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Koz

First time kayak fishing

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Today was not only my first time kayak fishing, but also my first time in a kayak. I was at Lake Cooley in Inman, SC and rented a FeelFree Lure 11.5 fishing kayak. After my time on the water I have mixed feeling as to whether I still want to purchase a kayak of my own.

 

Once I entered the water, even sitting still the kayak dipped to port. It didn't track very well, and the paddle they gave me was too short for use with the raised seat. So instead of gripping the paddle centered, on each stroke I would have to slide the paddle down, paddle, raise, and slide down the other side.

 

I've never fished this lake before and didn't know what baits to bring and I made the mistake of bringing my entire backpack bag. This made it a pain to change baits, and as water splashed the canvas bag got heavier and heavier making it tough to grab from or place in the storage behind me. Eventually I kept it between my legs, but that meant it got even more wet.

 

As for the fishing, I spent a LOT more time either paddling or positioning the kayak than I did actually fishing. Sometimes I hit the sweet spot with the current and others I had to keep repositioning. I also found out that throwing a bait with a decent sized blade would spin the bow of the kayak if I cast off to the side.

 

As for the fishing itself, I caught nothing. I didn't even see a bass in the two hours I was out there. My buddy did manage to catch a crappie.

 

The wind picked up later in the morning as I was heading in and the short paddle made it that much more difficult going against the current.

 

Despite a little bit of frustration today I'll probably try it again. I'll also limit myself to one or two Plano boxes and throw my gripper and fishing tool in my pocket. I'll have to get better at positioning myself, but even then having to jog all of the time is a pain. I think that if I do purchase a kayak in the future I'll splurge and buy a pedal drive kayak with reverse. It will make it much easier to keep the kayak positioned properly and still allow me to fish at the same time.

 

The good news is that it was beautiful weather with temps in the 70's and that made it a pleasant time on the water. But my first experience in a kayak was that it was too much time working the kayak and not enough fishing. Now I understand why some guys are out there on the water for 6 hours. I can get as many quality casts bank fishing in two hours as most probably get from a kayak in double or triple that time.

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There's a learning curve.  I'm in my third summer of kayak fishing.  No bags, just plano boxes in a crate.  I also bring six rods.  The paddling and keeping position can be quite challenging but if you stick with it you will get better at it. 

 

I also bring 8 3600 boxes of tackle that sits in the crate behind me but have a 7th that sits under my seat.  That one is where I put the various lures I think I'll need that day but with the option of having a bunch of stuff behind me as needed.  As I've gotten better at this fishing thing I find myself very rarely having to reach behind me other than to replace plastics if I'm using the and having success. 

 

The main key is to workout where you want everything to be within the kayak so it's efficient when you're paddling, when you're fishing, and when you have a fish in the boat. Organization is key to making it an enjoyable experience. 

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Dens228  is right. There is a learning curve.  I fish out of the  Ascend FS 12t because it is roomy enough to carry a lot and keep everything organized.  It is also stable enough to stand in and tracks well for me.  We go on 12 mile camp/fishing trips in the Okefenokee swamp and do quite well.  With practice, using the wind to your advantage as a sort of trolling motor and advance placement of your gear, I think you'll start enjoying fishing from a kayak.  

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The wife and I bought 2, 11.5, Feelfrees this spring and our first time on the water pretty much mirrored yours. The above post are dead on though. I have a smaller tackle bag just for the kayak and use 3 rods. It's definitely a learning curve.

 I have fished a couple lakes some but mostly fish the river with my kayak and use my achor on an anchor trolly to keep me positioned when I want to fish a spot.  

I fished the local river here yesterday by myself. I was on the water at 6:30 and off at 3:30 on a 4 plus mile stretch. the water is too shallow for a boat on this part of the river and my kayak shines for these places. The smallmouth were still biting when I came off the water. Don't give up yet. 

 I will add, from experience, that a 40" muskie is a handful in a kayak when the water"s too deep to get out and work him;) 

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2 hours ago, Brad Cayton said:

The wife and I bought 2, 11.5, Feelfrees this spring and our first time on the water pretty much mirrored yours. The above post are dead on though. I have a smaller tackle bag just for the kayak and use 3 rods. It's definitely a learning curve.

 I have fished a couple lakes some but mostly fish the river with my kayak and use my achor on an anchor trolly to keep me positioned when I want to fish a spot.  

I fished the local river here yesterday by myself. I was on the water at 6:30 and off at 3:30 on a 4 plus mile stretch. the water is too shallow for a boat on this part of the river and my kayak shines for these places. The smallmouth were still biting when I came off the water. Don't give up yet. 

 I will add, from experience, that a 40" muskie is a handful in a kayak when the water"s too deep to get out and work him;) 

The one and only musky I have ever caught was a musky.  Fishing weeds in 3 feet of water with a Senko of all things. 48" and the first thing I thought when I got it in the net (Well, some of it in the net) was "Now what do I do?" LOL

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3 hours ago, Brad Cayton said:

The wife and I bought 2, 11.5, Feelfrees this spring and our first time on the water pretty much mirrored yours. The above post are dead on though. I have a smaller tackle bag just for the kayak and use 3 rods. It's definitely a learning curve.

 I have fished a couple lakes some but mostly fish the river with my kayak and use my achor on an anchor trolly to keep me positioned when I want to fish a spot.  

I fished the local river here yesterday by myself. I was on the water at 6:30 and off at 3:30 on a 4 plus mile stretch. the water is too shallow for a boat on this part of the river and my kayak shines for these places. The smallmouth were still biting when I came off the water. Don't give up yet. 

 I will add, from experience, that a 40" muskie is a handful in a kayak when the water"s too deep to get out and work him;) 

Renting a kayak has it's limitations. If I do go ahead and purchase one I would most likely spend a few bucks more for an anchoring system. My biggest frustration was finding what looked to be a good, fishy area with logs and laydowns and spending as much time jogging the kayak than casting and fishing.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Dens228 said:

The one and only musky I have ever caught was a musky.  Fishing weeds in 3 feet of water with a Senko of all things. 48" and the first thing I thought when I got it in the net (Well, some of it in the net) was "Now what do I do?" LOL

LOL! I felt the same way when I finally got him in the net! He was smaller than yours but he had me and the kayak all over the river. My wife was trying to video the fiasco with her phone but it was her first time in a kayak and she had her hands full too. It was fun though

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6 minutes ago, Koz said:

Renting a kayak has it's limitations. If I do go ahead and purchase one I would most likely spend a few bucks more for an anchoring system. My biggest frustration was finding what looked to be a good, fishy area with logs and laydowns and spending as much time jogging the kayak than casting and fishing.

 

 

I understand the renting deal and positioning. The wind messes with me but on my shallow river trips my anchor helps me. If you decide to go with the Feelfree I'd think hard about getting the rudder system too. We did and there's a world of difference in handling with the rudder. The Feelfree is my first and only kayak I've ever been in but like mine very well.

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Firstly, don't let your first trip kayak fishing in a rental form your opinion.  If the shop rented you a FeelFree Lure, they must be a pretty good shop.  The 11.5 is $1,000+ without the pedal drive.

 

Secondly, I doubt a rental shop's going to rig their rentals the way a private owner would, with fish finders, anchors and trolleys, etc.  Maintenance and keeping track of all that gear would be cost prohibitive, at least to me, as a business owner.

 

2 hours ago, Brad Cayton said:

If you decide to go with the Feelfree I'd think hard about getting the rudder system too.

I bought my first Lure 11.5 in 2015.  There are three things that sold me on it:

  1. The seat.  It's ALL DAY comfortable and fully adjustable.
  2. Wheel in the keel.  It great for moving it around from my truck to the launch, beach sand not included.
  3. Stand up stable.

 

I bought a second one with FeelFree's Overdrive pedal system in 2018.  I also bought the SonarPod for trips to shallow, weedy ponds.  Having the choice to pedal or paddle is huge.

 

I agree with other's about getting a rudder.  The Lure's flat bottom gives it great stability, but it is, like another member (whose name I don't remember) said, "paddling a bath tub".  I don't really need it when paddling, but it's a MUST when pedaling.

 

I'm heading out on it this afternoon and will snap some photos as to how I've got it rigged and post them.  

 

FeelFree's customer service is awesome.  They return calls and emails.  A great group of guys for sure.

 

Regardless of brand loyalty, it's best to look at as many different brands in person and paddle them if you can.  The fishing kayak market is full of awesome rigs.

 

Best of luck if you decide on getting your own kayak!

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On ‎8‎/‎17‎/‎2019 at 11:39 AM, Koz said:

I have mixed feeling as to whether I still want to purchase a kayak of my own.

 

 

On ‎8‎/‎17‎/‎2019 at 11:45 AM, Dens228 said:

There's a learning curve. 

@Dens228 hit the nail on the head. I've been fishing from a kayak for 10 years now and I sold my bass boat after 3 years of starting as I realize that for me, there was no other way I wanted to fish. It may not be your cup of tea, but I will tell you this, I've already caught more bass from a kayak than I did all the years I fished from a boat. You might try and locate some "demo days" near you and demo other kayak models. If positioning from a paddle kayak continues to be a problem, try some of the pedal models.

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1 hour ago, DogBone_384 said:

Firstly, don't let your first trip kayak fishing in a rental form your opinion.  If the shop rented you a FeelFree Lure, they must be a pretty good shop.  The 11.5 is $1,000+ without the pedal drive.

 

I bought a second one with FeelFree's Overdrive pedal system in 2018.  I also bought the SonarPod for trips to shallow, weedy ponds.  Having the choice to pedal or paddle is huge.

 

The Lure 11.5 was on my shortlist of kayaks before I even rented this one the other day. I like the idea of a kayak with a pedal drive system, but the drive unit is ridiculously expensive. $1,100+ ? C'mon, son. I can see $400 bucks or maybe $500. Hopefully as this technology feature ages the price comes down. I did see a pedal kayak for $999 but I did not bookmark the website and can't remember the brand.

 

If I go the pedal route it will probably be either the Lure 11.5 with Overdrive or the Pescador Pilot. For paddle kayaks I'm looking at the Lure 11.5, the Bonafide SS107 and RS117, and some of the Vibe models. My primary issue is finding a way to transport it. If I get a pedal kayak I'll need a new vehicle and a trailer. If I get a paddle kayak I'll just need a new vehicle, although I am going to visit me dealer and ask if they know of crossbars that can definitely work with my car.

 

I wasn't planning on buying a new vehicle until next year, and the vehicle cost certainly adds to the price of a new kayak!

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2 hours ago, Koz said:

the drive unit is ridiculously expensive. $1,100+ ?

FeelFree’s price for the Overdrive is spot on for what the market supports and its build quality. It’s a well put together unit, featuring heavy gears/drive components and stainless hardware.

 

Consider the price of a Hobie Pro Angler.  The Lure, OverDrive, and MotorDrive combined are roughly that price point.

 

Native, Old Town, and Ocean Kayak all retail for roughly what the Lure Overdrive will.  FeelFree’s advantage is that you can buy their products a-la-cart.  You can buy the Lure by itself and the Overdrive at a later time.

 

Austin Kayak’s website has Lure Overdrives on sale at 15% right now, putting the 11.5 under $1,900.  

 

.  

 

As far as transporting.  I have a full size pickup.  Most of the time I toss the whole thing in the bed, but when I take more than one kayak, the seat and Overdrive unit come out and I put both kayaks on my ladder racks.

 

Again, take your time picking out a kayak.  Best of luck.

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I'm actually going to trade my kayak for a small boat. I have used my kayak about 6 times and I don't think it's quite what I want. WS Ride 115.

 

Fighting the yak instead of fishing is a big one. I can't afford pedals and the paddle is a pain to constantly grab. I was going to do a trolling motor but seems like I may as well get a boat at that point. At least I can use it hands-free then.

 

Mainly though I want more space to move. I don't change baits as often as I should and I get lazy about paddling to new spots and other things. I want to get out sometimes just to "get out". Tendinitis doesn't help either. I fish less due to the paddling.

 

Basically I want to fish, not kayak, and I want to be comfortable. Now that I've tried it I know for sure that I want the boat.

 

The kayak is cool but I don't see any advantage over a small boat - for me. Hell a boat is easier for me to launch than a yak with all the gear. I'm 51 - time for a d**n boat man. I'll probably sell the yak to pay for it.

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3 hours ago, DogBone_384 said:

As far as transporting.  I have a full size pickup.  Most of the time I toss the whole thing in the bed, but when I take more than one kayak, the seat and Overdrive unit come out and I put both kayaks on my ladder racks.

 

This is my ride. The kayak won't quite fit in the back :)

 

 

 

gcoupe.jpg

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38 minutes ago, Koz said:

This is my ride.

Yeah, nope, a Lure 11.5 won’t fit.

 

I’ll bet it gets WAY more than the 15 MPG my truck gets.

 

Hope you get yourself a fishing kayak. It’s a bag of fun!

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Windy days in a kayak can be tough, and frustrating. You have to learn to work with it, or just use an anchor. The slightest bit of wind will drift you fairly quick though sometimes this can be good depending on what you're fishing. I have an Eagle Talon fishing yak from Field and Stream which is nothing special but a good affordable beginner kayak that I've grown to really like. 

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On 8/18/2019 at 1:13 PM, DogBone_384 said:

Firstly, don't let your first trip kayak fishing in a rental form your opinion.  If the shop rented you a FeelFree Lure, they must be a pretty good shop.  The 11.5 is $1,000+ without the pedal drive.

 

Secondly, I doubt a rental shop's going to rig their rentals the way a private owner would, with fish finders, anchors and trolleys, etc.  Maintenance and keeping track of all that gear would be cost prohibitive, at least to me, as a business owner.

 

I bought my first Lure 11.5 in 2015.  There are three things that sold me on it:

  1. The seat.  It's ALL DAY comfortable and fully adjustable.
  2. Wheel in the keel.  It great for moving it around from my truck to the launch, beach sand not included.
  3. Stand up stable.

 

I bought a second one with FeelFree's Overdrive pedal system in 2018.  I also bought the SonarPod for trips to shallow, weedy ponds.  Having the choice to pedal or paddle is huge.

 

I agree with other's about getting a rudder.  The Lure's flat bottom gives it great stability, but it is, like another member (whose name I don't remember) said, "paddling a bath tub".  I don't really need it when paddling, but it's a MUST when pedaling.

 

I'm heading out on it this afternoon and will snap some photos as to how I've got it rigged and post them.  

 

FeelFree's customer service is awesome.  They return calls and emails.  A great group of guys for sure.

 

Regardless of brand loyalty, it's best to look at as many different brands in person and paddle them if you can.  The fishing kayak market is full of awesome rigs.

 

Best of luck if you decide on getting your own kayak!

I completely concur with @DogBone_384 on the pros of the Feelfree Lure series of yaks.

 

 @KozI have a Lure 10 [paddle only/no rudder available] and the new Feelfree Dorado 125 [peddle/motor drive]  and it really sounds like as others have stated you probably really needed to have the kayak adjusted for your physical needs [seat height, paddle length etc] As for it leaning to one side or the other I've found it's really important when you are first learning to make sure you are well centered on the seat. It sort of freaked me out too my first few times until I realized I was the problem, and not the yak. 

 

The Lure series is amazingly stable, but it does come at a small cost in ease of paddling/tracking, and again, I thought the Lure 10 was like paddling a bathtub when I first started, but once my skill set improved so did everything else. Here is a link you might find helpful about how to paddle a fishing kayak:

 

I can't really offer an opinion about other brands of fishing kayak because after a year of research I narrowed my choice down to the Feelfree Lure to accommodate my physical limitations, and the amazing seat was a big plus, as was the wheel in the keel in that process. 

 

There are as many choices in fishing yaks as there are anglers who use them. Do a little research at places like Kayak Angler magazine and Gearwear https://www.gearweare.com/review/best-fishing-kayaks/ [Updated 5/2019] to help you narrow down your choices based on your needs...and best of luck.

 

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