I have been fishing out of a kayak for almost 15 years. When I think I know it all, I continue to learn something new each trip that humble me. I wanted to share a few recent experiences that will hopefully allow others to be better prepared when on the water.
First Aid on the Boat
I like to think I am over-prepared, but my last tournament proved otherwise. In a rush to land a large red, I grabbed my leader line in an attempt to get the fish in the boat without a net. While I was able to get the fish in my lap, a few big flips wrapped the line around my index finger and sliced a ¼ cut right in the crease. Ouch! I did not have any first aid on the boat. This required me to wrap a towel around it and tough it out the next 4 hours. No big deal right?
While the pain was bearable, 2 days later I ended up with an infection that required a doctor’s visit and antibiotics. This would have been preventable if I would have had first aid on the boat to begin with. I usually carry anti-septic spray, bandaids/wraps and other items. Cleaning out a wound is pretty basic and keeps infections like this avoidable. See below for what I carry on my yak.
Awareness around Barges
Getting a close up look at barges can be cool. The sheer size of some of them is incredible. I wanted to list a couple reasons to give large boats like this as much space as possible. The first one is being aware of the water that is sucked out when a barge is passing through a narrow canal. I say “narrow canal” because this is where most of us are in close proximity to barges. While it’s usually safe, a barge can sometimes suck you closer to the vessel than you should be.
It also puts you closer in the path of other passing boats. You can also get stuck in shallow water and almost grounded when the water is sucked out. This puts your yak in danger of damaging your drive system/rudder, or even stuck on oyster and other structure – which can cause damage as well. A couple trips ago this happened to me when I was fishing a large oyster bed. Within 30 seconds, a passing barge yanked the water out from under me. This bent one of my hobie fins and rudder. Both were salvageable, but with better awareness I could have avoided this in the first place.
We all know how bad ass the fishing is this time of year. Redfish are schooling in the shallows and the trout bite really fires up. The awesome fishing this time of year also brings crazy low tides. The wind starts howling from the North, causing the marshes to drain/water get sucked out lower than usual. Do yourself a favor and really dive into the tide charts and wind.
I would recommend doing this year-round, but especially during winter when the water level is down as a whole. My last trip I got greedy and found myself stuck in a back lake for 6 hours. The following day I couldn’t even launch my boat out of the dock behind our house due to the water essentially being gone. If I would have checked the tides and wind, I would have seen that a 25 mph North wind would be happening on my 3rd day.
Alright, that’s enough of me listing ways I screwed up lately. How bout a little PB action. Below is a picture of my largest flounder to date. He was 24 inches and tasted delicious. Disclaimer – he was caught the last weekend in October, not while the Flounder season has been shut down if you were wondering. Tight Lines!
ACK/Hobie Fishing Team
YT: The Sober Fisherman