Group: Super Administrators
Joined: Jan. 2004
||Posted: Aug. 02 2004,15:40
Hi all. I was recently asked to complete a questionaire for a proposed offshore fishing article. Due to unforeseen circumstances publication cannot be predicted; accordingly I have decided to self-publish my comments here for your reading pleasure...
Offshore Kayakfishing Questionaire
1. Which kayak do you paddle
2. What is it about your chosen yak that you specifically like
3. Which paddle do you use
4. Where do you fish
5. How far offshore do you typically paddle
6. What is the appeal of offshore yak fishing to you
7. How long have you been kayak fishing offshore
8. How did you first get started offshore
9. Did you previously own a power boat, if so what made you switch from a boat to a yak
10. What species of fish are you targeting
11. What kind of tackle and techniques do you use
12 Do you have any electronics on your yak. If so what kind (fishfinder, GPS,etc )
13. Do you use live bait, If so how do you keep it alive
14. What is the biggest fish you have fought
15. Do you use a drift anchor or any other specific tools for fighting big fish from the kayak
16. Obviously there is an increased risk with kayaking so far offshore what precautions do you take to minimize them.
17. Have you over been caught out in rough/dangerous weather
If so, briefly describe what happened
18. What do your family and friends think about your past time
19. Do you have any unfulfilled yak fishing ambitions
20. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of taking up offshore kayak fishing
I drive a Scupper ProTW. I really feel that for anybody up to about 220 lbs. or so you can find no better design for offshore. The reason is it's design. It is long enough for reasonable speed, short enough and with enough rocker to turn well, and will even surf. Large storage capacity with a tankwell that is not too big (if you get pooped). You sit down 7 inches for great primary and secondary stability and can even use thigh straps if you wish. The Pro can be lean turned. I use a converted smaller Igloo cooler with the top removed and PVC "rocket launchers" attached so I can troll two lines. Other than the Necky Spike (no longer made) the Scupper ProTW is the only SOT with a true rockered sea kayak design and stands alone.
I use an OK assymetrical, glass shaft paddle. It is large and moves plenty of water, necessary in ocean and surf conditions. I will feather it when pounding into wind, keep it neutral and at-the-ready when fishing.
I fish in the Atlantic, from the first to just past the third reefs, usually launching off of Dania Beach. I plan to launch north of Boynton so as to get closer to the Gulf Stream and the deep water species that approach very close and quite reachable by kayak. I will go from the first reef (quite close to the beach) to just past the the 3rd, to perhaps 100-120 ft of water, out about 2-1/2 miles. Much less if you launch north near W. Palm (where the Gulf Stream hooks in and deep water species have even been caught off the pier).
The appeal is obviously access to some serious offshore species like kings, wahoo, sails and others. It is not unusual to run into traveling tarpon and schools of large jacks, and large cuda. All of these are capable of unforgettable fishing experiences, particularly on medium tackle and the 10 lb test I use. The power and intensity of these fish and the ride they will give you is amazing.
I have fished offshore almost from the beginning of my SOT kayak experience. Of course I was intimidated at first, not only by the depth and distance but also by potentially dangerous boat traffic. There is nothing like watching a Cigarette approaching you at 60 mph, knowing that you are barely visible. It has been almost two years since my first experience.
My previous experience was as a sailor on 26 to 35 ft. sailboats. I hadn't fished since my childhood 40 years ago, and was thrilled to discover the many and varied fishing opportunties of S. Florida. I started by surf fishing for up to 6 hours a day, and moved to kayaks to expand my horizons. It was the best move I could have made, and I now yakfish regularly all over S. Florida, the west coast, Keys, Flamingo and of course offshore. The variety of settings, sights, fish, wildlife and nature is a special experience from the intimacy of a kayak. It is unequalled.
I have no particular target, but love jacks, ladyfish, snook, reds and cuda. Of course no tarpon or bone will be refused. My offshore target tends to be kings, but I plan to target wahoo and sails.
I have a both wide and narrow angle fishfinders, but have not used them on a regular basis. I do plan to refine the use of these, but I'm satisfied to drift and/or slow troll the edge of the 3rd reef. I carry a GPS and handheld VHF (this especially is critical). I use frozen bait, typically mullet, large sardines and ballyhoo. I do carry Sabikis. I plan to catch some live bait and have some leaders rigged, hook them up and drag them next to the yak on a short piece of low strength mono (in case they get hit by a predator... this is a technique pioneered by Kayak Willie).
So far the largest fish I've had on were a large cuda (pushin 4 ft), and a decent smoker king (perhaps 15 lb). Both dragged me around, particularly the cuda (bout a third of a mile). Also landed a legal red grouper (around 12 lb.) which gave me quite a tussle; fortunately the momentum of the yak dragged him away from any hidey holes and my short M/H long-handled rod did the rest. This of course is common in yakfishing and is fun. Kayak Willie has been towed for 12 miles. A guy on the west coast was taken for close to 3 miles by a tarpon of around 130 lbs. Altho I have heard of some yakkers using drag anchors to fight large fish, I find the yak itself can be used effectively by moving your rod to force the fish to pull you at an angle. A drag chute can be dangerous or tangle. I don't like them. Even anchors can be a problem; it's important to be able to cut loose fast and easily if you have to. Although Kayak Willie fished alone, I think it best to fish with a partner for safety and help if you need it.
As far as safety...wear a PFD at all times. Stuff your yak with pool noodles for floatation. VHF handheld (a cellular is a poor substitute...a VHF gets the USCG and nearby boats right now). Good flare and rescue system. File a float plan and let someone know EXACTLY where, when, and when you'll be back. And agree to call immediately upon hitting shore. Compass around your wrist (if you get rained in), a good signal mirror. Nite gear like flashlight and glow sticks if you get caught out. A dive flag on a short pole mounted on your milkcrate or cooler just behind your seat (where it won't tangle in your line). Your yak MUST be yellow or orange, period (blue, green, white, etc. just won't cut it). Watch traffic closely, learn where it is and cross the traffic lanes quickly and safely. A loud airhorn is good. Be prepared to escape at 90 degrees, wave your paddle to get seen. Don't take your eyes off until you are SURE they'll miss you. Understand what closing angles are.
I've been caught in cloudbursts and lightning. It was NOT fun, but again the Scupper ProTW has extremely good primary and secondary stability and can handle almost anything. I simply waited it out, made a bit of headway toward shore. The best bet is check and know the weather and NOT to venture forth in risky weather. I prefer winds from the eastern half of the compass so you'll never be blown out to sea. Ten knots is nice, 15 can be done, 5-10 is fantastic, and don't miss those glass smooth days...it is an awesome experience to be in blue water on a mirror calm sea!
Most all the people I meet are quite taken with the idea of kayakfishing, think its both romantic and adventurous. It is both. Most of my friends are fellow yakfishers; in fact I started a website called the "Fort Lauderdale Yakfishing Club" or FLYC for short (a dig at the yacht club, lol), mostly to find someone to fish with.
As far as unfulfilled yakfishing ambitions that's simple. I'd like to follow in the footsteps of Kayak Willie, bring up and hook a sailfish or perhaps a small marlin. I have spent time with KW who has been kind enough to share his very unique methods and gear. I fully believe this can be done. The idea of going out to sea and going mano-a-pesco is a fantasy many of us have but few if any really do. I think it can be and am gearing myself up for this effort.
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