FLY-YAK

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The potential purity of paddling a kayak in fishing or exploring is unmatched. For many, it’s you, the kayak and the paddle, essentially pretty simple. There are those who equip their boats out with almost every conceivable electronic gadget and many others who choose to go with the visual and common sense, bare bones approach. To carry the concept further, the simplest form of fishing, the fly rod, is just short of a cane pole, thus fly fishing can be very uncomplicated. Before you launch your first fly, consider simplifying your approach and equipment before you push off to your next adventure. This activity I like to call “fly-yak”, is something fun and highly effective, yep fly fishing from a kayak. Adopt a minimalist approach for the need of equipment aka, “bugging” on a budget, all characterize picking up the long rod and casting for multiple species of fish. Most often viewed as a classic method to seek out trout in crystal clear steams, fly fishing positions you to catch almost everything and anything that swims. Fly fishing in particular from a kayak puts you in super stealth mode. Small paddle strokes position you to drop a natural looking fish forage imitation in front of all kinds of quarry under many types of weather and water conditions. Does this all sound too easy? Maybe. What about the wind, what about current, what about the space needed to work the fly fishing equipment? All could potential problems, all can be overcome. How about the balance of the fly chucking angler?

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That’s more about the boat than the bait. Surface bugs, sub-surface streamers, bottom bumping creations all fit in the fly vest of any kayaker/ angler. Enter the “Mayfly”. Jackson Kayaks newest member of the fishing family of kayaks. Made in the USA and geared to the needs of a fly fishing enthusiast, 12 ½ feet long and 34 inches wide (creates great stability) weighing at 85 pounds, the Mayfly offers room and wide expanses for your line and feet to reside. The Mayfly accommodates a 25 quart Orion cooler, a standard Hi-Low seating arrangement, flip down, foam lined fly boxes, scuppers holes, a handy, behind the seat hydration system to allow you to drink easily between casts and catches. Snag free storage hatches, factory ready for electronics and power pole micro anchoring system, rod tube protectors and rod props to hold additional rods the Mayfly delivers a stable platform, fly fishing friendly kayak that paddles and tracks well. Fresh or salt water the applications remain the same. Farm ponds or the flats the Mayfly is a great addition to the Jackson fleet.

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Gearing up- My personal preference is a two rod trip. Generally accompanied by a five weight fly rod, seven and half feet in length, for offering smaller bugs, sponge spiders, mayflies, marabou streamers, gnats and wooly worms. Equally at home on the farm pond or in the trout stream this rod makes average size fish a challenge and fun. For the more wind resistant larger surface poppers, deer hair creations to match mice, bees and dragonflies and high profile bugs I carry a seven weight nine foot fly flicking stick. While not to be discounted for me the reel is simply a place to hold the line. Most often floating line for standard fly fishing chores, there are several types of lines; weight forward, rocket taper and on and on. There are fans of each for various reasons. Tapered clear line leaders are normally replaced on my rods by monofilament (again simplicity). My leaders are generally about a foot shorter than the rod to keep the line from slipping back past the top rod eyelet. Mastering a few casts is easier than most people think. For practice find an open spot and tie a piece of yarn to the end of the line. (A yarn accident is much less painful than a hook accident). Basic casts are facilitated by having a fellow fly fisherman assisting. Try counting to three on the back cast to let the line “lay out’ behind you before starting it forward. If you hear the audible “buggy whip” snap sound you’re starting forward too soon. Seek out another fly rodder and learn the double haul technique to add distance to your casts. The roll cast is handy to move, line close to the waters surface after having made a cast and working into tight spots such as overhanging branches without getting hung up. Master a few casts, a few selected rods and flies and you’re on your way.

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Safety and comfort – Highly recommended are hats and sunglasses. The hat can range from the baseball style hat (the billboard of the bass fishermen) to the floppy hat which holds flies in the band. Personally I’m not a fan of having hooks that close to my head. Any hat can also stop the errant fly from penetrating your scalp, I’ll go with function rather than fashion. Good sunglasses are highly prized by those waving the fly wands. Again protection from the sun and the bugs (real and artificial), sunglasses are very helpful in “sight casting’ to clear water and spooky fish. A fly fishing vest can be very handy and provides comfort as well accessibility to leader, flies and associated accessories. Linecutterz rings, www.linecutterz.com are great accessories for any type of fishing circumstances and can be worn on your finger or attached to the kayak seat or another convenient location to aid in the quick change of flies or any artificial bait. For versatility the Mayfly is versatile enough to also serve well as a fishing kayak for other bodies of water and any species of fish. Each Jackson Kayak I own, if not standard equipment has been custom fitted with the stand-up assist bar aka casting brace. Perfect for holding rod between paddling and paddle between casting. For fly casting excursions the bar can easily be dropped and stowed out of the way with bungee cords.
No waiting, the Mayfly has hatched, give the flyrod a try for your limit of fun and fish.

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