Like anything in life, the good stuff is hard to come by. Wife, kid, job, and even fishing buddies take serious work. The same holds true for kayak fishing partners. Trying to find someone to get out and float with is very difficult. You have to match body clocks, species interest, geography, and be compatible as human beings. It might even be said that finding a good kayaking buddy might be harder than becoming a good kayak fisherman.
Here are some ideas that have worked for me. I hope to give the new yakker some tips to help land that elusive kayaking buddy –
Mix With People
I have lots of friends and great people I met on the water. Some of them I fish regularly with and have become fast friends with. The best way is to be open and honest when dealing with people. If you share knowledge of a spot or technique, by all means share it freely. I lend information garnered through years of fishing freely and it comes back to me in spades. If I can help out online or in person I do it. Period. This puts you in contact with many people and begins a relationship.
The internet is perfect for this. Do some research, find people who you share proximity and species desires with and reach out. The pen is a mighty sword but it also is a window into the soul. You can tell a lot by someone’s quick reports or stories. Find the people that you naturally seem to gravitate to. Trust your instincts. Avoid the stinkers.
The internet is a great way to stay up to date on local events. Whether sponsored by a local yak shop, a bunch of good guys like the Wolfpack, or a tournament; take the time to stop by and check it out. You will meet alot of good people. I have seen and experienced many relationships taking hold at these type of events. Stay online and watch to see when people locally are going out. Which leads me to my next point.
Understand that kayakers are a pretty forthcoming bunch of guys. Dont be afraid to ask for help. Chances are you will find it. Sure you may have to wade through some commercial scumbags trying to make a buck but 99% of your responses will be truthful and heartfelt. Take the time to reach out when you see someone online announcing a trip. Sometimes I am looking to be a solitary yakker, but when I announce a trip I am planning it is usually because I am looking for some company.
Finding that partner takes a little work but like a good wife or kid, its well worth the extra effort. Use the web, get out to events, and simply ask and you will be amazed. You may not find that perfect match right away, but the group of friends you will build up will be amazing. I know I consider myself blessed to know so many good local kayakers and am always ready to meet a new person. Put yourself out there and reap the rewards. To all my friends, thank you.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.