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I had a great day going...


pdxfisher

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I fished the Columbia on the 9th from about 6:45am until about 11:30am. I was having a great day until my Hobie drive failed and I had to cut the day short.

 

I got to the water before sunrise but as I got ready I thought I had dropped my keys and spent 10 minutes looking for them everywhere. Of course in the end they were right where they were supposed to be :(  I am not sure how that happens. They place I looked first is right where they were but I did not find them until I looked there for a third time. Well after that little adrenalin rush I was ready to hit the water.  All the wind forecasts for the day were calling for light winds from the East that would transition to light winds from the West by the end of the day.

 

I was stoked to have some an awesome forecast!! I started fishing and in short order had one destroy my Choppo about 2' from my kayak. Let me tell you that is way better than a cup of coffee to wake you up in the morning! I landed that fish. It was not huge but maybe a 14" or so and chunky.  The fishing was a bit annoying because there was lots of pieces of grass floating everywhere. Probably every other cast would get fouled. I am not sure why there was so much broken off grass. 

 

I worked that area for a bit longer but could not buy a second bite so I moved to spot number two. This spot also had an annoying amount of grass floating around it so I just fell into a rhythm of cast, retrieve, clean of the lure. In the low light it was hard to see the floating grass but my lure had not trouble finding it all :)

 

The areas near shore are all quite weedy right now but there are some isolated rocky/gravelly spots. I made a cast to where I knew one of those was and within a crank or two of the reel handled I had an explosive strike on my choppo!. I set the hook and I knew for sure that this was a big fish. I leaned on it pretty hard and only managed to put a deeper bend in my rod. Oh yeah baby! Then the fish changed tactics and charged at me. For a heartbeat I thought I had lost it but I reeled like a madman and was able to put the pressure back on. The fish then made a beautiful jump just to let me know it was still on :) I got the fish near the kayak where it made a handful of runs, just ripping the drag on my reel.  I made sure I did not reach for the net too soon (a mistake I have been making). I kept a good amount of pressure on the fish and just worked it back and forth as I worked it to the surface. I got it to the top and was able to slip my net under a beast of a smallmouth. Just in time too, the lure fell out when the fish was in the net. Whew! The fish was 20.5" long and was a fat 4lb 15oz. - I tried to wish it to 5 but it just would not go :)

 

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Catching a pig like that on topwater was just awesome! After I landed that guy I went back to that same spot and fished it from a few different angles but did not get another bite. I worked my way out that point past to the deep edge of the weeds alternating between quite a few different baits to try to find a wad of fish. Eventually I worked out past the deep edge of the weeds and found a group of small fish in 15-20' of water on a drop shot. Unfortunately these fish were all on the small side. After catching 5 or so I decided that I could sit there and catch dinks all day long or go and look for some bigger fish. That was an easy decision. The one cool thing was this guy who had what looked like a decent sized perch sticking out of his gut but still wanted my drop shot.

 

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The next spot I wanted to hit was occupied so I kept heading downstream.  I stopped at a spot and caught a perch on the drop shot. I was getting tons of bites but they all felt perch-y so I moved again. A bit further down I fished a spot that had been producing a good fish each week. That spot is similar in nature to where I caught the big fish earlier so I was excited to fish it but I only landed another smallish bass (maybe a pound).  I worked that area for a while but could not buy another bite. So on I went.

 

The wind had now picked up quite a bit. In that section of the Columbia an East wind quickly develops rollers. That is a bit annoying to fish in but my kayak handles them just fine. I saw a boat that was anchored up across the river pull anchor and head in as it got rougher, but I stayed.

 

I got to my favorite spot on the river. I just knew I was going to have a slay fest. I fished that area with swimbait, spy bait, and wobblehead. I went over that spot three times figuring I might just be missing them due to the rough water but I could not buy a sniff. I was both stunned and bummed by that turn of events.

 

I eventually gave up on that spot and went to another spot that gets fished hard but is still usually a good spot. This spot is closer to shore and downstream from a massive weed bed. I was back to the problem of trying to fish around and through all the floating pieces of weeds. I gave up on treble hook lures pretty quickly and went to switching between  a drop shot and a swim bait. With the drop shot I just made very short flips to clean water. With the swim bait I could sometimes jerk the weeds off when I felt it get fouled and get mostly clean retrieves.

 

The "normal" part of the structure where I usually have success was dud. I kept working upstream along the the weedbed for a bit. I figured with the wind blowing pretty good now and quartering into the weedbed that that there might be fish swimming along the edge waiting for bait to blow into it. That turned out to be a smart call because on one of my casts along that edge my swimbait got smoked.

 

I had another really good fish one!! I carefully fought that fish which was tougher now due to the wind and the chop but I just tried to keep my cool and remain calm. I once again kept good pressure on the fish and was able to eventually where it down and get it to the surface. I was able to slip my net under another beast of a smallmouth. 

 

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This guy was 19.75" long and weighed 4lbs on the dot. Two four pound plus fish in a day is a good day in my book!! I thought maybe I was going to slay them along that weed edge but once again this fish seemed to be by itself and I could not buy another bite. I am not sure if the fish were just moving around fast and I was happening to briefly cross paths with them or if these big fish were flying solo. It seems to happen a lot in the fall though. I don't find them grouped up as often as I do in the summer.

 

Anyway, after fishing that for a while and not picking up another bite. I moved again. The cool thing is that they wind which had been picking up died down to a gentle breeze. I was feeling so smart for not leaving when it had become rough earlier. I fished another favorite spot with the swimbait and hooked a decent fish (maybe pound and a half). I got it next to the kayak and decided not to net it. As I was trying to grab it the fish shook off. I touched though so I count that as a catch :)

 

I was excited though because I say another fish following that one when I had next to the kayak. I thought maybe I had found a spot where they were loaded up but nope. I fished that spot with a variety of baits, depths and speeds but I could not get a second bit. It just seemed like that kind of a day.

 

I moved to the other side of the structure and after trying a few moving baits I picked up a drop shot. On my first cast with the drop shot I had barely moved it after it sank to the bottom when I felt a fish pick it up. I set the hook and could feel that this was once again a good fish. After a good battle, with that fish taking drag at will for a while, I was able to wear it down and land it. I said that looks like it might weigh 2 and half. I guess  catching those 4+'s had warped my perspective because it was a nice 18.5", 3lb 2oz bass.

 

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I pedaled back to the spot and cast again. Once again as soon as my drop shot hit the bottom a bass grabbed my drop shot and it was game on. After a spirited tussle I landed a 16.75" 2lb 11oz bass.

 

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I went back to the spot and after fishing it for a bit I picked another bass. I did not weigh or measure this guy but he was probably around 15". The good news is the bite was on the bad news was that the wind was picking up. On my next cast I snagged up and had to re-tie. I decided to replace my entire leader since it was feeling kind of rough. In the time it took me to do that the wind had really picked up and I was back to fishing in high wind, whitecaps and rollers. I hooked a nice fish (probably 2-3lbs). I put a lot of pressure on that fish and tried to land it quickly due to the waves. It came up to the surface and was able to shake the hook in a half jump. I was dumb for trying to horse that fish in and got what I deserved.

 

Right after that (around 11:30am) my drive failed. I had repaired it a few weeks back and I guess I did not tighten some of the bolts on the cable pulley system tight enough and they had worked loose while I was fighting to hold my position against the wind and current. My drive was useless. 

 

While I tried to fiddle with it (not knowing it was useless to try yet) I drifted downstream even further. Between the wind and current I was moving over 2mph. I quickly realized it was a lost cause and stowed my drive. I picked up my paddle and started working my way back upstream into the teeth of the wind. There was really no place for me to pull over so all I could do was try my best to paddle the ~1.5 miles back to the ramp.

 

Well going into that wind was brutal. I dig each stroke with all my might just to make some progress. The best speed I could manage was around .6mph and when it gusted my GPS would show me that I was going 0mph (sometimes even going backwards). Being at stage 5 kidney failure my health is not the best to begin with and now I was facing what seemed like an impossible task and there was not another boat on the water.  So I steeled my self and just kept grinding away. I could not stop for even a minute because if I did I would immediately start heading back downstream at 2mph. It was brutal. I was not sure I was going to make it back. I paddled for all I was worth while waves broke over the bow of my kayak. 

 

Watching the shoreline just added to my despair because being out in the middle of the river I could not even tell I was making progress it was so slow. Finally I settled on not looking up  and just watching the front of the kayak. I would only look up every 200 strokes. Doing that I could kind of tell I had moved a little bit upstream. That helped my confidence. The other thing that saved me as that at this time of the year the native Americans leave buoys out on the river for when they are allowed to run their nets. After an hour of paddling I was about 1/2 way back and had reached one of those buoys and tied up to it for a few minutes of rest. I ate a small snack, drank some of my drink, gave myself a pep talk and then got back to it. 

 

The wind just remained brutal but I just kept digging for all I was worth. I was still not sure I was going to make it. My arms and core were now burning. I have very little energy reserves and I knew I was pushing my limits but I kept going. I had no choice.  I was angling back towards the ramp and eventually I made it close enough to shore that I was over the weedbeds that grow to within a foot or so of the surface. At that point, even though I still had about 1/2 miles to go and I was really tired I was able to make better progress. The weeds both help cut the current and flatten the waves a bit. I was able to get my speed up to over 1mph plus being closer to shore made it easier to see my progress which was uplifting.  It was still a battle but for the first time I knew I had a chance. 

 

Finally after 2 hours and 15 minutes of paddling I made it back to the ramp. I almost cried I was so relieved. I really was not sure I was going to make it back for a lot of that trip. I had not good ideas on what to do. I periodically thought about dumping all my gear. I am sure that would have helped a lot, but I just could not bring myself to do it. I would guess I have a about 50 lbs of stuff and a lot of that stuff (all my rods, the net, the flag, my cart, my dry bag, etc were just catching the wind. I just could not bring myself to chuck that stuff in the river. In the end it obviously did work out but I am not sure if I have further damaged my health. I guess time will tell.

 

Anyway, thanks for reading that. It was tough writing this one up. So the fishing was good while it lasted. 13 bass with a lot of big fish but the kayak was not so good :) Here is some video from the day. I did not include any of the slog back (I don't want to see that again and I am sure one one else does). 

 

 

 

 

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First off, Some Great Brown Bass right there ~ Nicely Done.

More importantly, Congrats on hanging in there for that grueling journey back to the ramp. 

I'm so glad you made it safely and hope your next few days go OK.

Perhaps it's time  you invest in a motorized rig ?

That type of deal can happen again.

Be safe.

:smiley:

A-Jay

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anytime I have floating debris and there is a topwater bite I'll bring my lure to within 6" to 1' of a thicker patch and do my best to just twitch it in place slowly. Tend to have more success than reeling in and getting fouled 1/4 of the way back and losing any action. 

 

Beautiful Fish though! And like A-Jay said its easy to throw in the towel but sticking it through gives you some nice fish int he end!

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58 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

First off, Some Great Brown Bass right there ~ Nicely Done.

More importantly, Congrats on hanging in there for that grueling journey back to the ramp. 

I'm so glad you made it safely and hope your next few days go OK.

Perhaps it's time  you invest in a motorized rig ?

That type of deal can happen again.

Be safe.

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

I will definitely be a bit pickier going forward on days to go out. I am just going to plain avoid the river during an East wind unless I am going out with someone. My usual buddy was going to go this trip but then ended up going camping in Southern Oregon instead. The other thing I am going to do is to have a more complete kayak gear check before I hit the water. If I had looked I probably would have seen the bolt that failed almost completely unthreaded. 

 

A motorized kayak is a little appealing though. I will have to think on that one a bit. The only problem is that that if the motor failed (or the battery died) I would be in no better shape. At least with the pedal drive if the "battery" dies then I don't need to worry about anything :) (I hope you don't mind a little dark humor).

55 minutes ago, Functional said:

anytime I have floating debris and there is a topwater bite I'll bring my lure to within 6" to 1' of a thicker patch and do my best to just twitch it in place slowly. Tend to have more success than reeling in and getting fouled 1/4 of the way back and losing any action. 

 

Beautiful Fish though! And like A-Jay said its easy to throw in the towel but sticking it through gives you some nice fish int he end!

 

That is good advice! The problem last trip was that it was not clumps but just strands floating around. It was just individual strands all over the place. 

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Nice fish! In such a pickle, if ya couldn’t make it back to the vehicle, float with the river and pull over ideally close to a road. Any cell service where you were fishing? 

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The problem is that I am only a few miles above Bonneville dam (certain death) in a steep-sided gorge. I was not sure what was below where I was. I might have been able to make it to the Oregon side but that would have meant crossing 1/2 mile of river broadside in the waves. I did not think I could make that without being dumped by waves hitting me broadside.

 

I was most of the way back by the time I got somewhere where I could get my kayak up on shore so I just gutted out the last 1/4 mile or so rather than trying to deal with getting my kayak to my truck from a pretty challenging spot (long carry up a steep hill).

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Great fishing. Scary situation. I am so glad you made it back OK and wrote this up. I'm sure in hindsight you would have done things differently...like not going out. But....you can not always predict what is going to happen with the weather. Anyway, glad you had a good day fishing, and glad you are still here.

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1 hour ago, Kirtley Howe said:

Great fishing. Scary situation. I am so glad you made it back OK and wrote this up. I'm sure in hindsight you would have done things differently...like not going out. But....you can not always predict what is going to happen with the weather. Anyway, glad you had a good day fishing, and glad you are still here.

 

I love the hindsight comment. That made me laugh out loud. The ... was perfect delivery :)

 

I do check 4 different wind forecasts and believe the worst one. The worst was predicting 8mph later in the day. The other three were 5mph or less for the max.  They all screwed up but that happens every now and again. 

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14 hours ago, pdxfisher said:

 

 

A motorized kayak is a little appealing though. I will have to think on that one a bit. The only problem is that that if the motor failed (or the battery died) I would be in no better shape. At least with the pedal drive if the "battery" dies then I don't need to worry about anything :) (I hope you don't mind a little dark humor).

 

 

Yes, it can happen with a motorized kayak. I lost a prop once. The prop bolt spun off (I carry spares now). Yet it was easy for me to paddle back to the launch (against the wind) because I had wasted very little energy in the first place. I can only imagine if I had been peddling all day and then my drive failed, I’d be pretty much spent paddling back, just like you. A motorized kayak is a blessing, believe me! 

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11 hours ago, Zcoker said:

 

Yes, it can happen with a motorized kayak. I lost a prop once. The prop bolt spun off (I carry spares now). Yet it was easy for me to paddle back to the launch (against the wind) because I had wasted very little energy in the first place. I can only imagine if I had been peddling all day and then my drive failed, I’d be pretty much spent paddling back, just like you. A motorized kayak is a blessing, believe me! 

 

I will have to think about a motorized kayak a bit more. For now I will just stick with what I have. I have paddled my kayak into the wind before but going into a 20mph wind with waves breaking over the bow and into the current is what made it so tough. Pedaling is not too hard. I used to bike about 4-5000 miles a year so pedaling my kayak around is not too taxing for me. Not as easy as a motor but not overly draining. I usually end up going about 5-10 miles when I am out for a 10 hour day (not counting any pedaling in place). Depends upon how good they are biting and where I am fishing.

 

I will say that there are quite a few guys out here with motorized kayaks that have spot lock. I do get a little jealous watching them be able to sit on a spot and hammer it. Every time I catch I good fish I end up drifting downstream quite a ways by the time I end landing, weighing and measuring it. It would be kind of sweet to just be able to hold my position.

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13 hours ago, pdxfisher said:

 

I will have to think about a motorized kayak a bit more. For now I will just stick with what I have. I have paddled my kayak into the wind before but going into a 20mph wind with waves breaking over the bow and into the current is what made it so tough. Pedaling is not too hard. I used to bike about 4-5000 miles a year so pedaling my kayak around is not too taxing for me. Not as easy as a motor but not overly draining. I usually end up going about 5-10 miles when I am out for a 10 hour day (not counting any pedaling in place). Depends upon how good they are biting and where I am fishing.

 

I will say that there are quite a few guys out here with motorized kayaks that have spot lock. I do get a little jealous watching them be able to sit on a spot and hammer it. Every time I catch I good fish I end up drifting downstream quite a ways by the time I end landing, weighing and measuring it. It would be kind of sweet to just be able to hold my position.

Not trying to push you into getting one, just relaying my experience. Game changer. You can also have the best of all worlds with add-ons like Torqueedo, Newport, Island Hopper, to name a few. Can go all out with a yak, to the moon lol Ultimately up to you. 

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On 9/11/2023 at 4:01 PM, pdxfisher said:

 

A motorized kayak is a little appealing though.

 

Electric bikes are suddenly everywhere in my town and I went into a bike shop yesterday that sold nothing but electric bikes. Call me old-fashioned or a purist, but an electric bike isn't a bike. There's a word for a two-wheeler with a motor: It's called a motorcycle. Likewise, I struggle to think of a motorized kayak and canoe as a kayak and canoe because they also, already have their own word: motorboat.  

 

Additionally, as we grow older, we have to find more ways to exercise, not fewer. 

 

14 hours ago, pdxfisher said:

I used to bike about 4-5000 miles a year so pedaling my kayak around is not too taxing for me.

 

^Impressive^

 

12 minutes ago, Zcoker said:

Not trying to push you into getting one, just relaying my experience. Game changer. You can also have the best of all worlds with add-ons like Torqueedo, Newport, Island Hopper, to name a few. Can go all out with a yak, to the moon lol Ultimately up to you. 

 

Okay, but the more you add to a kayak, the further you get from the simplicity that is a kayak's inherent strength. Every add-on ADDS weight and when a kayak weighs a couple hundred pounds, what's the point? Why not launch a traditional V-hull or jonboat with all their room and stability? 

 

Lastly, paddling is a lovely way to move and a kayaker paddles from their core, so it exercises you from the belly button up. And paddling into current, wind, and waves is a stirring thing. It's the moment when you get to summon all that strength that you acquired from countless calm days of paddling. 

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46 minutes ago, ol'crickety said:

 

Electric bikes are suddenly everywhere in my town and I went into a bike shop yesterday that sold nothing but electric bikes. Call me old-fashioned or a purist, but an electric bike isn't a bike. There's a word for a two-wheeler with a motor: It's called a motorcycle. Likewise, I struggle to think of a motorized kayak and canoe as a kayak and canoe because they also, already have their own word: motorboat.  

Additionally, as we grow older, we have to find more ways to exercise, not fewer. 

Okay, but the more you add to a kayak, the further you get from the simplicity that is a kayak's inherent strength. Every add-on ADDS weight and when a kayak weighs a couple hundred pounds, what's the point? Why not launch a traditional V-hull or jonboat with all their room and stability? 

Lastly, paddling is a lovely way to move and a kayaker paddles from their core, so it exercises you from the belly button up. And paddling into current, wind, and waves is a stirring thing. It's the moment when you get to summon all that strength that you acquired from countless calm days of paddling. 

 

"Being at stage 5 kidney failure my health is not the best to begin with and now I was facing what seemed like an impossible task and there was not another boat on the water."

 

While I agree with your sentiment, I do believe there are exceptions. 

The above passage is from the OP and what prompted me to mention a motorized unit.   

:smiley:

A-Jay

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4 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

 

"Being at stage 5 kidney failure my health is not the best to begin with and now I was facing what seemed like an impossible task and there was not another boat on the water."

 

While I agree with your sentiment, I do believe there are exceptions. 

The above passage is from the OP and what prompted me to mention a motorized unit.   

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

I agree that motors should be freely employed by those with medical issues. I was arguing generally. 

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50 minutes ago, ol'crickety said:

 

I agree that motors should be freely employed by those with medical issues. I was arguing generally. 

Totally get that.

:smiley:

A-Jay 

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I'm sure the bass that was 4 pounds 15 ounce was really 5 pounds.  It must have lost at least an ounce during the fight.  I admire your honesty, but remember the bass has feelings too.  I'm sure she would take offense to being called anything less than 5 pounds.  Congratulations, nice small mouth even without the ounce.

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2 hours ago, ol'crickety said:

Okay, but the more you add to a kayak, the further you get from the simplicity that is a kayak's inherent strength. Every add-on ADDS weight and when a kayak weighs a couple hundred pounds, what's the point? Why not launch a traditional V-hull or jonboat with all their room and stability? 

 

Lastly, paddling is a lovely way to move and a kayaker paddles from their core, so it exercises you from the belly button up. And paddling into current, wind, and waves is a stirring thing. It's the moment when you get to summon all that strength that you acquired from countless calm days of paddling. 

 

I've been hearing about all these wonderful qualities with the kayak experience and, quite frankly, I think I've experienced many of them as much as the next person, with or without electricity. Weight is no issue. I can launch anywhere. Stability is rock solid. It's peaceful & tranquil, plus I can paddle it anywhere. Most of my core exercise comes from fighting fish lol And after a long day of fishing, it sure feels just as wonderful hitting that throttle! OP says he's thinking about it. Just putting in my 2 pennies. 

 

 

 

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Just now, Zcoker said:

 

I've been hearing about all these wonderful qualities with the kayak experience and, quite frankly, I think I've experienced many of them as much as the next person, with or without electricity. Weight is no issue. I can launch anywhere. Stability is rock solid. It's peaceful & tranquil, plus I can paddle it anywhere. Most of my core exercise comes from fighting fish lol And after a long day of fishing, it sure feels just as wonderful hitting that throttle! OP says he's thinking about it. Just putting in my 2 pennies. 

 

 

 

 

Z, I waffle more than Waffle House. I'll take a position, hear a contrary position, and think, "Yeah, that sounds right!"

 

So, yeah, I get what you're saying with no buts.

 

Me:

 

Breakfast Waffle GIF by Shaking Food GIFs

 

 

 

 

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This has been a fun conversation to watch unfold. I am not totally against an electric motor kayak but I just upgraded a few years ago and so I don't think I want to spend a lot of money at this stage of my life - stage 5, groan :)

 

If the electric kayaks had been around for a while, and shown the good track record that they have since then, when I last upgraded I would have been sorely tempted to have grabbed one of those Old Town ones with the spot lock.

 

I am sure you can be a much more efficient angler with spot lock on the rivers that I fish. I do agree with @ol'crickety on wanting to use my own sweat and effort when I am out. Plus, I do like the exercise aspect of pedaling my kayak around.  Right now it is most of my weekly exercise and I don't want to give that up.

 

To counter the above statement though, one really awesome application of those out here in the PNW is the anchorless anchoring when fishing for sturgeon or shad. Right now I have to drop an anchor (sometimes in over 100' of water) in current. It would be sweet to just push a button to stay in place instead!

 

However, the real deciding reason for not going electric is that in the end getting an electric kayak would not help me medically because my wife would kill me if I bought another kayak :)

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