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Kayak Camping with Ray

It’s always good when your daughter wants you to take her on a camping trip. Even better when it’s a kayak camping trip with a little fly fishing mixed in. Her name is Raylee but you can call her Ray. She is a good kid to say the least. She’s always up for an adventure.

We decided to take a trip we had taken before down the Choctawhatchee River. My brother, Jim, joined in the fun. We got loaded up after work on a Wednesday afternoon. Jim and I had our Jackson Coosa HD’s and Ray would paddle her Jackson Skipper. It was given to her by her Nana and Pop.

We also got our camping gear loaded which is why I like the Coosa HD so much. The cavernous front hatch on the HD allows you to carry a big tent, sleeping bags, hammocks, cooking supplies and all the other items you need for a night in the wild.

We arrived at the river around five o’clock and started our trip downstream. We needed to reach our campsite in time to get setup before dark.

Even though we were pressed for time I still was able to catch a few panfish on the fly. Ray held this longear sunfish which she said matched her kayak.

We arrived at camp with just enough daylight to setup our tent and get a fire started. Bacon wrapped pork loin and fresh okra was on the menu for supper. Jim did the cooking.

During dinner we tuned into Westbrook Wednesday’s facebook live on my cellphone to catch my friend Ms. Jean Wilson’s special guest appearance. Then with full bellies we sat and stargazed as the fireflies put on a show of their own along the opposite riverbank. Jim even found that the seat in the Coosa HD is a great place to recline and view Jupiter. The sights and sounds of the river at night were amazing. Nothing like those Choctawhatchee nights.

After a good nights rest we rose in hopes of catching a few fish. It was a beautiful morning. There was a nice shoal beside camp we decided to hit with fly rods in hand. After dodging our way through a maze of golden silk orbweaver spiderwebs we waded the shallow shoal. Ray got a casting lesson from her Uncle Jim and then caught a colored up longear on a blue boogle bug.

Shortly after she caught a nice little choctaw bass. It was quite the battle on a 3-wt fly rod.
After releasing the little guy back into the river we headed back to eat some scrambled eggs compliments of Ray’s chickens.

We then broke camp, packed everything back on the kayaks and headed down river. Our plan was to catch a few more fish before we made it to our takeout.

The water was low which made it hard to pick a line sometimes but Ray handled it with ease in that Jackson Skipper. The Skipper is an awesome kayak for kids. It’s very stable but is very easy for kids to paddle.

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As we floated downstream Jim and I managed to catch a few more fish on the fly before the summer heat set in. Ray took a nap in one of the lazy river type runs. Our trip was nearing its end. It had been a great couple of days spent with my daughter and brother. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the outdoors than a kayak camping trip with family. We would soon make it back to our take out location where my Dad was waiting to help us load up.

This float trip was on the Choctawhatchee River. The section we floated is in southeast Alabama and has very clean water due to the lack of industry. It is designated as part of the Alabama Scenic River Trail.

Clay Grace
Jackson Kayak Fishing Team