Welcome back lads and ladies! I figured I’ve dragged my heels long enough and I better do Part 2 of my blog series about offshore fishing from a kayak. In Part 1 I covered the safety gear I carry and the reasons I feel it is very important. I started with the safety gear to emphasise that offshore kayak fishing chasing pelagics and reefies isn’t the same as heading down the local creek or dam for a bass fish. It requires much more preparation. It relies on good weather and, as far as fishes go, some luck too. So if you haven’t read Part 1, be sure to read it too before you head out. You can find it here.
So in Part 2 I’ll cover the gear I use to chase offshore fish from my Anglers Dream 3 kayak. I’ll let you know in advance, most of my offshore fishing is chasing pelagics. However, I will head out and chase a few reefies on plastics when the speedsters are absent, so most of my gear is aimed at casting and trolling lures.
So first up let’s start with the outfits I use straight up. My trolling outfits are nothing special. They don’t need to be. All they need to do is drag a lure or bait until it gets smashed by something big. My trolling rods are a couple of 10-15kg Penn Squall’s. They are decent quality, fairly cheap and can handle decent fish no worries. Since I don’t use them for casting I stick to fibreglass boat rods. They are long enough to clear the nose of the yak, yet short enough to put some hurt on decent fish to get them yakside before the tax man decides to take a piece. These Squalls are teamed up with a couple of older Okuma Titus T15’s loaded with 20lb Berkley mono. The reason I run mono is, again, you don’t really need braid for trolling and mono is cheap enough that I can swap it out every season or two without breaking the bank.
To complement the trolling outfits I run a couple of casting rods too, depending on what I’m throwing or what fish are about. The first one is my light outfit. It’s an older Okume Inspira 30 loaded with 15lb braid, teamed up with a 5-8kg Abu Garcia Salty Fighter Origin. This one comes out for throwing slugs at smaller tuna and mackerel. It’s also my snapper plastics outfit and when I can’t get outside it pulls duties as a jack and jewie stick. The second outfit is the heavy stick this one’s great for throwing heavier stickbaits for longtails and macks. It can be used as a light popping outfit and also comes with me in the boat when chasing small black marlin in Hervey Bay. It comprises a Majorcraft Crostage pe2-4 teamed up with a Pflueger Salt 50 loaded with 40lb braid. It is a fantastic long range rod that also has the guts to break the dreaded tuna circles.
So with the outfits out of the way we’ll move onto the lures and storage. A couple of my favourite lures for trolling are the Halco Laser Pro in the 2.5m model. They are a great lure that works at the perfect kayak paddling speed (a sustainable 4km/h) I tend to retrofit singles onto my trolling lures for safety in the yak. I’ve seen many a fish drive a free treble into the leg of fellow kayak anglers, so now I figure less points equals less trouble and the hook up rate is still pretty good. The 2nd favourite lure for trolling is the Rapala X-rap 10. These troll well. They could handle a bit more speed, but definitely have a great action at yak speed, along with trolling lures I have lately been throwing sinking stickbaits for the local tuna and they have been working wonders. A quick list of the ones I like are; Nomad Madscad 42, Zetz Gig 100s, Duel Adagio 105 and Daiwa Overthere’s. You’ll see a couple of pics here that will give you an idea of some other lures I carry too.
Lastly I want to cover a few tools that you should be carrying. Straight off the bat pliers and good scissors are mandatory. I have mine mounted on the lid of the centre console of the Anglers Dream 3, they are easy to grab and use one handed, yet leashed so I cannot lose them. If you’re looking at taking a feed of fish a gaff is important, especially for mackerel. It gives you a tool to control the fish yakside and with a well-placed shot you can dispatch the toothy bugger before it comes into the yak. Leashes are also critical. I leash pretty much everything in my yak while offshore. That way if you do go turtle at least you keep your toys and just need to service them, not replace them.
So there you have it a quick guide to getting offshore in a yak and making it as safe an experience as possible. Always remember though to not push your boundaries to the point of endangering yourself or you mates for the sake of a fish. It’s definitely not worth it. Talk to local yak fishos to learn more about your specific locations when it comes to what weather conditions work for your area.