Cover Some Water!

Cover Some Water!

For anyone who has ever fished out of a kayak, you know that it has many advantages. Nothing is perfect though, and this is one sport that includes more than a few downsides. Kayaking is a physical activity that is driven by a paddle and the amount of energy that one is willing to exert. Since it is a slow-moving sport, there is only so much water a kayaker can cover in a day. This is why kayaking is unique and it presents a challenge to an angler every time they hit the water.

Some anglers have the luxury of fishing out of a motor boat and this gives them a certain edge over others. By doing so, boaters can launch at any public ramp on the Texas coast and cover the whole bay or lake within a day. They can start their day by fishing a main-lake reef and if that does not produce, they then have the option of heading to the opposite end of the lake. Covering this much water in an allotted time makes fishing (almost) effortless by comparison with kayak fishing. At one spot or another you are bound to find some fish.

Now one of the advantages that kayakers have is that our options for launch points are nearly limitless. The disadvantages though are that we are restricted to how much water we can actually fish. Once we launch, we are stuck fishing a certain shoreline or a particular area of marsh. The challenge is then presented to catch fish within a 2-3 mile radius of your launch point. A kayaker's odds of catching fish will definitely increase with how much water they are able to cover.

When I say "covering" water, what I'm describing is a combination of two things; the distance one is willing to paddle in a given day and how much of any area your line is actually in the water during that period. Multi-tasking in a kayak can prove to be a difficult thing but with a few suggestions, one can get in a rhythm and fish an entire area thoroughly.

The one factor that comes into play with this is wind direction. When I have a set course of where and what I want to fish, whether a shoreline, flat or reef, I try to keep the wind out of my face. If it is blowing directly at you, it makes it difficult to cast, paddle and stay in one area. So if you are able to keep it at your back, do so. A kayaker can even use it to their advantage when drifting a flat or open water. My favorite thing to do is clip my drift sock onto my anchor trolley, adjust to the direction I want to fish and slowly work through an area.

If the wind happens to be favorable that day, working a large area is a little easier. If I am fishing a shoreline, I like to bounce down the edge casting to my surroundings. I will plant my foot on the shore and cast from 12-3 (12 o'clock being the bow of my kayak and 3 o'clock being my direct right side). After making several cast and covering that 90 degrees, I will bounce down the shore about a casting distance from where I previously was and repeat. This way there is very little water that gets missed and if a fish is in the area, they are sure to see your lure. Whether they eat it or not is out of my hands!

The same concept will apply when I fish open water. I will arrive to an area, stake out and adjust my trolley to position me correctly. I will then begin to fan cast from my 9 to 3 before I decide to move a casting distance forward. Once I locate a fish, I will remember which direction I hooked them at and continue to fish that area hard. If it stops producing, I will head that direction and start the process over again in hopes to find the moving school.

When I plan on fishing in this manner, lure choice is a big part of covering a vast amount of water. I like to rig my FTU "Green Rods" with lures that enable quick retrieves while still making good presentations. The faster I can drag a lure through my allotted area, the faster I can proceed forward and in turn, fish a larger portion of that water. So the few rods I bring with me will have a topwater, gold spoon and a Rat-L-Trap or other crankbait tied on.

I usually start the first hour or so throwing a Skitter Walk or She Dog in search of a blow up. A topwater is a really great lure to locate a school of trout and even a few single-cruising redfish. My favorite thing to do if they are short striking it is to pick up my other rod and throw a Rat-L-Trap where my last bite occurred. Usually the fish are feeding and will not fail to take a lure below the surface.

Once the sun comes up, I will pick up my rod with the spoon or Rat-L-Trap tied on. These lures reflect a good amount of sunlight which makes them visible to fish from a great distance. Also, with the faster retrieve I am able to cover a full 180 degrees within a matter of a few minutes. This combination makes for a perfect scenario of covering every inch of water and putting your lure in the strike zone.

When looking at a bay or lake on a map, there is realistically no way that a kayaker will ever be able to fish every inch of it. This in itself presents a challenge to us and I believe that being able to accept and overcome this what makes us great anglers. We have to wisely choose where we are going to fish and "make" that spot produce. Making one or two casts every 100 yards of shoreline is not going to cut it. One needs to make several long casts and fish an area well before moving on. So grab your paddle and rods and be sure to cover as much water as you are able to!