Jet ski fishing in gear

Seems Jet Ski fishing has some people fired up. Within hours of publishing an article on jet ski fishing, photos and comments came to my email inbox.

Billy Crew's of Louisiana was ecstatic to see an article covering his preferred style of fishing. John Kostovick of Philadelphia recently purchased a jet ski for his own saltwater fishing needs along the New Jersey coast and beyond.

Kostovick has grown to love his jet ski and the capabilities it offers as a fishing platform. Others wrote asking about rigging their platform and what rigs are best served for fishing.

I would like to share some of these comments just in case you decide to look at jet ski fishing as an option.

"My professional job yields minimal time and most of my fishing is done at a moment's notice and always alone," Kostovick wrote. "Plus, I have the desire to fish the entire coast rather than being stuck to one marina. Therefore, owning a 20-23 foot center console is just too much to trailer, to put in the water alone, and takes too long to get to the fishing spots.

"Last year, I went in pursuit of finding an alternative. The guy you wrote about, Jet Ski Brian, inspired me to research and move forward with fishing from a jet ski."

Kostovick's comments were not alone. Scott Weiss from Florida summed up the same sentiments when he wrote "Fishing from my jet ski offers me more freedom than my 20' boat."

Kostovick purchased a used 2004 Yamaha FX, the largest, three-seat model made by Yamaha. He was looking at size, stability and engine reliability. His choice of jet ski is easy to trailer, easy to launch at boat ramps and is very fuel efficient while offering low maintenance and cleaning costs.

Like most of these anglers, Kostovick installed a marine battery powering a Hummingbird 788 colored GPS/fish finder and a built-in VHF radio. Like Jet Ski Brian's rig, a 120-quart marine cooler with rod holders and cutting board offers quick and easy access.

"I have been out in 4-6 foot seas and with the exception of getting a little wet, I have had no stability concerns," Kostovick added. "I have had the Jet Ski 10 miles off shore and also fished in 2 feet of water on the flats."

Crews, from Southern Louisiana, was the first to respond:

"I fish mainly in the Atchafalaya Spillway and estuarial marsh areas in South Louisiana (south of Baton Rouge and New Orleans). This area has made quite a recovery since Katrina and the fishing is outstanding. We catch plenty of bass, redfish and speckled trout. My ski gets me to the fish."

Crews fishes from his super-charged 2006 Sea Doo RXT SC equipped with 215 ponies. His chosen platform is approximately 11 feet in length with a beam of 4 feet. That combination offers a super stable platform while the horsepower offers speed and reliability.

"Consequently, Jet Ski Brian prepares more for the unexpected, while my dangerous encounters seem to be that of the alligators," Crews says.

No matter how much correspondence I receive, two common denominators hold true. Safety is of the utmost importance. The second is that these guys love fishing off these platforms. It is safe, fun and takes them to the fish.

Surprisingly enough, all of the guys I spoke with are fully outfitting these platforms with top of the line equipment and all of the accessories any larger boat owner would carry. With total investment costs ranging from $7-15K, expect to see more of these machines on a waterway near you.

Editor's note: Capt. Chris Gatley can be found with his fishing clients chasing striped bass in front of the Statue of Liberty, or heading offshore to the Atlantic Ocean canyons off the NJ/NY coast for tuna. His articles on cutting-edge fishing techniques can be found in The Fisherman Magazine, and he's a regular presenter at key sports shows during the winter months (when he's not pursuing whatever he can find in East Coast rivers).