September 17, 2012
The morning launch.
There are many kayak fishing clubs throughout Florida. If you are a kayak angler in Florida looking for new fishing buddies, all you have to do is a web search to find one near you. Usually, you will be welcomed with open arms and can instantly network with other kayak anglers in your area. You will also find that most of them are members of the Florida Sportsman forums as well.
With the hot summer weather and storms, I haven't been out fishing lately. I saw a small window of opportunity for a day on the water and posted it to the Southwest Florida kayaker's club site to see if anyone else wanted to go. In total, I met up with eight other local kayak anglers at Matlacha.
We met at dawn and unloaded all of our gear at the kayak ramp at Matlacha Park. I knew a few of the guys and met the rest as we launched into Matlacha Pass. We headed north along the western side toward Pine Island.
Right away there were fish.
We chased a couple of redfish off the flats we were crossing, followed by some rolling tarpon. After a short paddle, tarpon were all around me. I could not get one to even look at my Spook or my Gulp!, but I ended up landing a few small snook.
The group drifted apart and we had people stretched out from Matlacha half way up to Indian Field. I caught up with Ryan Warden (FS member ryan.warden) and Josh Fisher (FS member JOCOFI). We all had mixed results, but it was still early in the morning.
As we turned past the last island leading to the Indian Field's area, I could see Jim Van Pelt (FS member jvanpelt) in the distance. While drifting in his direction, I began to see the redfish I was looking for. After few casts with my bone colored Spook, a nice redfish too hungry to resist came to boatside.
I caught up to Jim and we started fishing a flats area we were familiar with. Jim had already landed a redfish and a trout before I arrived. We worked the flat till we circled the big island in the middle of it and ended up back in Matlacha Pass. Jim picked up his snook at a small point off the island and got his slam. We lost track of the other kayakers and figured they started heading back in, so we started our paddle back on the outside of the islands to the pass.
Jim fishing hard!
I threw a new penny-colored Gulp! out behind the kayak and began trolling for trout. Within a minute, I landed a trout to round out my slam. It was almost two o'clock by this time, and apart from some random casting to mangrove edges, we headed straight back.
As we approached the launch from the north side, we saw all the others arriving from the south side. It turned out that we all caught fish—six out of the nine of us got slams! Not bad for a “slow” day. One of our group members, Brian Harrison, said it was his first slam from a kayak. As we were loading up our gear, I see a familiar face walking toward me. Coby Pawlowski (FS member bobbkkat) had been fishing in the area and was doing well too.
In addition to reading and posting on the Florida Sportsman forums, all of the kayakers I fished with that day are members of a local angler's club, the Southwest Florida Kayak Angler's Association. There are many of these clubs around Florida and they are a great way to meet other kayak anglers in your area. If you are a member of a local kayaking club and would like your club featured, personal message me on the forum or shoot me an email at email@example.com.