I have been fishing out of kayaks for a long time and the advances they have made have been amazing. The fishing kayak itself was never even invented back then and you simply made do with whatever kayak was available. Now you can get a yak specifically designed to fish out of in fresh or salt water with rail systems that mount rod holders, depth finders or even anchors. One of the biggest advancements in the past few years is the pedal drive systems that come in some of the kayaks.
A pedal drive is a unit that mounts in the center of the kayak with pedals much like a bike that you push forward with one foot while you go back with the other. This drives either a propeller or a fin type system under the boat that drives the boat forward or reverse. You steer with a simple rudder system in the back of the kayak with a control lever up front. What this does is free your hands up to cast or fight a fish and if you ever get a hold of a giant rockfish on a kayak you need all the free hands you can get.
There are several different manufacturers of this drive system but Hobie was the first when they came out with the mirage system. This drive has fins that they designed to work like a penguin fin the work back and forth with the pedals and moves the yak forward. There is a switch that you pull to reverse the action, so you can move backwards but if you are looking to buy a used Hobie the first one did not have the reverse so do your homework. Since this breakthrough there have been a lot of manufacturers come out with their own drive systems. Most look like a propeller mounted under the kayak with a rudder control steering system but now you can even get an electric trolling motor that mounts on the kayak. The only disadvantage of these new drive systems is that they can’t go into shallow water, so you have to pull the cartridge out of the yak when you launch the boat and when you get out of the water. This can be a little clumsy sometimes especially when launching in the surf but with a little practice you will get the hang of it. The price of these new kayaks can be a little scary also with some of these boats going for $3000. It may sound like a lot of money, but you have no gas or maintenance on the boat and when you are done you simply hose the boat down and wait for the next trip. This time of year, the deals are to be made also with the new year’s bringing the new designs and last year’s boats going on sale for the holidays so check out the kayaks and see which ones fit your style of fishing.
The fishing reports from the offshore guys are few and far between but there were a few boats getting out this week and the yellowfin seemed to cooperate. There are fish out there, but you have to get off the couch in order to catch them.
On the beaches and piers, we have had a great year and they are still catching fish. We have trout being caught in the slots on Gulp baits and puppy drum still hitting just behind them. The black drum are also biting along with the mullet and there is no reason to not try them out. You want to use fresh shrimp on bottom rigs for the close fish and fresh cut mullet for the drum on the longer rods.
The sound seems to be loaded with stripers on all the bridges, but you have to fight your way through the small ones in order to get a keeper. There are some trout and drum around Oregon Inlet also if you want to try for those.
Here locally we are still fishing for stripers with some luck. The sound bridge is heating up as long as the weather keeps cooling down. Coinjock is still on, but you have to fish the stump fields in order to find the big ones and that means losing a lot of lures, so it is your call. The catfish are biting and with the local tournaments bringing in some giants it could be a great option. The Northeastern NC Anglers Club had a couple of tournaments with some anglers bringing in cats over 40 pounds so great job guys and keep up the good work. If anyone gets out this holiday weekend shoot me a pic and a report to email@example.com or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike.
Mike Sweeney is a local fishing coach and he writes about his fishing adventures in the Daily Advance, Albemarle Times and for the Visit Elizabeth City. Click here to book light tackle guide trips for the Albemarle region and Chesapeake Bay for stripers, trout, flounder, spanish mackerel and blues.