Rock Landing Kayaking

big bend story

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his month we get back to my favorite writing topic: The where and how to fish a new spot. This month I am launching in Panacea, adjacent to Rock Landing Marina. Allow me to guide you through a truly unique part of the Big Bend.

If you are traveling from Tallahassee, continue west on Hwy 98 until you see the signs for Rock Landing Marina. There is a public boat landing located at the end of the road. As you pull up you’ll notice that there is plenty of parking, and launching your kayak takes place on the concrete boat landing as well. It sounds pretty urban, but this landing might be the best kept secret in kayak fishing. Don’t be discouraged if you see boats that are launching and heading east out of the channel; you’ll be paddling the opposite direction.

On my map, the bay is called Kings Bay, and the land directly east of the launch is Porter Island. North of the launch is a large, shallow bay lined with docks on the west side. These docks hold fish. Some off these docks are old and have pretty deep holes at the dock end. This is a perfect spot to find redfish gathered.

If the tide carries you into the bay, fish the docks going in from the launch. When the tide turns, fish the backside of the bay and follow the tide out to the edge of Porters Island. As you make your way across the bay, look for the trout bite in open water. There are a few open water oyster bars that should be checked. Look for them to be exposed on low tide.

The bay can also be accessed from Bottoms Road, which is on Porter Island. This makes for the perfect one way trip, if you leave a car at the opposite landing.

If the wind is blowing from the south, cross in front of the Marina and fish the beach side of the channel. This spot is adjacent to the deep water channel and can produce big trout! Also, look for tarpon to use this flat in midsummer. Find the sweet spots and settle in.

Kings Bay is quiet and has low boat use. It is also a great place to hide from the wind. It is protected on all four sides with shoreline. I believe that once anyone learns the hot spots in this bay, there might not be any reason to paddle and fish another.

If your day ends back at Rock Landing Marina, check out the brand new Tiki Bar. It is a full service, relax-and-eat kinda place. I love the Big Bend for its endless, quiet kayak fishing locations, but something about great food and cold drinks at the end of the day makes good sense to me.

Kings Bay is a location kind of fishing spot. It has multiple launches and calm water at every angle. It has deep water, and shallow flats. It has oyster bars and plenty of creeks. Welcome to the best kept kayak fishing secret in the Big Bend.