There’s only one way & that’s the right way!
There’s only one way & that’s the right way!
By Alain Tardin
So the great debate continues as to which style of angling is the best! When we refer to which style of angling, we delve into the whole conventional ski boat, jet ski or kayak debate.
Having fished most of my life off of boats in the Cape waters and along the KZN coast, I used to think there was no better way to spend the day than out on the water on a boat with friends having a few laughs whilst “hopefully” landing some good fish. This all changed over the past few years after having the opportunity to spend some time fishing off jet skis along the East Coast, which I immediately fell in love with, and swore that THIS was now the best way to fish.
That too was superseded by something that is in fact the simplest of them all when it comes to our friend we love to hate, MR FINANCE. Imagine being able to fish all day and not have to worry about having to cough up for fuel, insurance costs and even those pricey items that always seem to need fixing on our beloved boats and jet skis?
Well it is thanks to a few local KZN legends like Brett Challenor who made it his mission to develop the ultimate in fishing kayaks that I was able to find my one true love. Which may possibly turn out to be my only love if my wife ever reads this article. Kayak fishing in my eyes is without a doubt the most exhilarating way to fish in the modern era.
Don’t get me wrong, spending a few days onboard a 52ft Catamaran, with tender boats ready to dart you off to the nearest drop off in search of your next best catch is an amazing experience. But if you have done that or spent most of your life fishing off vessels, be it commercially or recreationally, you will certainly appreciate the serene feeling one experiences from a day out tackling the oceans with nothing but you against the elements.
There is just something about paddling through the surf at first light, feeling the waves break over you, and making sure you are fresh and awake for the day ahead. If you ask many a kayak angler, they will all share their sentiments on the amazing silence kayak fishing brings to the table.
Not to mention the amazing hook up’s!!!! When that trusty Halco or livebait is out swimming at the back and gets smashed by whatever comes its way, it’s all systems go as the race begins to land your catch in the hatch.
The sound you get from a screaming reel along with the vibrations being sent all the way through the kayak taking you from zero to hero in split seconds is without a doubt the best way to send any anglers heart from 0-180 in a split second.
Looking at kayak fishing as a whole, I would have to say one of the stand out things for me besides the cost to actually participate in this sport would be the good old saying, “location, location, location”
One can simply pick their spot and launch! Often with a boat or jet ski we tend to be limited with launch sites whereas the kayak anglers can launch at their on free will. This would obviously depend on the surf as this can get really gnarly and, take my word for it, it’s not fun getting caught in the middle of a set.
Secondly, they are fun for the whole family when travelling in the bigger scheme of things. Loading 4 kayaks onto a trailer to Mozambique’s hot spots is by far the easier option when we take into consideration the sandy areas and hassle free (said no one ever) border control officials.
With the technological improvements these days with fishing kayaks, one can simply enjoy the stability and fish-ability that any angler could wish for.Many have state of the art high definition GPS/fish finder units with small onboard live wells for the bait. Fitted with rod holders and the center storage console to keep the days catch, it is truly a boat whereby you are the motors.
Call it luck or call it skill, believe it or not I have caught more species of fish from a kayak than any of my years onboard motorized vessels. The answer one would say is simply because they are quieter, look more like a floating log and simply don’t fly up and down scaring half the ocean away.
I might also add that apart from the whole going green with zero emissions factor that many love about kayak fishing, it certainly does seem to be attracting a good following of catch and release anglers who simply want to document their latest catch on video and share it with the world. As the sport grows, so do to catches as anglers race to see who can land the biggest of each species off a kayak where many thought it not possible before.
Just the other day I had a discussion with a kayak angler who would like to attempt taking on the mighty Yellowfin Tuna in the Cape waters. Would this be possible? I would certainly give it a go, knowing however that I may be in for a good few hours fight as the Yellowfin Tuna in the Cape are known to get over 100kg’s. The only issue with this would be the fact that when hooked in these waters, they tend to shoot straight down to 300 plus meters, which could pose a problem on a kayak when hanging on for dear life. Having chartered many clients in these waters and attempting to catch some of the monsters on super light tackle, I would say it is possible BUT it would be a fight second to none.
With that said, kayak angling is growing in tremendous leaps and bounds and with many of us trading in the costly jet skis and boats to have a peaceful day out on the water, I look forward to seeing where things will be 10 years from now. Already inland I am seeing bass fisherman catching on to this trend and rigging out their kayaks to go on the hunt for some bass and carp followed by a good old-fashioned South African braai on the waters edge with the family.
So if you fancy yourself a true die-hard fisherman, or would love to get out on the water and catch these magnificent fish that our oceans have to offer, then do yourself a favor and get a kayak. Boats are great, jet skis are great, but trust me on this one, you haven’t lived until you have lived the kayak anglers way!
From professional swimmer to radio and television presenter, fishing has always been my passion in life. From a young age you could find me at the local dam or estuary hunting what may lurk beneath.
Retiring from international sport to starting my very own charter business In Cape Town, I now dedicate my life to one simple rule…. Make enough money to fish the world… Most of all, document the journey and enjoy the ride!!!!