How to fish from a personal watercraft
With the right gear and know-how, the PWC can be a fish machine
If you own a personal watercraft, considering turning it into a fishing machine. So suggests Troy Isaac, who first started fishing from a PWC two years ago while on an extended business trip to Florida. The lifelong angler was instantly hooked, and now fishes from a PVC back home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. While popular in New Zealand and Australia, fishing from a PWC has so far not caught on in North America—and that’s something Isaac wants to change. He’s even launched a line of PWC fishing accessories through his fledgling company, Maverick Fish Hunter. Why fish from a PWC? Read on as Isaac explains.
You can get to fishing spots at 80 kilometres an hour, Isaac says, and once you arrive, the PWC can run at the perfect trolling speed. “When you turn a jet ski on, it’s in gear,” he says. “I troll at one to two miles per hour.”
“I can get to places that other boats just cannot,” Isaac says. For example, at Sault Ste. Marie’s St. Marys rapids—world famous for salmon and trout—many boats are just too big or don’t have the power to handle the current. “I don’t have a propeller, I’m small, and I’ve got the power.”
Isaac argues it’s more economical to fish from a PWC than a full-sized boat. “A bass boat will run you $40,000,” he says. “You can be into a jet ski for a quarter of the price, and have pretty much everything that a bass boat has, except maybe walk-around room.” Isaac paid $6,000 for his machine (pictured above); his accessory brackets cost between $100 and $200.
An engineer by trade, Isaac was unimpressed with the heavy, bulky and unsafe accessory mounts currently available for PWCs. The solution? Design his own. “We mount our bracket into the waterski hook that’s on the back of the PWC,” he says. “We don’t require any holes be drilled.” With Isaac’s system, the waterski hook comes out, the aft bracket easily clips on and you’re ready to go fishing. The bracket accepts everything from rod holders to bait trays to electronics.
Isaac uses a three-bracket system: a bow bracket to protect the front of the PWC; a console bracket for electronics and lights; and the aft bracket where the running lights and rod holders are mounted. Isaac also mounts a fishing rod on the console bracket. “When you get a strike, it happens right in front of you,” he says. “There’s something thrilling about that.”