Hey, new guy. Don’t be sorry and stop apologizing!

At the boat show this weekend, myriad people walked up and chatted for a bit. It was great to talk about rigging and fishing and all the fun things associated with our sport. The recurrent theme that kept coming up was a bashful, almost apologetic air that was taken on when I asked several people if they had a kayak already.

“Yeah, I do, but it’s one of those cheap ones from {Brand X Store}.”

My immediate reply was my elevator speech about how I spent the first six and a half years of my now 12  years of kayak fishing in a $200 sit in kayak and loved it. I would always remind them they were off the banks and out there doing it and that was what is important.

After mulling over the number of times this happened over a two day period I have come to a conclusion.
I think the kayaking world needs to apologize to all the new guys. I’ll start.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I may have given you the idea that kayak brand was ever more important than kayak fishing. It’s not. Being on the water and enjoying the sport outweighs ANY brand or marketing scheme.

You can kayak fish out of near anything. You will not hear me decline an invite based on a kayak brand. I will never be too cool to fish with someone in a Brand X boat. I am the antithesis of cool already. No need to alienate the rest of the world.

Many, many, many of the kayak anglers I know will fish with anyone on any given day as long as the drama stays in your truck. I love to fish with new folks. Crowds are ok. Not my favorite but ok. Get me on the water and I’ll talk your ear off.

Kayak fishing is about that first moment you paddle out. Reliving every time the peace and serenity that washes over you as you glide across the water. The water doesn’t care what brand your kayak is. The fish don’t care either. Kayak anglers shouldn’t either.

Some of the happiest kayakers I know are paddling Pescadors. Would they take a Slayer Propel or a PA14 if someone handed it to them? Probably but enjoying being off the banks is what it’s about. The great thing about our sport is the buy in. You can get into it for $100 or $4,000. You can make all your own accessories or you can buy them. There is room for everyone.

To you new guys, welcome to the sport. Don’t let the brand snobs discourage you. 95% of us are pretty good folks and we’d like to go fishing with you. You should stop apologizing. The experienced kayakers should be the ones to say sorry. We’ve mislead you to feel like you don’t belong. On the contrary, maybe it is us who don’t belong.

18 thoughts on “Stop Apologizing

  1. “off the banks and out there doing it”
    Words of wisdom Chris 😉
    I personally began fishing from kayak late spring 1995 atop an OK Frenzy… haven’t looked back.

  2. Very well written and so very true its not about what you paddle but the time you get ON the water in what ever you choose same goes for the gear you choose or can AFFORD to use 😉
    thank you for bringing the kayak world back to water level instead of cost level .

  3. Thanks for this article. I just started this past summer and can only afford a $200 Perception Sport Swifty. It’s a sit in, but I got on the water. I felt like a looser seeing everyone else with Wilderness and Fell Frees. I started going by myself I felt like such a noob. Reading this makes me feel a lot better knowing someone spent six years fishing a low end yak. Now I don’t feel like I need to go out and buy something I can’t afford. Thanks!!!!

  4. I just wanted to comment on this blog. I really appreciate that you took the time to put this out on the web. I myself am a new born of one year to the sport of Kayak fishing. I bought a yak from a big box sporting good store because I wanted to get in to the sport on a small budget. I researched the web, watched videos , read blogs , and was a bit apprehensive that owning such a inexpensive kayak was going to set me apart from the ones that I have grown to enjoy watch fish from expensive vessels. I was very surprised and set at easy to find out that 95% of the people in the industry are helpful and happy that I too have found a sport that brings so much joy and excitement and not focused on brand. I have had a wonderful time rigging my kayak and fishing and to all the people that want to get in to the sport on a $500 dollar budget go for it you too will be hooked on the experience not the brands.
    Thank you again this will help a lot of first timers make a hard decision easier.

  5. Well said Chris. I’m more envious of others creativity in rigging and storage than the boats anyhow. And anyone can take any boat and make it as near perfect as possible.

    1. There are a lot of rigging options with a Kayak Kaddy. Check those suckers out! They add a lot of storage- whether it be for fish, bait, tackle box, food, camping gear, or whatever you need. You can add all kinds of accessories to it. Mine matches my kayak perfectly. It’s an awesome addition to the Kayak Fishing world.

  6. Very well said!
    I’m one of the new guys myself. I was lucky enough to be able to get a Coosa last April. I saved up for a long time to be able to get it. I’m retired, so it did take a while, but well worth it! If it had an hour meter it would be pegged out. I’m in it every chance I get which is several days a week.

    You mentioned the young people, nothing better than seeing them get into fishing!

    Like I said earlier, well said and thanks for sharing!

  7. I fish out of an Old Town Vapor 10 and I love it. $400 at Academy 5 years ago and still going. Made my own holders and camera mounts and am not ashamed in the least,
    Our sport is like everything else I guess, guys want to be like the other guy. He’s got a $600 rod and reel so I want one. That guy has $4000 golf clubs, that Bass Boat, Eddie Bauer designer camo 4 x 4 Truck and whatever else so I need that too.
    It doesn’t take all that to catch fish. I can catch just as many fish in my OT with my Diawa Walmart rod and reels as you can with your $2500 set up.
    I’m not being righteous but just stating a fact. Some people can afford more and like to get more. Remember when kayak fishing was about being back to basics? Just get out there and fish !!!

    1. I wrote the article. If it has been circulated that is fine. It’s original publish date was last year. I republish it once a year to make sure that the new folks to the sport understand that most of the kayak community is glad they are enjoying the sport regardless of kayak choice as long as they are safe. There are also a few variations I have written on this subject. Please see sites such as paynespaddlefish.com yakangler.com kayakfishmag.com and others to see more of my work.

  8. Well put! Being inclusive is the key to growth in our sport! Everyone gets to find to find their way to whatever level they choose. Thank you for a spot-on lesson to all on how we should embrace all participants!

  9. I totally agree. I hated being glued to the bank, & the limitations of fences. I did a lil research before I dove in, but still only spent $400 on my first. After a few trips, I was already looking to paddle offshore. Yeah, I was hooked. I still have that boat, & passed it on to my kids so we can go together.

  10. Chris,
    After 8 years I’m still in tha $400 yak. It has some great accessories thanks to Yak-Gear and others. I’m a freshwater guy so not worried about it failing me. Good article.

  11. Great post Chris! I’m one of those new guys and this was a refreshing read. I would go a step further and say that is also does not matter what kind of lure, rod, reel, electronics, etc. that you have or use. The fish only know one thing…”crap that had a hook in it!”

  12. Amen to this! Getting off the bank is what it’s all about.

    Heads up to you bigger guys: Spend the money and get something comfortable. I went from a Prowler 13, fishable for me, but a wet ride that I had to move in carefully, to a Big Rig and it was worth every penny.

  13. I bought the top of the line bass pro kayak. It had the features I felt were important and I could lift it by myself. After a decent paddle, roof racks, life jacket etc. I spent almost a 1000. Thats a lot for a hobby that I did not know if i would even like. Well after going out on the water, I can say I really love it. The peacefulness is wonderful.

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