• Meg McCall

4 Projects to Keep You Productive During Kayaking Off Season

These activities are for anyone affiliated with kayaking, whether you're an individual paddler or part of an organization, such as an adaptive paddling program, a veterans kayaking group like Team River Runner or Heroes or the Water, a kayak retailer or a kayak rental facility. Some are more suited for individuals (designated with an I) and some for organizations (indicated with an O).


Polyethylene kayak with Angle Oar sticker

They were originally included as part of a blog we wrote for ways to keep yourself busy and productive during what we'll just call "the lost years" since we don't even want to type that five-letter word in this post. Now, they're just well-suited for anytime you're not actually out paddling -- like during the off season, when your store or program is closed (if you're an organization) or when you're just feeling super motivated!


Organize Your Kayak & Fishing Gear

  • Build or purchase a storage system for your kayaks. There are lots of options, including wall mounts and hooks, cradles or ceiling hoists. You might even have enough spare wood, brackets and hardware around to create your own. While you’re at it, de-clutter your garage or storage space. (I or O)


  • Find out the renewal dates for your fishing license, boat launch permit or park passes and take care of them now or put a note in your calendar. (I or O)


  • Organize your fishing gear. Inventory all your items (e.g., lures, hooks, rod holders, leader lines, safety equipment, nets, etc.). Eliminate unnecessary duplicates or broken items and identify any items you’d like to add to your collection. Take the time now to re-tie lures, re-spool reels and handle any other tedious chore you put off during the regular season. Once you’ve organized your gear, watch this video from Paddling.com to learn how to stay organized when you’re actually out fishing. (I or O)


  • Take an inventory of all equipment in your adaptive paddling program, rental facility or outfitting business, making note of quantities, brands and condition. Note any needed repairs or missing parts. Eliminate duplicate or obsolete items. Start an equipment wish list and research pricing. Maybe you’re thinking of adding an adaptive kayak paddle, like Versa or perhaps some stabilizing outriggers. (O)


Maintain Your Kayak, Paddles & Safety Equipment

  • Do a maintenance check on your kayak(s). First off, make sure it's stored properly, ideally, out of the elements in a cool, dry place; if outside, in shade with cockpit side down or covered. Inspect the kayak. Do any holes need to be resealed or repaired? Is there any loose hardware? Have handles, bungees or mounts broken and need replacing? Are the mounting tracks functioning properly or are they filled with sand or debris? Are fish finders and other battery-, solar- or motor-powered equipment all in working order? Are your rudders or outriggers in good shape? (I or O)


  • Whether you're a kayak rental company, universal paddling program or simply a conscientious paddler, check the safety of all your equipment. Is the PFD functioning properly (e.g., no missing or torn buckles)? What about the paddle leash, bilge pump or safety whistle? Does your primary paddle have any cracks? Do you have an emergency backup paddle for each kayak? (I or O)


  • Clean your kayak(s). Rinse it with a hose, then use soapy water and sponge, and rinse again. Some anglers use bug spray or stronger cleaners to remove blood stains and debris. Don't forget the console, foot braces and seat. If you live near the ocean you might even consider getting out a handheld vac or hose attachment to get stubborn sand out of cracks and crevices. Just be sure your kayak is dry when you do. Finally, use a spray protectant when you're done for added UV protection. (I or O)


  • All that caked on live bait, dried blood stains and weed remnants aren't going to clean themselves. It's a yucky job, but somebody's got to do it: clean your fishing gear, that is. Use your garage or storage area, or if it's nice out, do it outside. Take this time to rinse and wipe bait tank, clean gunk of stringers, hooks and gaffs. Check your tools. Could your reels, rods or lures benefit from some TLC? Don't forget the anchor, rudder and outriggers. (I or O)


Stay Connected

  • Write and send three handwritten notes of appreciation to past or current customers, co-workers or volunteers. (O)


  • Post a favorite paddling picture or article on one of your kayaking social media groups. (I or O)


  • Reach out to a long-lost friend(s) or family to plan a paddling trip or get-together for later this year. (I)


Stay Healthy in the Off Season


  • Improve your flexibility and joint health by doing an online yoga or stretching class geared for paddlers, such as this one. (I)


  • Find and complete a kayak-specific strength-and skill-building video, like this one from Kayak Angler Magazine. If you're an organization, post an activity like this to your social platforms. (I or O)


  • Declutter one room of your home or business. It can actually reduce anxiety, and you’ll feel more relaxed when things are in order. (I or O)