Planning a kayak fishing trip entails a few steps before actually fishing. This article will elaborate on the steps I take in planning local and traveling fishing trips. Believe it or not kayak fishing is a dangerous sport. I hope these tips will help you plan your next saltwater kayak fishing trip and make it a successful and safe one!

Species to Target

DE Striped Bass

Example of Delaware Striped Bass Regulations

All locations differ on species to target. Some fish maybe seasonal or some may be abundant year round. Its good to do some research on what species you want to target. Check the local regulations on these species. We live in a day when there are creel limits and even regulations of tackle and bait used to lure the fish. For example in Maryland Striped bass are catch and release only for the spawning season. Along with the catch and release regulation tackle is also strictly monitored to number of hooks and barb-less hooks. Along with bait it has been for a few years illegal to posses or fish with bait such as river herring. These are all factors as an angler it is your responsibility to research for the species you plan to target.

Location

Google Map

Google Maps

Navionics Web App

Navionics Web App

Choosing a location for your kayak fishing trip can vary on the choice of Species Targeted. It can also vary on weather conditions and tide predictions. Take these into account. If the wind is going to be coming from the NorthEast most of the day plan on an area with shelter from that wind and where you think the fish may hold. Plan on a location with the ability to park and launch your kayak. Some places its illegal to park in certain areas. Also private land can be an issue.

When scouting a new area I always research using google satellite maps. It can give you a good idea of a place to park and launch. However it is always good to drive to the area prior to make sure its safe and accessible. Then i study the charts on the Navionics web app.

Weather

Widfinder

Widfinder

Weather Phone App

Weather Phone App

Weather conditions are a huge factor in kayak fishing. Wind being the primary disadvantage in most cases. Paddling or peddling can become exhausting over time. Location is key in windy situations. Plan for the wind and plan your drop in location and route accordingly.

Check the weather forecast days before to plan. Weather conditions can change any minute of the day or night. Personally I like to use weather apps such as Windfinder and Accuweather for air temp and precip forecasts.

Dress for the weather. This is important see the Gear and Safety Section below.

Know your limits. Don’t go out of you know the winds are going to be too much for you to handle. Paddling all day against the wind is no fun and can be dangerous.

The weather always varies and predictions are typically off so just go and see how it is at the drop in. Don’t let weather forecasts cause you to stay home. Just take them as a precaution.

Moon and Tides

Tide Predictions

Tide Predictions

Believe it or not Moon phase and Tide flow is essential to saltwater fishing. This should be a major part of your planning. IF you drop in at high tide where will the tide be when you get back? All mud? These are things to think of when picking your location.

Also certain species of fish feed at different points within a tide swing. Its good to take note of these times while fishing. It could benefit you on future fishing trips.

Gear and Safety

Gear is everything you plan on taking with you on your kayak. As stated kayak fishing can be very dangerous so safety should be a major concern. Its good practice to always wear a USCG Class III approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Basic safety gear like a whistle and a signaling device such as the YakAttack VISICarbon Pro are great additions.

Dress for the weather.

Summer time personally I dress in long pants and shirt with an SPF rating of 50+. Fishing pants I prefer are Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pant. And for shirts Columbia Men’s Terminal Tackle Long Sleeve Shirt for an example as there are so many Sun Shirts on the market. If possible always avoid cotton. Cotton absorbs water and does not dry quickly.

Winter Dry Gear is very important for safety. The no cotton rule applies much more here.  I personally love the Kokatat Hydrus 3L Tempest Dry Pants with Socks. Layer up with base layer under the dry pants. Top start with a base layer. Mysterioso shirt is the best i have worn over the years.

Also always remember to bring water with you. A lunch or snack is always good as you don’t always know how long you may be out fishing.

A rule of thumb is to always have a dry set of clothes packed in your car. Just in case.

Float Plan

Its a good practice to let family or friends know the location you will be launching just in case you happen to encounter trouble. Its always good to have people know your whereabouts as a precaution.

Tackle

An example. What to have in your tackle box for Flounder fishing can vary. Its good to always have multiple colored and weights of jigs handy. A spool of 20# test leader line should be handy. Terminal tackle such as swivels slides and 3/0 – 5/0 octopus style hooks are needed. Teasers you can tie your own or purchase some.

For Stripers examples being. Jigs, Swim baits, and even hard swim baits are a key choice of tackle. Personally I still bring too much tackle but you never know what you may need throughout the day.

A milk crate or YakAttack Blackpak is an excellent addition to store tackle and also add additional rod holders for more fishing rods. I typically take 3 – 4 rods with me depending on the fish i am targeting. This way you can have different tackle tied and ready.

Tools

Always good to have a net handy. This goes along with a pair of Aluminum Fishing Pliers and a sharp Knife with Floating Handle. Rod leashes goes with the saying if you love it leash it. If using bait you may want a Bait Board or a live Bait Container.

Electronics

Having a fish finder with GPS charts is an excellent addition to your kayak. A great tool for fishing. Being able to read where the bait and fish are located in the water column is a huge advantage. Seeing whats on the bottom while using the charts to see where drop offs and structure can change fishing into catching. The GPS charts will come in handy when a thick fog rolls in. Also are handy for locating charted structure and landmarks.

Also its good to have some form of communication. A water proof cell phone or in a Waterproof Dry Bag. Or a Handheld VHF Submersible Radio. These electronics will be very useful in an emergency situation or just communicating with your fishing buddys.

Anchoring

All depending what species you are targeting you may want to have an SEA-LECT Designs Folding Economy Anchor Kit handy. Windy situations a YakAttack ParkNPole will come in handy. Just make sure you install and  use an Yakattack Leverloc Anchor Trolley to get your anchor lines at the bow or stern of your kayak in currents. Anchoring off the side can be a big mistake.

I hope these examples of how to plan for a saltwater kayak fishing trip come in handy. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me! Tight lines!

Living in Delaware we don’t typically see many Red Drum in our waters. Traveling for the opportunity to target these game fish is exciting. Fortunately its only a 140 mile drive south from my home! It’s only a little over 2 and a half hours to make it to the trip to Cape Charles Virginia. I’m spoiled since I have been driving maximum an hour to the water all my life and now it has become my backyard. This drive is worth it though. This is the story of A Fourteen Hour Fishing Trip.

In Delaware 10-10-2017

After Work Fishing

Midway through October 2017 and the days have been still warm. I have been getting out after work here and there for the evening Striped Bass bite close to my work. Some good fish but it’s still like summer. The size of the fish is still 30″ and below. Tuesday Oct 10th during an evening on the water I sent Joe H a text giving him a fishing report. He called soon after informing me that he was planning a trip to fish in Virginia for Sunday. The weather looked good so I decided to ask if it was cool if I met up with him there. The trip was on.

The Plan:

JK Kilroy LT - Red Drum - Matt Trucks

Photo by Joe Hosler

Meet up at 06:30 near the Eastern Shore Wildlife Refuge Boat ramp Sunday. Then go fishing targeting reds. Simple enough!

The Chesapeake Bay can get rough in this area but I loaded my Jackson Kayak Kilroy as i feel it is the best suited for saltwater creek style fishing. The kayak has a Torqeedo Ultralight 403 installed for those days when you need to get back quick or against a river style current ripping tide. It comes in handy!

Sunday Fishing Day!

Out the door by 3:45 am on the road. It’s still raining and foggy. The misting and fog finally became intermittent around 2 hours in.  I can spot the deer peering into my headlights while passing through heavily wooded areas. Warm coffee and maximum concentration. Thinking to myself how much i love my 2016 Ford F150 over my old truck. Waze on the consul broadcasting the distance traveled and my ETA its 6: 30 to start but traffic light s and such made it more like 6:40.

Start of A fourteen hour fishing tripI arrived and everyone was there gearing up. It was just starting to become light. There was an eerie yellowish cloud as the sun hit it from below the horizon. We hit the water and fished a small creek. It was slow fishing only with a few small Speckled Trout.  So we crossed the channel and begun fishing that area. The tide was on its way out. A few more trout early. Paddling through the shallows I went as far back as I could. Oysters in VirginiaThere were oysters all over in the sod banks. Not sure if these are edible or if they are even legal to harvest. I found one laying on the bottom and picked it up to examine it. They were pretty small and flat but i put it back and went back to fishing.

There was no water only an inch or two. I circled back and figured id throw some casts at a drop off I saw on my way in.

First cast reeling slowly bump bump across the bottom and bang fish on! Great fight on my bull bay rod paired with the Abu Garcia Revo Inshore casting reel. Peeling drag running towards the kayak and back deep again. A great fight to land a 23 inch healthy Red Drum!

Released him and caught a few more on that drop until there was inches of water left. The clouds had finally broken away to sunshine. It was nice and warm now as everything begin to dry out. The tide slowed to a crawl so did the bite. Managing a bunch of Speckled trout a few more reds and small Striped Bass. At this point it was 12:30. We realized we were now landlocked. We fished for another half hour on a slow bite until finally dragging the yaks across the sand bar to return to the launch.

I took a detour to go take a few photos of a large chunk of drift wood that had washed up on the sandy part of the island. As an amateur photographer I spot these things and have to get there to grab a few photos. This particular piece of drift wood i spotted from a mile away in the morning on the way across the channel. After getting my shots using the Torqeedo I went back full throttle. 6.5 mph most of the way. A following sea made it a bit strange.

Fortunately the drive home wasn’t so bad. I was worried that id be exhausted as I have been in the past coming back from really long fishing days in the summer heat. Arriving home around 5 PM the concluded the fourteen hour fishing trip.  Will defiantly be doing this trip again in the future.

 

 

One of the most unique places in the United States is Assateague Island. Located in both Maryland & Virginia the barrier island is home to hundreds of feral horses. It all began in January 2017 when in a conversation with Joe Hosler about doing a Kayak Fishing Excursion there. Not knowing the area it was tough to pick a date but we picked what worked out best for the two of us. I then figured it would be nice to extend it to fellow kayak anglers. A post on facebook and an enormous amount of interest followed. The date was set for June 9 – 12 as still in the spring the hope was for a less buggy experience.

Assateague is said to have the second highest mosquito populations just under the Everglades in Florida. Insect repellent with deet is highly recommended. The camp is set up for tenting camper or RV but has no hookups. It’s amenities include an out house with cold showers but its a  great trade off for the outdoor beauty the park provides.

Assateague Island National Seashore Park Kayak Fishing Camp

This was the first run while personally never visiting the park had no idea what to expect. For this reason the car camping was our best bet. There are many factors while wilderness camping that can make it a good trip or a tough one weather conditions being a main one. Rain can be one of the worst. Even in the summer things will not dry in humid places making the adventure cold and risky. “Backcountry Camping” at Assateague the closest camp in Maryland varies from 2 1/2 to 13 miles away from the ranger station.  No fresh water is available at the back-country sites so paddling in water would be a must.

Car camping as opposed to wilderness camping is much easier while weather is still a factor it can be overcome easily. The amount of gear you have with you is not limited to what you can take in your kayak. So for those reasons car camping was the way to go on the first run at Assateague. Campsite reservations fill up quickly at the park so planning out dates happened well in advance. I booked 2 sites in January which can hold up to 6 campers 2 tents and 2 cars.

Friday:

Assateague Island National Park is located in Maryland about an hour south of my home. Ricky took the drive from Philly and crashed at my place the night before. I was waiting on a special delivery from Torqeedo of a Sunshade 50 solar panel for charging the Torqeedo battery. It was amazing as it arrived at the moment we are hitting the road!

The Road to Camp:

Fortunately the camp is only an hour from my house so we were there in no time. We stopped at Buckys bait and tackle shop for bait and also got a flounder sandwich for lunch.  Ed and Noriel were already there and set up by the time Ricky and I arrived. Dee and Kelly were also already there so we set up our camp. We needed firewood as the park states you cannot bring firewood from out of state.

Its pretty neat as the Assateague road in there are about 20 different places that sell firewood both honor boxes and salesman. After loading up on wood we and then hit the water. In search of flounder and set up with crapping handlines we fished and crabbed until the evening. Suddenly Ricky had a fish on. It was a small striper. Who knew. Some time went by and I started catching them on the buck tail and gulp.

One after another 14 in all which was followed by an amazing sunset.

Horses crossing the bay at Assateague

Right after the sun past the horizon horses crossed the water from sod banks which they were grazing on the salty grass during the day. The full moon raised above the trees at that exact time.

 

Ford F150 Chillouette with Kayaks

We did a bit of grilling back at camp. Some sausages that Noriel brought. It was late due to the long days and no one really felt like cooking. We then all went and crashed out only to be awoken at 2:30 am by other campers setting up and being very inconsiderate. Ricky said something to them and they didn’t care. We figured in the morning since they packed up quite early that they were not supposed to be camping there to begin with.

Saturday:

Mosquitos outside my tentWaking up around 5:30 to await Jeff Little’s arrival and to cook up some breakfast.  The mosquitoes that were caught between the screen dome and the rain fly of my tent were still trying to eat me alive. The dash to unzip the door and run to the concrete or become breakfast to the blood suckers. Well I made it. The other guys were just getting up also. I started cooking bacon and eggs for everyone. Jeff arrived and ate with us. We filmed a short video on the Torqeedo Sunfold 50 Solar Charging Panel.

Convoyed up we drove off the island to South Point which lies on the west side of Sinepuxent Bay. Launching at a boat ramp we learned the water was colder than that closer to the island. It was funny because it probrably took us about 20 minutes to drive to the boat ramp while it was only 1.8 miles from the Assateague Island Drop in.  Water was deeper in this are a reason we went there but couldn’t find a fish the whole day. Resorted to crabbing and caught mainly females which is illegal to keep for dinner in Maryland.

Jeff was able to get in a bunch of footage for the Torqeedo video. I covered how to use the Torqeedo motor while flounder fishing. Making new drifts wind tide etc. It does save from a lot of paddling throughout the day. Then went onto hand lining from a kayak for crabs. Technique bait, and how to anchor. All great information which I will post up on my blog when I get around to it! Everyone ended up giving up around 2 PM and headed back to camp for dinner. Becky, Ricky’s wife had prepared  chicken and veggies for grilling! Good thing I brought the Camp Chef cook op and grill top.

We did manage to get out again in the evening for the bass again. Wasn’t as productive as the evening prior but did catch a few.

 

Sunday:

The attempt to sleep in was impossible due to the fact the sun was beating on my tent. The heat was becoming intense. Ricky was leaving soon and so were Kelly and Dee. Jay Sav had to leave Saturday unfortunately due to a family emergency. Ed Noriel and myself decided to fish where we did the evening before and try some crabbing there also.  Crabbing was very slow and almost uneventful. Only a strange thing happened. I had a small bunker on one of my crab stringers. Suddenly it was pulled really hard and the bait was gone. What could have that been…

Couldnt say anything for the fishing. Didn’t even have a hit but next time i will throw a bunker on and let it sit on the bottom. We all were bored and decided to head back to camp around 1 PM. I was able to set up the Torqeedo Sunfold 50 to get a gauge on how much battery it would charge in a certain time. Realistically its 50 watts of charging so it will charge a full battery over the time of 2 full days of sunlight.

We had leftover chicken sandwiches for lunch and I cooked the steak for dinner. We were all sort of beat and didn’t go out fishing on the last evening. A heard of horses came through camp in the late afternoon.  They just walked through feeding on the tall grass not minding ours or other campers presence. Then they rummaged through a neighboring campers trash. Its bad to leave trash or food out at the camp. Horses are not built to consume human or other animals food. They eat grass.

I went down to the beach for a clear sunset. We had our last campfire and the wind in that campsite again saved us from the mosquitoes.

Monday:

Well it was an early wake up again. This time to pack up and head home. This was a very enjoyable few days of doing what we love best. Camping, Fishing, and hanging out with good friends. This will most likely become an annual trip for us. All are welcome to join. Please do! Hope to see you all next year.

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