My first Kayak Fishing trip
(this story and experience originated September 10th, 2014)
As an avid fisherman, I recently was introduced to Kayak Fishing. I have found it to be really interesting and fun. It is a totally different experience to fish from a small vessel. Even more so then from a small john boat or other small powered craft.
Once I was introduced to the idea of Kayak fishing. I had to try it for my self. I researched the idea for a while and decided to give it a try. Of course I wanted to experience it in nearly every aspect. I started out with the basics. A light tackle box, 2 fishing rods, small cooler, and an assortment of other fishing gear, including tethers, sunblock and other essential equipment. But, I wanted the full experience.
I did not rig any of my fishing poles. I wanted to experience nearly every aspect of what it is like to go fishing from a Kayak. Including some of the common troubles and difficulties I read about. What better way to learn about a new experience, and the complications that can go along with it, then to jump into it with known issues that I would have to over come while on the water.
My first rule of business was to find a suitable Kayak to rent for the day. I thought about how and where I was going to go fishing from a Kayak very carefully. I called around to several rental shops and studied the known fishing spots in my area. I decided on a local rental shop, Blue Moon outdoor center, in a public park near a mangrove preserve I used to fish regularly as a kid. They had a few Kayak’s to choose from. They even sell frozen bait, so they had that taken care of too.
The day before I went fishing, I got my rods and tackle ready. I even re-spool the reels with new line, but I did not tie any tackle to it and make it ready. That I had to do on the water to understand the difficulties that can accompany the challenge of fishing from a kayak. I gathered everything and set it aside for an early morning start.
In the morning I went to the kayak rental shop and chose a kayak that I figured would be one of the most troublesome to fish from. It was a 10 foot with a very narrow hull. The rental clerk tried to persuade me into a more suitable tandem kayak for fishing that was wider and longer, but I insisted I wanted the smaller and narrower kayak for the best learning experience. I explained my intentions of buying a kayak for my self, but wanted to experience it for the possible difficulties first. I also insisted that they let me carry it down to the water, instead of their launch hands. “If you want to do it right you have to do it your self!” With a smile the clerk handed me a paddle, vest, and the bait, and wished me luck.
I grabbed all my gear and carried it down to the waters edge then went back for the kayak. I started loading all my gear into the kayak, intentionally putting most of the gear as far back out of my reach as I could. I then launched and started paddling out to one of the first fishing spots. It was a good 1/2 mile from the rental, out in the bay. It was a fairly breezy day with a forecast of afternoon showers. Seemingly perfect weather expected for the experience I was looking for. It certainly did not disappoint me.
I got to one of my old fishing spots and proceeded to make ready my fishing tackle while on the water. I figured out some of the difficulties with keeping my balance in such a narrow kayak while reaching and stretching all over. I assembled the fishing rods, thread the line through the eyes and tied my hook and leader to the lines. Then re-secure all the gear again and got my bait ready.
Finally, after about an hour, I was out on the water fishing with 2 lines in the water. One free line floater and the other rigged for bottom fishing or casting. I really liked the ease of drifting with the wind as I cast up and down along the mangrove shores. Caught my first fish a few minutes later, a little grunt under 10″. Seemed to catch a few of them over the next half hour. I decided to paddle around for a while. I headed out to a favorite island in the bay. Stopped there for an early lunch and try my luck around the jetty at the south end of the island.
While I was at the island I caught a few small bait fish for a trolling line. Setup both of the rods as outriggers behind the seat and started paddling over to another favorite spot near by, while trolling the bait behind me, I was hoping for something big like a shark. It was only about another 1/2 mile from the island up a canal that ends near my home. (just past the building in the background on the right, at the rod tips in the picture). Of course by the time I got to the canal, the weather finally started to turn for the worse. The bay started to get choppy as I was on the down wind side of the bay.
Cruised around the main canal some then back out around the mangroves and the feeder canals for the preserve. It then started to rain and the wind really picked up. I was fighting the wind and the rain trying to paddle back towards the island and back to the park I originated from. I was thinking to my self, “This is exactly what I wanted to experience!”
Finally made it back near the park and the rain subsided and the sun came back out. Reapplied the sun block and decided to try some more fishing near the park. Even with all the difficulties with the weather and still did not catch anything more then a few grunt and a a couple puffer fish, I was still enjoying my self. I decided to do some more canal fishing up in the mangroves. I saw a Dolphin swimming up the canal. It passed within about 50 feet of me as it looked at me then dove down and dashed past me. I saw it resurface and continue on up the canal ahead of me. It must have been looking for the mullet known to school up in the shallows. Still didn’t catch anything worth while. The weather for the week prior to that day was rainy and the water was still murky from all the run off coming from the mangroves.
Before I knew it I was out of drinking water, my bait was nearly gone, and the sun was nearing the horizon. I figured it was a good long day. Time to pack up and start heading back. I took the long route, a maze of feeder canals through the mangrove preserve, back to the kayak rental. The clerk was surprised to see me come back after so long. “Most people only rent a kayak for a couple hours. You were out all day!” What can I say, I really enjoyed my self, it was a lot of fun.
I can say, yes, I caught the kayak bug! What surprised me the most about the experience, after the whole ordeal with fighting against the weather and traveling well over 6 miles on my first trip, I was not soar. Even the next day, I wasn’t soar from the trip. This sealed the deal for me. Not only did I enjoy the trip, but I was unexpectedly physically ready for it too. I thought for sure I was going to be aching from the paddling by the next day. But it was no worse then if I had just moved some medium sized furniture.
Oh the places I will go! I am buying my own kayak. Now to do some more research!