4 Easy Ways to Positively Impact the Sport
Kayak Fishing & Growing Pains:
A few days ago, I wrote an article that would eventually be called “Perserving the Brotherhood – Challenges and Solutions.” One of the responses I got (in private) was, “It’s nice that everyone is clicking the thumbs up and acknowledging the problem. But what next?”
It’s the equivalent of acknowledging the curtains are on fire but not grabbing the fire extinguisher.
I sat there thinking….”you know, he’s right.” Granted the house isn’t on fire…the problem isn’t that big, but we are going through some growing pains. So what can we do as individuals and local kayak groups to help address the challenges? Today I want to focus on some positive things that we can do to tighten our brotherhood.
Focus on the Newbies
I recently posted an open invite for the Brazos below the Lake Whitney Dam. It had the typical number of guys interested in coming out, but one of my buddies posted this (above). Honestly, I had a mix of emotions when reading it, and I’m going to be completely transparent about it because I think many in our hobby might feel the same way. My first reaction was surprise. I made the assumption that because he and his son have kayaks that they had a basic knowledge on how to fish for bass. That is an assumption I should not have made. The second reaction was one of gratitude. I know that sounds odd…why would I be grateful that he told me he’s lost and really doesn’t feel comfortable fishing with us? Several reasons…
- I was grateful he felt comfortable enough to be open with me.
- Now I have the chance to help someone expand their knowledge of kayak fishing on a personal level. Often times for me those opportunities come in the form of YouTube Videos.
- Hopefully, he’ll get to catch a really nice bass that day by using the information our group shares, and I’ll be there to experience it with him.
So how can we “focus on the newbies”?
- Ask simple questions that let them tell us what their experience level is. “Been Kayak fishing long?” (No) “I remember those early days. Hard to know how to fish…where to fish…” Let the conversation flow from there.
- Offer to help at the start of the day. “Good to meet you man….If I can help in any way, let me know…I fish these waters a lot and am happy to help.”
One of the things that I love about H.O.W. is that they pair veterans with experienced kayakers. I believe that our local kayak groups could hold similar events with the intent of pairing new guys with the more experienced kayak fishermen.
It can be difficult for new guys to admit that they are a little unsure of how and where to fish. But if we were to hold monthly or quarterly events that are designed to allow our experienced kayakers to share their knowledge with the new generation we are creating an environment that encourages and expects one to ask questions and the other to share information.
If I were the one writing the invite it would look something like this:
“Monthly New Guy Get-Together, Saturday the 10th
Lake Ketch’um – Launch time 7:00
If you’re new to kayak fishing, or maybe you just want to pick up some new tricks, come out and fish with us. We were all new once…we know how intimidating can be. We’ll pair you up with one of our experienced guys to fish with all day long. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS! We are here to help!
Also…you experienced guys…I need fishing partners for our new guys. Who’s in?
Can you imagine the change in the kayak fishing world if those started popping up all over our nation?
This is something that has been done twice here in DFW, and I think it’s a great idea. Think about how much fishing gear, kayak accessories, and tackle you have in the garage that you never use. Wouldn’t you love to trade it for a gently used reel? I bet there are more than a few guys that would love to have your used BlackPak or fishing rod. The two swap meets here in DFW were held in the parking lot of a local kayak shop, which accomplished several things. It brought new people into the shop, it allowed the guest to meet the staff and other anglers, and it gave them an easy way to get some “new” gear. Win Win.
Kids, Kids, Kids
This one is really simple so I won’t over explain it. Take your kids fishing with you and post an open invite for others to join you. Kids love the outdoors when given the opportunity, and they love experiencing it with other kids. Local groups could do the same thing on a larger level. Get creative! The trips don’t have to be “fishing trips.” Here in DFW we are planning Exploration Trips where we paddle to various spots and then let the kids get out and play/explore. Make it fun, but get the kids out on the water and invite others to join you.
Those are my top 4 picks for the things that we can do to grow our sport and tighten the bonds. What suggestions do you have? Leave your comments in the section below or on the social media post where you found the article.
If you are new to kayak fishing, stop by our sister site and check out our suggestions for the first 5 pieces of gear you should buy. EssentialKayakGear.com