One of the beauties of fly-fishing is its trial-and-error learning curve. You try. You err. You try again.
I’ve thrown a fly for more than 20 years and I’m still learning. Last summer, I lost a rod, reel and IPhone on a relatively new paddleboard after getting blasted from a wake. I was fishing for tarpon on the ICW behind a parked yacht and a couple morning boaters caught me by surprise. Their wake tossed me and a fair amount of tackle overboard. Initially, I was upset and embarrassed but chalked it up to a live-and-learn moment and moved on.
Nearly a month or so later, I realized the incident could have been avoided. A bit of background on what happened: I tumbled because of two reasons: One, the boat caught me by surprise. I wasn’t aware. Two, I was sitting on my Yeti cooler. I thought I was stable. I was not. The cooler wasn’t strapped down. I assumed (wrongly) that I was stable enough. I was not.
I bought the strap kit from BOTE. Good decision. I can now lash the cooler to the board and, believe me, it’s not going anywhere. Also included in the setup is a paddle clip, which makes sight fishing easier because I now have a place to store my paddle, which keeps the deck cleaner.
I could have bought the paddle-and-clip kit initially, but, with the price of the board and paddle, I thought I could do without. Unless you’re fishing in boatless water, securing the cooler is a must.