Australia’s Kayak Fishing Capitaol to Coast E-mail
Thursday, 08 October 2009 05:30

Article by Derek ‘Paffoh’ Steele
Photos courtesy of Craig ‘450’ Coughlan & Derek ‘Paffoh’ Steele

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Having been involved solidly over the past year in Kayak Fishing I have recently been given a chance to introduce myself to you all online through Kayak Fishing Magazine, Outlining my plastic navy and my passion for one of the most pristine and pure sports available to the adventure angler today. Although I wish to educate the minority I will point out the sports rapid progression throughout the last few years with specific leaps and bounds credited to Kayak sales worldwide. With the cost of fuel these days it’s not hard to see why Kayaks are eclipsing the traditional Canoe as a viable fishing alternative to a small boat with an outboard motor.

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I must say fishing from a Kayak is a very rewarding experience, I spent many years wandering the banks of local lakes and dams casting various types of lures in search of large schools of Redfin or Yellowbelly, often wondering how I would fare if I was given a mirror image opportunity (From the outside looking in). It was about two years ago while my partner and I walked the banks of Googong Dam (Just outside of Australia’s national capital, Canberra) in search of these Perch that we noticed a lone figure trolling lures whilst pedaling a sleek looking contraption towards us (Hobie Outback). After returning home later that evening I used the Internet to Google ‘Kayak fishing’ and was pleasantly surprised at the result, the same search today uncovers 458,000 hits from Australia and about 2,250,000 from the world wide web in general.

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There are two types of Kayaks that are commonly used to fish from, the S.O.T (Sit on top) and the S.I.K (Sit in Kayak) both available in either Polyethylene or Fiberglass, each offering ample opportunities to get yourself fishing on the water. Depending on what body of H20 you wish to fish there are models, makes and finishes to suit everyone. As I often visit Canberra’s local freshwater lakes and head coastal into the estuaries and offshore I chose to purchase the Polyethylene S.O.T style Kayak (Mainly for its light weight and durability). After initially investing in a tandem Hobie Outfitter (Mirage Drive) early last year I recently decided to expand my collection to include a Hobie Quest (Paddle Kayak) for use on solo expeditions.

Both of these Kayaks came equipped with an optional extra fishing kit straight off the shelf (Or factory floor if you like) but there was and still is significant room to pimp my rides. Apart from flush mount, recessed and removable rod holders customizing your Kayak is all down to personal preference, some of the most popular after market add-ons are Fish Finders (Sounders/Sonar), GPS (Global Positioning System), additional storage hatches and the humble milk crate (Omitted on a S.I.K). While a Fish Finder can show you structure, depth and fish lurking below, a GPS not only provides you with the ability to passively receive satellite signals indicating location, speed and current time, it also creates a highly accurate bread crumb trail you can reverse and safely follow home (And transfer to a computer later on).

My Kayaks are rigged perfectly for the conditions I place myself in and the confidence I have at certain locations I fish, things can be as calm as you like though but can still turn really nasty at the drop of a dime. As an example when I fish saltwater and head offshore I wear a type 1 or 3 PFD (Personal Flotation Device), carry a UHF handheld radio, don warm but light waterproof clothing and also carry spare fully charged batteries for my floating GPS. I have also installed a removable Scotty marine light which attaches at the rear of the Kayak so whenever I launch early or fish in low light conditions I can be seen before I am heard. Another very important piece of advice is to make sure you have plenty of water onboard for your excursions, a one and a half litre Camelbak Hydration pack attaches neatly behind my seat, but two to four 600ml bottles full of water should be enough (Depending on estimated duration of time when out and about).

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Each trip brings additional reassurance and bonus time on the water all whilst allowing me to practice quality safety techniques offshore, but it is just as rewarding applying these inland on my home front. Once I started visiting Lake Burley Griffin more than a few times a month I immediately augmented my fishing ability and started producing results, Canberra’s urban lakes are stocked and contain a wide range of species including Murray Cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii), Golden Perch / Yellowbelly (Macquaria ambigua), English Perch / Redfin (Perca fluviatilis) and the dreaded European Carp (Cyprinus Carpio). Most are perfect for targeting from a Kayak with a wide range of styles available to try for the concerning Kayak angler. Trolling a deep diving, hard-bodied lure with plenty of action is one of my favourite techniques while casting Spinnerbaits and LCB’s (Lipless Crank Baits) towards and into the tree line substructure has undone many quality fish.

The quality of the rods and reels you use improves not only your ability to catch fish but your enjoyment while doing so, I have spent many hours researching the definitive Kayak fishing combo and in doing so have arrived at the conclusion it really is down to what you feel most comfortable using. I have a propensity to use 6’6” graphite rods built on quality blanks coupled with high-end reels (Daiwa SOL 2500, Daiwa Caldia Kix 3500, Team Daiwa 153HST). If you plan to cast lures often while drifting consider upgrading the line on your reels from monofilament (Mono) to a braided/gel-spun line (Braid). There are many benefits of using braid, it is much thinner than mono (More line fitting on your reel), it has a zero stretch policy (Better sensitivity and control) and has less line memory once it leaves the spool. I could go on and on about using leaders with braid, what knots I prefer to tie and my favourite brand and colour I like to use, lets just say using 100% fluorocarbon Leaders with Braided lines is a must, just think of it as the invisible business end of your line..

Hopefully from the conclusion of my first article you can tell I am very passionate about fishing from a Kayak safely and using premium gear at the same time. My friends and I venture out as often as we can enjoying the likeminded company and the gratification each adventure brings, after all its all about enjoying yourself. In the near future I hope to cover things with a more in depth approach, closely associated with my personal experiences like memorable trip reports, target species and associated harrowing events.

 

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