Rob Choi’s Instagram post caught my attention. Sharing the story of his first day fishing after a long dry spell, he wrote, “The first few strokes on the #trident13 had me grinning.” I mashed the Like button and commented, “Damn straight.” Rob’s message served as a timely reminder to always appreciate the finer details of fishing.
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Finding Pleasure in the Small Things
On my next fishing trip, Rob’s post made me look at the little details that are a big deal. As I was about to launch, I stood calf deep in the water, the kayak positioned behind me. I bent my knees, leaned back and let gravity drop me into the seat. In less than a second, everything changed.
Not only did I slow down to savor the transition from land to sea, but I took time to appreciate a million little details: my paddle plodding along, the perfect knot, gears turning on cogs. Later, I laughed when I realized a red drum has a perfect handle under its chin. I marvelled at the unique spot, like a fingerprint, on each drum’s tail. After the sun set, on the dark paddle home, each stroke ignited clouds of tiny bioluminescent creatures glowing blue against the black water.
Finer Details Are Worthy of Attention
In this crazy world, I tend to get distracted by the big things. Work. Family. The news. Even when I’m fishing, I am concerned about weather, tide and current. But in my kayak, I’m on my own little island. A 13-foot boat powered by a pound-and-a-half paddle, I can reach almost every inch of my plastic island without leaving the seat.
This past winter, as I readied for the season ahead, I looked at some of the little details on my kayak. I focused on annoying tidbits I never bothered to change because I was always busy dealing with big things. I replaced the latches on my hatch with straps for a stronger fit. I removed the taco style paddle clip and installed a bungee on each side of the cockpit. Levers holding my foot pegs are now adjustable straps. I removed gear tracks and other accessories I never use.
The first trip after my little improvements I felt a huge change, like I was paddling a new kayak. I can dial in the foot pegs, the hatch will not accidentally open, the paddle stays put, my boat looks meaner and cleaner. The small changes made a big difference.
New Season Brings New Opportunity
In this issue of Kayak Angler, we cover the big stories, but don’t miss the little details. I’ve never fished for mountain trout, but Mark Fryt’s Tactics column on the inside bend gave me another place to target redfish. I may never catch a Pacific Sierra mackerel, but Doug Olander’s Species Spotlight introduced me to a new lure I can throw to my local Spanish mackerel. Each of these little touches makes the whole experience more rewarding, and gives me more to focus on than the larger world around me.
Before the season kicks off, take some time to address the little things. Dial in your rigging, add a new accessory, get rid of something you don’t use, retie knots and service tackle. Pay attention to the pennies that add up to a big payoff. With so many problems in the world, let finer details of kayak fishing bring a little perfection to your life.
This article was first published in Kayak Anger Issue 44. Subscribe to Kayak Anger and get the magazine delivered to your front door. Download the Kayak Angler Magazine+ app to seamlessly glide between the digital archives, the latest articles and videos or browse the digital archives for your desktop here.
The small things make a big difference when you’re searching for a bite. | Feature photo: Courtesy of Ocean Kayak