Conroe Courier/ June 10, 2020/ Boating, News

June is here and the weather has been kind of stormy at times, but it is summer so it can become bright and sunny at any minute and grow hot enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk. I can also remember many a summer that demonstrated a show case of squalls and thunderstorms off and on, up into the fall of the year, and have so far seen no one who can do anything about either condition so we might as well carry on just like we know what we are doing.

Squalls and thunderstorms bring periods of rain, thunder, and lightening and are normal for the Texas Gulf Coast. Two things come to mind about them and they are: they can generate lightning and wind, and I have yet to see anyone that could do anything about them. All I can recommend is to get off of the water as soon as possible, and hunker down inside until they pass by or dissipate.

The No. 1 hope on my summer wish list however, is no powerful hurricanes in our part of the Gulf this year. They can be disruptive for a while, and can get downright dangerous if you live near the coast. With the coronavirus restrictions I for one have enjoyed about all of the disruption to daily activities that I can stand. I do pray a lot, fish, and spend time at the shooting range, so I really don’t have a valid complaint, but I miss personal interaction with friends.

In spite of the thunderstorms and coronavirus, we can take advantage of the summertime here in Texas and get out on the water and have some fun and one of the best ways I know of is in a kayak on a lake, creek, river, or the Gulf of Mexico.

I have recently noticed a lot of vehicles with kayaks strapped to the top or tied down in the beds of trucks. I do know that kayaking is one water sport that is growing faster than I can keep up with and has been for a number of years.

My impression for years was that a kayak was about as stable and sea worthy as a pirogue of my youth. However, after a fishing trip out to one of the marshy islands down on the Texas Coastal Bend a number of years ago, my eyes were opened to the fact that I was wrong about kayaks.

I learned that if you get the right kayak for the job you intend to do, you have a stable platform on which to accomplish your mission, and at that time my mission was fishing for red fish and speckle trout. It didn’t hurt that I had someone with me who knew what he was doing and I learned properly and quickly, because there is really nothing to it. That was my first experience with a kayak and I had fun and we caught fish.

Before you run out and purchase a kayak I would strongly suggest you take a realistic look at how and where you intend to use one. It will also pay to rent one and let a professional teach you the proper way to utilize all of the features of a kayak before you spend your money, because you can spend a couple hundred dollars or a few thousand. You might as well identify what you want to do and get the best kayak you can afford to accomplish the task without blowing a lot of unnecessary money or ending up with a craft that will not do what you want it to do.

I have looked at a lot of kayaks around the area and have noticed some important information you should keep in mind if you decide to purchase one, and that is the safety information affixed to all watercraft by law. Take note of the load limit of the craft. I have seen kayaks that will not carry a person in the 175 to 200 pound range. Your weight is only the start because your equipment, snacks, and drinking water will also add weight that must be taken into consideration as well.

Here on Lake Conroe we are fortunate to have the North Lake Conroe Paddling Company who rents kayaks and canoes and will show you how to use them. You can use your favorite search engine and get all of their information on line.

The north end of Lake Conroe is excellent for kayaking because not many of the radical pleasure boaters go much north of the FM 1097 Bridge. The reason is when the land was cleared before the the dam was completed the land in the Sam Houston National Forest was left with all of the trees and structures and roadbeds, so when the lake filled all of that was covered by the water. Take a look at a map of the north end of the lake and you will see identifiers like “Jungles” in areas. You can still see some trees sticking up out of the water but that area is hazardous for any motor craft that might try to go north at too high a speed. However, it is perfect for kayaking for fishing, birding, or just communing with nature.

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