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Thursday, 20 June 2013 17:10

Salt Water, Friends, and Kayak Fishing

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My best friend Corey Galloway and I hit the beaches of Alabama for our annual summertime salt assault. Our quest entails good food, good drink, good times, and maybe a fish or two. Inseparable in college, we now struggle to get together a few times each year with work, marriage, kids and life in general. These trips are never about numbers or trophies. These trips are about celebrating friendships, fishing, and experiences that only kayak fishing can bring.

I quickly put Atlanta traffic in my rearview and drove into the night to reach our destination. Upon arrival, we stowed our belongings and broke out our kayaks and gear for some dock light fishing. Docks that were normally hustling and bustling with the ending life cycles of minnows and the death dealers who lurked below the glowing surface were strangely quiet. The wind was too strong for fly fishing, so I broke out a small twitch bait and quickly put two keeper trout in the boat. I also hooked up with a berserk lady fish that, on a short line, leapt out of the water like a deranged tether ball and smacked me in the face.

dock light fishing

A cloudy day dawned as we paddled into a large lagoon after trout, redfish, and the 6’bull shark that circled under my Jackson Kayak “SUPerFISHal” paddle board. It is truly breathtaking to glace down and see a large shark under your paddleboard. Corey could not see it - and that brings forth the question, “How many sharks are right under my boat that I never notice?” Moments after the shark disappeared, the bottom dropped from under my popping cork with the pull of a stout 18” trout.

18 trout

18 trout 2

Fly fishing was high on my agenda, and I spent the remainder of the day battling the wind, my back cast, and the sink-tip fly line. I was near to giving up when my first saltwater fish on the fly fell for a red-and-brown shrimp fly. I cast to an isolated stand of sea grass well outside the weed line, and three strips in a feisty hardhead catfish hammered the fly and fought like a little devil.

catfish on fly

The towering black thunderheads that shadowed our morning paddle were ushered away by blistering, post-frontal winds so strong we had to walk our kayaks back up the shoreline to the launch. The workout earned us a fine meal, and a Shrimp Basket never leaves you wanting!

Shrimp basket

Our last day was spent in the surf, trolling for kings or whatever else happened our way. Unfortunately, winds in excess of 20mphbrought rolling waves that tossed our river kayaks and broke waves over their bows. No fish were brought to hand, but we took in some amazing sights: dolphins off our bows, cruising sea turtles, blitzing kingfish just out of range, and a giant leaping manta ray. The waves grew with the wind, and I cared little about fishing and more about simply keeping my boat right-side up. Crashing waves broke over the side of my boat and made the paddle in an arduous task. We collapsed on the beach exhausted from fighting the huge breakers back in, watched the sun sink over a cold drink, and beat a trail to a neat little taco stand we passed on the way in. Out-of-this-world fish tacos served as a fitting tribute to an amazing trip with a great friend.


Fish tacos

Read 8211 times Last modified on Thursday, 20 June 2013 17:27
Evan Howard

Fishing is in Evan's blood; ingrained in his DNA like thread woven into fabric. He was taught to fish by his father and grandfather as an integral, life skill. His youth was spent exploring the banks of North Alabama’s ponds and rivers, searching for big bass and adventure; daydream of tournament wins and becoming a professional angler. However, he yearned to escape those banks to explore, go farther, and fish waters I could not reach. After he graduated college, kayak fishing, spearheaded by guys like Drew Gregory, exploded onto the angling scene and provided the means to escape the banks and ply the unreachable waters he longed for. Evan quickly fell in love with paddling and fishing all waters, but his true passion lies in exploring small, remote flows to unlock their guarded secrets; hard-fighting, river fish.

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# YakSushi 2013-06-21 09:44
Saltwater catfish on a fly, that is a first!
# CTGalloway21 2013-06-21 10:49
good write up bud.
# ldsudduth 2013-06-21 11:52
Great food, great fun and two good friends I'm sure.... but man.. Bull Shark... under a paddleboard..I would have walked on water away from that sucker.. they're just plain MEAN..

# JFW3 2013-06-21 12:30
Looks like fun!!
# Westwindmike 2013-06-21 19:29
Great story! Thanks for sharing.
# crappiecrazy 2013-06-22 19:34
One of the best stories I ever read. To me, this is what fishing is all about!
# fishgil 2013-07-04 17:10
I want to find a friend to fishing kayak . Some one want to be my friend and go fishing with me please ?
# saxplayer 2013-07-12 21:24
great article and those fish tacos look awesome, where they from. Im from Pensacola.
# Sauerkraut 2015-01-11 14:32
That's what it is all about.
# KevinCostello 2015-11-25 07:35
Where in Alabama did you fish? I will be traveling to Dauphin Island in late January for work and since I might have to drive, I might be taking my kayak with me.

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