Each issue, Kayak Angler chooses a reader’s fishing story to share with the world. From the Galveston, Texas area to New Brunswick in Canada, here are three fun fish tales that made the cut and graced our pages in 2022.
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1 Winner, Winner!
Tennessee angler CJ Bennett wagers with her husband on the biggest fish of the day. Read on to see who came away a little bit richer from one afternoon on the water.
Rock Island State Park is always amazing. There is nothing like sitting in a kayak listening to the sounds of the small waterfalls that dot the edge of the river. It’s not uncommon to see deer and bald eagles at Rock Island.
My husband, James, and I had been anxiously waiting for a cool snap to lower humidity and water temperature and signal the fall bite.
Whenever we fish, James and I have a little bet going: whoever catches the best fish wins $5. Usually, I’m the one who ends up richer, but that wasn’t the case this day.
I threw every lure known to man and could not get a bite. James had caught a couple small fish. Then, before the end of the day, he started yelling. “Fish on!” I rolled my eyes and turned my kayak around in time to see James lift up an absolute hoss smallmouth. I was pretty jealous, but I quickly took a photograph before James released the beast back to the safe confines of the rocky river below.
James was $5 richer and earned himself a personal best smallmouth. —CJ Bennett
2 Dinosaur Hunting
With so many variables affecting fishing, from weather to water conditions, it is a rare occurrence when everything works out for an epic day on the water. Kayak Angler reader Darrin Moran and friend Travis Melanson share their story of a perfect sturgeon fishing trip on the Kennebecasis River in New Brunswick, Canada.
Not all fishing days go as planned, but every once in a while, things work out in my favor.
On this occasion, I was fishing for shortnose sturgeon with close friend Travis Melanson at a well known location called Sturgeon Alley. With perfect weather and water conditions, we were sure the fish gods would smile on us.
We were on the water by mid-day. Luckily, the fishing area is close to the kayak launch and in a few minutes we were anchored in swift current along an 18- to 30-foot drop.
We anchored about 20 feet apart, so we could talk and joke while getting set up and waiting for a bite. We didn’t wait long.
Travis was anchored directly over the depth transition and I was a little farther off the drop. This turned out to be good for Travis: for every fish I caught, he caught three.
As soon as Travis cast out his bait, he would get a bite. Then, Travis would fight the sturgeon to the kayak, measure it, take a photo, admire its prehistoric beauty and release the giant back into the water. On his next cast, as soon as the bait hit the bottom, Travis would say, “D, I got another bite.”
Travis had the hot spot, but I was able to catch my fill of big sturgeon, too. I’m glad Travis took these great photos of a fishing trip when everything was perfect. —Darrin Moran
3 Reds on the Fly
Kayak Angler reader and Hobie fishing team member, Ben Maldonado grabbed his fly rod and hit the marsh around Galveston, Texas. Late-season cold water drives local redfish to the deepest channels in the marsh. Maldonado took advantage to score his best day of fly fishing for reds.
On a cool fall evening, I hit the marsh after work. I knew redfish were cruising the area and I was confident enough to leave my spinning gear at home and grab my fly rod.
I worked the marsh for over an hour without success. When I found a small drain rushing out of the marsh, I investigated closer. Shrimp popping out of the water gave away predators below.
I quickly cast my Kwan shrimp fly into the action. An upper slot-size redfish hammered the fly. Winter fish are lethargic, with a very subtle bite. Properly setting the hook wakes them up. —Ben Maldonado
Take a chance and score on skinny water redfish. | Feature photo: Ben Maldonado