Kayak fishing can be compared to hang gliding, skydiving, and mountain climbing in that there’s a jump off point in getting started. To the novice kayak angler, the idea of crashing the surf and fighting a 30-pound white seabass is like strapping on the ‘chute and bailing out on your first plane ride. Luckily, it doesn’t take hulk-like strength to push a kayak around and once you’re on. It’s more like riding a bike than jumping out of a plane, if not safer and easier.
Fishing from a modified kayak is not only a great way to fish, it’s a good Iow-impact upper body workout, at the same time making otherwise inaccessible fisheries accessible to the recreational angler.
The best way to get started is in the bays, harbors, and estuaries where canoers and float tubers lurk. From Mission Bay to Santa Barbara, there are numerous areas for novice paddlers to get their skills down. A basic kayaking class will cut your learning time in half and is recommended.
Remember, this is a awashdeck” kayak sport – don’t let the inexperienced watersports salesman talk you into a boat that you have to stuff yourself into. Open cockpit kayaks are stable and are not designed to roll over.
Redondo Harbor is a great area for conventional saltwater anglers to cut their teeth, and because of the infiltration of bonito, it is also a haven for those who choose to take up the fly. Barracuda, bass, and halibut are not uncommon and good weather days are plentiful for venturing outside the harbor.
Another great teaching feature about the harbor is its close proximity to the coast of Redondo Canyon. My first time out I was shocked to see the rapid fall and rise of the canyon walls come up on the sonar while I was within an easy swim to shore. Historically, the currents coming through Redondo Canyon have brought legendary yellowtail bites right into the harbor. Drifting the canyon a few times while watching the sonar gives you a good feel for reading structure. I have found most serious kayak anglers have employed fishfinders to take the guesswork out of where they’re going as well as for locating bait and game fish. GPS is an option, but the sonar gives so much more information along the way.
Normally I wouldn’t recommend a spot where the seals run the water or smokestacks adorn our beautiful coast, but in this case, Redondo Harbor offers the novice kayak angler a flatwater environment that is full of fish in which to get comfortable on their boats and refine their style of fishing.
One of the many great things about a fishing kayak is the ease of fishing. No harder to transport than a ’60s era longboard, the I angler has the advantage of fishing | wherever he or she desires. When w you hear about the tremendous hal| ibut bite at the Drainpipe, it’s nice to launch on the fishing grounds and start the hunt, as opposed to the 20-mile boat ride alternative out of the nearest port.
I find that when people start fishing in the ‘yaks, they fish a lot more frequently than they normally would. The kayak gives easy access to the fishing grounds, eliminating the need to consume a whole day just to go fishing.
By outfitting a washdeck kayak for fishing, the recreational angler has the opportunity to open a whole new fishery literally in his backyard. A hidden advantage for the angler with a family is that the modified fishing kayak, stripped down, is 100% functional for non-fishing uses. Family paddles, water-oriented vacations, days at the beach – she’ll never know that you bought it for fishing until long after it’s home.
Fishing on kayaks is largely responsible for making me an angler. Before I was just a guy who fished a lot. The comfort, affordability, accessibility, and overall ease of kayak fishing has enabled me to go from fishing 10 to 20 days on a good year to fishing over 100 days every year. All this with a minimum of the non-fishing time normally required to get in a good day on the water.
Kayak fishing gives the angler a perspective on the fishing grounds not experienced by others. Besides the higher fish counts and bigger fish in general, there is a sense of intimacy in the field you get on a kayak that you just can’t capture on any other type of vessel.
Whether your target prey is cat fish on a hot summer night or that 10pound calico that’s been eluding your hook for all these years, fishing on a modified washdeck kayak may be just the thing to turn your fishing life around. I know it has changed mine!