Friday, June 11, 2010

Best reason to fish from a kayak: You catch more!

There are many reasons to fish from a kayak.

It’s fun.

It’s healthy.

And you can catch a lot of fish.

I always knew that kayaks were the perfect stealthy platform from which to fish, but I really didn’t realize just how perfect until this past winter when my clients and I realized fantastic results.

Over one two-day period in December, we totaled 60 pompano and who knows how many spotted seatrout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and jack crevalle (mostly on fly). Anglers aboard flats skiffs caught fish, but not nearly in the same numbers. Our performance had little to do with our prowess as anglers. But it had everything to do with the stealthiness of our crafts.

The fish simply didn’t know we were there.

Just this past week I got another first-hand look at just how stealthy these plastic craft are. I was fishing a favorite spot about an hour before daylight. I like to cast flies for snook around some dock lights before the sun comes up. I’d caught and released a couple of snook when I made an errant cast. I figured the snook action was over because I had to paddle to the dock to retrieve the fly.

Once done, I noticed the snook were still around the light and on the surface. I was only 10 feet away, but the fish were undisturbed.

“What the heck?” I thought. “I’ll just see what happens when I make a cast.”

I flicked the fly toward the dock and used the rod to manipulate it through the water. Almost instantly, a snook inhaled the fly.


That’s when it really dawned on me that this stealthy business was no baloney.

On another occasion, a client caught and released three snook and 10 seatrout. Not a great day in my estimation.

However, when I learned that anglers aboard flats skiffs in the same area hadn’t fared nearly as well, the performance suddenly shined.

When I launch the kayak, I know that I just can’t pick up and head for another hot spot if the action is slow. I’m forced to fish my area come feast or famine. What has happened over the years is that I’ve learned my spots quite intimately. I know where the fish will be at any given time. I know that sooner or later those same fish will turn on and start eating.

On a recent trip, I was casting around mullet schools on a shallow flat. When I saw a redfish tail pierce the water’s surface not 15 feet away, I quickly put a fly in the area and hooked up immediately. The red was a good one. It measured 30 inches and weighed 9 pounds.

I realized that only because I was in a kayak could I have gotten so close to that fish and hooked it.

Stands to reason when you think about it. Kayaks are very low profile. They’re virtually silent. And they provide the perfect platform to increase your productivity on the water.

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