We are almost outcasts. We are often thought of as weirdos. The fact of the matter: we don’t care.
There is a serenity that overcomes you as a kayak fisherman. When you put that first paddle stroke into a glassy pool, you are transformed. I can’t describe the feeling accurately but it is akin to a warm numbness. Depending on where you are, the only sound you might hear is a mallard in flight or the water falling like rain drops from your paddle.. Feeling the liquid metronome lap gently under your boat as you slip into a secluded cove or bend in the river gives a man pause to appreciate what he’s surrounded by.
You survey the water that you have been dreaming about. Scheming about. Plans that you have made for fishing this particular spot race through your mind. The perfect lure, the perfect conditions, the perfect cast and then the anticipation of what may or may not be. The minute you start to crank your lure in, you also start to imagine the fish approaching the lure. Now you only hear your heartbeat. It’s getting faster. “There has to be a fish here!” you reason in your head. You feel a tick-tick on the line. Was it a weed? Some timber? A fish? You feel it again. Reeling up the slack quickly you hold your breath as the line goes taught and you unleash the hookset of your life.
This fish is unbelievably strong. It’s causing the kayak to rock back and forth! This fish is out of control! You let out a howl as you fall out of the kayak into the depths of your blankets. As the water of your mind clears, you are confronted by a confused wife who has woken you from a deep sleep. Complaints of fishing in your sleep again are drowned out by that warm numbness radiating from your smile. “Just one more cast before work” is the last thing you think as you slip back into your kayak for another try at that bass.
Once you have experienced nature in the way that kayak fishing allows you to, it is hard to think of any other way. I love fishing but kayak fishing is more than love. It’s … a passion. I love a good steak, garlic fries at the Ballpark or an Old Style at Wrigley but I don’t dream about them. I dream several nights a week about kayak fishing, the perfect spot, being in nature and the envelopment of it all. If you are passionate about something, I believe you should share that passion. That was the true motivator behind Chris Payne’s Paddle/Fish. I wanted to help others how others have helped me. I want to preach a bit on safety and conservation and share stories of triumph and failure on the water. Passions are gifts that should be shared. We have to tell others why we have a passion for the things we dream about. For me, kayak fishing is serenity and connection. I can have a good time whether I catch fish or not. The challenge is to always pass it on. Gifts like passion shouldn’t be bottled; they should be shared.