10 Great Reasons to fish off a kayak

By Shaun Elliot
1st Jan 2013

Shaun Elliot gives us 10 great reasons to get on the water and fish off a fishing kayak.

 I am sure you will agree that regardless of whether you fish standing up or sitting down, so long as you are fishing in the first instance then “you’re doing it right”. Be it that you fish off a high powered ski-boat, fully kitted jestski, fishingski, or simply like the feel of terra firma underfoot, fishing is fishing and can be enjoyed equally well in my opinion regardless of your preferred platform. Whilst all forms of the sport have their respective advantages and this really is a case of “whatever floats your boat” (apologies) I will however for the purpose of this article focus on why I choose to do most of my fishing from a Kayak or Fishingski as they are more commonly known in KZN. 1. Keep Fish-Fighting fit When fishing from a ski you bring your own power with you, I like this as it gives me an opportunity to keep relatively fit and healthy without necessitating that I take up road running or something I would find equally as mindless. Besides, shoulder joints seem to be built to last a lot longer than knee joints so you can fish off a ski well after your knees have pounded their last stretch of pavement. Moreover the exercise angle is also a brilliant pitch to the wife for when the fish are wild and you simply must go “paddling”, for health reasons you understand. 2. The Bear Grylls factor Standing on the shoreline at first light with your paddle in hand and your heart in your throat is bitter sweet experience. The bitter bit being the fear manufactured adrenalin you feel surging through your veins whilst on the beach and the sweet part being the sense of accomplishment that washes over you as you make it past the backline as dry as a bone. Like any sport it is all about progression, your skill improves with practice and with it so does your confidence in your ability. It is I believe crucial to be responsible and always trust your gut, if you aren’t confident on the day then there is no shame in calling it off. Remember there will always be other days to fish. 3. Not Over Regulated To dwell on the previous point a little longer, the sea can be a dangerous place and must be respected at all times, pack more drinking water than you will need, keep a set of unexpired pencil flares in your hatch along with a small collapsible bailing bucked and 10 meters of tow rope and never launch or beach without wearing a good approved lifejacket. These are the bare minimum SAMSA prescribed safety standards that can naturally be expanded upon to meet your personal level of caution. As it stands however you will not be overly dictated to by some bureaucrat telling you what you need to buy in order to be safe and where you can or cannot put your ski in the water. You alone are responsible for your safety so it just comes down to common sense ultimately. Keep a close eye on the weather, don’t paddle alone, always keep a phone with you, stay within your comfortable paddling distance and so forth. It’s great to have the freedom to make your own decisions on matters regarding your personal safety and makes you feel very grown-up. 4. See Nature in true HD Just as in the case where you always see more wildlife walking through the bushveld rather than travelling through it at pace with a big, loud 4x4, I believe you see much more activity on the water as you float quietly upon it. On more occasions that I would ever dare to admit I have come home completely satisfied with a morning’s fishing albeit with an empty fish hatch. Explaining the reasons for this would be a gross injustice, so I won’t even attempt this. It is simply something I feel you should experience for yourself. 5. Let’s do it! If you have ever fished somewhere exotic like the UK for example you will know how lucky we are to be able to find formidable game fish just beyond our breakers. We are also spoilt for choice when it comes to beach launches and being able to fish almost anywhere along our coastline is a major advantage as is the ease by which you can simply load your ski on top of your car and head off to wherever the fish are rumored to be. This also makes a last minute decision to fish quick and easy and it is very possible to squeeze in a cheeky session after work particularly in the summer months when the Couta are about in numbers. 6. Cheap! Cheap! Ok, if you look at the gear most of us have these days you might think I’m either nuts or exceptionally wealthy to label the sport as such but you would only be half right. When you strip it down, you actually need very little tackle to go fishing and your rods and reels needn’t be top of the range either. The reality is that your tackle will take a pounding in your hatch so it is far better buying affordable gear that won’t make you whimper when it breaks. In terms of the ski itself, the market has really come a long way recently and there are a couple of super hull types out there now. With anglers quickly ordering these newer boats, the second hand market is alive with great buys as the more experienced chaps upgrade. Although these older skis may not be as quick or as sleek as the newer boats, in all honesty the fish really aren’t too fussy. As long as you can get a well presented bait or lure within range you stand just as good a chance to catch a fish as the next guy regardless of what you are sitting on. The beauty of it is that as once you have coughed up for a modest rig you needn’t spend any more money on fuel, engine services and the obligatory club subs , annual safety inspections and so forth. At very worst your ski may pick up a couple of war wounds in the shore break the most of which are easily and economically repaired. Plus these add heaps of character to your ski and dramatically increase your car park credibility.

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