The kayak-fishing movement advances with each page that turns on the calendar. Long gone are the days when an angler walked into a tackle shop or retail outdoors outlet and got odd looks because he or she was looking to outfit a kayak. In turn, the paddling community has done an excellent job reaching out and recruiting new converts to the plastic-angler armada.
If you’re into the club scene, several kayak-fishing clubs are available across the Palmetto State. If you need one-on-one instruction, there have never been more kayak-fishing guides available to assist. Most retail paddling shops that once specialized in eco-tours and sight-seeing are getting on board with the concept that paddling and casting go hand-in-hand. Here are some of the highlights of the resources available to the Palmetto Paddler:
The best way to connect with one of the three regional kayak-fishing clubs is through Facebook or the South Carolina Kayak Fishing website at www.sckayakfishing.com. Each club offers monthly tournaments and/or fishing outings where members can get together. The three South Carolina clubs intermingle, often fishing each other’s tournaments or plan outings together. Look for that concept to increase in the coming year.
Upstate Kayak Fishing Club. The Upstate club covers western North Carolina down to Clarks Hill and every wet spot in between. If you got a sticker, you’re in.
Midlands Kayak Fishing Club. Recently founded by Brent Shelton, guide Jay Shimburski and Jason Saledas, the Midlands Club is active all over South Carolina, but it concentrates around Lake Wateree, the Broad and Congaree Rivers, plus a few local spots in the Midlands area.
SC Kayak Fishing Association. The oldest of the three, SCKFA is recognized as the Lowcountry club now that the other regions have expanded. Guide Justin Carter is the point man for the group, which fishes mostly in the salt around Charleston and freshwaters of Santee-Cooper.
If you’re interested in individual instruction, a handful of guides are available for paddling anglers. In today’s world of technology, one of the best ways to judge a guide’s success rate is look them up on Facebook and see what they catch.
Fish Green Kayak Tours — John “Jay” Shimburski, fishes the Wateree River and Lake Wateree, Stumpy Pond, Goodale State Park and the Broad River. Call 803-479-1379 or visit www.fishgreen.webs.com.
SC Kayak Fishing Adventures — Robert and Joanne Vaughn fish the rivers and lakes around Columbia and guide saltwater fishing trips along the coast. Call 803-669-6776 or visit www.sckayakfishingadventure.webs.com.
Fishing Kayaks SC — Captain Dave White and his son, David, fish saltwater in the Charleston area. Call 864-860-3127 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
KayakFishSC — Justin Carter concentrates on saltwater fishing in the Charleston area. Call 843- 725-8784 or visit www.kayakfishsc.com
Black River Outdoors — Mike Eady covers the Grand Strand, including Murrells Inlet. Call 843-246-0045 or visit www.blackriveroutdoors.com/.
Paddling anglers should have no problem finding boats and accessories, as retail outlets catering to kayakers have sprung up across South Carolina. Here are a few:
Sunrift Adventures — A long time retailer in the Travelers Rest area, Sunrift has a great selection of kayak-fishing accessories. John Gee also provides top-notch kayak repairs and service.
Half Moon Outfitters — With locations in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston, Half Moon is a great resource both at home and for those road trips when you’re out of town and need something.
Grady’s Great Outdoors — A newly expanded showroom designed specifically for their fishing and kayaking customers is overseen by Chris “Fishboy” Schuber, making Grady’s a must stop when in the Anderson area, where you’re likely to run into Brad Knight of the Upstate club offering kayak fishing demonstrations.
RiverBlade Knife & Fly Shop — Brandon Barber is a great resource for all things fly-fishing and kayaking in Spartanburg. You might even talk him into going with you.
Lake Wylie Bait & Tackle (Yak City) — Newly acquired by Adam Fillmore, Yak City is a Hook 1 retail affiliate within Lake Wylie Bait & Tackle from a guy who knows kayak fishing. The store is located within site of the Buster Boyd Bridge.
Get Your Gear On — Located near the zoo in Columbia, this shop offers a wide variety of consignment items to help keep things affordable.
Adventure Carolina — In Cayce, this shop offers rentals and a moderate amount of kayak angling accessories.
Time Out Fish & Ski — Home of “Dolphin Dave” Hamilton in Mt. Pleasant, if Time Out doesn’t have it, you don’t need it. A must stop when you’re in the Charleston area.
Kayak-fishermen can learn plenty from four television shows, two of which feature local fishermen.
Kayak Bassin’ & KnotRight Kayak Fishing — These two shows have as the host Chad “Knot Right” Hoover, pro-staff manager for Greenville-based Wilderness Systems Kayaks, Kayak Bassin’ airs on World Fishing Network and KnotRight Kayak Fishing is on NBC Sports.
Hobie Outdoor Adventures — From the folks who prefer to pedal rather than paddle. Airs on NBC Sports.
The Kayak Fishing Show with Jim Sammons — Jim Sammons is the godfather of kayak fishing. Fishing exotic locales for fish bigger than the boat. Airs on World Fishing Network.