Is Kayak Fishing Safe For A Person 50 Years Old Or Older?
Posted on March 15 2017
By Ron Strauss, President Of The MN Kayak Fishing Association
I talk with members in our kayak fishing club (MN Kayak Fishing Association) from all age levels. The youngest at 9-years-old and the oldest being 75 and going strong, fishing from his kayak. I recently had a call from a man who was in his early 60s who asked if I thought he was too old to participate in kayak fishing. He was concerned about balance and the stability of kayaks. He was curious about transporting the kayak as well as launching and loading the kayak on his vehicle.
He explained to me that he was approaching retirement, his kids were starting families and he had always had a power boat. He wanted to try something new without the baggage that comes with a power boat – maintenance, gas, oil, repairs and more. He wanted a fishing kayak to use on lakes around his metro area home, but also wanted to easily take it to his outstate cabin. Like most newbies, he had lots of questions and concerns before he was ready to spend money on a hobby he had only read about.
Is lugging, loading and transporting a kayak too much work for a middle-aged person?
I'd certainly advise you to have a physical and tell your doctor what you plan to do. For me, in my early 50s, I was warned by my doctor about lifting heavy items above my head, so lifting an 80 pound kayak to the top of a car is something I would think twice about doing – torn rotator cuffs are no fun. If you want to car-top transport a kayak there are special types of racks that make the loading / unloading part easy. The gentleman I was talking to wanted to use his SUV, so he bought a rack that makes loading and unloading easy.
I use a Hobie kayak cart to move my Pro Angler 12 kayak from the garage to the back of my pickup truck and down to the water. I use a hitch extender to accommodate the length of the kayak that extends beyond the tailgate and add an orange hi-vis flag so cars behind can see my kayak (see image to the left above). The process is then reversed reversed after fishing. Another option is to use a light weight trailer that can be towed by most cars (see image on right above). I can easily handle the entire process of loading and unloading my kayak without help from others.
Kayaks are too tippy and dangerous for middle-aged people
Some people have this impression of kayaks. It's probably because they've never had the pleasure of being in a super stable, wide fishing kayak like the Pro Angler line from Hobie. Low priced kayaks are NOT stable, they're less comfortable and easier to flip than a premium product like Hi Tempo / Hobie offers. However, you MUST follow safe kayak fishing practices. Wear a PFD (personal flotation device) at all times on the water. Leash and secure all items in your kayak. Have a whistle ready to signal others if a problem occurs and learn how to get back in your kayak in deeper water.
Kayak fishing helps keep you young and healthy!
Some days I'll meet up with a group of fellow kayak anglers and we'll be on the water for 4 to 8 hours. I like to troll my Hobie Fishing Kayak around the lake. It gives me a chance to enjoy the fresh air, cover lots of water and get some exercise by pedaling for most of those hours. It's a great stress reliever. The only problem I have when I get out fishing is finding fish and persuading them to bite! Even if they don't cooperate, I still enjoy all the other benefits of a day on the water.
A big upside to kayak angling is being part of a group of people that are drawn to the sport. I've met some bad ass guys like me (I was told not to use "old dudes") – you know, the older, "wiser" members in our club. But meeting and being around the younger kayak anglers has taught me plenty and delivered lots of laughs, too. Continuing to learn, laughter and meeting new people are great ways to stay young. Being an active kayak angler can help you achieve this. You'll make some great new friends!
How can you get started in kayak fishing?
There's a large kayak fishing community online and in social media. Most states have local clubs. If you're in the Minnesota / 5 state area, join our FREE club, mnkayakfishingassociation.org/. Hi Tempo and Hobie have developed an event called, "The Kayak Fishing Experience." First, you get hands-on instruction from kayak fishing experts, then you'll hit the water and put what you've learned to use fishing from a Hobie kayak. After fishing, everyone will enjoy a nice meal, chat and ask questions. It's a FUN event! Hope to see you there.
Learn about The Hobie Kayak Fishing Experience