Kayak Fishing Gear List: What You Need for your Next Trip

Fishing and kayaking are both inexpensive activities that when brought together, will give you loads of fun and relaxation. To make this activity cost-free, you need to have your kayak and fishing gear ready. All you need now is the body of water where you will do your fishing trip. Below you can find the kayak fishing gear list, which you can use as a checklist for your fishing trip.

kayak fishing gear list


1. Rod Holders

The first thing on this kayak fishing gear list is a rod holder. This might be the most important thing a kayak for fishing should have. Unless you own a motor powered kayak, paddling will require you to use both of your hands. If you have a rod holder, you can use your other hand to do the paddling. Changing your location when you already cast your line may be a difficult task to do.

Rod holders are very important when you outfit your kayak for fishing. You may buy a rod holder at your local kayak store. If you don’t have a kayak yet, another option is that you buy a kayak specifically made for fishing. The latter usually comes with a rod holder that is attached at the sides and is already built-in.

2. Anchor Systems

While fishing, there will come a time that you need to remain perfectly still. Doing this will improve your chances of catching a fish, as well as help you out to avoid capsizing. Wind usually plays a big part especially when you’re out in the water in your kayak. It can always take you away from a good spot and send you maybe 10 yards from your original position.

A 3-pound anchor will hold your kayak steadily. If you are always in shallow waters, buy a kayak with anchor pole. Planting this is more convenient than pulling your anchor in and out of the water.

3. Paddle

We all know you cannot move in the water without a paddle. This is your primary source of propulsion. If you don’t have it, you will not be able to go anywhere. Make sure you buy one that is the right size for your kayak. Lighter paddles are always better than the heavier ones since it will not cause fatigue while paddling. An emergency paddle is also highly recommended in case you lose your paddle while fighting a fish.

4. Paddle Leash

Losing your paddle can happen easy especially when you lean to the sides or when you are fighting a fish. In order to prevent losing your paddle from happening, make sure you have a paddle leash attached on the sides of your boat. If you have one of these, you will never lose your paddle and won’t have to endure being stranded.

You can buy paddle leashes from your local kayak store. Remember, it should be compatible to the sides of your kayak. If you do not have a kayak yet, you may consider buying one that already features a paddle leash.

5. Fishing Gear Crate

The fishing gear crate is one of the basic equipment you should have in your fishing kayak. The crate can hold your rod holders and it is used to protect all your gear from getting wet. It is also considered as a secure storage space for your gear. It is recommended that you don’t get it full; as it will be inconvenient to put everything back inside.

6. Fish Grips

For the fish to survive after you catch it, consider buying fish grips. While landing the fish with a net is ideal, you can just hold it vertically using a fish grip. This device protects the fish’s internals, as well as your hands from the fish’s sharp teeth and hook.

You can buy fish grips at your local kayak store. Fish grips float in the water and you can also buy glow in the dark ones for night kayak fishing.

kayak fishing gear list


7. Measuring Device

The measuring device is also a handy gear, which you can use to measure the length of your catch. Buy one that has holes on both ends where you can attach a leash. The measuring device can measure fish from 8 to 30 inches.

8. Hook Remover

When you use a fish grip, you also have to consider getting a hook remover, as it secures your catch. Make sure you buy hook removers in varied sizes, as you won’t know the size of fish you will catch. For long-lasting use, consider buying aluminum and plastic hook removers. They are also easy to clean after use.

9. Fish Bay and Cooler

One way to hold your day’s catch is to have a fish bay or cooler in your kayak. This way, you will bring your catch home as fresh as possible. You can also keep your beer cold if you have one of these. One thing to consider is the size of the cooler. Make sure that it fits your kayak.

10. Safety Gear

It can be really dangerous when you go out fishing with your kayak. Factors such as strong winds, bad weather, and even wildlife can cause you harm. You may sometimes find yourself beneath some trees and bodies of water with extreme existence of vegetation. You need to be cautious of your surroundings, aside from packing up a safety gear with you.

A personal flotation device (PFD) is very important and you should have it worn every time. A safety whistle, sunblock, a flag for visibility and flashlight are also essential when you go out on a fishing trip. Knives and ropes can also be considered as essential safety gears for emergencies. You should never forget to bring water and food, as it will keep you hydrated and you will be energized.

A set of dry clothes can also be brought when you go fishing. You never know the chances when you’re going to get wet from capsizing.

First aid kits are also important, as physical injury is a possibility especially when you have sharp objects with you.

You also need a magnetic compass as it can help you with directions.

A kayak light is highly recommended for you to bring especially when you do kayak fishing at night.

For comfort, you have to be wearing the appropriate apparel for fishing. Head and face protection is also, especially when sitting under the sun for hours. Glare from the water is huge. One way to prevent this is to have sunglasses on. Gloves are also essential for a tighter grip of the rod and the paddle. You can use them for handling fishes with sharp spine.

11. Communication Devices

When fishing on a kayak, it is highly probable that you will be alone, unless you’re in a tandem kayak. Emergencies can happen at any moment and it is very important for you to communicate for help.

Whistles are an effective way to send communication to anyone nearby. It is very easy to use and you can just tie it on your neck for easy access. You can also bring mobile phones, but you must seal it to keep it dry.

12. Electronics

The last thing on this kayak fishing gear list, we will take advantage of modern technology. In the past decade, electronics have become a major part of our lives, improving our way of living. The advantage of electronics is no different from using it during a kayak fishing trip.

A fish finder with GPS is a reliable gadget you can use to locate fish. Aside from estimating the number of fish, it also determines their sizes. It also measures the water temperature, as well as its depth. This device, combined with your knowledge in fish behavior, can guarantee you a bountiful catch.

You might also want to bring a camera to your kayak fishing trip so you can document your adventures. Obviously, cameras and water just don’t get together. A way to prevent your camera from getting wet is you have to secure it inside a waterproof plastic case. You can also consider buying a camera mount so capturing your adventure won’t get in the way of your paddling.


Being prepared will come a long way when you decide to go out on a kayak fishing trip. Combined with your fishing knowledge, the list of kayak fishing gear mentioned above will help to have a plentiful catch. This kayak fishing gear list will also help you out in times of danger. Invest in the right gear and you will have a more comfortable, convenient, and safe kayak fishing experience.

James R. Douglas