Fishing From a Kayak

kayak fishing

Why Fish From a Kayak?

Kayaking has grown substantially as a water sport over the last several years—and fishermen are taking advantage of it. Many kayaks now come with fishing rod holders and live wells, and for those that don’t you can easy buy parts to attach your own.

Kayaks are obviously cheaper than boats, and the running and upkeep of them is also significantly less. You can pick up a Kayak to go fishing pretty inexpensively.  You don’t have expensive batteries to charge or replace, you don’t have to fill it with gas, you don’t have to have a trailer, and your kayak does not have to be registered, so long as it has no motor.

But other than the obvious—

Why are so many fishermen trying out kayak fishing?

 

Well, here are 6 reasons kayak fishing has exploded in popularity:

 

Kayak fishing is cheap.

As mentioned before, there’s no fuel, insurance, storage, launch fees, motor and battery upkeep, trailer upkeep… I could go on. After the initial costs, you pretty much run for free. It’s important to remember what you need though—the kayak (which can run you anywhere from $150 to over $1000 depending on what you get and which brand it is), the paddle, and a life vest. Also useful to get would be an anchor, a dry bag, a small tackle box, a small ice chest, some bungee cords, and comfortable seat if your kayak doesn’t come with one. Assuming you already own the fishing tackle, that’s not too bad of an upfront cost compared to a motorboat.  Click Here to look for Kayak fishing stuff

 

Kayaks are comfortable.

There have been so many improvements to kayaks—fully raised chairs, comfortable seat backs, drink holders. All of your gear is within arm’s reach of you. And you learn exactly the items you truly need to bring.

 

Kayaks are stealthy.

A kayak is quieter and less noticeable to fish than any motor boat. You don’t even have a trolling motor to make noise. In a kayak, the pressure from the bow of the boat is so little that there are not even small ripples to scare fish away. You can even add to your stealth by adhering stealth rubber to every spot on your boat that you lay paddles, tackle boxes and rods.

 

It’s easier to cast from a kayak.

When you cast from a motor boat, it is mostly perpendicular to the bank and your lure swims from shallow water to deep. When you’re in a kayak, you have a major advantage by placing your kayak right on the marsh grass. Then you can cast up the grass line and retrieve along the grass. This is typically where a lot of fish are. When you cast into open water from the shoreline, the lure swims the natural path of a bait fish—from deep to shallow water.

 

Kayaks can get anywhere.

Speaking of placing your kayak on the marsh grass—with a boat, you can’t do this. Kayaks can fit into almost anywhere. In Louisiana marshes, there are so many small inlets and pockets that boats can’t fit, but you’ll find that your kayak can!  They may not work out for deep sea fishing for Mahi Mahi – but you get the point. 

 

Kayaks are more fun even when you aren’t catching fish.

Unfortunately, there is always that one day where not a single fish will bite. Because a kayak is so stealthy, you’re likely to see tons of other wildlife around that you wouldn’t see in a boat. Also, you can take your kayak out for the day just for sightseeing or exercise, and you won’t be wasting tons of money on gas. Even if you’ve bought a fishing kayak, you can load that thing down for a scenic day trip for just as much fun!

Read More About Kayak Fishing

Tuna Fishing in the Gulf

tuna fishing in louisiana

Fishing out of Venice La

The Gulf Coast of Louisiana offers some of the best fishing in the country all year long. The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico are host to many species of sport fish. A favorite among professional charter fishermen is the Yellowfin Tuna. They travel in large schools and swim fast and hard making them an exciting challenge for everyone from the beginner to the seasoned angler. They can be caught in open waters but, the best places to catch Yellowfin Tuna are close to the floating oil rigs. There are plenty of oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico for everyone to fish around. Most fishing is done in the early hours or late hours of the day when the fish are feeding. But, the best time to catch Yellowfin Tuna is at night.

Catching Tuna in the Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico Fishing

The oil and gas rigs range from 1 or 2 miles off shore to out past 100 miles from shore. The deep-water floating rigs offer the best potential for filling the ice chest. The first thing to do is stop early for some bait fish. Depending on when and where you stop for bait you may end up fighting with sharks and losing a couple of bait fish. Some of the bait fish will be used as chum and some as live bait. Once filled up with a nice supply of bait it’s on to the deep water.

Deep Water Fishing for Tuna

Once at the deep-water rigs it’s time to start chumming up the waters to attract the schools of Yellowfin Tuna. This is also going to attract other fish and more sharks. The important thing is to attract the tuna. Once things get rolling it is possible to fish for tuna and replenish the bait supply at the same time. Live bait is best for catching the big ones while the dead bait is best for chumming the waters. Most people fish for tuna in two ways. The first is trolling where live bait is slowly towed behind the boat and passed by the school of tuna. The second is floating or drifting past the schools of tuna. Since the tuna are close to the top of the water many anglers will also use a top water popper bait in combination with the live bait.

Tuna Fishing in the Gulf

Tuna Fishing Limits

With a limit of 3 fish per person and an average size of over 40lbs. a good trip has the potential to fill the freezer for a long time. Yellowfin Tuna can be caught in the daylight hours but the best time to catch them is at night. Trolling and drifting with live baits, chum, and top water popper baits are tried and true methods to catch a limit. Stick to the deep-water platforms and bring plenty of live bait.

Speckled Trout Out of Venice LA

speckled trout out of venice

Specks are Running

We are just into May and the speckled trout are running. May, June and July are by far the best time to fish for specks in Louisiana. They began entering our estuaries in April like invading mongols on a mission to EAT. This is their spawning season and they are looking to build up some energy by feasting on crustaceans and small fish. Schools of speckled trout (also known as spotted sea trout, spots, specks, yellow-mouths, and paper-mouths) will chase food from the barrier islands south of Cocodrie up throughout all of the coastal bays and bayous from now through the summer.  If you like catching fish, this is the time of year to catch your limit on this fun and tasty game fish.

Our Trip

On Wednesday, we put in at Venice, LA.  As many of the real fishermen in Louisiana already know, Venice is considered one of the best destinations for fishing in the country.  We went down to the place called “the rocks” at the end of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO or Mister Go as it is often called). The moment the first shrimp hit the water, the cork followed it straight down and I landed a beautiful 16″ trout. I caught six more that were generally the same size just about as fast as I could catch them. After back-to-back catches for about 15 minutes, they stopped biting. It was nothing gradual either. One moment it seemed like the fish were lining up for shrimp, and the next moment, if those fish had noses, they would most assuredly have been turned upwards because they did not like my shrimp any longer.

specked trout out of venice laOnce the specks stopped marauding my shrimp, I finally got a moment to pop open a cold drink and watch what was going on around me. I had been fishing close to the rocks, but about 30 feet out from the pile of rip rap, I could see the faint rippling of the water telling me that the bait fish were moving in with the tide. Using the trolling motor, we idled out along the rocks and put about 20 yards between the rocks and the boat and began drifting with the current of the incoming tide. Drifting for speckled trout is a time-worn method where you let your boat move with the current or breeze and slowly “troll” across the point that you have determined to be the ground zero for specks.  Some people argue that you should only drift fish on a cloudy day so that the fish are not spooked by the shadow of the boat passing across their school. I have been told that even if the speckled trout are spooked and dart away that they will regroup quickly enough and continue feeding. Monday was a beautiful sunny day. Any shadow the fish might have seen did not hurt our catch at all.

When we were positioned and cut the motor, I switched over to my jig setup with an artificial shad. Casting into the bait pod and reeling it back through the schools of minnows did not work at all, so I tried to tease the fish with a bit of a “drop and pop” motion. This did the trick because it drove them crazy. Over the next two hours, I caught my limit…twenty-five beautiful, delicious specks.  Several were  between 18” and 19’ long, and the biggest at 20 inches was right at three pounds.

What To Use To Catch Speckled Trout

speckled troutThis time of year, you usually only have to present a small assortment of bait to find what they are biting. They may not want the first bait you present, but the motivation to eat during the spawning season is imprinted on their DNA, so try the next bait until they bite.  Good choices for live bait are shrimp, small crabs, cacahoe minnows, bull minnows, croaker, pinfish, mullet, pogie or any similar sized fish. Shrimp is the most widely used and available, by far. I usually choose about a 2/0 hook and 12 pound test line just in case I hook into a “gator trout” which is what you call one of those “toothy” specks that over 25 inches long, about 8 or 9 years old and beginning to resemble an alligator.  I keep a variety of lures in my tackle box for bringing home speckled trout. These are made up of an assortment of plastic minnows and jig heads, split-tail beetles with spinners, crank baits, spoons and a few popping corks.

Besides being a haven for speckled trout, the rocks at the end of MRGO are home to jacks, redfish, drum, sheepshead, ladyfish, and sharks.  Most anglers launch in Venice to make the run of just over twenty miles to the rocks. While fishermen can be seen at the rocks at all times of the year, the fishing this month is the highlight of the year for specks.

2 Stroke vs 4 Stroke Outboard Motors

2 stroke and 4 stroke outboard motors

With all of the New Orleans fishing and fishing out of Venice LA, just about everyone in Louisiana has a boat.  Whether you are looking at a new boat and motor or you are looking to freshen your old boat up for the Spring fishing season with a new motor, choosing the right design is important. One of the largest investments in your boat is the type of outboard motor.  We will give a brief discussion of the differences between the 2 stroke and 4 stroke outboard motor for your next boat.

Many people are tasked with making a choice between a 2-stroke and a 4-stroke outboard motor for their fishing vessel. There are many factors that play a big part when choosing one over the other. Ever since its invention and release to the public, the 2-stroke outboard motor dominated the marine market. The man credited with producing the first reliable outboard motor was Ole Evinrude. In 1909 Ole produced a 2-stroke outboard motor that ran on an oil and gas mixture that eventually led to the creation of the Evinrude Motor Company. This 2-stroke design was the go-to power plant for almost all recreational boating. From small flat boats to larger offshore fishing rigs, the 2-stroke remained king for many decades. That is until recent years with new developments in technology helping the 4-stroke slide into the marine markets.

Difference Between a 2 Stroke and a 4 Stroke Motor

The 4 Stroke Motor

In the early years the 4-stroke marine outboards were large and very expensive to maintain. Developments over the years have helped the 4-stroke shed some weight to be closer to a 2-stroke of comparable output. Much like cars and trucks, consumers have some choices between EFI and DFI systems also. Both of which are much more efficient than carbureted engines. Although most of the smaller output motors around 5hp and 10hp are still carbureted. When it comes to the big block outboards of 150hp and 300hp, fuel injection is the way to go for efficiency over the long run.

Some of the things needed to consider when purchasing a new outboard, or a used one, are what types of activities will the motor be used for, what type of boat it will be installed on, locations to be running the boat, and cost of maintenance just to name a few. In the past 2-stroke motors were very load at high speeds and have a rough idle compared to a 4-stroke motor. While this is true for the most part, new technology and other advancements have made some 2-strokes almost as quiet as their 4-stroke counterparts. People wanting takeoff power have usually gone to the 2-stroke for the torque off the line. With advances in performance the 4-stroke now has takeoff power and long run efficiency to go with it. There are many models that are supercharged for increased performance and we all love forced induction.

outboard motorsWith quieter running and smoother idle a 4-stroke may be the way to go for trolling but maintenance costs are higher than with a 2-stroke. However, some of the newer 2-stroke Evinrude motors offer smoother idle, quieter running, and improved economy while keeping the simplicity of 2-stroke maintenance. If long runs are the primary use then the smooth operation and fuel economy of the 4-stroke may be where it’s at. If the primary location is protected waters a 4-stroke may be the only choice other than paddles. Another thing to keep in mind is that spare motor we rarely use but may come to depend on at some time.  

Whichever way you decide to go for your fishing vessel keep all the tasks you will perform when boating as well as the performance recommendations of the boat manufacturer in mind before making a final decision. An outboard is a rather large purchase for most people and a wrong buy can mean a lot of aggravation, frustration, and financial headaches down the road. Compare the pros and cons of each motor on your vessel and make an educated and confidant choice to power your outings on the water.

 

Spring Fishing in Venice, LA

Capt Troy

Venice, LA Fishing Heats Up

Year round fishing in Venice, LA is what makes this spot so appealing to sportsman from around the globe.  Those trophy Swordfish and Marlin are there for the taking, but know that the Spring months bring a vast migration of even more large game fish.

If you are looking for Charter fishing out of New Orleans, Venice Charters are the place to go during the early Spring months is one of the best due to the migration of the large schools of tuna and wahoo.  If you enjoy reeling in that supersized tuna, you can land yellowfin, some weighing up to 200lbs as they invade our gulf waters in early Spring.

Tuna Tuna Tuna

The yellowfin tuna is a strong fish, that is built for speed and to put up a good fight for any angler. The yellowfin is identified easily by it’s beautiful, metallic dark blue color on it’s back  that blends to a pretty yellowish-silver color on it’s belly.  You will notice a golden stripe on each side of it’s body and two dorsal fins, an anal fin, and two pectoral fins.  Using the services of an experienced Charter Captain in Venice, LA will help you identify each species of large game fish you reel in.

Historic “Midnight Lump”

Your trip should include a stop at the famous Midnight Lump.  The Midnight Lump is a vast mountain of salt under water that rises up to 200 ft at it’s surface peak.  You will find large numbers of big game fish lurking below, such as a variety of yellowfin, blackfin, and bluefin tuna.   This hot spot also provides large amberjacks, shark and mahi mahi, all searching for food.  The Spring and Summer months are best for fishing this well known spot, the Midnight Lump, but year round, you can land some of your largest gamefish at this location.

Trophy Fish

With Venice being one of the best destinations for fishing charters in the US, Our Charter Fishing Captains who fish out of Venice, LA will tell you more large trophy fish are caught off Venice, LA than anyplace else in the United States.  Family trips, corporate trips and even bachelor/bachelorette trips will provide a day, or even two of an experience you will cherish.

Book your New Orleans fishing charter trip today with an experienced Charter Fishing Captain out of Venice, LA and remember to bring your camera.

 

 

The Lionfish – Enemy to New Orleans Offshore Fishing

lionfish

The Lionfish Not a Native to The Gulf of Mexico

The Lionfish originate from the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea.  Lionfish began appearing in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, and they have now made our Gulf of Mexico home and are rapidly spreading throughout the region. The presence of the Lionfish has substantially affected New Orleans charter fishing.  It is believed that the Lionfish spread into the Gulf after they were introduced by people who had them in aquariums near the area of Southeast Florida in the 1980’s.  Louisiana fishing charter captains are watching and recording the migration and captures of this predator in the Gulf of Mexico.   This fish could impact the numbers of native fish in our region.

Lionfish Facts

  • It is not uncommon to find more than 100 lionfish on a small reef at one time
  • Lionfish possess 13 dorsal, 2 pelvic, and 3 anal spines that are venomous
  • An accidental stick from a Lionfish can be very painful
  • They have fins that are needle-sharp, and can easily penetrate wet suits
  • Lionfish are very elusive to the angler hook & line, making them difficult to catch
  • Lionfish have no natural predators in our area, nothing in our Gulf of Mexico will eat them except us!
  • Lionfish eat aggressively our native fish and crustaceans
  • The Lionfish has been observed eating prey up to 2/3 their own size!
  • Lionfish have shown the ability to withstand starvation for periods of up to 12 weeks.
  • Lionfish are found in higher densities in our Gulf of Mexico compared to other invaded regions
  • Lionfish in the Gulf of Mexico are capable of releasing up to an average of 27,000, but as high as 115,000 eggs as often as every 2-3 days.
  • Lionfish are typically white, with maroon stripes, but they have the ability to change colors to blend in with their environments over time.
  • You may also find Lionfish that are almost completely white or black.

Size Matters

LionfishAdult lionfish in the Gulf of Mexico can average approximately 9 inches long, and just over one-half pound in weight. Remember from the above list, they can eat prey up to 2/3 their own size.  The largest lionfish recorded in the Gulf of Mexico was 17.2 inches long. The world record lionfish was captured in Southeast Florida and was 18.5 inches long.  These numbers can certainly grow, as the amount of Lionfish are captured and recorded.

What to Do if you Capture this Predator

Well, for starters, be careful.  Handling this predator can lend to be quite painful if you are stuck by one of their many venomous fins.  Though the sticks have not shown to cause fatalities, they can cause swelling and extreme pain.  The Lionfish Coalition suggests using submersion in non-scalding hot water. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory or pain medications may also be helpful in reducing the pain and swelling associated with a lionfish sting. Allergic reactions or shock symptoms should be considered an emergency situation, and you need to seek immediate medical treatment.

Now, if you happen to “safely” capture a few Lionfish, their a quite a tasty meal.  Their meat is mild, sweet, and flaky. Lionfish can be prepared many ways and Lionfish are just as safe to eat as  Snapper and Grouper.  Use these tasty lil predators in chowder, sautéed, deep fried whole, even with lemon or lime in ceviche.

Recipes for Lionfish, Let’s Eat Them Before They Eat Our Native fish!

Fried Lionfish

Ingredients:

  • 42 ounces Lionfish fillets, patted dry
  • Flour (for coating)
  • 5 cloves of diced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 T. chopped fresh basil
  • lemon wedge for garnish

Preparation: Dredge fillets in flour to lightly dust. Place in sauté pan with small amount of hot butter over medium heat. Cook first side, careful not to burn.

Turn over fish when golden, and reduce heat. Add the garlic, tomatoes,  white wine and lemon juice. Cover and cook until fish is fork-tender.  Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Lionfish Ceviche

The acid from one or more types of citrus juices “cook” the fish, while flavors are added with  chilies, and herbs. Ceviche should only be made with the freshest of seafood.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juiceLionfish Ceviche
  • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 3 Tbs. fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • Pinch of sugar to taste
  • Pinch of salt to taste
  • 1/2 lb. lionfish fillets cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small, ripe avocado, pitted and cubed
  • 1/2 cup cubed cucumber
  • 2 serrano chilies, minced
  • 2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil

Directions:
In a glass or plastic bowl, stir together lemon, lime, and orange juices. Season with salt and just enough sugar to offset the acid of the citrus juice.

Cut the Lionfish filets into 1/2-inch cubes, and add to the citrus juice. Be sure to Completely cover the fish with the citrus juices, this basically “cooks” the fish with the acids. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, chilies, cilantro, and mint and stir to combine.

Transfer the fish to a colander and drain for several seconds. Once drained, add the fish to the tomato mixture and mix.

Drizzle with the combined ingredients with oil and salt to taste

Divide the ceviche among four small bowls and serve immediately.

 

If you are interested, click the lionfish records link for the current Gulf States lionfish records, and to report a state record in the Gulf of Mexico that you have captured, please contact the Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition for instructions