If there's anything I've learned while on the water, it's that being stealthy is a necessity. Something as simple as bumping a push pole on the side of a poling platform or lightly knocking a paddle on a kayak can cause a fish to go from feeding to high alert in an instant. One thing I always take note of when purchasing a new vessel is the different vibrations it puts off when you do different things.
For Instance, when I bought my Jackson Cuda 14 this year I noticed I would make a very subtle noise every time I stood up or sat down. Often times I would see a tailing redfish as I was standing, and would quickly sit down to approach from a seated position. While most people wouldn't even notice this noise, I found that on some occasions the fish would either stop tailing or disappear completely if I was within casting distance of said fish. Something I couldn't live with!
As a sight fishing fanatic, I spend more time standing and slowly paddling/pushing (which my Cuda 14 allows me to do comfortably) with the paddle than I do sitting while in my kayak. While this is one of the best ways to approach fish to sight cast to, it leaves you with the problem of having to do something with your paddle once you do locate the targeted species. I've found that gently placing my paddle on the gunnels (sides) of my kayak, and quietly picking up a rod to make a cast is the best method for me. Unfortunately, often times this will also cause a light noise and vibration that the fish can detect. Not to mention if it's windy, your paddle will probably roll around and knock from side to side much like a teeter totter.
To this day, my Cuda 14 has yet to fail me with getting to the fish; but being human as I am, I have sent many a fish bolting off the flat due to being a little noisy on the water. After making a post on the Space Coast Kayak Anglers Group on Facebook regarding these concerns of mine, I received a lot of different info on how to make my kayak a little more stealthy. I found that luckily for those of us who aren't quiet as a mouse, there is a noise reducing product out there for your skiff made by SeaDek.
A few days before the Punta Gorda IFA Kayak Tour in February, I decided to give SeaDek a call and order some non skid pads for my kayak. Not only did it arrive quickly with simple step by step instructions on how to install, but it was also pre cut to fit my kayak. In a matter of about an hour, I had SeaDek on the areas where my paddle, push-pole, and fishing rods rest; under my seat to reduce noise when standing/sitting; and just about anywhere I could set foot on my kayak for those times when I haven't quite found my sea legs!
The morning after I installed all my non-skid pads, I ventured out to Pine Island Sound to prefish for the IFA Punta Gorda event and put my SeaDek to the test. I'll let the pictures do the talking!
With the added stealth from the new SeaDek Pads, I was literally able to come within a few feet of a tailing redfish in about 8" of water. Although I didn't get an eat from the fish pictured above, I was amazed at how close I could get to take pics or make a cast. Being able to set my paddle down without making any noise has been a game changer while sight fishing. Jackson puts grooves on their kayak to keep your paddle from rolling around...add a little SeaDek and it's fool proof. Simply set down your paddle, pick up your rod, and make that money cast.
Also, for those like myself who believe in comfort over anything, the cushion on my feet made things much easier on my back and is just overall much more comfortable. It makes it much more bearable being out on the water for 12 hours at times!
After my first encounter with this product, I doubt I'll ever own another skiff without it! Whether you're fishing, shooting pics, or just enjoying the water from a kayak, flats skiff, or any boat; I highly recommend checking out SeaDek!