One of the many reasons anglers are drawn to kayak fishing is the opportunity to get into waters that cannot be reached by boat under the force. This is especially true of inshore saltwater fishing, which is a major reason why kayak fishing took off in the swamps and flats of ocean bays before freshwater fishermen began using it extensively to fish, bass, musk, and pike in lakes and rivers.
The great thing about beach saltwater fishing is that it is accessible (as long as you live near the coast) and the species you can catch make for some of the best table fare in fishing. Diners will pay top bucks to order some of these fish, but you can catch and eat them for nothing once you have all the necessary equipment, which is the bare minimum if you already own a kayak.
There are three main inshore species – redfish, spotted trout, and flounder – that you can target. I will also detail the best cases that can be caught for them.
The gear you will need
If you have a kayak, there isn’t much you need to catch coastal redfish, trout, and flounder. Buy one or two 7-foot-long, medium- or medium-action spinning rods, a 3000-gauge reel, and you’re good to go. As far as bait, keep them on small paddle-tail swimbaits on light ¼ ounce jig heads, drills, and small water baits.
Be sure to pay attention to the tides, as they affect your eating habits. The fish will be feeding heavily when there is water movement from the changing tides that bring in the bait. It will relate to the current caused by the tides. There are many apps that anglers use to predict tides including Navionics and Saltwatertides.com.
The three target types
1. red fish
If you follow any coastal fishermen on social media, I guarantee there are at least a few pictures in their feeds of them sporting a giant red one. Red fish is only growing in popularity, especially as the numbers of saltwater fish continue to decline. Red numbers continue to grow, and have been discovered as far north as the upper Chesapeake. Once born, these fish spend most of their juvenile life in very shallow waters. When mature, the red migrates to the ocean. Tidal swamps are one of the most popular areas for kayak anglers to target these fish, due to the kayak’s ability to access very shallow waters. Red fish will patrol the swamps for crabs, shrimp and fish bait, and can be caught when conditions are right. Reds are known to be lively fighters, willing to take a variety of baits, including topwater, saltwater dances, spoons, pop and cork spoons.
These toothed creatures are another popular choice, as there are usually relaxed regulations for them. This makes trout an ideal species for anyone looking to put food on the table. Trout will hang out in the same environments as red fish, but they tend to associate with structures such as deep holes, humps, and reefs. When fishing for trout, always beware of mud streaks and color changes, as trout seem to ambush their prey in these areas. Fishermen can use the same lure for red fish for trout as well as small plugs.
Flatfish migrate to deeper waters in the fall, but return to the bays when the waters warm in spring. Lying at the bottom are ambush predators, they will pile up in drains, walkways, and holes on the downward tide bringing them a buffet of shrimp and fish bait. Small curly-tail jig heads or paddle-tailed jig heads are prime baits. The Berkley Gulp shrimp and the curly-tailed shrimp Gulp are very popular.
read the following: Why every angler needs to catch Everglades for Snook, Redfish and Tarpon
The best countries for sea fishing
- Texas: The entire Texas coast is lined with barrier islands. The bays between the mainland and the islands form an exceptional habitat for all three species. The state park in Galveston, Texas, has excellent public access, and West Galveston Bay and Christmas Bay offer kayakers plenty of areas to explore. The Lighthouse Lakes near Port O’Connor provide clearer water than Galveston for those anglers looking to watch the fish.
- Louisiana: Louisiana is a fishing list for redfish anglers. Cajun State offers some of the best fishing in terms of quantity and quality. Check out the Grand Isle and Venice for full red, as well as trout and flounder.
- South Carolina: Charleston is famous for tidal fishing. Tidal fluctuations here are much greater than those in Louisiana and Texas, making them ideal fisheries. With excellent public access, and good fishing near the cliffs, Charleston is a must. It is better to go in the afternoon. As the tide goes down, look for escape routes – such as feeder streams – that lead into deeper waters to trap fish. If you find a fiddler crab, you’re probably on the red.