Thursday, October 15, 2009

Paddling Season is Just Getting Cranked Up!

Kayakers and Canoeists in most of the country are putting their boats in mothballs and going into hibernation for the next 6 months. Here in Acadiana, the paddling season is just getting started. As October melds into November, lots of wonderful things are happening for those of us that own a paddle craft.

Gone is the heat and bugs that have plagued the last 3 months. The steady procession of cool fronts will be rolling through bringing the temperatures and humidity down. These breezes will keep the insects at bay as we enjoy the beautiful waters of our area. The leaf change is about to begin in earnest. All of which make a trip out to Lake Martin, Two O'clock Bayou, Buffalo Cove, Lake Fausse Point, the Vermilion River, Whiskey Chitto or any of the myriad of opportunities we have in our area a special treat.

If you are a kayak fisherman, things are just beginning to get good. The Redfish are up in the marsh, hungrily feeding on the grass shrimp and other critters that have been growing all summer in the back ponds and grass beds as the north winds and lower tides of fall push them out. The Speckled Trout are moving inland seeking the right salinities to spawn. And the flounder action at this time of year is second to none. In other words, Kayak Fishing season is officially on. If you don't have a fishing kayak - now is the time to get one and get in on the fun!

If you enjoy the company of a group when you head into the outdooors, the trips hosted by Pack & Paddle, the Lafayette Paddle Club and the Lafayette Kayak Fishing club are just ramping up into full gear. P&P has a big variety of trips coming up as well as some we have not yet announced. The Lafayette Paddle Club ( has a Archaeology Paddle Trip, a Black Creek Overnight Trip, a Christmas Paddle and much more coming up. The Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club ( has group trips to Dulac and Cypremort Point as well as a Kris Kringle kayak fishing tournament coming up soon.

Whether you enjoy the solitude of paddling or want to get involved in a group paddle or kayak fishing trip - get your gear out and cleaned up, because Paddling Season in Acadiana is just getting ready to start!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Wind Is Free!

Recently, Becky and I were at the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show where we were testing out new kayaks and canoes that we were considering carrying here at the shop. It was exciting to see the new innovations from Native Watercraft, Wilderness Systems and all the other boat lines out there. But as we tested boats, something we weren't expecting took us back to a place in our past that we will always treasure.

During the demo, we began to test the Hobie Mirage Drive kayaks. The ease of moving across the water with leg power was fun and addictive. But what kept catching Becky's eye was the beautiful red Adventure Island Kayak/Sailboat hybrid.

The Adventure Island was sitting off to the right side, and every time it would go out, Becky would watch it longingly. Soon she was wading through the waist deep water to hop onto the sleek, beautiful craft. What many of you may not know about Becky and I is that probably the only reason we met was sailing.

In those days (1984), P&P sold Hobie sailboats and Windsurfers. Becky grew up in Lake Charles and spent every free afternoon during high school sailing on the lake. While we were dating and early in our marriage, we spent countless hours Windsurfing and sailing many different types of boats. Since living in Lafayette, neither of us has been on a sailboat - and the Adventure Island was calling her strongly.

As Becky pedaled the boat out of the test area and onto the open lake, I could tell she was in love. She unfurled the sail, and a puff of wind set her skimming across the water.

Afterwards, we talked about our time out on the sailboat. There's something about sailing and pedaling these Hobie kayaks that took us back to our early days of windsurfing and Hobie Cat sailing. I'm not sure if it's the feeling of freedom, the exhilaration and speed, the ease and fun of the boats or simply the fact that there's nothing to do but to sit, relax, explore and enjoy our time on the water.

We look forward to sharing the world of pedal driven kayaks and kayak sailing with you!