Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Kayak stealth is the real key to fishing success

Ask around and you’ll probably discover fishing has been good, but catching tough!

Jason Beary battles another fish on fly rod.
Abnormally cold weather again is the culprit.

However, there are areas where fish congregate during the cold and make for easy pickings if you know where they are and you’re stealthy enough to take advantage.

My clients and I have been averaging 100 fish per outing over the last six weeks. That includes a low of 20 fish and a high of 250. Most often we’ve been getting at least 60 fish. The totals include mostly spotted seatrout to 22 inches, but we’re also getting flounder, redfish and ladyfish.

The action has been steady on both spin tackle and fly rod.

I’ve watched amazingly as those in powerboats visit the same spots, fish for 10 minutes and then head off for a honey hole 10 miles away. They usually show up, make a dozen casts and are gone.

What they don’t realize is their large boats give away their presence. The hull displaces a tremendous amount of water, sending out fish-alarming pressure waves. Also, their outboard motors are danger signals to the fish. Ditto for electric trolling motors.

I’ve even seen professional guides “throw” their anchors in the fish-holding holes.

Meanwhile, my clients are usually catching fish and enjoying steady action.

I’m convinced it’s mostly because the fish don’t know we’re there.

I had a fellow out from near Buffalo, N.Y., the other day. He has fly fished for steelhead and salmon around his home, but had never caught a saltwater fish on fly rod. After doing well on spin tackle, he wanted to try the fly rod.

He caught 20 spotted seatrout.

We had anchored along the edge of a channel where we had located a school of trout. We caught fish after fish because they had no clue we were there.

Many years ago, I figured I’d use my kayak to get to my favorite wading spots, anchor the boat, get out and fish. Didn’t take me too long to figure out I was less stealthy wading than I was in the kayak.

I rarely wade any more.

During November’s MCFF/CCA Fall Fly Fishing Challenge, I caught enough fish to win the Snook Division and Trout Division. You could only win one division, but it felt good to know that I’d caught that many fish.

I caught seven snook around one dock. I never had to make a cast of more than 25 feet.

Again it was a case of the snook not having a clue I was there.

And that makes a big difference.

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