Summer Is The Time To Try On A New Sport.

WhyKnotFishing guide Joe Gugino teaches how to kayak and fish in Marblehead Harbor.
Credit: Tamsin Venn

As a publisher of a sea kayaking magazine in the off season, I have witnessed the huge growth in the popularity of kayak fishing. It has been an opportunity for avid fisher people to get into the sport without the expense of a motorboat and launching and mooring fees, plus a chance to slide into some spots where only the kayak can go.

Fishing here in New England is big when the stripers move in around May and June. So in late May, I head over to the Little Harbor Boathouse in Marblehead, MA, to take part in a Guided Hobie Kayak Fishing Excursion. It would be a three-hour fishing program with use of a Hobie Kayak, fishing gear, and know-how from three very friendly and experienced guides: Jesse Minoski, Joe Gugino, and Mike Marquis. Perfect for a beginner like me. My first lesson was actually how to cast a line. Fortunately, my teacher Joe Gugino is a former fourth grade teacher. And even more fortunately, I was already used to a kayak wobble in unsteady seas so I felt secure in my balance with my hands free to fish. For skiers, that sense of balance comes naturally in a kayak, since we are so used to weight shifts.

The rocky shoreline around Marblehead is ideal striped bass territory, Hobie Team member Minoski says, and the Little Harbor Boathouse’s “hidden gem” location means you don’t have to go more than a half mile from the launch to fish and duck out of the wind behind Crowninshield and Gerry’s Islands.

Maryellen Auger, owner of Little Harbor Boathouse, has a Hobie Revolution 11 waiting for me. It’s an ideal boat size for women, she notes. Sleek and lively, the Revolution uses a pedal system to propel forward (a paddle is attached by bungee chord on the side if you need it). She points out the pedal system can be ideal for older people who may have developed shoulder issues over the years.

The kayak comes in three lengths, 11, 13 and 16 feet, increasing in speed with the hull length. A molded-in rod holder, multiple hatches, lots of on-deck storage, and a “hyper adjustable” Vantage CT seat with webbing, that is so comfortable you could sit out there all day and cast a line, are some of the pluses.

I “power-pedal” my way out through Little Harbor behind Crowninshield and catch up with six eager clients and three helpful guides.

I’m not so lucky in catching a fish, but I can tell you how wonderful it is to sit out on the ocean in a comfy seat on a fresh spring day, casting a line, enjoying the beautiful surroundings, camaraderie, and communing with a species that obviously knows the most of any of us about the water dynamics below. All and all, I had a very good time and highly recommend it, especially for someone new to kayak angling.

For more info,

For ongoing fishing guiding service on Boston’s North Shore—the blue fish come out in July—with 2017 Hobie Fishing Team Members Joe Gugino and Jesse Minoski:

In the off season, Tamsin Venn publishes Atlantic Coastal Kayaker Magazine.

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