When Jackass Came to Kayak Fishing

This is going to be an old man rant. It’s not going to be politically correct and it will most likely have some of you wanting to never read another thing I write. I get that and have decided I’m ok with that. And before we really get started, please don’t let your children read this. I may get feisty and use some salty language.

I have to write this article. I feel it is imperative to the newcomers to understand what exactly is happening. I am not the cop of Kayak Land but someone with a voice has to say something.
Jackass has come to kayak fishing. You may or may not remember the show where they filmed lots of dumb tricks and pranks that were extremely dangerous and it was a show on MTV that so many people watched. So much so they made movies on the same premise. That’s where I feel like we are at now in kayak fishing.

The videos that are being shared are not informational or helpful because who the hell would choose watching a knot tying video over one where a seal tries to bite a kayaker’s face off when the kayaker steals a fish from him? Not enough. We want to watch others almost die apparently doing stupid stunts. It’s more fun for us to travel along with you as you purposefully put yourself in stupid situations. Apparently.

I really don’t know how to stop it (which I am sure I can’t). When someone says “Hey, could you make a video on installing a fish finder?” and the answer has to do with number of views, we are screwed. In the early days YouTube was full of videos of people rigging things or doing walkthroughs. Now it’s a wasteland of “Stupid People Tricks” that could get someone really hurt or killed. Some people are actually planning out the dangerous situations in the hopes of it going viral!

I don’t know if anyone realizes that this makes our entire community look like, well, a bunch of jackasses. It makes it look like we are bad at fishing because we don’t know how to handle fish or other wildlife. It makes us look like idiots on the water because safety is the farthest thing from our mind. The image conjured is one of a bunch of children playing in plastic pool toys.


Stop hero worshipping knuckleheads. If the biggest contribution a person has ever made to our community was almost dying or being badly injured, they don’t deserve a follow. They don’t deserve a share. They don’t deserve to be a representative of our sport. Your clicks make them one though. The praise and adoration for this Jackass style filming is ridiculous. It is also harmful. It could potentially kill someone else. Do you know how many newcomers to the sport are seeking fame also? Tens of thousands per year. They are emulating your antics in the hopes of getting thousands of shares and followers.

Forget clicks. Forget shares. Think outside your own personal bubble for a second. There are right ways to chase dangerous game fish and there are wrong ways. Done right it’s great and shows the versatility of kayak fishing in many situations. Done wrong, bad things happen then and into the future as you share it. Use bad situations on the water as a learning experience, not as an opportunity to be internet famous. Make sure your edits talk about what you did wrong. Don’t set them to dance party music and continuously replay your mistakes as if celebrating a touchdown with some instant replay.

I’ve been in this community for 13 years now. I am a relative dinosaur to most folks from years on the water. I’ve made mistakes. A lot of them. What I choose to do is talk about them as mistakes so others can avoid it. I don’t glorify it so I can gain followers or page clicks.
That’s it. That’s the rant. Now it’s time to go write another safety article.

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