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So I’ve been busy. Really busy. Really, really busy. Between normal parenting duties, the busiest part of my photography calendar, and navigating the process of buying and renovating a new house, fishing days have been rare over the past few months. After closing on the house on a Friday, I saw an opportunity for low winds and sunshine on Sunday, and leaped on the chance, knowing that the next few weeks and months were 100% guaranteed to be full of plaster demolition, chasing contractors, plumbing disasters and other lovely aspects of renovating an older house. I knew I desperately needed some time on the water to get myself mentally re-centered (did I mention my in-laws have been visiting for 6 weeks)? Of course, as with any plan, nothing goes quite as planned, and I ended up with a last minute job photographing a local band until about 1am. That meant very little pre-planning, hectic packing and very little sleep.

That’s when you keep it simple.

I didn’t put much thought into my gear – essentially throwing everything into the back of my car and hitting the road as fast as possible. I opted for my newest kayak, the Bite, since it requires zero accessories to be ready for a trip like I had in mind. I knew that with low wind and hopefully some sun, I would be standing and poling the marsh for redfish, so the Bite would be a perfect choice.

I felt like a giddy teenager on the drive down to the launch, jamming along with some great music and generally just being happy to have a chance to avoid “adulting” for a few hours. As I prepped at the launch, it became apparent just how sloppy my packing had been – missing were my fly reel and power cable for my GPS unit. No matter, still have one rod, PFD, cold drinks, kayak and paddle. Off I went on what would prove to be an epic day of sight fishing redfish.

All of which leads me to the point here – sometimes it’s great to simplify, and get back to the roots of what make you love any activity/sport. For me, I have always loved the simplicity of kayak fishing, and facing a metaphorical mountain of responsibilities in my day-to-day life, the last thing I want for this kind of trip is to think about a lot of gear. So what do you really need for a great day of kayak fishing? I spent some time musing on that in between catching redfish, and for me, this is all I need (given a good weather day)

  • Kayak

  • Paddle

  • PFD

  • Hydration

  • 1 Rod

  • Sunglasses

  • Confidence Lures (gold spoon, texas rigged soft plastic, and Buggs are the trifecta)


With the Bite being priced at $800, the gear above can be had for $1200 or less. As anyone familiar with kayak fishing (or any hobby for that matter) can tell you, there are about 99,000 accessories on the market, and I often feel that newcomers get very sidetracked with trying to figure out exactly what setup they need, when what they really need is simply to get out and spend time on the water figuring out how to catch the fish they are targeting. Of course, the list above is what I need for this particular style of fishing, but the concept remains the same, and the last item (experience) is perhaps the most important of all. I know that on this trip, I was extremely grateful for the body of knowledge I have put together over hundreds of hours chasing redfish around. I was able to relax and have fun, with the experience gained in all my previous trips essentially guiding me subconsciously. One rod, a budget kayak, and two lures the entire day, and I caught redfish until my hands hurt. Of course, when things calm down, I’ll get back to my pedal kayak, jump back in some tournaments and (sigh) try for the millionth time to figure out how to catch flounder, but for what I needed mentally this time around, a simple trip like this was absolutely perfect. Here’s a few photos showing the gorgeous conditions and a few friends I made along the way: