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Fishing from Kayaks and Canoes New Topic Printer Friendly Version

  the best handline advice I ever received
  Posted by: bowrudder on Apr-27-10 8:59 AM (EST)

Posted by: Okanagan on Mar-14-06 1:14 AM (EST)

Your question is OK, good for you for risking guff by asking. I live in the part of the world you are talking about and have kayak fished considerably in those waters. If all you want is fish with minimum gear purchase and mimimum hassle, go with a hand line.

Use heavy line, 50 lb. test is pretty mininimal and I'd get the heaviest cheap mono I could find in a store, 80 or 100 or more is much easier on your hands. It also tangles less. If hanging up and breaking it off concerns you, and it should in a kayak, add a leader tip of 15 or 20 lb. mono. five or ten feet long.

Buy a few cheap metal and or lead head rubber tailed jigs in one to six ounce sizes big enough to scare midwest fishermen into screaming flight and go fishing. A snap swivel is quick to change lures but uneeded otherwise. If you go deep for halibut, a 16 oz. or larger jig is better, but it doesn't sound like that's what you have in mind.

The best hand line holders are from Australia, and I've never seen one for sale in North America. Saw one on e-bay of all things the other day for about three dollars. They look like a big plastic donut a foot or more across, with a flanged rim made for wrapping line on, and a cross member in the middle to hold easily. They are designed for hand line fishing and if you have a lure big enough to throw, they even cast pretty well. I mention them in case you can find one before next summer. Cheap and excellent.

Otherwise wrap your line on a board the size of a shingle. Long wraps end to end, with a notch or scallop in each end of the board is best. Let the lure straight down to the bottom, lift a foot or two and start jigging. Lift the lure a foot or two at a time and drop it so that it falls free the foot or two. Don't let it sit still more than a second or two between jigs, or you will catch dogfish shark, not sure why.

Fish in the edge of kelp for greenling (tasty) occasional black kelp bass and smaller rock cod. Ling cod are likely but closely regulated so make sure you know seasons, sizes, etc. I got a ling on a hand line once that was pot bellied and as long as from my nose to the ground. No scale to weigh him in wilderness waters. Used 200 lb. test speical hand line mono, looks like weedeater grass cutter line.

Currents can be bad, so I clip my yak to kelp with a lanyard and a large size cheap plastic clamp/clip from places like Home Depot. I tie to my yak with a quick release slip knot just behind the cockpit, so that a fish big enough to pull the yak around has me facing him rather than fighting him behind my back.

If you dont't get a bite, move. If you catch one to three fish and then they stop, move.

Deep reefs in open water have bigger fish, but will be harder for you to fish in a yak due to wind and tides. I know a couple of guys who have caught salmon on hand lines from small boats, and many who have caught halibut up the BC coast.

Most of the well intentioned freshwater gear advised so far will mostly frustrate the life out of you and land very few fish in your yak. With the hand line set-up, plan where you want to put your fish. On a stringer over the side may work but slows down your paddling and sharks may congregate and eat them. I don't have an excellent solution.

If I took a rod it would be a hefty salt water one just barely long enough to move the tip beyond the bow of my yak. I paddle a short yak, 13.5 foot. A seven to eight foot rod that will handle heavy line of 20-30 lbs. is about right for this kind of fishing, and will do for salmon. I used a saltwater trolling bait casting reel with 50 lb. line and a 20 lb leader.

I used such a rig last summer and caught a dozen or more green ling and switched rods to cast for salmon and caught one about 16 lbs. (8.5 foot spinning rod, spin reel and 14 lb.line for the salmon, but the salmon was in open water. I don't like spin reels and light lines for bottom fishing). My companion was using freshwater gear, 12 lb. line I think and a nice 6 or 7 foot rod suitable for trout or bass with a medium sized spinning reel. He landed two, lost a pile of lures, and broke off nearly all the fish that he hooked. They were average size of freshwater bass and walleye mostly, not big fish but abrasive, difficult reefs and kelp beds.

Fishing regulations can be byzantine in complexity in the San Juans.

Go for it.

 Great Products from the Buyers' Guide:

Boat Loader

Kayak & Canoe Covers

Canoe/Kayak Carts

Paddling Gloves

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