Kayak fish or kayak hunt? It’s all good

Paddling home with meat for the winter larder. Fishing or hunting, can you go wrong when you paddle your way through the outdoors? Photo Chris Funk
Paddling home with meat for the winter larder. Fishing or hunting, can you go wrong when you paddle your way through the outdoors? Photo Chris Funk

Torn Between Two Loves

By Chris Funk

I love to fish. There is very little time in my life that I am not planning a fishing trip, on a fishing trip or working on gear to support a fishing trip. I live where the water stays in a liquid state year round so I have 365 day access to paddle and chase fish right near home.

One of the greatest things about fall and winter in the south is that, for several reasons,  there is less and less competition on the water. One is fair weather fisherfolk. I do not fall into that category. I have not ever seen a day too cold to paddle in Alabama.

Another reason for less on the water traffic is hunting season and that poses the biggest struggle. I am equally in my happy place in a kayak seat or a tree stand. They both provide solitude, adventure and a chance to let the stress of life fade a bit.

The one thing I need that I can't get from kayak fishing is our yearly supply of venison. Our family relies on a steady diet of "bush tucker" for sustenance and that comes from both the water and the woods.  If it wasn't for cubed, ground, backstraps, neck roasts and jerky I would fish 400 or 500 days a year (yes that is a slight exaggeration).

The hard part is balancing the two loves so that neither of them suffer. The perfect situation would be a place to paddle where I could kayak hunt on the way in and kayak fish my way out. Unless that rich uncle overseas comes through I am pretty much well shot in the foot on that idea.

For right now I will just have to settle for taking some of my precious fishing time to go "grocery shopping" in the bushes.

The one benefit of long hours on the deer stand is that it forces me to think about new adventures on the water. Some of the best fishing trips I have ever had were hatched while holding a bow or rifle in my hand just because I am a day dreamer. My bucket list of places to try and species to chase increases exponentially with each hour in the quiet solitude.

I don't look at that as a bad thing either because numerous times I have had to put a fish-planning session on hold long enough to invite a deer home for supper.

The constant pursuit of a sneaky critter whether it is furry or has fins is better than any drug or therapy available today. I also think the patience and stealth that makes me a decent hunter helps to make me a better fisherman. More than once I have had to utilize my hunting skills to sneak in close and quiet to put the perfect cast on a nice shoal bass.

Yes, I am torn between two loves, but if one is hunting and the other is fishing, can it really be wrong?