Kayak Angler profiled six kayak fishing pros on their stand-up fishing secrets. They gave us more tips, tricks and tactics than we could have imagined. Here, kayak fishing pro Bridgett shares some of her winning tactics with us.
Name: Bridgett Howard
Accomplishments/Accolades/Affiliations: Skinny Water Bass Kayak Angler • Jackson Kayak • Orion Coolers
Target fish: Black Bass
Location: Moving Waters of Middle Tennessee
Best boat: Jackson Kayak’s SUPerFISHal is tops for me in terms of stability, fishability and rigability! When folks think of a stand up paddleboard, they think they don’t have a chance standing to fish. I would challenge anyone to stand and fish from this platform! Because so much of the hull on this low-profile board is in contact with the water, lifting the it from the water creates an audible POP releasing the surface tension. You would fall off this board before you would flip it! The SUPerFISHal is rotomolded, not fiberglass as with many SUPs – a very good thing for anglers who are more apt to punish their ride by dragging across river rocks. The FISHal also excels in small, flatwater bodies of water.
Essential accessories? Tips for rigging: The 25q Orion Cooler is an essential piece of my SUPerFISHal rigging – padded seat, six different tie-down points, GearTrac for additional rod holders … not to mention lunch and cold beverages on a hot day! The JKrate Low is also always on my board. With three rod holders mounted and capacity for six 3600 series tackle boxes along with additional GearTrac for mounting a VISIPole or GoPro camera arm, it’s a great tackle-management system. I don’t personally use the fins that can be attached to the bottom of the FISHal, for both ease of transport and because it allows you to draft the board in as little as two inches of water. A Raymarine Dragonfly is powered by a fist-sized waterproof Nocqua battery and rigged on the deck with a four-inch piece of GearTrack. My Redfox speaker is generally set up on the deck as well, and running a drag chain under the handle on the bow makes for easy deployment. A small SealLine dry bag on the bow keeps cameras, snacks, and my Kokatat Otter rain jacket dry and at the ready. While folks don’t necessarily think you need a PFD on a SUP, it’s as essential a piece of my gear on my board as my paddle. I use a traditional double-bladed 250cm Werner Kalliste paddle, which makes for easy paddling while standing, sitting on my Orion or flush on the deck.
Stand-up tips? Suggestions for standing-up, staying-up, sitting down. Comfort, stability…. Spread your feet as wide as possible, keep your knees bent and one foot slightly in front of the other – this will go a long way in maintaining stability while standing. Because the Orion Cooler sits significantly higher than a traditional kayak seat, transitioning from sitting to standing and vice versa is a breeze. Everything on your ride should either float or be tethered to your kayak – accidents will happen at the most inopportune times!
Sight Fishing Tips: See more fish, hook more fish, catch more fish… Standing to fish brings very specific advantages, including increased visibility of both fish and structure, more accurate casting and a facilitated hook set. Working a Texas-rigged tube along a brush pile and seeing a bronze bullet flash out of the shadows is a surefire way to test your patience. For many, the immediate reaction is to swing on the fish as soon as they see them swipe at the lure, frequently snatching the lure away from the predatory bass. Its important to wait until the fish turns away before setting the hook over your shoulder *hard* opposite the direction the fish is moving. The additional leverage you can apply because of your elevated position means an increase in hookup percentage, and the stability of the SUPerFISHal means you can set that hook like you mean it!