At one time, only the adventurous owned kayaks.
The primary use of a kayak was to run the whitewater rapids in fast-moving river gorges.
Today's kayaks are used not only as a means of exercise, but to enjoy nature, to see sights and to fish.
Kayaks are being used to catch everything from "sunnies" in freshwater ponds to sailfish in oceans. They are a less expensive alternative to a fishing boat, and they allow an angler to reach hard-to-get places where fish are likely to be.
New kayaks, designed especially for fishing, can be purchased for as little as $500. As with anything else, the price increases as you add accessories. Regardless, a 12-foot fishing kayak, equipped with back rest, paddle, rod holders, fish finder and remote anchoring system, will cost less than $1,000.
Better yet, purchase a used one for less than half the usual price. Suzie Phillips of Mooresville did just that earlier this year. Since then, she has caught and released dozens of largemouth and spotted bass from the cove behind her house.
Fishing kayaks range in length from 10 to 14 feet or more. Stability and storage space improves with length and width. A 12-foot kayak is lightweight, easy to transport and serves most purposes for an occasional angler.
Specialty kayaks and accessories are available for all types of fishing. High-bow models with outriggers are perfect for open water use. The sleeker low-profile versions are best for sneaking up on big bass in farm ponds and slow-moving rivers.
Popular accessories include short-shaft trolling motors, lightweight 12-volt batteries, specially designed transducer mounts for the fish finder, small live bait wells and side rails to mount optional equipment.
If you are considering buying a kayak, rent one first, then talk to as many knowledgeable people as you can before making a decision. Points to consider should be the craft's weight, length, stability, storage space and portability.
Always remember to wear a personal floatation device when fishing alone.
The Lake Norman Sail & Power Squadron will conduct a boater safety training course at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Lake Norman Volunteer Fire Department, 1518 Brawley School Road, Mooresville. The cost is $45. Advance registration is required. For information visit www.usps.org/lakenorman or call Bob Yannacci at 704-660-5568.
Join me from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on May 18 for a free seminar, "How to Safely Navigate Lake Norman Using Sonar and GPS" and learn the basics of sonar and GPS. It will be at North Point Watersports, 112 Doolie Road, Mooresville. Bring your questions and instruction booklets. Call 704-617-6812 for details.