MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

October 12, 2009

Out Gunned, Out Classed

For the first time I competed this year in the spring Jamaica Bay Kayak Fishing Tournament. The 6th annual tourney attracted 250 kayak anglers not only from New York but from New Jersey, CT, PA, Mass – even from Canada!

I don't usually fish tournaments. I'm not a competitive fisherman. I fish for the fun and sport. But this tourney is as much a competition as a 3 day social event (the tourney itself was Saturday but the area was open for practice on Thursday). Many members of my kayak fishing club came (some have been doing this tourney since the first event) and it's always good to see others you don't get to hang out and fish with often.

As you would expect there were all kinds of anglers with all kinds of fishing kayaks. Some even had a few home made wood yaks. As long as it was a human-powered craft it was eligible to compete.
For me (and I'm sure others too) that's part of the fun of a grand event. Seeing all the different kayaks brands and models, and even more interestingly take note of how anglers have rigged their yaks. You never know where a good idea will come from that you want to copy!

But it seems the majority of anglers had some model of Hobie kayak. The Revolution and Adventure appeared to be most common.

I'm a paddler. My kayak, the Goldfish, is a Heritage Marquesa 14. It has served me very well in the 3 years I have been in the sport. I've caught many good fish. I even won the Kayak Fishing Association's first annual "Angler of the Year" award in 2008 fishing from the Goldfish.

But this time I was out gunned by the Hobies.

Chiefly it was the speed and drive power that won the day.

The day of the tourney the weather turned bad and stayed bad. The wind kicked up early and just grew stronger all morning long. And naturally the wind was blowing right out of the direction you wanted to go in for the prime fishing spots! I still managed to cover a lot of water that day (over 9 miles according to my GPS). But it was slow going and hard against that wind. Plus with so many other competitors on the water speed to quickly get to where you wanted to fish before others got there was key. As it was it took me nearly an hour of paddling to get across the channel from the launch ramp to the far side of Ruffle Bar. That's an hour of lost fishing time.

So, with more than a bit of regret I have to admit defeat. I can't fight it any more. No mas. There's no sense denying the truth. Sometimes it has to be painfully exhibited for you. The power of the Dark Side is too strong. The Hobies have it.

I'm probably not going to give up or sell the Goldfish. It's still an awesome kayak fishing platform for many locations (like the freshwater fishing I also enjoy doing). But I think I'm going to have join the Revolution or Adventure.

I'll stick with the Goldfish for this year. But at the end of the year I'll look for a close out or end of year special at one of the local yak dealers and if the deal is good I'll get a Hobie. Probably a Revolution. That seems to be a good middle choice between the Outback and Adventure.
Won't be cheap. The hull alone can be $1,500 even on sale. Then add in the turbo fins, larger sailing rudder etc. And I need a new fish finder (maybe now is my chance to get the side scan unit I've talked about!). Going to take a while to outfit it but I have all winter.

I don't regret at all getting the Goldfish. I had no idea how much I was going to like this sport or have time to fish it. Of course had I known then what I know now I would have probably gone with a Hobie then. But I didn't. No different that starting with a basic surf out fit than later going for the custom rod and VS reel after you learn what everything is about.

Viva La Revolution`!

Updated: Well, I finally did it. After 3 years of kayak fishing I couldn't hold out any longer. I finally came over to the Dark Side and got a 2009 Hobie Adventure on special. It's sweet! Everything I had wanted – Speed, tracking, maneuverability. Well worth the investment.

Watch out fish – here I come!!

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