- You’re going to loose shit.
The days of wearing expensive sunglasses are behind you because you will inevitably loose them the first time you get smashed in the surf. The same goes for bait knives, expensive lures, and even friends (more about that in point #5). Once you are resigned to this fact, you can be happy because can just buy shit more often.
- Get to know your tackle store owner
Tackle shops are an absolute minefield for the unwary. Everything is flashy, feels smooth, and is designed to catch the fisherman’s wallet. This is where knowing the owner (or perhaps the most senior member of staff) comes in handy. Take the time to learn their name, add them on Facebook, even drop in a few beers after they’ve given you a mean deal. You’ll learn that this pays off…what goes around comes around.
- If it bolts on, clips on, or ties on… it’s an accessory.
When you’re first looking at a kayak – perhaps on the internet, perhaps in a shop – you wont realize that the price can vary depending on what you put on it. Things like rudders, tackle pods, fish bins, and running rigs all look standard but these are accessories and they will drastically ramp up the price. When you’re looking at purchasing a kayak I suggest your first question should always be “what do I get for that price”. If the person selling it is honest he would have already told you these things, but it always pays to be prepared.
- Surf is always going to be there
Kayak fishermen actively avoid surf. Sometimes because they are crap kayakers, sometimes because they just don’t like their gear to get covered in salt water. Whatever the reasons, I think they’re missing out. I believe that if a beach has surf, there’s less chance other fishermen will have thrashed it… so the fishing should be better. There are the days that knowing how to surf comes in real handy. This normally happens when your calm launching spot develops a nasty shore dump right when you’re due to return home…what are you going to do, wait for it to calm back down? To put it simply, learning to surf a kayak should be considered mandatory if you want to become a better fisherman – it isn’t difficult and it can be extremely satisfying when you ride a nice wave in.
- Everyone will think you’re a weirdo
If you fish from a kayak just expect to cop flack from everyone. People who don’t do it (especially boaties) will give you weird looks, avoid you at social gatherings, and generally just disown you. This includes females. Maybe it’s the sense of moral superiority that you now exude, maybe it’s your obsessive nature, or maybe it’s just because you’ll be catching more fish than everyone else. Whatever the reason, I’m sure you won’t care because there’s a whole community of us kayaking weirdos who are ready to welcome you in.
- The bargain bin is your friend
“Mate, I got a spool of braid, 10 packets of softbaits, and a fishing real all for just $10.50!” Yes, kayaking will turn you into an absolute bargain hunter and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s a good thing.
- Electronics don’t last forever
After your first trip with a fish finder you will return home and lovingly clean it down. You might sponge off the salt crystals, perhaps clean out the terminals, and generally treat it like gold. But this attitude won’t last. You will soon lapse into the kayaking norm and it won’t take long for something to corrode. This is a fact of life so just accept it and don’t complain when your sounder, VHF, camera, or GoPro shits itself right when you need it the most. The simple fact is that salt water destroys anything electrical.
Tim’s Tip: if you’re looking to purchase a kayak with any electronics, don’t be fooled into paying extra for it just because the guy said it ‘was well looked after’. I personally don’t put any value on second hand sounders just because you will never know how long they’ll last.
- Sunblock is your friend
Sitting exposed to the sun for hours on end is a quick way to book a trip to the cancer ward. Whenever you go kayaking, please, please put on a good layer of sunblock. The inside of your legs, tops of your feet, and neck are three places that get hit real hard and are often overlooked.
- Summer is fun but Autumn is awesome
Autumn is my favourite fishing season. The temperatures are pleasant, the water is warm, the weather is stable and the fish go absolutely crazy. My theory is that they are trying to put on weight before the winter months, as they will attack almost anything. More importantly, these fish are in top condition, as they are putting fat on. Keep this in the back of your mind while you’re earning brownie points over Christmas with the family, as you’ll definitely want a few spare days free for April and May.
- Kayaking with a hangover sucks.
Kiwis love their beerzies and we enjoy them even more with a few like-minded weirdos. The only problem is that your body won’t like them at 6am when you’re punching out towards your favourite spot. There‘s been many a burley trail that’s been supplemented by home brew, so my suggestion is to save it for afterwards…you never want to peak too early!