The joy of fishing from a pedal kayak by Pat Haughton

In my early kayaking days I used a traditional sit on kayak, the Tarpon 14. I was already a mad keen rock hopping bass lure angler and I found this new fishing platform opened up hugely exciting fishing potential that I couldn’t previously reach.

New Horizons However, I soon learnt that the traditional sit on kayaks have a number of drawbacks for the lure fishing angler. Many of the most productive marks were associated with strong currents, tidal races and rocks. This created a problem. How do you cast and keep yourself in position at the same time? The hot spots were very localised and often by the time you landed a fish the tide/race would have carried you 2-400 meters away from the ‘mark’. Often playing the fish would also ‘drag’ you over the mark and spoil the fishing. Another problem was your ability to troll a lure effectively. The key to fishing is to find your fish. I will always study the charts to see where the fish are likely to be holding. Often they will move to very localised patches were the food is. To find them you can just drift and cast, but a faster method of location is to cover great areas by trolling a lure. Once you have found the fish often there are many more in that area that you can now cast to. The problem with trolling from a traditional sit on kayak is that your rod is in a holder whilst you paddle and so your lure isn’t fishing very effectively. To induce a fish to strike it is much better to work your lure as you are going along. Additionally when you are holding your rod you can feel the lure working and whether you have any weed attached. I will write more about this in another blog. So when the peddle powered, hands free, Hobie fishing kayaks were first introduced from America to the UK around 2005 I was very excited about their lure fishing potential and snapped one up. Over the next 10 years I fished hard for the bass. Very hard. I enjoyed brilliant sport and explored many hundred maybe thousands of miles of coastline often on my own or with an increasing ‘fleet’ of friends. (The success on the Hobie compared to other kayaks meant that all of my fishing buddies moved across to their use. The combined fleet now numbers 17 Hobies!) Soft baits were deadly when worked behind the boat but my favourite method was to use the popper. The popper gives you that wonderful gut wrenching thrill as the bass attacks it on the surface. It is a particularly effective method of fishing when you have the advantage of access to the best and most remote marks and the silent stealth of the Hobie. Up until a couple of years ago, I just lure fished. However, for the last couple of years I decided to branch out a bit and try other methods of fishing. My favourite Hobie hull was the Hobie Sport kayak. It is so versatile, stable and manoeuvrable. I can reach everything in the boat front and back.

 

 

 

 

 

Spring fishing for Smooth hounds in the Solent using hard crab is now a particular favourite of mine.

However, as you can see from the pictures, I was a tad big and heavy for the Sport and if I stayed at anchor for any length of time in rough conditions I would start to sink! At the start of 2017 I decided that I wanted to concentrate more on bottom fishing with baits. I convinced myself (and more importantly my wife) that I needed an upgrade if I was to sit safely at anchor for extended periods loaded down with tackle, bait etc. So I have upgraded to an all singing, bells and whistles Hobie Outback with the Vantage seat, a Hook fishfinder, turbofins and even a reverse gear! Was it worth it? Yes, yes, yes. I have enjoyed a fantastic fishing season learning how to bottom fish and experimenting with using the sonar to accurately lure fish at wide range of depths. The results have been brilliant and I will write about what I learnt in my next post.

My personal best black bream just shy of 4lbs……….

 

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