Adventures of a kayak angler: Part 2
  |  First Published: June 2008

Kayak fishing can be extremely rewarding and is an excellent way to incorporate a bit of fitness into your fishing outings. Following last month’s article on a recent holiday I had on the NSW south coast, I thought I would continue recounting my successful break on the water.

On the third day of our holiday, I took my eldest daughter, 9-year-old Caitlin, for a dink in the back of my hobie Sport. Caitlin and I explored a reef off Casey’s Beach and while she did get a little wet because I forgot the rear deck plugs, her wet suit helped her stay warm in what was a quite coolish day. She really enjoyed learning how to use her half of the two-piece paddle too.

My younger daughter, Emily, also loves the kayaks and together we put the foot pedals into action to get over to the amazing pebble beach on Snapper Island, a fun five minutes peddle from Corrigans Beach. It’s a great little spot and the conditions were perfect to hear the smooth pebbles rolling back down the beach as each wave slid back down to the sea. If this sort of stuff isn’t natural therapy for the soul I don’t know what is!

I have access to whatever size boats I like any day of the week but the kayaks are a great way to teach kids about the basics of boating because they are so easy to understand and fun to use. They also make for real quality time with the littlies, not to mention the memories that can be made when things like dolphins swim over to say hello.

The following morning it was time for the dads to get in some serious fishing, so Mike Nicholls and I launched our hobies on a beach inside yet another of the many headlands along the south coast and did a little exploring along a deep drop-off. It was interesting to see that the larger boats couldn’t make it to the sheltered spots because the seas were up and the nearest all weather ramp was around 10km away.

My slapstik softie was nailed on the fourth cast in 15m of water and judging by the large tail beat the fish didn’t even know it was hooked. I turned the hobie towards the line so when the fish took off I could give chase – and boy didn’t the reel sing when the fish woke up.

I survived the first smoking run and the fish turned back towards the craft. Again the fish headed out to sea and my little salina reel hummed as 8lb braid weaved its way off the reel.

The whole time I was thinking big old man snapper, especially given the history of the slapstick lure and the classic snapper clunk when the fish first bit. Despite all my expectations, this part of the adventure ended prematurely and I will never know what the fish was because the line got cut clean, right near the lure.

A few minutes later a school of hammerhead sharks popped up just 10m away. They were only a meter or two in length but what a buzz to have these stealth machines utilizing the same bait school as I was.

I have never felt worried about seeing sharks this size while in the kayak, in fact I reckon it’s the surfers nearby who are the mad ones – I don’t think I could cope with my legs dangling in the water when shark fins are slicing through the water all around you.

While seeing shark fins is not new to seasoned ocean kayakers it was quite an introduction to kayaking for young Jason Hennah who was along for his very first ocean outing. He got used to it pretty quickly when he could see that he was safe, and this just magnified the adventure – he was stoked to be out there fishing.

For the record if you don’t like the thought of sharks being nearby then it’s pretty easy to avoid the known shark spots. Alternatively, you can look into products like shark shields.

The day glassed off for an hour or so and we could see the bottom in 14 meters of water! We caught a good variety of reef and pelagic fish – what a hoot!

The first really warm currents of the year had pushed in close and it was like an aquarium with even pairs of mowies clearly visible as they cruised past in mid-water.

Unfortunately, it was my last day out but what a booster the trip was and I’ll be back for more as soon as possible. See you on the water. – Rob Paxevanos

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