Wondering why kayak fishing is so popular these days? Well, it’s a simple, exciting, healthy, and relatively cheap sport where you can let yourself loose and relax. The best thing about it? You can work at your own pace and could even catch great fish!
However, if you are just a beginner kayak angler and have no idea where to start, it could be a little daunting and challenging. Good thing this article has you covered! For basic kayak fishing knowledge and helpful tips on how to kayak fish straight from the experts, continue reading below!
What you’ll need:
Before you start anything, you need several things on hand to make it easier and safer for you. Here are the things you will need (aside from a kayak, of course) to start kayak fishing.
You will use this to move around and change position or direction, something you will often be doing when kayak fishing so you should learn how to choose a paddle. Choose something lightweight to help you avoid fatigue. To avoid losing a paddle once you catch something, you might also want to invest in a paddle leash.
● Personal Floatation Device
Although kayaking is fun and safe, your vessel may still tip over, and you might fall out unexpectedly. Wearing a PFD whether or not you know how to swim is smart. Choose something that fits you well and will stay on in case of a mishap.
● Rod Holder
A holder will keep your rods in place and prevent you from losing this important piece of equipment if the line gets caught in something or your kayak flips. You can mount one on either side of the kayak.
When you find a good spot, you want to stay there. Anchors and a line will help you stay put in a specific location you spent some time looking for. Since kayaks have limited capacity and space, choose a small anchor not weighing more than 3 pounds.
● Sun protection
When kayaking, you spend long hours under the sun. Wear protective clothing like a fishing hat, a UPF-protected shirt, a neck or face buff, a hoodie to cover your ears and neck, sunscreen, fishing pants, chapstick, and polarized sunglasses.
Chances are, you will be spending longer hours than planned when kayak fishing. So, prepare plenty of snacks, some water, or a meal and store it in a small ice chest to keep everything cool and fresh.
● Waterproof storage
This is somewhere you can keep your valuables safe.
● Miscellaneous stuff
Have some useful tools like pliers or forceps, tackles, bait, gears, caps, rods, and other things that might come in handy in the future.
● Somewhere to keep the fish
If you do plan to keep your catch, bring a bucket with a lid or a chest with some ice to store smaller fish in and consider a fish bag or some netting, towels, or strap to attach larger fish to your kayak. A burlap bag can be handy for managing slime and keeping your fish wet.
How to Kayak Fish:
Step 1. Plan on a location and how long you will be staying in the water. Decide whether you will be fishing on freshwater or saltwater and adjust or replace your gear accordingly.
Step 2. Once you get to the location, practice paddling in your kayak for about 30 minutes in order to be comfortable before setting out farther from the shore. Assess your stability by leaning softly from side to side. Practice casting and reaching around your kayak to know which movements can cause water to get in or the kayak to tip too far.
Check out this video on how to properly paddle a kayak:
Step 3. Lay out your gear in front of you before you go. Check if you have everything you need and try to remember where everything is. Put the important stuff like your tackles, drinks, snacks, and pliers where they are easily accessible.
Step 4. Stow and stage your rods before launching. Prepare for launching by putting heavy items near the center for balance and take note of the freeboard or the amount of boat out of the water.
Step 5. Move around slowly and steadily with few gentle paddle strokes towards your honey hole. Fish are very skittish and can be scared away by simple movements like when you set down your paddle or lift your rod. Look at the fish by sight casting or standing up. Just make sure that the water is clear enough, and your kayak is stable.
Step 6. Try casting as you practiced. If you have a tippy kayak, learn how to control your casting before launching farther from the shore to deeper waters.
Here is one video to watch:
Step 7. Set your hook and focus. Keep your body straight and your head towards the kayak’s center. Maintain a tight line and hold your rod above your head.
Step 8. If you manage to catch a fish, reel it in carefully until it is close enough to handle. Avoid jerky, sudden movements. If you plan on releasing it, use a fish grip and a pair of forceps or pliers to remove the hook. If you fail to catch anything, that’s okay. The problem is not always you or your skills. The weather, the water conditions, the gear you used, and other factors may be the culprit. Stay persistent and do your research.
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Now that you know what you need and how to kayak fish, you’ll soon find how exciting and rewarding this sport can be, and it won’t be long until you find yourself hooked!