Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Love and Inspiration......

Do you love to kayak fish?   What a silly question to ask a kayak angler, but is it really that silly?  What is love?  As it pertains to kayak fishing, it is the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration according to Webster's Dictionary.  In that regard, yes, I do love kayak fishing.  I have a strong devotion to the sport of kayak fishing and try to do my part in sharing the knowledge I have gained whenever possible.  I admire those that have laid the groundwork and foundation for the sport that I love so dearly today.  But you might ask, "Was it love at first sight?"

In short, no......well, not at first.  You see, I was looking for a way to re-live my days as a kid when I had nothing more than a fiberglass rod, a Zebco 202 and a Plano mini tackle box loaded with a few Beetle Spins, a couple Rooster Tails and the infamous Rapala Mini Fat Rap.  I caught more fish than I can remember on those three lures, and I longed to experience that joy again.  The love for kayak angling was nurtured and cultivated from this feeling of nostalgia, as I harkened back to those simple times in my youth.

It was during one of these bouts of day dreaming that I began to ponder a way to recapture that simplicity and sense of enjoyment and satisfaction.  Like many aspiring anglers, I ventured to the local Bass Pro Shops and salivated over the possibilities of adding one of their boats to my household.  Those dreams and desires were quickly quelled when the cost factor made it's way into the equation.  I also looked to the "Pond Prowler" and "Bass Raider" options thinking an electric only vessel would be more cost effective.  The cost was reasonable, but the ability to transport this type of watercraft would be a challenge.  While pondering this dilemma, I happened to watch the episode of Hank Parker Outdoors where he was fishing using a Hobie Outback, and the light bulb went on immediately.

After countless hours on the internet researching every possible forum post and online review, I finally located Appomattox River Company, a local Virginia company that specializes in kayaks, and decided to attend their free demo day to test out the various kayak models.  I gravitated at first to the Hobie tent, since they recently had released the now famous Pro Angler and even tried the Outback.  I was hesitant to pull the trigger at first due to limited funds.  So I left that day without a kayak, but the seed had been firmly planted in my mind.

I eventually pooled together enough disposable income to get my first kayak, but I was a novice when it came to fishing away from shore having been a bank fisherman up to that point.  Since that time, I have learned more in five years that I ever could have imagined and my skills as a kayak angler continue to improve.  I am fortunate in that I have the privilege of sharing the water with individuals that the kayak angling community would say are some of the most talented anglers out there.  It is these individuals that contribute to my love of the sport and are the source of inspiration to push myself to achieve more and catch quality fish.

Anyone can surf the web and pick up a trick or two, but there is something more personal and meaningful when you can look the person in the eye and hear it with your own ears or see it with your own eyes in real-time.  Each interaction over the years has revealed a new tactic or tidbit of information I could file away in my "angler's toolkit" for future reference.  While they are sources of inspiration to me and to this day have had the most profound impact on my fishing skills and knowledge, they are at the core my friends.  My angling friends in short are my inspiration.

I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the inspiration I find in the countless number of current and former service members domestic and abroad protecting the freedoms that you and I are afforded.  I try and volunteer as often as I can with both the Central Virginia and Tidewater HOW Chapters as time permits.  Where possible, I also include my son on these outings so that one day he may find the same feeling of satisfaction I do from the time spent with these magnificent individuals.  Maybe he too will one day find inspiration to give back like I try to emulate for him.

Do you love kayak angling?  What inspires you as an angler to better yourself or learn a new tactic?  How you as an angler characterize your love for the sport or how you find inspiration is unique to you and is a feeling that you should take tremendous pride in and hold on to as if it was a family heirloom.  I know I do.