Shallow fishing is also called “Gunkholing”. It got it’s name from the “gunk” or mud that you typically find in the creeks, coves, marshes, sloughs, and rivers that are referred to as “gunkholes”.
A minimal draft is preferred, since gunkholers tend to go as far up and into the gunkholes as possible, seeking ever more inaccessible destinations.
You can find gunkholes almost everywhere, though in can be a bit of a challenge is many of the busier cruising grounds throughout the United States. Sometimes you have to compromise, unless your boat is a true shoal-draft gunkholer and you really can go where few others will fit.
Selecting nooks with enough elbow room for everyone is often your only choice, or you have to find a part-time gunkhole and go when the season is young or old.
Here’s three saltwater gunkhole fishing tips:
Flats Fishing: Fish on the flats are skittish. In the tropics are lemon sharks and along the Eastern seaboard there are great whites. Add raptors like ospreys and eagles into the mix and it seems like everyone wants to eat a fish on the flats. The skinny water can be either perfectly clear or it can get muddy with some weather. Flats boats that give you casting deck elevation means casters can see better, poling platforms help captains reduce motor noise, and kayaks make for quiet approaches. You can wet wade and tether your kayak to your waist.
Estuaries: Saltwater river systems can get bony, especially in areas where there are big tides. To gunkhole here you’ll want a boat that can get into shallow water but also has some beam and a modified vee to cut through the current. Aluminum skiffs, shallow draft skiffs are great boats, and fishing kayaks make for quiet drifting/paddling, and you can drag them on to a bank or bar to walk.
Saltponds: Once you get past the choppiness surrounding the mouth of the pond and pass the breakwall, the saltponds quiet down. You’ll find channels, bars, shoals and sometimes rocks. Aluminum skiffs and kayaks make for easy beach launching, while flats boats and shallow draft skiffs are nice for visibility and a quiet ride.
Some of the most exciting fishing occurs in shallow water. Sometimes it is sight fishing while other times it is topwater. When gearing up for gunkholing, make sure your fishing license is up to date, get the right boat and get skinny! You’ll be glad you did.
Source: Take Me Fishing
Photo source: iOutdoor