Keen kayak angler Dave Magner takes a look at some bits and pieces which are worth taking on your next trip.
This is a problem that nearly all soft plastic kayak anglers have run into: the liquid contents of your soft plastics leak and turn everything into a slippery, stinking mess! It drives me crazy.
I find bio-baits, like Berkley’s Gulp Alive, to be brilliant at catching fish, but the juice these baits come in has become the bane of my existence. I just can’t seem to take a tub of it anywhere without tipping it over. It happens in the car, in the kayak and often in the bottom of my tackle bag.
And what’s worse is that if your spill too much of the liquid then the baits tend to go all hard and wrinkly, which renders them useless. What could be more irritating than getting onto a hot bite only to find that the one packet of lures which is doing the damage has sprung a leak and the contents has now turned into a shriveled up, dried out mess?
Luckily, Plano has come up with a great solution to this annoying problem with their Liqua-Bait Lockers (LBL). These handy little containers have been purpose designed for storing bio-bait type lures without any spills. They have o-ring seals in the cap that keeps them done up tight as a drum so you don’t have to worry about them getting tipped up or knocked over any more.
You can buy LBL bottles separately, but I recommend buying them as part of a kit Plano have put together. The kits consist of a LBL bottle and a clear plastic stowaway box which has been specially designed to hold the LBL bottle, as well as packets of soft plastics. As a nice touch, Plano have also included a pair of plastic tweezers they call bait grabbers. As the name implies, bait grabbers are used to get individual baits out of the bottles and save you from having to stick your fingers into all that juice.
The 4641 Stowaway Bait Storage kit is a real blessing when fishing out of my kayak. I keep a bucket full of Gulp in the LBL bottle and have stored all my extra packets of plastics and a box of jigheads in the other side. The whole thing can be safely tucked in the side pocket of my Hobie Pro Angler. That way, all my plastics are kept in the one spot, where they are easily accessible but out of the way. And I no longer have to worry about things getting covered in Gulp goodness by the end of the trip.
As every good kayaker knows, a decent set of lip grips are worth their weight in gold, simply because they make it so much easier to handle and unhook fish with sharp teeth and spiky bits. They also come in handy when you want to hold a fish in the water while you take a quick photo or two.
There are quite a few different types of lip grips around but lately I’ve been using a set of Pro-Fish Grips. I’ve found them to be brilliant for handling the usually estuary type species most kayakers will encounter.
There are a couple of things I really like about the Pro-Fish Grips. Firstly they are nice and light to use, as they are made of high grade aluminum alloy. Secondly, they have quite narrow offset jaws, which allows them to get a good grip on smaller mouthed species as easily as the bigger specimens.
They also have a 15kg scale built into the handle, which makes it easy to weigh fish which you are going to keep. Sporting anglers will find the scale is great for checking the drag tension on their reels.
The Pro-Fish Grip is well worth having onboard, but don’t forget to attach a lanyard!
For kayak anglers that are into more challenging offshore fishing then the Hook’em small short-handled gaff is ideal.
It’s such a compact size that it can be easily stowed and used from a seated position. It not only makes landing big fish easy single-handed, it is also great for immobilising and carrying larger specimens with sharp teeth. I’ve used mine on mackerel up to 10kg, and with fish of that size it makes much more sense than mucking around with lip grippers, especially in a kayak.
IMA are a Japanese lure manufacturer with a reputation for producing top quality minnow style lures. While they are not yet widely known in this country, the quality and variety of lures that Gladiator Tackle have started bringing in, that’s sure to change quickly.
Over the last few months, I’ve been field testing some of their snazziest little bream minnows and as you can see from the photo hereabouts, the quality and performance is right up there with the best of them. They carry the sticky sharp hardware and the paintjobs on these lures is absolutely top rate.
What has really caught my eye however, are some of the more unusual sinking lures which IMA make. I’ve played with a couple of larger stickbait style lures and they certainly are very different to anything else on the market. There is one in particular which does a brilliant imitation of a baby garfish and I’m picking it to be just the ticket for predators like jacks and barra.
Storage space is always at a premium in any small craft and this Kayak Vest from Plano is a great way to transport all those little bits and pieces that you need.
It has several zippered compartments to hold small, bream or trout sized lures and there is even a foam fly holder built in. I find it is especially useful when fishing the estuaries, as I like to beach the kayak and wander around on the sandbanks, tossing lures and flies at flathead.
Anglers fishing out of basic kayaks that don’t have a lot of built in storage will find it particularly useful.
While the Cooper anchor is not built especially for kayak anglers, I’ve found it to be ideal.
It’s great for either securing your craft up on the sand while you take a wander around, or for anchoring around structure and drop-offs while you fish the area.
Best of all, being plastic means it doesn’t rattle around making a lot of noise and won’t damage your kayak. This anchor is capable of holding quite a large tinny, and I’d love to see a slightly smaller and more compact model made just for kayaks.
Vacuum storage systems have been around for quite a while now, and the ZipVac food storage system is great for kayak anglers. The hand operated vacuum pump means no need for electricity, so you can use it anywhere.
The kit I have been using is designed to prepare food for freezing, which it does remarkably well. You simply place your fish fillets or other perishable food into the bag, do up the zip seal and pump all the air out. The food can be frozen and will last a lot longer in the freezer.
Stored in individual bags, different types of food can also be kept in the same esky without worrying about cross contamination. The bags can be reused a number of times and once you get home, you simply turn them inside out and pop them in the dishwasher and they will be ready to go again for the next trip.
Kayak anglers might also find the larger bags ideal for storing stuff you want to keep dry, such as clothes and valuables. It will take up precious little room on your kayak or canoe. It will also stay dry until you need it, just like a dry bag but more compact.Reads: 3021