By Shari Hearn
One if the hottest trend in fishing today is kayak fishing. Why? Let me count the ways:
1. Kayaks can take you places motorized boats can’t.
That can translate to more fish caught with the ability of fishing waters that other boats can’t get to.
2. Kayaks are easier to transport than other boats.
Kayaks can be easily transported with your SUV or truck. You can even buy folding kayaks which can fit in the trunk of your car – which takes ease of transportation to a whole new level.
3. Kayaks aren’t as expensive as other boats.
The folding kayaks may be more expensive than the rigid kayaks, but all in all they’re still cheaper than other motorized fishing boats.
4. Kayaks are just plain fun.
There’s just something about being so close to the water that makes kayaks so much fun to be in.
Kayaks used for fishing are different than kayaks used for whitewater rafting, in that they are usually SOT (sit on top) kayaks, as well as typically wider than whitewater kayaks. They often have much larger below-deck cargo areas for easier storage of your fishing gear; some even provide waterproof storage via internal bulkheads. Unlike traditional one-paddler whitewater kayaks, many fishing kayaks can accommodate two or three paddlers.
While you may be tempted to immediately rush out and buy a kayak, it’s probably a good idea to test the waters by taking a class on kayak fishing, or hiring an outfitter for guided kayak-fishing trips. While kayaks are inexpensive when compared to motorized boats, it can still be a several hundred dollar investment. It’s good to know you would actually enjoy kayak fishing before you make a purchase.
When you’re ready to purchase a kayak, there are some things to look for when comparing kayaks:
1. Make sure you’ll be comfortable; look for a kayak with lots of leg-room, and make sure you pick a kayak with a weight capacity that will handle both you and your fishing gear.
2. Make sure the kayak is easy to load and unload. You might want to also consider a folding kayak. If the kayak is easier to load you’ll probably want to use it more often.
3. Get advice from experts. Tell them what type of a fisherman (and woman) you are. This will help determine the type of kayak you should buy.
Where to go Kayak Fishing?
There are so many great spots in the United States to go kayak fishing, but some of the best spots include:
Everglades National Park – Florida
Considered by some to be one of the best kayak-fishing locations in the world, Everglades National Park offers excellent fishing year round for trout, redfish and snook, and is located just 30 minutes from Naples, or 90 minutes from Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale. With 1.4 million acres in the Park alone, and 10,000 islands surrounded by mangroves, mudflats and sandy beaches, you might never want to leave.
La Jolla Shores – California
But, if you don’t leave Everglades National Park, you’ll never discover kayak fishing in La Jolla Shores outside of San Diego, which is known as the best location in Southern California for kayak fishing. You can fish for halibut, white sea bass, calico bass, yellowtail and barracuda, among others. Keep in mind that you pull your vehicle right onto the sand to unload your kayak, and that the area where you launch is an ecological preserve which prohibits fishing until you reach the buoy line, which is about a half to a mile out, so you will have some paddling to do before you begin to fish.
East Matagorda Bay – Texas
Kayakers are welcomed at Matagorda Bay with their own kayak trails leading to great redfish and speckled trout fishing. No motorized boats allowed, which means kayakers have all that spectacular fishing all to themselves. East Matagorda Bay is located south of the town of Matagorda, toward the Gulf of Mexico.
To really make the most of your kayak-fishing adventure, you really should consider a kayak-fishing class or lessons with an experienced guide. Basic lessons will cover kayak safety, as well as launching and landing in surf. It can’t be stressed enough that a lesson on kayak fishing may make the difference between a great day of fishing and a miserable time.
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