My dad calls it, “Resting the hole.” He’s really just taking a nap. Whenever we go fishing, about midday, my dad kicks back, crosses his hands over his chest, pushes his hat low and gives the fish a break. While the psychological benefits of sleeping on a kayak are self-evident, a siesta also offers some strategic advantages.
Resting the hole gives the fish a chance to recover from a beating. Besides, most fish don’t like midday sun; they prefer to stalk prey when the light is low. And fishing the wrong tide can be a waste of time. That’s right, sleeping on the job can actually catch more fish! That’s the way with many fishing skills.
The Surprising Benefits of Sleeping on a Kayak
Sure, casting or paddling skills produce an obvious advantage. What about organizing tackle, dressing right, eating right or napping peacefully? It’s the little details that make the difference between a nice day on the water and catching fish. Kayak fishing is not for dummies. Lure selection, location and endurance are keys to catching the fish of a lifetime, but so are loading the kayak, rigging accessories and performing maintenance.
The skills needed to get in a kayak and target even the simplest species can intimidate the uninitiated. Even an experienced angler will want to fine-tune his repertoire to increase his advantage. And pros? Tournament anglers lose sleep at night obsessing over any angle that will gain them an edge on the competition.
Ask one of these guys if fishing is luck or skill and he’ll always choose the latter. I don’t fish tournaments, but I approach every fishing trip like a competition with the fish. That’s especially true during the spring drum run on Virginia’s eastern shore. After a decade chasing these fish on the shallows and shoals, I can time the tides and calculate the wind to carry me to and from the fishing grounds.
Asleep on the Keel
On a recent trip, while the afternoon sea breeze kicked up and the flats were high and dry, I pulled my kayak onto a sandbar, kicked my seat back, put my PFD under my head, pulled my neck gaiter over my eyes, zipped up my windbreaker and let the sun bake me to sleep.
When I heard waves lapping against my kayak, I set myself straight and paddled for the flats. As the water flooded the exposed sand, big drum moved in to feed and I was there to meet them. Like I said, kayak fishing is not for dummies, it’s for dreamers.
Believe it or not, sleeping on a kayak can set you up for fishing success. | Feature photo: Ric Burnley