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Wednesday, 19 November 2014 00:00

Working with the Wind

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Before I ever load up my kayak to hit the water, I always check the weather and wind forecast. Unlike our powerboat brethren, we have no trolling motor or outboard to prevent the wind from pushing us around. That burden lies solely on our paddle, pedals, or anchor system.

As a general rule, if the winds are forecast to be greater than 15 kts, I stay home. If they are around 10-15 kts, I pull up Google Maps and try to find areas of protected water. Winds 10 kts and less is fair game for me, and my paddling/pedaling opens up to whichever part of the lake or bay I want to go after that day. Once you have determined the wind speed and direction, and have made the decision to load up the kayak, you should consider how you are going to use the wind to your advantage.

Another rule that I use religiously is to paddle/pedal into the wind to start my day. By doing so, I make my return trip home easier, with the obvious benefits of the tailwind pushing me back to the launch. I also paddle into the wind because I am looking to use the wind to set up my drift over areas I want to fish. Once I see an area that looks promising, I paddle past it, get my gear ready, stow my paddle, and start to fish. By paddling into the wind past the target area, I can relax and let the wind do the work for me. When the wind pushes me too far, I pick up the paddle, make my way back into the headwind, and set up for the next drift.

Here are some additional accessories to help you conquer the wind:

♦ Sails: Several manufacturers offer kayak-specific sails. I use a wind paddle sail on my Jackson Kayak “Cuda 14”. Used in conjunction with my rudder, this setup offers a relaxing cruise back to the launch after a long day paddling into a headwind.

♦ Drift chute: A simple and clever idea. It’s like an underwater parachute that slows your drift and gives you more casts into your targeted area.

♦ Anchor: Nothing helps beat the frustration of the wind blowing you around better than an anchor. Be careful how you set it up in high winds; you can get into some dangerous situations. I tend to stay away from anchoring if the winds are higher than 10 kts.

I hope these simple tips make your trips more enjoyable. Several times I have come back from a rather windy fishing trip and wished I had used some of these tips. Always check the wind and use it to your advantage. Tight Lines!

Read 4541 times Last modified on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 09:45

Greg Sterley

Greg is an active duty Army Officer and AH-64D Apache Pilot. He started kayak fishing in the summer of 2011 with his father at his home away from home in Destin, Florida as a cheap way to get on the bay and out into the gulf of mexico. Greg loved kayak fishing so much that he soon forgot about buying a boat and has since owned four kayaks. Whenever he is not out fishing at his current duty station you can catch him working on his cars, shooting guns or enjoying the outdoors with his wife and two dogs.  

Website: catchmeifyoupaddle.blogspot.com

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# Minorcan 2014-11-19 10:25
Good article with great tips. Thanks for posting! I live on the East coast of Florida and have been considering getting a sail. This would let me take advantage of the wind and get to further away fishing spots.
# gssterl 2014-11-19 13:24
The sail is a great way to get you home after a long day on the water. Even with a 5 knot wind, I have been able to use the windpaddle.

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