Do you remember your first fish in the yak? We took some family fishing a couple of weeks back to see if we could get my brother and my niece their first fish in the yak. I’d taken my brother out before with my nephew, and while they did catch fish, nothing was of legal size, so we technically cant count that now can we. My niece was upset that she didn’t get to go on that initial trip, so this was her chance to experience kayak fishing, and her first fish in the yak.
We all remember our first kayak fishing trip. It was an amazing feeling and we’ll never forget our first… first fish in the yak that is. We decided to sneak out on an early Sunday morning. We’d only have bout 3 hours of fishing due to already having plans in the afternoon. We checked the tides and weather, and low tide was around 6:30am. Nothing wrong with that, except we’d only be fishing the incoming tide for the day and have a pretty good shot at their first fish. We planned the trip where we’d meet at around 5am that Sunday morning, grab some bait, then head to the launch area. With fall officially upon us, first light is normally around 7am or so, and we were launching at 6am. I had it set up where my brother would be fishing out of my Wilderness Systems Ride 115X, I would be fishing out of my Old Town Predator MX, and my niece would paddle my son’s Pelican Sonic 80X kayak. She’s pretty independent and wanted to paddle herself.
We get to the launch, and get all the gear set up. My niece, Mia, has never paddled her own kayak, but with the winds low and the tide helping us head back to the fishing spot, she did great. We get back to the fishing spot, and everything is set up perfectly. The tide had just started to turn and was incoming. My goal was to get my brother and niece on some slot redfish, and this spot has always produced some great fishing for redfish and black drum. We were fishing with dead shrimp using a bottom rig or simply a jighead. I wanted to keep things as simple as possible to ensure everyone had a good time, and most importantly, caught their first fish in the yak. The morning started off extremely slow, which I thought to be very odd, and thoughts entered my head of the day being one of those days where the bite would be mediocre at best.
Then my rod doubled over, and I popped a just under slot 17″ redfish. OK great, the first fish in the yak for the day, but I truly wanted it to be one of their rods that the fish hit. I preceded to catch a couple of more small reds, and was really beginning to get worried that we were actually going to have a slow day on the water. My brother is like me in the sense that being on the water is the true prize and catching fish is simply icing on the cake. That being said, I truly wanted to help my niece catch her first fish in the yak. I too, wanted my brother to experience the thrill of the fight with a slot redfish.
It wasn’t long afterwards that my niece finally landed her first fish in the yak. It was a small redfish, but it was a great feeling to watch her excitement. I also thought it pretty awesome that she wanted to hold the redfish so she could have a picture taken with her first fish in the yak. Well, at least she’d caught her first fish in the yak, and now that the skunk was off, hopefully we’d find her a slot redfish to add to the list. Mia then proceeded to land a couple of more small redfish, and my attention turned to my brother, who’d yet to catch a fish yet.
Since the tide had started moving in extremely well, we decided to reposition ourselves. Jeremy was fishing the right side of the fishing spot, while Mia and I set up on the left side. Mia stayed with me, as it was easier to keep her locked in position as I had my Power Pole Micro anchoring us down. All of a sudden Jeremy’s rod doubled over, and I knew immediately it was a good fish. The look on his face was priceless and I could tell he was amazed with the strength of the redfish. He fought the fish for a few minutes with easily the biggest smile I’ve ever seen in my life, and finally landed his first slot redfish. I raised up the Power Pole Micro, and left Mia for a minute so I could help Jeremy land the redfish, measure it, and get a picture. It was a beautiful 22.5″ slot redfish, his first fish in the yak officially. While we were high-fiving and putting the redfish on my Stinky Pants Fishing stringer, Mia’s rod doubled over and she had a redfish on!
Of course she wasn’t anchored, so she got her first taste of what we yak anglers like to call a “sleigh ride”. It was actually pretty funny with her excitement, yelling for “Uncle Tony” to come help her, and us get Jeremy’s redfish tethered to his yak on the stringer for dinner later. I get over to Mia, and we land the redfish, and get ourselves set back up. Finally, the bite had turned on, and it went pretty hot all of a sudden. Once the commotion died down, we were left with a serious problem. It was nearing time for us to head back, but the bite had increased in intensity. We’ve all been there before… debating how many more casts we could get in before leaving ourselves that mad dash back to the launch and hoping like hell the whole way back that we’d make it in time. We let common sense prevail, and decided we’d only cast a couple of more times then head back in. As luck would have it, with only a few more minutes left in our trip, Mia casted out a bait, and within minutes she had a stud redfish on her line. She fought it in the whole way by herself (with us cheering her on of course!) and landed her first redfish in the yak. It was a beautiful fish, measuring out at 21.5″. It too go it’s picture taken with a proud lady angler before joining the other redfish on the stringer.
The paddle back was a chance to have a little fun. Jeremy had the unenviable task of paddling back to the launch with a couple of redfish being towed behind him on the stringer, while Mia and I tried splashing each other using our paddle blades every chance we got. Of course, I could have let Jeremy in on the fact that he could have laid the fish across his lap while we made the 15 minute paddle back to the launch, but Mia and I enjoyed watching him get his workout in. Mia got me pretty good a couple of times with a blade splash, but she was pretty soaked by the time we made it back in. It was a great time on the water, and there’s nothing greater than getting to witness family or friends landing their first fish in the yak.
If you have a story of your first fish in the yak, share it with us!