Joined: July 2004
||Posted: April 23 2007,16:21
I'm starting this thread as a response to posts from page 6 of another thread titled "RTM Disco! C'e Manufique!, the long awaited Pro Killer? Oh no!". The discussion there drifted into how much gear and how many rods yakfishers feel is necessary.
Comments in that thread from rodbldr, the Cap'n, and stant01 were all in favor of a minimalist setup, and certainly that is a perfectly good way to fish, and a way that I fish some days as well. But many times, my schedule and paddling chops allow for an excursion of six or more hours, covering a lot of different types of water and fishing. If I'm going to the trouble of loading up my stuff and paddling out there, I intend to be ready. Sharks and 'cuda are an ever present reality here, resulting in cutoffs and rerigging. I don't mind rerigging, but I want to be FISHING while I'm rerigging. Having another rod with appropriate terminal tackle within reach keeps me fishing even while I'm doing this. But maybe most importantly, the varied types of fish, their changing appetites, and the varied types of water in our unique Keys enviroment presents a real challenge when it comes to rigging just 1 or 2 rods. For example, in just one long trip, I routinely do ALL of the following:
1)On the way to/from my sweet spots, I'll troll a spoon with wire leader for 'cuda. Sometimes jacks and snapper will hit this, too. This rod also gives me something to throw if I'm in the process of tying on a new leader or bait and something presents itself close to the boat. I rarely change this rig - wire leaders are a pain. Whenever I'm on the move - I'm trolling a spoon, not rerigging so I can then troll a spoon, only to rerig again when I get to my snapper hole.
2) Cast to rolling tarpon of 100lbs or more. Sorry boys, your 10# power pro trout rigs w/20# leader on a light rod ain't gonna stop this fish. More likely he'll bust the leader, or burn up your drag and spool you on his way to Cuba - not good for you or the fish.
3) Cast a sibiki rig to catch pinfish for bait.
4) Drop live or frozen bait near patch reefs to pick off a grouper. Again, those trout rigs will not even move these fish off the reef before he has you "rocked up", and the game is pretty much over and he wins.
5) Cast to permit on the flats. This rig stays ready with a soft artificial crab and 40# leader. If there's time (rarely) I'll put a live shrimp or crab on the hook before casting, but those of you who've fished for permit know when it happens, it happens fast. You have seconds to cast accurately before the fish spooks and it's over.
6) Cast to bonefish on the flats. Your trout rig is fine here, and your DOA shrimp might fool him. Or not. Live shrimp on a circle hook works way better if you care to mess with them. As to the time you'll have to cast, see #5. Rigging before throwing causes lots of missed, hard to come by opportunities.
7) If sharks show up, and I'm in the mood, I'll try to snag a blacktip or spinner. A heavier rig w/wire leader is a must here, and I don't want to spend fishing time doing haywire twists on my kayak. If you go lighter, see #2 above. The fish is gone and your reel is empty. No good.
And when you think about it, how much does a rod and reel weigh? Or 5 rods and reels? Negligible. When I started yakfishing, I only had two rigs, and did a lot of rerigging out there. I lost track of how many tarpon I saw and didn't have an appropriate setup to cast to him. Or how many times a shark or 'cuda mangled my light (snapper) leaders and left me sitting in the middle of a hot bite with nothing to cast for 10 minutes while I dug out my leader and tied up 2 new rigs. No more. Before I launch, I do have a plan for the day, and target species in mind. But when I get out there, I'm ready for most anything the inshore fishery has to offer that day. And exactly what that is might not present itself 'til I'm out there in the middle of it. Dropping/retrieving anchor (so as to not drift away from the bite), and retying terminal tackle isn't what I want to be doing when things get cookin'. Just because my "target species" is tarpon or grouper, do you think I want to pass up tailing bonefish because that wasn't in my "plan" and I'm not geared up for them? No way.
As to other gear, I've posted in the new safety section my "every time out" list. Much of it has nothing to do with fishing, but just general kayaking. Flying solo as I do often, through all kinds of water and sometimes miles from help, safety gear is non-negotiable for me. If going offshore, extra water, food, raingear, spare paddle, VHF, and more aren't luxuries, they're necessities. And I need to be able to get to them even if through a front hatch. Enter the venerable Scupper Pro. Anything the Keys can dish out, up to about 20kts, the Scupper can do it and do it well. A T160 would also handle this nicely. P15, too. The P13 is great, but kinda slow to me. In spite of all this, I do see a Disco in my future - I paddle a 17' SIK when I'm just paddling and have come to love the speed and seaworthiness of these craft - I think the Disco sounds awesome, but probably not for my "kitchen sink" expedtions.
OK, there's my "Scupper Pro Frank" length post. What do you other guys out there use when you yak fish? Comments on the type of fishing you're doing would help, methinks. And again, thanks to all who have taken the time to post input from their unique perspective! I continue to get tons of good advice and ideas from the posters here. It's all good.