Kayak Fishing: Warming Up for Spring

by Mark Lozier, 1st Landing Kayak Fishing Services, April 2017

Even with the unseasonably warmer winter then usual not many kayak anglers have gotten out the last few months, especially saltwater kayakers. Before cabin fever gets the best of you and the first few warm days of spring have you loading up and heading to the water to fish be sure to do some gear and self maintenance.

Typically April in the Tidewater area can start to see the first of some inshore species showing up in the inlets. Rising water temps and longer days get things stirring. Ideal water temps reaching the upper 50’s and lower 60’s will start to bring out the blue crabs, fiddlers, mullet and minnows. Perfect scenarios for flounder, croaker and drum to start moving in from their offshore and southerly winter homes.

Don’t just take down those rods and reels off the wall that have been resting all winter and think they are good to go if you didn’t perform some routine maintenance before you gave them their winter rest. A light service of the internal parts like the gears and bearings is always a good start. If you’re not comfortable, find someone in your area to perform a clean and lube. Be sure to check the line, especially if you have not replaced it for a season or two. Braided lines can last for a few good years, longer than monofilament line. If your braided line is faded or “fuzzy”, it needs to be replaced or pull off several yards to get to some fresher line. Mono that has a lot of memory or just old needs attention. There’s nothing worst than setting the hook on a good fish only to have old line fail you.

This is also a good time to go through your lures and jigs. Replacing rusted hooks or at least taking a file to the points and sharpening them. Check and replace any worn terminal tackle like swivels, split rings and snaps.

Now is also a good time to check over the biggest piece of equipment, your kayak. Though we do not have as many issues as the boat owner long periods of rest and the elements can have a toll on key pieces. Check all your straps and any bungee ropes that connect key points. Give it a fresh bath and treat the hull with some plastic conditioner to help repeal the harmful UV rays.

Finally prepare YOURSELF for the beginning of your 2017 fishing season. Make sure your PFD is still in good condition, no dry rot of straps and your pealess whistle is in working order. Replace batteries in your white light and check the bulb. If you have what I call a ditch bag, be sure all those items are still in good shape. I keep a first-aid kit, spare flashlight, small flares, vhf radio and extra batteries in a small Watershed dry bag. Also, don’t let air temps fool you. Even if you are comfortable on land in shorts and t-shirt, water temps are much cooler. Dress properly in the event you get separated from your kayak. A pair of lightweight paddling pants like the Immersion Arch Rivals with a light paddling check is perfect to keep water off exposed skin. Be safe, have fun and be prepared for an upcoming great year of kayak fishing!