Monday, March 20, 2017

New Fishing Platform for 2017

Throughout the last six years, I have immensely enjoyed the world of kayak fly fishing.  Having a fishing kayak opened a lot of doors of opportunity for me that simply aren't there for a shore angler.  It was pretty easy to transport, could be launched in tons of locations where you couldn't dream of launching a full size boat, can function in very shallow water, and was virtually maintenance free.  Over the last 18 months or so, I became very intrigued with fly fishing from a stand-up paddle board (SUP).  I have been on a few SUP's in a recreation setting and enjoyed them, and I could see vivid advantages as a fly fishing platform in situations where I had previously used my kayak.  The most important realization was that better than 80% of the time, when I fly fish from my kayak, it's for shallow water carp.



The biggest disadvantage to the kayak as a fishing platform in this situation is the difficulty in spotting fish from a seated position close to the water.  The carp fly fishing game is all about sight fishing, and being higher off the water (even if seated on a cooler and not standing) would be a big advantage.  

The next advantage to the SUP option vs. my current kayak would be transportation ease.  At 13.5' long and 70+ pounds, my fishing kayak was not the easiest thing to throw on top of my Jeep.  I resorted, at times, to using a hitch extender and sticking the kayak out the back of the Jeep, and even though it was well-secured, it never felt truly safe or "right" to me.  Going along with the transport advantage of a shorter (and lighter) SUP would be maneuverability in smaller water.  Some feeder creeks and smaller streams where I had used my kayak, I barely had enough space to turn it around in the water.  The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me to try a SUP as a fishing platform.

Prior to going on vacation last week, I ordered a Kaku Kahuna (http://kakukayak.com/) 12' SUP from Austin Kayak (http://www.austinkayak.com/).  I got a great deal on the board, and free shipping was the icing on the cake.  Due to being out of town for a week, I had it shipped to a family member, and brought it home earlier this week.  I was never so happy to see an ugly box!


Since the board was packaged, and I didn't have my roof rack on the Jeep (plus I was in a hurry), I used the bed extender to get the SUP home.


The Kahuna comes in at 12' long and 60lbs, 34" wide at the widest point for stability.  Although it is not substantially lighter than my kayak, it feels less bulky and easier to carry/lift than my kayak ever felt.  The 12' length also allows me to store the board inside, whereas I never had room to keep my kayak out of the weather.  I have small plans to add a cooler (both as a seat and storage) and to build my own push/stake out pole for carpin' the mud flats.  The one thing I am yet to figure out completely is where/how to mount a static video camera for filming.  I plan to continue using a wearable action camera, but like to have a static mount camera to get a second filming angle, as well.  



Our recent cold snap in SE Ohio has put hard water back in play, but as soon as we have thawed and I have the board rigged, I can't wait to get out on the water.  I truly believe this will be the perfect watercraft for sight fishing carp with fly gear, as well as exploring some small streams for bass close to home that are difficult to wade or fish from the bank.  I expect big things from the Kahuna this year!







 

7 comments:

  1. OU grad? Just got my masters there, graduated last September. Nice board!

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    1. Awesome! I am an OU grad, and never left. I still live here and work at the university.

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    2. Really nice area Jeff. My program was online mostly, so I have spent a few weeks out there, but that's about it. I always wondered about the river on the back of campus - wished I had a rod with me during my first trip there so I could try it out. Looked like it had to have some bass or something living in it :) I can understand why you never left - great little town and nice country side close by!

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    3. It can be a weird stream along campus. Catch it right, usually in the spring or fall, and it can be amazing fishing. Hit it during the heat of summer, and you'd think the river is almost dead.

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  2. I've been looking at a stand-up board too. Is your board mainly for still waters?

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    1. Mainly, yes. I fish a lot of small lakes, ponds, and slow moving streams.

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  3. I saw that OU tire cover and had to respond! I live in Cleveland and I got an inflatable pontoon to for fishing. We should meet up for fishing :)

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