Fishgator – New York Fishing
Reports and Reviews for New York Fishing
Kayaks in the snow

For those of us living in temperate northern climates, fishing kayaks should be given special consideration when storing them for the winter.  In particular, sit on top kayaks have features that might make them more susceptible to damage from freezing.  Here are some tips and things to consider when you are winterizing your fishing kayak.

Kayaks in the snow

My desire to fish right up to the arrival of Old Man Winter led to my sit on top fishing kayak getting caught out in a rain that quickly turned to snow. Luckily the next day there was a brief thaw that allowed me to get my kayak properly prepared and stored away and ready for its cold season slumber.

Kayaks are waterproof, so people tend to think that they can take whatever mother nature dishes out while they are stored outdoors.  Not so.  Freezing temps makes plastic very brittle and any water collected in tight spaces will freeze and could actually cause cracks.

Sit on top kayaks, particularly those set up for kayak fishing, are much more susceptible to damage from freezing because there are extra spaces and compartments in which water can collect and freeze, and often additional equipment and features that can also be damaged.

Ideally, you should store your kayaks someplace indoors in a drier and warmer location like a shed, basement or garage.  Not everybody has the ability to do this, so here are some steps you can take to protect your kayaks when stored outside for the winter.

-Remove all fishing equipment and electronics.  The constant cooling and warming early and late winter combined with moisture in the air can wreak havoc on metal parts and electronics that are susceptible to corrosion.

-Never leave batteries stored uncharged for long periods of time in freezing weather.

-If possible, remove transducer cables prior to cold weather because wire insulation can become brittle and crack when moved around.  Also, rodents like to chew on wiring.

-Store your kayak up on an elevated  rack or flat surface.  Even when cold, your kayak can still deform if left long-term stored on an uneven surface.  I’ve known friends who have stored their kayaks on the ground only to discover that their kayak had been sitting in a block of ice or had become the home for some rodent or other animal.

-Store your kayak upside-down goes for sit on top kayaks too.  You might think that water would run right out through the scuppers, but what happens more often than not (see photo above…) is that snow collects in the wells, then freezes and blocks the scuppers preventing water from draining out.  Also, flush mount rod holders can fill up with water, freeze, and crack the plastic.

-I recommend removing the scupper plugs from sit on tops even when they are stored upside down for the winter.  With they plugs in, it makes a nice collecting area for water which can freeze, expand, and cause cracks.

-Be careful moving kayaks and opening hatches in freezing weather.  Plastic becomes much more brittle and can snap much easier.  Even the slightest amount of water condensing and freezing around hatch seals can cause problems.  I once learned the hard way when I unthinkingly forced open a hatch late winter when it was still freezing temps and tore a foam-rubber seal.

-Remove all fabric and padding from your kayak such as seats, PFDs, and cushions and store them indoors.  Rodents love to chew on cloth and foam padding and use them for building nests.

-If you take the above precautions, you may not really need to cover your kayak with a waterproof, but it might be something to consider if you live in a place where their is still plenty of sunshine during the winter, in which case you might want to cover your kayak to prevent damage from ultra-violet radiation. I’m not a big fan of putting covers on my kayaks because I’ve found that they can cause as much damage as you are trying to prevent when they collapse under the weight of water or cause abrasions due to flapping in the wind.  Other alternatives might be to store your kayak in a shaded area or to apply a UV protection product such as spray-on 303 Protectant.  Because I know live in an area with fewer sunny days that Seattle Washington, I have not used this product, but friends who kayak fish in sunnier climates say it works great and gives your stuff protection from solar radiation at SPF 40.

Just as when quarry workers used to use the power of freezing water to cleave large blocks of stone, your kayak doesn’t have a chance should water collect and freeze in a tight space such as a scupper hole.  Quarry workers would drill holes in rock then fill them with water over the winter.  The water would freeze and expand and actually split the rock along carefully measured lines of drilled holes.  In this manner, they were able to use the power of nature to make very symmetrical blocks of stone.  Imagine what it could do to your kayak’s brittle plastic!

If you have any tips for storing your kayak over the winter, you are welcome to share them with us here on Fishgator.

Paul-King

Since I got my Malibu Kayaks Stealth 14 last year and had a plastic vessel capable of going onto big water, I’ve been eager to take it out into open water to deep-troll for some of the salmon and trout species that are abundant in Lake Ontario. I got my chance yesterday when a couple of my fellow Western NY Kayak Fishing Association friends, Andrew and Jude, caught the trolling bug with me. Andrew and Jude had gone out on charters the week previous and had a general idea of recent reports about where the fish were.

Other than what I have read about trolling in Lake Ontario, I had no experience or idea what to set up or how to set it up. So, I took an old Quantum baitcast Bill Dance catfish combo that I had laying around and converted it into a trolling rig. I put a detachable line counter on the rod and spooled it up with 200 yards of 40# Sufix Performance Braid, tied on 001 Luhr Jensen Dipsy Diver, added a snubber with a 6-ft 8# fluorocarbon leader, and tied on a 4-in dimpled trolling spoon by Northern King Lures. I made sure that I brought along my fish finder and gps unit so I could pay attention to depth and speed.

Jude was already out on the water when I launched from Sandy Creek at about 5:30pm and joined him about 1.5 miles out in 60-100 ft of water. Andrew joined us soon after and we soon commenced to trolling side-by-side in a half-fast manner.

The first thing I noticed, to my amazement, was that I could actually see the thermoclines on my beat-up old Humminbird PiranhaMax 160 fish finder. I really had no idea about how deep my Dipsy Diver would go with braided line, but I had read about a general rule of thumb to let out three times the amount of line as the depth you want to go. So, I let out 180 ft of line, set the drag, and commenced to paddling. We spotted baitfish and marked some fish 60 ft down in about 80 fow. After a couple of ~300-yd passes in 80-100 fow, I felt a tug and my drag started letting out. I grabbed the rod, popped the Dipsy, and reeled in to find that my 8# leader had been snipped off clean. This time, I tied on a 20# Yozuri Hybrid leader and a new lure and trolled about 100 yds before I got the next hit.

Despite my general skepticism about having any success on my first time out, I had a fish on and managed to boat a King Salmon. It was a dink, but legal (barely), and my first salmon ever. What a beautiful and brilliantly colored fish! Jude told me that it appeared to be a wild-bred fish because all of the stocked fish have their adipose fins clipped. I released it after Jude photographed us.


My first Lake Ontario King Salmon.

I set back up and trolled halfway through my second pass before I got another hit. This time, I could tell it was something bigger. This fish was a bit more of a fighter and I was surprised to see that I had a lake trout. Not my first lake trout, but what a strong fish! I must have been trolling deeper than I thought, because these guys are generally found closer to the bottom.


Lake Ontario Lake Trout.

We wanted to get back to shore before dark, and while I had a couple of what I thought were hits on the way back, I reeled up nothing else. Though I spent about 3.5 hrs on the water, time spent actually fishing was much less and I am very pleased with the success of my first attempt to do this type of fishing. I love to paddle, and I found that I could easily keep my trolling speed between 2.2-2.5 mph that I’ve been told is ideal. I can’t wait to get out and try again!

Here’s a fine little write up on storing a kayak for the winter, as well as how to take care of them year round.  On the surface, it’s common sense, but you can never have too much common sense, right?

GuideLines – Smart Storage Keeps Boats “Healthly”

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Just got an email from REI, indicating that from May 2nd through May 11th, they are having their biggest annual outdoors sale.

Two of the things that interested me about this sale were:

20% of all Yakima Racks and Car Top boxes. (no coupon necessary)

15% off all full price boats. (no coupon necessary)

If you would like to purchase anything else from the store that isn’t already on sale, you can use REI Coupon Code ANNV20 (that’s a zero, not an oh).

As far a Yakima goes, I personally use the Yakima Gunwhale mounts as well as their Yakima Crossbars.

This sale ends on May 11th, so get yours today!

Just read where there’s a decent sale going on at Bass Pro Shops.

Some of the items i saw in the sale category:

  • Bass Pro Shop and Body Glove Flotation DevicesKayak, PFD and Float Tube sales or coupons
  • Ocean Prowler Kayaks ($849 as I write this)
  • Ocean Prowler Trident Kayaks (Looks like $1000 to $1200 with options)
  • Kayak Wall Mounts
  • White River Fly Shop Float Tubes

Click on the image below to see the full selection.


Fun in the Sun