It’s All About Our Readers!

It’s All About Our Readers!
This past month has been great for reader feedback. In fact, I am going to construct this article around a reader's own fishing story as well as answer a couple of questions from other reader submissions.

To start things off, I was contacted by a Mr. B. Colburn about some of his Beyond The Breakers (BTB) outings. I have written about BTB before, but it is certainly not my forte, so I thought I would share what Mr. Colburn shared with me and how he approaches kayak fishing trips, specifically BTB efforts.

He writes:

"One of the trips I like to make is shark and bull red fishing from the beach at McFadden Wildlife Refuge near High Island, Texas. The great thing about this trip is that you don't have to paddle very far off the beach to find these fish. Usually I will go out around 400 yards, give or take, and anchor there. One of my trips I made this summer, a group of us got into a lot of bull reds and sharks. The trip was about three to four weeks ago. When our group arrived at McFadden the conditions were what we call "ice cream." The morning began with a mild threat of rain but improved as the day wore on. The surf and nearshore waters were calm, barely any swells rolling in. Shortly after arriving and meeting up with a few others, we launched and all spread out to find the depth that would offer the most action. As the day progressed, conditions picked up a little but only slightly. Bait was jumping everywhere most of the day so that gave everyone confidence there were fish present to be caught. The bull reds averaged around 40 inches topping out at 45 inches and the largest shark I caught that day was a 5.5 foot blacktip shark. The tackle I used on this trip included a Penn Spinfisher V rod with a PENN 6500 LL reel that I bought at Bass Pro Shop and one more PENN 6500 LL reel on a Tiger Stik rod. By the end of the day, I managed to reel in 20 bull reds and 4 sharks. It was a great trip and I was surrounded by great company while on the water.

I always recommend fishing with a group when going BTB. I post on and go into the BTB part of the forum. Once on there, I post up my plans for the trip so that others can get on board if they would like to join. Once the date comes, there is always people that will come out to enjoy some of the great fishing that McFadden has to offer. I like to go in a group because the more people on the water makes for a safer trip. Safety is in numbers."

Mr. Colburn, thank you so much for the write up and the photos. The information you shared will be useful to other readers, myself included.

Another reader emailed asking about where to find more info on kayak fishing, including launch spots, marshes, etc. Well, Mr. Leslie, our above reader actually answered part of that question for you. The website is really a one stop shop to find anything you want to know about fishing the Texas coast in your 'yak. The threads are endless and the information is great, it never gets old. I will let you find out for yourself just how useful it is. Furthermore, you should pick up a few Hook-N-Line kayak fishing maps. These maps are made of water resistant paper, therefore can withstand a kayaking trip with you. These maps are very detailed in showcasing launch points, reefs, baits to use, you name it. To answer your third question about a guide, I would recommend two who I consider very capable, Rick Spillman ( out of Galveston/Freeport area and Dean Thomas (Slowride Guide Service) out of Aransas Pass. Both of these men are true Yodas of kayak fishing.

And finally... Mr. M. Hamm emailed me requesting some information about selecting a first kayak. He wants something comfortable (good seat), easy to use (not too large), that he can also use for duck hunting (I am thinking camo).

Mr. Hamm, three options come to mind. One way to go would be with a Hobie Outback, the biggest benefit to the Hobie would be the Mirage-Drive system which would allow you to peddle the kayak while holding your shotgun or fishing. These peddles don't work too well in water shallower than a foot or so, so be aware of that, but they can be removed for super skinny areas. My second choice would be a Jackson Kayak. They are becoming a very popular brand and have quality rigs. They come in a camo pattern which would aide in being inconspicuous and also have very comfortable seats. My third recommendation would be an Ocean Kayak, my favorite in their line being the Prowler 13. It is viewed by many experienced paddlers as the best all-around kayak out there. Time tested and proven; not too big, not too small. You would just need to purchase an aftermarket seat for it to be super comfy and you are on your way.

Whatever you choose, I would have the boat equipped with a rudder. You should also invest in a light-weight (high end) paddle, and a comfy seat that offers good back support. Hopefully this helps some.

You might also want to look into renting a kayak for a day or a weekend as you explore the various sizes and models. Most of the larger dealers offer rentals and some will deduct the rental price from the purchase price. Another plan that could prove helpful would be to attend a dealer's kayak demo-day event.

I want to thank everyone who wrote in this month. It is great hearing from fellow fisherman and outdoorsman. I hope everyone has a great Christmas and New Year.

Until next month, stay warm and catch a lot of fish.