Fishing Kayak Setup: Your Guide to Do it Like a Pro

For a lot of people, kayak fishing is their favorite past-time. It is not only a good physical activity, but it is also rewarding, especially once you take home a fresh catch. However, this is frustrating. Spending several hours in the kayak and ending up without a catch is depressing. To minimize the possibility for the latter to happen, you need to know the right kayak fishing setup.

fishing kayak setup

Not all kayaks are for fishing. Many are only for recreational use. Only a few kayaks, most of which are expensive, are exclusively for fishing. The good news is that even with a basic sit-on-top kayak, there are modifications that you can do. This makes it easy to transform it into one built specifically for fishing. Clueless about how to do this setup? Keep on reading and learn some of the most important things you should know.

Start with the Kayak

Obviously, your kayak is the most important part of the setup. If you choose the wrong kayak, you can ruin the entire experience. Choose a slow, stable, and easy to paddle kayak. As the kayaker, it must conform to your needs. You must feel comfortable when you are using the kayak. Choose the right size for you. You must have an ample amount of space to move and to put all your things.

Customize your Seat

Your fishing kayak setup also involves the need to adjust the seat based on your needs. Many kayaks have pre-installed seats. It is better, however, if you can customize it based on your height and personal preferences. Many kayaks have plastic seats. You will feel uncomfortable when sitting for an extended period. With this, opt for padded seating with backrest.

You should also avoid seats that are too high. It is going to restrict your movement, especially if you are wearing a flotation device.

fishing kayak setup


Choose your Paddle

Now that you have your kayak, prepare the essential gears. If you are a novice, it is best to keep it as basic as possible, which also makes the setup cheaper. Use only the gears that are more important. Your fishing experience will be easier if the kayak setup is simpler.

A general-purpose paddle is your best choice. Pick one that is lightweight for easier handling and control. The length should be appropriate for your body. Also, once you have the paddle, set up a paddle leash. This is important to prevent the paddle from getting out of the kayak. This removes the worry of losing your paddle when you need it the most.

Set-up Your Rod Holder

We all know that the fishing rod is one of the most important equipment to have. Without it, obviously, you won’t be able to catch a fish. Once you have selected a rod, the next thing to do is to have a secured holder.

Place it behind the kayak’s cockpit. Also, you can position it in the front. The important thing is for you to easily access it from where you are sitting. It is best to put it in front so that you can easily see it. See to it that the rod holder is also right for your pole. DWC piping is an excellent material of choice if you want to make your own rod holder. It should stand straight when not in used, preferably in a milk crate. Secure the pipe to prevent the rod from falling.

Set-Up your Anchor

Another important part of your fishing kayak setup is the anchor. This serves as the brake. It puts the kayak into a complete stop as you cast your rod and wait for a fish to bite the lure. If you do not use the right anchor, the kayak may end up being unstable.

If you want an anchor that offers a high level of versatility, a folding anchor is the best. It is not only portable, but it is also a good thing that it can deliver exceptional performance in different environmental conditions. If the bottom is soft, on the other hand, a claw anchor is the best choice, although it is not portable.

Organize a Storage Box

You need to have a box to keep all your gears organized. You can make a DIY milk crate. This houses the essential gears you need to bring. From tackles to your sunscreen, it is important to have a spacious crate. The grated sides are perfect for attaching rod holders and nets. The grated sides make it easier for water to drain out.

You need to pay attention to the proper placement of the crate. Like the other things you need, it is best to place the milk crate in the front. This makes it easy to retrieve the items you need.

Take Note of Your Safety

When preparing your fishing kayak, do not forget to pay attention to your safety as well. In the past, many kayakers have suffered from accidents and unfortunate events. You should invest in the right gears to prioritize your safety.

For your safety, it is essential to have a personal flotation device. You need to have a life jacket that is suitable for the conditions of the water where you are fishing. It is also essential to have the right size, making sure you are comfortable when you wear it. A reflective coating is also critical for visibility, even in poorly-lit surroundings.

As you launch your kayak, pay attention to its weight. You need to lessen the weight of your gears. Make sure the kayak can support it.

You also need a small first aid kit. You can suffer from common injuries while onboard. Medicines, bandages, scissors, insect repellent, and tweezers are some items you need.


Now that you are done reading this post, we hope that you are aware of the basics when it comes to fishing kayak setup. It may seem intimidating at first, but once you know how to do it right, it will not take long before your kayak and your gears are ready!

James R. Douglas