Dragonbob

Three beginners in cheap kayaks, what could go wrong?

16 posts in this topic

Hey there folks, I'm new to kayaking in the salt as well as saltwater fishing in general. I made plans with some friends to go kayak fishing out of Waterford CT. Mostly going for porgies maybe some tautog, will be staying within a mile of shore. The question is what resources do you guys use to check conditions? I really don't know much about waves, tides, winds, etc and I'm trying to find some resources that will help with that. Do you guys check for wave height or tides before going out? Is there anything to look out for particularly? How windy is too windy? Do solunar tables actually matter? 
Not sure if it really helps but two of us are in tamarack angler 100s and one in a sit-inside field and stream fishing kayak. We have all kayaked before but I'm the only one who has been in the ocean and in this area. Any advice helps, just really trying to have some (safe) fun and fill a cooler or two. Thank you all.

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The only way you will learn is going out there.  Don't die. 
 

Use **** app. Blue and purple is normally great, green can be ok with protection. 15 plus in your face with no protection is not desirable. Even 10 knots all night across a sound can be choppy and not fun. 

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Opinion alert.

 

Wind - For now, 10mph should be you cut-off point with 5mph and under, your sweet spot… as you get comfortable after multiple trips, your confidence will grow and you can start incrementally increasing until your enjoyment tipping point is reached.

 

Waves - I feel it’s the interval between waves which is my decider … big swells are not an issue as long as there is a decent interval between them (and they’re not breaking of course) … anything over 5s is good for any size swell.

 

Tide - The apps should give you water movement speed … understand that water speed and wind speed should be combined to give you a truer idea of their impact on your and your yak … note that wind can be in any direction relative to water flow direction (and can drastically change multiple times during a single fishing session). 
 

Don’t know your area at all, but assuming you’re not doing beach launches into gnarly shorebreak at this stage.

 

My go to app is Wind Finder

 

Listen to that little inner voice … it’s there for a reason. Don’t be afraid of calling it off in the car park (keep a surfcasting rod/kite in the car as a plan bravo).

 

Be brave, not stupid … good luck

 

 

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P.S. - The Sound gets far worse, far quicker than out front … watch the weather really closely … NE wind gets channeled coming down the Sound and can get damn nasty damn quickly

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I fish a budget kayak.  Anything over 10mph is a no-go to me.  Not just for the danger of swells, but just for the sheer annoyance of getting pushed around when I'm trying to fish a particular spot.  My SW spots are pretty sheltered anyway.  You can get buoy data for your area on US Harbors.

Edited by Skunkoff

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If you all have solid, basic paddling skills, the price of the yaks won’t matter. Those shorter length yaks track like sheet, and are easily wind blown. You’ll do a lot of paddling. Tidal coefficient data can give you a glimpse of the days currents.

  I have been chased home off of Long Island Sound on many occasions, on yaks <10’ and >14’. Choose your days wisely, start at daybreak, keep in visual, phone, or radio contact, (have a plan if you get separated), and leash any valuable gear. 

PS- if it’s windless bring bug spray.

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I checked out some tamarack angler 100 vids. Seems like a nice entry level kayak for fresh water. It's light, portable, and seems pretty versatile. Many great reviews and congrats with it! 

 

Mind if we talk safety for a bit. I assume you have life jackets, compass (fog is a b*tch), pumps, backup paddles, VHF, etc.? Do you have redundancy where it counts? 

 

As for what you are looking to do, I wouldn't feel safe out there in that. My advice to you is to ensure each of you have the above gear and know how to use it. Inform someone of your float plan and the time you expect to return. Above all, pick and choose your days carefully.   

 

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1 hour ago, Gulf Vet said:

I checked out some tamarack angler 100 vids. Seems like a nice entry level kayak for fresh water. It's light, portable, and seems pretty versatile. Many great reviews and congrats with it! 

 

Mind if we talk safety for a bit. I assume you have life jackets, compass (fog is a b*tch), pumps, backup paddles, VHF, etc.? Do you have redundancy where it counts? 

 

As for what you are looking to do, I wouldn't feel safe out there in that. My advice to you is to ensure each of you have the above gear and know how to use it. Inform someone of your float plan and the time you expect to return. Above all, pick and choose your days carefully.   

 

Thanks, Im currently adding some upgrades to it (seat, anchor trolley, etc) drilling holes is scary. We have lifejackets, compasses, no pumps, never even heard of backup paddles until today, don't think we need VHF for now because we will max 150 yards from shore. 

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6 hours ago, Africaster said:

P.S. - The Sound gets far worse, far quicker than out front … watch the weather really closely … NE wind gets channeled coming down the Sound and can get damn nasty damn quickly

Didn't even know that, I thought the sound was a lot more sheltered and therefore better for kayaking than the main Atlantic. It seems we have no waves and the beach are all shells. Thanks for the heads up. 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

You'll probably figure out that 150 yards off shore is more than it seems.

 

You definitely won't want to beach/surf launch in those kayaks.  The guy with the sit in kayak may want to use a sit on instead.  

 

Sea mist can roll in at any time.  It could be a beautiful sunny day 1 minute, and fog can roll in quick.

 

Make sure all your hardware for anchor trolling etc. are SS, and use plenty of silicone for water tightness.  I've drilled plenty of holes in mine and they still are integral.  

 

I've never paddled the Sound but there's a lot of water between the Island and mainland.  Lots of room for water to channel and flow very strongly. 

 

Most of the time I kayak SW, I hug the shore.  Great thing is, so do a lot of fish.

 

And watch out for boat traffic!!  Get yourself some bright orange flags.  My PFD is also bright orange for visibility. If a boat wake is coming at you, maneuver the yak so you are facing the wake head-on.

 

My budget yak is a F&S Eagle Talon.  It's 12ft long, but made for lake/pond fishing.  I feel fine in SW but I keep it real and don't go too far out.  Don't really need to.  You won't be able to do the same things as you see on YouTube with the hardcore SW kayaker.

 

Have fun and don't be a prick.  Etiquette and realism are the way to go.  Also, bring a rubber net with you.  Better for the fish and hooks won't get all caught up in it. 

Edited by Skunkoff

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Check the NOAA marine forecast before you go. If it’s more than 1’ seas stay home. If you stay in the cove you will be fine. Watch out over by the power plant. The rip and current can get pretty big there at times. 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

i use windfinder. research and learn tides, current and wave height.

 

Tides out of niantic bay are always more towards new london, tide does not go straight out. Outgoing is more west to east than north to south. Current will be stronger based upon moon phase. I tend to have better luck on outgoing than incoming there. Swells can play a role as well, I am very comfortable fishing niantic bay. For beginners, any swell over 1 foot may be too much until you get comfortable out there. any coefficient above 80 is going to be pretty strong current. Wind with tide gets you moving fast and it may be tougher to get back to where you were if you are drift fishing, wind against tide will make a wet ride and possibly not moving alot if again, you are drift fishing. Drift for porgy, fluke and sea bass, anchor for tog. Anchoring is a whole other set of challenges you need to address to do it safely as well.

 

You probably fishing niantic bay, plenty of spots to catch stuff. BE CAREFAUL of the outflow at Millstone. You may see lots of boats and yaks there, most are going for blues. 

 

Have your safety equipment ready. PFD, whistle, and VHF radio if possible.

Edited by ijuanaspearfish

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All good advice above. Also keep in mind that rough conditions can make for a miserable day, even if you don't get into real danger. Paddling hard against wind and/or current can get really old. Keep it safe, but also keep it fun so that you want to go out again the next time. Using the kayaks to get to other shore spots is an option that has worked well for me. It can be good to take a break from paddling in the swells and to cast from shore.

 

For me, Solunar tables seem to apply pretty well to stripers, since I believe the strength of the tidal flow is factored in. I haven't found them to matter much for bottom fish and/or bluefish.

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If you are a complete newbie, I'd stick with backwaters, bays and estuaries until you feel comfortable paddling in what could be rougher conditions. If you choose to head out anyway, tie all you gear to the kayak or be prepared to buy all new gear when you dump. Not being critical, just stating what usually happens when people replace experience with ambition.

 

Good luck and stay safe!

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