Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Handlining from a Kayak

Two kayak fishermen took me out fishing with them.  I was under the impression that to fish from a kayak you needed lots of gear like rod-holders and landing nets and places to put fish in case you caught some etc. etc.  Turns out that according to my mentors, you don't need most of that stuff.  You don't need rod holders because you don't need a rod and reel to fish from a kayak.  A kayak puts you right on top of the fish and so you don't need a rod to fling your bait or lure out away from your kayak to where the fish are.  The fish are under you and so you just lower the line with the bait into the water below you and the fish bite on your bait.  It's that simple.  The reason this works is that the fish are some distance below you and so they are not spooked as they would be if you just had six feet of water under you. When you have 100 feet of water under you the fish can't see you.
So we went fishing and caught fish.  The reason we caught fish is that one of my mentors had a gps that took us back to a reef where he had caught fish before. His electronic gizmo also had sonar that showed him what the bottom looks like.  We were going for rock fish which hang out over rocks.  If you're fishing where there are no fish, you catch no fish.  Most likely you blame yourself or your bait but the real reason you caught no fish is that you were fishing where there were no fish.
And now for some pictures.
Here's the Pacific at 7 a.m. Not much wind but some shore break from 3 foot swells.

Our put-in point on a shelf some fifty feet above the beach.  Portaging of the kayaks was required.

My host's fish counter. The leg of the string on the left is total fish caught. The leg on the right tracks a different species that has a different limit from the run of the mill rockfish.

The rig, 300 pound braided line with a lead weight and some hooks wound on a wooden spool. What could be simpler?
I should mention something that I noticed before when starting to fish with my canoe is that fishing changes your relationship with your boat and the place where you take your boat out.  Fishing, in this case changed my view of my kayak as a means of putting me into the ocean's food chain, one step above the rock fish but still one step below the sharks that live in the Pacific.  As a consequence, I made some mods to my kayak to make it a better fishing boat.  More on that in a separate post.

1 comment:

Andrea Wilkins said...

Kayak anglers certainly do not need a lot of the equipment that sometimes burdens people down. It seems like a more relaxing way to enjoy fishing, in my opinion. The sonar would certainly come in handy and making note of good fishing spots using the GPS helps as well. It should be interesting to see the mods you made to your kayak.

Andrea Wilkins @ Getaway Oudoors