Fishing kayaks useful for streams
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Outdoors Columnist

Gliding effortlessly on the water, fishing areas inaccessible to regular boats, quietly exploring small waters without spooking fish and the excitement of being up close and personal with the fish are all part of the reasons I love fishing from a kayak. It is also a very successful way of fishing streams and smaller bodies of water. In fact kayak fishing is one of the fastest growing segments of the sport for these and other reasons.

I have been using a kayak for fishing for many years and have had good luck with it. I use my regular (recreational) kayak rather than the sit-upon models that have become popular in many shallow southern waters. I have tried these and they are convenient for fishing, but for my personal preference I would rather use the traditional styles for ease of paddling and less chance of getting wet. Often people ask me about kayak fishing and my personal opinions and suggestions.

This year I finally found a kayak that fits my style and personal preferences. After trying out several different types, I purchased a Heritage Featherlight 12. It is 12-feet long which gives superior glide to the shorter models. It is a traditional style but with a larger cockpit that makes it easier to get in and out of, as well as ease of grabbing your fishing gear or accessories.

It does not come with some of the extras that you might see on some models like a live well or rudder, but it has the essentials that you find handy for bass or trout fishing. A paddle holder alongside the cockpit holds your paddle securely out of the way. An anchor system is easily controlled from the cockpit but drops the anchor near the bow so that the kayak easily turns into the wind or the current for preferred casting direction.

Two rod holder sockets behind the cockpit store the rods while heading to your spot, trolling or possibly still fishing. An adjustable rod holder mounted on the front of the cockpit allows you to choose direction and angle. A large roomy area in front holds tackleboxes or accessories while a storage hatch in the rear keeps changes of clothing, lunch, etc. safe and dry.

One of the things I like about the Featherlight 12 is that it can also serve as a recreational kayak for paddling. Although it does not track as well as some of the other recreational models, it handles well under normal paddling conditions. After all, if you are going to travel long distances and take on big water you will be doing it in a touring model kayak. It is fast, glides well and has adjustable foot braces to aid in paddling, and a comfortable seat with adjustable back.

Scott Locorini, owner of Adirondack Exposure where I tried out and purchased the Featherlight 12, said that the weight of just over 40 lbs. makes it popular with many anglers who typically go fishing alone. It is easy to load, as well as easy to handle on the water. For more information contact Adirondack Exposure (369-6699) or check the web site It comes with a lifetime warranty, but that does not include a guarantee of you catching fish!


HUNTER ED. CLASSES: Hunting and trapping season is right around the corner so those who need classes in hunter safety, bowhunting, and trapping should check those available and sign up as soon as possible. Do NOT wait until the week before the season starts to call!

Hunter Education – Camden Rod & Gun Club, 2655 Moran Post Road. Tues., Sept. 7 and Thurs., Sept. 9, from 6 – 10 pm and Sat., Sept. 11, 8 am – noon. Pre-register by calling 245-3907 or 245-0205 before 8 pm.

Bowhunter Education – Just Archery By George, 901 Floyd Ave, Rome. Tues., Aug. 31 and Thurs., Sept. 2 from 5 – 9:30 pm. Pre-register at 339-5233.

Bowhunter Education – Cassetty Hollow Rod & Gun Club, Oriskany Falls. Sat., Sept. 11, from 8 am until finished. Pre-register at 821-7969.

Trapper Education – Cornell Coop Extension, Judd Road, Oriskany. Tues., Sept. 28 and Wed., Sept. 29 from 5 – 10 pm.

KAYAK MISTAKES: A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons, has recently gotten into kayaking. He and his wife both have kayaks and they enjoy paddling with friends on weekends. However I found out that recently they had an unpleasant and serious experience. We relate this tale in the hopes that others

may learn from what they did or did not do.

It seems that another friend of theirs suggested a trip on a well known stream, only further upstream to avoid any crowds and to explore areas away from the roads. Unfortunately none of them was familiar with the remote stretch of river between their put-in and take-out spots. Recent heavy rains had raised the water level but they just figured that would make for easier paddling with the current.

Unfortunately for them they were soon carried into a gorge with no exit and the swift water was also filled with rapids and boulders. Needless to say they all eventually capsized, had some harrowing experiences, suffered bumps and bruises, and anxious moments wondering about the others as they became separated. As my friend said, he learned that a life jacket (pfd) does not do you any good stuffed up in the front of the kayak!

Fortunately they all made it out OK thanks to some rescue effort. However my friend lost some expensive personal possessions and his wife’s kayak was a total loss after being bent around a boulder. On top of that as he was climbing up the bank of the river he ended up with a very nasty case of poison ivy!

Lessons to be learned: 1. Ask or check what a stream involves before you set out in a kayak or canoe. 2. Scout the area to see if it is compatible with your abilities. 3. Wear your life jacket (pfd). 4. Let someone know of your plans and destination. 5. Remember that neither the kayak nor you are indestructible.

DEC ANNOUNCES 2010-2011 WATERFOWL SEASON DATES: NYS DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis announced that information about the upcoming waterfowl hunting season, including season dates and updated regulations, is now available on the DEC

Hunting seasons for Canada geese are set for different geographic areas of the state than other waterfowl seasons. In most areas, goose season opens in early September, but hunters should confirm the season dates and area descriptions on the DEC website before going afield.

Hunters 16 or older must have a 2010 federal duck stamp to hunt during any of the 2010-2011 seasons, including those held in September 2010. Federal duck stamps cost $15 and are available at most post offices and some sporting goods stores. They are also available by calling toll-free 1-800-852-4897 or at Stamps must be signed across the face by the hunter before they become valid, but they do not have to be attached to the hunting license.

All migratory game bird (waterfowl, woodcock, etc.) hunters, including junior hunters (age 12-15), must register with New York's Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) prior to hunting in any of the 2010-2011 seasons. HIP registrations are valid from July 1 through June 30 annually, so every migratory game bird hunter needs to register in HIP for 2010-2011 before going afield on or after September 1. To register in HIP, call toll-free 1-888-427-5447 (1-888-4 ASK HIP) or visit