Canoe and Kayak Fishing In The West Central Region with Capt. Geoff Page

There are so many places you can launch a canoe or kayak and access great fishing in my region. Basically anywhere you can pull over next to the water is your next fishing spot. A lot of kayak anglers fish around the causeways in Tampa and do very well, but I really think they’re missing out on the true beauty of kayak and canoe fishing.
Kayaks and canoes draw so little water that they all access to these beautiful backcountry bays, channels and cuts that most boats can get into. Places like the Myaakka River which represent old Florida and little pressure will take you away from the crowds and put you into good fishing at the same time. Another good spot is at the end of Manatee Ave. before you go over to Anna Maria Island. The Robinson preserve has just beautiful backwater fishing in these small creeks that dump out into the Manatee River that hold a lot of snook and redfish.
One of the most popular kayak fishing destinations in my area is Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County. It’s about 1,300 acres of land and five interconnecting islands with great backcountry and beachfront fishing. There’s an expansive stretch of grass flats and mangrove shoreline on the east side of the island where you can catch seatrout, snook, pompano, redfish, Spanish mackerel and flounder on a regular basis.
Another great place to kayak is on the south end of my region near Siesta Key and it’s called Jim Neville Marine Preserve. The preserve itself is closed to motorized engines, so you’ll only see kayaks and canoes in that area, which also means the further back into the backcountry you’re willing to go, the less fishing press that area gets. You can launch right there at Turtle Beach and paddle back into the estuary for some great snook and redfish action.
You can also search online for the guide to Kayak access point in Sarasota and Manatee counties. We have the pamphlet at Economy Tackle in Sarasota if you can’t find it online. All these areas are shallow enough with good bottom that if you want to get out and wade, that’s always an option.
We also have a great kayak and canoe tarpon fishery on the beach side of Turtle Beach. There’s an army of men who have been doing it forever. They launch right there on the beach and carry a small bait bucket with live crabs for the tarpon. Get out before the sun gets up, and you’ll find the fish rolling, schooling and floating on the surface right at dawn. Pitch a crab their way and hang on.
For most kayak fishing 10-pound braided line with a 30-pound fluorocarbon leader is the way to go. Soft plastics like the Bass Assassin or Trigger X Shrimp, shads and jerkbaits in the darker colors is the way to go. If you want to fish live bait, shrimp is the easiest bait to carry and keep alive, but live pilchards and threadfins are deadly on snook in the backcountry and on the beaches.
The kayak and canoe fishing opportunities in my area are almost limitless. You can literally fish a new spot every day for a year, and then come back and learn something new about those spots the next year. You just have to get out on the water to enjoy the experience.


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