Slippery Otters Paddling Club

Slippery Otters Paddling Club

Promoting paddling sports to foster an appreciation for their benefits of fun, adventure, and fitness.

Category: Kayaking

My Reasons for Kayak Fishing

Kayak fishing is more popular now than ever. Everywhere I go (including the farm supply stores) there are little plastic fishing kayaks for sale. There are lots of reasons for…

Kayak fishing is more popular now than ever. Everywhere I go (including the farm supply stores) there are little plastic fishing kayaks for sale. There are lots of reasons for this interest:

  1. Kayaks are cheaper to buy and maintain than most fishing boats (especially if they are motor driven.)
  2. Kayaks can get a fisherman/woman to spots the guys in a big boat cannot get close too.  
  3. Kayaks can be set up with most any accessory a serious angler might desire.
  4. Kayaks are a greener alternative than gas burning boat motors. Kayak fishermen experience the natural world without screwing it up in the process.
  5. Kayak fishing is good exercise! We burn a few calories while feeling good about being low impact. We live longer so that we can watch our kids enjoy this sport and the great outdoors.
  6. Kayak fishing is good for my mental health. It is my favorite way to relax, to meditate. I can picture myself right now paddling and fishing among the Cypress trees on Lake Santa Fe. The rhythm of the paddle strokes, the sound of a good cast, the bird songs, the water and wind all speak to me and I relax.

Just imagine paddling through the Cypress trees on the edge of your lake heading to your spot. It’s just before sunset, and the fish are hungry. It’s quiet. It is beautiful. There are no distractions. You are totally present. You love being right here!

What might you catch? You approach your spot, and with a final paddle stroke, you drift into place. Oh boy! Here you are, right where you have caught fish before. That familiar feeling that you are going to be lucky hits you and out of nowhere you just start grinning from ear to ear. What a terrific feeling! You ease your anchor into the water and down to the bottom as quickly and quietly as possible. The only thing left to do is bait your hook and cast.

 


Mitch Hammond is one of the original members of the Slippery Otters Paddling Club. He is a musician, outdoorsman, father, and friend. He is also an avid fisherman. Mitch wears a lot of different hats and is now blogging about kayak fishing for the Slippery Otters.

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Paddling My Way to My Happy Place

Stephanie Greathouse is a founding member of the Slippery Otters Paddling Club. She is often referred to as Mumsie Otter. Stephanie prefers calmer paddling (better birdwatching) but she also enjoys…

Stephanie Greathouse is a founding member of the Slippery Otters Paddling Club. She is often referred to as Mumsie Otter. Stephanie prefers calmer paddling (better birdwatching) but she also enjoys whitewater rafting.

Everyone has stress in their life. I know that I do.

Last year, I had more than my share. Apparently, good stress, or eustress, can motivate you. Eustress can help you accomplish your goals and challenges. Eustress pushes you forward like an engine. Bad stress pushes you down and tries to bury you. I must admit that I did not feel so positive about my stress. I looked at my bad stress in contempt and thought, “Oh, there you are again. You follow me around like a bad relationship that resurfaces at inopportune times.” Actually, there is never an appropriate time for stress to come knocking at my door.  When the missionaries of stress are at my door, should I close the curtains and hide or turn the knob and greet the visitor head on? This is what I did.

Dealing With Stress

I tackled the stress like it was an invader in my body.  My stress coping strategies include: yoga, BodyFit (a circuit training, yoga, and meditation workout class that I do twice a week in the woods with my awesome friends), Zumba, positive affirmations, prayer, and “quality time with my spouse.” I also added a daily dose of wine and dark chocolate.  Unfortunately, without deliberate intention, I had eliminated paddling from my life. Why?

Paddling was actually what I needed the most, but I did not realize it.


The Breakthrough

My husband, Zane, and I had a couple of guided kayak tours on the calendar that were booked months in advance. The first one was fast approaching. We would launch from a county boat ramp next to the Margarine Kinnans Rawlings state historical site in Cross Creek Florida, and paddle Lake Lochlossa, Cross Creek and part of Orange Lake.  We left early in the morning to meet our guide and a few other paddlers. It was sunny and in the high 60’s. I climbed into my kayak as I watched twin twelve year-old girls struggle to maneuver their kayaks. This was their maiden voyage. Zane and I ventured ahead as the guide gave instructions to the new paddlers. We relaxed under some trees as we waited for the girls and their parents to catch up.  I looked up at the vibrant blue sky and spotted an eagle flying above. Moments later, a second eagle was spotted in a tall pine tree. I have never seen two eagles in the same day. Now, I knew that this day would be amazing. As I began to traverse the waterway, I closed my eyes for a moment as I felt the warm sun on my face. The temperature was rising as I breathed in the fresh air. The lush grass bent as the breeze kissed it. I had a stark realization that my burdens had lifted and I felt joy that had been smothered for some time. This led me to a remembrance of why I loved to paddle. I became immersed in the beauty of the shimmering water and luscious green landscape. I thanked Mother Nature of all of her glory and healing powers that she bestowed upon me.


A Lesson Learned

When the water calls you, do not turn your back. Go!  Paddle! Find that place that renews your mind and soul. Are you having a rough day, week, or year? Do yourself a favor and get out on the water. Give yourself the self-care that you deserve.
Stephanie Greathouse

 

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“You are crazy!”

I am going to paddle across Florida. I am going to start in the Atlantic Ocean, paddle up the St. Mary’s River to the Okefenokee Swamp to the Suwannee River…

I am going to paddle across Florida. I am going to start in the Atlantic Ocean, paddle up the St. Mary’s River to the Okefenokee Swamp to the Suwannee River downstream to the Gulf of Mexico.

What I know for a fact:

I am going in May of 2019.

I am not the first person to ever do this.

I will be 65 years old.

I will be writing about the trials and tribulations of my trip on this blog.

I have a lot of planning to do.

I just have a lot of to do’s.

 

What I don’t know:

The list if soooooo long. There is so much I don’t know. I have so many questions to answer.

How long will it take?

How do I transition from the St. Mary’s River to the Okefenokee and the Okefenokee to the Suwannee River?

Should I use a canoe or a kayak?

How much water do I need to take?

The questions go on and on and on.

I am putting together a “Trip To Do List.” I hope my readers will help me. How would you go about this? I have a tendency to look at things as problems/challenges that I will have to face. What are the challenges? I will write about each and every one during this planning phase. During the trip, I will keep in touch the best I can while I am underway. By the way, that is definitely one of my challenges. How should I stay in touch?

I am a purpose driven guy. I use goals, objectives, and actions/activities to get myself going and make sure that I accomplish what I set out to do. I will post my “Goals” along with the “Objectives” that I will need to meet in order to reach those goals. Then you will see my lists of “Actions/Activities” that I will follow to meet each objective.

I need your help. The first objective that I have is to come up with a really good name for this adventure. “Zane’s Cross Florida Trip” is just too dry and uninspiring. Maybe “Zane’s Epic Cross FL Adventure” would be better. Can you come up with an awesome name for my trip?  I hope you will help and I hope you will follow along and be inspired. Slippery Otters Paddling Club is all about sharing my/our love for the great outdoors, mother nature, adventure, and the environment with others. We want to inspire you to go on your own adventures. I am not a superhero. I am not the world’s strongest man. I am not a competitive athlete. I am just a guy who loves to be outside. I am a guy who loves nature. I compete with myself. I respect the natural world and I learn from it. I am a teacher. Please join me and share your thoughts and ideas.

Goal: To paddle across the State of Florida starting in the Atlantic Ocean at the St. Mary’s River and ending in the Gulf of Mexico.

Objectives

  1. I need a great name for this trip. I need to something that captures people’s imagination and attention. (due: 29May2018)

Actions

  1. (Obj/1) Share my request for help with the name on the blog and with the other Slippery Otters. (due: 15May2018)
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