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At peace with the Paddle

10 years ago, Kayak fishing at its core was could be coined as the secret sneak! There were not rod holders and $1000 side scan imagers, there was a sit in recreational kayak, an angler, rod and reel and a small bag of tackle to get you through the day. Fast forward to today, 2018 where the National Championship paid over $100,000 to the winner. Many of the over 500 anglers were those who started in the sit in the aforementioned simple kayaks. Many of the anglers actually did not even have to paddle at all with the evolution of the pedal propulsion and even trolling motors clamped to the back of a “kayak” were permitted in the Kayak Fishing National Championship.
Reflecting back to the one of the original angler gatherings “Kayakapalooza” founded by Kayak Angler legend Marty Hughes in Nebraska, it brought anglers from around the Midwest to one of the country’s best kayak destinations Lake Wanahoo in Wahoo Nebraska. The camping was cheap, the fishing unmatched, and the comradery and fellowship forged lifelong friendships. It all started on Friday when families arrived setting up camp, sharing campsites, and most importantly shared fishing spots, shared techniques and without a doubt shared equipment, to those who failed to tether a net, rod and reel and those who may have forgotten a fool proof lure for the Northern Pike in this public fishery.

But even back in 2014, there were a few who showed up to the party with the latest pedal Kayak, they were faster, less fatigued at the end of the day and seemingly had a huge advantage if competing in a tournament. Meanwhile, the anglers who arrived back to camp were exhausted with sore arms, stiff hands and shoulders needing a good night’s rest. But there is something to the paddle, which is lost in the latest in Kayak pedal technology.
Today, we expect everything in an instant package and paddling on a calm morning getting to your honey hole can be one of the most peaceful times in the day, from the sunrise, to watching the morning fish break the water and even just taking a breath from the hustle of the everyday is something which cannot be explained and must be experienced. Two hands on the paddle means no hands on your phone and that, is what we need more of!
Controlling the kayak is unique to paddling, the precision of making a turn or the flow of water to avoid an obstacle can take skill and give you a sense of control as you navigate the timber on a body of water which no bass boat can get to.
What is best described as skinny water which is often under a foot is simply difficult if you have a pedal boat, certainly the technology allows for the movement of the system, but with a paddle you simply glide over the shallow water to reach the next angling opportunity.
Make no mistake, this is not to discourage those who want the pedal system or need the pedal system, but there is something unique and mystique about the paddle which is unmatched!