hit a local bridge on the outgoing this morning. the w*nd was strong enough to push me up current. the fly rod was used only for a short time because of it. lots of blues, some pretty big, were caught on a white bucktail and pink fin-s. one was big enough to tow me around for some time.
Let me be the first to post a picture on this thread. It is alittle late but here is a night time bass picked up last week on the outgoing. Fell to a black bomber trolled slowly along a creek mouth. It is great to have our own thread!
please excuse my spelling. I haven't been in school for a long time, and my memory is caput!!
For those of you who have thought about kayak fishing, I will start by explaining a few things you should know and take into consideration. Others please feel free to add, as I am only going to hit the major issues/questions I had when I started 4 years ago.
I must first start by saying since I started yak fishing, the amount of fish I have caught has easily increased 10 fold. I estimated my total striper catch last year was around 100+ stripers. Prior to having my yak I caught about 10-15, with LOTS of time put in. I have to give props to this web site for helping me with fishing skills and opening my eyes to other ways of fishing (poppers, plastic, etc.). Since I purchased my first yak, I have been able to get past the breakers on the beach and smile as I catch striper after striper while watching the guys on shore sit there catching nothing.
When fishing from land, you don't realize how many fish are sitting just outside of your casting abilities.
Also, you can paddle to the sod bank/ island across from the place you fish that is not accessable on foot and slay the stripers since it is virtually unfished. What a lot of boaters don't understand is that on the way out to their favorite fishing spots, they drive their boat right by some PRIME spots that hold nice size fish.
While you might not get the slobs you might find in some of the more well known spots only accessable by boat(unless your the kid who got towed around by that 50+ lb fish last summer in his kayak on LBI), you WILL definately increase your chances of catching some NICE fish.
It is not uncommon for a kayak fisherman to get pulled around at the mercy of a decent size fish. It has happened to me plenty of times and makes landing the fish much more enjoyable than from a boat or on shore.
What you have to realize when buying a kayak is you should try as many as you can before your purchase. Most, if not all dealers will let you take a few out for a test run. Go to a couple of different dealers to try out different brands. Do not buy the first one you try. Take your time. I suggest you take you fishing rod, and make some casts to see how the yak handles with some rocking motion.
Before you purchase your kayak, take into consideration that when you are on your kayak, you are the least visable water craft on the water. I recommend getting a yak that is a bright color so people can see you from a distance. I figured I would be fishing around bridges and paddling through high traffic areas where it is essential that other boaters see me. I was originally going to get a slate blue color which looked great, but wound up with yellow for visibility reasons. Think about it before you go for the cool looking color (although my kayak is pretty damn good looking- I must say)
I will tell you the Wilderness System Tarpon series is the best yak on the market, but everyone has their own opinion. What might work perfect for me might not work as well for someone else. Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to fishing kayaks. I did not test different yaks when I got my first, and went with the "coolest" looking one, which I regretted after I traded it for my kay I have now. Do as I say, not as I do!!!
I have owned both a sit in as well as a sit on top kayak, which I will attempt to differentiate below.
There are 2 types of kayaks you can choose from.
SOT- Sit on top
SOT (sit on top) You actually sit on top of the kayak. Your entire body will be exposed to the elements ie. sun, wind, water splashes, cold weather.
These tend to be a bit slower than the sit in kayaks, but I have never found it to be a big deal, as I don't paddle long distances for long periods of time (over a mile each way). I'm pretty sure most kayak fisherman will agree with me on that one.
I find the sit on top models tends to have more storage space for rods, battery for a fish finder, gear, etc.
Sit on top kayaks can have zero, one or two hatches(2 recommended, if available on your model) which allow you to access the area below you. I can store my 9' fly rod fully assembled with a few other rods, no problem. My kayak is 14ft, so size really does matter... for storing fully assembled or larger 1 pc rods.
The sit on top kayaks tend to cater to the person looking to accessorize their ride with flush mount rod holders, fish finder, cooler, deck straps to hold gear down, and many other gadgets. The extra storage space below you allows you to add these extras without affecting your comfort. While all of these features can be added to both the sit-on and sit-in, the sit on top allows you to do more without taking up space where your legs would be in the sit in kayak.
The sit on top is also convenient when it comes to catching and landing fish. Having an open area around your feet allows you to turn more freely as well as fight fish with your feet hanging off one side or stradeling(sp) the kayak. While I don't usually do this, I know many people do. The open seating also allows you to turn your body enough to grab the extra rod in your flush mount rod holder behind the seat, access a cooler behind the seat or do whatever you need in the back of the yak. You can also access the front hatch this way as well.
If you were to "dump" in a sit on top kayak, re-entry is much easier (in my opinion).
First, the SOT kayaks will not fill with water. This is very important, especially if you plan on going out into the surf (although skirts are available for sit in kayaks for this reason). If you do fall off or get taken out by a wave, you flip the yak upright, if it's not already, reach over the top, grab the opposite side and pull yourself up into position. Hopefully your gear is secured, everything is there, and you go on your way.
I flipped in the surf with my SOT, got back on, paddled past the breakers and realized my container in the back was gone which held my cell phone, my lure bag and some other things that were never recovered. Luckily I had a leash on my rod. That sucked!!! Neadless to say, since then I have never paddled without everything secured, and I recommend you do the same.
The sit on top kayaks can be a little uncomfortable, but there are a bunch of aftermarket seats available which will help ease the numb butt sensation you can get from some of the model's standard built in plastic seats. I bought my SOT 2 years ago, so some of the manufacturers could have addressed the issue by now.
Si (sit in)- You "slide" into the cockpit by holding onto the sides of the cockpit and slipping in. This type of kayak is less stable when getting into(inital stability) than a SOT, but more stable once your in(secondary stability).
I was worried about the sot being unstable while I was fishing, which is one of the reasons I went with a sit in as my first kayak. I eventually found out that there are some models of sit on top kayaks that you can stand up on, given the right conditions. After owning a SOT, I descovered that the secondary stability was not as much of a factor for me as I originally thought, and I have stood up on it sight casting to bass on many occasions. Once again, try different ones out to find what works best for you.
With a sit in kayak, you will be surrounded by the cockpit from your chest down, which blocks you from most of the water, wind, etc. The opening to the cockpit is pretty big, and will let water in if it comes up that far, but usually doesn't if your in calmer water.
Skirts are available for the sit in kayaks which keep water out of the cockpit. It is basically a neoprene (wetsuit material) sleeve you slip over your body and stretch all the way around the lip on top of your cockpit. This will seal your cockpit and keep out any water. I have never owned a skirt, but wish I had when I dumped in the surf while riding a wave into shore. My kayak filled with enough water that I could not pull it up onto the beach.
If you own a skirt and flip over, you can do an eskimo roll or another roll I can't think of right now, to flip the yak back into the upright position. I'm not too sure how to do it, but you use your paddle to push you upright. Maybe someone else can explain better. Either way, the top portion of your body will be totally submerged until you right yourself. The skirt is made to pull off easily if you can't roll back upright. In that case, you pull the skirt, climb out and turn the yak over. That scared me when I thought about it, but I'm a wuss.
If you roll over or get thrown over by a wave in a sit it kayak without a skirt, it can quickly fill with water. This is not fun. Luckily when it happened to me, I was in about 3 1/2 feet of water and I was able to stand up and drag it in. If you are in deeper water and the cockpit fills with water, you have to use a hand bildge pump (definately reccommended with a sit in)to flush out the water.
The tricky part is getting back into the kayak after the water is out. There are a couple of ways to do this, but it takes some practice. Probably the easiest is to get a floatation device that they sell for your paddle. You put it on one end of the paddle, place the other side of the paddle on the kayak and pull yourself up and into the cockpit. I can imagine this is not too fun or easy unless practiced.
Most of the SI kayaks are faster in the water than the sot models. The dealer of my first kayak asked me how far I thought I would be paddling, and I had no idea. I thought I would be going long distances to find fish, but soon after I made the purchase, I realized the fish were just out of reach of my casting ability from land. If you plan on traveling long distances in your yak, a sit in would probably be better.
Sit in kayaks usually have either 1 or 2 storage compartments. One in front and/or one in back. While they are good for holding gear, they usually don't allow you to store rods since you will be sitting between the two compartments (if there are 2). The compartments are usually seperated from the cockpit by a sealed "wall" for lack of a better description.
I usually strapped an extra rod to the top of my kayak if I wanted to bring a backup rod, but the reel would get wet if there was chop.
One of the main reasons I did not like the Sit in kayak was- what do you do with a fish after you catch it? Fumbling to string a big fish through the gills was too much of a risk when it's flapping around on the top of the yak. Some fish are ok to put in the cockpit, but a nasty blue chomping on my legs was not an ideal situation for me. I used to throw bass between my legs, but it would flap around my legs and have me checking that the mouth was facing the other direction constantly. I have some precious cargo below deck if you know what I mean. That was probably the biggest reason I got a sit on top.
Another thing I found annoying is the inability to access the front and rear hatches. It is a pain to access the rear hatch, and not feel like your going to flip over doing it. The front hatch is not accessable when you are in the water.
I also could not put flush mount rod holders in a spot that was comfortable for me to access, so I mounted a Scotty (top mounted) rod holder directly in front of me. The problem with top mounted rod holders is it would get in the way when I would cast as well as catch my net when I would try to land a fish. Placing a flush mount behind the seat was out of the question. I would kill my back trying to get to it and feel unstable reaching back for it. Flush mount rod holders were not an option for the reachable area in front of me because the part that is below the surface of the kayak would be where my legs were. It's pretty tight in the cockpit and it would be uncomfortable for me to have the base where my legs were.
In my experience, the sit on top model is ideal for the type of fishing I do. Whether you are casting a spinning rod or fly rod, you have the open area in front of you for your tackle, fly line, etc.
Whatever you decide, definately get a yak. You'll be happy you did.
I hope this info is helpful, and it's something everyone should try at least once. The feeling of a fish giving you a sleigh ride is unmatched. If you have any questions, post them or email me and I'll try my best to help out.
bridge kid, We sell a kayak trailer that hooks up to a bike. They are not cheap but you could look at it and easily rig up one yourself out of scrap aluminum. I even know a guy who made his out of 2x4's and its seems to work fine for him.
Good to see this forum started! I do not get out that frequently, but all of my biggest fish are taken out of my yak, (actually a poke boat). I will post this weekend after hopefully getting out in the back a few times.
I paddled back in a favorite SJ inlet this afternoon and caught 3 bluefish. Two were caught on pink plastics and one on a Bomber while trolling. @ of them had some size to them. It felt good to get out and to feel something pulling on my line. 4 hours in the kayak should help get me in shape for next saturday!
Fly fish, great post with lots of information! I agree that the WS Tarpon 140 is a great kayak.
Anyone hear fish a kayak in the back bay behind Avalon? I'm looking to do a lot more fishing from my yak this summer. I keep it on 21st street just across the bay from Avalon Point Marina. Anyone else fish that area? Would love company this season...
I'm dying to get out on my yak; in fact I'm dying to get out at all. My youngest boy is in little league baseball, and it's taking up all me free time.
I got a new OC Caper from TI Kayaks and got a great deal on it. I've never done a kayak before, and I'm looking forward to it. Since I live up in Delaware County in Pa, I'm going to take it out on Marsh Creek to get used to it on smooth water. I hope to hook up with some of ya to hit the backbays and surf.
barrellman where can I find info about those bike/yak trailers? I am pathetic. Get pulled over by the man over the winter and am reduced to towing my yak on a bike. Enjoy the new bridge in OC boys my hard earned dollars are paying for some of it.