It’s been over a decade since I bought my first kayak and loaded it with fishing rods. Since then, a lot of water has passed under my keel and many fish have flopped into the cockpit. Years of paddling, dragging, lifting, heaving and flipping takes its toll. Everything hurts, nothing works and I’m slow. Terrified my body will not be able to keep up with my ambition, I reached out to older and wiser colleagues for advice on paddling past my expiration date.

Chad Hoover

Age 44 | 21 Years Paddling

Chad Hoover
Chad Hoover; Bonafide Kayaks pro, President of Kayak Bass Fishing and host of Kayak Bassin’ show

Bonafide Kayaks pro, President of Kayak Bass Fishing and host of Kayak Bassin’ show


I’ve lost 72 pounds since early summer using a combination of high-intensity interval training and walking; I average 10,000 steps per day. Before I got in shape I had stopped dragging my kayak through the woods to distant spots. Now I’m looking for that shit again.


I’m excited to develop new products and concepts and see people’s reactions. An eternal optimist, I think the next fish is going to be the trophy. I’ve caught 139 bass over 10 pounds, so I’m excited to return to saltwater fishing.


Today’s young kayak anglers have never known a world without kayak fishing. Twenty years ago, we were inventing the modern sport, but these kids consider kayak fishing just another way to fish, another tool in the box. This will allow the sport to grow even larger.

Kayak Kevin Whitley

Age 47 | 20 Years Kayak Fishing

Kevin Whitley
Kevin Whitley; Ocean Kayak pro, video/blog producer, host

Ocean Kayak pro, video/blog producer, host


As I got older, I realized I would have to live an athlete’s lifestyle. I am disciplined in what I eat and drink. Practicing yoga keeps my body and mind in shape. When I’m injured, I take time off to heal.


Last year, I totally changed my focus. After years of open-water, saltwater fishing, I’ve turned to river fishing. Not only is it physically easier, I fell in love with paddling rapids. My stoke was reignited figuring out this new-to-me fishery.


The new generation seems weak. Modern technology makes it easier to kayak fish, so young anglers don’t have to fish as hard. Motors, pedals, computerized cast control, and electronics take the work out of fishing. Back in the day, we didn’t have an option, we just paddled.

Dennis Spike

Age 58 | 25 Years Kayak Fishing

Dennis Spike
Dennis Spike; Fishing guide, host

Fishing guide, host


Imagining my life without kayak fishing keeps me exercising every day. Before I became a guide, I was an acupuncturist. I understand the mechanics of paddling and work to build up my abdomen, wrists, back and shoulders.


After all these years, I still can’t sleep before a big day on the water. Each cast presents a new challenge, another opportunity to catch a trophy. Kayak fishing is a lifestyle. Being part of the community keeps me engaged.


Kayak fishing is attracting more diverse anglers. More women are getting into the sport. It’s popular with teenagers to grandparents. People recognize me and thank
me for introducing them to kayak fishing. Maybe new anglers are more safety conscious, but I don’t see many young guys launching through big surf on what we call veteran days.


  1. Old? You guys ain’t old. You must have eaten too much, gulped too much beer and spirits, and allowed yourselves to become athletic lazy and way out of condition.. You feel old, that’s all, and the bottom line is that you need to fitten up fast if you want to carry on fishing. Or come ashore for good and do your fishing from a seat by a lake. I’ve hit the big eight-o, fished hard since childhood, and still fishing now despite the pain and ache of bones way beyond their best. You old? Don’t make me laugh.
    Grizzly Brit Pete.

  2. Great inspiring comments from Chad, Kevin and Dennis. However, the best is from “Grizzly Brit Pete”. Well said Pete! I am about to turn 68 and never kayak fished until 5 years ago after retiring. Love it. Have introduced kids, neighbors, brother and friends to it. All on salt water estuaries on the NC coast. Landing inside the slot black and red drum feels like taking home trophies when your fishing experience was brook trout as a kid in upstate NY. Could get a boat if I wanted to but have noticed how many boats spend nearly all their time on trailers and in storage running up bills. Insurance, maintenance, storage problems, depreciation, the complications of launching and inability to get into a lot of the shallow areas all make the kayak more attractive and fun. Then add in the exercise, the quiet and the excitement of having all the action maybe 4” off the deck you are seated on! Eat smart, swim and cycle for fitness, stretch, keep the stomach muscles strong and thank God for every hour you can spend in his beautiful wetlands!

  3. I clicked through thinking it might be older paddlers with some good advice , since I am starting to have trouble paddling back to back days or even handling tough conditions (offshore in whitecaps and high winds) for a single day. Every one of these “golden year” paddlers is younger than me. On top of that, the amount of info is really thin.

  4. These are great kayak fisherman but they are not at all “old”. I started at age 64 (now 68) and have never had such a blast and certainly never caught such fish! I fish salt water estuaries on and near the ICW on the coast of NC. Black Drum, Red Drum, Speckled Trout and Flounder are the primary targets. I frequently go out for 4 or 5 hours at a time, coming In only when the light or tide dictate. Keep the booze and carbs to modest amounts, swim and cycle to take care of aerobic conditioning w/o joint damage and keep your back and hamstrings stretched. Appreciate God’s magnificent creation.

  5. Thanks brothers I’m 71 And I’m learning about kayak fishing I live in Florida and fish in the bay waters I love it!
    I do need to get in better physical condition and I have found this to be a healthy sport

  6. I’m 61 and Fish Kayak Bass Tournaments throughout the year. As far as I know I’m the only one that does it with a fl rod! Try that for a challenge; old guys rule!

  7. I’m 67 and was starting to question Kayak fishing at my age. Not anymore after reading your comments. Now I’m ready to go full tilt, till whenever. Thanks guys.

  8. Old? Looks like mostly young lads to me. I turn 80 next year, manage the Nature Coast Kayak Fishers in Florida (, and have been putting in two or more times a week for last 15 years near Crystal River. Talk about social distancing, or fishtancing as I call it, with no yakers in sight for hours at a time.

  9. Funny seeing the comments from some older than me, I am 63. I just started Kayak Fishing end of April this year. I am really enjoying it but would like to hear more from some in their Golden years. I hate to say I am now adding a little here and there to the Kayak. Now a great article would be from some kayak fisherman closer to their golden years 🙂


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