Kayak Fishing Ultimate Resource

Friday, 21 December 2018 08:54

Tether for Low Tides

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 Tethers, they said, were useful for shallow water inshore fishing.  I’ve had a tether on my kayaks ever since and found them essential if you want to fish any type of water WITH the kayak instead of FROM the kayak.
When I acquired my first kayak in the late-1990s-a Liquid Logic Manta Ray-the manufacturer had a You-tube video online showing how to attach a tether to the Manta Ray.  Tethers, they said, were useful for shallow water inshore fishing.  I’ve had a tether on my kayaks ever since and found them essential if you want to fish any type of water WITH the kayak instead of FROM the kayak.
Open water inshore flats are subject to two forces that can make fishing from a kayak a challenge at times—wind and tide.  A properly configured tether can help you ignore the wind and take advantage of the tides.  My experiences are centered around the extensive inshore flats of the Clearwater-Tampa Bay-Sarasota Bay area, but should be relevant to any area with open water and shallow grass flats/sandbars.  I’ve been able to spend about 30 days each year through all seasons for the last several years fishing the flats with my Caribbean 12 Angler, which I have stashed in the area. 
My optimal time to visit is during days with negative low tides.  It is during the low tide period—both falling and rising—that I find and catch the most fish fishing with not from the kayak.  Wade fishing from shoreline access is relatively common around inshore flats.  It is not unusual to find anglers waist deep 100s of yards offshore tossing bait, lures or fly fishing.  But they are limited as to where and how far they can go.  Eventually rising tides or deep water will force them back.  Most of the kayak anglers I encounter are fishing from their kayaks in deeper waters, even at low tides.  When it is windy and/or if the tide is running strong, it can be difficult to maintain contact with the best spots and to make accurate presentations. My solution has been to focus on areas that can’t be reached by shore bound anglers and most powerboats at low tides but provide the same wading opportunities.
 I look for grass flats and sandbars that are exposed or partially exposed during most negative low tides but are adjacent to deeper holes or channels.  This is where the tethered kayak excels in my view.  Once you find these areas, they are easily exploited in all seasons.  Ideally, you reach one of these flats on a falling tide.  If the depth is three feet or less (about waist deep), you exit the kayak and begin wading the edge.  Depending on the extent of the flats, channels and holes you can fish them on foot until the tide turns, and depths increase beyond your wading tolerance.  All the while, the kayak has been tethered to your waist and followed you around.  Although I do have a stakeout pole, I prefer having my kayak close at hand—tethered--while I cover sometimes a half-mile or more of flats.  I don’t like carrying a lot of gear on my person and don’t want to have to walk 100 yards back to the kayak to change something.
Deep holes and natural channels usually have uneven or undulating edges.  Manmade channels usually have more defined and regular edges.  Both will hold fish anywhere from the bottom to the grassy edges, especially when the tide is flowing.  Fishing these edges from a kayak during low tide regimes is not nearly as effective as fishing them from the shallow edge while wading.  My arsenal includes two fly rods and one spinning rod.  I fish a 7 weight with a 200 grain 30’ sink tip and an 8 weight with a floating line.  The spinning rod is used for plastics and hard baits, especially topwater.  As I wade along the edge, I can cast flies or artificial baits with precision into holes or channels.  From experience, I know where the best structure is and can focus multiple casts into likely holding water.  Casting parallel to the edge is an effective way to cover a lot of water. Sometimes I locate spots that hold multiple fish where I can concentrate casts until the fish are exhausted.  All the while, my kayak is safely out of the way, tethered to my waist.  Wind might determine which direction I fish but doesn’t blow me off productive waters.  When I finish a productive edge, the kayak becomes my transportation to the next spot.
A recent experience is a good example of how wading with a tethered kayak on isolated flats can put you on to some good fishing.  A negative low tide (-.5’) had ebbed just before dawn.  It would rise two feet over the next six hours.  I made my way out to a long narrow flat/sandbar that would be partially exposed.  On the north edge of this flat there was deep grass and potholes within casting distance.  As the tide turned, the flow would go south directly across the shallow flat.  When the tide turned, large schools of mullet showed themselves as the flat became covered with water.  Casting topwater flies to the edges of these schools brought several trout and redfish to hand.  Streamers cast into the deeper waters off the edge brought home hungry bluefish, trout and ladyfish.  A shore bound angler couldn’t reach this flat and trying to fish the edge effectively from a kayak would have been hampered by wind and tide.
Tethering a kayak is a rather simple task, although each kayak model may have different attachment methods.  Here’s are a few tips that I rely on.
The tether should be attached to the kayak at least two points.  The second being a backup in case the first point fails.  Typical sit on tops use two pad eyes along one side of bow.  The tether is then threaded through both eyes with an overhand knot behind each eye.
The tether should be of high-quality material.  4-5mm mountaineering accessory cord or 550 para cord is ideal.  Always inspect before using as they do wear out and knots can loosen.
The tether should be least the length of the kayak when attached to angler to allow access to rear storage areas while wading.
Use a double slip knot + 1 around the waist for easy removal.
The tether is the key to wade fishing isolated shallow flats, channels and holes effectively during low tide regimes with your kayak.
Read 5435 times Last modified on Friday, 21 December 2018 09:15

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