Bigger is better, and faster is fun in the world of boating, right? Not always, says Pure Fishing’s Eric Naig.
While “serious anglers” want motors that make it possible to move faster and farther in pursuit of fish, this former walleye pro has fallen in love … with a kayak.
After trying a Hobie Mirage kayak in Arkansas just once, Naig knew he needed to have one. Since buying his own a year and a half ago, he’s fished from it an average of once a week. Suffice it to say, this hardcore angler with access to fishing’s fanciest rigs is hooked on Hobie’s hand-free new Mirage models.
“They’re a blast to fish in,” says Naig, noting that his wife enjoys using it as an exercise tool. “The flip pedals work great, and it’s so nice to have your hands completely free. You’ve got a little rudder you can touch with your hands now and then if you want, but you don’t really need to. I use my feet for everything. It’s like riding a bike.”
The coolest part? Seeing fish that are attracted to the pedals swim alongside the kayak. Imagine watching dolphins swim alongside a cruise boat off the coast of Florida. Only substitute largemouth bass for dolphins, a kayak for the cruiser and Iowa for the coast of Florida.
“I watch all types of fish swimming along the kayak all the time,” says Naig, who primarily fishes from the kayak on Iowa’s Spirit Lake. “It’s just cool to watch the fish and see them follow this thing along.”
Of course, catching them is cool, too, and the kayak helps Naig access shallow-water fish without spooking them.
“It’s unbelievable how close you can get to fish,” says Naig, who’s caught every Spirit Lake species, with the exception of muskie, in his kayak. “They’re not afraid of it at all.”
At first, Naig was concerned with the kayak’s underwater pedals getting stuck in cabbage and coontail, but he’s quickly realized he has nothing to fear.
“As long as you can float the thing, you can paddle it through anything.”
Since he’s so low on the water, Naig said he prefers a shorter spinning rod than normal. A roll cast with a short rod makes it easier to skip baits under docks and overhanging branches. The kayak positions him nice and low on the water, like someone dropping down his or her arm to get the right angle for skipping rocks – just another reason Naig’s in love.
“For me, it’s great. It’s the ideal little fishing rig.”