Kayak fishing is a fun and cheap way to explore your love for fishing without an expensive outdoor motor or proper boat, not to mention you’ll get a good workout at the same time. You’ll also have easy access to any lake and can put your kayak in the water in no time. No proper boat landing? No problem since kayaks can be put almost everywhere. But what do you need to know to have the best experience out on the water? We’ve listed some essential information you should know before taking your kayak out.
The gear you bring is important, so make sure you have a knife and net ready to go with your rod and tackle. Also, consider a rod holder to free up a hand when you need it. Likewise, think about what you wear just as much as what you bring. If you go in the water, you’re going to want to recover quickly, especially if it’s cold out. Hint: think easy to swim and quick drying. Practically, prepping will stop you from filling up your rather limited space with unnecessary gear and provide an easier and more enjoyable fishing trip.
Sure you know how to paddle, but how about doing it one-handed while you have a fish on the line? Or while you’re using the net and you’re being blown into harsh terrain? Make sure that you’ve mastered this trick, and can control your kayak when it really matters. While we’re at it, make sure you’re not just picking up the first cheap paddle of the clearance rack you see. You’ll see better performance with a more expensive paddle, and that can make a huge difference when you’re bringing in your trophy fish or hit bad weather.
Flipping your kayak can be a pain in the butt, and it can even ruin a trip. You can be an expert at kayaking, but that doesn’t guarantee you aren’t going to flip once in a while. Prepare for the worst, and keep your gear safe and your trip on track by planning for the flip before it happens. If you don’t, you might lose your rods, tools, phone (if you have a hard time disconnecting) or even your car keys. It’s a good idea to practice your flipping by purposely rolling yourself in a pool or shallow still water; this will give you confidence in your ability to roll your kayak and stop you from panicking in case you do flip. Just remember to have a friend with you when practicing your rolling, preferably someone with kayaking experience, who could provide some insight on your technique.
Many of our friends in the kayak fishing world have convinced themselves that an anchor is too much of a hassle, but when the wind picks up, or you’re in the middle of the lake at a good spot, it comes in handy. If you’re going to use an anchor, there is one trick you’ll want to make sure to remember; just make sure you aren’t dropping the anchor into a strong current. If you do, you could potentially drag your whole kayak under the water.
Fishing in a strong current can be quite a challenge and a bit unproductive. Fishing in a kayak will give you the ability to park and fish almost anywhere, including eddies. You shouldn’t even need an anchor if you position yourself right. Just stay put while the current brings the fish to you, and move on once you’ve made your catch.
It may be easier getting in and out of a sit-on kayak, but you’ll pay for it in the end. Sit-in kayaks offer more stability, shelter from unwelcome conditions, a dryer ride, and extra storage. If you already have a sit-on kayak and want an easy trick to increase stability, try straddling. Don’t wait until you have a fish either, or you may wind up tipping. For those with little to no kayaking experience, try to get out with a friend or relative who has one or both types of kayak since that’ll let you get a feel for what type is the right one for you. It’s important to get a kayak that feels right as you need to be confident in the fit, so get down to your local store and try out a few models.
If you are going to a new lake, make sure you do some research beforehand. Also, if it’s remote, try and get some friends to join you on the trip. Traveling alone? Try and meet up with some fellow anglers at the lake. Having someone who knows the terrain can help you be more successful on the lake, and it can help keep you safe.
The maneuverability of your kayak is one of your biggest assets. When you have the opportunity, you’ll easily be able to line yourself up parallel with weeds. This will allow you to cast on the edge of the weeds easily, and drive those fish crazy.
Bringing in your catch may be the best part of kayak fishing, but the next best thing is showing all your friends the size of the fish. If you want to snap a pic of the moment, you’ll need to make sure you got the equipment for it. You’ll want to bring a camera that is waterproof, or at the very least make sure your camera or phone has a waterproof case. Also, don’t forget you’ll need your hands to hold the fish, so a camera mount that can clip to your kayak is key for good pics.
Kayak fishing opens up so many new fishing spots as you’re able to quietly and easily move through tighter waterways. The main considerations to walk away with are:
Following these tips and tricks while you’re on your kayak will allow you to concentrate on what’s important, which is having a good time fishing.