You lucky folks in warmer climates don't have to worry about this but us here in the northeast are at that time of the year again. It's the time when the saltwater gamefish leave for warmer water and the freshwater fish are in hibernation mode and not very active. Morning temps are unbearably cold and eventually the ponds and lakes will be frozen until spring. So what do us kayak anglers do this time of the year?
Currently we are having some above average temperatures so now is the time to get in some late season kayak fishing. I have taken advantage and set out targeting trout, pickerel, and panfish which stay active in colder weather. It can be very tricky this time of the year because the fish are less active and on top of it I am not too much of a freshwater angler. I fish about 99% saltwater. However it beats not getting out at all. I have also been getting out cod fishing which can be very good during New England winters. I usually take large party boats offshore to target these fish. During the winter it is possible to catch them closer inshore from a kayak but you're best bet is to hit deep offshore spots. These fish can get very big and fight very well. Not to mention they also taste excellent.
When the ponds and lakes freeze that opens open another option, ice fishing. I typically try to get out about 10 times during the winter. I target bass, pike, pickerel and panfish. It can be very changeling but it is also very fun. I also continue to take offshore trips for cod during this time of the year.
When not fishing I take advantage of the spare time during the winter to service my reels and other fishing gear. Kayak fishing takes a beating on your gear so this is very important. I open all my reels and remove all the salt, sand and old grease. I then apply new oil and grease and reassemble the reel. I also check all the hardware on my kayak for corrosion and any weakening. This includes screws, bolts and rivets. If any hardware needs to be replaced now is the time to do it, not when you start taking on water. It's also a good idea to check your electronics, batteries, lights and safety equipment. Make sure everything powers on and use a voltmeter to check batteries. Doing these things will ensure that you will have an enjoyable fishing season and not waste time fixing stuff when you should be fishing.
Keeping busy during the winter will help time pass and you might actually find that you enjoy ice fishing and cod fishing too. Before you know it it will be spring and you'll be catching schoolies covered in sea lice.