Neil Taylor, Strike Three Kayak Fishing

Without giving away too many of the “trade secrets”, there are several ways to make sure you intercept feeding gamefish during your typical excursion.  Trip planning, forethought and backup plans are all part of the kayak guide’s life.   The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind.

It’s a given that the common angler only has so many opportunities to go fishing and may not even have the luxury of picking the time that they will be on the water.   Go when you can:  Let the results be what they may.   If you can pick it:  Go when conditions are ideal.

The equation varies along those very lines.  For someone who is “scheduling” a trip-reserving a time to have available to put time in on the water- it is a much more exact science.   Tides, solunar tables and feed predictions are perfect resources to consult.  For people in this scenario: The probability of good fishing is higher.  Tides is a big one.     Full moon and new moon tides move the best.    Time of year dictates catches.    Full moon in the summer:   Daytime trips can be tougher.     The cooler months, full moon action is usually fine during the day.    Best situation.

For the guy who is just “getting out there” it’s going to be more of a lottery.   But it’s a lottery that can be won.  Fish have to eat to survive.   Put in your time and you should be there when they will eat.

You can lean on those spots you’ve done well in the past.  Not that they’re not worth going back to, but it’s shortsighted.   You must have more to your plan than going to the Honey Hole(s) and counting on striking gold.   Where am I going to go if the A Plan doesn’t yield results?   The big variable in a lot of these situations is food source.   If the fish aren’t in that location, look up and see if you see birds hovering nearby.   Birds = bait.  Bait = predators.   That’s your quarry, move over and try that as your backup plan.   Another variable:  Did dolphin just go through an area and send every fish scurrying for cover?   If so, where do you think those fish may have moved.   Watching the path of marauding porpoise can give you hints on where the bulk of your targeted species may have moved.

For anyone in either situation, the difference between a big day on the water and going home second-guessing oneself is in the adaptations.

The calculated drift leads to great knowledge of where fish are distributed on a flat.   Seek and intercept is often done with a smart drift based on the wind direction.

Blind luck.   Fish move.   The best of predictions can turn out in to the worst of days.   The worst of a scenario can translate into the best fishing day you’ve ever had.    “You never if you don’t go”

Trial and error.   Trial and success.    It is all part of the game.

What about mullet?   We have mullet everywhere.    Do they tell you anything?    I do not believe in mullet as much as other guides believe in mullet.   But I don’t ignore them either.   Two locations in Tampa Bay, I search for big mullet.   Big mullet often translates to redfish.

Hovering osprey:  In some locations around Tampa Bay, osprey only hunt trout.     If you have hovering osprey in these locations there are good trout in that location.

Piggybacking off others.  I’m driving around.    If I see twenty boats in an area, there’s something going on.      Go there the same months subsequent years and catch fish.   Gaining the general seasonal knowledge is good, then find places that are lower trafficked and less pressured.

Spots to stake out.   Light winds means longer drifts through good areas.    Setup: Anchor unwind and ready to silently deploy the anchor.  The end result:  Longer casts with the wind at your back and a better presentation of the lure with less wind-play on the line.  With experience you should know which spots are worth extra time and which ones you try quick and move on.

“With great power comes great responsibility.”  It’s the responsibility of everyone using the resource to know the rules about marine species and abide by them.   It is also a very good idea to get some specialized instruction on handling fish so that the fish that are being released are returned to the water in good health.  It is a few simple philosophies and techniques combined with several inexpensive tools you can buy to take out with you.   As someone who respects the resource, as most people are, it’s something you can not only implement into your own practices, but you can “teach” it to others.

The baitfish “shower” and the direction a predator is facing or moving.    This is one of those things that happens, and people don’t see it.   You need to turn those senses on.     This is a missed opportunity.    Feeding fish is kind of the point.    Watch for it.

Get in front of a school but try to stay out of its path.      Uninterrupted fish are the best fish.

If you are seen, those fish are gone.     Stay out of the fish highways.   You want fish to be relaxed and feeding.     You do not want to alert fish to your presence.     That is in nearly every article I have ever published.    “Be quiet.” 

In summary:   Do it right.   Be stealthy.   Be smart about your choices.   Pay attention to clues.    Make the most of your opportunities.

The most enjoyable sport in the world.   You have made it your own.   Enjoy it.

Neil Taylor
“Instructional Kayak Fishing”

Strike Three Kayak Fishing
(Cell) 727-692-6345

Neil Taylor

Full time kayak fishing guide, Neil was an advocate for conservation since before the time he started guiding.Outdoor writer, speaker and radio show host, Neil connected closely with Captain Mel Berman and did many positives with Mel to promote ethical angling. After Mel passed away, Neil managed and eventually became that web site’s owner.
Neil Taylor

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