Always Have a Plan B

Always have a Plan B.

Each year I set several goals related to the outdoors and the stories I plan to write in this column. One of my goals this year was to catch fifty different species of fish from the kayak. I have had some time on the water, and have knocked off a few freshwater targets. However, in order to achieve the goal I knew I would have to hit the coast. With recent rains causing the rivers to rise out of control, and an upcoming kayak king mackerel tournament, I figured a quick trip to the coast would at least let me see how the kayak would handle the waves and boat wakes.

After reading several online reports, I set off to the Beaufort / Morehead City area. There were reports of both speckled trout and red drum hitting the waters there, specifically near the fuel storage tanks near Radio Island. I swapped out the freshwater gear for the salt water tackle box, loaded three rods and started the drive well before day break. I wanted to be there as the sun was rising. It also coincided with the low tide. The boat ramp there was busy, with a line of trucks with trailers waiting for one of the four ramps to open. I was finally able to sneak in on one of the smaller ramps, and slid the Old Town Predator 13 underneath the dock while I parked the truck.

After paddling down the sides of the inlet I searched for fish and casted. To save time in this story, let’s just say I did not catch anything. Skunked. Not even a bump of the bait. I noticed the boats anchored around the area were just as unsuccessful as I was. After a few hours, a little disappointed and the tide coming in hard, I considered calling it a day and heading back home. After about a half mile paddle I saw dozens of people on the pier near the boat ramps. They were not catching anything either. But with the shade of the bridge and train trestle, and a half pound of shrimp, I decided to give some good ole bottom fishing a try. My Plan B.

One of the rods had a bottom rig set up for just such an occasion. I positioned myself between the trestle and the bridge, with the tide pushing me towards the inlet. I took a piece of shrimp, tore it in two, and slid both pieces on to the two hooks of the bottom rig. I released the bail of the reel and just as I felt the three ounce sinker bounce on the bottom the line pulled. After setting the hook I reeled the line in and I had my first fish of the day. I continued to glance towards the pier. Still, no one was catching anything. I dropped the line a second time, and again, within just a few seconds, fish number two was surfacing. I did not catch any monsters. In fact one spot was smaller than the palm of my hand. Most were keeper size and I brought in six different species of bottom dwellers. My bait never stayed in the water more than thirty seconds. Fish after fish, I kept reeling them in.

The people on the pier took notice and casted their lines as close the bridge as possible, still falling several hundred feet short. I would bring in a couple of fish, paddle back between the bridge and trestle, drop the lines, and bring in a couple more fish. The wakes and waves never caused a problem, allowing me to gain even more confidence in my kayak’s stability. Overall, the day turned in to a great day, as I caught over fifty fish within a couple of hours of bottom fishing. Yes, Plan B worked well.

Kayaks Used

Predator Series

Prepare yourself for a totally new fishing experience. The Predator will bring you closer to the water and the action with highly customized features that are engineered to meet the needs of avid anglers and weekend warriors, alike. Read More