Recently I was interviewed by Australia's most popular fishing podcast, the Australian Lure Fishing Podcast.
(Courtesy The Australian Fishing Podcast)
Hear the complete Interview: https://doclures.com/introduction-jet-ski-fishing-paul-hayes/
Youtuber and Jet Ski Fisho Paul Hayes has been a keen fisho his entire life but began jet ski fishing about 5 years ago when he found that he could downsize to a smaller watercraft that gave him offshore capability and access to an amazing range of fish at a fraction of the cost. He’s since started the Jetfisher Youtube channel as well as a line of jet ski fishing accessories to meet needs not met by the current market.
Paul's Advice For Jet Ski Fishing
Jet Skis offer a cost effective, low stress way to access some amazing inshore and offshore fishing opportunities normally only available to those with larger boats. They can be towed by smaller vehicles, can handle shallow bar crossings and have an awesome
Safety is critical. The usual mandatory safety equipment for all offshore boaters is also required for jet skis, but Paul advises a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is a legal alternative for jet skiers and is a better option than the standard EPIRB required to be carried by boaters.
Hand held VHF radios are ok for close range communications between mates, but are not powerful enough to contact help from the shore. A 25W VHF marine radio is a must have and needs to be adequately protected from seawater.
It’s not necessary to have the biggest, most powerful jet ski on the market. Fuel economy and reliability are more important to the jet ski fisher than speed or power. The main jet ski manufacturers are now producing some units specifically designed and kitted out for fishing.
A dual battery system and/or a battery starter in a waterproof pouch are an important addition to the kit for offshore work.
In Queensland it is legal to operate a jet ski at night, but check your local regulations. In NSW it’s illegal to operate a jet ski after dark or before dawn. Obviously the rules regarding navigation lights for all vessels also apply to jet skis, so ensure you have red/green and allround white lights fitted.
Everything on a jet ski will get wet, so it’s important to protect your gear. Paul recommends higher end rods and reels that have superior resistance to the penetration of water and to corrosion. He likens life on a jet ski to being hosed down with a firehose and seawater.
Pauls company Jetfisher sells reel covers, sounder covers, protective equipment and accessories designed by and for jet ski fishers. Quality waterproof containers and dry bags will also be extremely helpful. Paul recommends leaving as much gear as you can at home away from the salt and only taking what you’ll need for a trip.
When buying a second-hand ski, be sure and get it checked out by a qualified technician. Some skis have few hours on the motor but have been thrashed and abused, Others (especially fishing skis) can have many hours but a large proportion of them are with the engine at idle or at trolling speeds.
Electronics are important for finding fish and for navigation, but it's important to protect them from the sea. Whilst most are designed to be reasonably waterproof, it's not uncommon for waves to roll over the bow and douse the gear. Plugs, in particular, need additional protection from immersion in salt water.
Planning is super important and using the weather to your advantage is the key to success. Running back to the ramp with the wind ands seas is always preferable, so plan your trip that way if possible. It’s better to drive further before launching than to cover greater distances on the water.
Jet skis become uncomfortable at around 15kn of wind and fishing much above 20kn isn’t practical. Look for sheltered waters or fish the estuaries and inland areas if the weather is unfavourable.
A VMR membership is worth it’s weight and is cheap insurance in the event of a breakdown or unforeseen event.
It’s always a good plan to travel in the company of others, especially if you’re new to jet skis or to jet ski fishing. Help can be a long way away!