Garmin in the Kayak
My first target was bull reds around the barrier Islands of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. These fish feed in the surf breaking on shallow shoals at the mouth of ocean-side inlets. The key to catching them is getting close enough to the shoals to cast to the fish while staying out of the crashing waves. In order to perch on the edge of the shoals, I would watch the fishfinder and maneuver my kayak like playing a video game.
Next, we paddled miles out to sea in search of cobia. To attract these fish to our kayaks, we would deploy a steady stream of chum. Unfortunately, this technique also attracted unwanted dinner guests including some monster sharks. Fishing open water required a reliable GPS to track position and speed and to lead us back to the beach where we launched.
When winter rolled around, I was ready for the annual return of striped bass to Virginia Beach. We chased rockfish from the Atlantic Ocean to Chesapeake Bay, again using my GPS and Fishfinder to track my trolling speed and keep my baits in the strike zone.
Since that first year, we’ve mothershipped our kayaks to offshore towers to catch hard-pulling amberjack and this summer we plan to carry our kayaks to the Gulf Stream in search of billfish, tuna, and dolphin. With the proper safety equipment, detailed planning, and a little luck, the only limitation to fishing out of a kayak is the kayak angler’s imagination.
While it would be foolhardy for any boater to head out on the water without good electronics to guide his trip; for kayak fishermen, it would just be foolish. Not only has my basic electronics set-up allowed me target more, big fish, but it has given me the confidence to head out into big water in a little plastic boat.
Like other ground-breaking technologies that have contributed to the growth of other sports, compact, high-powered electronics have allowed kayak fishermen to take their pursuit to a higher level.
About the Author: Ric Burnley is a freelance outdoor writer based out of Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is Regional Editor at The Fisherman Magazine and Salt Water Sportsman and contributes to Outdoor Life. Burnley is also the author of The Complete Kayak Fisherman.
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