Choosing the right canoe or kayak

This is really one big step when deciding to buy your own canoe or kayak. Buying a canoe or a kayak is a big deal, they represent a fair investment, and more importantly, your precious time on the water could be spoiled if you make the wrong choice! To help ease your boat buying nerves and to make sure you end up with the right canoe or kayak for you, the following tips should help you avoid the pitfalls and help you find your perfect paddling purchase:

Buying canoe or kayak – Cape May County Kayak Gear & Tips

Buying a canoe or kayak - Cape May County Kayak Gear
Buying acanoe or kayak – Cape May County Kayak Gear

What Do You Want?
This is the crux question. Sounds simple but, as canoes and kayaks have become more and more complex with designs for specific styles of paddling, it’s a harder question to answer than it may appear. It’s a bit easier if your planned purchase, and your preferred type of paddling, falls in to one of these specific areas: a sea kayak, or a specialist whitewater open canoe. If however you want a ‘jack of all trades’ then things can get a little trickier. Before you start to look at specific models you really need to pin down what it is that you want to get from your paddling. Get yourself a pen and paper and then sit down and make a list of all the things that you want to do in your new kayak. Be both realistic, and honest with yourself. They haven’t invented the kayak that can turn from creek boat to sea kayak yet, or a family canoe that can double up as a surf boat, and it’s not going to do you any favors if you put down ‘running grade five rivers’ if the nearest you’ve come is a splash about on your local lake. What kind of paddling do you do most of, and where? What is your current skill level and how do you see that changing in the future? What are your aspirations and your paddling goals? Do you want a solo boat, or a tandem? Add on your height, weight range etc and you should have started to build up a reasonable picture of the type of boat that you’re looking for. So what next? Well, now its time to do some research.

The Internet
Everyone and their dog has a website these days and canoe & kayak manufacturers are no exception. An hour or two surfing on the net can provide a whole stack of info on the boats that fit your criteria. Retailer’s websites are great as they often have the different types of boat listed together, so it can be easy to compare the boat’s specifications and features directly. Internet forums can also be a useful source of information and advice.

Reading Material
If you don’t have access to the Internet then track down the manufacturer’s brochures, if you’re not lucky enough to have a retailer right on your doorstep then a quick call to your local shop should be all you need to do. They’ll usually be happy to mail you out a bunch of brochures, or you can call the manufacturers direct and request a brochure be sent out to you. Again these will allow you to check out the models that fit your bill and compare specs and features.

Choosing the right buying canoe or kayak - Cape May County Kayak Gear
Choosing the right buying canoe or kayak – Cape May County Kayak Gear

Sound Advice?
We touched on Internet forums above and they can be an excellent source of advice and feedback from your fellow paddlers. There are a few things to bear in mind though. Most contributors on paddling forums give good, sound, well-meaning advice with knowledge and experience behind it. But some occasionally don’t. And as with all first hand experiences and recommendations, including magazine and web gear tests we have to add, is that they are subjective. All a tester, or poster can do is to comment and feedback on how they found a particular boat, and just because they liked/hated it doesn’t mean you will. So as a rule take on board online advice, but take it with a grain of salt.
The same goes with shop staff, most kayak shops offer way more than just a place to spend money. They have a professional vested interest in putting you in the right boat (happy paddlers come back to buy more kayak gear), and on top of that, most are passionate about paddling and will want to make sure that they give you the best advice possible.

Brand New or Second Hand
It’s certainly worth considering a second-hand boat and there are some great bargains to be had. You still need to apply the same criteria though, as it’s no good buying a boat just because it was dirt cheap if it doesn’t do the job you want it to. The Internet is the main source of second hand boats these days, with most paddling websites having a ‘for sales’ section or auction sites like Ebay carry a lot of kayaks and kayak gear too. It’s generally not a good idea to buy the boat unseen, especially if it’s a model you’ve never tried, and you should still try to get it out on some water for a demo. Plastic boats are tough and you shouldn’t be put off by scratches from usual use, but do give the boat a thorough check, especially under the seat, around and under the cockpit and both the bow and stern areas, just in case. Check the outfitting and bolts too. Apart from being shiny and new, and probably the latest design, the main benefit of purchasing a brand new canoe or kayak is that it will come with a manufacturer’s guarantee and the after sales back up and service that a good retailer will provide.

Retail Therapy
If you do decide to go down the new boat route then grab your ‘wish’ list and head to your local retailer. Once there talk through your selection with the staff and explain the reasons behind your choices. Ask plenty of questions. They may well have some advice, or suggestions that you haven’t yet considered. Have a good look at the boats, take a sit in them, you may find that you knock one or two off the list at this stage without even getting them wet.

Symposiums, Shows and Come-and-Try-It-Days
There are a host of these types of brilliant events that take place all over and they can be excellent places to meet like-minded paddlers and discuss boats and ideas. Many retailers now run specific demo-day events where manufacturers turn up with complete demo fleets and are on hand to offer help and advice on the right canoe for you.

Choosing the right buying canoe or kayak -  Cape May  County Kayak Gear
Choosing the right buying canoe or kayak – Cape May County Kayak Gear

Time To Float Your Boat
Time to demo, it’s really important to try the boats on the water. Most good dealers have fleets of demos and access to water; some may even allow you to try stock boats if they don’t have a demo of a particular model. If you’re buying a tandem or family boat then make sure you take along your paddling partner, nippers, dog etc to try the boat with you too Twenty minutes on the water will tell you more about whether the boat is right for you than any website, forum or brochure can ever do.

Pricing
Remember that discount, if offered, is a privilege and not a right. Many retailers offer a discount to the members of their local club, or regular customers. If you’re making a large purchase then by all means ask, but in our experience a polite enquiry is usually infinitely more successful than
demanding 50% off because you’ll also be buying a nose clip! In our opinion, supporting your local retailer and getting great service and advice is far more valuable than saving an extra ten quid on a boat that’s halfway across the country and is probably going to cost you more than that to collect/have delivered.

Happy Shoppers
OK that’s it, your money clip is empty, but you have a lovely new canoe or kayak strapped to the roof rack. It’s time to go paddling. There are just a few little things to do before you hit the water. Take the time to fill in the warranty card and return it, you’d be amazed how many people just rip it out and chuck it in the bin. It’s also a good idea to spend a few minutes making sure any bolts and fittings are done up nice and tight. If you’re new toy has an adjustable seat and fittings you’ll probably want to spend a bit of time experimenting to get it all set up just right for you. Enjoy!

For more helpful kayak tips as well as kayak gear, tackle, bait, and other fishing equipment, check out Fin-atics. Serving the South NJ area, this fishing tackle store offers quality supplies both in their Ocean City NJ store and online at good prices. Contact them at (609) 398-2248 or visit the website.

Jersey Shore Kayak Gear Home Page

Kayak Storage Tips

With the current popularity, kayaks are becoming a favorite sport for everyone. Owning a kayak is important if you enjoy going out on kayak adventures. But your kayak can be quickly deteriorated or damaged because you do not know how to preserve it carefully. With the helpful following tips, you can prevent a premature ending to your kayak’s lifespan.

Kayak Storage Tips – Jersey Shore Kayak Dealer Advices

Tip 1: Protect It from the Elements

Kayak Storage Tips - Jersey Shore Kayak Dealer Advices
Kayak Storage Tips – Jersey Shore Kayak Dealer Advices

Sunlight can degrade just about any kayak hull material, from fiberglass to plastic to coated fabric.

  • If house or garage storage is not possible, then try to find a shaded spot.
  • If shade is limited or not available, find a weather-resistant tarp that will cover the entire hull at all times of day. Suspend the tarp above the hull, as contact with the hull promotes mold or fungal growth in wet conditions.
  • Sun-protective sprays like McNett UV Tech can be applied to hard-shell boats to enhance their from-the-factory UV protection. Apply a generous coating at the beginning of each season and prior to storing your boat for any long period of time to help shield it from sunlight and oxidation.
  • For inflatable kayaks, keep your boat disassembled indoors when storing it for long periods of time.

Weather can also cause some hull materials to oxidize and/or degrade.

  • If you store your boat outside, make sure rain and snow can’t collect in the tarp and press down on the hull.
  • Prolonged exposure to cold can damage the fabric skins used in certain inflatable kayaks.
  • Even if you store your boat in an unheated building, be aware that repeated freezing and thawing can cause damage to fiberglass boats if water has seeped into seams, joints or cracks in the hull (it will expand and contract as it freezes and melts).

Salt water can degrade hull materials and corrode metal parts. If you paddle in salt water, be sure to rinse your boat thoroughly with fresh water before you store it.

 

Tip 2: Distribute Weight Evenly

Most kayak hulls will deform or bend over time if exposed to uneven weight distribution. Plastic and fabric hulls are the most susceptible to damage, but fiberglass and wood-hulled boats can also fall victim to this.

Support the boat at several points along its length, using padded cradles, angled surfaces and/or wide, nylon straps that match the curve of the hull.

Practices to avoid include:

  • Supporting your kayak from its ends only.
  • Standing it up on one end.
  • Hanging it from its grab loops.
  • Laying it down on its side on a flat surface for long periods of time.
  • Storing it near a significant heat source like a furnace or water heater.
Kayak Storage Tips - Jersey Shore Kayak  Dealer Advices
Kayak Storage Tips – Jersey Shore Kayak Dealer Advices

Tip 3: Protect Against Theft

If you can’t store your boat in a house or garage, then:

  • Try to keep it hidden from view as much as possible.
  • Position it so that it’s difficult for a thief to grab it quickly and run.
  • For added protection, thread a durable security cable through a sturdy part of the boat (like a wire grab loop) and lock it to a post, fence or building.

For more helpful South NJ kayak storage tips as well as tackle, bait, and other fishing equipment, check out Fin-atics. Serving the South NJ area, this fishing tackle store offers quality supplies both in their Ocean City NJ store and online at good prices. Contact them at (609) 398-2248 or visit the website.

Kayak Storage Tips – Jersey Shore Kayak Dealer Advice Home Page

South NJ Freshwater Fishing Tips

Union Lake is southern New Jersey’s largest freshwater body of water. It is considered the premier lake in this area south NJ freshwater fishing. It has had a history of providing good fishing for a variety of species.

The lake was constructed in the 1790s, and later in 1868, it was sold to the Millville Manufacturing Company, and a new dam was built downstream of the original, and it significantly increased the size of the lake. Union Lake is located in Millville, New Jersey, right off Route 49, about 45 minutes from the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It is part of the Union Lake Wild life Management area, and is located on the Maurice River Drainage.

South NJ Freshwater Fishing

This prime south NJ freshwater fishing area and it’s surrounding properties were purchased by New Jersey Fish Game and Wildlife in 1982, and the Division reconstructed the dam in 1989, and built a fish ladder in 1990. This enabled anadromous fish to spawn above Union Lake.

Union Lake is 898 acres, with an average depth of 9 feet, with a maximum depth of 27 feet. The water in Union is highly productive due to the high fertility of the soil around the lake. It has a brown, humic color, and is subject to algal blooms in the summer. The lake develops a thermocline in the summer at about ten feet, and there is a lack of dissolved oxygen at about fifteen feet. There is a variety of vegetation, both emergent and submerged, with some lay downs and islands with lily pads throughout the lake.

There have been man made structures added also, such as Christmas tree reefs and tire reefs at various locations throughout the lake. There are two boat launches at Union Lake that are available to the public. The ramp located on the Southeast end of the lake is owned by the city of Millville. The other ramp located on the West shore of the lake has parking available for fifty car and trailer rigs, and is owned by the Division of Fish Game and Wildlife. The parking lot and ramp are fantastic, and are lighted for night time south NJ freshwater fishing also. There is a ten HP maximum on the lake. There are also shoreline angling areas around the lake.

FORAGE FISH

The main forage fish in Union Lake are Alewife and Gizzard Shad, and they are in the lake in good numbers. There are also a good population of panfish, including crappies and bluegill. There are also some Pirate perch, along with some Swamp Darters.

SPECIES AVAILABLE

Fish species found in the lake as well as many other south NJ freshwater fishing spots are largemouth and smallmouth bass, Yellow Perch, Black Crappie, Bluegill, Gizzard Shad, White Perch, Striped Bass, Chain Pickerel, Channel Catfish, and Sunfish of several varieties. The smallmouth bass population in Union was small, so the State has been doing some stocking to increase the population, but they are still greatly outnumbered by the largemouth bass. Recently anglers have been reporting better catches and larger fish up to four pounds. The Stripers that are in Union Lake are contributed to anglers releasing them from the Maurice River population. As you can see, it is a nice place for south NJ freshwater fishing.

BEST LOCATIONS

The best locations for smallmouth bass are around the dam adjacent to the sandy shoreline, across the lake by the Millville ramp, and around the rip-rap, near the stumps and deep water structure. Some of the smallmouth caught in Union Lake were around three pounds, which is a nice size for this area. The largemouth bass will hold on traditional structure in the lower end of the lake, such as the brushy areas along the shore near the Dam, and in the coves on both sides. There are also three artificial structures in this area, and they hold baitfish, Crappies, and subsequently bass.

The best lures for smallmouth bass in south nj freshwater fishing areas include tubes, small hair jigs in brown and black, and small crankbaits in crawfish colors.

Best results in all the south nj freshwater fishing areas have been with a Strike Pro USA crankbait or the Lucky Craft Fat CB.

The largemouth bass here will hit a variety of soft plastics, but the best luck is usually with small worms and Senkos by Gary Yamamoto baits. The four and five inch models have been taking big largemouth bass from these areas. About a third of the way up the lake from the dam, near the state boat ramp, there are two other artificial attractors, made of Christmas trees and tire units. These areas also hold bass. A good tactic is using medium to deep diving crankbaits in this area, and bumping the structure as much as possible. Small straight tail worms and Senko’s also produce when cast to the structure and shoreline cover in this area. In the early mornings, and late afternoon and evenings, largemouth bass have been hitting walking type baits, jerkbaits, and buzzbaits in this area as well.

The next area to try during a south nj freshwater fishing trip here would be near the upper end of the lake on the West shore of the lake. There are marsh reeds and lily pad fields in this area, and they hold a good deal of large bass and Pickerel. The best baits for here would be weedless topwater’s, such as a Top-Prop, and other buzzbaits worked around the edges of the cover. Small worms, in four inch sizes, and Senkos, cast to the edges of the deep weed lines here will produce in the daytime. Also, this year we have had a good deal of bass hit Yamamoto Spider Grubs on a light weight or rigged Texas style casted to the edges of cover. There are a variety of Spider Grubs, but ones by Gary Yamamoto seem to be quite effective. The earth tone colors are easy to match to the forage and water color.

The last place you should try is in the upper end of the lake, on the right hand side, right before it turns into a narrow, winding, swamp like area. There is a Christmas tree reef in this area, mixed with other vegetation, that you should work with five to seven inch jerkbaits, in gold/black colors, and other soft plastics.

The pads on the left side in this area also hold a good deal of bass that go to five or six pounds. Many largemouth bass were caught here by working the pads with a “Tournament Frog” in Black and Brown, and a Terminator spinnerbait in 3/8 ounce, with tandem blades, with a Golden Shiner skirt. Buzzbaits took some largemouth also from this area that exceeded six pounds! Some other good baits to try for south NJ freshwater fishing are lipless crankbaits like a Rattlin’ Rapala, and spoons in the reedy areas for Chain Pickerel and bass.

EQUIPMENT

When it comes to south NJ freshwater fishing in this area, good set ups can be a couple spinning rods, with a good reel, such as a Shimano Sustain, or Daiwa Z series, spooled with 6-8lb test P-Line. These are good for small grubs and the smaller Senkos. I also like to have a couple of good baitcasters, such as a 6 1/2 to 7 foot G.Loomis, or Kistler rod, with a medium, and a medium/Heavy action, with a Shimano Chronarch, spooled with twenty to twenty-five pound test P-Line, and a separate rod for cranking. Commonly used rods are things like a Lews Crankin’ Stick, and a G.Loomis Cranking Stick for this, with a Lews reel, spooled with 10-12 test. These reels are necessary to present the crankbaits properly, and reduce angler fatigue.

Use these tactics at Union Lake or other south NJ freshwater fishing areas this coming year, and you will increase your catch rate and your fun. Union Lake has variety of scenery and wildlife, and can provide a great day out for the whole family.

For more helpful South NJ freshwater fishing tips as well as awesome freshwater and saltwater fishing tackle, bait, and other fishing equipment, check out Fin-atics. Serving the South NJ area, this fishing tackle store offers quality supplies both in their Ocean City NJ store and online at good prices. Contact them at (609) 398-2248 or visit the website.

South NJ Freshwater Fishing Homepage

Kayak Rental Vs. Kayak Buying

Are you are planning on buying a kayak, but don’t know exactly what to get or how to go about choosing? Kayak rental is always an option for people in these situations. Today we are going to talk about kayak rental vs. buying a kayak.

Kayak Rental

Ocean City Kayak Rental | Cape May County Kayak Dealer

If you’ve never kayaked before, kayak rental gives you the chance to try out a range of kayaks before you buy. If you plan to only paddle for a couple of hours once in awhile, kayak rental is recommended. If you are only going on one trip in your life, you should DEFINITELY go with kayak rental. If your budget has no room for a kayak, go with kayak rental.

When you are going for kayak rental for the first time, go with a friend. If you want to go solo, the rental outlet will ask you to take a capsize/rescue course unless you can show some evidence of having done so. If you go with a friend, they will just explain the process of an assisted rescue and let you go.

Pick a kayak rental operation that can offer a good selection of kayaks and easy access to the water. If you are thinking of renting for a few days, try a couple of hours first. This will give you a chance to get a feel for the equipment, the size of the hatches, the types and condition of the boats, the outlet’s policies regarding picking up and dropping off, etc.

The operator will ensure you are familiar with all the equipment before setting off, but it’s best to check that you have all the necessary gear. The Coast Guard requires you to have a whistle, PFD, pump, throwline, and spare paddle. You should also be supplied with a paddle float and a spray skirt. Always check that the hatch covers are on before heading out. If there’s an inner neoprene cover under the solid hatch cover, make sure it’s in place, to ensure watertightness.

Kayak rental is best to do during the week when the staff can spend lots of time helping you to properly fit the kayak and explain how it works. Weekends are typically busier. Reservations are offered by some operators. Always ask about the cancellation policy. If you figure you will be renting a lot, look at a season’s pass or frequent paddler coupons which can save you money.

Buying a Kayak

If you can wait for the best time to buy, you may save yourself some money. Fall and winter are the toughest times for summer sports retailers. They incur many of the same costs they have in summer yet their revenue drops dramatically after the season has slowed down. To your benefit they can also spend more time with you then.

Most retailers will offer a limited rental credit towards a new kayak. Stock kayaks take up huge amounts of space better devoted to other items that will sell better and so the motivation to move the stock kayaks is definitely there. Retailers will often have incentives on floor models. Prices traditionally go up in January, so consider buying a new kayak before then.

Fin-atics, an Ocean City NJ kayak & tackle store, has kayaks up for both buying and kayak rental. For more information, you can contact them at 1-866-224-2248 or visit the website.

Kayak Rental Home Page