Posts Tagged ‘Ocean Kayak’

There are several river in Florida that quickly transports you into the past.  Hillsborough River is one local river in Tampa Florida that can quickly erases the stress of living in a city.

This time Toni and I gained access to the river at the Hillsborough River State Park.  At the time of this post the admission fee was $4.  The park rangers have always been helpful to me and my guests with information about the depth and speed of the water.

At the time of this winter paddle the water was two feet below the normal river level.¬† Knowing this we did not paddle up stream to see the rapids.¬† We chose to paddle down stream to the “Seventeen-Runs”.

The air temperature was in the mid 70s Fahrenheit.  With the water being low we got to see more of the rustic environment.  It was if we were seeing this river for the first time.

Tony is a professional fisherman who excels in paddling.  He has placed in several competitions and he has earned the support of several sponsors.  Ocean Kayak is one of his sponsors.

Tony Lai

As Tony looked around we saw many things.  Below is an image I rarely get a chance to see.  On two fallen trees were an alligator and turtle warming themselves.  The last time I saw an alligator and turtle together the turtle was an evening snack.





Wild Oranges

Tony and I both had the same idea, yum.  Since he was in a sit-on-top he hillsborough-river-wild-orangesquickly scrambled up the side of the bank and up the tree.  It was like an old Tarzan movie, or something you would see on Survivor Man.  With one hand on the tree he started throwing oranges at me.

I guess you had to be there.  They looked and smelled perfect.  Free of pesticides, these oranges were totally organic.  I was aware that farmers usually graft oranges to improve their quality.

Well pealing into the first one was clear that this tree needed no human intervention to make it a great orange.  We were both intoxicated by the smell.  And the taste, wow, what a taste.

It was a cross between a lime and a grapefruit.  It was so strong that it made our lips tingle.  I successfully enjoyed half of the juice on one wild orange.  My mouth was numb for an hour.

After that bit we continued to paddle to “Seventeen-Runs”.¬† This is the most rustic point.¬† On any given paddle a kayaker may come across a tree blocking their path.¬† There are also a lot of meandering switchback river trails.¬† So a person needs to get to this point early in the day.¬† You do not want to be paddling this at night.¬† That could be why there is a sign that reads “abandon all hope ye who enter here”.¬† We explored this part a little bit.¬† Then we turned around and headed back.

It was a great day.  If you do not have a kayak you can also rent a canoe at the state park.  I do not know the cost. but I know the staff will give you the info over the phone.



I choose to sometimes use a single blade Tuktu Paddle when I go kayak fishing for one reason.  Paddling should stay simple.  When meandering through the mangrove trails in Tampa Bay Florida it is a simple maneuver to use a single blade kayak paddle, also known as a canoe paddle, for it does not get easily hung up on low hanging branches.  Nor do I need to worry about dunking my fishing reel into the saltwater to break down a two-piece kayak paddle.

It is an easy trick for me to quickly transition from paddling to casting.  The Tuktu Paddle silently slides neatly under the bow compartment straps of my Ocean Kayak Prowler 13.  In addition, because of the paddles convenient size it makes a great backup paddle when it is stowed on the port side of my kayak under a bungee strap.  This old yet tried and true paddle technology of the first anglers is a great type of paddle.  It is compact, easy to use, and a great part of fishing history.  Go to to get you piece of fishing history today.


The paddle has a traditional Tlingit raven design on it

In deep water stow the rod and the Scotty's mount in to the bow hatch of your Ocean Kayak (or use a flush mount)

I am in the water, so now what do I do? That is a common question that anglers have if they come off their sit on top kayak in deep water. The angler should really be more concerned about the story of the fish that got away than worrying about how to get back on their kayak. After all, it is easy to reenter a sit on top kayak with a general understanding of how to do it. And it is difficult to create an original and interesting big fish tale to tell to our friends. Besides, who wants to hear about how we swam back onto the kayak.

If the swimming angler has a leash on their paddle and they are wearing a Personal Flotation Device then they will have less to concern themselves. The paddle will not float away. Moreover, the P.F.D. (life jacket) helps with flipping the kayak and swimming back onto it.

It is just a matter of relaxing to right a flipped sit on top. One only has to float on their back to get the task done. The angler should face the middle side of their kayak. Then float on their back with their legs going under the kayak and their toes pointing towards the sky on the opposite side of the boat. The hands rest on the kayak. Then to roll over the kayak the floating angler extends their arms up and the kayak will right itself. Just

The feet float and the hands grip the non stretch deck lines

remember to keep the arms up in case of the kayak does not successfully roll over the first time. The wearing of the P.F.D. makes this so effortless. The anglers needs little arm strength and their head remains out of water as they flip the kayak over all due to the buoyancy of the P.F.D.

To get back onto the kayak without assistance the angler only has to think about dolphins. At marine water, parks there are usually trained dolphin swimming on to a platform. An angler also gracefully glides onto their sit on top kayak. The P.F.D. also helps with getting out of the water. With hands on the side of the kayak, the angler prepares to float on their chest. Their feet should float near the surface of the water. To get out of the water the floating angler should then reach across the kayak and do a swimming kick. With chest on the kayak, rotate to face the back of the kayak. This action saves energy and lessens the chance of flipping again. All that remains is for the kayaker to move around on to their but. The movement is just like rolling around between the bed sheets.

Now I have to get my rod from within the hatch

If the angler has a friend paddling with them, they can parallel park their kayak to help. Two kayaks rafted next to each other shall make both boats more stable. All of the movements are the same to get back onto the kayak. Anglers only need to remember to relax, float, swim, and keep low to get into their kayak. This way an untimely roll will not prevent anyone from not getting back onto his or her kayak to catch that winning fish. ‚ėĽ

Published in Onshore Offshore Magazine – July 2006 – pages 8-9