Gear Up Fall Kayak Fishing Season

Fall Kayak Fishing in a Native Ultimate.
Taking advantage of the Fall Kayak Fishing Season.

If you can believe it, September is here, and bringing along with it the start to the fall kayak fishing season. It’s a favorite time of the year for many anglers, with comfortably cool temperatures, quieter waterways and in many places great fishing. It’s also a last opportunity to enjoy the sport for many who plan to put their kayak into winter hibernation. In preparation, it’s important to gear up right and I’ve got three tips to help you do just that.

An Early Sunset Can Cut Fall Kayak Fishing Short, Unless You Have Lights

I try to go paddling at least once a week after work with my coworker Jeremy and we’ve been noticing lately that we are lucky to be on the water for an hour and a half before the sun goes down. As the days get shorter, those of us who like to to squeeze in paddling time throughout the week are going to need extra light to extend our stay on the water. Do do this,  a kayak fishing light is definitely the way to go.

Fall Kayak Fishing Lights
A good set of fishing lights can extend your time on the water.

Give our kayak lighting section a check and be sure to take a look at the new kayak fishing light options from Wildcat Lighting that we’ve added recently. Anyone night fishing should review the laws in their area regarding watercraft lighting after dark, as many will require that you have a 360 degree white light like the Visicarbon Light from YakAttack.

Layer To Protect Yourself From Cooler Fall Temperatures

Fall isn’t going to mean immediate cold weather by any means but most paddlers will start to notice a steady drop in temperature. The best way to face this is with layers. Start by slipping a base layer under your summer fishing shirt and invest in something to cover your legs like Columbia’s Midweight Tights. For my fall base layer, I’m eyeing Bomber Gear’s Halo long sleeve shirt to replace my Columbia PFG Freezer Zero shirt.

When things start to cool down even more, you’re going to want to look into splash and dry wear that you can add over these base layers. Take a look at our Cold Weather Paddling Layering Guide for tips on how to best do this.

The Buff Hoodie Thermal Pro
The Buff Hoodie Thermal Pro

Just Because It’s Cold Doesn’t Mean The Sun Don’t Shine

Ok, so this one kind of goes against my first tip but it’s not as if everyone’s schedule is going to restrict them to fishing in the evenings. Weekend warriors who hit the water on a Saturday for a full day of fishing  need to remember that just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean sun protection isn’t important. Luckily, covering up for the sun and colder weather go hand in hand.

Look for apparel with UPF ratings on them like the Hot Fuzz Fleece Top (another good base layer option) and stuff that will cover your hands and face. Buff is the standard when it comes to head protection, and their new Buff Thermal Pro Hoodie just landed at ACK, great for keeping you warm, comfortable and protected from the sun while you fish. Definitely check it out!

Now Get To Fishing!

So there you have it, three ways to make sure you take advantage of fall kayak fishing season. Of course, the best thing you can do to learn what you need by going out and doing it. Note how you feel before, during and after your next paddle. Did you catch yourself shivering? Was it cut short by an early sunset? Maybe it went perfect. Whatever the case, is here to help you make sure that you don’t miss out on this last opportunity to fish before winter!

Didn’t Turn Out to Be Such a Crappie Day

When I go kayak fishing, it’s actually a three part experience for me. If the fish aren’t biting, I use the time to do some sightseeing and soak in my surroundings as a way to let life’s little worries melt away — if even for just a few hours. Last weekend, I broke away from all the hustle and bustle to do some white bass fishing on the San Gabriel River here in central Texas. Rumor had it that the white bass were running early but as my luck would have it, this wasn’t the case on the day I happen to visit the river. Even the old-timers with their trusty minnows weren’t haven’t much luck either. What else to do but enjoy the sights and sounds of the river. – Roland @ACK

The trees were still leafless but the undergrowth was exploding with green...hello spring!
The moon was shining bright even before sunset. Made for a nice paddle home.
The sun made a quick getaway but only led to a beautiful moonlit evening.
Well, this little crappie was not much to brag about but I was thankful that I caught something nonetheless.
As daylight departed, so did the winds creating a nice mirror like effect on the river with only a few paddle stroke ripples.

Taming the Currents and Seeing in the Dark

I recently got a chance to go on a late night fishing trip. I was particularly excited because this was going to be a great opportunity for me to test out some new equipment that I had purchased for my kayak.

As usual the weather conditions were not predicted correctly. Instead of 5-10 mph winds we had the pleasure of experiencing 15-25 mph winds. This made for difficult paddling with strong currents and a nasty head wind when it was time to return to our launch point. Those same strong currents required that I safely secure my kayak while trying to cast my lines so I went ahead and deployed my Bruce Claw anchor. It was a good choice because of its ability to be retrieved quickly and easily in case it became hung up on the bottom. And as you can imagine, this was important that night because of the strong currents and the amount of crushed rock piles we were fishing over.

That same night, I got to test drive my new fishfinder, the Humminbird 385ci. This unit proved to be really handy at night because of its ability to locate bottom structure and depth as well as being able to plot points on a map. The GPS effectively allows me to mark waypoints, paths traveled and gives me the option to zoom in on a map to get a better idea of where I am or where I wanted to go — perfect for night fishing. The combination of depth and structure had to be just right or we’d never find the fish. Lucky for us, the Humminbird 385ci helped us out tremendously and we were all able to catch our limits of Trout even got a bonus Redfish to boot!

As a kayak angler, I personally recommend these products especially if you plan to find yourselves in the same type of conditions. Give them try and good luck!


Night Fishing with the Wildcat Lighting System

Kayak with lights installed.
Mad River Kayak with Installed System

For me kayak fishing is not just a hobby or an activity to pass time, but an obsession. I am always on the water whenever I have a few hours to spare. However, since I am a working college student, my spare time is very limited so I usually fish at night. Fishing from a kayak poses some challenges but I recently discovered a new product that ACK carries — a fishing light system by Wildcat Lighting. This system not only makes it easier and safer to fish in the dark but it actually attracts fish to my kayak!

At first I was a big skeptic because I have previously spent lots of money on fishing lights that just flat out didn’t meet my needs. Unlike most lights out there, these Wildcat lights are 100% waterproof and work well in both salt and freshwater environments. I installed the “Basic Kit” on my Mad River Synergy 12, which consisted of two 15.75” green light strips and two 6” amber light strips. The green lights are placed on the outside of the kayak and provide deep penetration into the water to attract more bait, which in turn attracts more game fish. The amber anti-bug lights are installed in the cockpit area and are designed to discourage pesky bugs and also provide enough lighting to bait my hooks in the dark.

Bait in the Water
Bait in the Water Attracted to the Lights

It works! One evening, I was fishing the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels Texas, and within 10 minutes of using the lights, I had a ton of bait schooling around my kayak. The first fish that I saw was a stealthy alligator gar that swam right underneath my kayak and shortly thereafter more fish followed. I had bass, catfish and perch chasing the smorgasbord of bait that was attracted to the light. That night I was able to reel in some nice bass, a few catfish and just before I called it quits for the night, I decided to try to catch an alligator gar for sport — I want to let it be known that reeling in a nice alligator gar at night is an exhilarating challenge.

It’s also a well-built product. The lights are super bright, durable and the system was easy to install. I was initially concerned that the lights would drain the battery but my lights stay on for over 8 hours on a 12V battery. Now that these lights are a permanent fixture on my kayak, I am not only catching fish with them, but they are also serving as a great safety feature helping me navigate in the dark and keeping me visible to motor boats.

After using and having great success with the Wildcat Lighting System, I am happy to give this one two thumbs up. I highly recommend this product to anyone who is looking for a way to fish at night and increase your visibility. Do you have one installed? As always, we want for you to share your experiences with us…comment below!

ACK-San Marcos