• Rob Baker

Buy a license and gear up

Fishing equipment is important to get right. So far I've used a fishing book and great help from a Bass Pro Shops expert as references. The book was authored by Joe Cermele and others at Field and Stream and is titled The Total Fishing Manual: 317 Essential Fishing Skills.

Very important is the fishing license. I bought a freshwater and saltwater combination license for 1-year intervals, with automatic renewals. Anyone can do this online at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website. The Florida resident price was a very reasonable $32.50. It's best to get a license for both fresh and salt water because some of the freshwater estuaries and rivers connected to the sea may contain both sets of species. You can't have a saltwater species on your hook with only a freshwater license.

Some water bodies may have other restrictions or licensing requirements, so it is best to do some research before making any assumptions that the FWC fishing license is enough. The world wide web invented by Al Gore is perfect for a quick search. For instance, one of my favorite kayaking spots in Mosquito Lagoon requires an additional license for the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. This particular self-issued license establishes "Poll and Troll" areas where only polling boats and trolling motors can be used so as to protect and preserve the sea grass habitats. This doesn't impact me yet as a kayak fisherman, but I still need to carry the signed license with me.

I also obtained a Florida boating safety education ID card for work related reasons, but the boating knowledge is a good thing to have even for kayak use. With the exception of fire hazards, almost all of the dangers of boating apply to kayaks. Take a USCG certified safety course!

The fishing tackle I have chosen is pretty simple by design. My spinning rod is suitable for fresh and salt water use (rinse it afterwards says my Dad). The lures I've chosen, and been gifted with on Father's Day, are heavy on the freshwater side but there's a little overlap. I chose a durable bag to carry my tackle boxes, and I have a nifty set of pliers and line cutters that clip to my waistband. I'll add more as I go, but this has been enough to get started, learn to cast, and get a feel for how each lure moves in the water.

At this stage in my experience I'm sticking with plastic lures. I'll work the live bait in at a later time. I'll explore the bait setups as I use them and find what works.

As of this writing I am a land and kayak-based fisherman. I dream of a nice little hybrid boat that can handle freshwater lakes and nearshore saltwater. Maybe in a few years that will happen. For now I primarily use my Native Ultimate 14.5 and I'm happy to do it.

My kayak is an older generation of early fishing-type kayaks that Native is now calling a fishing "hybrid". The 14.5 is a convertible tandem that I used originally to take my daughter kayaking (she can handle her own now). It's very stable (but heavy) and has a few features that help with mounting rod holders and a fishfinder/depth sounder. I'll update photos of my kayak setup in future posts because this will be my primary fishing platform.

"Tight lines" to me!

#license #FWC #boatingsafety #tackle

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