“If you’re not having fun, you’re not learning!” -Richard P. Feynman
Although Mr. Feynman was a theoretical physicist, he is right on the money about one thing—having fun and learning go hand in hand. Through all of my experiences and hours spent on the water, I have had more fun than I can recollect. Along the way my kayaking and kayak fishing learning curve has never stopped rising. I have been fishing as far back as I can remember and I learn something new with every trip I make.
When you look at both of these factors, it is apparent that they feed off each other. If at the end of a long day of fishing you can say it was fun, the odds are you will go again, soon. And, since you had fun, you will culture more opportunities to spend time on the water, and thus accelerate your learning. You can also read every article in this magazine and gain a wealth of information on many types of fishing on the Texas coast. However, if you don’t go out and implement the things you’ve learned, what fun would that be?
One thing I have learned and cannot stress enough is kayak safety. Being safe on the water insures that you are able to have fun while being out there. Here in the past few months there have been some unfortunate kayak angler drownings, reportedly through failure to wear a personal flotation device (PFD). These incidents and others like them could have been so easily prevented. There are so many affordable, effective, and comfortable PFDs made specifically for paddle sports on the market today that not wearing one makes no sense whatsoever. Wearing your PFD, especially on solo trips, provides peace of mind that allows you to free your mind and have fun. Please wear your PFD!
Another thing I have learned throughout my paddling career is to either start early or start late. I originally began doing this to escape midday heat. Baking all day in hot summer sun is no recipe for having fun. So, I would begin my trips just before daylight or late in the afternoon. Not only was I more comfortable, I also learned that fish were more likely to be active in the cooler temperatures and during the light change. I have enjoyed countless quick limits of fish during the first and last hour of daylight. You not only beat the crowds and the heat, you get to enjoy spectacular sunrises and sunsets. What could be more fun than that?
More about the fun department, it doesn’t really matter what I am doing, just as long as I am out there. I thoroughly enjoy taking my time and paddling long distances through the marsh. Through this I have discovered new places to fish and even caught quite a few. Also along the way, I have been able to observe wildlife of many species, learned where and how fish utilize currents through marsh channels while feeding, which answered many questions of why those fish were even there in the first place. The farther I paddled and the more I observed, the more I learned and the better angler I became.
On top of finding fish while paddling around, one of the other aspects I find to be great fun is just plain watching fish. If you ever get a chance to locate a single redfish or small school, try to resist grabbing a rod and simply observe their behavior for a few minutes. You will learn that they don’t generally swim in straight lines. After watching them, I have found that they will zig-zag back and forth and can turn the complete opposite direction at any given time for no apparent reason. Other times, you can follow them down a shoreline and watch how they corral and attack bait. It amazes me how they often work a few yards off the bank as they slowly cruise along, almost as though they are leaving that gap as a sort of safety zone for the bait to linger within. Then comes the attack. When everything settles down you might see that same fish resume cruising and setting up the same way as it continues to feed.
Have you ever seen a redfish attack bait on the shoreline and make a direct cast towards him and not get a bite? That’s probably because he already changed direction and did not see your lure.
Through hours of slowly inching along and watching fish I have earned a great number of sight-cast opportunities. Personally, there is not a “funner” way to catch a redfish. The thing that I have learned about this though, is that accuracy is far more important than distance. It’s almost like a game to me, you have to make a near perfect cast to get a fish to eat. Throw in variables such as wind and standing in a kayak and you have yourself a genuine challenge!
I know I have said this before but the more it is repeated the truer it becomes. Catching fish is a bonus. Most of us go out there to escape the grind of day-to-day life and our main objective should be to have fun. Everything else will come in its own time.Get out and enjoy yourself. Remember to have fun and keep learning. Most importantly, always wear your PFD!
Kayakers, paddle boarders and anyone fishing with one hand free can now achieve powerful catches with the Trophy Haul™ Bearclaw Night. Simply wrap the support bar around the forearm and grab the handle right at the yoke for easy one-handed operation. The upgraded light module illuminates the reflective hoop to guide successful catches even in low light.