Perserving the Brotherhood – Challenges and Solutions




 

To borrow a phrase from one of my favorite guys on facebook, Graham Allen…. “Dear America…this one’s gonna sting.”

It’s going to be very difficult to write this article and adequately articulate a trend in our hobby without sounding like I’m preaching. Thats, not my goal. I’m simply trying to start the conversation. It’s one that has been brought up in the past, but I’m hoping to do so in a different way with a different intent.

Two quick things:

  1. I’m just as guilty of some of the things mentioned here as others. This isn’t me saying “you need to change.” It’s me asking, “what can we do differently.”
  2. I’m sincerely interested in your feed back, so please leave your thoughts in the comment section below or on the social media page where you found the article.
Kayak Fishing

17 Years Old – Trout Fishing in Co,

Evolution of fishing and kayaks:

If you’ve been fishing very long, you’ve probably noticed that this hobby we love is going through an evolution.  Most of us started fishing with a family member when we were young…Grandpa was usually the one sitting beside us showing us how to put a worm on a hook. Fast-forward a decade or so and you were probably sitting in a lawn chair on the bank waiting on the cats to start biting, or maybe walking the shoreline looking for bass.  At this point in the hobby, we just wanted to catch some fish and hang with friends.

Fast-forward another 5 or 10 years and kayaks started showing up. At this point, everyone was paddling a crappy kayak. Why? Because they all sucked. Guess what…We loved them! We couldn’t get enough.

 

 

Then, slowly but inevitably, the divisions started.

  • Hobie guys vs everyone else
  • My brand vs your brand
  • Paddlers vs Pedalers
  • “Regular guys” vs Ambassadors
  • Ambassadors vs Pro-staff
  • Pro-staff vs YouTubers
  • Youtubers vs the other YouTubers
  • YouTubers vs Bloggers
  • “Full-time guys” vs those that wanted to be full-time
  • Fresh water guys vs saltwater guys
  • Tournament guys vs weekend anglers
  • Bass guys vs catfish guys.
  • Motorized vs non-motorized

These divisions with in the hobby are rarely overt..but rather take the shape of a subtle comment or jab on a Facebook post. Death by a thousand cuts. I’m not suggesting everyone is guilty of these, nor am I saying that Pro-staff and Youtube are bad. I am, however, suggesting that the things mentioned in the list above are simply unimportant and not worth making another angler feel inferior.

What caused the division?

We used to feel that owning a kayak was much more than just a way to get off the bank. It was bond and a brotherhood with others in the hobby. Whether you knew the other kayaker or not, they were part of the brotherhood and treated as a friend. The good news is that, on the water, this is still pretty much the case, but on social media…well, that’s a different story. The cause, IMHO, is simple, Pride and selfishness. And by pride I mean snobs.

How many times have you seen this scenario play out?

Newbie – “I’m looking for a quality kayak under $500.”
Kayak community – “Can’t be done…you need an X.”

Sound familiar? That scenario is played out on Facebook every day, and it is demoralizing to the new guy wanting to get into our sport.

A $300 kayak from Academy equals freedom. Something our brotherhood is forgetting. 

2012 – First Kayak – Pelican Castaway 116

No…it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. No…you can’t stand in it. No..it probably doesn’t track perfectly. But the freedom it gives someone who has fished from the bank all their life is immeasurable.

The selfish side is much more subtle. Back when kayak fishing first started, we used to look at the bass boat guys and say “I hope our hobby never turns into that.” Well, I hate to tell you friends, but we are right on the verge. YouTube guys no longer do it to help others, they do it to get famous or to earn that coveted lable on the jersey. The type of kayak you paddle has become a status symbol. And tournaments…well, thats a whole different blog post.

So here are my questions for you…and for me.

  • Why did you get into the hobby? Did you see the labels on the pro-staffers jersey and say to yourself…”One day…I’m gonna have a plastic company logo on my shirt.” Probably not.
  • What was your first kayak? Did you buy the best one you could afford? Do you think the new guys are doing the same thing?
  • What matters most when buying a kayak? The brand or the person’s body type and fishing style?
  • If kayak companies had a rule that said “You can’t tell anyone you’re on our pro-staff” would you sign up for it?
  • Here’s one that I’ve asked myself for the better part of a year and a half – If you’re on Youtube, what is your goal. Money…Notoriety…Sponsors…? If it’s money, I can assure you that the time invested vs the money earned is far far below the minimum wage. Notoriety/Fame? Pick the most well-known person in our hobby and the average fisherman has no idea who they are. Sponsorships? Many times this is just a pride thing.

While this was once a brotherhood, I believe it is one that is slowly dying.

So, what’s the solution? I think we need to first acknowledge the problem. Secondly, I think we need to be aware that those new to our hobby represent the growth and future of kayak fishing. If we tell them that they must by brand X to have a decent kayak, we are essentially telling them that they do not meet our standards. Third, I think companies should start calling their “pro-staff” by its full name…”Promotional Staff!” I also believe that the Promotional Staff should not receive any kind of compensation for 1 year. No discounts. No free Stuff. No jersey. No label. (Told you it was going to sting.) And last…we need to start listening to those who ask for help, and answer based on what is best for their situation and not our personal preferences.

Our hobby is at a crossroad right now, and the choices that we make as a group will determine whether or not it’s a welcoming environment or a selfish arrogant one.

I am going to extend this invitation to everyone reading this. I’m also going to challenge you to do the same. Copy it if you want to or write your own version…just post it on Facebook to your friends.

If you are reading this, I would love to fish with you sometime. It doesn’t matter what kayak you paddle or what your experience level is…if you bring a good attitude and a love for the outdoors, you are always welcome on any of my fishing trips. I’m happy to share my knowledge and am eager to learn from you. Message me with questions or if you just want to plan a fishing trip. Tight Lines!

Want to read our follow up article? 4 Easy Ways to Positively Impact the Sport

Now I want to hear from you. Agree…disagree? Suggestions on the next steps?

 



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58 Responses

  1. Cuivre Rivers says:

    I’ve only been seriously kayak fishing for just over a year and have noticed what you said. Mind you, I have fished for 40 years, many of them out of a bass boat and before that, a canoe with a trolling motor. Sadly, what you describe is happening to the kayak community is based on human nature. Then there is the false bravado the internet breeds. I’ve taken to slight mockery of the “puffers” and the overt product whore-pro-staffers-shine their image is better viewed when reflected back on them in the mirror. Sadly, many remain oblivious to what they project and how they project. As mentioned, I have been fishing for a long time and have been a BASS member a long time as well. The “pro-staffers” I’ve seen in the kayak world tend to be very un-professional compared to their BASS counter parts. This may be because of the newness of kayak bass fishing, but the companies need to be careful of who represents them.

  2. I credit you for taking the initiative to recognize this transition in the Kayak/Fishing/Pleasure phenomenon.
    Q 1 – Why did you get into the hobby? Did you see the labels on the pro-staffers jersey and say to yourself…”One day…I’m gonna have a plastic company logo on my shirt.” Probably not.
    A 1 – Why – after tournament Bass Fishing for 7 years, I sold boat and went on without fishing for a long time. – Rediscovered fishing again from a kayak, relaxing, adventurous and easy to share time with significant other
    Q 2 – What was your first kayak? Did you buy the best one you could afford? Do you think the new guys are doing the same thing?
    A2 – A. First kayak – By some quick research on my on, I was lucky to find a “sit on top” Wilderness Tarpon 100 used!! Budget – $600.00 Paid $600.00 with a Bending Branches Paddle-Score! New Buyers – I think research and budget will continue to align with new buyers.
    Q 3 – What matters most when buying a kayak? The brand or the person’s body type and fishing style?
    A 3 – Budget & Size & Quality – Type of use, or uses! This is important! Obviously size can make a difference in what kayak you purchase, then depending on the activity (typically Fishing) this is a significant decision making process. You have to find what fits and works for YOU. I got sucked into the “Stand Up & Fish” talk, well I now find that is overrated in kayak fishing. The best feature of having SOME stability is to just STAND UP and stretch your legs! Sight fishing….leave it to the 1 1/2 months of Pre-Spawn fishing guys.
    Q 4- If kayak companies had a rule that said “You can’t tell anyone you’re on our pro-staff” would you still do it?
    A 4 – I would now do any type of kayak fishing, for me it is the # 1 stress relief I have found, PERIOD! When I go out and Kayak fish, I forget that I have a job!

    YOU TUBE ? – If you like to do it…Do IT! Whatever comes of it afterwards that will still make you happy, then you continue to do it –
    After that – you must realize that it to will soon become a JOB you like to do.

    RaxxyGear

  3. Thomas A Early says:

    I have always loved to fish. In the past I have had a few boats but ended up selling them for one reason or another. At the end of 2011 I decided to look into buying another boat but I didn’t want to spend a fortune. I ended up reading a article about kayak fishing and became intrigued. There wasn’t as many fishing kayaks out then as there are now. The main thing I was looking for was stability. I ended up buying the Wilderness Systems Ride 135. It worked out perfectly. Easy to paddle and very stable. You would be hard pressed to flip this boat while seated. I have upgraded the seat to the newest model. That has made a huge difference. I have spent hundreds of hours fishing in this kayak . I don’t consider myself as a kayaker just a fisherman using a kayak. It is a great tool if you want to get to the fish. I do have a Facebook page called Kayakamania Fishing. Not looking to make any money just sharing and learning more about the sport I love. There are so many great fishing kayaks out now. Probably any one you get from a reputable company will serve you well. I don’t know if my kayak is better than yours and I don’t really care. I do know that I have fallen in love with kayak fishing and plan to get out every chance I get.

    • RiverRatz says:

      It’s interesteting to me that you consider yourself a fisherman that uses a kayak. I haven’t heard that perspective before. Nothing wrong with it…just unique. Most in our hobby would say they are kayak fishermen. Eitherway….gotta love being on the water, right!?

  4. ray serafin says:

    mmmmmmm I bought my first kayak in 2011,so I could get to better fishing areas.my fisrt one was a 400 dollar kayak got me off the shore..if you want to spend 2000 dollars on a yak (hobies) then go ahead..i see this stuff they have on yaks now an I’m like why didn’t you just buy a boat?..i really don’t care what kind off kayak you have as long as your happy so what….an if your fishing deep water ,its only going to be a matter of time when we read about the first death by shark by bringing your yak to deep water…go out have fun, fish, relax…its about getting to fish areas that you cant reach by land or boat

  5. Anonymous says:

    all the above

  6. William Strasburg says:

    First kayak, Old Town Loon about 19 years ago. First time I took a rod and reel with a small tackle box out with me people stared like I grew a third eye. Slowly watched as the idea of fishing out of a kayak developed from a novel idea to the full blown sport it’s become. Once it went viral on social media it changed, but everything on social media is forced to change. I still float, I still fish, I still swap fish stories with friends, and tip my hat to strangers on the water. It’s less about “Me” and more about the adventure.

    • RiverRatz says:

      The adventure of it is why I love rivers. Such a different experience from the lakes.
      19 years ago? You are one of the true originals arent you.

  7. Todd V. says:

    I disagree, I’m from the Midwest and we all there is a very good camaraderie among all of us. And for the newbies we trie to get them in demo kayak to get them fitted and to something that is cost affective for them to start. That way we can build our sport and keep people interested. I started off with a $300 kayak and now fish tournaments with a PA14. All the people I know from the occasional kayakers to the full time kayak fishermen have always helped me grow at a pace I could afford and have a good time doing it. I haven’t mixed it up with many people from the East or West Coast so I don’t know how it is at those areas. I have always had a great time with the Gulf Coast kayakers and the Canadian kayakers.

    • RiverRatz says:

      On the water, I agree 100%. Social media….eh…for the most part yes, but there is that element out there who doesn’t get it…or they forgot it.

  8. Danny Z says:

    I am new to the sport but have quickly fallen in love with it. I just bought my first kayak 2 months ago and I get it on the water every chance I get. I pretty much have only bass fished from it because its what I love to do. Would love to make some new fishing buddies and get out and expand my experience.

    Q. Why did you get into the hobby? Did you see the labels on the pro-staffers jersey and say to yourself…”One day…I’m gonna have a plastic company logo on my shirt.” Probably not.
    A. I had no clue this was even a thing. I have been hiking and camping and was looking for a way to get on to the water fishing in some of these out of the way places. I had forgotten how much I love fishing as work and family had consumed more and more of my time. I am fully back in love with fishing and getting my kayak on the water.

    Q. What was your first kayak? Did you buy the best one you could afford? Do you think the new guys are doing the same thing?
    What matters most when buying a kayak? The brand or the person’s body type and fishing style?

    A. I started researching online then rented a few kayaks from ACK and tried them out. In the end I went with the kayak I thought suited me and what I wanted to do and that I could afford. I wanted something that if I decided to peddle I could buy the peddle drive (I have not done that yet) I am about 250 lbs so I wanted something stable that could hold my weight. I also do some longer hiking and wanted something I could do some multi day kayak/camping trips.

    Q. If kayak companies had a rule that said “You can’t tell anyone you’re on our pro-staff” would you still do it?

    A. As I said until I joined a few of these facebook groups looking for some people to fish with and ideas for spots I didn’t even know there was kayak fishing Pro-staff.

    Q. Here’s one that I’ve asked myself for the better part of a year and a half – If you’re on Youtube, what is your goal.

    A. I am not on Youtube, however I am glad others are just watching the videos has been helpful and built my confidence in getting out and exploring new waters and fishing techniques. Learning to cast from the kayak as been interesting and seeing others do it helps give you a point of reference. I have no desire to do it myself but I am thankful others do!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m still fairly new to kayaking. I have had my kayak for about a year now but have only been on the water with it like 10 times. I have been on the end of what your saying when asking questions sometimes. For the most part tho there is still alot of good people that have been willing to help.

    • RiverRatz says:

      Thankfully the “good ones” are still the large majority. There are a lot of truly amazing people in our hobby, many of them have become good friends of mine.
      If you’re in DFW you’re always welcome to fish with us. If not, swing by our facebook group. Lots of really good people in there. DFW Kayak Anglers.

  10. John Woodworth says:

    AS I get older I’m not worried about being known as a kayak fisherman, a tournament fisherman or any other that just a fisherman. I get more joy helping out other fishermen. The advice I give is to try and help them enjoy fishing and help extend the sport. Your article was spot on. And we all need to remember why we fish. There’s room in our sport for all types just smile and wave don’t impose

  11. Dustin Schouest says:

    These divisions are EXACTLY why I’m done with kayak fishing. People are letting their egos and the brand’s on their jerseys speak louder than their hearts. And I don’t want to be part of it.

    • RiverRatz says:

      Dustin, don’t abandon something that you hopefully love. Just find better groups and fishing buddies. The majority of the hobby are exceptional people who want to share it with others…but there are some (sometimes we are included in that) that forget its just a hobby.
      Come fish with us…or join our local facebook group. Lots of great people there. DFW Kayak Anglers.

    • NCPIERMAN says:

      there are some out there NOT many that are part of the pro staffers and names on jersy that will do every thing and almost anything to help a person out that wants to learn what they need to know about kayak fishing.
      i got into kayak fishing 26 years ago before they were the cool kids toys FREEDOM from the bank FREEDOM to be one with nature FREEDOM to catch fish on there level.
      a perception was my first kayak and it was a tank,but i used it every other day,as they became more up to date i ended up getting into a redfish 12 by heritage and fell in love with it,there was hobies out there for much much more money heck i trade my 10 ft jon boat for a broken down redfish 12 and never looked back.
      i am a fisherman more so an outdoorsman at best i love being outdoors and just like hunting with a gun or a bow a kayak helps me get to the fish,my kayak DOES not catch the fish i do it just allows me to get to where they are.
      EGO is a huge problem in this sport and one why i tend to stay to myself doing what I love to do catch fish,i run charters yet i TEACH i dont fish and people learn to love what god has given us.
      i have youtube and plenty of video’s but one thing you will never see or hear out of my mouth is you HAVE to buy this kayak or that kayak its what YOU like and want as well as what you can afford,i have done everything off my versa boards that guys do in the wilderness,hobies or nu conues .
      motors? i dont want them or need them same as peddles im a naturalist i went to a kayak because of simplicity not what the JONES have.
      i can go on and on but there is no need to ya’ll know what im saying and 90% of it was written in this artical and yes i fish SELECT tourneys but i am by far a kayak SNOB.

  12. Chuck says:

    So this article has lots of the same thoughts. http://payneoutdoors.com/budget-talk-let-buy-hobies/
    Nothing is dying, it’s just growing and there are growing pains for sure. I started doing this a number of years ago and there were tons of folks that wanted to help a beginner and a small number of “look at me I’m a bad ass and far superior to you”guys. Now there are tons more guys willing to help and really the proportionality of jerks hasn’t increased, just the numbers. Pro Staffers can be huge PIA’s but many are super helpful. Time will weed out the decal, shirt patch collecting guys, just as time will weed out the company’s that take on Pro Staffer’s without vetting them first.
    1. I bought my first kayak to get off the bank and find more fish and explore new places.
    2. My first kayak was used, which is what I generally recommend for new folks. If it turns out you don’t like kayak fishing (hard to imagine but I guess it’s possible) it’s much easier to resell a used one for close to what you paid then it is to try and sell a new barely used one.
    3. Affordability has to come first, cause if the person can’t afford it, it doesn’t matter if it’s the absolute bestest kayak ever built. Body size, fishing style, type of water fished all must be considered.
    4. I don’t do well with hypothetical I can never see that happening questions. So I’ll just skip this one.
    5. Not on yourtube cause I don’t have any goals that include being on youtube. I do watch it for tips on different techniques and when I need to watch old MTV videos from back when MTV actually aired music videos.

    3. Affordability pretty much trumps all other requirements. That has to come before

    • RiverRatz says:

      Chris is a great guy and runs a great publication. I’d be honored to have my blog in the same class as his. One day…Gotta have goals right?
      I agree…Its not dying. A better word may have been corroding, but that doesn’t exactly make for a good title. lol.
      The part about Pro-staffers. I agree. I think the community will selfcorrect. I’ve been calling it a tipping point. Right now, I think we’re over-saturated.
      Use Kayaks – Yes…completely agree. Great way to try it out with little risk. Try recommending that if you’re on a pro-staff for a retailer or kayak company. That is one of the ways that the whole Pro-staff idea corrupts our hobby. Do you make the best recommendation for the kayaker, or do you recommend the company kayak?
      Agree with the rest as well. Thanks for the reply. 🙂

  13. RiverRatz says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I have been flooded with comments, private messages, and text all day with people saying some version of “Yes!” (I’ll try to go back and respond to everyone after work)The good news is that the issue is one people are talking about, and will hopefully reach a tipping point soon.
    What I didn’t anticipate was losing friends over it, and being kicked out of FB groups. Guess I stepped on some toes. To those people I offended..I’m sorry. That was never the intent.
    On the bright side…The positives of our community far outweigh the negatives…Look at what H.O.W. has done for our veterans. My hope is that we can adjust course before we end up like some of the other hobbies mentioned on the social media post today. But for now…I think I’ll go fishing.
    Tight Lines

  14. Gil says:

    i’ve been wanted a kayak since the old SOUTHWEST Paddle days. i finally did all my research and due diligence. this is an expensive purchase, weather it be $300 or $3000. i spent $1000 on a brand new Tarpon 120. i love it but that being said, i should have bought used, could have saved a lot of money. i think the brotherhood in Texas is strong. sure there are people that fish it everyday and that makes the weekender look weak but i won’t go as far as saying its dying. you need to get out there and ASK. i have met guys AT the launch and paddled out with them. good guys but you have to get out there and open your mouth, other wise you are going to feel intimidated , when there is no need to be. are there some aholes out there, sure but what sport doesn’t have those. i think the BEST is to come, like lets find out what is the FASTEST Kayak out there in a race . do you really need to stand up in that Kayak? how much is too much gear on your yak. we’ve only barely HIT IT…

    • RiverRatz says:

      Yeah, I agree with most of that. The only thing I would clarify is that I was specifically talking about Social Media. On the water…the brotherhood is alive and well. On social media..Keyboard courage can affect peoples judgement and comments as much or more than alcohol.
      As far as standing up.Do I need to? No. But it is a huge advantage to be able to do so. Now that I have gotten used to the option of standing, I would have a hard time fishing from a seated position all the time. But…that doesn’t mean its for everyone.

  15. Stephen M. says:

    I live in Knoxville TN, I have bank fished all my life and when I was able I bought a boat. A 1989 Astroglass 15ft glitter boat, problem was my truck wouldn’t pull it good or stop even half as good..!!!
    I had been looking at Kayak fishing for 3-4 years prior to buying the boat. My only option was to sell the boat and take my savings and get the lighter kayak to continue to stay off the bank..!
    Like I said I did my research and narrowed it down to one Kayak, so I splurged and bought the top one on my list. Did I do it to show off, NO..! Am I interested in being the guy with the high dollar Kayak, NO..! Would I like to do tournaments, maybe someday..
    Why did I do it..? To simply get off the bank and get to better fishing spots. I speak or wave at everyone I pass on the water whether they are in a Kayak or a boat.
    I did it to maybe meet up with other guys or girls to get to know new spots and learn more about bass fishing and other species as well. I don’t care if you’re in a Hobie, Jackson, wilderness systems or Walmart or any other brand, if we can fish and have a good time and maybe teach one another something new then I’m happy.!
    I have put a trolling motor kit on mine, but if I’m meeting someone to fish and they don’t have one or pedal drive system then I will take mine off and paddle right along beside them. I never really did any bass fishing until a year or so ago, so to put it mildly, (I SUCK AT IT)..!!! But I’m learning slowly…! And I’m having fun doing it..!

    • RiverRatz says:

      And this is exactly how it should be (except for the sucking at bass fishing. lol) Your intentiones were sincere and you didn’t let your blessings (nice kayak) corrupt the way you saw others and their kayaks.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, when I first got it I posted a picture of it on Facebook and a “friend ” made some nasty comments and then blocked and unfriended me… it wasn’t the fact of what he said, what hurt the most is my dad saw the comments before I did… I just don’t get why people get mad or jealous of someone being happy and excited over something they bought that they had been wanting for a long time…? Like my dad said, “Some FRIEND”….!!!

        • RiverRatz says:

          Yeah, thats sad. It seems like people have lost the ability to be happy for each others success. I saw it a lot with the YouTube community. It was like they thought if my channel were to succeed then theirs couldn’t. Like it was an either / or scenario. Pretty much what our society has turned into though.

    • Tim S. says:

      Stephen M. I just moved to Seymour two years ago from Florida and have yet to learn how to fish freshwater. When I get a kayak, maybe we can meet up so I can learn something. LOL

      • RiverRatz says:

        Let’s do it! You say when and I’m there!
        As far as learning how to freshwater fish, I would recommend two things.
        1. We have a free Ebook coming out in a few months that covers a lot of the aspects you cant find anywhere else. Keep an eye out for that.
        2. Head over to our sister site and look in the right hand column for a book by Chad Hoover. Some of the kayak info is outdated, but its a great primer on bass fishing.
        http://essentialkayakgear.com/

  16. Anonymous says:

    Pretty much… it’s sad but I’m hoping to start meeting new people and new fishing spots around my area, me and my cousin used to go all the time until he got into wake boarding… now he doesn’t fish at all.
    So I’m searching for new fishing friends now..HaHa.!
    By the way where are you located..?

  17. Darin OBrien says:

    I am a life time angler, kayak fishing for the last 13 years, and editor with Yak Outlaws. When I first got into it I would be the only kayak at any ramp I went to and would get flooded with questions. And if you ran into another kayak fisherman it was instant kinship. For me it was never so much the freedom of it as I have been on boats most of my life. It has always been the ability to experience fishing in places that never see a boat or in the case of fishing offshore the total challenge with massive fish from a plastic toothpick. Now there is a big increase in kayak traffic just like in boats and places I will no longer go to because there are just two many people and pressure on the fish. So the sharing of information is greatly curtailed because of that. All the people that want to be rockstars see our sport as an easy in because compared to boats it is whole lot cheaper. I think the ticket here is the same as power boating do your thing because its what you want to do. You just have to be selective of where and with who.

  18. NCPIERMAN says:

    there are some out there NOT many that are part of the pro staffers and names on jersy that will do every thing and almost anything to help a person out that wants to learn what they need to know about kayak fishing.
    i got into kayak fishing 26 years ago before they were the cool kids toys FREEDOM from the bank FREEDOM to be one with nature FREEDOM to catch fish on there level.
    a perception was my first kayak and it was a tank,but i used it every other day,as they became more up to date i ended up getting into a redfish 12 by heritage and fell in love with it,there was hobies out there for much much more money heck i trade my 10 ft jon boat for a broken down redfish 12 and never looked back.
    i am a fisherman more so an outdoorsman at best i love being outdoors and just like hunting with a gun or a bow a kayak helps me get to the fish,my kayak DOES not catch the fish i do it just allows me to get to where they are.
    EGO is a huge problem in this sport and one why i tend to stay to myself doing what I love to do catch fish,i run charters yet i TEACH i dont fish and people learn to love what god has given us.
    i have youtube and plenty of video’s but one thing you will never see or hear out of my mouth is you HAVE to buy this kayak or that kayak its what YOU like and want as well as what you can afford,i have done everything off my versa boards that guys do in the wilderness,hobies or nu conues .
    motors? i dont want them or need them same as peddles im a naturalist i went to a kayak because of simplicity not what the JONES have.
    i can go on and on but there is no need to ya’ll know what im saying and 90% of it was written in this artical and yes i fish SELECT tourneys but i am by far a kayak SNOB.

  19. Brandon Bass says:

    @bbassgroups
    Kayak Newbies Group on Facebook!
    A better Facebook experience!

  20. Dustin P Schouest says:

    Ill say this….
    I have caught a lot of flack from certain kayak fishing “purist” who think I am what’s wrong with kayak fishing because:
    1.) I carry a PFD but don’t wear one, as I am not required to by law.
    2.) I am getting a boat soon. My back, shoulders, and knees cannot handle the stress of seven and eight mile paddles anymore.
    3.) I see no problem with trolling motors on kayaks. You do what you gotta do to get on the water.

    I just wanna fish. Thats all I wanna do. I wanna hook redfish, bass, specks, sheepshead, whatever hits. What sucks nowadays is that everyone wants that recognition (or discount) that comes from pro-staff status. I got suckered into it. And Im done with it. When you have expectations placed on something YOU DO FOR FUN then there is something wrong.
    Another thing I am not liking are these people who want to make a living kayak fishing. These high paying tournament trails have people’s egos stretching to impossible lengths. I get it: you can fish well. But, don’t think you are the best fisherman there is. Just because you fish from a plastic boat and others don’t doesn’t make you a better angler.

  21. serge paradis says:

    awesome write up bud. 6 years ago i got my first kayak. I did not talk to anyone but for 9 months i watch videos on you tub kayak walk troughs before making the first step thats when i got a new my tarpon 120,bb paddles,i owned that kayak for five years.i fish big water and troll for lakers and salmon,four to five foot swells that tarpon was great in big water.in marh 2017 i sold my tarpon an was looking to by a jk coosa till a friend of mine stop me and told me wrong yak bud,reason type of fishing so i got a new 2017 cuda hd,he was right big diffrence between kayaks afetr a day trolling in rough water whit the tarpon my legs were killing me the next day, the cuda i could go back the next day the diffrence in both,the tarpon is a good starting kayak what ever kayak you start whit hold on to it fir a few years before up grading and do your home work before you by.also i’m not pro staff whit no one my mono you whant me come and get me i’m not running after them

  22. Andrew Jacobson says:

    Evolution of our sport is inevitable. There will be growing pains. Some may yearn for the camaraderie that they knew when they were fresh to the game and their circle of kayak fishing buddies was close-knit. Well, those days are gone and they’re not coming back. Social media has played a huge role in how the sport has exploded, too. The skill and dedication level each and every angler possesses will vary. The best we can hope for is to find other anglers with a similar level of passion and do our best to excite that level of passion in newcomers. The genie is out of the bottle and it’s not going back. Best at this point to stay positive and roll with the changes.

  23. Andrew Jacobson says:

    Evolution in our sport is inevitable. There will always be growing pains. Some may yearn for the camaraderie that they knew when they were fresh to the game and their circle of kayak fishing buddies was close-knit. Well, those days are gone and they’re not coming back. Social media has played a huge role in how the sport has exploded, too. The skill and dedication level each and every angler possesses will vary. The best we can hope for is to find other anglers with a similar level of passion and do our best to excite that level of passion in newcomers. The genie is out of the bottle and it’s not going back. Best at this point to stay positive and roll with the changes.

  24. mmm…different perspective, although i do appreciate and agree or exp pretty much all the comments ive read.
    With all the division in all the arena’s being played out in Country, what gives you, me, us, any immunity to the insanity? No matter the Motive, money, pride, ego, whatever excuse we give it, aint no reason for it.
    I yak fish solo 99.9% of the time. Fewer i see, the better. No bling. No biggest, first, most, just pure ….Connectedness.
    Oh, i got a yak to fish, not expecting the Bliss.

  25. Wayne says:

    I’m happy to say that in the three years I’ve been kayak fishing I’ve seen little of this. I know it’s out there and done quite often but I’ve been lucky in the people I’ve come in contact with. I started kayak fishing for just what you said, freedom from the bank. And my first day I had a guy walk me through some lessons to help me better myself and what I was doing in my Walmart special kayak. I’ve continued to upgrade my yak and become associated with groups who support the brand I’ve chosen and voice how much they love them but also acknowledge the benefits of other brands. I continue to learn and grow in my hobby and continue to be thankful for those I’m associated with.

  26. Hi there

    Great article !… it’s made it’s way “down under ” to New Zealand, where we face the same issues and unfortunately see the same challenges. Hope you don’t mind but we have taken gene liberty and shared it on the larger kayak fishing community website and FaceBook page in the country… kayakfishingNZ.com

  27. Joe Bob says:

    When humans get involved in anything, tbey will complicate it to no ends to set themselves apart to make themselves appear smarter, better, faster, whatever the reason. Dont ask me why, just look at about anything we do and you can see how it progresses to something more complicated, more expensive, or more snobbish. What starts out leisurely, relaxing, and enjoyable becomes, competitive, stressful, and frustrating. For me personally this is why I avoid fishing tournaments. It’s competitive enough between me and the fish. I certainly don’t need to compete with others to catch more than them. Fish with me for companionship sake, not against me to compete to see who is better.

  28. Eric N says:

    I started probably 20 years ago too when I bought a bass boat and missed small craft only ponds. I since sold my boat and I found KBF this year and truly enjoy the friendships and competition. All the other complaints are just people being people. If you love the sport do it, I could care who says or does what. I’m in it for fun and enjoyment. If someone can get paid doing what they love? Great for them! As far as giving advice, don’t complain about what people force, just be the guy that makes the good comment which is do your research and buy whatever you can afford to get on the water. Opinions are like noses after all! That’s more of a people/internet issue than a kayak community one. The growth may need a pro trail eventually, leaving some room for the new guys and weekend warriors to still have good / fair competition. We will see what the future brings!

  29. Karl Schwartz says:

    I am not sure the brotherhood is dying. The sport got popular so now there is just some many people involved that the folks involved in the early days and got along and were social, are now way out numbered. I love kayaks and many of the products the companies come up with, but their marketing strategy has had a real downside to it and like with everything, once money is involved – it brings out the worst in all of us. It is especially visible in kayak fishing because the real power in it, comes from the peace and serenity of it and the ability to get places the others cannot. Best thing to do is go fishing – and lighten up on the internet time. Thanks for Mention HOW – I am a chapter coordinator and see what the program does for all involved.

    • RiverRatz says:

      The sport definitely isn’t dying. The atmosphere we used to have (online) isn’t what it once was…and it seems to be getting worse. On the water…everything is sailing along nicely.

  30. Jerry Hicks says:

    Interesting Q&A. I haven’t seen some of the reasons I started 2 years ago so besides observing & enjoying the innovation & creative adaptations folks came up with as “Fishing Kayaks” became its own category of watercraft and simply wanting to get on the water vs shore/bank fishing I needed a way I could manage by myself at 65 yrs old. Just not as strong as at 35 but just as interested in enjoying small Western lakes but without trailering, motors, fuel and all that motor boats require. (Like 2 + people) Not to mention the fact many lakes are too small or restrict motor size anyway. After much research my criteria became 1) Must be able to load/unload/transport by myself. 2) Must be more stable than a canoe to move,stand, or take some waves or wake from power boaters safely. 3) Must be able to stay out hours or all day without being uncomfortable with back or leg problems & do it again tomorrow. 4) Adequate size & space for gear with a little to spare. As far as competition, branding, promotions etc. I could care not but might suggest that as much fun and as exciting as Kayak Fishing is at affordable “Everyman prices” or the local tournaments add to knowledge, fun, & commaraderie one must be cautious when considering turning a joyful recreational hobby into an income producing enterprise. One often finds such a transition sucks all the fun out of something you once loved & turns it into a job or a chore & you can wake up to find you forgot how much fun “it used to be”.
    Fun to read & watch about the sport & experience of others but I try to do what I can to explore, enjoy, appreciate, and share with other likeminded anglers & outdoorsmen. A kayak is a great way to accomplish those goals so try not to over think it or over complicate it. It’s one of the more affordable wYs to have fun alone or with others. I don’t want to burden those prescious moments & opportunities with the commercialization or twist them into “For Profit” motives. Fish On!

  31. Chris H says:

    You are correct but unfortunately it is an unstoppable train. I own a motorcycle (street bike X brand) and see it everywhere. “My bike is better than yours!” is one reason I have stopped going to rallies. We now live in a world where it’s all about me. I work with the public and see it on a regular basis and if you have been sheltered from it simply turn on the national news. Our society needs to get back to treating everyone with respect in all aspects of life. In most situations even if you have an identical product to “John Smith” his is still better in some way. It’s a loosing battle.

    Now to answer your questions.

    I have fished almost my whole life but got into kayaking for a different reason. Three years ago my wife’s brother died a tragic death. She was struggling with life and I felt I was fighting a loosing her. She was a changed person. I decided to buy a couple kayaks to see if I could some how bring just a little bit of happiness back into her life. It worked!!

    First kayak correlates to the first answer. I bought what I could afford two of and Sun Dolphin fit the budget. Worked perfect. With these two Sun Dolphins I’ve got five people in two years into the sport that I love. Her cousin now has my starter kayak and loves it.

    What matters most is comfort. Almost any kayak can be made comfortable with a little ingenuity. Thats part of the fun. Modifying and making it yours.

    Pro staff…..no thanks. If you ask about my kayak I will tell you the good and the bad. No kayak is perfect.

    As far as Youtube……I have a couple fishing videos on there but only because I enjoyed the challange of editing them. No expectations of anything for them.

    Now, if you or anybody else reading this ever venture into far South West Virginia look me up. I like (LOVE) to fish!

  32. Chris Conder says:

    Agree. I have felt the notion of this decaying brotherhood for sometime. Decaying is a strong word but I’m using it here to illustrate the high point (and the fall) that the kayak fishing community had elevated too, just before the divisions started. You nailed it.

  33. Anonymous says:

    AGREE 😐

  34. Tom Coats says:

    Enjoyed your comments and totally agree. I happen to have a Hobie, my first kayak, and selected after a careful search and finding a local dealer willing to negotiate a good buy. Have loved the access to the water, and enjoyed each outing. I laugh out loud frequently when I see the heavy additions of extra gear on many owner’s kaks. But I do not bother myself with the why and what questions. Each owner enjoys their boat for as many reasons as there are owners. Thanks for the message.

  35. Rick Smith says:

    I don’t think it is just the kayaking crowd but our nation in general.

    Seems in all aspects of our lives, but especially social media, we are focusing on what makes us different instead of what we have in common.

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