By Captain Larry Jarboe
The easterly trade wind has been blowing hard for more than a week.
This is Spring Break in South Florida. Many of the local tour, fishing and diving boats that take people to the reef and blue water have to turn away customers because of the 6-8′ waves that are pounding the reef line.
There has been some seriously lost business and most disappointed vacationers.
In Key Largo, we have had wonderfully productive trips fishing our Wavewalk W700 tandem kayaks in the narrow creeks that flow through the dense mangrove forest here in the heart of Pennekamp Park. Because of the tight quarters and many non-combustion zones where internal combustion motors are prohibited, many of these areas rarely see a fisherman.
This weekend, two groups booked Wavewalk kayak fishing adventures with me –
Issac brought Julio, Daniel, and Darren for a Good Friday afternoon trip. They caught about 30-40 lbs. of keeper fish (Mangrove Snappers, Bluestriped Grunts, and Sailors Choice). I filleted out and boxed enough fish for a panko fried fish platter with black beans and rice that they had cooked up at the Blackwater Siren Restaurant before leaving our island. And, they had a big bag of fish for a big fish fry in Miami.
April who was raised and worked in the Keys, brought her son Keith Jr. and crew Kevin and Joey on Easter Sunday. After a most slow start to the day, we found fish way up Smugglers Run (a creek named for the infamous Keys past when “Save the Bales” was the slogan of the day.).
Those new kayak Ricky Rods got a real workout dragging fish from beneath the mangrove roots. April caught the most fish but everyone got their share including the pelicans who got a bucketful.
We really had to travel some distance to find the calmest possible conditions but we ended an all day trip having caught over 100 fish.
Everyone who tours or fishes with me in the Wavewalk portable boats is amazed how comfortable and stable these vessels are compared to conventional kayaks.
It is not too hard being the best fishing kayak guide in South Florida with the best fishing kayaks that are available, anywhere.
Springtime may be a little chilly north of the Florida Line but we are having wonderful weather in Key Largo.
Anthony from Broward County and his friend, Tom from New York, joined me for a wonderful Wavewalk day exploring the heart of Pennekamp State Park.
Tom had previously capsized a conventional kayak and ruined his cell phone on another non-Wavewalk expedition with another outfitter.
But, he had no problem standing in his W700 while Anthony took a well deserved snooze.
We paddled over 3 miles exploring the flats, creeks, and sunken barge wreck.
Anthony will come back to share a future Wavewalk Adventure with his fiancee. He is looking forward to putting a W700 in his garage as soon as he gets a house.
And, Tom will return to New York as a pro-yakker and apprentice commercial fisherman who has mastered the art of catching bait.
The “Rest of the Story” can be found at capnlarryjarboe.com
We are having so much fun and healthy exercise!
Quite a few years ago, back in the mid-1970’s, I was fortunate to work as a mate then captain of a large passenger carrying boat that took people snorkeling on the shallow coral reefs of John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo, Florida.
I promoted our business with the phrase “If you can swim, you can snorkel.” Twice a day, we hauled up to 61 passengers a trip on a wooden Harkers Island-built boat to witness the amazing coral reefs and tropical fish that are found right here in the United States.
Today, the State Park concession that I worked from has about 4 multi-passenger snorkel boats that have evolved from that one vessel.
Like snorkeling, there are many marine sports that have sprouted over my lifetime.
Obviously, canoes have been with us for many years. But, who figured out that you could sit on top of a kayak or stand up to paddle a fat surfboard? These are relatively recent innovations that have attracted a huge following.
Then, there are those Wave Runners. When I grew up in the Fifties, we never figured you could have a motorcycle that flew across the water.
All of those sports are fun for those of us who swim but owning all four: a canoe, kayak, paddle board and Wave Runner is expensive, space consuming, and a major maintenance hassle.
What if one vessel did all this, and more?
The Wavewalk catamaran style skiff is the stable and portable boat that literally, does it all. A visit to the company website at wavewalk.com will show you the W500 and W700 solo and tandem twin hull kayaks that are easy on your back because they are straddled like a Wave Runner. Fishermen are especially fond of the Wavewalk design because they are so easy to stand up in order to spot or cast to their prey.
These magic boats can be paddled with kayak or canoe paddles or outfitted for gas outboard or electric trolling motor or both! And, they are lightweight enough to carry on top of your car without a special carrying rack or trailer.
I discovered the Wavewalk design while I was searching the Internet for the perfect kayak to establish a retirement rental business in Key Largo. My first Wavewalk was purchased at retail price. That little W500 was so good that I used it in my commercial fishing business in the Chesapeake region to supply Blue Catfish fillets to Linda’s Cafe in downtown Lexington Park and the Victorian Candle Bed and Breakfast in historic Hollywood, Maryland.
At present, in addition to two commercial fishing work boats, I have a fleet of Wavewalk kayaks for weekend Wavewalk Adventures in the State Parks and National Sanctuaries that surround Key Largo.
And, I am fortunate to be the exclusive Wavewalk distributor for all of South Florida. Contact me if you are in the Chesapeake region and I can arrange for you to have your own Wavewalk kayak.
On a nearly daily basis, I motor my green W700 skiff through mangrove creeks or out in the ocean to make my own adventures exploring places that are almost impossible to reach by any other method of marine conveyance. This Wavewalk lifestyle is a most wonderful and unexpected retirement pastime that I am most happy to share.
So, if you are tired of being cold this winter and want an excuse to visit the Florida Keys, you have one (as if you really need an excuse to visit paradise).
A trip to my website at floridafishingkayaks.com. will provide all the info you need to schedule a free Wavewalk Wednesday demo of this vessel. Or, a weekend rental with included guide service might be a way to enjoy a complete kayak, canoe, stand-up paddle board package in a boat that “does it all.”
Who knows? You might drive home with one.
Captain Larry Jarboe, of Key Largo, Florida, is Wavewalk’s authorized dealer for south Florida.
He recently retired from his business in Maryland, and moved to live in Key Largo permanently, where he’s developing a diverse business that includes commercial fishing, reselling Wavewalk kayaks and boats, and guided fishing tours offshore, at the reef, in the mangroves, and in the nearby everglades.
Here is an ocean fishing video shot on board Larry’s mother ship –
Larry’s website: floridafishingkayaks.com