August 22, 2014
Rather than deal with slippery concrete boat ramps, many kayak fishermen prefer launching in a crevice in the mangroves or spartina; fewer gouges in the hull, and less distance to the fish. However, that slender opening may be 50 or 100 yards from the road or parking lot. This poses the potential for a lot of hauling, requiring several trips to get boats, tackle and assorted gear to the water.
Kayaks, by the way, do not get lighter as you get older. Wheels were probably invented by an exhausted senior citizen, but they work well for kayakers of any age.
Pull the kayak off the rack, slip the cart under the hull, and load tackle, cooler, seat, camera, paddle and anchor pole. No further heavy lifting required. Wheel it all down to the water in one trip like a little red wagon. If you have a cart that fits into the hull's scupper holes, even better, since you don't have to take them back to the truck. Invert the wheels, slip them in the same scupper holes from the top, and take them fishing with you. Upon return, pop the cart underneath and you're on your way to the truck. Those one-way trips minimize back and shoulder strain, bug bites at dawn and dusk, and electrical exposure when a summer lightning storm is about to have its way with you.
If your kayak manufacturer doesn't offer wheels designed specifically to fit your boat's scuppers, the local shop offers universal cradle-type carts that adapt to any paddle boat. Narrow, solid tires are best for launching on hard surfaces. Go with the fat, inflatable style if you regularly traverse soft sand at the beach—just be aware those cushy rubber donuts may not enjoy the life span of a quality set of hard plastic tires.