Advice from professional angler Casey Reed from Virginia

Advice from professional angler Casey Reed from Virginia
Advice from professional angler Casey Reed from Virginia

MONETA, Va. (WFXR) — Kayak fishing has exploded in popularity over the past decade. The Recreational Fishing and Boating Foundation estimates that nearly 40 million people spend at least some of their time fishing from kayaks.

“I really think it’s the cost,” said professional kayak angler Casey Reed of Lynchburg. “You can buy a kayak for just a few hundred dollars.”

Reed is proof of the growing popularity of kayak fishing, competing in the Bassmaster Kayak Series tournaments, which now have more than 100 anglers competing at the highest level of professional kayak fishing.

“There are people all over the country who travel around the country and compete in these kayak tournaments,” Reed said. “I started competing in kayak tournaments nine, 10 years ago.”

What do you need to know if you want to start kayak fishing?

“You have to go online, and there are a lot of owner groups, like the Old Town group and other groups. You can go in there and just see what other people are doing with these kayaks,” Reed said. “You may not know what to expect from a particular kayak, but you’ll see how these people are using their kayaks.”

Once you’ve decided what you want, you can spend a little or a lot, but it doesn’t have to be expensive.

“You can start with a kayak that costs less than a thousand dollars and still have a really good kayak,” Reed added.

Reed fishes from an Old Town Sportsman Autopilot 136, a top-of-the-line American-made paddle boat.

Although his kayak is high-end, it still costs a fraction of a boat and offers access to waters that many boats can’t. And each kayak is customizable, so you can add anything you want, based on your needs and preferences.

There’s also the mobility factor. While Reed transports his kayak on a trailer, he says you don’t have to.

“You can throw it in the back of a truck or on the roof of a four-door sedan,” Reed said. “You can really transport these things however you want.”

There are kayaks for both freshwater and saltwater. A kayak can be just as effective on lakes and rivers as it can be on salt marshes and streams that flow into the Intracoastal Waterway. There are also kayaks for “big waters” like the ocean or the Great Lakes.

Reed believes the sport will continue to grow because it is fun, affordable and gives anglers access to waters they would not normally have access to.

It’s a lot of fun,” Reed said. “You can really do as much as you want with these kayaks. I have mine fully outfitted because I’m a tournament angler who travels around the country, but you don’t have to do everything. You can be as minimalist or as excessive as you want.”

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