I recently got hired on full-time at Austin Canoe & Kayak as a Graphic Designer on the marketing team. Within my first few weeks, I got the opportunity to take a “Go Play Day.” This is truly a foreign concept to me – getting paid to enjoy yourself? Awesome! I was lucky enough to join our Social Media Manager, Devyn, as well as Nate and Ryan, some of our Austin store gurus for a day of kayak fly fishing at its finest. These guys not only knew fly fishing but also the San Marcos river (located about an hour south of Austin, TX) like the back of their hand. As it was my first Go Play Day, first time kayaking on a river, and first time on a Diablo kayak, my day was cut out for me!
When we all got down to the put in that morning, everyone was on point. Unloading and dealing with car logistics so we’d have a ride at the takeout was a breeze, all thanks to Nate and Ryan. As someone who gets anxious about not knowing what to expect, I really felt at ease and was ready to get on the water! After a few pointers about both fishing spots and the ensuing rapids, we were off!
Within the first hour, everyone was catching fish. It took about an hour too for me to really begin understanding kayak fly fishing. There are so many variables to consider; not only the fish and fly type, but the speed of the river’s flow, boat position, do you sit or stand?, the list goes on and on. It’s in this discipline that I find myself experiencing “flow” – where nothing matters but that moment. Professional athletes experience this and Bruce Lee also touched on it in his book “The Tao of Jeet Kun Do”. I can’t explain what it’s like to have everything come together in a perfect moment – especially when you’re prepared for it. It’s unreal.
As far as the kayaking goes, there were so many great aspects to the Diablo Adios that I can hardly point out just one. With a novice river paddler at the helm, the boat definitely took shots from rocks and trees like a champ. After the first big “smack” the ABS plastic gave me the confidence I needed. Furthermore, I couldn’t have asked for a more stable boat. I was actually standing up on a few of the rapids cruising through them. At one point, though, I think my confidence got the best of me. I came through a rapid just a little quicker than I’d anticipated and careened into a downed tree. This, of course, flipped my yak, causing quite the “yard sale.” Thankfully, everything that was attached to the boat remained on it – I only lost a few fly fishing and GoPro accessories. Small price to pay for a great day on the river!
What was your first experience river kayaking or kayak fishing like?