Saltwater kayak fishing trip to Florida

Discussion in 'Kayak Fishing' started by vgb, Jul 3, 2020.

  1. vgb

    vgb Active Member

    This is a report of 4 days of saltwater fishing in south Florida, from a kayak. It was my first time fishing in FL, so I wanted something special for the dream trip, hence the kayak part. I fished with Brian Nelli, from Pushin' Water Kayak Charters (

    This was actually a redo of a trip initially planned for early April, but postponed due to Covid ... Little did I know that I missed the best part of the fishing season, and I arrived in West Palm Beach in the middle of a very slow fishing action. Fish were sporadic at best and the conditions were brutal, for me at least - heat, humidity, virtually no wind the first 3 days and an incredible lack of current (an average of .5 knots); the third day the current switched on - 3 knots. All this meant a lot of pedaling ... 3 days we fished West Palm Beach and the 4th we moved to Pompano Beach.

    My main objective was to jig and pop :D so I brought my own setups that I fished. For speed jigging - Jigstar Ninja 100-300g, with a Seigler SGN and PE4; slow jigging - Yamaga Blanks Galahad Slow 63/3, Maxel Hybrid 20/25 (I switched between the 2) and PE2; light popping - Zenith Castism 73L, Daiwa Blast 4000h and PE3. The popping setup was not used at all. Depending on the depth and current speed I used jigs from 80g to 160g, with 100g and 120g seeing most action. All manner of jigs, long, slow pitch, inchiku etc. The only equipment failure was a split ring, when an average blackfin took the jig and hooks and left me with the barrel swivel; oh well ...

    As a side note, Brian is an excellent angler (winner of many kayaking competitions) and knows his waters very well. We moved around a lot, covering different structures (wrecks, shallower reefs, drop-offs, current lines) to try to get to different species of fish. We were flexible in trying to find fish and replicating the patterns that worked.

    First, what didn't work: jigging over wrecks - we hit over a dozen wrecks in 2 days, looking for AJs, groupers and what have you; nothing seemed to entice a bite and the fish finder didn't mark many fish. Trolling with live gogle-eyes surprisingly didn't work either, although we only tried that for 3 hours (I'm not a fan but would have loved a sailfish or a big king mackerel). Jigging shallow reefs only produced small mutton snappers, yellow jacks and some bottom species I wasn't familiar with. The nicest mutton I hooked got sharked, and all I got was a sled ride :D

    And now, what worked: jigging for pelagics in deep water (100-120 meters) on some drop-offs with current lines. I was excited by the thought of jigging for pelagics from a kayak and was dully rewarded with blackfin tuna (not very big, largest for me a little over 10lbs, although Brian hooked up with a nice 25-pounder), false albacore or bonita as they're called in FL up to 20lbs (my PB) and the odd king mackerel. The technique involved dropping the jig to the bottom, reeling about 30feet up and kinda waiting to mark fish; then jig! I know, not very sophisticated but it produced. Both slow and speed jigging worked equally well and I only changed between setups when I wanted a lighter line to drop jig faster.

    To conclude, I would love to do it again and would try to go in April-May. Even if not exactly cheap, going with a guide that provides kayak (and the odd equipment), knows the spots, is open minded and accommodating to whatever one wants to try, is very convenient, all things considered. Again, I highly recommend Brian.

    And some pics

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
  2. Stevo

    Stevo Well-Known Member

    Good job . Sometimes you learn more when you don’t catch or catch less. Experience is something you cannot buy. I used to do something similar but we would be 2-4 guys with our own kayaks and gear and we would hire a guide for the day. Kings in a kayak are fun
    Gonefishings and vgb like this.