Every weekend I tend to get a hard time from my buddies because my kayaks and my truck are pretty clean. Now I will admit that I feel like my equipment needs to be clean so that it is even more appealing to an on looker that may have interest in checking out the brand or sport. The biggest reason my kayaks are clean is doing my part to help stop aquatic hitchhikers. As the sport of kayaking grows in both pleasure and angling it’s something that folks new to the sport need to be aware of.
My story starts here in southern Indiana with some of the changes I have personally seen over the last 10 years. One spot that’s close to home is Griffy Lake that hides just over the hill from the Indiana University football stadium. The 1st time I met Griffy she was clean and clear. We targeted wood structure to find fish and it always seemed like you could see your moving baits running 10 to 15 feet deep. I remember a tree top on one of my favorite points that I was able to see crappie just hanging on. Fast forward to the present day and things have drastically changed. Griffy has been overtaken by aquatic vegetation. It has drastically changed the way we fished the water. Things have reached the point that the City of Bloomington has been forced to take action and began spraying the lake with chemicals in June of 2017.
The story of Griffy expands for me to other lakes in my area that went from having no vegetation to an abundance of it. While my roots started in bass boats along with the habits of keeping boats clean it has carried over to my kayaks for this reason. I see so many new kayakers dropping in each and every week with kayaks that have scum lines that are from the last lake or river they floated. The spreading of the vegetation tells me that aquatic hitchhikers are far from a myth. We as humans are not 100% responsible for this as animals can also carry and spread vegetation. With that it is still important that we do our part to help minimize the issue. The steps are simple and they take just a couple extra minutes.
Nonindigenous species, as defined by the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990, is any species or other viable biological material that enters an ecosystem beyond its historic range. This term is often used interchangeably with “alien,” which was defined by Executive Order 13112 as any species, including its seeds, eggs, spores, or other biological material capable of propagating that species, that is not native to the particular ecosystem in which it is found. These terms are also synonymous with “non-native” and “exotic”.
How you can help
CLEAN off plants, animals, and mud from gear and equipment including waders, footwear, ropes, anchors, bait traps, dip nets, downrigger cables, fishing lines, and field gear before leaving water access. Scrub off any visible material on footwear with a stiff brush.
DRAIN water from watercraft, motor, bilge, bladder tanks, livewell and portable bait containers before leaving water access. Replace with spring or dechlorinated tap water when keeping live bait before leaving water access. Don’t add other live fish to bait container.
DRY everything five days or more, unless otherwise required by local or state laws.
DISPOSE of unwanted bait, fish parts, and packing materials, in the trash; do not dump them in the water or on land.oving between waters to kill small species not easily seen OR wipe with a towel before reuse.
NEVER dump live fish or other organisms from one water body into another.
A couple things I personally keep on hand to help keep my kayak clean are Bass Boat Saver and a dry rag. The Bass Boat Saver spray is a great product to use when I don’t have the time for a full on wash down. Just simply spray the product on and then wipe down with a dry rag. When it is time to scrub down my kayak I turn to Dawn dish soap because not only does it cut grease it cuts scum lines. Make sure you not only wash the deck and sides but you flip your kayak over, clean the bottom and down inside the scupper holes. Also don’t forget to clean your paddle with the same product you use on your kayak. It’s down in the water just as much as your kayak is.
Next time you load up be sure to take a few extra minutes to wipe down your kayak, boats or other equipment. Not only will it look fresh the next time you go out but it will also help to eliminate the spread of some unwanted hitchhikers into your favorite place to float.