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Fishing from kayaks grows as healthy outdoor recreation

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Little Big Town’s “Pontoon” topped the country charts this summer just as pontoon boats have headed the list of sales for many boat dealers across the country.

If this song-and-boat trend continues, I expect the next hit song will be “Kayak” because kayaks are gaining in popularity among a variety of boaters, especially anglers.

Kayak Angling

Recent fishing competitions give credence to the growing popularity of kayaks in the angling world. One such event was the 2012 Musky Fly Fishing World Championship held on Tennessee’s Caney Fork and Collins rivers. James McBeath of Ontario, Canada, won this inaugural fly-fishing championship, and he fished from a kayak.

There is also another annual kayak fishing world championship. The inaugural Hobie Fishing World Championship took place in 2011 in Australia, where 18 teams from five countries fished for bream.

Steve Morgan, director of Australian Bream Tournaments, said, “In the past three years, competitive bream fishing from kayaks has boomed in Australia.”

The 2012 Hobie Fishing World Championship was held earlier this month in Austin, Texas, where 42 competitors from 12 countries angled for largemouth bass in the catch-and-release event.

Other kayak-fishing competitions include Saltwater Tournament Series, Lonestar Kayak Series, Extreme Kayak/Paddle Board Winter Classic, and Tropic Bay Kayak Fishing Classics.

Kayak Appeal

Kayaks appeal to anglers for a variety of reasons. Kayaks are easy to transport, maintain, store, and their quiet approach offers an angling advantage.

Kayaks are also ideal for use at hand launches, off-road waters, and motor-less waters. While kayaks are perceived as small-water boats, big-water and coastal anglers in growing numbers are utilizing these crafts.

Hobie Kayaks

Among the leaders in the kayak fishing world is Hobie Cat Company of Southern California. For six decades the company has been in the boat-making business, but the company’s introduction of MirageDrive in 1998 revolutionized kayak fishing.

The MirageDrive is a foot-propelled system that imitates a penguin’s wing and allows for hands-free kayaking and fishing.

Because MirageDrive kayaks allow the angler to use his largest muscle group, such kayaks move faster and with less effort than paddling though paddling remains an option.

At this summer’s International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) show in Florida, exhibitors entered more than 700 products that were judged on their levels of innovation, execution, workmanship and practicality. Of those products, the Hobie Mirage Pro-Angler 12 kayak was awarded “Best of Show.”

The Pro-Angler 12 is a 100-percent fishing kayak that has a 500-pound weight capacity. The kayak’s stability allows for stand-up angling and offers features, such as rod holders, tackle storage, live well, depth finder, adjustable seating, and more.

For more information on the Pro-Angler 12 or other Hobie fishing kayaks, visit www.hobiecat.com.

The nearest Hobie dealers are Frederick’s Bikes and Kayaks in Malone, Boat Works in East Syracuse, and The Lemon Tree in Speculator.

Kayak Fishing Magazine

Kayak Fishing Magazine is both a traditional publication and a website, and it is full of information for the kayak angler or the would-be kayak angler.

A sampling of articles on the magazine’s homepage are “Choosing a Fishing Kayak,” “Kayak Fishing on a Budget,” and “Effective Trolling with Your Kayak.”

More information on Kayak Fishing Magazine is available at www.kayakfishingmagazine.net.

OUTDOORS CALENDAR

Dec. 2: Regular Deer season closes in Northern Zone.

Dec. 3-9: Late Muzzleloading season in WMUs 6A, 6C, 6G, 6H, 5A, 5G, and 5J.

Dec. 9: Regular Deer season closes in Southern Zone.

Dec. 15: Canada Goose season closes in Northeast Goose hunting area.

Dec. 16: Duck season closes in Northeast Zone.

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