Mervin Low of Hooked Kayak Fishing takes the Editor out for a half-day session to showcase the vast opportunities and advantages of fishing off a “hands-free” kayak.
A sense of child-like excitement welled up inside of me as Mervin and Jimmy unloaded the Hobie Mirage Oasis from the car top. Of course, I was careful not to let it show, lest I embarrass myself in front of the two guys I’ve just met. Shortly after loading up the necessary fishing gear and slapping on some sunscreen, we were ready to roll, quite literally. Detachable wheels were fitted underneath the Hobie kayaks and dragged along towards the boat ramp for launch.
“I always advise kayak anglers to ensure their PFDs are worn at all times,” Mervin said. I patted the life-belt PFD around my waist and gave him the thumbs up.
“Good, looks like you’re well prepared!” Jimmy added.
In less than 15 minutes, we were already at our first spot. Right about 50 feet away from us, some Giant Herring were happily finning away, breaking the still surface of the water. We inched closer. Now they were even surfacing less than 10 feet away from the kayak! I was amazed at how close we could get to the fish without spooking them, thanks to the silent and stealthy approach of the kayak.
About 30 metres away, Jimmy was seen playing a fish. A juvenile Diamond Trevally on micro jig! Nice! The first fish of the day landed in less than half an hour after launch. Surprisingly, the open top kayak was exceptionally stable contrary to my initial assumptions. Casting a lure from one was relatively easy too. There were times it felt a little awkward casting at a target beyond a right angle but with just a few strokes of the paddle, the kayak could be easily positioned at a more favourable casting angle. That was probably the only time I saw Mervin using the paddle by the way. The Hobies were driven by the Mirage Drive, a kick paddle-like contraption that relied on us pushing our legs back and forth to move forwards. It made ‘kayaking’ quite a breeze as it freed up our hands to cast our lures without ever reaching for the oar.
After successfully landing a Giant Herring, we moved off in search of another target – Tarpons! Tarpons are easily spooked at the slightest disturbance and again, I was pleasantly surprised how Mervin got us right up close to a school of them without frightening them away. There they were – schools of mixed sizes happily playing at the surface. We hooked up several fish but never landed any as the lures flung off as soon as they leaped out of the water. We didn’t care. It was fun just watching the fish swim all around us!
The escapees must have alerted the school and they soon disappeared from the scene. Off we go for Groupers! Another advantage of fishing from a kayak is the relative ease of getting close enough to inshore rock bunds. Mervin and Jimmy were happily pulling in Grouper after Grouper from a short rock bund stretch, much to my amusement!
The late morning breeze picked up as temperatures started to rise in tandem with the sun. We popped back to our first spot, hoping to find more Giant Herring or Trevally. I was fortunate enough to land a small Diamond Trevally with the Jigging Shad to round off the fishing session.
Look Ma’, no hands!
I must say I was really impressed with the advantages of fishing from a kayak. The fishing results were pretty good for half a day’s fishing! Luring from a kayak certainly opens up tremendous fishing opportunities as it allows relatively easy access to places where it’s difficult to get to on foot or too shallow to enter by boat. Another advantage of fishing from a kayak is being able to sneak up quietly to unsuspecting schools of fish. It’s also a good way to lose that gut, whether by paddling or pedalling. Either way, it’s good physical exercise. There are certain considerations of owning a kayak though, with the primary reasons being storage space and portability. Then again, there are inflatable kayaks that can be folded up neatly for easy storage too!
Thanks to Mervin Low and Jimmy Ng from Hoooked Kayak Fishing, the Editor now often daydreams of owning a Hobie to go fishing in.
Hoooked Kayak Fishing is an exclusive dealer for Hobie kayaks in Singapore.
Check out their website at: Hoooked Kayak Fishing