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Kayak Fishing Tips

Last Updated: November 27th, 2020
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So you want to be a kayak fisher? Before you join the ranks at this frontier of fishing, you’ll need to check your skills and knowledge first. Kayak fishing is a great sport, it’s cost-effective and promotes good health. But like all adventure activities, there can be dangers.

Fishing off a pier or river bank is commonplace, but casting a line from a kayak is a relatively uncharted territory. Limitations on space and movement require quick-thinking, skill and patience. With the right preparation and equipment, you can make sure you next expedition goes off without a hitch.

Kayak Fishing Tips

Get To Know Your Kayak

It is crucial to understand the rhythm, balance, and movement of your boat before you head out on the water. Put away your rod and forget the fish completely during this early stage because if you aren’t able to maneuver your kayak then you won’t be going anywhere.

Making the time to visit your local kayak club and enroll in some lessons will help you to gain expert insight into the sport. Mastering the right technique for your kayak will take time and provides a great opportunity to determine the right boat style for you.

A more narrow, long boat will increase efficiency but could make your balance difficult to manage. If you choose a short, wide kayak then you’ll enjoy all the benefits of increased stability and control, but at the potential cost of agility.

Research Your Location

Even an accomplished swimmer would not perform to the best in unknown waters and kayak fishing is no different. Deciding on your ideal location requires in-depth research into the conditions, landscape and of course - the fish!

Your fishing spot is about more than where you’ll find the best the catch, it’s crucial to also consider personal safety. Capsizing in your boat is a real possibility and every kayak fisher should know exactly what they’re up against. Some waters are more dangerous than others and the weather will change day-to-day.

Before you head off to your destination be sure to confirm the conditions ahead of time. Even an ideal body of water can turn treacherous with heavy wind or rain. If you’re heading down a river then check for dams or other obstacles to make sure you aren’t left with any surprises along the way. Using a fish finder can help you determine what kind of landscape lies below and what kind of water depth your dealing with.

Know What You’re Fishing For

Knowing what it is you want to catch is an important step that many beginners tend to overlook. Research into your destination will mean nothing if you don’t know a thing or two about what you’re looking for. Each species of fish will require a unique technique to source and catch, but there are some general rules to adhere to. Check out our fishing tips guides to help you narrow in on what species your after.

Drifting in your kayak will often help to locate more fish quickly. Kayak fishing is optimal for stealth, as you are able to glide with little disruption through the water. Keep careful control of your direction and at all times stay away from your position from the shore.

It’s worth taking the time to understand the species and build your confidence - a big fish will have the power to tow your kayak around without the proper handling. By knowing exactly what you’re after you’ll not only be safer and more competent but catch more fish!

Have The Right Kit
You’re an able kayaker with a map and a dream, but before you run off in search of adventure you need to check one last thing; your kit. A rod, live-bait, and bucket are boating accessories that most fishermen will already have. But you’ll also need a personal floatation device, anchor, rod holder and navigation light to succeed.

Without the proper tools, even an outstanding fisher will struggle to make (and keep!) their catch, let alone stay upright on the kayak. If the weather conditions take a turn for the worst then you’ll need to be wearing a helmet. Capsizing is an inevitable part of kayak fishing, if you haven’t found yourself in the water yet then you haven’t been doing it long enough. A helmet can keep you safe from any sharp boulders hidden below.

Safety Is The First Priority
It goes without saying that you should always wear a life jacket while out on the water. Calm waters will often hide rapids and one wrong turn could see you trying to find your footing in a lake more than 200m deep.

A personal floatation device can keep your head above the water, even when knocked unconscious. Of course, one of the best ways to prioritise your safety is to let those close to you know where and when you’re heading off.

Informing a partner, family member or friend when to expect you back is a simple method to ensure that should you end up lost or disorientated, people will know where to send help. Even better - bring an experienced fisher (and competent kayaker) along on the trip to keep you company!

Further Doesn’t Always Mean Better

Getting caught up in the adventure of a rough wave or the drama of open ocean can lead us to feel a little more daring in our kayaks. In this situation, it is crucial that you don’t bite off more than you can chew and end up proverbial creek. Remember, the further you go out the further you’ll have to come back.

A common misconception around fishermen is that the best fish must be at the other end of the lake. Though sometimes it will certainly feel this way, a kayak fisher should travel a distance that reflects their individual fitness and ability. Kayaking can be a strenuous sport on its own without adding fishing into the mix. With a little research, preparation and care from your end, this pastime can be transformed into a life-long passion.

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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