Kayak fishing with Pack and Paddle

Kayak fishing is an exhilarating way for anglers to enjoy a day on the water catching fish.

Where to start?

Kayak fishing is an exhilarating way for anglers to enjoy a day on the water catching fish.

Pack and Paddle invited The Louisiana Weekend on a kayak fishing trip in the Point Aux Chenes Wildlife Management Area in Montegut, Louisiana.

The outdoor retailer is based in Lafayette but regularly hosts kayak fishing trips to Point Aux Chenes, which is about a 40-minute drive southeast of Houma.

Source: WAFB

Not your father’s kayaks

Pack and Paddle outfitted our group with Hobie brand fishing kayaks with the MirageDrive pedal system.

Everyone in our group was pedaling, yes pedaling not paddling, their Hobie kayaks around the marsh.

The kayaks also have rudders which allow you to steer without having to paddle.

I touched the paddle a total of three times during the five hours we were in the water.

I was outfitted with a Hobie Pro Angler. The kayak had a comfortable seat and plenty of storage room.

The front storage compartment was large enough to fit a large dry bag full of camera gear.

The Hobie Pro Angler was large and stable enough for me to stand and cast.

It’s a great option, especially if you’ve been sitting in the kayak for 3 hours.

The kayak also features two twist-and-seal hatches in the middle and back of the boat.

I was able to fit a 40-quart ice chest full of drinks and food in the back storage area. One of the fishing guides told me it can actually fit up to a 48-quart ice chest.

I would highly recommend the Hobie Pro Angler because of the storage space and room to stand up and fish.

However, two of my co-workers were outfitted with Hobie Outbacks and raved about them.

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Pedaling NOT Paddling

The Hobie MirageDrive pedal system allows you to quickly move on the open water and nimbly navigate tight canals in the marsh.

Since you’re not paddling you stay virtually dry in the kayak, except when you’re reeling a fish and it splashes water into your kayak.

The MirageDrive pedal system also has both a forward and reverse pedal option, making it especially easy to get out of the marsh grass when you’ve floated to close to shore.

Speaking of marsh grass, the Mirage Drive pedals did not get stuck in the thick marsh grass but it did slow it down a little bit.

Pedaling the kayak was a great workout. And since you’re not paddling around you can save that arm strength for casting and reeling in fish.

The only time pedaling became strenuous was when we were heading back to the launch, pedaling against the tide and wind.

The furthermost we ventured into the marsh was about two to three miles from the launch.

Pack and Paddle offers a “Mothership” trip where the kayaks are mother shipped on a large motorboat 10 miles further into the marsh.

The guides said the Mothership trips make for some of the best kayak fishing.

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Source: WAFB

Fishing with the pros

Two guides, Butch Ridgedell and Eli Braud, took us into the marsh to fish for speckled trout and redfish.

Eli works at the store and Butch runs his own kayak fishing guide service but partners up with Pack and Paddle.

Both have been kayak fishing for 6 years and you could tell! They had us loaded up and in the water within 15 minutes.

Butch and Eli were very enthusiastic about using the kayaks over a motorboat.

“I started kayak fishing about six years ago. Got into it and basically got rid of my boat. I mean there’s no place to put gas on it, the maintenance on it is virtually none. You can launch pretty much anywhere there’s open water. If you’re driving down LA 1 or someplace like you can stop on the side of the road, put your kayak in and go fishing,” Butch said.

“A kayak is a different experience. In a (motor) boat a lot of the times you launch it and you zoom past everything to get to a spot. In a kayak you’re taking in the environment around you. And you get to see things you don’t normally get to see in the boat. We go into the shallow marshes, sometimes you see otters in there. Even if you have a crappie fishing day and don’t catch any fish you still end up having a great time because it’s something different than what you’re used to,” Eli said.

Butch and Eli gave great tips on fishing and operating the kayaks during the trip. They knew how to fish open water, small ponds, and narrow channels in the marsh.

Sometimes it felt they wanted you to catch more fish them!

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Source: WAFB

What will I catch?

Redfish are the prime targets when fishing in the shallow marshes. But it’s not uncommon to catch speckled trout either.

One of my coworkers caught and was able to keep both a redfish and speckled trout.

He caught two more specks but they weren’t large enough to legally keep (Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries regulation says the fish has to be at least 16 inches long to keep).

Another coworker, WAFB’s Elizabeth Vowell caught three hardheads and two drum (sheepshead) all of which weren’t long enough to keep.

We fished with both artificial lures and dead shrimp (which can be purchased from the Point Aux Chenes Marina near the kayak launch spot).

While everyone wanted to catch more fish, you know what they say “A bad day fishing is better than the best day at the office.”

Both Butch and Eli said they’ve had previous clients catch their limit on redfish during past trips.

Recently, Butch won a fishing tournament held in Point Aux Chenes. He caught these two huge redfish while kayak fishing.

Source: Butch Ridgedell

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What do I need to bring?

Pack and Paddle require you have the following items:

  • Louisiana salt-water fishing license
  • fishing rod and tackle
  • clothing appropriate to the weather
  • 2-3 liters of water
  • snacks or lunch items

Participants must be at least 12 years old. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent that is also signed up for the trip.

If you don’t have a rod and reel, you can rent one for an additional $25. The rod will be set up with the proper line and a tactical clip that allows anglers to easily switch lures out during the day without tying knots.

We can not stress enough to bring plenty of water. Most of the day, you’ll feel a cool breeze out on the water but remember you’ll be out there for upwards of 5 hours!

You should also bring plenty of sunscreen, bug spray, and rain gear. If your kayak can’t fit an ice chest for the fish, be sure to pack a fish stringer in your tackle.

Make sure your cell phone it’s a waterproof bag or box, (preferably one that can float).

A camera is a great idea too but you might be having too much fishing to snap photos or videos.

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Source: Pack and Paddle

Book a trip

Pack and Paddle is on the web, Facebook, and Instagram.

The cost of the First Cast Kayak Fishing trip is $119 and includes the rental of a kayak, a paddle, and life jacket.

Each participant will have the option of choosing a Hobie Outback, Compass, or Pro Angler model kayak for the kayak fishing trip.

Anglers are welcome to bring their own kayak but will still have to pay for the $119 cost of the trip.

The Mothership Kayak Fishing trips cost $169 and include the rental of a kayak, a paddle, and life jacket. If you bring your own kayak to be mother shipped it’s also $169.

Both trips are available on several dates between August and September.

To book a trip visit https://fareharbor.com/embeds/book/packpaddle/items/?flow=27990&full-items=yes 

As a bonus, all attendees will be able to apply 50% of their trip fee to the purchase of any kayak at Pack and Paddle within 30 days of the trip.

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