Friday, March 23, 2012

A Stable Platform

I have always loved a canoe. 

There is just something about paddling quietly on flat or moving water, and there is no better way to observe the world around you.  Many of my best wildlife viewing experiences have taken place in a canoe. 

The sound of internal combustion just doesn’t mix with my ideal outdoor experience.  ATVs, UTVs, 4x4 pickups and outboard motors all have their place in a dedicated outdoorsman’s arsenal, but each are overused these days.  Nature is best experienced with a minimum of distractions.  My wife would point out my hypocrisy, by pointing to the enormous pile of gear, accessories, gizmo’s and gadgets that mark my outdoor obsession. 


But as any overgeared outdoorsman will attest, the real trick is to select just the right equipment for any outing, minimizing weight and clutter and maximizing comfort and enjoyment.  Fortunately, I can always find a more obsessed fisherman, hunter, archer, boater, or gun nut (who I then point out to my wife in a sacrificial manner) to make me look more moderate in the consumer consumption department.

But I digress.  In the end, I like things simple and cheap.  My Old Town Pathfinder 15 ft. canoe is just that.

I have fished small and large water – ponds, lakes and rivers.  A couple years ago, I added some comfy seats and, for larger waters and windy days, a 30 lb. thrust trolling motor - and my back now enjoys long days and windy lakes a good deal more.

I know there is a lot of buzz on kayak fishing of late, but I gotta admit, I've never been a big kayak guy.  They've always felt a bit cramped, low to the water and less versatile when compared to my trusty canoe  I admit I am intrigued by the recent development in fishing kayaks, particularly the sit on top models, which allow stand up casting and provide a good deal of flexible and water tight storage.  Hobie's innovative Mirage Drive even offers hands free locomotion - that sounds good.  What I am not intrigued by, is the opportunity to spend several thousand dollars on a one man boat.  With a dry bag, a cooler and a couple tie downs I’ve got everything they’ve got, and I can add another paddler, a dog, and still have the cargo capacity for a camping trip.

Canoe carpin’

After being bitten with the fly carpin’ bug, I was looking to cruise some local lakes.  I was also looking to do more sight casting to local bass in the spring of the year and I sensed the canoe needed a little tricking out.  I put on an extensive search for the best canoe stabilizers/outriggers on the market.  There are a good many options out there, but I was looking for something well made, easy to deploy, and hopefully easy to use on rivers, as well as lakes.  That turned out to be a tall order, until I stumbled upon Kay-noe stabilizers

Fred and Aaron, who are in Florida, originally developed their stabilizer for kayaks, but a modified design works equally on canoes.  In fact, they can turn a canoe into a full-fledged poling skiff.  I gotta admit, if canoeing the freshwater flats is as addictive, and productive, as I hope, I could see one of their casting platforms in my future.  Their work is now patent approved.  As an added bonus, they are great to deal with and you get to deal directly with a small, American made, family owned business.  

I've only had a couple outings with my new stabilizers, but I am one satisfied customer thus far.  Hopefully, I'll soon have some good fish to credit to the my, now more stable, fishing platform.

In my next post, I’ll explore another canoe carpin’ accessory – my new, very old, form of locomotion.

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