This August I got a shipment of new kayaks for my charters from Malibu, two stealth 12’s and the x-13. I was eager to get them wet, so my first mate and I took them to the beach that evening to see how they handled in the surf. We had trouble catching bait with the west winds kicking and as the sun began to set we turned our attention to kayak surfing and enjoying the sunset. Even though we were skunked on our first trip out, it was great to see how the kayaks handled in 2 foot surf and they didn’t disappoint.
It didn’t take long for us to dial in some nice fish with the new kayaks. I love taking advantage of the later afternoon evening hours during the summer. It isn’t just about beating the heat, but keying in on the natural feeding time, with the sunrise and sunset a trigger for fish to feed. Coincide this with a strong tide, and it is a recipe for success.
My favorite tide is a strong low tide near sunset for kayak fishing around spoil islands for snook and reds. The low tide kicks all the water off the flat and forces the fish out from under the mangroves and stacks them on the drop offs, edges and pot holes that surround the island.
One of the advantages to kayak fishing is it makes you SLOW down and really fish an area. There are days that if I were in a boat, I would have left a spot after 30 min to find fish. Kayaking requires you to be patient and really put your time in at one spot, methodically working an area to find fish or wait until the bite turns on. It really has made me a better fisherman and helped me locate new spots adjacent to my go to spots.
The beach fishing has been steady when the winds have allowed us to get out to near shore reefs. Grunts, mangos and flounder have been consistent, mixed in with a nice shark bite. In late summer, the tarpon push off the beaches, but will return for a couple weeks at the end of September and first couple weeks of October to gorge on the white bait. With the bait already plentiful on the beach right now, the mackerel are moving in. I have also gotten a few short cobia and been busted off by some bruiser this month. This is a good sign in hopes for a strong fall cobia run.
As the water temps begin to drop and the small fry bait on the beach gets bigger, the fall feeding frenzy off our Pinellas County beaches will be soon upon us!