Kayak Fishing My Way E-mail
Monday, 21 September 2009 16:36

                

bahama4

The first time I heard about kayak fishing I almost laughed.  How in this world one can think about catching fish on a small vessel like that.  Plus, it all went back to my past as a rowing athlete, and the fact that a rower always sees a kayaker as a class B sportsman.  Still I was intrigued and so I started to read kayak fishing forums and watch the videos that are posted on the web and slowly the spark of interest blew into a flame.  I bought my first kayak in 2008 and I can say that since then I’ve had the best time of my life.  When it comes to these kinds of things, like fulfilling a dream or pursuing happiness, one can’t help but get a little philosophical.   I think there is something about kayak fishing, something ancestral, like the “call for the wild” or a certain “ZEN” where a man’s dimension is found.  At least that’s how it is for me.  I have been fishing the southern part of the Island of Eleuthera, in the Bahamas for the last ten years.  While I was still building my house, I couldn’t afford a boat, so I would go by bicycle to the most secluded spots and catch fish from shore, both with a rod and diving.  The amazing vastness of tropical biodiversity always translates into such a variety of catches that fishing is always fun.  That’s because you never really know what prey is awaiting you at the end of your line.  After a while me and my cousin in law eventually managed to get a decent boat, fishing got better and better, but, for me, and that’s why I am writing this article, fishing is not about how much fish one gets and who catches the biggest one.  It is more about looking for something more precious and more valuable than the basic act of pulling up a fish.  What I am really pulling up when I am fishing is my true self, in a quest for peace of spirit and relaxation of mind.  Truly, it’s hard to achieve that stage with the noise of a motor engine burning gasoline and practically not making any effort to go where you want to go.  That’s why kayak fishing is such a great activity.  To add up all of the pleasure of kayak fishing, I conceived a trailer that lets me pull it behind me with my bicycle, so that I can reach all of those nice beaches and hot spots and just put my yak in the water and go in absolute freedom and peace.

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                Paddling on the surface of the beautiful Bahamian ocean is an experience out of this world.  The water is just so clear that one can see the bottom of the sea and everything that goes on around the kayak.   It is so exciting. You can spot a nice amberjack cruising around you and then, observe it grab a floating popper you’d just cast for him.  One of my best days out there started off near the Light House Beach last June.

                My wife and daughter and my brother had come along so I had to play with my daughter and swim with her for a while. Schools of permit and bonefish where all around checking us out. Also a big barracuda cruised back and forth past us to see what was going on.  That beach, like most beaches in South Eleuthera, hardly sees any human presence and fish aren’t shy at all.  Enough waiting; I hopped on my yellow Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 and went fishing.  Very close to the shore I went on top of the first reef and, looking down, I saw this huge grouper just sitting there on the bottom of the sea, gazing at a school of small French grunts.  Groupers are very over fished by commercial fishermen, so I try to leave them alone and focus more on the much more copious pelagic species.  It was a very nice day with bright sunshine, but a storm seemed to be gathering strength in back of me so I had to constantly keep an eye on it.  I certainly didn’t want it to catch me out there on the ocean.  So I stayed close to some of those small cays that stretch out from the Light House point.  I only had one of my fishing rod out, rigged with a braided line, Malin Hard Wire terminal and a Floating Rapala Shad rap as a lure.  Suddenly the line takes off and the game started.  Soon I realized it was something big, then, after it leaped out of the water, I realized what it was: a huge barracuda.  I was really excited, but on the other hand, I kept watching the storm coming my way.  The barracuda had taken a whole lot of line and had swum close to a rock where waves coming from the Atlantic ocean into the Caribbean sea were breaking, slamming violently against that rock.  Fortunately, just a few yards away from the dangerous area, the barracuda gave up fighting and I could pull him in.  By that time the wind had picked up and it was almost blowing at gale force, as the black clouds where flying above me.  Applying extra boost on my shoulders, I pushed the kayak back to the shore as fast as I could.  It’s not the rain I was afraid of, but the lightning that comes with a storm.  Luckily it only lasted a short time and the sun was back, shining brighter than ever and the wind had almost stopped again.

 bahama2

This time I headed out for the ocean.  Less than 10 minutes paddling off the shore, the ocean drops to 700 feet.  When this happens, it is really gorgeous to see the bottom of the sea turn from azure to deep blue.  I tried to stay around the ledge.  In this area schools of cero and Spanish mackerel were gathering in enormous abundance.  I could see them zig zagging under my kayak at torpedo speed.  I cast my yellow buck tail jig and caught one right away.  Suddenly, it jumped over my kayak. It leaped out the water and flew overhead of me.  When I finally pulled him in, I saw that a barracuda had taken its guts out.  I don’t eat guts anyway!  Time was running out and also the strength in my shoulders.  On my way in I met this huge turtle just floating peacefully on the surface of the water and dipping its head intermittingly in and out. For some reason, he hadn’t seen me nor heard me and I could almost drift on top of him. Absolute magic that only kayak fishing made possible.

 

As I got back on shore and relaxed, my younger brother went for a ride. It was his first day ever on a kayak and his second time in the Bahamas.  When he came back after roughly one hour, I saw he had caught a good size rock fish and a decent almaco jack.  That's me holding them.

 bahama3

He also told me that a shark had grabbed a yellow tail snapper he had caught trolling and had given him a fight out of this world.  I’m afraid I am going to have to buy him his own kayak, next time he comes; we have just recruited another kayak fishing fan.  Our tribe is growing.  A tribe of tough guys, with a touch of craziness, but boy, we have fun!

 

 

 

 

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