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Kayak fishing

Jamie Harris
We are lucky in Tassie to be surrounded by water and with so many lakes and river systems and there are endless opportunities for us keen anglers.
With skyrocketing fuel costs, one of the most affordable and perhaps the most enjoyable way to access these waters is by canoe or kayak. Now I am a small boat owner myself,  but the trusty kayak still gets as much, if not more use than the tinny.

With our changeable weather, it's hard to plan fishing trips away too far in advance and there's nothing worse than towing a boat and a heap of gear for miles, only to have the wind blow 30 knots for the entire time, making it almost impossible to even wet a line. Sound familiar? Obviously with kayaking you are forced to choose more sheltered waters to fish. That said, you can pick a calm day and have your gear packed and the kayak on the roof racks or in the ute within 10 minutes. You don't have to worry about fuel/oil or "are my rego's, insurance and safety gear up to date?" and what about trailer bearings and lights, batteries bilge pumps, sounders, etc. It can all become a bit of a headache when all you want to do is catch a fish.
A half decent second hand boat might set you back anywhere from $3000 and then there's the aforementioned running costs. Brand new entry level kayaks start at around $600. These days there are made from tough plastics and are nothing like the older narrow and unstable fibreglass ones. There are heaps of quality brands and styles on the market, from sit-ons or sit-ins, doubles or specialised fishing models with rod holders and storage compartments, or even ones with foot operated paddles to allow for hands free movement. Most good tackle and boating stores have them in stock or they will get them in if you ask nicely.
Another plus with the kayak is you can launch them just about anywhere there is water, no need for boat ramps. Beach launching can be tricky though if there's too much wave action. You certainly don't have to be an athlete to paddle a kayak. They are light and easy to manoeuvre and when you slip along quietly taking in the scenery, you might find yourself miles up a river or estuary before you know it. It's surprising how far you can paddle in a couple of hours.
Kayak fishing opens up so much more water that couldn't be accessed from the shore or even by boat. You may even be fishing waters that have never been fished before, if only by the odd fellow kayaker. Getting in tight amongst the timber in lakes and lagoons is a big advantage also. Being so quiet with such a low profile lets you sneak up to within a few metres of a spooky trout. The rest, of course, is up to you.
Being so light, a kayak will drift quickly with a little breeze so to combat this a small drogue or even a small bucket tied off over the side will slow you enough to get plenty of casts in your chosen spot.
Wherever you are in Tassie, I'm sure you would be no more than 20 minutes away from a potentially great kayak fishing spot. So if you can't afford or don't need the stresses of owning a boat, grab yourself a kayak or canoe and get paddling. Get a mate to buy one too and you'll have twice the fun trying to out-fish each other. Don't forget your PFDs.

Jamie Harris