Kayak fishermen are a different breed. Passionate about the sport, they work hard to let others know how much fun it is. They regularly share fishing tips, rigging advice and, yes, some even share fishing locations.
Social media is a big part of the kayaking community. Through Facebook and a multitude of web forums, they stay connected and hook-up with other ’yakers for fishing adventures.
One of the best ways to get the most out of your kayak fishing adventures is to join a local club.
Kayak fishing continues to grow all across the world, and Louisiana is no different. With the wide variety of kayak fishing (and hunting) opportunities available across the state, kayak clubs are expanding in number and membership.
In early 2005, a mishmash group of guys and girls fishing from paddle craft found themselves remotely connected on a website forum based in another state.
The forum moderators noticed the unique traffic and gave them their own category called “Louisiana (Cajun Country).” The group cobbled together some ideas and held Louisiana’s first paddle craft tournament, Paddle Palooza 1.
Shortly thereafter, they formally organized and founded the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club.
Paddle Palooza is still the club’s signature event, and this year it hosted 250 participants and gave out over $20,000 in kayaks, cash, charitable donations and raffle prizes.
The group is stronger than ever, with many of the founders still actively engaged. BCKFC has an active membership between 300 and 400.
The club’s website features a forum that provides tons of tips, advice and opportunities to share experiences with fellow kayak fishermen. There are a few topics that are restricted to club members only, but offer more detailed fishing reports in addition to an invaluable maps section that contains maps for many state-wide hotspots.
Membership has its privileges.
BCKFC is primarily concentrated in the southeastern section of the state, and consequently more emphasis is placed on coastal saltwater fishing. But the group holds tournaments all across southern Louisiana.
With the growth in kayak fishermen has also come growth in clubs. The next Louisiana group to form was the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club. The LKFC holds regular monthly meetings and a variety of tournaments across South Louisiana each year.
The group’s members work to develop new publicly accessible kayak/canoe launches, and was instrumental in constructing a launch at Bayou Choupique in Calcasieu Parish.
With a web forum of their own, the group is a collective wealth of information that can help any kayak fishermen better develop their skills.
Since the bulk of kayak fishing was taking place in the coastal areas, North Louisiana was feeling a bit left out. Sitting in the heart of some of the state’s prime freshwater fishing, the Bayou Pirates Kayak Fishing group formed last year.
One of their primary goals is to support the Heroes On the Water program. HOW is a national non-profit that uses kayak fishing outings for physical and mental therapy sessions serving our nation’s warriors.
In just a few short months, the Pirates have grown their membership to nearly 60 and spawned fishing team chapters that have a presence in Shreveport/Bossier, Monroe and Houston. The Pirates regularly travel to participate in saltwater ’yak fishing as well.
Big Lake in Southwest Louisiana is a favored kayak fishing destination for kayakers. However, it was difficult for the existing clubs to logistically hold any weeknight meetings or events in the area. The prospect of driving several hours to talk about fishing just wasn’t enough. Conversely, kayakers who live in that area could not justify traveling to Lafayette or Baton Rouge, either.
In May, a group of eager kayak fishermen got together to form the Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club. They recently elected a slate of officers, and as of press time were putting the pieces in place to start taking dues and signing up members. They are off to a hot start and have plans for their first formal club tournament in July.
They stay connected through an active Facebook users’ group, where group trips are arranged, and photos, tips and club news are shared between members.
There’s no doubt that interest in kayak clubs will continue to grow. Most kayakers join clubs located closest to where they live. However, the power of the Internet makes it easy for long-distance membership and interaction between the various clubs.
To help ’yakers stay on top of kayak action from across the state and beyond, the LouisianaSportsman.com forum has a dedicated “kayak fishing” category where users can read and share all of their kayak fishing adventures, photos, questions and advice.
The Sportsman’s forum regularly sees questions from readers seeking advice on purchasing a kayak or tips on current hotspots. News for local demo days and tournaments throughout the state is only a few clicks away.
Most kayaks are single-seat models, but that doesn’t mean you have to fish alone. Joining a club allows you to meet and fish with others that share your passion for the sport. The most rewarding aspect of joining a kayak club is the friends you are sure to make.
All of the local clubs share the same general goals: to organize kayak fishermen, promote safe kayaking and fellowship, act as a fun meeting place for kayak fishermen, provide a forum for exchange of ideas, sponsor kayak fishing tournaments and provide a public presence to promote the interest of kayak fishermen.
While these groups strongly promote each of their formal goals, kayak fishing fun and friendship obviously tops their list.