Kayaker’s paradise might be the perfect description for the waters of Franklin County, Fla.
Skinny waters inaccessible to powerboats are everywhere. In these shallows await redfish, trout, flounder, jack crevalle, pompano and more. Even freshwater species, like largemouth bass, bream and catfish are possible. There are more than 40 canoe/kayak launches in and around Franklin County. Most are within Tate’s Hell State Forest or the Apalachicola National Forest. Kayaker options also include the seemingly endless miles of shoreline along the bays, and the Gulf of Mexico is accessible at roadside.
Seasonal patterns, at times, will dictate the available species, but most are here for the taking all year. Live bait while kayak fishing is always a sure bet, but you can keep your load light with a handful of artificial lures and have tremendous success. If you’re here in the fall, redfish will eagerly explode on a walking topwater plug like a Rapala Skitterwalk or a Zara Spook. Nothing will get an angler’s heart thumping more than seeing these bruisers blow up on the surface and peel drag.
Trout are also in full force in the fall. A MirrOlure MirrOdine is hard to beat, but they too, will chomp topwater plugs. Jigs tipped with Berkley Gulp! Shrimp should always be part of your line-up, because they will catch nearly anything that swims.
North winds can make the shallows along the Gulf perfect for a kayak fishing trip. Late summer to early fall can provide unrivaled king and Spanish mackerel action. Steel leaders and stout reels are a must because these toothy critters will strip drag like a freight train before giving up.
Kayak Fishing Rivers
The Carrabelle and Apalachicola rivers are teaming with bass, bream and catfish, but don’t be surprised if you get caught up just trying to take in the breathtaking scenery and wildlife found in these tidal waters. Kayakers have seen otters, turtles, alligators and an endless array of shore birds in these pristine and diverse ecosystems.
The Apalachicola Paddle Jam festival will be held Oct. 5-7. Be a part of history as we attempt a new Guinness World Record for the largest floating gathering of kayaks! This three-day festival celebrates the Forgotten Coast through paddle sports, music and food. Events are happening at many various locations in Apalachicola. This event promises to be huge fun!
If you’ve never experienced the peace and joy that kayaking brings, add it to your bucket list. There’s a reason this sport is growing so rapidly. Come see why this area is a kayaker’s paradise!
Franklin County features several kayak and boat rentals. For a complete list of rentals, charters and supplies, visit www.floridasforgottencoast.com