The most popular way for people to fish from a kayak is while drifting. This method of angling has many advantages; covering lots of water, seeking out the fish and no messing with anchor lines are but a few. As with boat fishing, fishing from a drifting kayak will allow the angler to use a number of techniques to present a number of baits to a number of species. The simplest form of fishing at drift is to employ a jigging method while using sets of feathers, hokkais and other similar rigs. Clearer waters will require no extra adornment, the fish hunting by vision and able to locate and catch their prey by just using their eyesight. The murkier waters of the Irish Sea require added attraction in the form of odorous baits, the scent appealing to fish hunting by smell, forced upon them by murky and coloured waters.
Jigging at drift presents an opportunity to target mackerel, scad, herring and many other shoaling pelagic species at appropriate times of the year. Casting lures from a kayak is incredibly enjoyable and working your lure over rough ground and reefs can throw up the usual suspects in the form of pollock, bass and wrasse. Other species are always going to be on the cards like the odd sea trout with this method and the kayak makes a great platform for fishing soft plastics from. A slow drift over sandy ground using baits can be devastating for a range of flatfish and gurnards. With kayak fishing, the limits are almost non-existent.
One feature of moving tides, certainly on the east coast of Ireland, is that they are almost always too fast to present a bait naturally or keep it in the taking zone for long enough. When fishing at drift I rarely hit the water without a drogue. Acting like an underwater parachute, the drogue really slows down the pace of the kayak when deployed. Slowing the kayak down leaves your bait or lures in the taking area for far longer than a normal drift would allow. This gives the fish time to find, see and attack the bait which would never have happened had you been drifting through at a fast pace. Another excellent way of slowing down a drift, especially over sand, is to tie a few feet of heavy iron chain to some rope and allow it to drag along the bottom. Beware of snagging and only use this method over clean ground.
One thing to keep a close eye on is the speed and distance of your drift. Remember, the further you drift the further you hill have to paddle to get back! A good fish on a quick tide can see you drift a considerable distance before you are in a position to start paddling again and is always something be aware of. It may be worth paddling as far as you can into the wind so when you are fishing you will be getting pushed back to your starting point rather than the other way around. One other thing to look out for is an offshore wind which can push you out to sea at rapid speed.
Drifting from a kayak is a great way to cover water and connect with fish, enjoy the freedom of it!
Article seen in Sea Angler