A Quick and Concise Guide for Easy Fishing from a Kayak

Getting started in fishing from a kayak is not an easy feat. You need to have the essential tools that are required and you must learn the basic techniques, such as how to pedal correctly. Most importantly, you do need to have patience. You will not end up with a fresh catch all the time. In some instances, you will end up frustrated. The important thing is to not give up!

how to fishing from a kayak


Kayak fishing is all about preparation and technique. You should be well-prepared before you hit your destination. Check that your gear is in tip-top shape and make sure your equipment is complete. Most of all, study the essential techniques. In the end, you will find it easy to take home a nice catch!

1. Prepare your Kayak and your Gears

First, prepare the kayak and make sure that it is ready for a fishing trip. A physical inspection is necessary to ensure its functionality and safety. If it is already dented and old, replace it than compromise your safety.
In terms of your kayak fishing gear, on the other hand, here are the essentials:

  • Fishing Rod: Be sure you are comfortable with the rod you are using. It should have the right length and weight so that you won’t feel awkward when it is used.
  • Rod Holder: This secures the rod when it is not used. It will avoid the rod from falling in case you are paddling.
  • Anchor: With this, you can keep the kayak in a stable position depending on where you think you can find fish.
  • Tackle Box: This is important to stay organized. It will keep the gears that you will need, including your bait.
  • Baits: There are different types of baits that are used in various fishing environments. Make sure to use the right bait to increase the likelihood of success.
  • Paddle: You need a paddle to move from one place to another. Make sure that the paddle has the right weight and length.
  • Paddle Leash: The leash will keep the paddle secured. It will prevent it from falling in case you are in a steady position and holding a fishing rod.

Aside from your gear, you should be prepared as well. With this, see to it that you are dressed appropriately. You must be comfortable with what you are wearing. Avoid clothes that are too tight as this can make it difficult for you to paddle. A cap or sun visor can also help. Apply sunscreen or wear clothing with insulation, depending on the weather where you are fishing.

2. Master the Basic Techniques

It is not enough that you have a complete set of equipment. Even if you have high-end gear, if you do not know how to do things right, you will end up with frustration. With this, when it comes to fishing from a kayak, the following are some of the things you should learn.

  • Launching the Kayak: This can be a struggle if you have a lot of gear. Before launching, make sure to distribute weight evenly. Place the lighter items on the side and the heavier ones going towards the middle.
  • Paddling: Forward and backward stroke are the basic techniques that you should learn. Make sure that you know how to propel the kayak going on a specific direction. Apply enough force to direct the kayak wherever you want to go.
  • Launching the Rod: This is a bit tricky, especially for beginners. Practice casting off to maintain the balance of the kayak and to avoid tipping. For some people, they prefer sitting sideways with the other leg in the water as they cast off.

3. How to Fish from a Kayak

  •         Drifting: You will find more fish while drifting. The direction of your drift is highly controllable with minimal paddling. However, you can easily change your orientation from left to right or back by one simple thrust backward.
  •         Fishing Against the Wind: Strong wind is difficult to fight against, as your paddle will be less useful. It is highly recommended that you use an anchor to keep your boat in place. It will also keep you facing towards your fish target, as well as your travel direction.
  •         Sight Fishing: It is deemed more difficult to see beneath the water if you’re on a kayak since the position is low. You may stand in the kayak for more visibility, but make sure it is stable.
  •         Fighting Fish: A strong and heavy fish can always drag your kayak around. If your tow is too tight, the fish might still have a hard time breaking the line. If your tackle is light, you have to increase line capacity that will allow longer runs. A 20-pound line can have you dragged in your kayak but it will not break. You must remember that rod, reel, and line combinations may vary, depending on different fish behaviors and conditions.
  •         Handling Fish: Make sure you only catch the amount of fish you will have for dinner. In the event you will release a fish, remember that you need to resuscitate it first before letting it go. Water should be moving over their gills that allow oxygen to transfer into their bloodstream. When you want to keep a fish, store them carefully inside a cooler with ice. For larger fish, you may consider wrapping them up in a towel first.

4. Know How to Catch a Fish

As earlier mentioned, fishing from a kayak requires patience. It may take hours before you can finally have a catch. To increase the likelihood of catching a fish, here are some things to do:

  • Choose the Right Destination: Go to a place that is known for being an excellent venue for fishing. Alternatively, you can also use a GPS device that will allow you to spot fish in the area.
  • Hold the Rod Properly: Once you feel that the rod is getting heavy, this is a signal that a fish is already on the hook. Hold the rod up above your head and make sure to apply enough force so that the fish will not be able to escape. You should steer the fish away from the anchor line to avoid water from splashing straight to your face. Once you lift the fish from the water, be careful in holding it. Store it in a fish cooler immediately so that it will remain fresh before it is cooked.

4. Prioritize your Safety

Make sure that you are safe at all times. Here are some of the tips to keep in mind.

  • Carefully inspect all gears. For instance, look for possible holes in the kayak. Make sure as well that it is well-maintained.
  • Wear personal flotation device. As soon as you step in the water, you should already have your life vest on.
  • Keep a watchful eye in your surrounding. If you are in doubt or if you feel that there is something wrong, trust your instincts.
  • Always have a first aid kit in your kayak. This will allow you to respond quickly to any possible form of medical emergency.
  • Pay attention to the condition of the water and the weather. Do your research before you head out. If there is any warning of weather disturbance, postpone your plan on a later date.


In sum, fishing from a kayak may seem like a complicated thing at first, especially for someone who has not done it before. Many already feel nervous the moment they sit on the kayak. You should not be like these people. Have enough courage, master the basic skills, and be patient. For sure, it will not take long before you transition from a novice to an expert.

James R. Douglas