Thursday, June 18, 2015

Buying cheap - When is it ok?

This article is brought to you courtesy of Jason Klingman. Jason is a member of the Arkansas Kayak Anglers and is currently in the top ten in the NWA Razoryak Tournament Trail Angler of the Year pts race.

Recently I have seen a lot of posts by folks looking for their first kayak. Some of them read like this "I am looking to buy a cheap kayak to see if I like it first." I almost made this mistake when I was getting into kayak fishing. I was ready to go to a big box store and buy one for $400. I was speaking to my dad about it and showing him the one I wanted to buy. He started looking at fishing kayaks online and he came upon the Jackson website. I was looking at them, but tended to look at the price tag and thought "No way, they cannot be that much different". I told him I would go to the local kayak shop and check them out. I walked into the store and the 1000-2000 dollar price tags just shocked me. I walked around the shop looking at different boats and talking to the people at the shop trying to find out what was so different about them. I could see the seats were nicer but did that justify the price difference? As I started to look more closely I soon figured out that there was a HUGE difference.
Spending just a little more on the front end definitely has its benefits
It wasn't just the seat, but all the extra add ons that designed for anglers. I ultimately bought a Jackson Kilroy because of the internal rod storage, the ability to change seat height, and the hard and soft decks that came with it. I spent the money on the boat and they were showing me paddles. I thought there is no way I would spend the money buying a paddle they are all the same. I bought a $20 paddle from Academy and went on about my way. A few days later my dad went out to buy his kayak. Now, my dad does not fish but wanted one for the exercise. He went with the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120. On top of that he got an Adventure Technology Carbon mixed paddle. I kept telling him he was dumb for spending the $125 on the paddle. That was until I picked up his paddle and it was considerably lighter than mine. I thought it was cool but still not worth the money. We were out a few weeks later and I grabbed my step brothers’ paddle which was the Bending Branches Bounce. I could immediately tell the difference, my arms were not as tired and it didn’t seem like much work to paddle. The week before the first tournament I borrowed my dad’s paddle because I was going to be out for a long time and wanted to see what it was like. Let’s just say he has not got his paddle back yet!

I was saved from making one regrettable choice and going cheap on the kayak, and I wish someone would have stopped me from buying cheap on the paddle as well. There are certainly ways to save money on how you modify the kayak. For example instead on buying a mount for my graph I mounted it to the hard deck of the Kilroy itself. I used a filing crate with rod holders attached that I made myself over buying an expensive one online. There are plenty of other DIY (Do it yourself) mods and accessories that don't cost much. But I would warn you that when it comes to your boat and paddle, DON'T GO CHEAP!

There are always people selling their old kayaks online looking to upgrade themselves, so if you keep your eyes open you can even find a deal on a premium kayak. Look around and find the boat that fits you and what you want to do with it. If you are wanting to get into the sport and want to see “If you like it.” Don’t buy a cheaper boat because in my opinion you will not get the full benefit or experience as if you were to go with a premium kayak designed for fishing. Kayaks hold their value very well and if you decide you don’t like it you can get a very good return on the investment. I can tell you I have yet to meet a single person who regretted buying one. I am by no means telling someone to spend outside their budget, but if you can squeeze out just a little extra cash then I would shop around and find a premium kayak and paddle that fits you. 

Jason Klingman

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