Every year around the end of July my family takes a vacation to Panama City Beach, Florida. We go to enjoy the last days of summer before school starts back. Like most families and we enjoy the white sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, relaxing by the pool, and eating seafood from our favorite restaurants. That being said, there is no way I can be around all that water and not fish. I am primarily a freshwater guy and mostly fish rivers, so it’s always fun to do a little inshore fishing and chase some redfish. I had my Jackson Kayak Liska and was looking forward to seeing how it would perform on the flats and creeks of West Bay. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about redfishing in the hot summer months it’s that you better go early if you want to catch something. This works out great because I can get up early and go fish three or four hours till it gets hot. Then I can go chill by the pool during the heat of the day.

Luckily I was able to steer clear of some nearby thunderstorms and get out in the salt a few days. I would put in under the West Bay bridge on Hwy 79 and head south to the mouth of the bay in search of reds. The Liska handled the open water with ease. To be such a stable fishing platform it tracks through the water like butter. After fishing the flats in open water with no luck I decided to check out a small feeder creek close by that had some nice current moving due to the dropping tide. I was able to stand up paddle into this shallow creek hoping to see some redfish on the move.
For a river guy, I felt more at home in this type environment than I did out in the open and the added confidence payed off. I was able to land a few nice reds in this area before the bite went cold and I melted from the late morning sun. I decided to head back to the takeout. Then maybe grab some lunch and hit the pool to cool down. I would try them again tomorrow.
When tomorrow morning came I tried a different location that was shielded more from the wind. I also had one of my friends, Houston join me that was down in the area also. We put our kayaks in and started fishing. It was early morning and I decided to throw some topwater. Cast after cast and nothing would hit the bone colored spook I had tied on. Then out of the blue I was surprised by a huge explosion. Fish on and she was pulling drag and making my braided line sing. After an awesome fight I finally wore her down and landed this nice red.
Both Houston and I landed a few more fish then called it a day. Good times in the salt but we were ready for some lunch and air conditioning.
Sheldon Grace
Jackson Kayak Fishing Team