If you are going to do it, why not do it right?  In fishing, no different than any other undertaking, there is a right way and a lot of wrong ways.     Then there is also “to each his own.”    My methods are exact, but they are not for everyone.  When it comes down to it, sometimes you have to have your own way.  Read on:  Learn or dismiss, I am going to give it a shot.  

Not to seem critical, but I don’t like the way you are doing that.    And in some situations, when it is my client I will say “Stop doing that.”    That is a situation where definitely “there is a better way.”  Often, I look at what other people are doing and I ask myself “Why?”    Their methods “might” work but better odds, if they were doing it my way, their productivity would improve.  

We all want to get better.  Well, most of us want to get better.     Ideas I have will benefit you in more ways than you realize.    If you listen to me, you have to buy me a beer because I am going to save you hundreds of dollars in gear.  

Errors that are extreme are pretty straightforward are easy.  The “in betweens” I will let you resolve those on your own.  

The top of the list.   Don’t dip your fishing reel in the water.  It sounds so easy.  But is it?    Now for the boat anglers it isn’t going to happen that much.   A kayak angler is another story.  Why are you doing it?  You are doing it because you reeled up too much line.     Leave the right amount of line out to 1) change a lure 2) Take something off your lure and in particular 3) Landing a fish.    I teach it.  And until now I have never published it.   If you reel up too much line you increase the odds that you will submerge your fishing reel in saltwater by 1000%.   In fact, it will never happen with proper technique to 1000% is undershooting it.  

Holding rod upside down.  Routinely, I will have clients flip the reel the wrong way.    Will it work?  Yes, but not very well.   A spinning reel is designed to work a certain way.    This is one to correct and do the right way.     “To each his own”, a spinning reel is designed for right handers.  However, those who absolutely have to put the handle on the right, it will work.    I know some very good fishermen who fish with reels set up with the handle on the right.   So, to each his own with the handle…

Pet peeves?    One of my biggest things, you put things in your kayak (or boat, whatever).  You put things in your car.   First reason, you won’t accidentally leave things behind.   The second reason?   Sand on the bottom of equipment = sand in the car.   While it isn’t a huge deal, I would rather not have to vacuum the car out because of a decision to put something down on the ground that could have gone straight in the vehicle.   Again, I ask “Why?”   Put it in your boat.   Put it in your car.   Nowhere else means you won’t lose $1000 worth of stuff.    Don’t lay it in the sand, don’t get the sand in your car.  

Pliers instead of using your hands.   A huge error, people use pliers when their hands would be more efficient.    On fish handling, more survive the faster you do this process.    On fish handling, more will survive when they haven’t had hardware jammed down their throat.   Error, not using pliers?   A pliers is a great (safety) tool when using treble hook lures or tandem hook lures (Silly Willy/Teaser).   The pliers can help to get the hook out of a fish with maximum speed when dealing with multiple hooks.    Pliers can help keep your fingers and hands clear of the spines of fish like catfish, which can ruin your day.  

Handing a quality fishing rod to a four-year-old.   You don’t need to have a $500 rod and reel as a reef.    Buy a $20 outfit for this.    Let them go to town, let them do whatever they want.   Keep your blood pressure down.  

Handing a quality fishing rod to a five to twelve-year-old without giving them rules and directions.  Kids that are old enough will not beat up your stuff if you give them instructions and rules.    Trust me.  My experience, kids this age CAN be trained.

Site selection:   Daily, someone pulls up in a fifty thousand dollar boat and fishes where I would never fish.   Because there is nothing to catch there.    If you have put your time in, you should be going spot to spot, each one having merit.     90% of the water is not a good spot to go fishing.    Be in the 10%.    Fish where the fish are (as Captain Mel used to say)   

On safety:

Ancillary but very important to mention:   We’re looking at a “solo” situation in what was “set up” here.   Wearing a vest is a big decision:  Not just having it there, wearing it.    Ending up in the water (say unconscious for any of a variety of reasons) can avoid an unnecessary death.    A “kill switch” for your power boat.  An auto-inflate vest for the solo kayak angler.   Make the right choices when you are doing it alone and eliminate the risk of dying.   

Solo trip?  A float plan is a big thing.   Not back in: Your float plan contact should know where you were and what time you were supposed to be back (your kayak color) if a search is necessary.      

The kayak guys:  Their own set of errors.


Losing momentum paddling.   You are responsible (the engine) for moving your kayak.    Keep the boat moving, if even slowly.   Don’t let the wind or the current take you away from your fishing opportunity.  

#2   Losing a paddle, floating out to sea, drowning even:  All “human error” if your plan isn’t right.    Ask anyone who is into emergency management and decision training: “Rescue” is paramount.    If you take along devices to call for help, and dry compartments necessary per the equipment you may just not die alone at sea.   Very simply:   When not “using your paddle” have it stowed where it “cannot escape.”  

How many of the kayak people take flares with them?    Signal flares aren’t a bad item for anyone to have.   They’re small and easy to store. Not going to be used often but why not have one??

Take shortcuts, don’t respect Mother Nature: If you put enough time in out there She will claim you.    

The final piece I’d toss in for consideration:   “A Weather Watcher”.       I have seven people on my Weather Watcher list.    I always make sure at least two of them “commit” to being available when their phone rings, they’ll answer it.     “Be alert”, and if you see something that could be developing weather: Find out.  If your weather watcher tells you it’s not looking good, get back to your launch and go home.      If your weather watcher tells you it’s impending weather that’s bearing down on you: Proceed to your “safe location” (pre-designated for sitting out a rough situation for that particular area) and wait it out.     Six hours with rain and miserable wind at your back is better than crossing open waters to get back to the launch location and drowning (by my math anyway.)   Phones now eliminate the need for a weather watcher.    Load My Radar and Windfinder on there.   Load a good weather radar.    Put a full charge in your phone before leaving the house.   

If you equip right and make good decisions, you’ll do well.      Those who take risks, some will survive it, others will be memorialized.    Don’t let that happen because I may critique you if you read this.  

Neil Taylor, owner of Capmel.com and Strike Three Kayak Fishing

Neil can be reached at 727-692-6345.   

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