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One of my favorite things about kayaking is that there is always a place to launch. No matter where you may be, finding a place to put your kayak in is just as easy as it is to load it up. By having this option, there is no shortage of places that an angler can explore. 

Now I will be the first to say, I do get stuck in the same rut and will typically fish my go-to spots. I do this mostly because I know I can go there and catch fish. Options like this make it hard to pass up but often times, it is best to venture away and try something new.

One of my favorite things to do is to get in my kayak and explore new water that I have not fished before. For me, it is about getting out of my typical routine and changing things up a bit. Doing so will challenge you as an angler by making you go out and find fish, no matter the area may be. One of the other benefits to this is if you find a few fish, then you have  new spot to add to your repertoire!

The first thing that needs to happen when wanting to explore a new area is finding the location. There are 2 things that go into finding a spot and that is your launch point and where you are going to fish. One of the best tools that an angler can use is Google Maps. This is a must have and will make finding new areas easy to find. The good thing about Google Maps is you can use it on your computer or you can download the app on any smartphone. Make sure you get “Maps” and not “Earth”. 

When it comes to finding a new launch point, the “street view” option is a really cool aspect that I like to use. By using this, you can get an idea of that is around the area that you may want to launch. You can see things like how much shoulder is on the side of the road for you to safely park, if there is a fence or gate blocking the way, or any other obstruction that may prevent you from launching; these are good things to know before making a long drive to an unknown area and then have to turn around because you are blocked by a gate.

So once you find your launch location, it is time to figure out where you want to fish. Everyone has different styles of fishing but I will give my 2 cents on what I like to look for. I personally like to look for bayous coming off of main lakes or other major channels that lead back into ponds or flats. I also like to look for ponds that have one entrance; the more narrow the better. In my opinion, I believe that these ponds tend to have resident fish in them, meaning they don’t swim in and out of them daily. I also like them because they can be overlooked by other anglers so there will be less pressure on them. On top of that, I believe they will retain rain water better than other ponds that have more tidal influence, which will make vegetation grow faster. 

Another trick that I have learned throughout the years is looking up information about the area. One of the best places to do this is on the Texas Kayak Fisherman forum. There are years of forum topics about every kayak related spot in Texas. You can go to the search bar and look into the old archives and read about the area before making the trip out there. There is a lot of good information on there.

Now that I have an area picked out with a solid game plan, it is time to execute it. I will usually have a good array of lures tied on, mostly because I am not sure what I am going to get into. Typically I will have a popping cork rig, a gold spoon, and a Kelly Wiggler rigged on a 1/4 oz. jighead. A little bit of everything for fishing a bayou, main lake, or shallow flats.

When I arrive to a new spot there are 3 things that I look for and I believe they are “must haves” if the area will hold fish: good tidal flow, structure (reefs, grass, etc.) and a healthy habitat. If it has those 3 things, then I believe it is worth fishing and putting a little time into that area. Also, what I  mean by healthy habitat, is that the area has plenty of bait, a number of shore birds, seagulls and other wildlife. If it will sustain life above the water, then it will surely sustain life below!

When I fish these areas, I like to hit the points of the bayous and also on the backside of the bend, these places tend to be deeper and can hold some good fish in the right area. I also like to fish pockets that are in the flats, especially the wind blown ones. Other than that, I try to hit as much area as I can until I pick up a few fish and perhaps put a pattern on them. The whole time that I am blind casting though, I am keeping an eye out further ahead and looking for pushing fish, scattering bait, tailing reds and any sign of life. This can be a productive method when it comes to finding fish in unknown waters.

The major thing about fishing a new area is the uncertainty of it. It’s a gamble but to me, thats why I like fishing unseen waters. You never know what you may find. It could be barren waters or you may stumble upon a redfish mecca. Regardless, you get to spend the day on the water fishing something different and if it doesn’t pay off, no worries. Just go back to the map, pick another spot and keep exploring.