fishing from a skiff......why that's soooo....retro.
  7. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,403
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,359 / 9
    Because I never learned how to paddle a kayak. Because being a bit above the surface of the water makes for a slightly better casting angle. Because I have enough boats and if I got a kayak I'd be looking for my long lost ballsack. Why are there canoes, skiffs, pontoons, open bows and kayaks? Because there are different folks who like different strokes.
  8. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 909
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +601 / 0
    Aside from your valid concern regarding your nutsack, I think you've made my point....a lot of flyfishermen think there's something technical regarding paddling kayaks (there isn't....it's just a double bladed oar without oarlocks)....or that they're really tippy (the whitewater kayaks and long thin touring kayaks are, but recreational and fishing kayaks are extremely stable).

    I commonly see all of those other craft on flyfishing waters....but rarely someone fishing from a kayak. Perhaps it is only now that very affordable kayaks are really becoming available. Anyway....I'm just trying to stimulate a little consideration of kayaks as an alternative for flyfishermen not in danger of losing their nutsacks due to yet another watercraft purchase!:)
  9. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,403
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,359 / 9
    If I have a two bladed paddle in my hands, where is my fly rod? I have rod holders on my float tubes and inflatable boats, but most of the time my hands are on the fly rod and my feet are doing the moving/holding work. Not trying to defend my position, just commenting as a non kayak owner why I don't have one. I have considered it and actually covet a nice stable kayak for fishing, but the whole risk to sack by adding more craft to a driveway/garage that is starting to resemble a boat show is in my best interest.
  10. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 909
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +601 / 0
    If you do a lot of fly trolling you might not like a kayak...the rod is going to be in the holder (which is indeed not optimal...trout obviously will sample and eject a fly in many situations...but I do ok trolling that way...but I don't find trolling very interesting anyway) but if you're drifting on a lake or river the rod never leaves your hand. You make position corrections with a short light-weight sculling paddle that sits next to your leg. One nice thing about a kayak is that the approach to a pod of rising fish often requires merely a few flicks of the two bladed paddle...and the kayak continues to glide silently within casting range without spooking them off.
  11. Plecoptera Active Member

    Posts: 622
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +28 / 0
    If its a craft I'm fishing out of, I prefer to sit well above the water not on top of it. Also because of my back, i like to be able to stand up while fishing. This rules out kayaks, small pontoons, and float tubes for me. I do own a float tube for hike in lakes, but that's about the only time it gets used.

    On rivers there are a couple shortcomings of a kayak that make them an unattractive option for me. First is that you cant anchor them. The other is that you are by yourself and cant have someone on the sticks (or a motor) to control the boat while you fish (single man pontoons have the same problem).

    I do see how they would make a good fishing platform, but like Mumbles I already have a fleet of floating crafts, so I really don't have much of an incentive to add another.
  12. Plecoptera Active Member

    Posts: 622
    Bellingham
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    BTW are you a kayak salesman?
  13. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 909
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +601 / 0
    Nope, just another flyfishing enthusiast who wants to share a bit of knowledge. I'm long retired.
  14. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 909
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +601 / 0
    Actually, you can easily anchor a kayak in a river. In shallow water with low flow you can use a 'stinger' (either stern mounted with remote line activation or simply a thin tube inserted down through one of the scuppers). In a river with more current you use an anchor trolley (a simple loop of line running from the bow to the stern of the kayak....that has the two ends of the loop joined at a carabiner...the anchor line runs through that carabiner so you can control the length needed...and the loop allows you to adjust the orientation of the kayak to the current by moving the anchor attachment off the bow or stern). You must be thinking that you'd have to attach the anchor line next to the kayak cockpit....which would, indeed, not be a good place in a current.

    As for having someone on the sticks...there are quite a few two seater SOT fishing kayaks that manage to provide the same benefit. There are even some motor mounting kayak alternatives, as well as the microdrive system.

    The bad back is certainly a major drawback to kayak use, as is a problem with spotty backcasting habits.

    I'm not so much interested in 'converting' flyfishermen over to the use of a kayak, but rather to encourage newer fishermen to consider the use as one of the alternatives....with the added benefit of owning a watercraft that has many other recreational uses than just fishing.
  15. Plecoptera Active Member

    Posts: 622
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +28 / 0
    Not sure if you have done this much, but I just don't see a kayak being able to anchor up in moving water very safely, at least not like a hard bottom boat or cataraft can. Anchors also have a way of getting stuck. A lot of the times they can be freed up with some work. I'm not sure how you would safely do that in a kayak.

    Having floated with others in kayaks, i can say with confidence they are not the best craft for fishing out of on a river. If your just going from point A to B however they work fine.
  16. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 909
    Spokane, WA
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    I assure you that an anchor trolley system works quite well; they've been used for many years in the kayaking community. Remember, your anchor line isn't attached to the side of the kayak (you'd be broadside to the current....not a good thing in any boat)....it's attachment point is at the prow (you're facing upstream in the current) or at the stern (where you're facing downstream)....either way a pointy end of the kayak safely faces into the current. A simple float down the river with others in kayaks hardly justifies your confidence (no offense intended). As for getting a 'stuck anchor' unstuck....worst case you simply release the anchor line (it's attached to the cam cleat near your leg, it whistles out through the anchor trolley carabiner (up at the stern or bow)....you're not out much...and it's the same lost anchor scenario with any craft). This is really what I mean about these two outdoor interests generally not being found in the same people; it results in many faulty assumptions being bandied about.
  17. Chris Bellows The Thought Train

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    The Salt
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  18. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 909
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +601 / 0
    I wouldn't imply that they are the perfect flyfishing watercraft (no such beast exists!)....but just that they should be considered a part of the arsenal, for (as you mentioned) they are pretty versatile. If you've got a solid backcast the low perch isn't much of a drawback....especially with a longer rod.
  19. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,484
    Your City ,State
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    "What is it that puts flyfishermen off about using a kayak for a fishing platform?"

    Well, not much really, other than that I already have a float tube, Watermaster, canoe, and jet powered Lund to cover most of my fishing needs.

    Sg
  20. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 909
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +601 / 0
    Then all you need for a 'grand-slam' is a fishing kayak!