How to Fish from a Kayak: Do It Like The Pros

Interest in kayak fishing has flourished over the last decade. Continue series article Fishing from  a kayak, in this article we will continue discuss detail how to fish from a kayak and what equipment is essential for your trip. We will also give you tips on what you need to know about kayak fishing. By the end of this guide, we hope you can apply what you learn and bring home a bountiful catch!

how to fishing from a kayak

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Advantages of Kayak Fishing

Before we discuss the basics of how to fish from a kayak, you should know the following information first. Below are some of the benefits one can get from kayak fishing.

  •         Affordability: The cost is lower when you buy a kayak for fishing than when you buy a regular fishing boat. It would only cost you $1,500 to $3,000 to buy a rigged kayak. Towing, maintenance, and insurance expenses are a lot less when you choose a kayak over a fishing boat.
  •         Accessibility: Unlike a larger fishing boat, kayaks can access remote and more distant waters. Narrow and far off waters are loaded with fish, but you might have difficulty in accessing these places. The greatest advantage is that, with a kayak, you can access untouched waters that larger boats cannot.
  •         Portability: Another benefit of choosing a kayak for fishing is the ease of transport to and from water. Storing your kayak is very convenient, as you can just tie it up on top of your car. If you have an inflatable kayak, you can store it once it has dried out.
  •         Improved Perspectives: Kayaks have low angles, so you are guaranteed to fish easily. Fishing from a kayak is slower and more relaxing than fishing from a larger boat. Paddling from a kayak is also a good physically activity to help you become fit.

More about Equipment for Kayak Fishing

Once you get a kayak for fishing, you should also check the following list to begin with kayak fishing. These are the necessary items when you want to go on a fishing trip with a kayak.

  •         Paddles: When choosing paddles, make sure that you can carry its weight when you are in the water. Cheap paddles ($100 and below) are usually heavy, while medium-grade ($100 to $150) are lighter and easier to carry. A few extra bucks won’t hurt if you really want to invest on something sturdy.
  •         Trailer: To transport your kayak with ease, consider buying or building a homemade trailer. You can just attach it at the back of your car. Having a kayak trailer offers convenience over strapping your kayak on your car’s roof. It’s also a lot safer when you go on a road trip. Just remember to strap your kayaks carefully so it would not slide out while in transit.
  •         Rod Holder: You will need rod holders to keep your rods out of the way. In the event of capsizing, the last thing you need it losing your reel and rod. Rod holders are usually made of plastic and they can be installed with rivets or bolts.
  •         Anchors: You need to secure your kayak in a specific place when you catch a fish. That’s why anchors are essential to keep your position in the water. You may either get a folding or a claw anchor.
  •         Paddle Leash: This type of equipment secures your paddle to your kayak. When you catch a big fish, the last thing you want is to lose your paddle. Kayaks usually have built in paddle tie downs but paddle leashes are more convenient to use.

Preparing for Your Kayak Fishing Trip

Fishing from a kayak is different from fishing from a larger boat. Since it is smaller, it is important to make sure of your stable position. These are just some of the things that we will discuss in the rest of this guide.

  •         Outfit your Kayak: It’s important that you customize your kayak to your purpose and preferences to make it more fish-friendly. Make sure you take note of the equipment mentioned above. This may seem like an easy task but the real challenge is that your gear must be within your reach. You must identify carefully the areas in your kayak for storage of gear and tackle.
  •         Transport your Kayak: You may consider using a larger boat but it’s more economical and convenient if you use a kayak trailer. The benefits of using a kayak trailer are discussed in the above section.
  •         Boat Positioning: With regards to boat positioning, make sure that your paddle is always ready on your lap. It is also ideal that you paddle on one hand and hold the rod on the other. This one takes practice but very easy to learn.

And More Detail Fishing Technique

Drifting your Kayak

It is important to learn how to drift your kayak when fishing as this will help to slow down your speed, even when there is a strong wind. 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.

You need to have a drift sock with you. Deploying it outside the kayak is an effective way to slow down. Make sure to launch the drift sock while you are still far from your target.

If you need to put the kayak to an immediate stop, turning off the engine is the best solution. Obviously, however, this technique will only be applicable if you are using a motorized kayak.

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.

If you are fighting a strong wind when kayak fishing, it will help if you have the right paddle. As the wind becomes harsher, you have to paddle stronger. If not, it will be easy for the wind to dictate your direction instead of your paddle strokes. Exert as much effort as possible to avoid the wind from dominating.

Fighting Fish

It is not only wind that you have to fight when in your kayak. In many instances, you will also have to fight a strong and heavy fish. If not, this will make your kayak turn 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.

Proper angling of the rod is one technique you should learn. You should match the strength of the fish. If it is strong, you should be strong as well. If the fish is leaning to the right, pull your rod to the left to counter the movements. Your movement should be opposite of the movement of the fish at all times.

Be patient. A big catch will not be easy. It will require effort on your end. You might end up easily fatigued. Win over the fish and do not let the fish drain your energy.

Master Paddling Techniques

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Personally, I believe that paddling is the most important when it comes to how to fish from a kayak. This will help you to fight external elements. To add, it will also be effective in making sure that you head to the right direction. Here are some of the important paddling strokes you should learn:

  • Forward Stroke: This is the basic motion that you need to master. Use your upper arms in combination with your glutes, abdomen, and back. Start by dipping your paddle in the water, which should ideally be in line with the position of your foot. Rotate your torso while pushing the blade in the water. Every time the paddle gets out of the water, immediately follow up with another stroke to keep moving.
  • Sweep Stroke: With this stroke, you will easily turn your fishing kayak into the opposite direction. It is useful when fighting the wind. With your arms extended forward and with the boat in stable position, dip the paddle and start sweeping. As you rotate the paddle, make sure to move your body as well. Keep your eye on the direction where you are turning.
  • Reverse Forward Stroke: If you need to put your kayak in a stop, this is the stroke you should do. Drop the paddle on one side and immediately dip it on the other side. Back paddling will help the kayak to slow down and eventually, it will be put to a complete stop.

A Quick Note on Safety

Fish kayaking is a fun activity. But, it can also be risky. With this, here are some of the safety precautions that you should observe:

  • Always wear personal flotation devices. If the kayak capsizes because of strong current or because of a fish that is stronger than you, it pays to be safe with your PFD.
  • Keep an eye on other boats. You should know how to paddle away from their direction to avoid the possibility of suffering from a collision.
  • Be familiar with the behavior of water. Inshore water can appear calm when you start fishing. In a quick turn, it can immediately become harsh. You can consider having a Tide Current Chart to be more informed.
  • It will also be a good idea if you can invest in a bailing device. The latter will prove to be handy if you have to remove water that accidentally gets in the kayak.

Other Tips To Keep In Mind

  •         Seek advice from an Experienced Kayak Fisher: You will benefit from asking help from an experienced kayak fisher. They have an extensive experience in this activity, providing them with valuable knowledge. You can also try looking up forums where they discuss kayak fishing. Another thing you can do to gather information is to visit your local kayak shop.
  •         Plan your Route: You may consider checking smartphone applications used for navigation so you can plan your trip well. For more fishing opportunities, you may consider doing a circular route.
  •         Study Fish Behavior: Before you go out on a fishing trip, you may want to do a little research about fish behavior. You should learn about fish behavior towards the weather, the environment, and moon phases. You can develop a strategy and you can use it to bring home a fresh catch.
  •         Pick the Right Anchors: Folding anchors are popular because of its portability and their ability to give you a secure hold in the water. Claw anchors may not offer convenience like folding anchors can but you get the assurance that you secure your position.
  •         Monitor the Environment: Always check the weather and wind behavior before going on a fishing trip. Strong winds can turn your kayak upside down. Dress appropriately and make sure to bring an extra set of dry clothes.
  •         Emphasize Safety: Make sure you have safety equipment with you in your kayak. This list will include a whistle, safety belt, water for drinking, leash, first aid kit, and visibility flag. One last thing, do some research about what kinds of fish and water creatures are likely to appear. You do not want to come across with the scary ones such as alligators and sharks.

To conclude, fishing in a kayak is a fun activity to enjoy alone or with company. It may seem difficult at first but you if you practice, you can do it very easily. For beginners, it is highly recommended that you seek advice from experts first before going on a fishing trip. If you are afraid to do it alone, you can always ask a friend to go with you. We sure hope that we gave you valuable knowledge on how to fish from a kayak.

James R. Douglas