Divide Forming in Kayak Fishing?


Contributed by Corey Stansifer

Is there a division among kayak anglers currently forming? Is the sport we love growing so uncontrollably that we are now forming sub-groups? Can’t we all just get along?

Lately, it seems that everywhere I look at and at every level (local, regional, national), there seems to be a growing division among kayak anglers. From message boards and social media to tournaments and local gatherings, people feel the need to express their opinions and philosophies ad nauseum. It would be nice to be able to pinpoint what is causing the division, but I don’t think it’s as simple as that.

Several discussions have popped up recently and one I always seem to shake my head at is the “what kayak should I buy…” followed by the canned “Buy American!” response. First off, I’m an advocate for American made products and more importantly, supporting local businesses whenever I can. However, those so adamantly opposed to foreign products are likely airing their opinions on a foreign-made device be it a phone or computer. The great thing about kayak fishing is there is such a wide range of options for which to choose! You can start off in a $300 boat or go all in and buy a $4,000 boat. The choice is yours but in the end, you’re getting on the water and doing what you enjoy. Also, there is no requirement on how much your boat has to cost in order to enter a tournament.

Another discussion is sponsorships and pro-staff positions. The kayak angling community seems to divide among themselves when discussing this topic for a multitude of reasons. There are three main reasons someone may be sponsored: You’re really good a fishing, really good at Facebook, really good at hashtags, or really good at selling product. Some folks even PAY to be sponsored by buying X amount of product in exchange for a discount. Find out what works for you. Sponsor or no sponsor, you’re still fishing and will always be welcome with me.

As the sport grows and more opportunities arise, there is an increasing demand for higher stakes tournaments. We now have larger tournament series such as the Kayak Bass Series, Kayak Bass Fishing Opens, and Kayaks ‘n Greenbacks along with individual state championships and National and World Championships. Will these big-time tournament series swallow up the local clubs? Will there still be a need for the local level? For me, this has challenged several decisions at the local level. In the end, I felt there to still be a need for local, less expensive tournaments. Between time, money and desire, I feel there can be a co-existence between the “big time” angler and the “local legends”.

Who makes the decision on what constitutes kayak fishing? You! You can choose to be a DIY-er or a buyer. You can choose to paddle with a $100 paddle or $400 paddle. You can choose to paddle or pedal. You can choose to use a dog leash anchor or buy a power pole. You can even choose to use a trolling motor on your kayak. It’s all up to you and what you enjoy. We all know what opinions are similar to…try not to show yours in public. Be constructive and be informative.

In the end, it’s all fishing. Let’s all remember why kayak fishing was so refreshing in the first place as opposed to other “communities”. We can all co-exist with different philosophies.

2 thoughts on “Divide Forming in Kayak Fishing?

  1. Right on! Thanks for writing this. Too many people search for ways at division when really we’re all just trying to do the same thing. Perspective goes a long way towards keeping communities together. Tight lines!

  2. It’s really nothing new….at some point the guys who started putting huge engines on their boats (developing them into fish specific “bass boats”) separated from the guys still in jon-boats and smaller craft. Sportbike riders separated from the Harley guys. Fly fisherman left the ranks of the lowly “bait chunkers.” There’s nothing that really says we all have to “stay together” as a community – but the really sad thing is when one sub-group starts to look down it’s nose at other groups. Yes, I’m talking to you my fellow fly fishermen. 🙂 LOL This is all bound to happen in an ever-growing segment of sport fishing…and the next time a guy paddles by me and jabs his nose in the air at my NuCanoe Frontier, I’ll just remember this article and smile. 🙂 It’ll all work out in the end, guys…..somehow. Let’s just try not to be jerks to the other kayak fishers, paddlers, bass boat guys, canoe lovers, etc. Gas prices are down, spring is on the way. Let’s fish!

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