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Cartoon of a man driving a beaten up truck with a kayak hanging from the back. Illustration: Lorenzo Del Blanco

Kayak Transportation Doesn't Need To Be Cool, It Just Needs To Work

My daughter wanted me to drive her to the first day of school in my wife’s shiny new SUV instead of my fishing truck. But why? 

Sure, it has duct tape holding a side mirror in place from when I backed down our new driveway and clipped a lower limb. Objects really are “closer than they appear.” The paint seems to wash off in the rain. And there are a couple of small dents in the driver’s side. One from a friend’s daughter hitting my parked truck with a go-cart (she’s okay); the other where I kicked the innocent truck after I backed over our cat (she’s not). The tailgate has seen better days; it only stays up if I tap the latch release with a hammer. I no longer have to worry about scratching the bed liner. And if I want to use the center cup holder to hold a cup, I have to remove all the bobbers, sinkers, lures, loose change and ball bearings. 

Still, I thought the magnificent red tandem kayak projecting out the back of the truck trumped any signs of wear and tear. 

Unless you are very fortunate, transportation of some sort is required to reach a fishing destination with your watercraft. Without my trusty truck, I’d be that guy puttering down a back road toward the lake, push- ing a kayak bungeed to a shopping cart. 

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You certainly don’t need a truck to transport kayaks and canoes. Before 

the truck, my fishing vehicle was a Chevrolet Lumina sedan. It had a gi- ant trunk that could accommodate a massive amount of tackle and camp- ing equipment. And I surprised many fishing buddies with what I could pull from under the front seats. 

With a universal canoe carrier, my old Lumina loved to schlep boats on the roof. Friends in Colorado transport a canoe on their Prius. Another friend in Texas totes his kayaks on the roof of an old Thunderbird. 

Good kayak fishing transportation isn’t just functional, it makes a life- style statement. A kayak strapped to your ride shows off your fishing and boating spirit. It says: “Adventure. Anytime. Anywhere. Just add water.” 

Plus, there is something to be said about not needing to tow around a boat trailer. And for me, that something has been: “Yea! No boat trailer lights!” As long as I keep up with the core strength exercises, my kayak- ing adventures continue to proceed without a hitch. 

My daughter is getting old enough now that she hopes there is a kayak for her under the Christmas tree. Concerns about showing up to school in my jalopy aside, she is the independent type, not afraid to do her own thing. Once she gets a taste for the freedom of paddling in her own kayak, someday she’ll be asking for a kayak fishing hooptie too. 

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