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It’s Alright to Go Ultralight

In a world that espouses to the BIGGER is better mentality, where we are offered to upsize, get the giant, family size, mega version you might want to consider downsizing. Decades of fishing have brought me to the conclusion that the “lighten up” is a mentality adds a challenge and enjoyment to kayaking and fishing. I do have kayaks that are geared toward venturing out into large lakes while sharing that water with boats of every size and description. I also maintain lighter, more nimble boats that still offer stability and are fishing friendly. Once you enter the realm of shedding weight for the sake of big fun utilizing smaller and lighter equipment you’ll be “hooked” too.

  • Kayaks – The Jackson “BITE” is perfect for this application. Weighing in at a mere 74 pounds this makes this boat easy to load, haul, launch and store once you day is done. While safety is high on my list, pedal (BITE FD) or paddle the “BITE” allows for stand up fishing and paddles well. More than adequate room for storing tackle and accessories this kayak is almost twenty pounds lighter than some of my other niche boats. Rated at 400 lbs. capacity this kayak is a solid ride. Because I paddle the weight of my Bending Branches Angler Pro Carbon is vital. At an industry leading 26.5 ounces (a little more than 1 ½ pounds) my paddle weighs less than most of the fish I catch.

  •  Staying with the Ultralight concept is also possible with today’s rods and reels. Graphite is both lightweight and strong. I often carry three rod combos and one is always an ultralight spinning rod with an open face spinning reel firmly affixed. A quick tip; try using braided line on the spinning reel. Braided line seldom creates the “coiling off” so frequent with the use of monofilament line and is sensitive and strong. My kayaking rod weighs less than three ounces, the reel a Pflueger President model is 6.2 ounces meaning less than 10 ounces which translates to easy fishing all day long. I’ve boated bass over five pounds with this outfit.

  • For the sake of safety I have an Astral life jacket. My Astral V-eight is bright orange for increased visibility and keeping with the light theme, my life jacket is listed in the company specs as being 1.22 pounds. Comfortable and certainly light I have the ability to paddle and pitch my baits while being confident in the safety of the life jacket. I don’t scrimp on safety.
  • Being a low tech fan, I use a pair of Strike King sunglasses as my underwater eyes. Electronics and the batteries that power them add lots of weight. . Again I look for ounces of comfortable and yet functional gear that does not weigh me (or the kayak) down. A tiny tackle box specifically dedicated to the art of ultralight contains finesse type baits and soft plastics which are easily cast on my spinning gear. Small jigs, spinners, crankbaits and topwater lures are all part of the plan to go light. Caution: you can become addicted to the “everything feels big” on light tackle experience.

  • For fair weather footwear the Astral Loyaks are light, quick drying and comfortable. The soles grip the kayak deck and this particular shoe is a mere 6.7 ounces. I also carry a Frogg Toggs rain suit (five ounces) in anticipation of foul weather.

The additional rods and another tackle box with conventional baits probably contributes another few pounds to the load I’m floating. This entire grouping of gear totaled up is less than 80 pounds. This go light mindset makes me acutely aware of unneeded equipment and leads me to the conclusion, “It’s alright to go ultralight.”