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Kayaks/Canoes

 Kayak Is Inuit for “Hunters Boat” By Gary Anderson
 In the day and a light on the brim of my hat works great at night to illuminate all the area in and around the kayak, while showing my presents at dusk till dark to others in the area. Now it is time to push off and catch some fish.When angling Lemon bay Florida or any body of water from a hunters boat, a hunters boat is Inuit for kayak, keeping order is but the first luxury to respond to when paddling; leaders, lines and hooks all over a cockpit is an accident waiting to happen. One must always think ‘Safety”, if any priority is first, this one is it. Paddles where they should be and leashed, equipment stowed properly, PFD is on and not stowed or used as a cushion or other stupid idea; it can save your life when needed the most, when you least expect it!  Dress for the water and always wear a PFD (personal flotation device). You have to dress for the water not the air temperature for if you fall in and are not protected you run the serious risk of hypothermia.

 During the spring and summer months of south Florida, shorts or a short wetsuit is fine but in the fall to winter stick with a full wetsuit or dry suit but whatever you do, can the waders. If you go under with waders, they fill with water and you will sink like a rock, so unless you breath with gills, leave the waders for the river or flats fishing in those cold days on in the water. Paddling is a physically demanding activity so you must ask yourself are you capable of the physical exertion. The buddy system is always best when yakking but if you go on your own tell someone where you are going and roughly, what time you will arrive back; a float plan. “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!” Think Hydration and bring enough water to last all day plus one, in case of a problem. Have a dry bag stowed with personal devices such as phone, towel, extra clothing, along with a fleece or wool sweater. Hypothermia Kills and more people become hypothermia than drowning, hands down! Just because you are paddling in warm waters does not mean it will not affect you; it will; head the warning and be prepared.  Always wear a hat, cap or a BUFF on your head for heat loss is rapid through this extremity.

 It can also save you from the sun and aid in glare catching you more fish along with your sunglasses. The engine to your kayak is you and your propulsion is through your paddle, which as stated above, needs to be attached to the yak or your wrist by a leash; lose the paddle lose your propulsion.  Carrying an extra is of good measure if you have the room. Communication are necessary through either a VHF radio, fixed or handheld or your cell phone. If using a cell phone you must be very careful around water for once in the brink and *all may be lost. With a cell phone choose your own brand of protection but I use Trojan Condoms. Your cell will fit easily inside, can be accessed without removing and is now waterproof if the open end is tied off. Compass or GPS, whistle around the neck, package of flares in dry bag and small first aid kit rounds out the perfect trip of just in case. A flag on the stern alerts others where you are I Armed with Tarpon 120 kayaks, together with a paddle, paddle leash and PFD (personal flotation devise), Josh Zgrabik and friends, pushed off from Manasota Boat ramp in search to hunt for the fishes of the bay,

Lemon Bay, in trip targeting fish; nothing particular, just a day on the water for fun and play. The Tarpon 120 is 12 feet long and is a perfect fit from novice to expert in angling the skinnies of any water in your back yard. Kayak is Inuit for "hunter's boat", making it the perfect and ideal vessel to go “hunting fish” from. Staying close to the Mangrove or shoreline is a good rule of thumb for it is out of the way of powerboats in the channels; they may idle down or not upon their approach, stay to the shoreline and catch more fish. As we paddled there was a slight ripple to my left, just under a branch of a black Mangrove tree, which resembled a tiny stone dropping into the water and the a massive swirl. Something in ambush mode, so Josh flipped a Petites Power head with a shrimp gulped tail to slither to the bottom. Wham, bam, “Fish ON!” No jigging action here, just a hungry hook up. It turned out being just a rat, undersized redfish, but it sure was fun in the fight.

 Continuing along observing the sheen across the water’s edge for breaks or swirls, this action continued for about half a mile down. No Snook, just little rats and a lure change was inevitable. Switching to a Bayou Bucks Black Jig Head / Smoke Chartreuse Curly Tail under a Stealth Pop-N-Prop, answered the question as to where the big boys were. Now the reds were in the slot and a smile pronounced on Josh’s face. When jigging, a 12/20lb class rod with braid, it is most sufficient for angling oysters to limbs as in less break offs will occur than that of monofilament lines. Seven-foot rods on a yak are the perfect combo in angling stubborn bay fishes and my favorite is that of a St. Croix outfit.  Using twenty pound fluorocarbon attached to a swivel for prevention of twists, there is nothing more exciting than to watch a six pound red coming up from the bottom of our crystal clear waters of the intercostals’ of Lemon Bay with a Bayou Bucks Lure in its mouth. Thrashing and stubbornly headshaking, all upon arrival on the surface in its retrieval to the craft, drags settings must be extremely tight but allowing for an inch at a time upon any quick burst or flow against the tidal movements. Landing nets can be cumbersome in a yak and generally are not good for the fish unless they are coated. The best course of action is that of a gilling procedure by placing your free hand up under the bottom of the gill plate to grasp the bridge between its lip and gills. Do not handle the gills themselves, as this can be a slow death to the fish if released. When lure fishing from a yak, you will gain more control over your angling in a side saddle style; that is with your feet in the water, giving you better control and easy access to the back box for you tackle and whatever.

Yak angling is but a thrill of the hunt and Sportfishing at its best when using light tackle. Remembering safety first, so if the weather or those white caps look threatening to uncomfortable looks to be, head for the house for there are far many more days you can fish and not have to worry. Keeping an eye on the sky and get out quickly upon approaching weather. Practice CPR (Catch, Photograph and Release) as much as possible for green angling is necessary if we are to be responsible stewards to our marine ecosystems.  Angling Lemon Bay or your neighborhood in a yak is the ultimate to a very green outing. No fuel costs, no pollutants such as oils or gasoline residues on the water and no engine break downs, just good old fashion paddling to the blending in with nature as one; a romantic rendezvous’ with eco-friendly angling. Another approach to going green without the use of a paddle is solar power in a green angle to propulsion when yakking your backcountry waters. Kits are manufactured by SPK (Solar Powered Kayaks), Think Green, Think Fish, Be Responsible it is the only world we have!
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