Kayak Fishing Peda(l)gogy
Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 12:58pm
Alabama-based Senior Editor for Bassmaster, Thomas Allen, takes a “hands-on” approach to parenting, spending every spare minute in the field or on the water with his wife and three kids. From turkey hunting in spring, deer hunting in fall, to fishing bass the entire calendar year, the Allen family bucks the trend of solitary, sedentary electronic pastimes.
When it comes to fishing, Allen says he prefers a “hands-free” experience, letting his nine-year-old son take to the water in his own kayak, which forces him to make his own decisions of how to orient the boat in relation to cover and where to cast independent of his dad, who’s usually a few cast lengths away in his own rig. For safety, Allen insists his kids wear high-quality personal flotation devices (PFDs) at all times.
"My son is a budding bass fisherman, and fishing from a kayak has taught him the value of precision boat control and position. I can watch him make the right cast after evaluating where he is, and how he needs to place a lure on a particular structural element. It's impressive for a nine-year-old to be that effective, but he's doing it, whether sitting or standing in the kayak,” says Allen.
To those ends, the Old Town Predator PDL has been the perfect watercraft for Allen to teach his son the core principles of boat control, concepts that will stay with him as he fishes from any vessel.
"The Old Town Predator PDL pedal-driven kayak has been a great boat for cultivating my son's growing passion. The reverse aspect of the Pedal Drive system has been absolutely essential to just about every fish he catches. Being able to quickly and effectively slow, stop or back the boat up before drifting over the cover puts more control in the angler's hands. The hands-free experience is awesome for all anglers, regardless of age. He has now learned how to approach cover, back off as needed, and how to line up his casting angles to get bit. Now when I turn him loose on the bow trolling motor of the bass boat the same principles apply,” says Allen.
Allen encourages families to look into kayak angling not only for the educational benefits, but the adventure and sheer fun of it, too.
"There is no bigger pride as a fanatical angler father than to watch my son light up every time he catches bass by his own decisions. He is learning how to catch fish under a myriad of conditions, but being in control of the boat and all the elements teaches him more than I am capable. That, and every time we take the kayaks somewhere we’re on an adventure, a lot of times slipping into waters where you can’t launch of a big boat. We’ve discovered some unreal bass fishing that’s impenetrable otherwise. It’s a blast! That, and we’re getting some exercise, too, which is always a plus!”