Kayaks Offer Solutions to Low Level Reservoirs
SAN ANGELO, TX — Texas fishermen are not easily frustrated. They deal with windy conditions, low water conditions and ramp closure situations
Lake O.H. Ivie for instance, located near San Angelo is extremely low but is still considered by many as one of the best large bass sites in Texas It’s down to one useable ramp and is less than 20 per cent of capacity.
If you’re experiencing launch difficulties or have your eyes on an out-of-the-way backwater bay without launch facilities, there is a solution. Get a kayak.
Kayaks are made in various sizes, ranging from nine to eighteen feet. Most offer the opportunity of being transported in the backs of pickups or on tops of regular passenger vehicles.
They’re lightweight, normally manufactured with fiberglass and can be carried to waters edge. I was introduced to kayaks in West Texas at an early age. I was mowing grass for spending money in junior high school and certainly didn’t have funds to purchase a full-size boat.
My transportation problem was solved with a driver’s license. My mother and aunt bought me a used 1950 model Chevrolet and my first addition to the vehicle was a car top rack, just the right size to hold a nine foot Lampro kayak. It was made of fiberglass and set be back 35 dollars or just over four mowed lawns.
I joined the Concho Bass Club and soon because interested in fishing tournaments. I fished, along with my West Texas buddies at several Texas State Bass Tournaments. Some were held on large state reservoirs but our kayaks served us well.
I took the kayak to South Padre Island, where we caught trout and redfish in the shallow Laguna Madre Bay. Today, I am seeing a resurgence of kayaks in shallow bays.
Fishermen in the San Angelo area are not strangers to kayaks, and low lake levels. Makers of the Lampro “yak” are no longer in business, although I still use mine.
New manufactures have emerged providing kayaks to suit every need. They are priced from under 100 dollars to over 2,000. Some are even equipped with sails for moving across open saltwater. They’re sold in most all major sporting goods outlets like Academy and other local sporting goods outlets.
Hobie brand kayaks have become popular across much of Texas. They are manufactured in various models and rigged out with gear that fits needs of anyone headed to the water.
They’re ideal for fishing in stock tanks and small private lakes.
Before investing in a kayak evaluate your specific requirements of a small boat. The depth of water you’ll be fishing is a key factor.
Some of the higher ends kayaks, such as Hobie, can be purchased with foot peddles which actually paddle the rig with leg power. The foot-controlled blades extend into the water, about two feet from the bottom of the “Yak”.
Water depth evaluation is all part of the process. Some Texas paddling trails require travels to pull their vessels over shallow spots and completely dry portions of a river.
The best fishing in backwater bays is often found in two feet or less of water. Adjusting foot-controlled equipment in these situations might be something to avoid. Hobie, however, does have other models without foot controls.
Weight of the vessel needs to be considered as well.
Whether fishing in a stock tank, large or small lakes, the bay and particularly open water such as the Gulf of Mexico, a self-draining kayak is critical.
All kayaks are shallow sided and water will enter them at some time on any water outing. When choosing a paddle, kayakers can choose between metal and wood construction and single or two blade options.
Cassie Cox, Outdoor Education Instructor for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, says that regulations governing kayaks are fairly simple.
“If they’re motorized, by electric or gasoline engines they must be registered through the TPWD,” Cox explained. State regulations that apply to overall boating safety, like life-jackets, horns and fire extinguishers, must also be followed by kayakers.
“No mandatory boating education is required for kayak use. Many of our Texas state parks rent kayaks. We provide some basis tips on water safety and how to maneuver a kayak,” Cox added.
Tim Spice, a lead person for boater education at the TPWD, said, “There is an exception dealing with registration of kayaks. Any kayak over 14-feet and sail powered must be registered with the TPWD. Many kayaks used along the gulf coast are powered with sails.”
Spice also pointed out that a free and informative online boater education class can be seen by going to www.boatereducation.com
Austin’s Town Lake is beginning to see an influx of kayak fishermen. The stealthy maneuverability of yaks makes for easy use along the vegetated banks of Town Lake.
Long wait lines, especially on weekends, at the few launch ramps on Town Lake is enough to detour many from using a regular sized bass boat here. Kayaks are simplifying fishing here, just find a parking spot and drop them in the water.