My River Monster

A few years ago when I started fishing from a kayak I never imagined that I would be fishing for giant prehistoric White Sturgeon from my Cuda LT.  Most people think I’m crazy for doing this kind of fishing from a kayak but anything is possible with the right boat, fishing gear and good friends.

Jackson Post #5

Now that I’ve caught everything from a 1 footer to an almost 7 footer I feel like I can surely say that I am an experienced kayak Sturgeon angler.  Here in British Columbia, Canada, the White Sturgeon Fishery is catch and release which allows these fish to grow to monstrous sizes up to 15 feet long and more than 1000 pounds.  This is the only kind of kayak fishing I do that I am hoping not to catch too big of a fish.

Jackson Post Pic #1

People are curious about how to fish for sturgeon from a kayak and step one is to make sure you have all the right gear.  Below is a list of the gear I am using:

Jackson Cuda 12/LT Kayak rigged with anchor trolley and Rudder

Towing system – 50ft rescue Throw bag and a quick release bungee system

Fish-finder – Mostly used to determine depth

Werner Cyprus Hooked 250cm Paddle

4.4 Pound Sea Hook style Anchor with 75 feet if floating line

Large Anchor Buoy

Sturgeon Fishing Rod- I use a Shimano Technium 8’, Heavy Power, Extra-Fast Action, one piece

Appropriately sized reel – I use a Pen Squall 50 LD with about 200 yards of 80 to 130 pound test braided line with a 95 pound test leader approximately 24”-36” long

Size 7/0 or 9/0 Hook

Large size 1/0 or 2/0 Swivel

16oz to 24oz Weight

Bait – This can range from Lamprey Eel, Eulachon, roe sacks, stink bait during salmon season and even squawfish caught in the river.

Most Jet boats use rod holders, in the kayak I much prefer to hold the rod in my hand for two reasons.  One, these are big fish and my rod holder is only mounted to a plastic track so I would not trust that it would stay put.  Secondly it’s nice to feel the bite.  I find that I will have a better chance of catching the fish when I feel the bite in my hand.

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Once I’m on the water its just a matter of finding the location, setting my anchor and casting lines in the water.  Sturgeon fishing is a waiting game so make sure you’ve got good friends to do it with so you don’t get sick of sitting beside them for hours on end.

In the summer months Sturgeon tend to bite more aggressively and in the Winter when they aren’t feeding as much so one might not even realize they had a bite.  Setting the hook can take some practice, set to quickly and you won’t get the fish, usually its after the first two nibbles and that third bite is when you want to set it.

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Here in BC any White Sturgeon over 5ft length are not allowed to be taken out of the water.  Sturgeon have very fragile underbellies and if not supported properly can damage their internal organs.  These fish can’t support their own body weight out of the water.

Jackson Post Pic #4

In a kayak once I have a fish on it’s a matter getting it tired out.  I Let it take line if it wants to and if there’s any slack I reel in if I have the chance.  Usually I will know if the fish is on the smaller size early on and I am able to get it to the kayak and on the kayak no problem.  If I’m reeling in and get the fish to the surface and realize that it is larger then 5ft that’s when I set up a towing system with my partner to get to shore.

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