Sunday, February 25, 2018
Outdoors

Cherish your kayak? Then follow these storage, transport tips

Once you've committed to a kayak, promised to love and protect it, in sickness and in health, you'll want to make good on that vow by getting the hang of properly transporting and storing your boat.

It might come as a surprise, but many scratched-up kayaks aren't gouged by water or seaweed.

"Most kayaks are damaged in transport," said Russell Farrow, owner of Sweetwater Kayaks in north St. Petersburg.

When picking up a kayak from the store, come prepared. Trailers, pickup trucks or roof racks are all acceptable ways to transport a new purchase, said Alex Atteberry, co-owner of LottoBoat Club & Rentals in St. Petersburg.

Instead of a real roof rack, which is probably more advisable, my dad used a homemade contraption involving pipes and pool noodles for the top of our van.

The summer after my freshman year of college, I remember taking my dad's kayaks down to Fort De Soto in a friend's pickup truck. We got there okay, but on the way back, right after passing the most southern toll booth, the kayak flew off the truck and onto the side of the road. Thankfully there was no one behind us and after checking to make sure the kayak was not cracked, we fully secured it and went on our way.

A few straps — as well as the understanding to never slack when tying up a boat — will go a long way in avoiding such an experience.

My dad, who taught me to kayak when I was around 9 years old, swears against bungee cords and recommends "clam buckle" straps, named for the shape the latch makes.

Similarly, Atteberry suggests something with a vinyl strap and latches.

"(Bungee cords) don't hold the vessel down firmly," Atteberry said. "It moves around."

Kim Doehleman, owner of Osprey Bay Outdoors in Clearwater, said bow and stern tie down is a common mistake made when transporting kayaks on car roofs.

To secure them correctly, use rope or straps to "tie the handles of the kayak down to under the bumpers of the car," Doehleman said.

I was also taught to strap tightly a couple of times around the kayak, through the car windows to really prevent the kayak from budging.

Atteberry's best tip for kayak storage is to keep it out of direct sunlight and the elements.

"UV rays kill everything," Farrow said.

Polyethylene kayaks are most susceptible to sun damage and can become weathered and brittle if left exposed too often. Fiberglass vessels can withstand the elements longer, but not by much.

A tarp or carport can help in curtailing damage, but store kayaks "indoors if possible," Doehleman said.

Damage from other elements, such as salt corrosion, pollution and microorganisms, which can be picked up from the water, can be prevented by rinsing off gear in fresh water after each use. A couple of times a year, use a mild soap to do a deeper clean, but anything stronger can diminish the integrity of the kayak.

Comments

Captainís Corner: Spring-like conditions lead to improved bite

Spring-like conditions have fired up a bite that a couple of weeks ago was practically nonexistent. Water temperatures in the mid 70s have mangrove snapper, grouper, triggerfish and hogfish aggressively chewing again in the 40- to 50-foot range.With ...
Published: 02/23/18
Updated: 02/24/18

Captainís Corner: Cobia moving into bay ahead of schedule

Rapidly increasing water temperatures have migratory fish moving toward the bay area. Typically, schools of coastal pelagic fish such as cobia and mackerel do not return until late March. This year, they are way ahead of schedule. Cobia are one of th...
Published: 02/23/18

Captainís Corner: Rising temperatures fire up the bite

With no cold fronts rolling into the bay area soon, it also means water temperatures are on the rise to the mid 70s. That has the bite fired up inshore and nearshore. Snook fishing is on fire with these warmer temperatures at night. Weíve been findin...
Published: 02/22/18

Captainís Corner: Warming waters, better visibility are good signs

Scuba and freediving spearfishermen and women have enjoyed great underwater visibility over the past week. Some boaters going offshore can make out the bottom structure from the gunnel of the boat. Best depths for visibility have been in 30 to 40 fee...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/19/18

Captainís Corner: Flats coming to life in north Pinellas County

The flats are really coming to life in north Pinellas County. Our main focus this time of year is spotted sea trout, though redfish are cooperating and schooling a bit. Snook are also responding to the warm weather, occasionally eating on the falling...
Published: 02/18/18

Captainís Corner: Bait a challenge, but effort will pay off

Bait has made its way into the bay and is on nearly every marker. The problem: Bait is moving and showing up at different times daily. The time spent to get bait will pay off. Fish have been blasting pilchards. Snook and large trout have been communi...
Published: 02/16/18
Updated: 02/17/18

Captainís Corner: Springtime fishing patterns moving in

The first half of February has been hit or miss for inshore fishing. The consistent cold fronts and warmups seem to have the fish confused. The week ahead should be pretty good. The best bite has been midmorning into the afternoon. With temperatures ...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/15/18

Captainís Corner: Get an early start when chasing redfish

Redfish schools have started to invade the flats around Pinellas Point. On low tide in the morning, I look for a school on an outer sandbar. These fish are staged on the edge waiting for the tide to come in. Once the water level rises, the fish will ...
Published: 02/13/18

Captainís Corner: Baitfish in the shallows improves fly fishing

Seeing large groups of pelicans diving and catching baitfish in warmer, shallow water is a sure sign spring conditions are approaching. The appearance of quality baitfish will spark a feeding frenzy that should steadily improve flats fishing for fly ...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/16/18

Captainís Corner: Action picking up as temperature rises

The wind finally stopped blowing so hard that we couldnít go offshore. Water temperatures were still in the low 50s offshore at the beginning of the week, and this affected fish behavior. Because the water was calm, we ventured out to the 80- to 90-f...
Published: 02/11/18
Updated: 02/12/18