For a while now I’ve wanted to get Brayden onto the water to Kayak and learn to fish. He has a love for fishing and gets excited at the simplest of bites, but also enjoys just being there even if nothing is taking his bait. I thought that a good way to get him out into the water to fish would be a kayak, as it forces you to both exert energy to reach your destination, plan where you want to go, and I feel as though you are more in-touch with nature. So when I came home with a kayak a week ago, Brayden was pretty excited. But when I came home with a SECOND kayak last week, Brayden was REALLY excited because he knew then, he just got himself a kayak!
On Sunday, my wife and I loaded my Jackson Coosa FD into the back of my Tacoma using a BooneDox bed extension. We quickly realized there was no way that I was going to get Brayden’s Ascend 128T into the back of the truck also, without damage or risk. I also had to keep in mind that he’s 8, and when we got to our destination I had to be able to unload and reload these by myself. So, with that in mind I decided to make a change in the way we transport kayaks.
At Lowe’s Home Improvement, I grabbed 4 bolts, 4 self locking nuts, 8 washers, 6 eye hooks, a tungsten 5/16″ drill bit, and 2 severe weather treated 2x4x8″ boards and proceeded to social distance in the check-out line. At home, I began measuring and laying out the parts. 4 quick holes into my metal utility trailer gave me hope for a quick turnaround. That hope was quickly shot as I realized the drill bit I picked up was 5/16″ and the bolts I picked up were 3/4″. Bonehead move for sure. So, rather than driving 20 minutes back to Lowe’s to exchange or buy another drill bit, wait in line again, and drive another 20 minutes home – I did what anyone would do… I worked that drill bit in circles until the ugliest holes appeared and I could slide the 3/4″ bolts through. From there, holes were drilled in the boards, boards were bolted to the trailer, holes where measured and drilled for the eye hooks which were then inserted, and finally a couple hours after my first realization that two big kayaks do not fit in this truck, I had a make-shift Kayak Trailer.
So, we loaded the kayaks on the trailer again, and I strapped them down. After a couple of hours spent at the pool, we returned home and loaded the truck. The Tar River Reservoir located in Nash County, North Carolina, was fairly busy with boat traffic, but not so much boat traffic that I felt it unsafe to take the kayaks out. Most lakes on Memorial Day Weekend look like a Walmart parking lot on Black Friday – filled with ignorant people speeding all over the place. Here, we were able to cross the reservoir in a no wake zone, and then follow the bank around to a cut that I wanted Brayden to practice his kayaking in. I expected to need to pull him all over but shockingly to me – he was doing GREAT! I kept beside him and he did a fantastic job keeping the kayak in a straight line. He quickly picked up how to turn, how to turn in place, how to paddle backwards, and maintained control of his kayak and paddle the whole time. We turned on the Lowrance depthfinder on his kayak so that he could see what the bottom of the reservoir looked like and he noticed there were some fish.
We didn’t have any fishing tackle or rods for Brayden as I really wanted to see him kayak first. Once I felt comfortable he could manage, I took the one rod I brought and began casting around the little cut. One fish was caught (in the gill, no less) and we released him. I was told it was a Goggle-Eye, a first for me. Finally, it was nearing sunset and we decided to paddle back in to shore. I was so happy with how Brayden did and made sure he knew it. I promised to take him out again, soon, and let him try his luck casting on the kayak. A man on the bank was nice enough to help me load both kayaks up as we chatted. It was his first time in a kayak that day as well. With everything secured and strapped down, we made our way home – a 15-20 minute drive – and cleaned up. After showers and snack time (for Brayden), we made our way to bed and wrapped another great day of Father-Son bonding.