Category Archives: Offshore Fishing

Affordability vs Quality

A common question among beginner kayak anglers or people looking to get into kayak angling is what kayak should I get to start out with.Unfortunately that question can’t be answered.  Every aspect of the different kayak brands better suits one style of fishing or one style of angler. Today’s post will be covering what all you should consider before purchasing your first fishing kayak or your next fishing kayak.

Price Vs Quality-

The price ranger of kayaks can ranger from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, and with so many brands out there it can get overwhelming with which kayak you should buy. I just purchased an Ascend FS12T kayak. And I was torn between the FS12T and FS128T, there is a $250 price difference between the tow and the only added features are a much wider stable, yet slower kayak you can stand on when looking at the FS128T. The FS12T is cheaper, more maneuverable but slightly less stable and can carry less cargo. My style of fishing is mostly in rivers and creeks so I don’t need a ton of gear and I’m not really looking to stand up much, so I spent the extra $250 on upgrading my tackle and gear. And that is where the arguments start.

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FS12T on Left, FS128T on Right Photo courtesy of Texasfishingforum.com

How you decide which kayak should factor in these three factors.

#1- DO you NEED the added speed and features?

I would love to own a  Hobie mirage drive kayak, but at the price difference of the lower end kayaks I can’t justify spending the extra thousand dollars on a added luxury of feet propulsion that I think will get in the way more than help. However, if your fishing larger bodies of water or open water beyond the breakers of the beach it would be extremely useful. So deciding what features your looking for is completely unique to your style and your fishing area.

#2 Would I rather have the more expensive kayak, or spend the extra money on new tackle and gear?

This decision was a no brainer for me. I would much rather buy a $700-$1,000 dollar kayak and spend 300 on tackle and gear than buy a $1,300+ kayak and have no new tackle in my tackle box.

#3 Do i want stability or speed?

A common tradeoff with kayaks that don’t have a foot propulsion system is that the fast the kayak generally the less stable. The FS128T is one of the most stable kayaks out there and at $899 its a heck of a deal compared to the wilderness systems kayaks or Hobie’s. But with that stability comes weight, bulkiness, and slower tracking speed. So once again the perfect kayak is up to your personal preference.

SAFETY NOTE- My job is Long range search and rescue. I have had many cases where I have been looking in large areas for missing kayakers from the Great Lakes, to the Atlantic Ocean. When you chose the color of your kayak please chose something that contrasts the water you fish. If you have to get a camo kayak, and you fish blue water, get a green or tan camp, if you fish brown water get a blue or green camo. Imagine our thoughts when I’m told where are searching 500 square miles at an altitude of 1,500 feet for a missing kayaker in a camouflage kayak. Always plan for the worst case scenarios happening and always file a float plan with a family member or friend. ON MY PAGE MENU BAR THERE IS A LINK TO A BLANK USCG FLOAT PLAN THAT COULD END UP SAVING YOUR LIFE ONE DAY.

 

 

 

Kayak fishing 101

Hey everybody and thanks again for checking out the blog, today’s post will be covering  Kayak Fishing 101, my 7 steps and tips to becoming a better kayak fisherman and also touching on some safety issues.

#1  Keep your rig simple,don’t do this…

Courtesy of www.tenthousandislandskayakfishing.com
Courtesy of http://www.tenthousandislandskayakfishing.com

A crowded kayak is no friend to a fisherman, snag hazards and frustration can set in quickly, and if there is one thing I have learned form kayak fishing over the last 8 years it’s that if something can catch your hooks, it will. If something can go wrong during your trip, it probably will.  I have hooked myself, bird-nested bait casters to the point of cutting all my line off, and broke rod tips by hooking my rod behind me. A simple less crowded kayak will result in less gear but pay off in the quality and enjoyment of your fishing trips.

#2 Have a float plan with a friend or family member-

A USCG float plan might sound stupid , but in my 7 years of serving the the Coast Guard performing search and rescue nothing helps in a speedy recovery more than properly filled out float plan. A float plan consists a complete description of your vessel/kayak, the equipment you have available to you, but mainly focuses on your planned route and stopping points. When you fill one out you leave it with a family member or friend and if you haven’t returned by a certain agreed upon time they call the coast guard with the information given on the float plan. Below I have filled out and example and there is a page on my main menu with a blank float plan you can save to your computer.

Scan 4

#3 Safety equipment-

The most important thing to have on your kayak is a handheld VHF marine radio set to CH 16 or 156.8 MHZ for distress signals. You might not be the person who needs help another kayaker could be close by and having an emergency and you could be his or her saving grace.  The safety equipment I have on my kayak at all times consists of the following. An Atlantis VHF handheld radio, a Orion marine emergency signaling kit, a Firefly strobe light, my PFD, emergency water and next month I will be purchasing a 406 MHZ personnel locator. A good trick I learned form watching Ty Southerland on his  30Milesout Youtube Channel is I use frozen water bottles as my ice , it cools my catch and also serves as my emergency water rations.

Courtesy of www.farmandfleet.com
Courtesy of http://www.farmandfleet.com

#4 If you’re new to kayak fishing, try to reach out and go on trips with more experienced yak fisherman.

A beautiful factor of today’s technological world is the availability of kayak fishing forums on the internet and group pages on Facebook. If you are new to the sport its best to learn and shadow other fisherman you can go fishing with or meet on kayaking forums. Make no mistake their experience will teach you everything they have learned not to do over the years, saving you from making some of the mistakes and learning hard lessons along the way. Plus you might be able to get a couple of spots to fall back on during slow days.

#5 Wear protective clothing-

Sometimes people look at me funny when its 80 degrees outside, and I’m wearing full fishing pants , a long sleeve fishing shirt, a hat that covers my neck, a buff that covers most of my face, and Buffusa.com’s performance gloves, but at the end of the day I’m more protected from the sun, not burnt, and have a less chance of developing skin cancer from my kayak fishing trips. Every male member of my family has had melanoma skin cancer from fishing ,so I take it very seriously.

Courtesy of www.Tackletour.com
Courtesy of http://www.Tackletour.com
Courtesy of  www.BuffUSA .com
Courtesy of
http://www.BuffUSA .com

#6 Be versatile in your species targeting- 

My love is saltwater fishing, whether I’m fishing the flats or paddling offshore for some larger species I love saltwater fish. But there are plenty of days where I can’t drive to the beach 45 minutes or I can’t dedicate a long period of time for a trip. If I can’t fish saltwater I will immediately target bass and panfish in the creeks and rivers by my house. My favorite way to target bass and panfish is with topwater or floating flies. I even fish large ponds in my kayak when I can’t make a big water trip. Be very adaptive and try new places and styles of fishing. There are many days where your primary target species isn’t going to bite and you have to adapt. There is nothing wrong in my book with spending a day catching large ladyfish and jack’s or false albacore. Although they are considered trash fish by most people, large Lady Fish are some of the best fighting fish you can catch inshore.

#7 Should I use a GPS/ Depth Finder?

A good GPS/Depth-finder is one of my favorite things about my kayak, I don’t have to guess the bottom features of my surrounding areas, I can easily target structure listed on navigational charts, and I can view the depth fish are active in when fishing structure or even drift fishing along in my kayak. My GPS unit is a Lowrance Mark 4 HDI, I used it in my aluminum boat for duck hunting and fishing before I sold it with the arrival of my daughter in November 2014. My favorite way to utilize my depth finder is when targeting fish around bridges and submerged structure, I can clearly see the bait suspending and can adjust my rigs and presentation accordingly to better target the predatory fish on structure.

Courtesy of www.Lowrance.com
Courtesy of http://www.Lowrance.com

I hope these tips better help you understand some basics on kayak fishing and I will have more posts on different types of gear and homemade items for kayak fishing in the future. Thanks for stopping by and good luck out there. Always remember to be safe, no fish is worth putting yourself in a dangerous situation or jeopardizing your safety.

Please leaves comments below to help me on my future posts.

What topics would you like to see on our next few blogs?

Hey Everybody and thank for stopping by  Apto Outdoors.

I can write every week about things I love to do or things I have done, but I would like to write based on topics suggested by my readers. Leave a comment on topics you would like to see coverered over the next 2 weeks and I will do my best to cover it. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom section of this post of the topic you want to see covered. Thank you for stopping by and our first Reader-Suggested Blog will be posted Monday February 6th.

As always stay safe enjoy your outdoor adventures and come back by to request and read the next 2 weeks of user submitted blog topics!

The largest Black drum I have ever caught. Sabine Pass, Texas on Cut mullet.
The largest Black drum I have ever caught. Sabine Pass, Texas on Cut mullet.

Top 3 Saltwater Lures and Natural Baits.

Hey everyone and thanks for swinging by for another AptoOutdoors.com blog. Today I will be covering the top 3 Lures and top 3 Natural Baits for saltwater fishing.

Top 3 lures-

#1 –  The Johnson weedless spoon. I have caught more fish in more places on this spoon when nothing else works, Whether your drift fishing potholes or wade fishing a grass line in the flats a gold spoon would be my first choice if I could only take one lure.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/

#2 Gulp Artificial Baits-  I have caught a wide variety of fish using the gulp baits as well. My favorite is the chartreuse swimming mullet. It out-fishes any other soft plastic and I have caught dozens of fish from working it in the shallows for red drum and flounder and caught fish in the surf by letting it sit on the bottom and let the current give the tail action. Another great gulp lure is the shrimp in the new penny color. I have personally seen the new penny shrimp out fish a live shrimp on multiple occasions the the gulf coast.

http://www.striperspace.com/
http://www.striperspace.com/

#3 Rapala Skitter-Walk- I love top-water fishing. Whether I’m working the marsh or throwing it in the surf and breakers it consistently catches fish. I prefer the skitter-walks sound over the top-dog lures, the more reflective the bait the more I like it however the red drum colored lure I have barely has any paint on it anymore if you catch my drift.

http://f-lures.com/
http://f-lures.com/

Top  3 Natural Baits-

#1 Shrimp- There is no natural bait that will out-fish shrimp. Whether your fishing for catfish in a pond or river to surf fishing or in the bay, it will catch fish all day long. There are to many ways to fish  shrimp to cover in a blog but my favorite way to fish it is a Popping cork with live or dead shrimp suspended beneath. It flat out catches fish everywhere you can imagine.

http://www.bdoutdoors.com/resources_tiny/BAJA_BYTES/shrimp.gif
http://www.bdoutdoors.com/resources_tiny/BAJA_BYTES/shrimp.gif

#2 Live Mullet- Live or dead mullet will catch fish almost as consistently as shrimp. It is a oily fish that makes good bottom bait, but also can survive a significant amount of time longer than more fragile bait such as pinfish or croaker. My favorite mullet rig is under a popping cork just like the shrimp.

http://fishingmonthly.com.au/
http://fishingmonthly.com.au/

#3 Sand Fleas “Mole Crabs” – One of my favorite baits to use is sand fleas, they are small crab like creatures that burrow in the sand at the waters edge all the way out into the surf. Bottom fish love them because they are easy food and are plentiful in numbers. You have to catch them by hand or with a sand flea rake, but the rewards of catching them can by a good day of fishing. My favorite rig is a two hook bottom rig due to the ability of fish to eat these baits quickly.

https://sublimecreatures.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/sand-flee.jpg
https://sublimecreatures.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/sand-flee.jpg

As always I hope this helps you catch more fish and thank you so much for reading. There are many other baits that I love to use from live croaker to cut eel, all the way to ladyfish and ribbonfish. However the top six I have discussed are the most effective overall and produce the same results on a consistent basis. Thanks again for reading and we hope to see you back for more.

Our first video episode will be January 30th,2014 and will cover freshwater fly fishing in the winter cold.

The 2015 Apto Outdoors fishing and hunting schedule.

 

January- the launching of the website as well as an introduction into aptooutdoors.com and associated social media sites.

February- Freshwater fly fishing,  and the boat restoration project I am currently working on.

March- Spring crappie and bass fishing from fly rods to conventional rods, surf fishing and boat restoration.

April- Focusing on Freshwater fly fishing, but also covering  gearing up for the intense summer saltwater action.

May- Saltwater fly fishing, surf fishing, and some freshwater fishing. Main focus is the 2015 bucket list for apto outdoors.

August- Saltwater fly fishing, surf fishing, and some freshwater fishing.

September- Wrapping up the saltwater fishing season and the start of early waterfowl seasons.

October- Some fishing but mostly focusing on The 2015 Waterfowl seasons and saltwater fishing while it is still producing.

November- Most posts will be covering the waterfowl season.

December- Waterfowl Season is in full swing and most posts will be covering the waterfowl trips.

Thank you for reading and I hope to see you back for our fishing adventures coming this spring!