New kayaker, could use some help

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Jiggle
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:22 am

New kayaker, could use some help

Post by Jiggle » Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:40 am

Hello all,

I finally pulled the trigger and bought a kayak after several years of debating with myself. I was very excited to get out, so I took the day off work yesterday to try getting some trout and reds. Launched from the A1A bridge at Mayport and paddled to Chicopit. That’s where my troubles began.

The tide was going out, and combined with the wind, I couldn’t get anchored anywhere to fish. I decided to head back the other direction for some shelter, but the paddle back was hellacious. Found a nice area at the mouth of a creek where I anchored and put a couple line signs in the water. Long story short, I very nearly got stuck there as the tide was still going out, and had to paddle frantically through about four inches of water to get out. Found an area to get onshore and stretch, and fished there for an hour before setting back out.

Ended up fishing for 5 hours using mud minnows, shrimp and a few artificials. Didn’t get a single bite other than a stingray. Most of my time was spent battling the wind and current. It was a disappointing trip, though I learned a lot and will be much better prepared in the future. It was probably stupid of me to go out without somebody with more experience.

Anybody willing to give me some pointers as to weather conditions, locations and tides that may make my next trip easier? Also, if anybody would be willing to share a spot or two that may produce some fish, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, and hope everyone has a great weekend!

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JohnYaksJax
Posts: 14858
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2004 2:21 pm
Location: Neptune Beach, FL

Re: New kayaker, could use some help

Post by JohnYaksJax » Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:30 pm

Hello Jiggle and Welcome to JKF.com...and also to the "Stuck in the Muck Club!! :oops:
Been there and done that more than once, and at least you did not get out and slog thru the muck/mud and get some "oyster bites" that can be VERY dangerous and expensive!! Don't ask me how I know!!

Guessing that you fished in Chicopit Bay South...on the south bank of the St. Johns River. There is also a Chicopit Bay North but that requires paddling across the SJ River which I would NOT recommend to a newbie!!
Lots of powerboats and cargo ships unless you time it perfectly, so be careful out there!!

"Anchoring" is fairly difficult on windy days and with quickly moving tides....and I am referring to traditional heavy/clunky anchors with some type of line attached to your kayak....just another thing to get your fishing lines tangled in!! Almost all of us use a Stake Out Pole and started with a spare mop or broom handle with a fairly short (6-8') piece of para-cord attached to it and then to your yak....caribiners are quick and easy to use and last a long time. If you are a DIY kind of guy/girl, you can make your own that will last a long time, or buy one at Black Creek Outfitters or someplace that sells kayak accessories.
Position your yak facing the wind or tidal flow and move it as necessary. If the wind and current does not favor your location, you can paddle back into the spartina/seagrass so that you are facing the water and you can cast either direction. ALSO...DO NOT use your kayak scupper holes as a way to use your Stake Out Pole until you get more advanced with paddling and staking out...wind, waves and boat wakes can rock your kayak and crack the hull of your yak!!
Enuff for now so let us know your questions and Congrats on catching that ray...at least you did not get Skunked on your maiden voyage!! :cheers:
JohnYaksJax

Jiggle
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:22 am

Re: New kayaker, could use some help

Post by Jiggle » Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:11 pm

Yes, I was on the south side of the river. I’ve been in the river numerous times on boats, and wouldn’t dream of trying to cross it on my first kayak trip (especially alone lol).

I brought along an 8’ garden stake that I had at my house to use as a stake out pole. I did use it through a scupper hole. Guess I’m fortunate it didn’t do any damage to the kayak!

I am mainly curious about fishing spots that may be easier for a total newbie to be productive without struggling too much to control the kayak. I am strong, but not in the best shape, so I can’t paddle hard for extended periods of time. And if there’s anybody who would be willing to let me tag along and learn from them, it would be appreciated as well!

GaG8tor
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:40 pm

Re: New kayaker, could use some help

Post by GaG8tor » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:30 pm

Hey jiggle. As Johnsyak said in regards to anchoring you definitely want to anchor off the bow or stern until you’re more confident. If anchoring off the side your boat can list one way or the other and fill up real quick like. Ask me how I know. And you really have to watch the tides and know which way the current flows on the incoming and outgoing. I like to fish about 2-3 hours before the change and 2-3 hours after. To go out with the tide and back in with the tides.A good site is tidesforfishing.com. It has all kinds of information for various areas, weather forecasts, solunar activity and more. Also NOAA has charts you can view online which are super helpful. I live in Georgia where we have 6-8 foot tides twice a day. Two highs and two lows. I’m wanting to come down sometime and fish the south end of Amelia Island and around Big and Little Talbot. Congratulations on your new venture. I promise once you get the hang of it you will be hooked. Safety first though at all times. Good luck and tight lines

GaG8tor
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:40 pm

Re: New kayaker, could use some help

Post by GaG8tor » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:31 pm

I forgot to add. If your boat does not have one already put an anchor trolley on it. Makes anchoring a breeze and much safer

Jiggle
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:22 am

Re: New kayaker, could use some help

Post by Jiggle » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:30 pm

Stallardjrs, you nailed the biggest change I already planned on making. I hate fishing slack tide, but it beats the hell out of fighting the current. Having never paddled anything in tidal water before, I had no idea just how strong the current could get. Add in the wind, and you could easily get yourself into trouble.

Anchor trolley is on my short list, for sure!

Jwray
Posts: 1031
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:31 pm
Location: jacksonville

Re: New kayaker, could use some help

Post by Jwray » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:30 am

With the full moon approaching, you were in a big tide swing. Sometimes only 4 ft of water has to move in 6 hours, and sometimes 6 feet of water has to move in 6 hours. So, much faster current. Mill cove is a great place as long as it’s not windy because there’s very mild current there. Also, there are places off hecksher drive that you can fish with very little paddling distance. Like others said, make sure you know when low tide is and watch for negative low tides like yesterday. Check out the tide here. http://jacksonvillekayakfishingclassic. ... idecal.php

shrimp_slayer
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:54 pm
Location: Jacksonville FL

Re: New kayaker, could use some help

Post by shrimp_slayer » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:08 am

I know that tide and I have paddled against it. I have also been caught south of the dam at Guana at low tide. I stayed in the kayak and scooted up the slop, because I knew if I tried to step out I would sink and probably slice my feet on buried oysters.

When fishing a new area I like to scout it at low tide to look for pools and see where the oyster beds are located. I mark them with GPS so when I come back another time and the beds aren’t visible, I know where they are.

The mention of negative tides is a great point. In that situation it really comes down to waiting it out. If it’s not so extreme but it’s getting really skinny and you’ve done recon on the area previously so you know where those pools were at peak low tide, make a beeline for them. Fishing second half of outgoing and first half of incoming... look for reds. They look like swirls I’m the water because they’re foraging.

I’ve learned a lot from this forum. If I can find the time to go fishing with you I will. PM me
Malibu Stealth 12 (2017)

Jiggle
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:22 am

Re: New kayaker, could use some help

Post by Jiggle » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:23 pm

Great advice guys, thanks!

Shrimp_slayer, I’ll PM you when I go again. It’ll likely be a week from this Saturday/Sunday.

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