The Tip of the Week Presented by Jackson Kayak
She’s No Addict
How to make that trip with your not-so-fish-crazy spouse a good one
Words and photos by Chris Funk
If I were to have to make a choice between breathing and fishing I would probably see just how many casts I could get while I held my last breath. My bride on the other hand could take or leave fishing. Make no mistake, she can hold her own on the kayak and is a blast to fish with, she is just not near the obsessed addict that I am. I knew that when we married 21 years ago so it is was no surprise for me. Some guys have brides that go with them all the time and some have them that never head outdoors. I really like the fact that mine will go with me regularly but also lets me go alone or with my fishing buddies. Through the years I have picked up a few tips that will make it much easier to fish with a spouse that isn't fully enveloped in the sickness.
Keep her comfortable. I want her experience on the water to be a pleasant one, not an issue of endurance. You may have noticed that ladies are not built like men. Our PFDs don't fit. I took her to our local shop and she tried on jackets till she found a ladies PFD that fit exactly like she wanted. I did not care that it was purple with a cute little flower on it and it did not matter what it cost. If it got her on the water comfortably and safely it was worth the money.
Help her pick her own kayak. I can't tell you how many times I have seen someone with a top of the line kayak looking for the cheapest boat they can find for their spouse. Remember, the more she likes her boat, the more time she spends on the water. The more time she spends on the water, the more time YOU get to spend on the water. When my wife finally got the right kayak for her I could see difference in her smile. Through the years she has grown into an excellent paddler and is willing to fish whenever I load her boat.
Get her good gear in whatever color she wants. Just like her PFD and kayak, get her the best gear you can but make sure it is what she likes to use. My wife loves spincast reels and I don't care for them. For years I tried to push her to spinning reels but she knows what she likes and sticks with it. I finally found a pink spinning reel that she is willing to try but you better believe the spincast will not be far away when she is fishing. The true test is the number of fish she brings to the boat and more times than I care to admit, her gear has outperformed mine that costs 4 or 5 times what hers does. I even found a totally pink fly rod and she agreed to give that a try. Whatever it takes to keep her happy and involved is worth the effort.
Be a good deck hand. If she doesn't like handling fish, take them off the hooks for her. It is not a big deal and takes very little time so just understand ahead of time that it will be one of your tasks. We joke that it was written into our wedding vows. Other tasks may also include tying knots, untangling lines and getting lures out of trees from time to time. All minor tasks that might overwhelm a non-addict but stuff we deal with regularly as serious anglers.
Have fun together. Too many times we forsake the fun part of plastic boats and time on the water. My thought is if we don't catch fish, at least we got to go kayaking together. If the fishing is hot, stick with it. If not enjoy the time with her and paddle a little more. The time you invest in each other will pay dividends through the years. My bride may fish with pink gear, pink lures and wear a PFD with a flower on it but she is a great fishing partner. The day she said "I watched that bass follow the lure and I slowed it down like they do on your fishing shows to make it hit," I knew she was hooked.
Jackson Kayak pro staffer Chris Funk is a proud self-proclaimed redneck outdoorsman. He swings a mean camera, particularly when any of his beloved critters are around. Funk is a Kayak Fish Magazine contributing editor.