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Topic: Offshore yakfishin, some miscellaneous thoughts...< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Capn Jimbo Offline
The Godfisher

Group: Super Administrators
Posts: 1712
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.


Tight lines,
Capn Jimbo

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Nanuk Offline

Group: Members
Posts: 64
Joined: Aug. 2005
Posted: Aug. 24 2005,13:57

Over here in England we regularly fish, what you wuld call offshore - 3 miles is inshore for us :D
Sometimes we have to go at least 6 - 8 miles out. I use a Scupper Pro and a Kaskazi Dorado (the Scupper is better for add ons, the Dorado is great for long paddling distances).

We fish for Tope from the kayaks at anchor. The tide runs at about 2 - 2.5 knots and we are only in 15 - 80 feet of water where the tope tend to be. Best so far is 38lbs. I am part of the shark tagging project over here - but I am not taking on a Porbeagle from the kayak -- yet :D

Safety is addressed by a lifejacket - manual inflatable, not automatic. Handheld VHF. personal flare pack (Pains Wessex miniflare pack) whistle and knife all caried on the person NOT on the kayak. Anchor is 1.5kgs with 6 foot of chain (1/2") and 200 feet of line, or inshore a .75kg anchor on the same set up - rigged to self trip if you paddle up ahead of the anchor, in case it gets snagged. We also leave a passage plan with the Coastguard. We call in on the way out with numbers, type of craft and our area of operation. Then on the way back we call them up to log back off. If they don't hear from us within 1 hour of our given return time they send out the lifeboat and helicopter - you must call up on the way in. The VHF is also handy for talking to the charter skippers to get hints on where the fish activity is and what is happening elsewhere. Sometimes this causes us to change tactics and saves wasting time on fish that aren't biting.

We also have inshore marks which can fish well. 5 of us caught 17 tope one day this year about 1000 yars out. Great fun on 8lb class rods, but with 15 or 20lb line. We also get bass, pollock, wrasse (like a grouper but only to 6lbs) rays, flatfish, cod and dogfish.

We have much stronger tides than you do and some areas can build 20 foot stopper waves just on the tide run - look at the Welsh Sea Kayak club website and watch them paddling St. David's Head - the rip is called The Bitches. There are several other places like that in Wales and loads of them in Scotland. Our average tidal range is about 16 feet on neaps and upto 30 feet on springs. That is a lot of water movement!
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