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Tuesday, 26 August 2014 00:00

My Kayak Fishing Big Five Trophy Fish

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Since I began kayak fishing over a decade ago I have dreamed about certain fish. I love catching all varieties of the underwater dwellers but I feel drawn to the challenge of these five.

Some of these fish are harder to catch than the others and location plays into why they make the list. Style of fishing also does. I’m from West Texas where scrub brush is welcome shade but the salt air of the coast has always called me. You’ll see that on the list as well. Without further ado, my Big Five:

#5 A Double Digit Largemouth Bass

The elusive ten pound largemouth is the only fish on this list I’ve almost conquered. Two times in my life (both in the last two years) I’ve had a double digit just out of net range. Both of them came up to the top and made a huge ruckus, dove deep, came back to the surface, jumped to the moon and spit the hook while giving me a wink and a smirk. I know where they live. Convincing them to join me for a quick bite is a whole different story.

#4 An 80 Inch Tarpon

I have contemplated moving to Florida just to knock this one off the list. An big silver rocket has been in my dreams for as long as I can remember. There is something majestic about these beasts. I want to ride the lightning. I’m not interested in catching a dock dweller. I want an untrained tarpon to bring up to the kayak on heavy enough gear to where it’ll swim away.

#3 A Fat Daddy Rooster from Costa Rica


The frequency that my friends in Costa Rica catch big roosters is startling. I first saw one a few years ago on a television show where they were catching them from a boat. I saw the power the fish had and wanted to try to tame one from a kayak. I didn’t know if it was possible but have since seen dozens of people land them from a kayak. Photo by Ralph Solano-Sojo of Costa Rica Sport Fishing


#2 Any Billfish

Since I started fishing as a preschooler I’ve had a soft spot for marlin, sails and swords. The chances of catching one in Texas are slimmer than slim so traveling east is a necessity but still not a guarantee. As an apex predator, the bills are almost atop the list and if they were a little more frequently caught, they might be.


#1 A 50 Inch Bull Red


I’ve landed reds over 30 inches. I’ve put friends on 40 inch bulls but never have I been pulled around in my kayak by a 50 inch bull. I see the pictures of the bronzey red giants in friends’ pictures and it becomes hard to think about anything else. I’m hoping to get a good weather window in October and try again but you just never know. One day Bull Red! One Day!

Read 4732 times Last modified on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 05:43
Chris Payne

I've been fishing over 30 years and the majority of my time on the water has been spent in Texas with the occasional trips out of state. In 2003 I bought my first kayak and a new era in my fishing life was born. I learned the ropes quickly about gear, paddling, fishing, packing, safety and got a degree from the school of hard knocks with a major in kayak fishing. I learned a lot of ways to not do something.

I love kayak fishing and I want to share it with as many people as possible. That's the bottom line. 


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+1 # IndianaYakFish 2014-08-26 00:10
Another nice write up Chris. Costa Rica rooster fish...oh yeah buddy!
# paynefish 2014-08-26 07:43
Thanks! I'd love to knock a few of these off my list in the next year. The rooster may be the last I get to do.
# Kayak_angler 2014-08-26 15:00
That is quite a list and it would be great to conquer. Goals are always good to write down which gives you something to strive for. Good luck on reaching your goals.
# Westwindmike 2014-08-26 19:25
Good list. I hope you get them all!

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