Native kayaking Eskimos along the Pacific Rim of North America had a slick trick for riding out choppy ocean waters while paddling in their kayaks. They’d seek out kelp beds – mats of surface floating fronds and bull kelp bulbs – and steer their boats into the calmer waters of that island of marine vegetation. Sea otters are often sighted lying on their backs in kelp beds, perhaps for the same reason – a smoother ride.
By reaching out with their paddles, an ingenious kayaker would slide his paddle tip under a frond, lift it up and drape it across his bow. Those thick, broad “leaves” of kelp acted as buffers against the wind’s agitation of the surface. Several strips crisscrossing the bow this way secured the boat from both drifting and excessive bobbing in the water. This was also a common practice when needing a secure, at-sea rest while on long offshore journeys.
Canoe and kayak fishermen today know the advantages of fishing near weed beds on lakes and even broadenings in a river. Usually, it’s best to keep the boat outside the thicker weed beds and cast along the weed line or towards the shore from further out on that particular body of water.
However, sometimes wind or currents might cause your boat to drift too far, too fast, to be an effective platform for positioning your boat for casting into or along those weeds. Maybe these are opportunities for weed anchoring your craft?
Even when photographing from my kayak, I sometimes like to scoot into the edge of the weeds to secure my boat enough that I can concentrate on shots rather than constantly having to maneuver my boat with one-handed paddle sweeps. Securing the boat temporarily with a few strands of lake weeds anchors the boat long enough to be able to concentrate on the tasks at hand.
The main limitation to this method is that you need to anchor your boat at the bow because it’s too cumbersome and unstable to try to work fronds/weeds up behind you from over your aft deck. This presents another problem of not being able to orient your boat properly to cast back out into open water or along the weed bed line.
If the wind or current is modest enough, you can also simply park within the weed edge and let that matted lacework of weed mass in the water hold your boat, or at least slow its drift down significantly. Also, the more irregular the outer edge of the weed bed is, the easier it can be to find a cut or point along that line that gives you a clear shot back out to open water for casting.
This is probably a technique you don’t want to have to rely on often. But if the occasion arises that you can’t control your drift, if there’s a weed bed nearby, it’s a technique that just might keep you parked over a hot fishing hole long enough to reel in a few keepers.
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