Kayak Fishing

By: Dan Carns

The Florida Keys represents one of the greatest fishing destinations in the world and is a true kayakers paradise. The real excitement comes from not knowing what species of fish you’ll catch. Certain artificial lures will only produce certain fish like sled jigs for bonefish, or high-speed trolling lures for large pelagics like wahoo or swordfish but for the most part if you drop live bait into the water the species selection seems endless.

I recently spent the month of March at the Jolly Rogers RV Resort in Marathon, and the fishing was hot as usual. Of course, this is a transitional month as winter is coming to a close and the fish are transitioning from their winter hideouts, and many are preparing to spawn. I have a couple of spots that I go to that always produce juvenile tarpon at this time of year and as expected they were very cooperative. I missed the first four fish, so I re-rigged my existing set up by downsizing the fluorocarbon leader from 30 lb. test to 20 lb. test and dropped the circle hook size from a 2/0 to a 1 and that was all it took. I next boated 5 juvenile tarpon and managed to scare up a couple of snook on live shrimp.

The wind was projected to blow hard for the next week. During that time one of the newly arrived work campers was a man named Michael, who I meet and fished with while on Cape Cod in the summer of 2022. I recognized his truck from across the park as he was carrying a Zambezi Kayak from Vanhunks that I had sold him back on Cape Cod. As we got reacquainted, I mentioned that I was getting ready to head back out the very next day and he was excited to learn a few new spots.

By daybreak the next morning the wind was forecasted to be low but turned out to be very high, so we launch into a somewhat sheltered cove where I boated my biggest tarpon of the trip at thirty-four inches and nothing else. The next day we fished the first bridge coming into Marathon over what’s called Tom’s Cut. As Michael and I worked the bridge back and forth I suddenly realized that Michael’s rod was entirely bent over with the tip in the water while he screamed with excitement at his luck. Whatever he had was dragging out line and spinning his kayak around like a toy. This fish suddenly launched into the air, and I was sure he had a record pompano on the line. After a ten-minute battle Michael netted his trophy as we hooped and hollered with joy! Once back on shore we headed to the Tackle Box in Marathon where the owner Chris identified our catch as a 34” permit and luckily, they were in season and very tasty! If you ever get to fish the Florida Keys come armed for bear and expect anything!


It’s A Wild World-Get Out There


Dan Carns