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Kayak Rigging For Bluewater Fishing

Writer Brett Fitzgerald recounts his trip offshore to the Gulf Stream–in a kayak–with Palm Beach County resident Peter Hinck, the guru of bluewater kayak fishing in Southeast Florida. Hinck has been bluewater kayak fishing for years now, long before the current upsurge in the sport’s popularity among inshore anglers. Hinck routinely catches kings, snapper, jacks and dolphin over structure as he drifts, and Fitzgerald details all the necessary know-how and cautions newbie kayakers need to know to explore their own offshore options in kayak fishing.

A few places in Florida you can catch pelagics in sight of shore. Palm Beach is one. Check out the rod assortment. Hinck goes out equipped.

 

Into the bag goes a king. Hinck carries a fish bag stuffed with frozen bottles of water because it’s more flexible on board than a hard cooler, and in emergencies he can thaw the water and drink it (and presumably eat the chilled sushi).

 

Hinck might be nonplussed fighting a kingfish within jumping distance of his carotid artery, but what about a sailfish or a bull shark? He’s met them up-close and personal as well. We urge caution. Go get ‘em!

 

Landmarks like piers and tall buildings make good terminal destinations for your trips because they’re easy to spot from a distance across the water when it’s time to head in, or when a surprise T-storm builds up.

 

Hinck’s adjustable, mounted console holds his depthfinder and his GPS antenna and transducer arm, mounted in PVC pipe that swings down in the rodholder when he’s on a spot and when he is cruising.

 

Rods are mounted in holders on the rear quarter of the kayak, where Hinck also keeps his tackle in a small fanny pack. Bring only the tackle that you’ll use on that trip, plus a little in case, but don’t bring all of it and expose it unduly to salt spray.

 

Triggerfish!

 

The pulley system on the kayak’s side allows Hinck to fix the position of his drift sock to counter effects of the wind and tides on his drifts and also to help position himself against strong-fighting fish. Notice the lanky butterfly jig rigged up.

 

Shaker dolphin like this one swarm nearshore summer waters, but their bigger brothers and sisters are usually not far away from them.

 

When it’s over, pack it up and drive home. No worries. All you need is a little extra garage space at home and you’re set.