Fishing the salt in a Kayak?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Tyler Watters, May 4, 2009.

  1. By late summer, after we've all been paddling a bunch, and are in shape to do 12 - 18 mile plus (round-trip) day trips, I might be up for sharing some exploring of the coastal estuaries for searun cutts. I am offering this so I can generate some fly angling kayak-fishing buddies.

    I usually go on days when the tides/wind/weather line up to make it a reasonably fun trip with a good probability of finding some searun cutts.
    I usually have more ideas than I can follow up on, but that's a good thing, giving me the option to hit a several day run of good tides and weather and choose a different destination each day. The wind is often the "last minute" deciding factor in making a choice of where to go.

    This would be for kayak paddling cutthroat fly anglers in shape and experienced enough to know their stuff.
    Any whiners that manage to show up will be cut into tiny chunks and used as crab bait.
    I've been going alone, but don't mind company at times.
    I can usually only handle about three days a week of this, as my arms need recovery days, which mysteriously happen to coincide with work days. I often re-schedule my ever-morphing schedule at the last minute, as spontaneity and changing winds demand.
    I'm thinkin' mid-July thru August would find better fishing, but I'll begin exploring for cutts anytime after the 1st Sat in June, to get in shape for the better fishing later.
    I'm 58, in fair shape, and my boat is slow. I haven't been paddling all Winter or yet this Spring, but will be very soon. I need to check out some hunches alone, anyway.

    I'm also up for paddling in the S Sound and plan to explore various shorelines of Hood Canal, including Quilcene and Dabob Bays. I sometimes paddle around the Sequim Bay entrance.

    I usually go to places where there are fewer power boats around... this is where shallow mud flats and low tides are your allies.
  2. Jim those tide flats down on the coast are intense
    i work out in longbeach once in a while but haven't drug the yak out
    once got stuck in an aluminum skiff hunting ducks by bear creek
    you must be the master of tides and river flows
    saw some gear guys on the naselle any idea what they were fishing for?
  3. Well guys, I did it. I ended up with a Tarpon 120. This is funny because it's the same thing I used in Texas. I would definitely be down with going JW. I won't be here near the end of the summer but until then I plan on getting out whenever the winds cooperate. I wanted to take it out today to break it in but the winds were awful. It would be nice to tag along with someone who has some experience around this area.

    Some questions from a person that is comfortable in a kayak but never kayak'd in the salt:

    Is there a certain number you look for(ex: <5kts) or do you just throw your finger in the air?

    Is it even possible to paddle a sitontop in the opposite direction of a moving tide?
  4. There is a huge kayaking clave at Tacoma's Point Defiance Park this weekend. It's not free -- $30 bucks for one day or $55 for two -- but there are lots of boat tryouts, clinics, seminars and the like.
    I'm not involved with it in any way, but it may be worth the time and money if you're looking to examine and test lots of kayaks.
    I think there is a lot of information on the city of Tacoma's website.
  5. The "Pay-to-Play Clave" sounds like a good deal for someone looking to check things out. My own boat acquisition budget has been drastically revised downward, so I'll either be working or fishing this weekend.
    I'm happy with my Native Craft Ultimate 12 "hybrid canoe" for many of the places where I usually fish. Backwaters, lower rivers, estuaries, small lakes, etc. Its not the best solution for big, potentially rougher water, though, being a low-profile, open boat.

    Rotato, gear guys probably going for salmon or sturgeon, or steelhead upstream in winter.
    You have to stick to the stream channels as the tide drops towards low to avoid getting stuck.
    At low tide even some of the stream channels are spread out over a wide, shallow run in places, and you sometimes have to get out and drag your boat in a few inches of water.

    texanflyfisher, Yes the wind and the tide can have their ways with you. In my pokey slow boat, I can sustain a paddling speed of up to 3 mph for possibly as long as an hour without a break, but if I'm fighting a 2 to 3 mph incoming tidal current, I'm not moving very fast and the experience becomes a paddling treadmill workout. Good planning and paying attention to the time helps prevent paddling against the tide.

    Quite often the wind from the ocean blows harder onshore in the afternoons and early evening due to thermal effects, and blasts upstream, getting funneled by the mud banks and accelerated by the Venturi effect. If you are upstream and heading down, this can be bad enough if the tide is still falling and the current is on your side, but fighting strong gusty onshore winds, as well as the incoming tidal push may have you screaming damnation at the elements, or something like that.
    Good planning and paying attention to the time, tide, and weather helps prevent this.

    What I'm usually doing is heading across an estuary and up a tidal creek or river, or just throwing in on the lower river and heading further upstream with the tidal push, and then returning to my starting point by low tide or dark, or soon after.
    I try to move with the same directions as the tide is flowing. So I check tide tables and weather forecasts, prevailing wind speed and direction, etc, and keep potential late afternoon thermal effects in mind when planning my paddling.
    Some places work out better on different conditions than other places, so there is usually at least one place where the conditions are tolerable. (Knowledge of these variables comes with experience).

    Then, you have to find the fish.:confused: July Aug Sept are the months to hunt for searun cutts in the coastal estuaries and tidal creeks.
  6. gentlemen,
    i regularly fish from my tarpon 160i...there are tons of knowledge and resources available at

    just last week some of us went to sucia island and fished out of our kayaks...i was attempting to catch a ling with my flyrod and shrimp luck i had to switch to a jig to land this fish

    my plan is to use my kayak to get to places that are not accessible to waders or motor boats
  7. Nice ling-thing, HBH.

    I'm holding off until I can afford to spend, but I plan on getting an SOT for fishing bigger, rougher water. Still undecided as to what make/model to get...thinking about a Hobie w/ mirage drive because I've been a cyclist most of my life. I miss a lot of strikes while paddling, and pedaling would solve that problem.
    I really like my Native Ultimate 12 for what I use it for, though.
  8. Nice Ling! You wont find me out in a kayak but nice work to those of you that fish that way. I just cant ever seem to stay upright in those things. Tramatized since about age 9. never again :)
  9. the new sit on top type of kayaks are pretty darn dont roll them like a white water kayak
  10. nice ling!
    makes me hungy
    now land a halibut in that kayak....
    were you camping on sucia?
    there are some nice snorkeling around those little islands
  11. I fished the Gulf coat of Texas for years out of my Tarpon 16. I only got rolled once and that was in a three foot surf chasing bull reds. My fault cause I wasn't paying attention, trying to untangle a hook. I then moved to Arkansas for four years and fished the rivers there. Even with the gates open on the dams the Tarpon will glide across the swift current. Going up river can be a challenge though. Now I am in Washington and so is the Tarpon. Carried it here on top of the car across half the country. I brought the necessaries first. I have fished the salt here a couple of times and a couple of lakes and am looking forward to a river fish as soon as they open and I can find a fellow kayak fisherman to share the shuttle. Can't wait for June. Frank:thumb:
  12. the ling was good, we BBQ it over the camp fire that night...the rest of the guys slept in their tents i stayed in my PB that we used as a ferry to get to the island...there are guys who have landed sharks and marlin and hali in their kayaks...its doable...adventure fishing! just need to keep the drag a little more soft and go along for the ride...
  13. Hmmmm.... maybe heading out with my Ultimate 12 on the roof rack tomorrow...might be launching in the salt, or heading to a lake. Plans haven't jelled yet. Also planning to do some lake fishing on Thurs. Don't have work commitments until Friday. Whoooeee! It will be somewhere in the vicinity of Grays Harbor, Jefferson, or Mason Counties. I'll have a plan by this evening.
    Anybody else heading out in this neck of the woods?

    One "tentative" idea: launch at a convenient place I know of and paddle the shores of Quilcene and/or Dabob Bays hunting down searun cutties. Would be launching tomorrow morning just after low tide at around 9am to 10 am. I'll be moving with the tides.
    I'll probably end up doing this thing solo. I have yet to have a buddy accompany on any of my paddling excursions, and I'm good with going solo. Just thought I'd put this out there in case anybody was thinking about something similar and wants to go exploring for cutts.
    Tides look OK. So does the wind. From looking at the weather forecast, I think it might even be fairly balmy out there. If the weather forecast is wrong, and its white-cappin', I'll do plan B or C, which might be lakes.

    Then there's my alternate salty cutt-hunting plan, which involves less driving. Launching at Arcadia and heading into Hammersley Inlet or maybe Totten Inlet. I've fished Hammersley before from my old squanoe, and found some cutts. I barely scratched the surface in exploring the place, though. Been meaning to get back and do some prospecting.
  14. The big annual Sea Kayak Symposium is held here in Port Townsend every September:

    This is a tremendous resource for anyone interested in picking up skills, learning about kayak navigation in this region, trip planning, survival etc. Tons of gear and advice, and a jillion new kayaks lined up on the beach at Fort Worden Park for you to try out all weekend.
  15. Update: Rechecked my logistics, and changed my plans.
    Probably lake fishing early, instead. Would rather have morning tides approaching high, for dawn patrol launching in the salt, instead of already max ebbing. Next week tides look better for that on W and Th. Tomorrow's light wind forecast is tempting, though.
    Maybe I'll try the salt in the afternoon, unless I'm into some good lake fishing somewhere. I'm going to try to get out of here pre-dawn, and head toward Mason Co.
    Too many ideas!
  16. Wish I was still in town. I'll be back near the end of the month and probably have a few days off. Not sure where I'll be going but, Jim, if you have some days off I would love to put some hurtin on some Cutts or anyone else for that matter. I'll let you know. I gotta break my yak in. I've only got about 4 hrs on it right now.

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