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Pedal-powered kayak offers serious fishing platform

John Myers, Duluth News Tribune on

Published in Outdoors

ON RICE LAKE, Minn. -- Noah Jahr noticed a twitch of his rod tip, stopped pedaling for a moment, calmly lifted the rod out of the holder and gave it a snap.

"Just another pike," he said as he reeled in yet another small northern on this fish-filled lake just outside Duluth.

But hey, pike are fun "and this stretch right here, if I ever need to take my nephews out or other kids out to catch a bunch of fish, it's just loaded with pike."

Wait, he stopped pedaling?

Yep. Jahr, 22, an avid angler ever since his dad could get him to sit still in a boat as a kid, has become a fanatic for fishing out of a kayak. But not just any kayak. He has an Old Town Predator pedal kayak, propelled by a propeller that's powered by his pedaling. It's 13 feet long, weighs about 180 pounds plus gear, and is about three feet wide.

Jahr, a lifelong Duluthian, has a traditional Minnesota 16-foot aluminium fishing boat with an outboard motor. But now his favorite way to fish is out of his kayak. It started on a trip to Florida a few years ago when he was saltwater fishing.

 

"The first fish I ever caught out of a kayak was a 160-pound nurse shark," Jahr said as he cast a Rapala X-Rap plug out behind his kayak. "That took two-and-a-half hours to land... And I learned the hard way that don't bring a shark into a kayak. They don't have bones. They sort of flex all over the place."

Jahr said he couldn't make it in to work the next day. His arms were too tired from fighting the shark. But he was hooked on kayak angling.

"You can go into so many places you can't go with a boat," he noted, including the many shallow, rocky and weedy areas of Rice Lake. "That's the real advantage of kayaks for fishing. It gives you a lot of freedom to roam."

But there's plenty of other advantages, too. Like the feeling of being truly on the water. Exercise. Quiet. And it's just fun.

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