Kayak fishing is a current trend, and for some good reasons. Compared to the traditional gas burners kayaks are cheaper, they allow the anglers to access remote waters and under-fished, and it is easy to be rigged with any feature that a die-hard can even imagine.
Still, if you are totally new to kayak fishing, it will appear to be a different ballgame compared to other angling styles out there. Things are a bit different on a kayak. It has little space than the deck of the big boat. It’s less stable and closer to the water surface. Furthermore, you’re on your own while on the kayak. You will be the captain, fisherman, navigator and motor operator.
It will sound quite excruciating. However, the fun you get from this is totally unmatchable. For this reason, the constraints to staying on the kayak have not appeared as a deterrent. But, such challenges have made kayak fishing quite an enjoyable activity.
Kayak fishing is one of the most adventurous water-sport activities that offer you an opportunity to immerse yourself completely in nature. Suppose you’re new to the kayak angling, nothing to worry about; you can start water fishing in your kayak within no time. But, you must remember that as the kayak is paddle-powered, you require strength to paddle your vessel safely over its waves. Given are some top tips that will make kayak fishing possible.
1. Determine the Right Location
The first thing before you start kayak fishing is finding the right location. You will not be able to do fishing if the location is not right. Lots of people waste their time randomly looking for the fishing spots. Just make sure you maximize the water time by selecting the right location before you come out.
Check out the weather condition, and make sure you do proper research on what types of spots work at some times of the year & where best you can head for the right fish species you want to target. Many beginners make this mistake by thinking that paddling is better. And this can result in loss of unnecessary energy burn and make the long paddle home. So, the right route will be the circular one, which keeps returning to its starting point.
Also make sure you paddle upwind, since working back against the wind when you’re fatigued, isn’t the best way you will end the day of fishing.
2. Selecting the Best Paddle
You will need a good paddle to navigate across the water. Paddles are normally cheap and come in some styles and sizes. The best starting point you need to consider is the width and length of the kayak.
Wider and taller kayaks will require a longer paddle. So, one style that many beginners invest in is the double-bladed paddle that has an aluminium shaft & plastic blades. It is one most affordable choices and gives the user a durable and lightweight product.
Also Read: What Size Kayak Paddle Do I Need?
An expensive option is a paddle made from carbon fibre. This can be the lightest choice but significantly very expensive. Most beginners find aluminium shaft paddle adequate. Suppose you have bought an expensive carbon fibre paddle, you must consider investing in the paddle leash. It adds security just by tethering its paddle to mounting hardware over the deck. The leash will potentially limit the movement but can pay off if the paddle gets overboard.
3. Choose the Right Kayak Type
When choosing the kayak for fishing, you must think about the width and size. Most of the fishing kayaks come in between 10 to 14 feet. The shorter kayaks are simple to manoeuvre but made only for one single passenger.
Also Read: What Size Kayak Do I Need?
But, when it is about width, the wider kayaks provide higher stability on water whereas narrower kayaks let you paddle much faster. An important factor to consider is stability if you’re new to experiencing kayak fishing. You must ensure that there’s sufficient room on your kayak to mount the fishing rod holders & store tackle.
4. Make Use of Anchors
An anchor isn’t generally the first thing that comes to your mind when you are thinking about kayaks. But, anchors are definitely an important item in the kayak fishing gear and need to be there in the list of best kayak fishing tips. The anchors are not just used for open-ocean fishing, since you are trawling and moving with currents when you start fishing.
They’re very useful if you are planning to fish in an area that is an open lake and slow-moving river currents. Such areas are windy, and an anchor comes in quite handy in positioning the boat in one spot and holding this there. Maintaining the right position can be tough to achieve without the anchor as the wind currents can keep shifting a kayak. For bass fishing, the anchor is a very important gear for the kayak.
Also Read: What Must You Do When Anchoring At Night?
For many kayaks, the claw anchor weighing two to four pounds is enough. Ensure to use a simple-release anchor, as heavy wind currents may end up pushing your boat underwater & drowning it.
5. Check Out Local Fishing Reports
The fishing reports are a very important part of the kayak angler’s planning procedure. The quality fishing report will give you an invaluable insight into the current fishing states, which includes where are the fish and the kinds of fish biting. But, fishing reports do not do you good if you do not read them. Thus, try and make it a habit to check the local fishing reports and stay updated on what is happening over a particular season.
If you are planning to travel outside of the local area for kayak fishing, it will be better to read up on the area’s recent reports. Make sure you take your time to go through some recent reports that will give you a little idea of the conditions that you will face before the trip.
6. Stay Well-Organized
Many top kayaks come with lots of tackle management sections, available storage areas, and places to secure the fishing rod in case you want to paddle and do something when you are fishing.
Proper organization and storage are ignored in kayak angling, so people think that they will go for an old kayak, and this will do a trick, but it is not true. So, the main reason why I recommend going with the right “fishing” kayak is they generally come with fishing-related functions that will help to make this experience much easier, better, and better organized.
7. Avoid Overloading the Kayak
As kayak fishing is an important gear-intensive pursuit, it is simple to accidentally overload the kayak. Make sure your kayak is not loaded beyond 80% of the total carrying capacity. Thus, if the boat will support over 500 lbs, the total weight of you & your gear must not be over 400 lbs for better performance.
Thus, you need to be carefully cautious of what you bring on the paddles, and you do not accidentally overload the kayak. Remember that, unless you are doing catch & release, you may end up with higher weight capacity in the boat at an end of the fishing day than once you started.
8. Bring Out Your Fish Handling Gear
The fish handling gear mainly includes pliers, gloves, line cutters, nets, stringers and fish grips. Suppose you are new to fishing, then you must consider crimping barbs on the hooks since unhooking fish is one important skill in itself. The gloves are quite useful when you are handling fish with sharp fins and teeth.
Unless you have hooked the soft-lipped fish or a trout that you will remove easily with a hook with the fingers, pair of pliers may come in very handy. Search for the pair, which tethers to the PFD or you can consider the survival multi-tool. The nets are very useful to scoop up fish when you bring this close to your kayak. It allows you to leave fish halfway in the water which eases your catch strain.
9. Use Right Rod & Reel
Now as you know a bit about selecting the best lures, we have to pair this up with the best rod & reel combo. There’re not any right and wrong answers, and this depends so much on personal preference. So, you may use whatever you will generally use but also factor in the size of fish that you are targeting and the type of lures that you are using.
If you are going finesse on the lure size after the small bass or panfish, you will have to go with the ultralight, high gear ratio and fast action rod as you have to feel each nibble, however, you do not need to worry about them snapping the line like big fish.
10. Learn Casting One-Handed
When you are fishing from your kayak, you are quite close to the water surface so the way you cast can differ from a bank and stable boat deck. On the stable kayak too, you will not have enough space where you’re sitting & where the water hits, thus casting with 2 hands will prove quite challenging. The experienced kayak anglers will cast one-handed, mainly with the baitcasting and spinning tackle.
The standard 2 hand windup cast will not be enough in the kayak, since there are a lot of instances where you can use your hand to paddle & try to catch fish too. It is good to practice with one hand cast before getting out in the water. Also, you may do it in the backyard or in a large open area.
Keep in mind that kayak fishing is one lifelong pursuit, so your personal experience may have an important lesson for you to teach. It is quite a welcoming community, and most of the experienced paddling anglers will be very happy to share this knowledge. Besides, get there and start fishing!