Trolling for Barracuda in the S4

By Captain Larry Jarboe

Florida Fishing Kayaks

One of my least favorite fishing techniques is trolling.

Putting a rod and reel in a rod holder and waiting for what seems like hours for a bite can be borderline boring. Then, dragging a fish against the movement of a slow moving boat as we do fishing for stripers or bluefish in the Chesapeake Bay diminishes the tug and pull of the fish. Imagine cranking in a 5 gallon bucket of water. Welcome to the successful outcome of a trolling expedition.

However, trolling from a Wavewalk S4 is a completely different experience. After good success with my kayak spinning rigs trolling custom fabricated lures in mangrove creeks and channels, I set off to find the perfect rig for trolling in the clear inshore waters of South Florida.

I finally settled on a Shimano TR200-G graphite reel loaded with 20 lb. test mono line on a 4′ kayak Ricky Rod made in Miami.

With this rig in hand and the outboard tiller in the other, a kayak trolling fisherman (or woman) can smoothly ease out line and control the action of the lure or rigged bait while steering the S4. Unlike leaving the rig in the holder, with the rod in hand, bites are easily felt and the hook set. Now, we are fishing and catching and really enjoying the battle.

In less than an hour, I caught 4 barracuda no more than a 1/2 mile from my house using this technique. All were released. But, I had to gently tow the last one back to the dock to safely release from the dive platform of my big boat. It was just too big and toothy to bring aboard.

My next project is to build a long distance de-hooker.







Larry offers guided fishing and diving trips in the Key Largo and the areas that surround it »

More fishing adventures with Capn’ Larry »

3 thoughts on “Trolling for Barracuda in the S4”

  1. Thank you Larry,

    Nice catch!!

    It seems like the side-saddle position that Paul discovered is becoming a standard for driving the S4 and fishing from it 🙂


  2. Yes Yoav,

    There is so much space for your feet on either side of the saddle that 360 degree positioning comes naturally.

    This makes catching and fighting larger fish very comfortable in the S4. No more yoga moves.

    Ironically, a couple hours later, I watched a River Monsters episode “Razorhead” featuring Jeremy Wade. He was having a hard time catching big barracuda in the Florida Keys. He should get an S4.

    But, he might have a hard time fending off all the pretty women who want to take a ride.

    Hmmm, a reality show about a funky fisherman in the Keys with a cool boats surrounded by beautiful ladies?

    Gotta work on that one…

    Larry J.

  3. Sounds like a great video project! 😀

    Sitting side saddle can be done facing the left side or the right side of the boat (starboard and port in naval terms…), but it makes more sense to sit facing the left side, since most outboard motors feature a tiller (steering handle) on their left side. The left facing S4 driver can hold the throttle effortlessly, as it presents itself to them at the most convenient angle.


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