By Nick Creamer
[dropcap]K[/dropcap]ayak fishing has become one of the fastest growing sports in the past several years. I started my adventure in 2009 and have never looked back. I purchased my first kayak to fish inshore for Trout, Redfish, and Bass. In 2010, after meeting several people who had the same love for kayak fishing as I did, we decided to take it to the extreme and go offshore. I had no idea what to expect or how to even prepare for this new journey in kayak fishing. After a few trips in the Gulf of Mexico catching King Mackerel, Snapper, and even Grouper, I was hooked.
Preparing for our trips offshore are no different than any other fishing expedition that anyone else would take. There are however, certain weather and marine conditions we look at closely due to how we enter the Gulf. Surf forecast is the main contributing factor of when and if we are able to launch off the beach. The wind is another condition we look at closely as well. For instance, a 10 MPH North wind is not much and will knock the surf down for an easy launch but it can take a toll on a kayaker who has been battling it all day to have to paddle into it to return to the beach.
There are several obstructions that are close to the beach that kayaks can fish a lot easier than boats. Since we can launch off the beach and not have to enter the Gulf out of a pass, they make them less pressured due to the distance. Most boats that will run 12 to 20 miles out are more than likely going to deeper water and not staying along the beach. Snapper, Grouper, Triggerfish, Amberjack, Mahi, and even Sailfish are a few of the fish that we have caught a few miles off the beach. On May 5, 2012, myself and two fellow kayakers went off the beach in Destin, Florida around midnight to bottom fish under the full moon. After catching several Snapper and Grouper, we had no idea what was in store for us as the sun started to light the morning sky. We had several Sailfish and Mahi jumping all around us and luckily I had a live Hard Tail already rigged to troll, so we went after the sails. A few minutes later, Boom! My line started screaming and so did I. So with my friends following beside me and filming me, the sailfish begins the show by jumping and tail walking. After an hour and a half fight and a two mile tow, I finally landed a fish of a lifetime from a kayak. This past year off of Pensacola Beach, Florida, while going out for another night time fishing trip, I landed a 31” Black fin Tuna at dusk.
While the sport of kayak fishing is steadily growing, the tournament trails are starting to become more and more popular. For example, you have the Mobile Bay Kayak Fishing Association, Gulf Coast KFA, The Extreme Kayak Fishing tournaments, along with other fishing rodeos who have introduced kayak divisions in recent years. My personal favorite tourneys are the GCKFA out of Pensacola, Florida as well as the Extreme Tournament in Pompano Beach, Florida. The most popular tournament throughout the kayak fishing community is Kayak Wars. This is an international and online tournament based on 3-5 person teams. It runs through February 1st to December 14th, giving you the chance of placing in multiple categories.
We all know about the high prices at the pumps and the expense of owning a boat, a kayak is a great alternative. There are several different types of kayaks to accommodate ones fishing preferences. For instance, you have a sit on top or a sit inside kayak and 99% of the time, offshore kayakers choose to have a sit on top due to the room they provide, as well as stability. The next decision is whether to paddle or peddle. The peddle kayaks are great for hands free fishing and longer distances.
All in all to be able to throw the kayak in the bed of a truck or on top of a car, it makes for less time preparing and more time for fishing. Not only is it safe for the environment but it’s also a great way to stay in shape. With all that said, I see the sport of Kayak fishing becoming more popular due to its affordability, easiness to learn, and all the excitement it has to offer.
To see the video of my Sailfish catch, go to Youtube-Sailfish from a kayak in Destin Fl- GoPro HD HERO: http://youtu.be/uuKftALhMuw