The effort that became today’s Kayakfishing.com is largely credited with “pioneering the sport” and while accurate in a modern sense….
Upon the arrival of Russian explorers (and exploiters) to North America, Aleutian natives hunted at sea with kayaks. They also crafted bigger kayaks for relocating seasonal communities that carried both people and provisions. In the 1700’s, Russian shipping traders enslaved native kayak hunters, resulting in the devastation of fur seal and otter populations along the Eastern Pacific coastline all the way down to Baja California. Aleut kayaks consisted solely of large pinniped skins stretched over frames of driftwood, bone and sinew. Native kayak culture made such a strong impression that just about every kid in North America learns about Eskimos, igloos and the “Eskimo (kayak) roll” in grade school.
Spawning the modern era of kayak fishing, anglers utilized canoes, traditional touring kayaks and specialty dive kayaks like the Royak and Malotte plus longboards before plastic kayaks were considered popular angling craft.
The plastic kayak industry put a lot of energy into bridging ocean divers and pretty much let anglers figure it out for themselves. Somewhere back in the `80’s, Spike and his Ohio born cousin, Howard Rose, picked up a few of those cheap plastic kayaks and busted through the Malibu surf to a few spots that traditionally required a very long boat ride to access legally. Spike recounted, “Calico and sand bass, lots of big halibut, barracuda, bonito, white sea bass, giant (black) sea bass, soles, sheephead, perch, thresher sharks, dogfish, skates, rays and plenty of live bait marked those first outings in the kayaks……we always caught something. Usually just a few hundred yards off the beach too.”
Now rooted in the coastal redwood forest above San Francisco, what has grown into the broader Kayakfishing.com “effort” got its start in Southern California a few years before the website was first published. It all started in 1994 when inspired by a magazine story on float tube fishing in the ocean, Dennis Spike authored the first print feature on kayak fishing at the invitation of Pacific Fisherman magazine. Published as a cover story (that’s Cousin Howie with a halibut) early the next year and on the heels of the Fred Hall Fishing and Tackle Shows in California, that story struck the interest of anglers and industry alike.
Spike credits his first publisher Peter Barana from Pacific Fisherman magazine, the (Bart) Hall Family with Fred Hall Productions, Pete Gray and Let’s Talk Hook-up Radio Shows plus, outdoor editors Pat Mcdonnel and long retired “Sweet” Lew Carpenter with Western Outdoor Publications, along with a handful of mostly regional media and sport fishing interests, “for recognizing the significance of a new recreational fishing modality and rallying to promote the sport”. Sport Fishing Magazine Editor-In-Chief Doug Olander, recreational fishing’s sage journalist and Ken Daubert who published the first piece of kayak fishing media with his book “Kayakfishing, the Revolution” first took the sport to a national angler audience. These individuals collectively provided a platform of exposure that fast grew the popularity of kayak fishing nationwide. Acknowledging that anglers fished plastic kayaks since their introduction in the early `70s, this is an accurate account of the humble beginnings of the modern era of the sport of kayak fishing.
Spike kept writing and before long, publications from Men’s Journal to Sport Fishing Magazine and major metropolitan newspapers were sending writers and photographers to cover the sport for their readers. Spike started guiding The Coastal Kayak Fishing Schools in California and ran the first “mothership trips” down to Baja with friend and outdoor writer Adam “Trout” Traubman who introduced and established the original Baja California kayak fishing guide services and trips.
Spike went to the fishing shows and started making the transition into full time kayak fishing. Meeting the site’s webmaster emeritus, Chuck Marlett, was pivotal. Chuck landed his first legal halibut during the Coastal Kayak Fishing School and brought Kayakfishing.com to life soon after in August, 1997. Reaching new anglers daily for 20 years, Kayakfishing.com would remain virtually unchanged until 2017 with the sole purpose of providing information and direction to entry level kayak anglers making their first searches. The guides and pro-staffers at this site love kayak fishing and live it like a lifestyle as we hookup to field inquiries from anglers in fisheries coast to coast and around the world.
Today, Kayakfishing.com is published to provide detailed information on how and where to get started, saving many anglers a bundle along the way. The site’s editorial direction is to help new kayak anglers grow into the sport, without ruining and losing a bunch of gear, and to provide resource and reason for veteran kayak anglersd to check back once in awhile.
Our ultimate goal in reaching anglers is to help sustain the profile of recreational fishing as a traditional cultural pastime and a wholesome family activity. Given the passion of the participants coast to coast and around the world, the kayak fishing community is recognized as a growing steward of the fisheries. We encourage kayak anglers to support local and national recreational fishing lobbyists as part of your charitable fishery contribution.
Readers (and writers) are invited to contribute informative articles, experiences, location features and kayak fishy images for publication to info@Kayakfishing.com.
The site provides Reader Galleries for posting your glory (and less glorious) shots at the site.