Kayak Fishing – Keeping it Simple this Summer

Mark Saxon takes us kayak fishing for at look at fishing options for kayakers who like to mix it up chasing different species without bringing loads of fishing equipment
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One of the best things about the warmer months here on the East coast of Australia is the easy access available to kayakers with many waterways that contain a wide range of angling targets and in my mind there is nothing quite like slipping the kayak in the water at dawn, anticipating a fresh day and full of the promise of great angling.
We are definitely blessed with the options that are available on the east coast with creeks, rivers, lakes and impoundments readily available within a short distance. In this piece I would like to look at the fishing options for kayakers who like to mix it up chasing a few different species without bring along tonnes of fishing equipment. Our main targets will be whiting, bream and the ever popular flatty.
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First off with a lot of these species being readily available in a session we need to look at how we want to target our fish and pack gear accordingly. Let’s face it todays modern kayaks can hold a fair bit of gear but we still don’t want the hassle of searching for an important piece of gear when needed nor do we want it to be a massive load and unload at beginning and end of trip so we look at gear to multi task.

Bream and flatties are a favourite for many yakkers and by having two rods on board you can cover these and whiting as well. I like to use 1-3kg rods for this application and on my first rod will be a surface lure, why? Well in summer our estuaries come alive with prawns and by loading a rod with your favourite surface lure you have bream and whiting covered and do not be surprised if a few flatties hit your surface offering.

In the shallower patches of water when fishing surface a couple of techniques worth using will be a fairly quick retrieve with lots of splashy movement and no pauses this will be the retrieve to use for your whiting and my main lure of choice for this is the hugely successful sugarpen, this lure is a classic prawn imitation and casts well and produces the goods. Poppers work well also but at the moment if whiting were my main target I would not go fishing without this lure. Whiting need a constant, fairly quick and splashy retrieve and long casts are very handy and required as sometimes whiting will follow for a length of time before hooking up.
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Bream, well there another kettle of fish so to speak, they will at times hook up on your whiting retrieve but more times than not you will be better served with lure movements followed by pauses and the length of these pauses can vary from just stopping your lure to having it motionless for 10 to 15 seconds. It is all about finding out what is working on the day, so mix it up. As mentioned flathead will not mind hitting a well worked surface lure and the strike is something to remember. The acrobatics of a flatty smacking your offering can be a full on hit of adrenalin, exciting stuff!

A method that is always popular with yakkers is casting into bankside structure and two methods that will get you flatties and bream is the use of small diving hardbodied lures, I find this type of angling extremely rewarding as well as white knuckled fun especially when a big bream hits your offering and wants to put you back in the snag with him. I usually have a good handful of mixed diving lures in the kit consisting of deeper chubby styles and also I like to use the slender minnow profiles which also get a run when I go trolling between areas, so if you have deep and shallow bibbed lures you will have your bases covered.
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When fishing structure plastics are also an efficient way of enticing fish to your yak and once again I keep it pretty simple I know millions of plastics work but remember we want to have a minimal lure box that produces maximum result and again being summer prawn imitations and two and 3 inch grubs should get required results and I also usually pack a small tray of mixed jigheads to suit from light hidden weights for specific targeting of bream to the up to the 1/6th for chasing flatties in slightly deeper sections.

Most kayakers already are aware of the fact that they can get into places even the shallowest of boat draughts will not reach which really opens a door for fishing up in the areas the boat fishers do not touch. Also another plus is you should find it is easier in the yak when fishing the oyster racks. To be able to position yourself for those important casts along the structure is critical and not to mention it also is a lot easier to retrieve your lure when things go astray such as the odd snag! The silent approach here with yaks make it another benefit and we have found some of the biggest flatties come from up around those shallow racks so always keep in mind and search out these areas as boat traffic in these spots will be minimal.
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Having looked at fishing options and with many variations to try what would be a necessary list of equipment we need? remembering that we are keeping it simple and being in our yaks we want to work smaller areas than what we would in our boats doing it effectively As mentioned a small tray with a dozen mixed diving lures shallow and deep, a few packets of plastics such as prawn imitations, grubs etc. and jigheads to match plus your surface lures i.e poppers, sugarpens and also do not forget some cicada imitations as in the heat of summer when bream are feeding on these noisy buggers the surface bite can be amazing!

A couple of rods should be adequate, a pair of pliers, braid scissors, fish attractant scent, brag mat, spare leader material and landing net and if your intending on keeping a feed you will need something to look after your catch as well. Other gear will be camera for that picture of your cracking fish.
Do not forget drinks and sunscreen these two items are critical in your enjoyment of the day being dehydrated and burnt is not the best way to return home and a small snack may be required if staying out for longer periods.

All the above should be adequate and easy to handle for a quick kayak session this summer. I know in my garage the yaks are on the trailer and we have tackle trays ready to go when the opportunity presents itself.
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