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Tuesday, 24 June 2014 09:28

Kayak Angling For Freshwater Gators

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No we don't have Alligators or Crocodiles in the Great Lakes Region. We do have what is known as the fish of a thousand casts. Up until a few years ago you rarely saw Kayak Anglers targeting Muskie. The mention of inviting one of these Freshwater Gators into your small plastic floating vessel, would make even an experienced angler think you should maybe hire a guide and let him help you catch a Muskie in a charter.

For me it was the first time I went out for Muskie back in 2009, and up until then I hadn't even seen a Muskie close up. That changed about 15 minutes into my outing when I hooked up, trolling with a 6” Jointed Wood Perch, to a 48 inch healthy Muskie. To date I have caught many more but the elusive 50 incher (out of a kayak) is still on my bucket list.


As the sport grew there were many kayak anglers starting to target muskie. A couple of brothers from the Ottawa, Ontario area have caught many out of their kayaks, some over 50”. Here in the Windsor/Essex County area, we have some of the best Muskie fishing in North America. In the fall it is nothing to go out on the Detroit River near the mouth of Lake St. Clair and see anglers from all over the US and Canada hoping to catch a trophy. Seeing more than one fishing personality taping for their TV shows is a common site.

Muskie season opens up the first Saturday in June and and a group of kayak anglers that had yet to catch a Muskie decided to try their luck at Jigging the Mid Detroit River for Muskie before the species head out to Lake St. Clair for the summer.

The most common way to catch Muskie while jigging is with a heavy rod with at lest 65 pound braid and 100 pound fluorocarbon leaders attached to what has become the staple of Muskie baits while jigging, “The Bondy Bait”. They can weigh a minimum of 6 ounces and up to 11 ounces, and have large treble hooks with a silver Colarado Leaf that will spin off the tail of the lure.


This group all headed out to catch there 1st Muskie on a perfect weekend for fishing. They all had the necessary nets, and gear that you should have when targeting this large a fish. Over the course of the 2 days each of them caught their first Muskie and over the course of the next 7 days  caught several more and one of them landed a 50 inch trophy. Unfortunately he was by himself so all that he could show was a picture on his measuring board. For me I was only able to get out for one of the days and watched my only hook up spit the hook as I was about to net it.

To target Muskie you need patience and knowledge of how to handle them. Many have been either hooked by the flying trebles or cut by the sharp teeth. Jigging is done in the deep river channels, while casting and trolling are used on the lake, and back bays. Hooking a Muskie while jigging is one of my favorite experiences since I started fishing out of a kayak.

Read 6943 times Last modified on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 08:44
Richard Ofner

Richard Ofner started fishing in the fall of 2008 from a kayak, targeting all freshwater species. He has fished all over the Great Lakes Region from Lake Michigan, Lake Superior to the French River,  and Bay of Quinte in Eastern Ontario. Taking advantage of all the opportunities Southwestern Ontario has to offer, Richard seeks out trophy Muskie, Walleye and Bass which can all be caught minutes away from where he lives.  The last few years Richard has ventured into Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas participating in several Kayak Fishing Tournaments.

He has organized the Border City Classic, in Windsor, Ontario which has grown to become one of  the Great Lakes Region’s largest Kayak Fishing Events. It is also one of the Hobie World Qualifiers since 2014. 

During the winter months where he can't get on the water he will do seminars, work fishing and boat shows, and write for blogs to help promote the areas vast resource of fishing opportunities and helping others to discover the sport of kayak fishing. Taking videos and pictures on the water of other people fishing in kayaks has also expanded into his kayak fishing experience.  
As a Hobie Fishing Team Member you may see Richard out in one of his Mirage Driven Kayaks mainly targeting Walleye, Bass, and Muskie, and will travel a few hours to target Salmon, Trout, and Sturgeon.

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