Kayaks offer easy access to places inaccessible to bass boats.
When we think of bass fishing, we typically think of glossy high-powered bass boats. With gas prices greater than three times what our grandparents paid per gallon, it’s hard for some of us to fish as much as we would like without going bankrupt.
The Mobile-Tensaw Delta offers many different waterways that can be fished without breaking the bank.
Kayak fishing the delta is a sport that is getting more and more popular. These plastic boats offer anglers the chance to get on the water. They only require the fuel to get you to the boat ramp. Our Delta offers many backwater creeks and lakes that anglers can benefit from.
Allow me to tell you some things to help you catch more fish and save some money.
New Hull Designs
There are several misconceptions people have about fishing from a kayak. Many anglers view a kayak as an uncomfortable and unstable disaster. Innovations such as Wilderness System’s Airpro MAX seat make these single-person vessels very comfortable.
The New Age hull designs give anglers a platform that is stable enough to stand in and plenty of storage for all their gear. Some kayaks even have the ability to store rods inside the hull.
Several companies are constantly designing new products to make kayak fishing enjoyable. Some of the new models of kayaks that were released an iCast event have special pods designed to receive sonar units. These are just a few examples of the evolution of this sport that make a kayak an easy choice to target large fish when kayak fishing the Delta.
Advantages to Using a Kayak
One of the issues that anglers face in south Alabama is over-pressured fish.
The kayak gives anglers the advantage of a stealthy approach. Bass boats today can be loud and put off unwanted vibrations that may spook the fish. That’s not to say that a kayak cannot spook fish too. However, if a paddler has a proper paddling technique, the angler can be prepared and develop a stealthy approach.
“These backwater locations offer not only large but aggressive fish that can really be a blast to catch.”
Kayaks can also offer other advantages over a traditional bass boat such as a lower casting point, thus allowing easier access to areas under docks and low-hanging trees. We have all missed that fish and had to fix our bait and turn around.
With the correct accessories, you can stop a kayak almost immediately, which gives you the opportunity to get your bait back in the water before the fish has time to spook. Kayaks also make even the smallest of fish a fun catch. And when a large fish comes along, all you do is hold on for a sleigh ride.
While a kayak can be launched from just about anywhere you can gain public access to the water, several boat launches exist throughout Mobile and Baldwin County that have designated kayak launches. Brooks landing in Chickasaw and Hubbard’s landing in Stockton are just a few of these locations.
From the seat of a kayak, you are able to fish any water that a bass boat can fish. However, the biggest perk to fishing from a kayak is fishing where those boats can’t reach. Kayaks can allow you to get over logs a bass motor can’t clear, from there you get access to waters that haven’t been fished for years.
The Bartram canoe trail offers several access points that allow anglers a chance to fish waters that are rarely fished and could offer that once-in-a-lifetime fish. These backwater locations offer not only large but aggressive fish that can really be a blast to catch.
Your first priority when you are in a kayak should be your personal safety. While my Wilderness Systems Ride 135 provides me with a great deal of stability, I still always wear my personal flotation device.
One of the most important pieces of safety equipment to have is a good comfortable personal flotation device or PFD. Two types of PFD’s are available to purchase. A traditional kayak PFD that features a high back for comfort and pockets for storage. You can also buy an inflatable PFD that is as small as a pair of your grandpa’s suspenders.
The downside to an inflatable is that in the event of a true emergency you may not be able to deploy your life jacket. This can be a real issue if you are alone. Other things to keep in mind are sounding devices and visibility flags. If there is any possibility that you may be out on the water after dark, you will need a light with a 360-degree field of visibility.
Which Kayak is the Right Kayak?
The right kayak is crucial for fishing the Delta. The correct balance of speed and stability is the ideal setup for our waterways. While there are many great options, I personally enjoy fishing from the Wilderness Systems Ride 135.
“If you don’t enjoy your kayak, then you probably will not enjoy kayak fishing.”
The Ride 135 provides me with the speed to get from one location to another with minimal effort. Once you reach the desired location, the Ride 135 provides you with the stability to stand and fish comfortably. Standing in these backwater areas can be really beneficial during the spring when the big bass go on the bed. The best thing is the bass boats can’t get to most of these locations to disturb them or their beds.
If you have never even thought about fishing from a kayak, you want to start off by just stopping in one of the local kayak shops and get an idea of what style kayak you prefer. Most of the shops along the Gulf Coast sell many different brands that suit anglers of all shapes and sizes.
A demo is usually available. Demoing these kayaks before making a purchase is crucial and a majority of kayak shops offer a demo or rental program. Make sure you are comfortable with your selection of a boat. If you don’t enjoy your kayak, then you probably will not enjoy kayak fishing.
Tips to Fishing in a Kayak
A high-speed reel is crucial for getting the fish to the kayak quickly, lessening the chances of getting hung up in thick cover. My pick is the Hyperion series from SixGill fishing.
Braided line is almost a must while kayak fishing the Delta backwaters. While a select few of these secluded areas have super clear water, the majority of these backwaters consist of murky, muddy waters. This is where the abrasion resistance that braided line offers can really be useful for hoisting that trophy out of the nastiest structure.
South Alabama Community
The kayak community has grown tremendously in the south Alabama area. Spotting a kayak or two on the Delta has become a pretty common thing in the past year or two.
A few kayak fishing groups or clubs have also been formed in both Mobile and Baldwin Counties. These groups have monthly meetups that can be beneficial to all kayak anglers. Kayak groups can help you get ideas about how to set up your gear and some information on popular rigs that people use in our area.
Every angler loves the opportunity to show off their skills and have the chance to compete against friends and other anglers. Kayak tournaments are also growing in popularity.
However, fishing a tournament from a kayak is a totally different world than tournament fishing from a bass boat. Catch, photo, and release or CPR is how these tournaments are fished. Kayak bass clubs either meet up at a particular launch or they have a specified range that anglers are allowed to travel and launch.
Anglers have to meet back at a designated place to measure the day’s catch. Instead of having to keep your five-fish limit alive, you just have to measure your fish with a bump board and get a picture that shows a clear picture of your fish’s length and your tournaments identifier.
While this may be a tremendous task for the angler, it is great for the sport of catch and release. The fish is out of the water for a very minimal time and is released in good health. A good camera and a bump board are about the only extra equipment that is needed to compete in these events. Anglers beware, though; it’s a learning curve to be able to hold a fish and take a picture without it taking a flying leap and you end up with a blurry picture of your foot and part of your kayak.
The Delta is a fisherman’s paradise. Fishing from a kayak only increases your odds of catching more fish. Whether you are in search of a limit of bream, some monster yellow cats, or trophy bass, the kayak can offer you a more cost-effective way to catch fish and have fun doing so.
If you have ever thought about fishing from a kayak, then I challenge you to give it a try. The money saved in fuel cost and the incredible fishing may help encourage you to leave the gas guzzling boat at home more often.
You might even realize that you enjoy fishing from a kayak so much that you’ll do like I did and sell your bass boat and start chasing fish from a kayak.