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In no particular order, I see things on Youtube and out on the bay that make me shake my head. These five things will make you a better fisherman:
1. Fish early. I can't count the number of times I'm coming back to the launch at 10:00AM with a good stringer and there's a group of kayakers just getting ready to launch. They'll ask, "man where did you get those?" I know that it really doesn't matter, because you don't catch as many fish in the middle of the day, especially during summer. Set your alarm and get out there at or before daybreak.
2. Use enough rod. Particularly on Youtube, I see guys fishing with noodles that can't control their fish once they get close to the yak. You don't need a telephone pole, but you do need enough back bone to control the fish to land him. It's comical watching some guy try to untangle a fish off of his drive, his power pole, or his anchor. The idea is to land fish, not to see how well your line can withstand contact with multiple obstructions with a fish struggling on the other end. Which brings us to #3
3. If you are going to fish around oyster reefs and other obstructions, leave the light line at home and use a good leader. Once again, the object is to catch fish, not to have to talk about the one that got away.
4. It's OK to experiment with freshwater lures in the salt, but make sure that they have hooks that can handle the salt and an extended battle with a determined fish. Most freshwater lures do not come with adequate hooks for saltwater, so change them.
5. Only use weedless hooks where you absolutely need them. Once again, this is something that I see on videos a lot. There is a reason that most upper coast anglers use a conventional jig head, and that's because you hook more fish with them than one with the point buried in the plastic. When grass is an issue, you have to use weedless set ups, but you do fail to hook some fish because of it.
I say these things to be helpful, not because I know everything, because I'm still learning after 20 years of kayak fishing. I like to see people catch fish and enjoy themselves rather than be frustrated.
Good points, Ultrastealth. I endorse your number one advice about starting early.
As Summer approaches we take it all the way and fish overnight. We're usually coming in with fish as the sun comes up.

The nighttime fishing works because we're on the water about 10 pm as it cools off, then the fish often school up to feed in those magical canal lights. The green underwater lights are often fish magnets, but the rare big white surface lights have been the best for me.

I look forward to the Spring warming for better daytime results, but that nighttime fishing commencing in early May could be even better. Let us get busy and git 'er done.

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I will add two more.

1. Get your crap done before you get to the launch. Have your rods ready and rigged up. Pack your crap the night before so all you have to do is make your coffee and leave. It makes for a much less stressful morning, and you don't forget the crap you need that day.

2. Be prepared for what can happen on the water. This is usually only a function of experience, but I have had the following items happen to me or my companions while kayak fishing and am now prepared for them: (a) for us Hobie men, the Mirage drive idler cable break, Mirage Drive shafts to foot pedals break so bring some Mirage Drive parts and a tool to fix them (x2); paddle break in the shaft; (b) hook impaled in a finger or part of body cut on oysters; so bring wire cutters and first aid kit; (c) cell phone goes overboard with waterproof case, but phone does not float, even with case, so get a floaty thing with your waterproof case (https://www.dailysale.com/lifeproof-lif ... G4QAvD_BwE); (d) make sure your drain plug is in before you launch; (e) invest in a good floating VHF radio. It is extra handy to talk to your buddies without having to get the Cell Phone out so that it goes overboard in the first place.

Keep this thread going!
Good points being made. Can't but agree with everything I've read. I won't say I am faithful to every point or suggestion being made. I might violate rule 1 in the OP more than any other, but that doesn't mean it's a bad point.

One really enjoyable aspects of fishing for me is to work on the puzzle of where are the fish today and what are my options for getting them to eat. I believe I have a much better handle on what clues or information to look for than I did 10 or 5 years ago.

One of the best feelings in fishing is when I read the signs and understand the information and that all leads me to the fish I'm after. There may be and often is a plan going in and sometimes it goes right according to the script and sometimes adjustments get made on the water. Either way, it's a stimulating process.

Last three trips, the plan was to go to a place where redfish concentrate over a particular structure in medium water levels on sunny post frontal afternoons. The keep a journal idea helped identify the pattern that has been a very consistent one winter after winter. It was interesting the last time out as there was another kayaker fishing the exact same structure according to the same time and conditions. We had both independently realized the pattern and had been both independently taken advantage of it for years. We both used Google Earth to identify promising structure. Somehow, we had never run into each other.

Get it all involved, all your senses, sight, surely sense number one, looking for sign, water, current, fish and studying structure. Sound, listening for feeding fish. Taste, sometimes that's handy in areas that tend to get too fresh. Smell, the watermelon fragrance of feeding fish. Sometimes, areas smell right and some wrong. Brackish and fresh water often has a different smell. Feel, feel is huge in how one works an offering, sets the hook and plays the fish.

Enjoy fishing and the process the experience of it. Have some ideas on what you want from it and then go for that. R&R, something for the table, some friendship, whatever, just make it yours and something that speaks to you.
karstopo I agree there's nothing like paddling up to an area say for example where a gut meets a small back lake with current pouring out of the gut into the small lake and thinking there's gotta be a fish in that eddy or on that point, casting and feeling that thump, tug. It's fun when it comes together.

Glad I'm not the only one that tastes the water. It's how I judge whether the water salinity is off.
I gotta admit being a bit EMBARRASSED that Capt. Shoffer recounted all the "crap" happening to me on the water...!

Yes, I sometimes impale myself with sharp fish-hooks, get lost in the fog, mis-number how many fish I caught, lose half my kayak-paddle, launch heavy lures at obnoxious barking dogs, eat too many donuts and defend my God-given rights to the death...

But I also know saltwater fishing, am always willing to go, and have perfected the art of marine MAN-NAPS!

Do the math. Let's go fishing!Image

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