TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

By PlanoDano
Getting together my backpacking gear caused me to ask myself what if I applied the same less is more principle to Kayaking as I do to backpacking. I remember I used to fish more out of my OK scrambler or even Native Ultimate 12. My current rig is 2014 Hobie Outback with quite a bit of added rigging. It takes a little bit to get it in the truck to go fishing. My setup is versatile for fishing but not so versatile I would feel comfortable duck hunting from it. Anyone else went through the process of scaling down? If so what did you go with. I have promised myself I would stay with a single Kayak as I have already went the stable route and am not going to revisit having multiple kayaks.
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By Ron Mc
You're kind of onto the reason I bought the Kestrel, but not to replace the other two boats I have.
I get to use my daughter's Redfish 10 now for the rivers - only one rod holder behind to fit me in that boat, and that will always be a mid-length glass fly rod.
My T160 will always be here for fishing expeditions when fishing is the priority. I can take two rigged bait rods, an out of the way rigged fly rod, and whatever I want for food and spares - three 3-pc rods in the bow hold.

The Kestrel doesn't give me the choice to load up. I get the day's cold pack in the bow hatch, light fishing sundries in the small sternwell - I can't get to either until I can get out of the boat - one rigged accessible rod, and can bring a 3-pc alternate rod. I wouldn't want to fish like this all the time, but it's great when the paddle is priority over the fishing.
Perfect example is Lighthouse Lakes, have always taken the approach there of a rigged fly rod to fish when the opportunity presents itself. Enjoying the paddle first. My buddy and I took our girls there growing up, which always made fishing secondary over taking care of the girls.
Paddle and play is the main reason I bought the Kestrel, but one other place fishing light is important is when you're mother-shipping your kayak across big water too far to paddle in a day, like the St. Jo lakes or the east side of Green Island.
For one thing, you want to do this with a 40-50 lb boat instead of an 80-100 lb boat.
Your destination is probably also going to be good wading bottom way too skinny to run a power boat, so your kayak is to taxi you to the back where the fish are.
Backing up to a point Tobin made yesterday. Somebody gave him kudos over TSL grasswalker lightening up his normal tackle load.
It's definitely done that for me, too. Even on the expedition fishing with the T160. I bring a long rod to throw weighted lures usually into deep slopes from skinny water, and almost all my fishing from the kayak is one light bait rod with a grasswalker.
When Josh and I fished East Flat, he asked how many lures I fished - one. A day on Estes flats, one.
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By karstopo
I think there are different personality types and one should sort of honor their own disposition. If I’m on a solo trip, I don’t tend to enjoy lingering at the launch all that much and putzing around, at least prior to the outing. Get the gear in the kayak and get on the water sooner than later fits my style. I used to sort of race through this procedure, but now I just try to maintain a steady and a little more relaxed pace. No sense working up a sweat to try and save maybe 30 seconds or a minute. Essentials like safety gear, bug spray, pliers, lures get put in the crate. I might have a boga grip and drift anchor in there. Some wading boots, a measuring board, a net. A crate works for me.

My launch progression goes like this : kayak off the truck and carried to the water’s edge. Rod set ups and crate and soft sided cooler carried to kayak. Cooler goes all the way forward in the Commander, net just aft of cooler, rod (three) butts rest on folded and tucked under the bench low seat with the rod tips at the bow, but not beyond the bow. Pliers with side cutters go on folded low seat, crate gets positioned aft of bench seat. Wading boots in crate get put aft of crate. Stake out stick was already in kayak at the get go. Then I park the truck and bring the paddle with me, along with phone, keys, hat, etc.

My Commander suits me for the type of fishing I enjoy. I’m sort of an obligate stand up to fish person as long periods sitting in a kayak no longer is comfortable. I do enjoy wading hard sand like what is in the surf, but that type of substrate is rather scarce around my home area. I’m more of a relatively small water lover and tend to stay out of the bigger open bays. The Commander doesn’t self bail, but that just hasn’t been an issue. I like the roomy, uncluttered, open design and that suits fly fishing very well with little to snag loose line. I strip the line onto the spare rods and that acts as a de facto stripping pad, distributing the line more evenly to avoid tangles. I fish barefoot because it’s comfortable and because I can feel if I’m stepping on loose line. I’ve been doing it this way from some time now and it’s become the settled way, for myself.

There might be some small variations of what goes in the crate season to season. I’ve tried 4 rods, but that’s seems to upset the apple cart and creates more trouble than whatever might be gained by the 4th rod. I did do a Duck Hunt in the Commander. Decoys went forward and aft, lots of room for decoys. I brought along a coverup to hide the orange kayak and hunted from the staked out and stationery boat.
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By Ron Mc
Kars, you need to make it to Outside Beach on Estes sometime - it's harder pack than any surf sand - same is true for Quarantine Shore. Where you run into quicksand on the turtle grass flats is only where prop damage has torn up the bottom. Except for the north end of Trout Bayou, this counts for most of Estes flats. The barrier island lakes are also a joy for wading, and most of LHL has great bottom and has recovered from older prop damage.
Each day can have a slightly different purpose. Fishing hard can be great, but I've said before, decades ago, I ran out of things to prove fishing.
My idea of lightening up is a vacuumed bagged carbon fiber SOT kayak that is 12 feet long fast and stable and can handle some oyster rash but weighs under 35 lbs! I haven’t found it yet and if I do I probably can’t afford it. I’ve got a bomber whitewater kayak that weighs about 22lbs so I know it can be done. Oh the dream continues...
My buddy is the epitome of what you are talking about here. When I first went with him I was at the launch getting my sh..tuff together and look up to see him standing by his boat ready to go. I’ve learned a lot from him. Stuff that goes in the bow hatch in a bag, stuff for the center hatch in a small bag. Cooler, rods anchor, mud stick and that’s it. Gripper, flies, lures etc are all on or in my my pfd
Of course I get on here and there are just so many cool ideas, and so yesterday I went and bought a drift anchor. He’s going to love that.! :)
JW - I know the feeling. It takes me 45 minutes to load the truck to go fishing. Kayak, bed extender,sonar, battery, cooler tackle bag, paddle, rods, anchor, sometimes live bait holder. It is getting like what I left when I gave up the power boat for paddle craft 20 years ago. Except I do not have to pack bearings

Kars the Commander looks like it has a lot in common with the Native Ultimate 12. I was never able to stand in it reliably for more than a few seconds. Then again I cannot roller skate.
That is just the tip of that iceberg. As my wife always says “this is a 3 day ordeal! You spend a day getting ready, fish for a day and spend the next day cleaning everything up! “ But she does say it with a smile :) And she knows how I get if I don’t get down to the gulf to fish. Kind of how I am right now!
You sound a lot like me PlanoDano. I am going to be comfortable and typically bring more than I need - almost an obsession. Then a year or so ago I went on a PACK trip to Florida. Rented an older Outback with a basic, low seat, a mirage drive and a paddle - nothing else. I could not bring my normal gear so had to cut back to a PFD, single rod, a few plastics and a small cooler for food and drink. Then something magic happened. I felt free from the clutter and had a really enjoyable time. Don’t get me wrong as I always enjoy getting on the water but this event changed how I prepare and fish fish today. Some times simpler is better so try forcing yourself to go minimally for one trip and see if that helps. Just a thought.
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By shoffer
karstopo wrote:I don’t tend to enjoy lingering at the launch all that much and putzing around

Nice use of the term, Karst. I thought I was the only one who used it. Shout out to you! For those who might not know the term, here is the Urban Dictionary version, which is spot on!


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