Before you bust a gut remember that kayaks, those little plastic human-powered mini-boats, have one quality no other fishing boats can match: stealth. And military experts such as myself (I play a lot of “Call of Duty” on X-Box) know that the Seal’s most important asset is stealth. Hence my assertion that kayaks are the Navy Seals of fishing boats, which must be correct because after all, I’m making it.
Take spring bass fishing, for example. You know there’s a big old largemouth bedded down in a cove on a placid lake you visit regularly. As you approach the target zone your wake trails off behind you in a series of slow S-curves, as though you were a water moccasin slithering along the surface. Your gentle paddling may not be straight, nor fast for that matter, but it’s silent. And at the moment stealth is your main priority. Finally, you have your prey within sight. A few more strokes and it’ll be within striking distance. Easy… easy… you carefully set down your paddle, and reach for your weapon.
BUUUUUUUURP! BUUUURP! BUUUURP! The quiet is shattered as you cut loose with your AK-47, turning that dangerous terrorist largemouth bass into a wad of slimy mush. Congratulations soldier, mission accomplished. Don’t worry about those flashing lights, the NRA lawyers will be there in a few minutes.
Seriously, though, don’t underestimate the value of a silent approach when it comes to fishing. We all spook a heck of a lot more fish than we realize. Sight fishing on the flats in Florida provides a great lesson in this regard, since you can see the fish and watch them react when you make noise. Flats guides are legendary for the tirades they’ll launch into when a novice northerner shouts or stomps or otherwise spooks a tailing bonefish or a rolling tarpon. Do it two or three times on the same trip, and the last sound you’ll hear may well be BUUUUURP!
What about canoes? I’ve fished on a lot of them, and while they seem quiet at first, their stealth is undone the first time I sneeze or swat a fly, thanks to the splashing and yelling when the canoe rolls over. Row boats? Too much work. Sailboats? Get real. No, if you want 100-percent stealth in a fishing boat, kayaks are really the only option. And don’t forget your AK-47.