Last weekend I was invited to once again speak at the 3rd annual Kayak Fishing with the Pros, at South River Outfitters in Stuart, Florida. At this seminar, several speakers talk about everything from rigging a kayak, tips to fishing from a kayak, lure presentation, and more. This year I spoke on a few topics, including how to effectively setup your kayak to increase your chances at landing more fish, tools to help you land your catches, and an effective way of finding fish via skip casting (just like skipping a stone instead you are using your rod to skip your bait under docks and vegetation). The event brought in more than 100 people with a lot of positive feedback that many people had learned new techniques at the event.
Fellow Hobie Fishing Team member, Butch Newell, was also at the event, speaking to and informing attendants about Hobie’s tandem sailing vessel, the Island. Butch and I heard about a nice cobia bite happening offshore so we mustered up some plans to sail out of the Stuart inlet in hopes of finding a few of the brown tasty treats. In case you didn’t know, cobia are one of the best eating fish in the ocean!
There is a local submerged barge a few miles south of the inlet, which was our first destination. Our plan was to pick up some bait there and then head out about another four miles offshore to where we heard the bite was at. We had looked at the weather report and knew that the winds would kick up later in the day around noontime to 15+ mph, which is great for sailing, but lo and behold, sporty sailing. Being the first time on a small sailing vessel I didn’t quite know what to expect, all I knew was that I was down for the adventure!
Butch has a lot of experience with adventure sailing, as he has taken trips for hundreds of miles in endurance races, solo, so I was fully confident riding tandem with him. The winds kicked up much quicker than expected and in unison so did the waves, up to four – six feet at times. He told me how they were not that bad during the daytime (which they weren’t as long as you knew your angle and speed going into them), but hitting them during the pitch black of the night is another story..
As we found a few turtles (cobia like to follow turtles, bull sharks, and manta rays) along the way in the rough water, unfortunately none held any cobia. Trolling lures and jigs turned out a bust as well as the chill of our water soaked clothing took over and the return trip to shore became our top priority. Sailing into 15 to now 20 mph winds meant we had to zig zag our craft in order for the sail to effectively use the wind while taking into consideration the angle of the kayak into the waves without getting soaked upon every collision. Butch had me layed out on one of the trampolines in order to gain some more speed and help weigh down that side so that the trampoline didn’t turn into a second sail and leave us capsized offshore. What a ride!
Once we made it past the rough water re-entering the inlet, land was our friend as it acted as a barrier from the wind and waves, which helped us increase our speed up to about nine knots. You could call the fishing part of this mission a bust but the adventure side of it was 100% successful. If you ever have the chance at riding a sailing vessel I would opt for you to get out and DO IT!
Mark is a competitive kayak tournament fisherman and loves sharing what he’s learned about kayak fishing. To reach him, feel free to e-mail him on his contact page.