Using your kayak to get you on these rivers, lakes, and bays to find and catch fish takes some internet scouting and research. There is never a guarantee when fishing, but taking these steps will greatly increase your odds.
The first thing I do is look at maps to get a layout of the body of water. Google Earth and Navionics are two great resources to use as references. Google earth will show you land features that lead into the water and any visible cover above the water. The second mapping source that is a great tool is Navionics. It allows you to see the layout of the lake underwater. Without going into too much detail to better understand how to read this map, the lines indicate depth changes, and you want to look for points, ledges, humps and drop-offs.
In the images below, you can see what a point (pic 1) and an underwater hump (pic 2) look like.
After looking over maps and getting a better idea of what you’re looking at you can go further into your internet search and find both past and current reports. Look at old tournament weights, weather patterns, and baits that are being used. Again, this research is only to give you an idea of what is out there. The only way to dial in on any pattern or to find any fish is to get on the water and put your angling skill to work. Nothing substitutes time on the water. Remember, you will be in a kayak and you have to take into consideration that you cannot go as far as a bass boat. Therefore, you have to choose a boat ramp or launch point that will put you in the fishes’ wheelhouse. Keep an eye on weather patterns and plan accordingly. Some of these bodies of water can get very dangerous once they get some wind on them. Also, be sure and let somebody know your float plan. A float plan is an itinerary or timeline that lets someone know where you plan on fishing and for how long. As kayak anglers, we have to remember that we are at the mercy of the water and elements. Plan accordingly and pack water, sunblock, and something to snack on.
Once you are at the launch point, be sure to pack all essential equipment and do so in a way that the most frequently used items are within reaching distance. A few strategically placed rod holders and a fishing crate to make tackle organization easier will come in handy, being that space is limited. Be sure and use your past/present fishing report and seasonal pattern research. Doing so will dictate what baits and equipment you take along. Combine this with your style of fishing and a game plan begins to come together. You can now decide how you want to fish; shallow, deep off shore structure, or junk fish. Junk fishing is a term used in the industry to describe a style of fishing that incorporates many different techniques in one free form.
Quick side note: shallow and deep are both terms used to loosely describe the depth we fish, but shallow for some impoundments can be 0’’-3’ while at others it can be 3’-6’. The same goes for “deep” water fishing. Deep for one lake can be 10’-20’ and on a place like Lake Travis deep is 20’-35+’. It all depends on the body of water you are fishing. Again, this is where your fishing homework comes into play.
This information isn’t to confuse you or deter you from fishing, but to guide you in the right direction. Getting on the water is about getting away, enjoying the outdoors, and slowing things down. The option to simply go out and fish just to fish is always there, but let’s be realistic; We all like to catch fish.
Tackle and bait selection:
When deciding what tackle (rods and reels) to take and which lure to throw, keep it simple. A medium and medium heavy action rod can cover most of your fishing needs. Good, fresh fishing line of 12 to 15lb test will suffice. I say “fresh” because you don’t want 10-year old fishing line to be the reason you lose a fish. P-Line fishing line is my go-to. I’ve been using it for years and in various conditions with great results.
Bait selection can be confusing and a little intimidating when walking the isles of Academy. You see rows of hooks, weights, artificial baits, and everything in between. All of the fancy lures look great and I’m sure they have all caught fish at one time or another, but you don’t need to fill the basket with baits. To keep you from breaking the bank, again keep it simple. Look back at the reports you dug up and go from there. Your purchase will be determined by the species you are targeting and the conditions you will be fishing. A few packs of hooks, some weights, and a few baits will do fine. For example: If you are fishing for bass, you can’t go wrong with Watermelon Red, Black and Blue, and Green Pumpkin for soft plastics. Throwing hard baits like crank baits or spinnerbaits, your best bet is match or mimic baitfish patterns and colors.
If you are chasing Speckled Trout and Redfish, top waters in Bone or Pink and soft plastics in Texas Roach or Glow and Chartreuse are popular colors. Keep in mind, color patterns and preference will vary with geographic location and conditions.
This is just a small intro into the world of kayak fishing. There really is not limit to what we, as anglers, can do on our kayaks. Keep in mind that we have to be a little more efficient, creative, and organized to maximize productivity. Being prepared, doing some research, and having the right gear will greatly increase your odds of doing more catching while fishing. Feel free to reach out on Facebook. San Antonio Kayak Fishing is the newest page dedicated to kayak fishing in and around the San Antonio area. This page is about kayak fishing for kayak fisherman and women of all ages. Follow along and/or post any fishing related questions and I will do my best to point you in the right direction.
A quick shout out to Bioenno Power for rushing me a battery for the last tournament of the regular season. These guys make an absolutely amazing product with superior customer service. Check out their line up of Lithium batteries at http://www.bioennopower.com
Remember, wear your PFD, and be safe on the water.
Eugene Mora III
Wilderness Systems Kayak Pro Staff
TFO Rods Pro Staff
Stinky Pants Pro Staff
P-Line, Owner Hooks, WOO!
Tungsten Pro Staff
Yak Attack Regional Fishing Team