Saturday, January 31, 2015

Quickest Way to Tie the FG Knot (The Strongest Braid to Leader Fishing K...

World Record Pompano - Fishbites - Vero Beach FL - Manuel Briceno - English

Palm Beach Report

Bluefish are hitting spoons and cutbaits along the beaches of the Treasure Coast.
Bluefish are also biting throughout the Indian River. There are plenty of them around and they really do seem to be everywhere.
Those looking for redfish and trout need to be in deeper water (at least 4-5 feet), and be sure to get your bait down to the bottom.
There has been a good Spanish mackerel bite at the Juno Beach Pier and along the beach in Jupiter. Bluefish are also running the beaches, and there are a few pompano around as well.
In the Intracoastal Waterway, ladyfish and jacks are chewing around Marker 42.

The cold weather hasn’t cooled off the bass bite on Lake Okeechobee. Anglers are still catching big numbers, especially along the outside edges. When the wind picks up, it becomes more challenging to fish these spots, but get there if you can.
Several large bass were reported this week, including a 10-pound, 6-ounce Lake Okeechobee largemouth caught on a Reel Dreams Guide Service boat with Capt. Mark King.
Live shiners are working extremely well right now, but the artificial-lure bite has been a bit slower.
courtesy of Palm Beach Post

Seabastian Inlet Report



What a gorgeous morning at the Sebastian Inlet. Winds are blowing out of the West at 4 mph, gusting to 7 with plenty of sunshine. We have a moderate chop on the water which may increase when the wind picks up this afternoon. NOAA has issued a small craft advisory from 7:00 p.m. tonight until Saturday morning. It looks like we have a nice weekend ahead of us, although the wind is predicted pick up again on Sunday. 

Fishing has been hit or miss this week. This time of year it's all about being at the right place at the right time. Black Drum have been scarce this week, but a few have come over the rails. A few C/R Reds, Pompano, Blue Runners and Spanish Mackerel have been reported by our jetty anglers. Surprisingly, Sheepshead seem to have been missing from the action this week. The toothy creatures are normally present during the winter months. Fishing around pilings, docks or any type of structure with a crustacean on the line will normally get their attention. 
We received a nice update from Pete Colelli of Pompano Beach who fished the north jetty . Pete was working the Northeast corner on the changing tide from outgoing to incoming. Pete had already landed nine Spanish Mackerel and was working on number ten when a hard strike and a big splash occurred. The fish headed North then turned East and headed for open water. It stopped after it had gone about 100 yards and the battle began. Pete was using 6 lb. spinning tackle and it took 40 minutes to get the 10 lb. Bonito to the net. Pete sends his thanks to the north jetty anglers who courteously pitched in and helped land the fish in difficult conditions. Pete said its days like this one that keeps him making the 280 mile round trip to fish the north jetty, a total count of 23 Mackerel (Pete kept one) and the 10 lb. Bonito, he was in the right place at the right time.
Our second photo features Stephen Hoover who landed two good sized Pompano using sand fleas. Stephen reported the drive from Orlando was worth it when he sat down to dinner that night!
Our last photo today is of a large C/R Red landed by Jose Pina of Poinciana. Jose left the Red in the net and lowered it back into the water right after the photo. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Black Drum part4

Artificial Lures for Catching Black Drum

In general, live bait is best for catching Black drum. The main reason for this is that these fish rely mostly on an excellent sense of smell, using of course their noses, and also taste, using the unique barbels under their chins. This is especially true when in deeper inshore water where the tannic water makes visibility virtually non-existent. Nonetheless, artificial lures can be successful if used properly during the correct seasons, and mainly in shallow water.

Lures for Catching Black Drum

Since Black drum rely mostly on their sense of smell and taste to find food, the best lures for catching them are the scented lures. These include the soft plastics, mainly by the Berkeley Gulp brand, which uses natural scents in the production of their lures. When the bite is really on in shallow water, such as in the spring, artificial flies can also produce good catches of Black drum.

Scented Soft Plastics for Black drum

Scented soft baits work best for Black drum because of the scent, but their lifelike appearance doesn’t hurt either. Some of these baits just keep getting better every year, with the pressure of making better artificial lures growing yearly. They work better in shallow water, where the fish can actually see the bait. The best thing about these scented soft plastics is that they can be used essentially just like a live bait. Bounce them along the bottom near oyster reefs and shallow seagrass beds, especially if you see tailing fish.

Many varieties of Berkeley Gulf critters are available that will catch Black drum, including the lifelike shrimp and crabs that even smell like the real thing.

Artificial Flies for Black Drum

Black drum on a fly is a hard catch, but can be done with a little skill and patience. The most important key to success is getting the fly to the bottom. Using a good sinking line and leader, and a sinking fly, you can get the fly to the bottom rather quickly if the current is not too strong over the flats. Once you feel the fly is near the bottom, make short, fast strips if using a shrimp fly, and slower strips if using a crab.

            One great fly for inshore Black drum is the Blue crab - part of its natural diet.

A General Statement about Black Drum Lures

Just remember that using artificial lures on Black drum requires lots of patience. These fish are mainly feeding using their senses of smell and taste, so you’re much better off using live bait if you’re looking for guaranteed catches. If you really want to make it work however, simply tip the hook of your artificial lure or fly with a small piece of shrimp or clam, and the smell will lead the fish right to it.

From Todd / Eric @ Juno Bait -Juno Beach

INSHORE-  A kind of slow week of reports this week on the inshore side of things.  Windy conditions and muddy water made things a little tough.   The sheltered flats around MacArthur State Park are still producing a little mixed bag variety.  Ladyfish, jacks (big and small), small snook, sheepshead, and a few spotted seatrout are making up most of the catch.  Live shrimp under a popping cork or a Cajun thunder float is a good idea for all around variety and lots of bites.  Snook season opens back up a week from Sunday.  The snook are still biting very good at night aroubd the bridges.  Live shrimp, shrimp style lures, and small swimbaits are all great choices for the snook right now.

SURF/PIER- Less than ideal conditions along the beach this week kept reports few and far between.  Early in the week before the surf kicked up, croaker were still biting good in the first trough.  Pompano action remains spotty, but those spending a lot of time on the beach are getting a few bites.  Good numbers of blacktip and spinner sharks are starting to show up along the beach.  Spanish mackerel action at Peck’s Lake was a little spotty this week, but still plenty of macs around once you find them!

From Capt. Charlie @ Fishing Center - Ft Pierce

Winter weather has been hanging around the Treasure Coast lately. Temperatures in the 40's and 50's at night have cooled down the water recently, but daytime temps ranged in the 60's and 70's. The water has ranged from 59 to 68 degrees, but the fish have continued to bite for us. Winds have been blowing most days for us and that makes for a challenging day on the water!
We continue to catch redfish, black drum and sheepshead each trip with a few trout in the mix. You can also find some pompano, Spanish mackerel and a host of other fish to catch. Fishing deeper water has been good for us, while docks and mangroves continue to be productive. DOA shrimp has been the best artificial lure for us. Live shrimp will find plenty of sheepshead this time of year. Doc's Goofy Jigs are great when looking for pompano. I enjoy this time of year because of the variety of fish to be caught by anglers. It's a fun time of year to enjoy the fishing along the Treasure Coast.

There are plenty of places to fish this time of year on windy days. Watch water temperatures and change your tactics when it is cooler water. Deeper channel edges and drop offs can be productive on cool days. Deeper docks will generally hold fish as well. On bright sunny days, look to the grass flats to hold fish soaking up the sunshine. Winter always presents a number of challenges for anglers, but you can be successful if you watch conditions and use them to your advantage.

From Whites Tackle - Ft Pierce / Stuart

Inshore the pompano bite has been ok around the sailfish flats on green and pink jigs.Snook season will open this weekend so come on in and stock up on jigs and get ready it should be a good season.


Black Drum part3

Natural Baits for Black Drum

Natural baits are by far the most effective method of catching Black drum. These large bruiser fish are generally slow-moving, searching the estuarine floor for snails, clams, crabs, shrimp, and other invertebrate critters within shallow seagrass beds and inshore channels. To find these prey, they rely more heavily on their excellent senses of smell and taste, using of course their noses, but also those unique chin barbels for the taste.
Although some of their favorite food items such as snails may not be widely available, there are plenty of effective natural baits to choose from, either live or frozen.

The Best Baits for Black Drum

The best baits for Black drum include many of the species they naturally prey upon. To make it even better for them, crack open these critters – such as the crabs – to release more scent into the water for more action. All of the following baits are easily available either live or frozen from most coastal bait shops.

Blue Crabs

Probably the best bait for big Black drum, especially the tailing fish in the flats, is a small and lively blue crab. For deeper fish in those shipping channels, or in the dark backwaters and residential canals, break the crab either in two, or in quarters if it is a big one, for more action, as this will release an overload of smell and taste into the water for Black drum to find.


Shrimp works wonders for Black drum in almost all circumstances. On the flats, cast live shrimp into the school of tailing fish and hold on, it won’t last very long! In deep channels and backwaters, shrimp are also top baits, because even the live ones give off a pungent odor a Black drum can recognize. If you’re not getting bites however, try pinching the tail or the head to release more scent into the water, or break the last section of the tail, and then use it as chum.


Clams are not only one of the Black drum’s favorite meals, they are also one of the smelliest baits you can use. A clam is like candy for drum, because you’ve already done the hard work for them – they don’t have to crack the hard shell to get to the good stuff. Clams work great especially in those deep channels and backwaters.


Also very pungent, mussels are great baits for Black drum as well. Similarly, you’ve already done the hard work for the fish, as it won’t have to crack the hard shell to get to the mussel. Mussels can be used in deep channels and backwaters, where the fish will be relying mostly on scent and taste.

Other Baits That Will Catch Black Drum

Other baits for Black drum include: Big fiddler crabs, mud crabs, calico crabs, or any smelly bait such as squid. Whatever the bait chosen, try cracking it open a bit if the bites are lacking to release more scent into the water.

Sebastian Inlet Report



This morning winds are blowing out of the West-Northwest at 5 mph, gusting to 9 and there is a moderate chop on the water. It's still cool and crisp out on the jetties but we have a warming trend coming our way and by the weekend it should feel like a typical Florida winter. 

Fishing has been on the slow side. January and February are normally the slower months at the inlet according to Tommy Turowski at the Sebastian Inlet Bait and Tackle Shop. It's a matter of being in the right place at the right time because some nice fish can come over the rails for the patient angler. Large Black Drum, Sheepshead, Blues, Trout and Pompano are typically the species we see this time of year. Snook season will reopen on Sunday, Feb. 1st at 12:01 a.m. Make sure you have a Snook stamp on your fishing license if you plan to keep one in the slot of 28" - 32". Although fishing is on the slow side, February and March are the peak months for crabbing and shrimping. Crabbing and shrimping also have FWC rules and regulations. 
Our photos today are courtesy of Edisson Soriano. Edisson and his friend Travious Major fished the north jetty Sunday morning from 8:00 - 12:30. Using live shrimp on the incoming tide, the duo landed a couple of nice catch and release fish. Photo one features Edisson with a 29" C/R Red which was released unharmed right after the photo. 
Travious Major is spotlighted in our second photo with a 30" C/R Snook. It was just a week too early Travious, maybe you can pull it off again this Sunday!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Black Drum part2

              10 Black Drum Tips and Tricks

The black drum, the largest species in the drum family, is both a fine eating fish and excellent sport fish, depending on the size of fish targeted. These large fish are commonly 20-to-50 pounds, and reach over 100 pounds when fully grown.
                                             In general, the smaller fish taste very similar to a redfish, while the larger fish do not taste as well. Black drum are a rather simple fish, but still take some time and patience to learn the tricks of the trade. Here, we present the Top 10 Tips and Tricks for catching these big drums.

10 things to remember when Black drum fishing:

As previously mentioned, the Black drum is a rather simple fish when compared to more complicated species. They are however, a great challenge to catch in certain scenarios, especially using artificial lures and flies. Commonly reaching 50 pounds, these fish make great sport for anglers wanting big fish without traveling several miles offshore. Hopefully these top 10 tips give you what you need to do so.

1.Fish where the fish are.

This sounds simple enough, but if you head on the water without knowing where the fish will be during each season, you might not find the fish. Black drum can be found in the shallow flats through the spring and fall, and in the early summer mornings, but found in much deeper channel waters during the midday summer and winter seasons.

2.Natural bait is best.

3.Crack open your bait.

4.Fish the spring “drum run.”

5.Fish the flats early on summer mornings.

6.Use the natural currents.

7.Don’t spook tailing fish.

8.Use medium or heavy tackle.

9.Use conventional tackle near structures and deep water.

10.Use a soft-tipped rod.

Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong-Gone Fishin'

Sebastian Inlet Report



We have another cool, crisp morning at the inlet. Winds are blowing out of the North-Northwest at 12 mph, gusting to 17 and the water is choppy. We don't have many people out in the cold conditions this morning. The cold weather paired with a slow bite is keeping many anglers at home so there's not much to report. 

Our angler of the day is Jose Pina of Poinciana with a large Black Drum he landed using fresh clams, Jose reported that 3 - 4 others landed Black Drum as well. 

From Whites Tackle - Ft Pierce / Stuart

Inshore there has been a few reports of some reds to the north around Harbor Branch with a few trout mixed in D.O.A Cals have produced the best.The snook fishing has been good in the inlet and around the bridges on live bait.The south jetty has had a few flounder and a few pompano around on the incoming tide. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Black Drum part1

Black Drum

Black drum (Pogonias cromis) belong to the family Sciaenidae, which encompasses two other popular sport fish: Redfish and Spotted seatrout. Like its relatives, this fish spends much of its life in the estuaries and shallow coastal waters. It is deeper bodied than either the Spotted seatrout or Redfish, and has a silver, grey or black overall coloration, with darker vertical stripes in younger fish. It can also be distinguished from the Redfish by having chin barbels, where the Redfish lacks barbels. It is a bottom feeder, preying mostly on benthic crustaceans and mollusks. Although the larger fish are not considered very edible, due to common cestode infestations and general poor taste, this is a common sport fish due to its size; individuals can grow up to 67 inches and 113 pounds, and live up to 58 years!

Catching Black Drum 101

The Black drum is a chunky, high-backed fish with many barbels or whiskers under its lower jaw for tasting things to eat. Younger fish have four or five dark vertical bars, but these disappear with age. The bellies of older fish are white but coloration of backs and sides can vary. Fish from Gulf waters frequently lack color and are light grey or silvery. These fish are the largest species in the drum family, growing over 100 pounds when fully grown.

When to Find Black drum
In the springtime – around March and April -- schools of very large fish, often in excess of 30 pounds, can be found tailing, feeding and schooling in patterns very similar to redfish, and also within the deep channels inside the inlets. Look for clouds of mud in otherwise clear water, and there are likely big black drum in the neighborhood. They repeat these patterns in the fall, so look for them on our shallow grass flats again in September and October. But they are not seasonal. As the water warms into the summer months, these large fish have moved into the deepest water they can find where structure provides them the crustaceans that comprise the largest percentage of their diets. You will find them alongside all the big pilings on every big bridge on both coasts. In the wintertime, you will find the smaller fish – the best ones to eat, by the way – in the residential canals in Florida and in all inland waters. They can be caught underneath the docks right along with redfish, but are more likely to be in the deeper channels, and nearer to the openings and open water where you'll find residential canals and docks.

Where to Catch Black Drum

All the drum species are in our waters all times of the year. Black drum are around all year, although they are found in different places at different times of the year, and their sizes can vary considerably. You will catch them on grass flats, in residential canals, and in deeper channels around the big bridges.

Tackle for Black drum

In the backwaters where you have to fish alongside of docks and other residential structure, the smaller version of what can be a very big fish can be caught on relatively light tackle. A seven-foot spinning rod with medium power is fine in most cases. If you're fishing docks and underneath other structure, a shorter rod – and perhaps even a conventional rod so you can gain leverage on bigger fish – might be better suited. Tackle for these fish is like tackle for any sports species – there are people who even want to catch them on a five-weight fly-rod.

Spinning Tackle for Black Drum

In shallow waters, a solid spinning outfit is perfect for catching smaller and medium-sized black drum up to 20-30 pounds. A medium reel capable of holding 15-to-20-pound test line is recommended for the shallows, where you can let the fish run to tire itself out, and no structures are in the way. In deeper waters such as the shipping channels and bridges, spinning tackle can also be used, but much heavier gear is required, spooled with at least 30-pound test line.

Conventional Tackle for Black Drum

For deep water and fishing near structures, nothing is better than a solid conventional rod-and-reel combo. Conventional tackle has much greater leverage than spinning tackle, which allows you to pull heavy fish away from the structures that may cut your line. It also helps pull up big bruisers in deep shipping channels which may be as deep as 60 feet, so you can use all the help you can get. Heavy-duty or larger baitcasting reels are also good. Heavy baitcasting reels can generally cast farther than spinning reels, so they also come in handy when sight-fishing tailing schools on the flats, where you can cast far to not spook the fish with the boat if you do not have a Power-Pole anchor.

Flyrods for Black Drum

A solid 10-to-12 weight flyrod is recommended for catching Black drum on fly. A nice solid backbone in the heavy-weight rod will allow you to reel in these big bruisers, and will also allow you to cast a heavy-sinking line and fly. The sinking line and fly is definitely a must to get the fly to the bottom where the fish are feeding. In addition, the heavier the line and flies, the farther you can cast. You really need a far cast for fly-fishing drums, because the less spooked they are, the more likely they are to bite.

Baits for Black Drum

Natural baits are by far the best method for catching Black drum. Good baits include blue crabs, shrimp, clams, mussels, and anything else that puts off a good odor and taste. One trick if you’re not getting bites is to break open or pinch the baits, allowing more scent to be released into the water.

Lures for Black drum

Artificial lures can be a successful method of catching Black drum with a little skill and a lot of patience. Since these fish rely heavily on smell and taste, the best artificial lures are the soft plastics that are scented with natural flavors. These baits can be used similarly to how you would use live baits, by casting among schooling fish, or drifting along the bottom of deep channels and backwaters.

Sebastian Inlet Report



We have a chilly, crisp morning at the inlet. Winds are blowing out of the Northwest at 12 mph, gusting to 20 and the water is choppy. We don' have a lot of folks out on the jetties this morning braving the elements. With the wind chill it feels like it's in the 40's! Bundle up if you head to the inlet today, 

We are expecting cooler temperatures the next few days with higher winds but blue skies! Toward the end of the week we should see the temperature start to rise. Hopefully this front will invigorate the bite which has been spotty the past week. 

Our angler of the day is 11 year old Evan McLeod of Indialantic. Evan and his dad Scott were fishing the south jetty when Evan landed this good sized Lookdown using live shrimp on a jig. 

From Whites Tackle - Ft Pierce / Stuart

The inshore fishing has been good with some nice reds around midway road on soft baits with a few trout mixed in.The flounder bite has been ok in the inlet with live shrimp and soft baits. The snook fishing has been good in the inlet and the bridges with jigs and live bait snook season opens soon and should be a good season,So come on in and get ready for snook season.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sebastian Inlet Report



We have a beautiful morning at the inlet. Winds are blowing out of the West at 10 mph, gusting to 17 and there is a moderate chop on the water. The skies are bright blue, the sun is shining and it's cool and crisp out on the jetties. There is a chance of rain this afternoon, but the rest of the week looks great. NOAA has issued a small craft advisory through Tuesday morning. 

Tommy Turowski at the Sebastian Inlet Bait and Tackle Shop reported a slow day on Saturday, but the bite picked up on Sunday. The Black Drum came back, Sheepshead, Trout, a few Blues and Spanish Mackerel came over the rails. 
Our photos today are courtesy of Cody Hagle of Chicago. Cody fished the north catwalk when he landed the nice 16" Lane Snapper in photo one using a small dead mullet. Cody also landed a lot of large mullet and a Black Drum, which he invited home for dinner, see photo two. 

Knots for Braided Line - How to tie Knots for Braided Line to Mono Leader

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sebastian Inlet Report


We have a breezy morning at the inlet. Winds are blowing out of the Southeast at 12 mph, gusting to 14 and there is a moderate chop on the water. NOAA has issued a small craft advisory today through Saturday afternoon. We have a good chance of rain later today and Saturday, by Sunday we are expecting lots of sunshine with temperatures in the mid 60's. Always check the NOAA forecast prior to boating.

There are not many people out on the jetties this morning; word travels quickly when the bite slows down. Earlier in the week we saw some Black Drum, Speckled Trout, a few Sheepshead, Reds, Blues, a couple of Pompano and Flounder. We're hoping this front will shake things up at the inlet. 

Our first photo today features Billy Burgos with a real nice 20" Spotted Trout he landed off the north jetty. Billy was using cut mullet to land this beauty. 

Port St Lucie Fishing Report

This winter has brought us some fantastic fishing so far. There are alot of species migrating/spawning in the river now and there is simply alot of action going on. We have caught a ton of different species lately and it has led to many surprises. Temperature and weather has been reasonable and I have seen the best action in the afternoon when the sun warms up.
I have not done much snook fishing because season is closed. These fish deserve a couple months to not be pressured so we can have more and more and more! They are of course always a by catch and we have caught many small snook everyday. We did land a 30in snook after a great fight around the docks. They have been biting DOA shrimp, shrimp, and small pilchards.

Redfish have came on strong. When it comes to the flats and mangroves they have taken place of the snook, respectively. I have seen a few reds in the 20lb range follow small snook and small trout right to the boat! They have been biting well later in the day around structure and on flats with clean water. Usually when you find one there are plenty more. They have been biting DOA shrimp, shrimp, and small pilchards for us.
Trout fishing has been steady from the flats north of North Bridge down to Bear Point. I have caught them in the morning, middle of the day, and afternoon. The tide has been important with them. Most of our fish have been under 20 inches and we have caught them on DOA Cals and live shrimp. I don't know if others agree but I have seen a decrease in trout this last year. Commercial limits are too high and they extended season another month this year from what another captain told me.
Back to the migrations of different species in the river.... Sheepshead, black drum, pompano, hopefully flounder, black margate, grouper.... The sheepshead have been great targets around the usual structure and ledges. Snapper and black drum have been mixed in with them. We have caught some quality size fish of these species lately. Pompano are biting on the incoming tide around deeper flats and edges. Always keep a pompano jig rigged up in case you skip a few fish while putting around. 

Coutesy of Capt Ryan Floyd

From Todd / Eric @ Juno Bait -Juno Beach

INSHORE- Snook reports are staring to trickle in as anglers start to do a little scouting for snook season (Season opens 2/1 for Atlantic coast).  Look for the snook to be laid up around boat docks,  dark mudflats, and mangroves; especially those areas close to deeper water.  The bridges are still producing a fair number of snook at night, especially on outgoing tide.  Live shrimp, shrimp jigs, DOA Shrimp, and smaller swimbaits are all good choices for the snook right now.  Inshore action around the grassflats was a little quiet this week, but those spending some time out there have found a few fish.  JAcks, ladyfish, and a few smaller trout have made up the bulk of the reports coming in.

SURF/PIER- Surf fishing was great early in the week for a wide variety of species; but, unfortunately has tapered off as the week has went on.  Early in the week spanish mackerel invaded the Juno Beach pier in great numbers.  Crappie jigs, glass minnow jigs, boober rig with clark spoon, and gotchas all were producing good numbers of macs this week.  Bluefish remained in the mix in good numbers this week as well at the pier and Jupiter Inlet.  Silver spoons and cut bait seemed to be producing the best numbers of blues this week.  Pompano were caught in fair numbers at Loggerhead for a few days this week.  Spinner sharks are beginning to show up in good numbers along the beach as well right now.  Lots of good stuff going on in the surf right now!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sebastian Inlet Report


We have another beautiful morning at the inlet. Winds are blowing out of the North at 6 mph and there is a light chop on the water. We have abundant sunshine, blue skies and the temperature is forecasted for the mid 70's today. What a great day to get out and enjoy a little fishing!

The bite has slowed considerably the past couple of days. Inlet regular Tony Swiderski reported that the prevalent bite at the inlet this morning was 6 - 8" Bluefish. Some small Sheepshead are being caught and returned to the water and one angler landed a Pompano. The Black Drum seem to have disappeared. 

Our featured angler today is Daniel Carmona of Miami. Daniel fished the north jetty on January 15th when he landed this 36", 27 lb. Black drum using live shrimp. Photo one is of Daniel with his prize! 

Photo two is of Daniel's Black Drum with the measuring tape on it, what a beast!

Choosing the Right Kayak for Kayak Fishing

One of the most successful ways to fish on the flats is to be in a kayak. Not only is it very stealthy, but you can access places that boaters can only dream of. With that said, becoming a more skilled angler will also be an outcome of kayaking.
In selecting a kayak, I suggest that you try many different styles before you make your choice. Ones’ taste or fishing needs may be very different from the others. Many paddling shops will allow you to do so, or they even rent them for a very affordable rate. I could write a book on the different styles of kayaks and the certain situations they are used for but the first thing to consider if you want a sit –on-top or a traditional kayak. I myself use the sit-on-top models because they seem to be more stable, thus I am able to stand and fish or pole myself around. Sit-on-tops also have a feature called scupper holes. These are holes throughout the kayak that helps to displace any water that comes in, therefore not allowing you to take in water and submerging.
Another thing to consider is color. Although it may not make a difference to the fish, choosing a brighter color will aid in boaters to see you from a distance. Colors such as red, yellow and orange may not seem to be attractive to you but they definitely can save your life! If bright colors aren’t your cup of tea, then invest in a flag system. Scotty sells several of them that even have neat L.E.D. lights for low-light conditions.
I will only write a little on paddle selection since I am still in the testing mode myself. There are just as many paddle manufacturers as there are kayak manufacturers. Prices can range anywhere from $50 for a basic to $300 for a much lighter composite material for fatigue. The important thing is to get one that feels best to you, (personal preference). Starting with an inexpensive model and then working your way up the ladder is a good idea. You may be surprised at what an $80 model can do.
 Now the big question,” How do I custom rig my kayak?” The answer is in the question itself,” custom”. Many rigging techniques and how-to’s can be found in almost every paddling forum on the net. Be careful though, a lot of these forums may show you some pretty neat looking stuff but that’s just what it is, neat looking and can serve no purpose on the water. Personally I like to keep things simple. Anything more than a few rod holders and a holder for a GPS are all You will need. A milk crate can be customized in countless ways if you feel you need to add more. Being able to re-arrange your rigging techniques is possible, therefore giving you more options.
Last but not least, we should emphasize on safety. Life vest and a whistle or horn are a must and it’s the law to have them on board at all times. Once again, there are hundreds of brands and styles to choose from. Sterns makes a very inexpensive PFD that’s sold at Wal-Mart (yep, I said it) that costs under $20 as well as whistles and horns.
That should cover all the basics to get you on the water and fishing. Don’t forget that in Florida you must purchase a fishing license if you are going to fish from a vessel. Residents pay $17 and non-residents are $47 and are good for 1 year. So be sure to be cautious on the water and enjoy this beautiful fishery we call home. Tight lines and Phat Fish!