Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Push the Sport Not the Brand

Our sport is growing faster than ever. In the last year I have seen more and more people either joining the sport or showing significant interest in kayak fishing. However there is a disturbing trend I have seen on Social Media. This is when someone is interested in joining the sport and they post that they are on a budget, there are a lot of people telling them not to bother unless they can afford XYZ kayak. I was in that same situation years ago before all the internet forums and social media pages made information and opinions so easily accessible.

One of the many fish caught from the Pescador

I watched videos of Chad Hoover and Drew Gregory. I told myself I needed either a Jackson Coosa or a Wilderness Systems Commander; then I started looking at price tags… I had just moved to NW Arkansas and started a new job, so my expenses had all recently increased a TON. I just didn’t have the money at the time to make a big investment in the sport. I knew I was at least a year or two away from having a good chunk of  money I could invest in a sport I wasn’t even sure I would like, especially coming from the power boat scene. 

I started doing a TON of research online and pulled the trigger on a slightly damaged Pescador 12 from Academy Sports and Outdoors. I was able to get the boat for about $325 and I got a $20 paddle. Was it the most comfortable or stable boat out there? No, but it did allow me to get into the kayak fishing and meet some really great people. It did allow me to stop beating the banks or spending the money on my power boat to keep it on the water. Eventually I did upgrade to a Commander 140 and now I fish from a Hobie Outback.

My main point is that as a whole we need to guide people towards the sport, regardless of the boat they can afford at the time. Yes many anglers will upgrade their kayaks once they get into the sport, but we don't want to discourage anyone from being a part of it by pricing them out with only premium brand kayaks. There really are a lot of people out there that only have a couple hundred dollars available because they need to support their families, lets not steer them away by telling them that they need to wait till they have more money to buy a boat. I have a lot of stuff about to change in my life and if I had to I wouldn’t hesitate to sell my top of the line boat and buy another boat like a Pescador 12 to keep on the water. Lets embrace this amazing sport we all love and get others to try it too. 

Tim Hotchkin
Yak Gear Brand Ambassador

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