Packing a stand-up paddle will make that stand-tall kayak much easier to maneuver while sight fishing.

Packing a stand-up paddle will make that stand-tall kayak much easier to maneuver while sight fishing. Photo courtesy John Donohue.

The Best of Both Worlds
Sit-down and stand-up
By John Donohue

Standing to sight-fish confers a major advantage over the kayak fishing original – sitting on your butt mostly blind-casting. My broke-down old knees pretty much make joining the SUP crowd out of the question, but the technology gave me some fresh ideas to enhance my own kayak fishing experience.

My thought was to morph my Hobie Pro Angler 14 into a hybrid. A self-propelled boat so I could still cover fairly large distances by pedaling, but also be able to stand and paddle to gain an unparalleled vision of the flats.

First, I traded in my traditional paddle for a SUP paddle. Initially I got an entry level paddle which was adjustable in length but just a bit heavier than I like. It was the perfect starter paddle, though, and reaffirmed my hunch that this was the way to go. After a couple of months, I decided that a carbon fiber paddle was well worth the money; much like a kayak paddle that you have in your hands all day, the lighter the better. I decided on the 8.5-foot Hobie Race Paddle. Slightly pricey, but I have learned to invest in my tools or I tend to grow to dislike them quickly.

Taking another lead from the SUP industry, I had my hull lined with a padded non-skid decking by Ocean Grip. Not only does it make it more comfortable to stand all day, it dampens any sound that I make dropping tools on the deck.

Don't worry; while I have adapted several great ideas from the SUP community, there are too many features of the Pro Angler to ever consider trading it for a board. I doubt that even the best fabricator could figure out a mount for a power supply for the Power Pole Micro Anchor on a board.

Plus, my worn out knees need the clearance offered by the PA's Vantage seat put me in a much better starting position than that offered by the SUP, to be able to pop-up to scan the flats. Not to mention being able to leave tools on the deck or store them in the bin in the hatch, the ability to carry multiple rods, and the functionality to clip my paddle in to cast. In the end, these awesome features will keep me in my stand-up Pro Angler.

Only natural: fighting fish while standing up.

Only natural: fighting fish while standing up. Photo Sam Root.