Angler of the Month - Ido from Israel E-mail
Friday, 09 October 2009 07:17

Angler of the Month - Ido from Israel

 

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Regular readers know that I usually write a bit about the Angler of the Month and then pose a bunch of questions to them so we can learn more about their kayak fishing.  Ido answered me in a long narrative and I felt rather than restructure it I’d use what he had written and just clean it up a bit.  Here’s his letter.

            I live in Tel Aviv, and I work there as a kayak instructor.  Ever since I've known myself I loved the sea and would go snorkeling and spear fishing. At some point (10 years ago) I wanted to reach far diving spots and to be able to rest between dives, so I bought a tandem SOT (Ocean Kayak Duo), rigged it with a crate to put all the equipment, and later an improvised rod holder. At that time this simple kayak, and the RTM Frenzy were the most popular (and only) sit on tops available in Israel.

            Meanwhile I started working as a river rafting guide, and got into whitewater kayaking, which led me naturally to sea kayaks. I bp_ttp_gray_lg started working as a kayak instructor in a kayak shop in Ceasare, on the Mediterranean Sea. The owner, a very experienced sea man, introduced me to trolling (as he said: "paddling without trolling is like chewing without swallowing...").  On one particular trip I experienced facing strong winds and I realized I needed a faster boat, and bought a Tarpon 140.  At the time the longest SOT sold in Israel. I also started trolling hard bait lures while paddling, and from time to time caught a few fish. At that time there were only a handful of kayak fishermen in Israel, and online fishing forums started to gain popularity, so kayak fishing reports were scarce, but they raised a lot of questions and interest. Since then lots of people joined and are still joining our ranks.  New internet web sites dedicated only to kayak fishing were formed, and last year there were even kayak fishing tournaments with high value prizes.

           I still own the same good old Tarpon 140. I love its seat, the firm backrest, it is perfectly water tight and in general it's a very comfortable kayak, made from excellent material. A few months ago I won first prize in the fishing tournament – I got a Kaskazi Dorado II. After a few trials I sold it because it was too fragile and too crowded to use as a diving platform. dsc_0720_resize Besides, it has poor water drainage and you find yourself sitting in a puddle of water all the time. As a kayak instructor, I spend a lot of time using sit in touring kayaks.  So I bring my fishing rod with me, a couple of lures and I stick the rod in the front bungee ropes and troll while I paddle.  I usually fish on the shallow reefs (8-12 meters) along the entire coast, trolling for Groupers, Spanish Mackerels (editor note: This species seems to be widespread and is called different all over.  In the USA it is King Mackerel.  They also catch them in Australia.), Yellowmouth and European Barracudas, Amberjacks, Dorados and other predators. When the visibility is good enough I spear fish and also get some reef fish such as Mullets, Sea Breams and Drums. Though rare, sometimes I go to deeper water to try jigging for the same species, and Snappers as well. I mostly fish the Mediterranean but sometimes I drive south to the Red sea, where you can target Barracudas, Sailfish, Swordfish, GT's and other tropical species.

I have a couple of unforgettable memories - 

             One is the biggest fish I landed was when I was spear fishing with a friend.  After couple of hours without catching any fish, we decided to head back to shore.  Before getting all the way to shore I insisted that we troll along the reef. We trolled all the way south, and then back north, and right before we head back to shore, my reel started to sing and line came out fast. I started working it carefully as I had a light weight line. I fought the fish for 15 minutes, and slowly it came closer, until it was under the kayak, circling around. I saw the silvery silhouette of the Spanish Mackerel.  I tightened the drag and started reeling it in. Unfortunately for some reason, I tied a swivel, 5 dsc_0737_resizemeters from the lure, and the swivel didn't pass the rod's guides. I tried to pull the fish by hand, but the line was too thin and I was afraid it would break. I started to feel frustrated, when it hit me - my friend was next to me the whole time with spear fishing equipment. I sent him to finish the job.  He dove in, speared it, and handed me the spear gun. It was a beautiful 18 kilos (40 lbs) Mackerel. 

            Another magical experience is when I saw and taped a Bluefin Tuna passing next to me when I was spear fishing - http://iso-bar.blogspot.com/2009/04/once-in-lifetime-experience.html

             Israel has a long stretch of beaches, with good conditions to paddle almost year round. Here most of the people see other kayak fishermen, get curious; ask questions and "get hooked" to the hobby. There are also 3-4 online web sites with plenty of information and forums, with other fishermen eager to help.  My advice to someone who wants to start kayak fishing is first to buy a used kayak, there are plenty, in great condition and good prices. To start with a simple rod, reel and a few lures and to start trolling around, get the feel of the kayak, learn how to handle the reel, practice going through the surf. After that, when they're certain they like it, they can buy expensive gadgets and equipment. I've seen too many cases of people who bought gear and spent a lot of money, just to sell it after a few months once they realize that they don't like to paddle and would rather buy a boat.

            Kayak fishing in Israel is one of the fastest growing branches of fishing, and it grows without help. In order to help it grow even more, I think that there should be a more organized association of kayak fishermen that will arrange happenings and tournaments for the entire community. The harsh competition between the online fishing forums (supported by the different kayak importers and shops) divides the community and brings bad vibes to the hobby.

In Israel, there is no enforcement of fishing regulations and as a result, trawling and nets ships and spear fishermen using SCUBA work close to the beaches, ruining fish nurseries, resulting in a decline in fish catches. There are no limits on sizes of fish, or protection of species in various times.  Sensitive regulation, firm enforcement and of course proper education for fishermen will help the fish population and more fish will mean happier kayak fishermen... 

I'm sorry for the mess in my answer and for the long essay, but I like to "tell a story".

Thanks,

Ido 

 Here’s some more info from Ido and links.

 Later on I realized you'ld want that...

First I'd like to add that I'm a member of Israel Kayak Fishing web site (It's in hebrew, but you'll get the idea) : http://www.israelkayakfishing.co.il/

And I won first place in its last tournament, which you can read on in my blog: http://iso-bar.blogspot.com/2009/04/israel-kayak-fishing-tournament-2009.html

I also have my blog, which I believe is the only source in english for kayak fishing in Israel.

I worked in "Optimist", kayak club and shop: http://optimist.co.il/

Thanks again, Ido

 

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