Tag: editorial

Maggie Valley - Canoe Vibes

Maggie Valley, NC: Reminders of Simpler Times and Techniques

Fishing trips weren’t always about the donated gear – always photographed with the manufacturers label facing out, the custom artisan-tied flies tossed on trips with well-respected guides, and the eventual too-good-to-cook-my-fish release of legal catches.

But they are now. Work in this industry has been good to me. And I’m ok with that.

Ted, not so much. Ted’s skeptical.

“I’ll catch the fish while you just go try to impress the other fishermen” he ridiculed over my gear-planning text message before our long weekend fishing the North Carolina Smokies. His skepticism – at a level of pure practicality, a level only he can stoop down to – is intuitive.

Think about it. The sole point of the trip is to catch fish. Why do we need four days’ worth of clothes, seven different accessory mounts, and three cameras? What’s the deal with the wading boots, the mummy-styled sleeping bag, and the Simms button down? Fish don’t eat any of those.

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Kayak Fishing Savannah Georgia | Savannah Canoe and Kayak Fishing Guide

Savannah, GA: Battling High Tides in Low Country

On Sundays, I go grocery shopping. It’s a dreaded part of my week that I hesitantly grin my way through as I pass through the organic vegetable section and make my way to the Pop Tarts. The wheels on my weathered shopping cart painfully screech past the fresh deli meats and come to an impermanent stop right around the pre-packaged hotdogs and that delicious plastic-looking cheese. Like clockwork, I’m in and out at less than ten minutes, free from suffering through this retail assault for another seven days.

I don’t like shopping and it’s not limited to my domestic necessities. I spent a total of ten minutes shopping for my Old Town Next, my unnecessarily expensive cooler, and my PFD now doubling as a camping pillow. I bought my car after only an hour of browsing internet listings and I buy the same model Sanuks every time the old ones wear thin on the sole.

In a retail culture that is overwhelmed by well-marketed shots at consumer’s self-confidence, I don’t spend much time in retail shops.

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Canoe Vibes | Deep Blue Kayak Fishing | Offshore Kayak Fishing

Boynton Beach, FL: Big Fish & Bigger Parties

Eric McDonald – a Michigan transplant now giving autographs to South Florida pizza delivery guys for his offshore kayak fishing celebrity-ish status – opened my 6 am charter with an apology.

“I just need one. Sorry, man. I’m feeling a little rough.”

He cracked the top on one of the previous night’s surviving Corona Lights and handed me the other, a selfless gesture guided by the assumption that I couldn’t be feeling much better than he. Within minutes, beers number forty-seven and forty-eight were finished to round out our Thursday night party.

With only a six-hour nap in between, it was better late than never.

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Gibsonton, Florida: The Greatest Show on Earth

Grady Stiles – stage named Lobster Boy, personifying every historically accurate, culturally-exaggerated, American Horror Story ‘carnie-ism’ on the laundry list of what it takes to be the most famous freak in the traveling show, never fancied spending his free time in metropolitan Tampa, Florida. That’s because he preferred the secluded mangroves of Gibsonton. As does kayak fishing guide Derick Burgos of Phatfish Kayak Charters.

One of them was drawn to the Gibsonton – where various self-proclaimed carnival and circus entertainers spend the offseason – by the vicinity to their former employer, Ringling Brothers’, winter operation in Tampa and Sarasota. The other was drawn to the plentiful fishery. One of them used the seclusion to hide his lobster hand disability (ectrodactyly), alcoholism, and eventual murder of a family member while the other uses the deep channel pockets to land big redfish on his client’s small plastic boats.

Both have logged countless hours wandering Alfia River.

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Canoe Vibes | Fishing Arkansas | Gabe Levin Mark Vlaskamp

Fishing Arkansas: Nothing Moves Fast in Yellville

Nothing moves fast in Yellville. The north central Arkansas city named for Archie Yell, the winner of the last duel in the city’s streets – or so they say, is home to 1,312 people and an economy that is driven by White River tourism and the Ranger Boats factory right next door in Flippin.

“We hit rush hour” Gabe joked as we pulled up to the three-car-deep line at the city’s big four-way stop on our way to load the boat and fish the White. It didn’t take me many blocks after the traffic cleared to realize things were going to be a little different in Yellville, especially compared to my most recent road trip stop at the college bar scene in Fayetteville.

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A Long Portage:

We're back after a really long portage. What used to be a roadtrip-centric canoe blog is now a bit more settled in the Texas Hill Country. We still believe canoeing is dated, not dead. And we still chase high CFS and sticky situations.

But we're not on a roadtrip battling for cell service from the backseat of the Jeep anymore. We're enjoying life off the road. The showers, hot meals, and stable jobs are nice too.

If the paddling road trip is what you're looking for, it's moved here.



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