A few months ago I was contacted by a representative of Paddling Anglers of Canoes and Kayaks (P.A.C.K.) with an invitation to be a guest speaker at one of their monthly meetings. I agreed, so it was time to start tossing a few ideas around on the topics I wanted to cover. I was struggling on pinning down the theme of my presentation until I watched a TED talk concerning the success of certain products. One of the highlighted corporations was Apple and their business strategy compared to others. Competitors strategies all come from a base of What they do whereas Apple's is Why they do it. That is when I had my “Aha!” moment and began to work on my presentation.
Randomly enough with the subject and this article, it also coincides with my very first article two years ago in this magazine- Why I Kayak Fish. After putting together my power point and speech, I figured it was all worthy enough to share with TSFMag readers.
How do you catch fish? This is a question that comes up frequently in conversation. The answer is really very simple but does not explain much. It’s as basic as putting a lure in the water, I tell them. If your bait is not in the water you cannot catch fish. The more important question is why did you catch that fish? Now that is a completely different question that will result in a completely different answer. Why is the question we need to ask ourselves to gain the information and knowledge we are searching for.
It is no secret that a majority of the fishing I do is catching redfish in the marsh, and trout during winter. Both of these species are exciting to catch and I have never had a dull moment when chasing either. The moment you see the tip of a redfish's tail break the water’s surface is a welcome sight that automatically puts a smile on my face. Also, after setting the hook on a big trout, and watching her sit there shaking her head – that’s another sight that always gets my blood flowing. These are but two of many reasons I enjoy chasing redfish and trout.
These fish have different characteristics and distinct habits but have one thing in common – they are lazy opportunistic feeders. I believe that when fish feed, they want to work as little as possible and when feeding, they want to have the advantage over their prey. When you look at it as if they will feed more often when the ball is in their court, you can start to figure out Why they are acting the way they are.
For an example, weather, that is something that all anglers pay close attention to before going on a trip. So if I go fishing on a day that is overcast, I am going to change my lure selection up a little bit. On overcast days with low light, I have confidence to throw a topwater all day. I believe topwaters are effective on such days because there is no glare and fish can look up and see the bait better. And, baitfish such as finger mullet, do not have enough light to see the predators beneath them. This gives redfish and trout the advantage, as I mentioned above.
Another condition that we often run into are windy days. I have always heard about this and was skeptical until I actually did it, but targeting windward shorelines can be very productive. I know this is not the most ideal way to fish out of a kayak but these shorelines hold fish. The reason is that bait is forced against the shoreline and makes for an easier target for lazy, hungry fish. This is Why windward shorelines are a good place to target.
Time of day is another important factor when it comes to targeting fish. It is no secret that fish tend to feed right at daylight or right at dusk. I believe they react to the change in light accordingly and take full advantage of it. The reason Why this happens is because when the sun comes up or goes down, there is a window with minimum light. With this small amount of light the game fish have the advantage and will feed more readily.
Also, staying with time of day, fishing during the solunar majors and minors that are driven by the moon phases is another key factor. Sometimes the major will occur in the middle of the day. This is a good reason to sleep late and enjoy a more leisurely start. Also with the moon phase, it is directly related with the tides which we know turns the bite on.
These are all just a few factors of Why fish tend to react the way they do. When you start asking the right questions, you will start getting the right answers. This will make you a better angler and I believe it will help you keep a pattern on fish and make you a more efficient angler. It all comes down to knowing and asking Why.
I have come to realize though, there is more to kayak fishing than meets the eye of most observers. More than simply another way to fish, it becomes a lifestyle. I have met people from coast to coast with all the same passion and the kayak community in general never ceases to amaze me. I have had complete strangers guide me on their home waters and others have offered to do the same. I honestly believe I can go just about anywhere, find a kayak angler, and they will take me fishing.Some of my best friends were first met at a boat ramp while I was preparing to launch. I have spent countless hours fishing with my brother. I have enjoyed more sunrises and sunsets sitting in my kayak than most people probably have in their life. Regardless how the rest of the day might go, I have learned that catching fish is just a bonus. One thing about it that has never changed is why I do it. The reasons above are exactly why I still kayak fish. Continue striving to learn and never forget Why you do it.