Author: Tavis Kagawa
Gear You Need For Offshore Kayak Fishing
I am personally a believer of keeping things simple and logical and when it comes to fishing this is usually a win win situation. Less rods and reels means less maintenance and spooling to do, and less tackle means you have less inventory to worry about. The only problem with this is what happens when you brought the wrong equipment for the type of bite that is going on.
So how can you have less equipment while still being prepared for a lot? After a few years of experimenting, I have seemed to have found a reasonable middle ground. Now commercial and charter fishermen will probably not agree with a lot of what I am saying, but they have boats and a lot more resources. If you are a weekend warrior trying to get multiple uses out of a set number of rods and reels then here are a few techniques that may work for you.
Starting with the Foundation
The foundation for this type of system is based off of using just 2 rods and reels. One with heavy action and the other for medium action. The average fish on caught on the kayak, bait aside, runs between 10-40 pounds. This set up allows for a lot of cross over use between set-ups as a quality medium action rod should be able to handle fish within that range well. .
Always good to start with braid backing if you want versatility, because you don't have to compromise capacity. While there are advantages to using mono as backing, the capacity that braid can offer seems to override this by far. 300-400 yards of braid is a good start. You can put more braid on top of that, or you can top it off with mono or flouro. For all my lines I typically use 50-80 pound test weight. Fighting big fish on the kayak is no easy task, but one advantage is the fish will usually tow the angler before breaking the line.
Top Shot Knots
Although braided line is great for backing, it is not want you necessarily want when you are getting closer to your terminal tackle. Running mono and flouro for top shot is definitely better for a few reasons. First of all it will help your strike ratio as braid is too visible in the clear offshore waters. Another reason is that mono and flouro has better abrasion resistance to avoid some cutoffs from knicks which is critical on the kayak. A good safety reason would include not using braid for handlining. While not always ideal, sometimes you will need to handline fish when you get to leader. Wrapping your had with braid will quickly turn your hand into hamburger.
I find that the best knots are the FG, Albright, or Alberto. Make sure that you practice and test your knots on land as much as possible. They take a little bit of practice to get them perfect, and one of the worst things that can happen is losing a fish due to knot failure. Of the three listed, the FG knot has the lowest profile though it took the most practice to get it perfect.
In part 2 I will be describing my heavy pole set up. In part 3 I will explain my medium pole set up.
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