Dan Kibler: Kayaks, the way to fish now – Salisbury Post
Go fishing almost anywhere these days, and you’re bound to see more of one popular type of fishing boat than you’ve ever seen: kayaks.
Small and largemouth bass, sea bream, crappie, catfish, red drum, flounder, speckled trout, bluefish and even Spanish and king mackerel are just some of the species that kayak anglers regularly catch off the coast of North Carolina.
Paddle anglers are among the fastest growing group in the fishing market, and manufacturers of plastic boats and accessories have responded by devising all sorts of ways to put anglers in kayaks more easy to maneuver and fish.
Jerry Dilsaver could easily say, “I told you so.
Dilsaver, of Oak Island, is a former National King Mackerel Champion and a well-known speaker at fishing clubs and fishing shows throughout North Carolina. He visited a club in Greensboro earlier this month, speaking at a monthly dinner meeting.
These days, he talks about kayaks as much or more than anything, especially when he brings his personal 14-foot Hobie kayak as his centerpiece.
His boat is equipped with a pedal board, which means he does not need to use a paddle; it pedals like a cyclist, and a pair of “fins” under the hull of the boat propel the kayak forward or backward. There’s a depth finder in the top drawer, a comfortable seat, multiple rod holders, and space to hold tackle boxes and even live bait.
What is the draw? Well, the price of a 17ft fishing boat lately? You’ll probably have to buy a 20+ year old model to get down at the price of a rigged kayak as well as Dilsaver’s – and his is several times more expensive than most beginners even realize. This is part of it, but not almost all of it.
“I really think the thing is, you totally do it on your own, with just your kayak and your gear,” Dilsaver said. “Fishing from a kayak, you either give up or you become a better fisherman because you can’t pick it up and run 5 miles to another place; you have to learn to fish the water you are in.
“We can get into water that a lot of boats can’t get into, and you can throw one right out the back of your truck, find a bridge over a creek that looks fishy, drag it along the shore and throw it. I have fished mountain streams up to 1 ½ miles offshore.
Dilsaver advises beginners to start with a kayak that won’t strain their budget – but not a piece of fiberglass trash.
“There are two ways to approach the question,” he said. “If you’re absolutely sure you’re going to enjoy kayak fishing, it’s probably wise to go ahead and look at a top-tier kayak. If you are just exploring, you may be better served to find a good quality used boat. Don’t buy a $300 boat; get something with a bit of quality so you can see and decide if you want to step up.
When you’re hooked as surely as the fish you’re aiming for, you can start considering something like the Hobie that Dilsaver runs in the ICW, coastal rivers and creeks and even to the artificial reefs off his home. Oak Island.
“Don’t get in a jet-propelled kayak unless you’re ready to buy one, because it will ruin you. You’re used to not being able to cast and paddle at the same time. With a jet-propelled kayak, you can – and you can even troll.
“The more I get around Hobie engineers, the more I think they are the most innovative group there is.”
Another state record fish confirmed
The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries has certified the state’s first pompano dolphin record, and it could also be a world record.
Charles Noonan of Sumter, SC, caught the 11-pound, 5.4-ounce fish around an abandoned raft about 42 miles off Ocean Isle Beach on June 8.
The DMF certified the record – the first ever for this species, which is a cousin of the Mahi-mahi, another colorful fighter that grows noticeably. A key difference is that the pompano dolphinfish has a compressed head and dorsal fins that run the length of its body, unlike the Mahi-Mahi.
The current world record for pompano dolphinfish is an 8½ pound fish caught off the coast of Maryland in 2008.
Noonan’s fish was 30½ inches long and 17 ¼ inches in circumference. Caught him trolling with dead ballyhoo bait while fishing with Salt Fever Guide Service at Ocean Isle Beach.
More news from the NCDMF. The agency completed the removal of 68 material-laden barges from the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, which carries NC 12 over Oregon Inlet and was destroyed after being replaced by the Marc Basnight Bridge.
The 80,000 pounds of concrete were used to augment a handful of artificial reefs: AR-130, AR-140, AR-145 and AR-160 off Oregon Inlet, AR-250 and AR-255 off Ocracoke Inlet, AR-3420 off Beaufort Inlet and AR-340 off Bogue Inlet.
The remains of the Bonner Bridge constituted the largest amount of material associated with any artificial reef project in the history of the state’s artificial reef program.
The reefs off Holden Beach and Ocean Isle Beach have received around 1,500 tonnes of recycled concrete pipe through a program funded by sales of inshore recreational fishing licenses. Most of the pipe was damaged in Hurricane Florence.
The NCDMF has created 68 artificial reefs ranging from the beach to 38 miles offshore. They serve as spawning and feeding habitat for many species of fish.