Who wouldn’t want to get bent on a big Flatty, Jew or even a big Threadfin? But as all of us who’ve tried know, it can be very tricky at the best of times! Whether it be the relentless winds, boat traffic, or bad currents, especially on those big, ragging river bends, where of course those big predators like to sit, there’s always something to deal with. So my point is if you haven’t spent the time to nut the spots out yourself or have a good mate to help then you are in for a big surprise. That unexpected element simply always seems to show its head!
I know it seems daunting especially when you throw in a kayak but as I have found over the last couple of seasons kayaking, these places can be very rewarding when the effort is put in. With a silent approach in a yak most times you will come out with a winner, whether it be rivers, channels, lakes or offshore. So with these tips and techniques you’ll be sure to get that prize fish you’ve been chasing.
For this style of fishing I use anything from a 6-10lb rod with 2500 reel and maybe 20lb braid for creek-style, slow-water fishing up to a 10-20lb rod with 4000 reel matched with 30lb braid for faster deeper water. A little over-power is safer and makes release of the fish easier. A wide range of lures will work in these places but keeping it simple is best. I like to use a jig rigged with a plastic or a soft body vibe. There are many brands when it comes to these things but my go to are the TT 3/8 –3/4 oz head lock with a 4.0-6.0 gauge hook with a 3”-6” paddle tail plastic or flick bait. Z-mans would have to be 1st pick. Also adding a scent agent works very well.
The kayak I use most is the old Dream Catcher. By that I mean the original model. I got it back in 2012 or thereabouts. Still going strong. The latest model is the Dream Catcher 3. Check it out right here. These are the best 2.7m kayaks in the country.
My rule number one is to stay on the bottom for as long as possible. Around one to 1.5 metres depth is your ideal strike zone because that is where the fish are most active any higher I find the fish won’t have a bar of it. The idea is to eventually have your lure meet with your kayak so you drift together. If your kayak is fitted with a sounder it always helps to get a basic idea of the structure that lies beneath. Sounding will also show you where bait fish are hanging around which in turn cuts out a lot of the guess work. A sounder isn’t a must but these days they are very affordable and you can find easy step-by-step guides for installation right here or on kayak forums. They are a breeze to fit. Grab one right here for $139 (price at time of writing).
One thing to keep in mind when kayaking is the positioning of your kayak. Your aim is to be well positioned with your kayak and your lure, as your lure passes through the strike zone in your spot. Once you’ve found your spot, you want to paddle far enough upstream of the spot so that you can ideally do one or two casts as you drift past and then paddle back and do it again. It’s best to do a practice run first to try to understand drift speed of your lure and your yak. When drifting keep your nose pointing directly into the current. This minimizes drag especially with a strong current, and adds valuable time to your drift. If that’s not possible you can also drop an anchor but remember it could also be your demise if a big Threadfin decides to take you for a run. In this case I recommend a quick-release system for your anchor rope with a buoy attached. Another effective method I have found is a sea anchor or a 5 litre bucket with a decent amount of holes drilled in the bottom. Attach a meter of rope n tie off to kayak and bucket. This is good when the wind is over-powering the current, this will ensure you drift with the current and not the wind.
Now with all that having been said it’s time to get your line wet. With my plastic paddle tails I like to mix it up between two retrieves. The first one being a nice high lift with a strong little jerk at the pinnacle of the lift. Make sure you keep contact with the line because most hits happen on the way back down. Second one which is a favourite of mine is the “tea bag” For this keep your rod as close to the water as possible, lift your rod about 30cm from the water – just enough to get the paddle tail vibrating – and make sure you keep contact on the way down to maximize your strike when you get that big hit.
So with these tips and techniques hopefully you will be on your way to catching that big trophy.