Kayak fishing came to me more as a matter of necessity, than a desire to fish on a kayak.
I transferred duty stations from Guam to New Orleans in April of 2013. In my 9 months leading up to my transfer, i had done some research here and there about fishing in “The Bayou” and thought that I had struck gold in terms of duty stations. I was going to live 20 minutes away from Bourbon Street, I was going to a smaller and less stressful command, and Louisiana called itself a “Sportsman’s Paradise”. Life was looking good!
My transfer process was a rather stressful one. I flew in on April 13th. 6 months prior to that I bought myself a very nice birthday present… A 2013 Ford Mustang. Drove it off the lot with 8 miles on it. The only problem was that it was still on its way over from Guam, and was scheduled to take about 3 weeks to get there. So, without a Car, I was essentially stuck in the barracks with no transportation and none of my household goods, of which contained my fishing gear. 2 weeks later I got a call saying my household goods had arrived, but would have to wait until i got a house, for which i had to wait for my car. My car that didn’t arrive until June. Better late than never, I locked in a lease, received my gear, and had rubber on the road.
My good friend Sal who I knew from Japan, was living back in NOLA and was telling me some things about the area and its unique geography. The Bayou is well… a Bayou. Land based fishing opportunities were few and far between. There was SO much water down there, but 98% of it is realistically unreachable on foot. I’m sure you could knock a few percentage points off that number if you’re willing to wade through gator INFESTED water, and wrestle with Water Moccasins as you trek through the wetlands. I chose to leave those adventures to the locals. He took me crabbing in a place 45 minutes away called Delacroix (Dell-a-crow), which was an absolute blast. Delacroix, by Bayou standards was a large fishing hub and well-known throughout the area. It also provided some roadside fishing in the canals all around and leading up to its harbor. Finally! 3 months after reporting I was able to fish!
*At this time I was much too reliant on friends helping me find spots or give me information. As time goes on, I get much more self-sufficient*
To a roadside fisherman, bottom fishing with Shrimp, Delacroix is the Catfish capital of the world! Not 40lb blue cats or flatheads that you’d be thrilled to catch. No, they were Gafftopsail Catfish. The scourge of the Earth to somebody desperately trying to catch the Red Fish, Black Drum, Speckled Sea Trout, and Flounder that Louisiana is always bragging about! So I make the drive to Delacroix 4 or 5 more times, always with the same result. The fish I want are there… I see the boats at the marina I was by unloading coolers full every time I’m there. Every time, I watch these boats going in and out back and forth, all while looking out and seeing miles of water and marsh, and there I sit on a bucket watching my rod tip bounce with another catfish bite. At this time in my life, getting a boat was simply not in my budget. That new Mustang I bought was probably already over my budget, and it sure as hell wasn’t going to haul a boat. I honestly was contemplating about building a raft, something inflatable, ANYTHING! Except a Kayak. It honestly never crossed my mind in that moment.
So for a few months I was more caught up at work than i was with fishing. In the Military, your first impressions upon checking in to a new command are lasting and set the tone for your tour. After about 2 months at work, I met a couple of civilians who worked there that had boats and offered to take me fishing. They took me out and truly showed me what Louisiana fishing was all about! Finally, I saw for myself what was out there and I was most definitely not disappointed in the fishery. However, I didn’t want to have to wait to be invited to go experience it. One night while YouTubing fishing videos, I came across a video that changed my life! It was labeled Kayak Fisherman Vs. Great White Shark. I clicked for the great white, but 10 seconds into the video i realized “Holy Crap” you can fish from a Kayak! I think i spent about 4 hours watching Kayak Fishing Videos that night.
I made up my mind that night I would buy my very own fishing kayak. And I did just that the very next payday. I marched into Academy Sporting goods and walked out fifteen minutes later with a brand-new Perception Sports Pescador 12. With my kayak, a paddle, and life jacket I spent about $550.00, and it was the best money I ever spent.
That night I christened my sacred vessel about a mile from my house. There was less than 2 hours of daylight left, but I refused to wait. I didn’t have to go out and buy accessories, do any rigging, licensing, insurance, fuel, trailering, or anything of the sort. I had a small S-10 pickup truck at that point. I literally bungee corded the kayak in the back, with about 6 feet of it hanging out, and left. It was so easy and hassle free. In those 2 hours of fishing that evening I managed to catch a few nice slot Redfish, but more than what I caught, it was how I felt. I knew as my comfort grew in that kayak, I would take it further and further, test some limits, and catch ALOT of fish! I was free from Catfish Prison. I was no longer chained to a bank, competing for real estate to cast a line. The doors to an INSANELY good fishery were opened for me by a $500.00 piece of plastic. From that point on, it was Mission Fishin‘.
The future of this blog will feature plenty of Kayak Fishing related content. The way Kayak Fishing affected my love for the sport, and truly changed my life is profound. I am not a purest who swears off boats or anything like that, I plan on purchasing one in the future. But at that time in my life, Kayak Fishing was a solution that evolved into a passion. Perhaps you are facing similar geographical or financial limitations and are seeking a solution? If so I cannot recommend Kayak Fishing enough!
Do you own a Fishing Kayak? If so, tell me what kind in the comments below 🙂