Tasmanian kayak fishing

by Nick Gust
Kayak-fishing is rapidly gaining popularity
around Australia. With appropriate equipment,
experience and favourable weather Tasmania holds
many diverse and exciting opportunities for kayak
fishing. Taswegians are getting in on the act with the
first kayak-fishing tournament held at Scamander
earlier this year. (see issue 85 for details).
Kayakfishing has a rich historical legacy, particularly with
indigenous people from the arctic, while the modern
version is typically associated with exploring calm
waters from open sit-on top plastic kayaks. This
growing sport enables quiet, peaceful and affordable
trips into beautiful fi shing spots, particularly rivers,
lakes and sheltered coastlines.
Kayak game fishing clobber
Many of the techniques used in kayak fishing are
essentially the same as those used on other fi shing
boats. The difference is in the set-up, how each
piece of equipment is fi tted to the kayak, and how
each activity is carried out on such a small craft. I
suggest giving it some decent thought and setting
yourself up carefully, particularly if game fi shing.
For anyone entertaining the notion of tuna fi shing
from a sea kayak, I recommend considering the
following things.
Speed: Not to snort, but to achieve. You’ll need
a fairly quick and sea worthy sea kayak that is well
trained and obeys your commands.
Experience: You obviously need strong
paddling skills including a reliable brace and
Eskimo roll, and a good handle on how sea
conditions are influenced by the wind, tides and
currents. Offshore from the Tasman Peninsula is
not a place for novice kayakers.
Safety gear : A marine VHF radio is
especially handy, and I routinely carry an
EPIRB, flares, whistle, paddle float, strobe light
(for my own epileptic marine disco), map,
compass and a GPS. I barely ever use them,
but its comforting to know they are all there.
Fishing gear: A handline is much cheaper
than a rod and reel and seems to work fine for
this type of game fishing providing you have a
way to securely attach it, and plenty of line (I use
about 300m of 37 kilo mono). Don’t forget your gloves. Include
a couple of lures that swim well at kayaking speeds, ideally fitted
with long heavy mono traces. A gaff, knife and club to pacify
the fish are all potentially useful. You’ll need plenty of water
and high energy food to keep paddling for hours.
Endurance: You might need to stockpile some patience,
since the reality is you’ll be slow and with only one lure out
your chances are low compared to other boats. But when
your time finally arrives.... its hard to imagine any other
fishing experience coming close. Best of luck out there.
Bluefin tuna from a kayak, it is indeed possible.
Nick Gust
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