[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ometimes, in life, you stumble upon a place that feels just right. Sometimes, that feeling is based on emotion, and other times, it is all about your surroundings. With good fortune, you can find both emotion and surroundings in the same place. A place like this exists if you are a kayak fisherman in the Big Bend. Somehow, kayak fishing and the waters of the Big Bend just fit like saltwater and sunshine.
The surrounding waters of the Big Bend give way to 60 miles of unspoiled coastline. Most of the area’s coastline remains protected by the St Marks National Wildlife Refuge and the Big Bend Aquatic Preserve; both provide shelter in the marsh for wildlife and fish. With just the right amount of quiet kayak launches scattered throughout five rural counties, the Big Bend is kayak fishing at its best.
There is no bad time to come explore the Big Bend, but if you had to pick a month, it would be May. By this time of year, the flats will be alive with redfish and speckled trout, the pelagic species will have returned from the south, and the bay will be alive with bait. The temperatures will be moderate, and the cold fronts will have passed. This is the month when the Big Bend will shine.
If you are looking to catch a bunch of fish, they will be hungry. Bring a tackle box full of topwater lures, with the local favorites being One Knockers in bone or white. The redfish and speckled trout of the Big Bend will explode on topwater in May. Bring a handful of Gulp jerk baits and 1/16oz. jigs. White is also the color of choice in Gulp. The jerk baits will open the door to a Big Bend slam, with a nice fat flounder to add to your day. It is the month the locals have been waiting for all winter.
As for places to stay and food to eat, the Big Bend is full service. Our waters are remote, and our towns are low crowd, but you will not look far for clean hotels and fresh seafood. This is, come as you are land, but be sure to bring your kayak. Bring a heavy dose of kayak fishing adventure, and plenty of sharp hooks. Get year gear serviced, because smooth drags are required. Bring your friends, and come experience Florida’s last frontier. If you need a better reason to come visit the Big Bend, look no further than the Big Bend Kayak Classic. This is a hometown kayak angler’s only tournament with awesome food, great folks, and a top notch charity—Meals on Wheels. See you on the water.