Guy Harvey Magazine

WIN-SPR 2018

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 75 of 83

76 | BY FRED GARTH I've often bored people with the story of when I was publicly ridiculed by my good-ol'- boy fishing buddies back in 1995 as I loaded my fishing gear into a funky, yellow kayak. My buds all guffawed and spit Skoal juice at me as their two-stroke engines bellowed gray smoke into the ozone layer. I'm not saying I was the first person on the planet to use a kayak to fish—those were Eskimos—but I was an early American adopter. Fatefully, on my very first trip, I landed a humongous, 28-in. speckled trout in skinny water that they couldn't reach in their 17-ft. Aquasport. Within a year, most of them had bought yaks, too. Today, I have four kayaks and one of those skeptical Skoal spitters has five. Apparently, we are not alone. The Outdoor Foundation's Annual Topline Report estimates that in 2016 a total of 2,370,000 kayak fishermen prowled American waters. That's more than double the barely one million participants in 2010. Before that year, kayak fishing didn't even register on their spreadsheet. But that's just kayakers who specifically fish. The same report claims more than nine million "recreational kayakers." I'm pretty sure some of those yakkers tote a rod and reel around from time to time. Then you can throw in three million "sea touring kayakers" and 2.5 million "whitewater kayakers." Now we're up to almost 18 million Americans paddling and pedaling around on ponds, rivers, mud puddles, oceans and cities that are haplessly engulfed in floodwaters. Kayaking has blossomed for obvious reasons. The entry price is low, relative to any suitable power boat that won't sink immediately and kill you. Transport is easy if you have an automobile with a solid roof or a friend with a truck. You don't have to live on an expensive piece of waterfront property. And, most importantly, there's no need to get permission from your wife if—and this part is vital—you buy her something of equal or greater value, and if you continue to clean the toilets because of that "incident" involving the neighbor's mailbox, some Blackjack firecrackers, a grease gun and too much tequila. But, we don't have to revisit that fateful night. Oh yeah, you can catch a lot of fish on a kayak, too. Access into eco- sensitive no-motor zones where fish frequently lurk, and into shallows where only expensive flats boats can reach, gives us hardcore fishing freaks a sense of superiority that we wholeheartedly deserve because we were smart enough to buy a kayak in the first place. And thusly and therefore, are the foundational elements of a full-bore revolution. Kayak THE revolution

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