Off Shore Kayaking How far out?

Landing my kayak back onto a popular local the beach around mid morning after an early start and solid pre-dawn offshore session, my vessel and the happenings of my trip often becomes a point of interest with numerous beach goers. One question I’m continually asked is ͚how far out do you go?Unfortunately my answer is fairly lackluster as I rarely travel far from shore for quality fish.

There’s a perception in offshore fishing that the further out to sea you venture then the better the fishing becomes. This is evident by the number of boats I see leaving the harbour with the throttle down disappearing over the horizon while I’m sitting less than a kilometre from shore in my kayak. In fact over the four years that I’ve been offshore kayak fishing I can count on one hand the number of boats I’ve seen close to shore targeting the inshore fishing grounds and even then it is rare that those boats stay for long. The fishing in these areas within a kilometre of the shoreline can be highly productive and have accounted for a few of my all time best fishing sessions. The most recent being a 109cm Longtail Tuna hooked after only 15 minutes on water and with another 15 minutes to land it I was packed up and driving home with 15kgs of tuna in less than an hour of launching my kayak from the beach. I hear of boat fishers chasing Longtail schools for hours without a hookup and refuse to believe it can be done so quickly in a kayak.

Off shore Kayaking

1 30 mins after launching and it’s time to head back in.

I often wonder why these areas aren’t more hotly contested by the boating fraternity and have come to the conclusion that the stealth offered by a kayak versus a boat is just as important offshore as it is in an estuary or impoundment, especially at the shallower depths between 8 to 15m which are found closer to shore. The offshore stealth factor of a kayak allows for as many passes over a spot as needed when using the sounder to mark shows of bottom fish as well as being suited to get right in the thick of surface feeding pelagic schools without spooking the fish off the bite. The stealth factor is lost fishing from a boat, even with the use of an electric motor, which leads me to believe these closer to shore spots have been mostly written off by boat anglers. This isnot due to the lack of fish but due to their inability to target fish in these areas as a result of their choice of large noisy vessel.

Couple the lack of boat activity on the closer grounds with the fact that kayakers need flat seas and light winds to safely venture offshore and it may be months between fish being targeted in these areas. Consequently, the fishing pressure on these areas can be minimal. This is in stark contrast to the estuaries, only few kilometres away, which receive heavy fishing pressure from all forms of fishing. Similarly, the deeper reef systems further offshore also seem to cop heaps of pressure judging by the hundreds of boat trailers lined up at the boat ramp every weekend. The shallower reefs, all within a kilometer of the beach seem to be the domain of the kayaks, which suits me fine. Particularly when the fishing is so productive.

As a kayak fisher don’t think you have to venture a long way offshore because quality ocean fishing is closer than you think.

Off Shore Kayaking

You don’t have to venture too far offshore for quality fish.

By Kyle Roberts

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