Kayak fishing is rapidly becoming one of the most popular ways to spend the day out on the water. While kayaks have been used for thousands of years to fish, they have come a long way since the first wood and sealskin boats that were made by the Inuits who fished in the arctic.
Modern materials make it possible for you to outfit your kayak with features that allow you to glide stealthy through the water to places that you couldn’t get to in a traditional motorized fishing boat. In fact, there’s something quite peaceful about getting back to the basics of using a boat that is powered by paddling, and you can’t beat that special moment when you find that hidden fishing hole.
When you are first getting started with kayak fishing, it is common to feel overwhelmed by the wide array of gear that is out there. You may even be completely unsure of where to begin if you’ve only recently gotten into kayaking. If so, then you have no worries. One of the reasons why kayak fishing is so popular is that it has a small learning curve, which means that you can be reeling fish into your boat within only a short period of time. These tips are designed specifically for beginners so that you can quickly put together your gear and begin developing the skills that you need for kayak fishing.
Start With the Right Kayak
When you think about it, your kayak is the most essential piece of equipment that you can take out fishing on the water. Selecting a kayak for fishing requires you to carefully weigh factors such as the type of water that you plan to navigate through along with your personal preferences for comfort. Typically, you are going to want a shorter, more lightweight kayak if you plan to fish on small lakes or ponds. These are fairly stable and have good maneuverability through calmer waters. For larger lakes, you might want a longer and slimmer kayak. While you will be sacrificing some stability, you’ll appreciate how well it helps you cover longer distances faster. The majority of kayak fishermen also prefer sit on top kayaks with slightly elevated seats that allow for more freedom of movement and visibility.
Choose a Good Fishing Paddle
You can use a regular kayak paddle to fish, but you will appreciate having something that is lightweight and easy to maneuver. You can also find fishing paddles that are designed to meet the unique needs of fishermen. These paddles have a longer shaft that you will want if you go for a wider kayak. The bigger blades are also designed to help push your kayak through the water when it is weighed down with gear and hopefully some fish.
Look for Paddle and Rod Holders
With traditional kayaking, you only have a paddle to worry about, but now you will also need to take care of your fishing rods. At some point, you’ll need to switch between the two, and paddle and rod holders on your kayak make it easy to keep your gear in place until you need it again. While you are looking into this feature, you also want to make sure that your kayak has a paddle leash so that you don’t get caught out on the water without one.
Think About Storage
With more gear and the prospect of bringing home some fish, you need to be thinking about where you will store everything. A dry hatch is always a good feature to have on your kayak, and you’ll also want to consider getting some other storage container that you can strap to the deck or float behind you as you go.
Know How to Use an Anchor System
You’re going to want to have an anchor on board that you can use to keep your kayak in the perfect fishing spot. A lightweight foldable system is ideal for kayak fishing. However, you’ll also find fishermen out there with stake out poles, drift chutes and other forms of anchoring systems. Whatever you choose, avoid trying to anchor yourself in swift currents since this can cause your kayak to potentially flip.
Research New Fishing Spots
Fishing from a kayak is similar to other forms as far as needing to know what the conditions are like where you plan to go. You can often find fishing reports for lakes and other bodies of water on local websites or by contacting the state parks and wildlife department. Since fish respond to things such as water levels and weather changes, knowing before you go can help you to plan where you want to launch your kayak. Since you should always check the conditions for safety purposes, finding out where the fish are biting only requires a little more research.
Learn to Relax as You Cast
Most beginners find that casting from their kayak for the first time feels a little shaky, but it is important to relax and trust the stability of your watercraft. When you make a sudden movement, your kayak responds with what is called secondary stability. When you feel your boat move from side to side, simply try to loosen up the lower part of your body and allow the movement to help stabilize the kayak. If you still feel uncomfortable, then practice making easier casts until you get used to the sensation.
Know How to Bring the Fish In
Fishing is so enjoyable in a kayak that you might not think about having to land one until a fish is already on the line. Start reeling your fish in until it is just about an arm’s length away. Then, hold the rod in the opposite hand from the fish. Bring the rod up and across your body until the fish is in a position for you to catch or net it.
Fishing from your kayak for the first few times can be a little challenging, but you should catch on within only a few tries. As you develop your fishing style, don’t be afraid to branch out. Talk to other people who enjoy the sport, and be willing to try new techniques and explore different bodies of water until you hit your sweet spot. Soon, you’ll be the one handing out advice to beginners who are just learning the ropes of kayak fishing.