This morning there must have been a boat going out and one coming in, because it was a foghorn duet. Last night there was one that you could feel vibrating your insides within our house 3km from the harbour.
I like foghorns.
So this kayak fishing idea has been kicking around in my mind for a while, and this week it crystallised into something that's within the realms of possibility. It's a combination of realising that Wellington has one of the fishiest harbours and coastlines in the country, but that a lot of it's not accessible by foot (too many rocks and weeds on the beach side) or boat (too shallow and lots of reefs on the water side). What this means is that there's this band of underfished water, outside the reach of both shore-based and boat-based anglers.
Enter the kayak, a wee manoeuvrable shallow-water compatible boat.
As it turns out, kayak fishing is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and is getting quite big here - as evidenced by me seeing as many people in kayaks as in boats from my forlorn beach at Makara on Sunday. And it was the ones in kayaks that appeared to be among the fish.
So anyway, I've been doing some research and discovered a few things:
1. Like many of the fun adventure sports, it's dominated by men. And the gear is mostly made for men.
2. It's big enough now so that they are making dedicated fishing kayaks, with things like rod holders and bait boards built in.
3. To set myself up to do this would cost me around $2500.
The first one is interesting. I had a chat with Dave at Fergs about it yesterday, pointing out that at 60kg I'm not interested in paddling a boat that's designed to cart a 100+kg rugby player around. Apparently Ocean did make a 'chick's boat' but nobody bought it because a) it was pink, b) it said on the marketing blurb that it was designed by women for women, and c) it was called The Venus. These combined factors ensuring that 'no bloke would buy one', and given that the kayak fishing scene is a sausage fest, that basically meant they didn't sell enough to continue the line.
I could probably teach Ocean a thing or two about marketing adventure toys to women. Like, make the boat a bit smaller and lighter but don't call it bloody Venus, don't make it bloody pink, and don't try to pretend that women are a separate species that need their own special equipment. Especially not in adventure sports. It's right up there with those Bic pens for women that the world is still taking the piss out of.
Basically, by making this boat so very gender-stereotypically marketed, they put off both women and men from buying it. Top tip for adventure marketers - women who do these kinds of sports have enough of a battle for recognition and acknowledgement, without someone's marketing putting them in a hot pink boat with Venus emblazoned on it and thus marking them as Not The Same And Therefore Suspect.
So anyway, the boat that appeals most to me is this one:
Yes, I know, it's orange. The shop model at Ferg's is green. They are deliberately brightly-coloured because hey, small boat, the brighter the better for not getting run over by those container ships with foghorns I was talking about before. And it's not pink.
This one rocks in at around $1600 new with a rudder (important in Wellington because usually it's windy and with no keel, kayaks are vulnerable to wind), and then would need a paddle, bouyancy aid, running rig with anchor, and a landing net to be set up. Also a set of roof racks for the car. So yeah, as with many sports the sky is the limit, but I could set myself up in this boat with all the goodies I need for around $2500.
I have $2500 in my savings. My savings is for frivolous things - I have a separate retirement and rainy day savings that I don't touch. I could spend my savings on doing this and have some change left over, but not a lot. And I feel surprisingly weird about cleaning out my savings for a toy. Especially when at this point I'll be playing on my own.
If I bought a motor boat I could take my friends fishing. It'd cost a shitload more to set up though, and have substantial ongoing costs. I've had three people already tell me they'd be keen to go fishing with me (and that's land based), which I couldn't do in a kayak unless they hired one to come too. But I would be able to go out on my own whenever I wanted, and my chances of coming home with fish would be vastly increased.
So, instead of going "Fuckit" and spending most of my savings on what isn't really an impulse buy but feels like one in a way, I arranged with Dave to go in sometime this weekend and go for a paddle. They have a couple of fishing boats in their hire fleet, and the idea is that Dr Wheel and I go down there, hire a couple of boats, paddle around, hop out, tip the boats over, right them, hop back in, swap, paddle around some more - in short, give them a good test. Dave suggested I bring a rod to see what actually fishing from one would be like.
That way I should get an idea of how hard it is to get where you want to go in a kayak, and whether I'll find it enjoyable enough to do regularly. But I suspect if I do enjoy it a lot, in the near future I might be forking over a shitload of money for a large hollow bit of plastic and some string.
In orange (or green). And with the manly name of Prowler. *ahem*