This article comes our way via Matt Brooks, one of our kayak fishing ambassadors.
I am the proud parent of two boys, a 15-year-old and a 12-year-old. Of all the aspirations of my life, being a great dad ranks as one of my highest priorities. Growing up, my dad was uninvolved and distant. I vowed to be neither. I support their interests, even if it’s minecraft (which makes absolutely no sense to me). I watch them play video games and assure them that if the remotes had less buttons I would be better.
I want to live with no regrets. I don’t want to wake up one day and realize that I should have spent more time, engaged more actively, or paid closer attention to my boys. I am convinced it is my responsibility to teach my boys what it means to be a man. Thus, my adventure into kayak fishing.
I have always loved the outdoors. Whether it is chasing whitetails, shooting doves, or just hanging out in the woods, I love being outside. And outside is where I spend a ton of time with my boys. There’s something about the outdoors that shapes a boy into a man.
A couple of years ago, my youngest son developed an interest in bass fishing. I don’t really know where this passion originated. We had fished, usually from the bank on a creek at my grandmother’s house. Occasionally, we had joined a friend for a day crappie fishing on Lake Guntersville. Other than that, we really didn’t fish. It wasn’t that I didn’t like fishing, I just had never done it. I didn’t have a boat, and I had never spent time learning the art of bass fishing. But now my son was interested. He was reading articles and watching YouTube videos. He saved some money and bought his first rod and reel combo. He even practiced casting in the back yard. Excuse the pun, but he was hooked.
We live just minutes from Lake Guntersville, one of America’s premier bass fishing lakes and home to the 2014 Bass Masters Classic. If there were ever a place to learn to bass fish, this was the perfect opportunity. So I tried to help him pursue his new-found passion. I pastor a church, and knew someone in our church that was an avid fisherman. So I asked if he would mind taking Jaron fishing.
But something was wrong. He was fishing. He was loving it. But I wasn’t involved. I was missing out on his accomplishments. I wasn’t there to see him set the hook and reel in the monster. And I missed it.
So I started reading articles. I started watching YouTube videos. I started learning. And I was hooked. Logically, you would think it would be time to buy a bass boat, load it down with gear, and start fishing every chance we could get. The problem was bass boats cost too much and that wasn’t really the adventure I was looking for. I like the skinny water in the backs of creeks and the areas of the lake where the bass boats can’t get to.
On vacation on the gulf coast, while purchasing some gear at a local tackle shop, I discovered something that would capture my interest, the Hobie Pro Angler. It was perfect. A kayak designed with the angler in mind. I could fish the skinny water in the back of the creeks or pedal the flat water of Lake Guntersville hunting down the elusive largemouth. Better yet, it wouldn’t break the bank. It turns out, my son also loves fishing from a kayak. It seems to be more of an adventure. often the paddle, or pedal if it’s a Hobie, gives us a chance to talk. A chance for me to listen, to catch up. It hones our fishing skills as we are forced to strategize our attack since we can’t crank up motor across the lake.
It has become the source of some of my greatest memories. Last summer we competed in a kayak bass fishing tournament. Jaron beat me like a drum, landing more fish and the biggest fish. We trolled for kings and mahi-mahi in the Gulf of Mexico. I will never forget his shouts of exhilaration as he hooked up on a mahi. You asked me, “Why Kayak Fishing?” It’s simple. It allows me time to invest in my son and enjoy the great outdoors. I’m hooked.