Monday, March 30, 2015

March Redfish

This past Saturday, our kayak fishing club - the "Lowcountry Kayak Anglers" - had a Meet & Greet at Paradise Landing.  It was a huge affair, with around 20 kayak anglers meeting-up and fishing.
Lowcountry Kayak Anglers Assemble!

I had a blast, not only getting to meet new faces and socialize, but the fishing was excellent.  99% of the reports I received had fish stories...reds, trout, flounder, and stripers were caught.

My luck extended beyond just throwing some bait out and soaking it - the plastics worked for me, too!  First fish I caught was a small trout.  I would catch a few of these dinky trout throughout the day.

This red had been munched-on, probably by Flipper
Mud minnows accompanied me on the kayak, and I put them to use - fishing around docks and creek mouths.  I caught two lower-slot reds off one dock, and lost a nice one who broke off along a was a blast!

The big one of the day came on a drift back towards the landing, while blind-casting along some disturbed water - I hooked into a big red...he spun me about in circles as I brought him to the kayak.

I was happy to see this redfish - it was the perfect ending to a great day on the water!

29" Redfish

Monday, February 16, 2015

Shad Fishing Adventures

This time of year my Hobie kayak can be found on the Tailrace Canal, going after some hard-fighting shad.

Hobie Outback
I enjoy catching them.  Some folks eat them and their roe, but I like to catch a few for the freezer to use during the year as bait for reds and catfish.  I also enjoy the way they fight.  A big shad, plus the current, can make your fishing rod double-over and peel off drag.  My kayak spins in circles as I reel in a shad while floating along the river.  My kayak is lightly rigged for this trip.  I bring two fishing rods, a couple bags of jigheads and grubs, and some extra leader along with a pair of pliers and some braid scissors, a hand towel, and water for drinking.  My Power-Pole Micro Anchor will keep me anchored-down along the banks if I want to stay in one spot.

Double-jig Shad Setup
I am using a double-jig setup for shad.  They are rigged onto a piece of 15-lb fluorocarbon leader, which is attached to the braid-mainline with a uni-to-uni knot.  I am using braid and the higher-strength leader so I can pull out hooks in case of snags.  The top jig is attached with a surgeon's loop knot, and the bottom is secured with a palomar knot.  The crappie jigs I use vary in brand, but I have had good success with the 1/8-oz Sea Striker brand, as well as the Z-Man 1/10-oz mushroom-headed jigs.  Sea Striker also makes a good crappie jig that comes in a plentiful bag, but the Z-Man grubs are very durable - you'll pay more for them but they last a long time.

A Nice Tailrace Shad
I like to either anchor-down along the sides of the current and fan-cast, or troll jigs.  There are days you can go out and catch your limit just sitting in one spot.  If they aren't hitting in one place I'll move to another.  Trolling is a lot of fun in the Hobie Outback.  I like to hold my fishing rod in my right hand, and pedal along the river.  When a shad hits the lures, the rod will double over!  I quickly turn the Outback around to face the action, and fight the shad back to the kayak.  Shad are very strong fighters, and this can be fun in a kayak on open river as the fish spins your kayak around in circles and takes you on a sleigh-ride!

I try to get out there while the shad are running.  Eventually, I move back to inshore fishing as the temperatures rise and the reds and trout start biting strong, but the shad provide a way to get my fishing "fix".

Please be careful out there!  The water and air's cold temps mean that you need to be ready if you take a spill or get soaked...hypothermia will kill you.  Make sure to bring extra clothes in case you take a swim.  This is also a bad time to learn that you can't get back in your kayak - so know how to self-rescue before you try your hand at wintertime fishing.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Late December Trip

I got to go fishing yesterday, on a rainy Saturday.  This time of year is a busy one for me, with a lot of OT at the job, so getting out at all is a blessing.  Despite the rain, it was a great day to fish.

Low tide was around midday, and I knew that the time around dead low would be my best bet to get on some fish.  I basically messed around a few areas while the tide went out.  I got back to my favorite spot and started my search.  If there were fish around, they weren't moving.  I found myself fan-casting the creeks, all the while watching for movement.  First hint of a redfish came when I cast to a spot and I must have hit the fish - because he shot out of there and made a big head-wake while fleeing.

I could stand to look in the clear water, but I was at a disadvantage - I left the sunglasses in the car.  With the rain I figured that sight-fishing would be minimal - once again hindsight was 20/20.

I finally got some luck when I landed the first red - it was 22".

I caught another fish out of the same spot - then the rest of the school moved off after all the commotion.  The Power Pole Micro Anchor really helped the Hobie Outback stick in one spot while working the school - without it, the Outback would have been pulled-in while fighting the first fish.

After those first two fish, I went to another spot nearby and got on another school of reds...caught two more in that group.  I went back and forth and ended up catching six fish between spots.  I lost a few more fish during the trip...the reds weren't biting very aggressively, and I pulled the hooks on a couple.  The only bait that worked today was the Trout Trick, rigged on 1/8-oz Gamakatsu jig heads.  I had to fish them ultra-slow to draw a strike.

This was great therapy for is my ultimate stress-buster.  It was a great trip to end the year!