Special Guest Blogger Heath Slaughter shares his 2015 goals and his renewal of some older ones. Heath is the first in a group of new writers on the HOOK 1 KFBLOG and hopefully we’ll see more from him in the coming weeks!
Contributed by Heath Slaughter
I’ve only been fishing out of a kayak for a few years and I didn’t get really serious about it until last year when I decided to get out of my little sit-in and get an Old Town Predator MX. After making the much more substantial investment of a good SOT yak I had set some goals for myself just to kind of justify spending that much money on a piece of plastic.
One of them was to fish much more than I had in previous years, even if it was just an hour long float on one of the small creeks close to my work or home. Something else that having a wide and stable SOT was going to afford me was the ability to fish for Musky from a kayak, something I was always afraid to attempt out of the small kayak I had before. I never could have imagined just how addicted I would become over the next few months. But that’s enough about last year, this article is about the year to come.
For 2015 I’ve set a few new goals and am still pursuing one from last year. Although there have been more than a couple muskies on the other end of my line in the past year I’ve yet to get one all to way to the kayak but one of the great things about living in Southwest Virginia is that even though we have a real winter, the rivers very seldom freeze and right now just happens to be prime musky season. Hopefully this one gets marked off the list pretty quickly this year.
Being blessed enough to grow up and continue to live within 30 minutes of the New River in VA has spoiled me. It’s always been hard to drive any distance to different waters knowing that I could just go to one of my local spots and easily catch 10 to 20 fish an hour and have a good chance at a true trophy fish to boot. This is why in 2015 I intend to do more fishing outside of my comfort zone. Within half an hour are the Greenbrier and Bluestone Rivers in WV and in an hours’ drive I could fish the Yadkin in North Carolina and all the different forks of the Holston River in Virginia and Tennessee. I’ve driven past and over all of these rivers on various road trips and always wondered how to access these spots so I could fish them. Now that I have a kayak those little wide spots and pull offs are all that is needed to access them and I hope to fish all of them that I can remember this year.
Fishing competitively has always intimidated me but after fishing The New River Paddle Tournament in July of last year I have been very eager to try it again. With 3 or 4 River Bassin stops close enough for me to fish and clubs like the Mountain State Kayak Anglers putting on tournaments pretty close, I plan to fish at least one tourney a month starting with the Charlotte NC River Bassin stop. Last years’ experience taught me a lot about being organized in the yak and also to manage my time on the water better (I had my first fish of the day flop back into the water while fumbling around to get a picture and then drifted through a lot of flat, unproductive water which left me with little time to fish the more prime fish holding ledges at the end of the float) and I hope to learn much more from the tournament environment in 2015.
Lastly on my list is to do a solo multiple night float from North Carolina into Virginia on The New. For me the best part about being on skinny water in a paddle craft is the solitude and peacefulness (The fact that I can fish where many can’t and am able to cast to fish that see little pressure is a bonus). I couldn’t imagine a better way to fully enjoy kayak fishing than to float down a river seeing very few other fisherman if any and spending a night or two on an island under the stars.
In 2014 I enjoyed some great fishing and even better fellowship that I never would have experienced outside of the kayak fishing community. It’s definitely safe to say that I got my moneys’ worth out of that pricey piece of plastic and I look forward to all that the coming year has to offer in new waters and new friendships.
To all of you out there, HAPPY NEW YEAR & TIGHT LINES!