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Kayak Fishing Tips

brandon rowan trout Kayak Fishing TipsThat’s a paddlin’! Tales and observations from a floating piece of plastic

By Brandon Rowan

GREENER PASTURES

“Yup that’s the spot.” In the back of the marsh, far removed from the beaten path and at least several miles away from the launch. Yup, that’s the one.”

I don’t know about you, but that train of thought has definitely danced across my mind while scanning Google Earth for that new honey hole. I mean, the extra effort and difficulty will reap equal rewards right? That sometimes rings very true but is not always the case.

I made it a point to get out, paddle and explore new areas this year. Numerous trips in, I started noticing a trend: a surprising amount of good catches came from spots I typically passed during the journey to the “honey hole.”

Sometimes it was a shad flip, a hovering bird, or even a last ditch effort that put me on a location but you can’t argue with results of trout, redfish and flounder. Believe me, I won’t discount these ‘easy’ spots in the future.

HEAD ON A SWIVEL

Even subtle signs, like a single shad or mullet flip, can expose feeding fish underneath an otherwise calm water surface. Hell, what’s one more extra cast? Plus, it’s a pretty triumphant moment when the thump of a good fish confirms your suspicions.

Birds can be your guide in the marsh too. Hovering terns and gulls are a dead give away to activity but don’t discount shore walkers, like the Spoonbill. Their lives depend on their ability to find bait. Where there’s bait, there are predators.

down south lures trout Kayak Fishing Tips

I caught a lot of fish in late winter and early spring on these super model Down South Lures. Special colors, like this plum/chartreuse mullet eye and Purple Reign sans chartreuse tail, can only be found at special events like the Houston Boat Show and Fishing Show. Contact DSL owner Michael Bosse at 210.865.8999 for information on availability.

Subsurface twitch baits like this Rapala Twitchin’ Mullet are just plain fun to fish and productive, too. I caught my biggest trout of the year, 27 inches, on this olive green 06 model.

MEAT’S ALWAYS ON THE MENU

Knowledge of your area and the available forage through each season is crucial. Late winter and early spring was a great time to throw mullet imitations and I leaned on topwaters and big plastics like the Down South Lures super model.

But the days lengthened, the trees began to bloom and it wasn’t long before the bay was flush with freshly hatched bait species. Predators don’t overthink fishing locations and easy spots. They are opportunistic feeders and love easy meals. Later in spring, I starting throwing small baitfish imitations, like the smaller sized Rapala Twitchin’ Mullet.

One foggy April afternoon I was rewarded with a beautiful 27” speckled trout. I found her intercepting small shad forced back into the cove by a hard wind driven current. After a spirited fight, measurement and quick picture, I set her free and watched her swim away strong.

Egret Baits’ 2” Vudu Shrimp under an oval cork is a favorite in the marsh when fish are keyed in on itty bitty shrimp. I like pearl/chart or glow.

SHRIMP DINNER

Looking ahead to May and June, shrimp imitations will be a good bet. The surf is going to start looking real flat and I’ll be ditching the kayak for west end beach wading or seawall rock hopping. I love catching trout on topwater, but by far some of my most productive days have come from rigging a clear/gold D.O.A. Shrimp under a popping cork.

Glassy surf and its fishy possibilities are the stuff of dreams. But the stout early summer winds of the upper coast are often our reality. If that’s the case, you’ll find me in my favorite stretch of marsh chasing redfish. They eat small in my spot and rarely turn down a 2” Vudu Shrimp under a short leader and oval cork.

It’s about to get hot my friends so take care to keep yourself hydrated and safe. I hope to see you all out there!

2 Commentss to “Kayak Fishing Tips”

  1. Gary Rankel says:

    FYI, noted kayak angler, Gary Rankel, has authored a 152 page guide to kayak fishing: “Finding the Treasures of the Trails – Kayak Fishing”.

    Kayak Angler Magazine (Spring 2019) refers to the book as a “treasure for any angler”.

    The book’s how-to section provides a comprehensive review of all things kayak fishing, including a few tips, tricks and techniques you most likely haven’t seen before.

    The where-to-go section contains 27 detailed color satellite maps depicting launch sites, fishing routes and hotspots for targeting redfish, snook and seatrout inshore, as well as largemouth bass and other freshwater species along Florida’s Nature Coast.

    Folks visiting our area to swim with manatees, dive for scallops or take part in our bigmouth bass tournaments or renowned tarpon and shallow grouper fisheries, may also wish to experience our Old Florida piscatorial paddling paradise. This guide will show them the way.

    Anglers who’ve paddled around the marsh a time or two and think they know it all, as well as newbies to the sport, no matter where they dip their paddles, should find the book educational and enjoyable.

    Further information is available at the Nature Coast Kayak Fishers website: (http://fishingkayaks.us) which also includes a link for ordering the guide.

  2. Steav Smith says:

    I’ve been kayak fishing for about a year now, much of it for catfish. Look into an anchor trolley system because it allows for much better positioning in current and wind than without one. You can use your anchor of choice, or even a drift sock. Wind is always a HUGE factor in a kayak. Unless I’m LMB or white bass fishing on a day with very little wind, I depend on my anchor trolley to keep me facing the direction I want to be facing. It’s also a matter of safety.

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