: Landing Big fish in a Kayak
05-20-2007, 11:24 AM
I had a very difficult time during the Spring Clave this year handling a very large bass in the kayak. The wind and waves were tossing my around and I couldn't get a good hold of a very large fish to land it in the yak. I didn't want to drop my rod in the yak to get both hands on the fish, I was also concerned that is was so heavy I might roll it if I leaned over too far.
How do you land a 3-4 foot long fish in the waves and wind?
What to do with it after that too, run into shore with it? Stringers?
I've been fortunate enough to run into a few large in the yak. If I'm going to keep one I rope it through the gills and bleed it out. Made the mistake of bringing one on board and hammering it in the head, thought it was dead til it poked a few holes in my calf with the dorsal. Bleeding them in the water really helps the quality of the meat.
I really wish they'd go with a slot limit. I let most of the fish go but it's nice to keep one for a cookout now and then. I'd much rather keep the occasional fish that you know isn't going to make it when released than the breeders. Figure there's less crap in the little guys too.
Glad to hear you got into them.
05-20-2007, 02:38 PM
I have had to good fortune to:
1. Land some moderately large fish in the yak, no monsters though.
2. Pull lots of heavy lobster traps into my yak. I have a 5 trap license and putter around with the traps in the summer.
The key to pulling in the big traps is to use the arm OPPOSITE the side of the kayak that the trap (or fish) is on. So if the striper is on the right side of the yak you keep centered over the yak and pull it up with your left arm. That is your only hope.
I actually stopped yak fishing in the surf. Waves will kill you if a bass pulls you into the surf. But I do yak fish quite a lot in estuaries and protected areas (like upper Pleasant Bay for example...at least before the cut).
Did you land the monster fish?
05-20-2007, 03:13 PM
Hi Jim and Mike,
Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions, I definately need more practice dealing with larger fish to get more comfortable with handling them. I was about to get blown into a hazardous area and perhaps rushed myself too much. I ended up grabbing the leader and tried pulling the fishup and forward along the kayak to get a hold of his tail. It was too long! I didn't land him in the Kayak, But had a good close look as the fly got pulled out. It was rather frustrating experience. The wind was howling and it was choppy making it that much harder to deal with the fish.
In retrospect I should probably have pulled him forward using my other hand and put the rod in a holder with some slack in the line. I should not lift it up out of the water as much as the heavy weight made it too easy to pull the hook out. If I could have gotten a hold of his tail with one hand then I would have at least a good hold of it and might have been able to pull him in. I didn't look like it would fit in the foot well area anyway, a rope through the gills and tie him off and drag him in would have worked best probably, I didn't even have a rope for that, I simply wasn't prepared to deal with that big of a fish. It's not a bad problem to have, But it would have been nice to land this one.
Thinking it through alittle further I think I need a boga grip since I couldn't reach the tail and a rope to tie the fish off with. Bringing it in the Kayak with so little available space is probably a bad idea, dorsal fins and sharp teeth depending on the species is no fun to have in your lap.
Live and learn...
05-21-2007, 09:25 AM
I use a boga myself.
Once I have the fish clipped, I secure the rod and go from there.
Most of the time I just clip it on, remove the fly and wave good bye (always with bluefish). If I'm looking to have a picture taken I hold the boga with my left, and side my right hand under the belly. The fish will thrash and this will often propel her right into your lap. If not I control with the boga and lift with my right arm.
Just have to be careful fishing around rips and the surfline - in those areas its best to just let it go quickly.
Just to not another difference may the be the sit on top/sit inside deal. The Pungo, I've been using has excellent secondary stability and does not require as much of a lean. I'm not knocking the sot's, there's times I wish for one, just pointing out a difference. Boga sounds like a good solution. FWIW - I usually run 25 or 30lb floro - grab the leader, place the rod in the yak pointing back under my arm or over the shoulder to give some slack and then get the other hand on the mouth.
Hey, if you didn't go swimming I call that a huge success.
Way to Go!
05-25-2007, 11:45 PM
Hi Sean and Jim,
I think I had pretty good access to the water from my SOT and didn't have to bend over too far, just the angle the fish came in from the side, it's length and the choppy wave action made it tough to get to the tail. I think the O.K. Prowler I have has excellent stability, just the fish was too big to put in the kayak without it being on top of me or hanging over the side.
I do think the Boga will help solve the problem of getting a good hold of the fish for me. I'll have to pick one up and try it out, hopefully there will be another large one to try it out with. I was using 17lb flouro and it held up good as it was hooked in the lip, might go 25lb in the future.
I didn't go swimming so that part was good, water is still quite cold this time of year.
05-29-2007, 10:17 AM
Practice makes perfect :)
I just wanted to mention that I recently got a "Fish Gripper" its similar to a Boga but made of plastic and significantly cheaper (12 bucks), floats, and weighs like 5 oz so I wear it from my wading belt and don't even know its there. Gave it its first bluefish test run and really liked it, haven't tested it on really big striper yet.
05-29-2007, 01:07 PM
I have had one like Sean Juan speaks of for a couple of years now and really like it. Weighs next to nothing and have had excellant results. Have not had a chance to try on a really large one, damnit, but to the mid 30's has been vey effective. Blues can chew up the plastic some but I just sand the nicks out when I get home.
05-30-2007, 07:54 AM
A fish gripper sounds great. I like the light weight, it floats and at 12bucks it sounds like a great deal. If it holds up to Bluefish I'm sure it will be fine with Stripers.
Thanks for the info guys... I'll have to find a fish gripper. Is there a sponsor that carries them that you know of? I didn't hear the brand name either. It would help to call around and find them. feel free to send a PM if need be.
05-30-2007, 10:10 AM
I got mine from that mail order place that starts with "C"!!!