My first craft was a wide bottom river canoe that I inherited from my cousin. It was as big as a battleship and two people could stand up in it and cast.
I then saved my money for a year and purchased a trolling motor and a battery, clamped it on the side, and I was as happy as if I had just purchased a new, $60,000 Ranger bass boat. Many wonderful adventures took place using that canoe and tons of fish came over its side.
It's odd, but maybe not considering my age. I don't remember whatever became of it, but what I do remember is how fishing from a seated position in a canoe tortured my back. Today's kayaks are a great improvement and fishing from them is a breeze, but I still hate to sit and fish.
Capt. George Tunison
A new kayak product caught my eye at the ramp this week. An angler was adding pontoons and a stand-up frame to his yak. He informed me it is a new kayak product called the Stand-N-Fish Kayak Fishing System.
This is a two-part kit consisting of pontoons to add stability to be able to stand and sight fish. The second part is a leaning post system that provides back support and puts everything, including rods, paddle, tackle tray, and stakeout pole, within easy reach.
It fits almost any sit-on-top style kayak and weighs in at 26 pounds. It installs and breaks down rapidly with six push pins and fits in the smallest trunks for transport. This really adds an extra improved dimension for kayak anglers like me that love to stand to fish. (www.standnfish.com)
Another unusual kayak item I saw in use was the rod-oar. It is advertised as the first kayak and canoe fishing paddle. As the name suggests it is a paddle on one end that turns into a rod and reel on the other end, all in one unit. Hard to picture, I know, but worth checking out. (www.rodoarpaddle.com )
This past week anglers aboard Flying Fins did well on trout, redfish, ladyfish and sheepshead. The trout were still scattered and in deeper water than normal, but areas in Matlacha Pass that are dark bottomed, five to six feet deep, with vegetation, held nice trout. We caught them on jigs, flies, plugs and even topwater lures.
Try to find an area as described and quietly wind drift through the area while casting. When a concentration is found quietly anchor, stake out, or power pole so as not to run over the school. We did best on incoming tides.
Although other captains are telling me they are catching reds under the bushes on shrimp, my reds have all come off oyster bars, particularly on incoming tides, using small gold spoons and 20-pound fluorocarbon leaders. I like using 10-pound test Power Pro or Suffix main line tied to a tiny but strong Spro black swivel.
Complete the setup with the leader and spoon. Normally I shun "hardware" such as swivels, clips, etc., but these Spro swivels are so tiny yet strong that I always use them with spoons to really cut down on line twist during a day's casting.
We found sheepshead in deeper cuts near the flats and caught them using 1/8-ounce shrimp-tipped jig heads cast out and slowly dragged across the bottom.
Capt. Dick May of Easy Rider Charters reports his last two trips the trout fishing was poor due to the cold water, although 10 reds were caught under the bushes on high tides using live shrimp.
Kayak fishermen caught trout in shallow, protected, warmer water on DOA Shrimp. What a winter!
With the still chilly water, fish darker flats and try live shrimp first, and always fish slowly. Searching deeper, dark flats using live shrimp on popping corks is a great way to find roaming schools of trout.
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.