kayak fishing mangrove jack
A wide variety of species inhabit the canals and will hit a range of lures.

Kayak fishing in canals

WITH the warmer months upon us, so are the canal mangrove jack.

Over recent weeks I have been kayak fishing the canals for bream and managing to pull up the occasional jack, which has proven a lot of fun, especially on ultra-light bream gear. Targeting canal species from a kayak is by far the easiest way because a kayak allows you to get into places boats can’t, meaning you can throw skip casts under boats and pontoons to reach the bigger fish.

Lately I have been using 3” Keitech Easy Shiners, 2” Berkley Gulp Shrimp and Gulp Crabbys and all have been effective.
Cranka Crabs are fast becoming a favourite. They perfectly mimic a crab falling off a pontoon and simply look too good for the fish to resist.

When the fish aren’t feeding or it’s hard to get a bite, you may need to change things up, whether it be your leader, knot or lure. Throwing surface lures amongst pontoons and rock walls of an early morning or late afternoon is an effective way to chase bream and I find it to be the most enjoyable technique. For bream, walk the dog lures including the Daiwa Slippery Dog, Bassday Sugapen and Atomic Hardz K9 Walker are the most popular.

To retrieve, employ a slow wind while twitching the tip downwards and causing the lure to dart from side to side. Once you spot a bream in pursuit, try pausing the lure or speeding up the retrieve to trigger a strike. Cranking the flats from a kayak is as stealthy as you can get, with no noise and excellent manoeuvrability.

When cranking the flats, my lures of choice are Cranka Cranks and Atomic Crank 38 Deeps. Cast as far as you can and begin retrieving as slowly as possible, letting the lure bang along the bottom. It’s a very effective way to chase bream and always good fun. Recently I have been trying a new technique in the canals.

kayak fishing canals
Kayaks make fishing canals for bream as easy and effective as possible.
kayak fishing rock wall
Retaining walls are a well-known big bream haunt.
kayak fishing bream
Yellowfin bream make for awesome sport in tight canal waters, always trying to bust you off on the abundant natural and man-made structure.
It involves rigging a Keitech 3” Easy Shiner weedless and skipping it under pontoons and boats and has proven very successful. A quicker retrieve with short pauses will often prompt the reaction bite. Round eight of the KFT Australian Kayak Fishing Tournaments series was based at the Raby Bay canals.

The target species was bream and the mystery fish cod. Showers in the morning saw the rest of the day remain slightly overcast, presenting ideal conditions for chasing canal bream. I had a shocker, missing numerous hits and dropping a 40cm-plus bream at the side of my kayak.

I’ll remember to pack a net next time! In the end, I finished with a bag of three bream out of a possible five. Congratulations to Warren Cossel on taking out the win and to Richard Orchard for finishing as Angler of the Year. For anyone looking at getting into tournament fishing, the KFT series is a great place to start.

Visit facebook.com/kayakfishingtournament for more information. Tournament kayak fishing is great fun and 2017 offers many opportunities to get into it. I hope you had a good holiday and got stuck into quality fish!

About Jack Burling

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