Friday, January 21, 2022

Fishing from a Kayak! Really?

Kayak fishing in the mangroves. FILE PHOTO

Kayak fishing in the mangroves. FILE PHOTO

Captain Mary A. Fink

Absolutely! Why not further enhance the enjoyment found from kayaking by taking a fishing rod along? The benefits of simply kayaking are obvious: ease, serenity, exercise and awesome sightseeing opportunities to name only a few. Most prefer to kayak in quiet areas around inshore waters, dense mangrove islands and bays where waters are calm and wildlife is plentiful. Interestingly enough, fish prefer the same habitat that most kayak enthusiasts do! This combination of interests creates a potentially action-packed inshore fishing experience from a small craft in a scenic surround. While it’s true that many experienced kayak anglers have a completely “rigged” craft with all kinds of specialized custom fishing equipment and storage areas, it is not necessary to do so to have an enjoyable and productive experience.

There are some very basic items you will need to take with you as you learn to discover fishing from your kayak. The obvious items being sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, a hat, water and any other essentials you may require. As for the fishing necessities, stick with light tackle, as it is easy to maneuver and store. Light tackle is defined as a spinning reel containing braided line between 15lbs and 20lbs and a rod of 4-5 feet in length. Fluorocarbon leader material is recommended as it is nearly invisible in the water, unlike braided line.

In our local inshore waters, use a chartreuse-colored jig head between 1/8oz and 1/4oz tipped with your desired artificial or live bait offering. It’s obviously easier to fish with artificial baits from your kayak as it eliminates the need to keep bait stored in a live well or frozen in a cooler. If using artificial baits, I recommend using soft plastics in the form of shrimp and mullet imitations for the best presentation with the greatest ease. Be sure to take along extra tackle and a pair of pliers and clippers in the event you choose to change out tackle and jig heads. If your plan is to catch and release, you need not bring along anything else. If you are in search of dinner, you will need to keep your fish on ice until you venture back home where the fish may be prepared.

There are some basic fishing tips I’d like to share with you to help increase your chances of a “hook up.” First, while kayaking, begin to notice any signs of movement on the water’s surface. You may see baitfish schools, tailing fish, jumping or rising fish or just water movement other than the more obvious tidal exchange that may indicate the presence of your target. Next, hug areas of structure like mangrove islands, docks and beaches as these areas provide habitat for most inshore species. Look for areas where water is moving in and around mangrove points and fallen branches. Present your bait as close to these hard structure areas as possible to provoke a strike. Use your small craft anchor when you find a desirable or productive location so you may maximize your time there.

Fishing from your kayak can be fun and action packed, enhancing the enjoyment of a day on the water. The ability to navigate into shallow areas very quietly is a big plus when it comes to fishing inshore waters where fish can be easily spooked. Give it a try today.


Captain Mary specializes in fishing the beautiful Ten Thousand Islands. She holds a “six pack” captains license and has a knack for finding fish. A passionate angler possessing over 35 years of extensive experience in both backcountry and offshore fishing, Mary offers fishing expeditions through her Island Girls Charters company. When fishing with Captain Mary, you will be exposed to a variety of successful techniques including cast and retrieve, drift fishing, bottom fishing and sight fishing. Visit to learn about fishing with Capt. Mary, or reach her at 239-571-2947.




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