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…“I have a room all to myself; it is nature.” – Thoreau

  Throughout history men have used many different vessels to seek adventure. Some as simple as a pair of boots to as complex as a ship…me, I choose a plastic kayak and a double bladed paddle.  My goal isn’t the summit of a mountain or some far off island…it is to catch fish, salt and freshwater, species of fish that I’ve caught and others I haven’t.  

Dale Hollow Trip

Living in Georgia, I can pursue fish year round and we’ve got some amazing and diverse fisheries in our state. Being the home of the world record largemouth bass it’s hard to not argue that it’s one of the best states in the country to look for a trophy green fish but it also holds some world class spotted bass in lakes Burton and Carter’s. Also, our rivers hold some interesting fish too, huge shoal bass, trophy Suwannee bass and large brown and rainbow trout. The saltwater fishing can be spectacular inshore with big redfish and seatrout being catchable most of the year. 

Georgia Shoal Bass

  When I’m not traveling out of state to fish a tournament you can usually find me in hot pursuit of one of those fish on Georgia waters.  It doesn’t matter if I’m six hours or ten minutes from the house it’s the adventure that goes along with chasing fish that I seek.

How do I go about planning a fishing trip to maximize the adventure​?
The internet and your imagination are your friends. I first look at how much time that I have for the trip. I’ve driven up to three hours for a day trip and ten hours for a three day trip. Quick trips can be just as adventurous as overnighters. Next, I choose what I want to fish for and I’ll research by looking at fishing reports and any articles about that particular fish and the area that I’m traveling to. You’ll need to know launch areas, licensing requirements and game laws for the state. If I’m going to be there for several days I will search for public camping areas close to prospective kayak launching spots. I recently fished a section of the St John’s river in Florida and on our way to the launch I made a mental note of the public camping in close proximity to the river. As you travel around you’ll recognize things like that because some public camping isn’t specifically listed on any internet sites. Once you have decided on a specific area to fish, length of the trip and an idea of the fish you’ll be chasing it’s time to make sure you have the proper tackle. You can’t chase tarpon with bass tackle…well, you can but you may get your heart broken like I did. I’ve hooked four…two came unbuttoned and two broke off. I now have a rod and reel capable of landing tarpon and the general knowledge of leader and hook sizes necessary to land those absolutely amazing fish. Don’t get me wrong…tarpon are landed every year by inshore fishermen with light trout rigs but I don’t have the skill nor have I had the luck to make it happen. The next time I’m in tarpon water I’ll be loaded for bear.  

Once you get your trip plans set and you’re sure you have the appropriate tackle you can do a little research about local history, customs and any unique flora or fauna in the area…a fishing trip I took two years ago had some added adventure solely because of the “non fishing” research I had done before hand. It was a February trip to Georgia’s Little Tybee Island. In my internet search I found history about the island that I didn’t know… Ancient and fairly recent history. I learned that there had never been a permanent structure built on the island nor any long term inhabitants. The fact that this island was almost as unspoiled as when the Euchee Indians hunted and gathered there amazed me. I also found a bit of history that made me really appreciate the conservation efforts by our government and certain watchdog agencies…in the 70’s there was a plan and real threat that Little Tybee would be sold to a private firm, mined and then converted into a resort area. The state squashed those efforts and after my trip there I can tell you that it was the right decision. 

In reading about the local plants and animals I found the local wild edibles to be interesting. The salt marsh is loaded with clams, oysters and other shellfish. I did some research on digging clams and the reward was being able to eat so many clams that I haven’t craved them in over two years.

“Jungle Trail” Sebastian Inlet FL

Last but definitely not least is weather and tides. Obviously, if you’re fishing a lake or inland river, tides would be of no concern to you but on the coast, not knowing the tide table could ruin a trip. In coastal areas with island passes, especially around barrier islands you want to travel out with an outgoing tide and in with the incoming tide because the current can be unforgiving in those narrow passes. In any area that you’re unfamiliar with please seek local knowledge from a paddle shop, friend or bait store. 

Little Tybee Island

Weather is probably the most important information you’ll need to know for a successful, comfortable trip. You can still have fun on a fishless trip if you’re prepared for the weather…Cold and wet because of lack of preparation can spell disaster. 

Fresh Georgia clam

There are times that we just want to go fishing but keep in mind that there is so much to see l, learn and experience in some of these tucked away spots that we can only reach by kayak and it would be a shame to not take in as much as we can with the time we have. Do your homework, be prepared and have fun. We only get one ride on this rollercoaster and memories are our most valuable assets. Tight lines and thank God for little plastic boats.

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