Paddling and pedaling
Paddle sports are making a huge surge in this country. Everywhere you look, canoes and kayaks are making great strides – and strokes – in getting more people outdoors and enjoying nature’s bounty … on the water. It’s a great way to get some exercise and travel to unique and out-of-the-way places. And if you’re into popular outdoor pastimes like fishing, hunting and bird watching, it can often lead you to a “secret spot” that can add further fulfillment to those personal pleasures that satisfy your inner self being. Or it doesn’t need to be as deep as that – it can be just plain fun!
I was recently invited to participate in a photo shoot in Wilson Harbor with Paths, Peaks and Paddles, a unique local business that focuses on the outdoors. Its mission statement says it all: “To serve others by promoting environmental understanding to help form an awareness of the Earth and its community of life, and our responsibility to it. To make ethical choices in an appreciation of the wilderness and its specific values of solitude, physical and mental challenges, inspiration and primitive recreation.”
Our photo shoot would combine kayaking with fishing, focusing on several of the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 kayaks that have been taking the fishing scene by storm (as well as several other Hobies). This is where I emphasize the fact that my body is not made for a kayak. Not even close. My body is not bendy at all and I can’t get comfortable in a traditional kayak…except for the Hobie version of a kayak. Ever since Ingrid Niehaus introduced me to these kayaks from her California company several years ago, I’ve come to realize that my body can be comfortable sitting in one of these fishing machines. Yes, that’s what they are – fishing machines designed to give anglers all the comforts of a small fishing boat, including stability and maneuverability.
While a paddle system can be employed to push you around, these kayaks can be equipped with something called a “Mirage Drive pedal propulsion system” that allows you to pedal your way along as you fish in logical places. For me, it was Wilson Harbor, as well as out into Lake Ontario – until the fog rolled in. There were a half dozen other Hobie kayakers using their legs to propel them along, perfect for picture taking, fishing, exercise and more.
These things are amazing. One of the guys pedaled over to a back bay near some lily pads and stood up for a little casting – these things are that stable in the water! Some of the people I spoke with later actually ended up with these Hobie kayaks after selling their boats. Some couldn’t find people to go fishing with and these were much more manageable and easier to take care of. Outfitted with special seating options, a fish finder, a pivoting tackle system and rod storage, they are just what the fish doctor ordered to get more people on the water.
While PP&P does not rent Hobie kayaks, they do sell them. However, the more traditional kayaks can be rented (including two seaters), as well as canoes. The great thing about PP&P is that they have special events going on all the time around Western New York. They put on special “Intro to Kayaking” seminars often. During the past summer and into the fall, they coordinated a Tuesday Evening Stress Reducer Paddle on Ellicott Creek and a Thursday evening paddle in Wilson Harbor and Lake Ontario on Thursday. They offer special rates for renting a canoe or kayak, too, if you want to attend one of these on-water events.
For more information on PP&P, check out www.pathspeakspaddles.com. For more info on the Hobie kayak, check out www.hobiecat.com.
Thank you Bill Hilts for joining us on our Hobie Fishing Adventure out on Lake Ontario in Wilson, NY. We would also like to thank the NY Outdoor News for featuring such a great article.