THE DENNIS SPIKE STORY - A pioneer of sit-on-top kayak fishing, Dennis Spike is the founder of the most popular kayak fishing internet resource on the web. KayakFishing.com is now host to five bulliten boards serving thousands of kayak fishing enthusiast accross America: West Coast, East Coast, Gulf Coast, Florida, New England, and Fresh Water. In this article Spike shares his beginnings along with TIPS to help you get started.
I started fishing the California inshore in 1964 at the age of 5. I've fished from the Mexican Border to Santa Cruz since then.
Several years ago, after experimenting with various inflatables and beach launches, on a hunch, I picked up a cheap, used plastic kayak and paddle. After packing a small box with tackle, I grabbed a short rod with a Penn Squidder, and headed for the beach.
That day, 15 minutes after launching, I caught and released a respectable calico bass that hit while I was paddling. Five minutes later, a 20 pound halibut gobbled a brown rubber twin tail that had been dropped at the edge of the kelp.
A light shined from the heavens and suddenly after 25 years of hit-and-miss fishing I realized that every body of water, from coast to coast, was open and available to fish anytime I want to put in. In the time since I purchased that first kayak, I've caught more bass, trout, barracuda, and bonito, white sea bass, great sea bass, and a menagerie of other fish, rays, and sharks, than I had ever caught fishing on private boats, party boats, and the rest. All on my kayak. Consequently, I'm in better physical shape than when I started.
What impresses me most about fishing from my kayak is the ease of fishing. From leaving home, until my return, it is the fastest and easiest way to fish the coast. I pick the day, the time, and the waters to fish. I've cut out the middleman, (private landings) eliminated the expense, (my own boat, landing fees, etc.) and get more time actually fishing than driving to landings and motoring to fishing spots. With the exception of boat, paddle, and rods, everything I need for a days fishing packs into a large plastic tub and a sports duffel bag. The tub is also nice at the end of the day for wet garments and towels.
The bottom line is that fishing from my kayak has allowed me to go from fishing 20 days on a good year, to fishing over 100 days every year. All this time on the water with, a fraction of the "non-productive" motoring time, more trophy size fish, and an understanding and anticipation of the coastal fishery and its environment that I never knew possible. Let me add that after your initial outlay for boat, paddle, and gear, expenses can be kept to under $10 for a days fishing!
Accessorizing your boat is inexpensive and furthers your fishing capabilities. For experienced sea kayakers, the use of electronics, seats, anchors, bait tanks, etc. gets you out of the kelp forests and off the sand flats, expanding your potential for excellent fishing all year.
A few things I recommend from the start are:
1) Bowline-First and foremost a safety line; bowlines used to come standard on all the SOT's. Also utilized by anglers as a tow rope and for drift sock and anchoring applications.
2) - Paddle Clips - These serve as fishing rod holders when launching and landing, then conveniently stow your paddle while fishing. Paddle clips are easily attached with blind rivets
3) - Rod Holders - There seem to be as many rod holders as fishing reels on the market. They are expensive and perform poorly on fishing kayaks. The CKF Rod Holder, designed and developed for kayak fishing, stores rods, flags, gaffs and nets handily without cluttering the deck. One rod holder on each side of the deck either behind the seat or past the footwell is a good way to start. Trolling rod holders work well. Hold off on "flush mount" rod holders until you have some experience fishing from your kayak.
4) - Surface Anchors - Surface Anchors are heavy duty elastic tethers, very much like a short paddle leash. They are used for anchoring to surface structure (kelp, buoys, and flotsam), deep anchoring, and lashing boats together, at the same time REDUCING SHOCK FROM SWELL. The Surface Anchor is a integral accessory and adds to the ease and productivity of kayak fishing. One Surface Anchor should be mounted on each side of the seat, while extras can be added to anchor riggings and lanyards.
Books / Video / DVD are available at Tom's TopKaker Shop:
KAYAKING, A BEGINNNER'S GUIDE"
The best selling, most complete book available for the beginner
sit-on-top solo paddler.
KAYAK FISHING VIDEO / DVD:
This is famed kayak fisherman Dennis Spike's instruction video. Filmed on the Sea of Cortez and California's Eastern Pacific.
Fishing for Tarpon DVD w/ Ken Daubert$29.95
FISH THE FORUMS to get answers to your kayak fishing & diving questions.
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