My first kayak was a Pelican Castaway I bought on Craigslist from a high school kid in Kenner for $250. That was back in August of 2007. I had just moved back to Louisiana from Alabama. I had yet to find a job. It wasn’t really an impulse buy as I had been wanting a kayak for quite some time, but that didn’t make it any less irresponsible. I had to get one though, I had to have a way to get myself on the water. After all I had lots of time on my hands while looking for employment. Living in a second floor condo didn’t make it easy to store either. I can’t even remember where I kept it, I’m sure it stayed down at the bottom of the stairs often. This was the start of what has become an incredible journey. Kayak fishing has been a wonderful getaway and has taken me places I never dreamed I’d go. It all started with an unproductive first trip to Bayou Little Alabama which was followed three days later by a solo trip to Dularge and my first redfish from a kayak.
It wasn’t a big red, but I was still under-equipped and landing the fish became a production. I was throwing Gulp under a popping cork, on a rod that had maybe 8-10 lb test mono on it – I had not yet bought any saltwater equipment. During the fight my line breaks above the cork and off goes the red swimming down the bayou, cork bobbing along the way. I chased after the cork for awhile, doing my best Benny Hill impersonation, finally landing the fish. It was gratifying. Not only had I caught a redfish, but I had dinner to bring home too. I was a provider!
Soon enough I landed a job and my time on the water was reduced. Spending most of my time fishing around Baton Rouge, my next saltwater trip wouldn’t be until January of 2008. This was the one that really started the addiction though. This was the first trip I made with some of the guys from BCKFC. It was also the first trip I made with the fly rod in the salt. It was pretty windy that day, but I was determined to use the fly rod and catch fish. I ended up having a great day. Blindcasting, I caught three reds on a clouser minnow. They were all small, but I found out just how effective a fly could be for redfish. I rounded out a limit using Gulp under a cork and ended with a pretty nice mid slot red. Not to be outdone I caught my first flounder on this trip as well.
It was a really successful day in the salt and was the catalyst for what has become a passion for me. The kayak opened up water I had never known about and expanded where I could fish. A motorboat will do the same thing, but there is little to no maintenance with the kayak. It gets me outside and gives me exercise, without me thinking it is exercise – which is a big plus for someone with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. I’ve become a much better fisherman because of the kayak too.
If you’re looking to get into kayak fishing and you can’t decide on what boat to get, don’t fret. Get what you can afford and see what kayak fishing is like for yourself. I later sold that $250 Pelican for $300. The return on investment for kayaks both new and used is insane, so jump on a good deal and join the party!