Picking out a fishing kayak is one of the most important decisions you will make. If you haven’t bought a kayak yet, you have a chance to get something that will serve you well as an angler. Most manufacturers make kayaks specifically for kayak fishing. These fishing kayaks come with rod holders, comfortable seats, trolling motor fittings, storage areas, and much more. You just have to choose the kayak that has the best features. Compare different fishing kayaks and pick a kayak that is suitable for you. It is always advisable to go with a sit-on-top kayak. If you have already bought a kayak, you don’t have to get a new one. This video will show you how to rig your kayak for fishing.
The ideal paddle for kayak fishing should be lightweight, not too short or long, and with a big-enough blade. Its weight will be determined by the materials used to make it. Plastic paddles are light and inexpensive. But their durability can be questionable. The best in terms of being lightweight is a carbon-fiber paddle. But be prepared to pay a little more. The length will depend on your height. If you are short, try 230 cm to 240 cm. Those that fall somewhere in the middle should try 240 cm to 250 cm. And for the tall paddlers, go for 250 cm to 260cm. Don’t forget to factor in other things such as the width of your fishing kayak. Play around with different paddle lengths to find what works for you.
If you spend $100 more on a paddle to save 5 ounces and paddle for four hours. In those four hours you will do about 15000 paddle strokes. Those five ounces over four hours is well over four tons you didn’t have to lift. According to a user on Reddit
It is easy to think that you know all about the water and every condition that may arise. But despite your confidence, wearing a kayak fishing PFD is a must. According to the American Canoe Association, 83% of victims in kayak related deaths did not have a PFD on when the accident occurred. How many of those deaths could have been prevented by wearing a life jacket? Don’t be a statistic. Also, it is required by law in most states. When buying a personal flotation device, go all out. This is something that could save your life. There are great kayak fishing life jackets that are comfortable enough to wear all day.
Ignorance is no defense. You can find pretty much anything on the internet nowadays. And that includes the kayak fishing laws of every state. In some states, you won’t need to acquire a license while pedaling or paddling your kayak. But if you decide to add a kayak trolling motor, the regulations may change. Take time to go through the state regulations and get the required licenses.
Knowing how to fish is one thing, knowing how to paddle a kayak is another. You need to be good at both of these things and you should learn each one separately. There is nothing hard about paddling a kayak. Anyone can make a stroke—even though they have never held a paddle before in their life. But making the stroke correctly requires a lot of practice and patience. Poor paddling may slow you down and wear you out quickly. In some instances, it could result in injuries. Learn the right kayak paddling technique from this video.
“I’m not a kid, I’m sure I’ll remember to bring everything.” You probably won’t. People who have been kayak fishing for years can get away with this. They may even have a bag or two packed, ready to go fishing anytime. But you, a newbie kayak angler, will need a list. It could be on a piece of paper or your phone. The excitement and sometimes nervousness might lead you to forget vital things. For the complete beginners, take a look at this checklist by Austin Kayak.
If you were used to boat fishing, being organized may not have been that important. But fishing from kayak is different than fishing from a boat. A kayak is small! Everything that you will need while out in the water should be well within reach. Things that you have to grab frequently like water should be very close. This takes us back to PFDs. It would be wise of you to get a kayak fishing specific life vest. They come with tons of pockets and you can carry a lot of stuff with them. This helps keep the kayak neat.
Almost all things in life require you to have a plan. And kayak fishing is no exception. A kayak gives you the freedom to go where you want. And you can’t just decide to “see where the water takes you”. At the end of the day, you will have done a lot of paddling and minimal fishing, if any. Picking a fishing location involves research. See what the weather will be like and prepare accordingly. Also, have a return plan. Talk to local anglers and learn a few things—don’t expect them to give up their honey holes. But they could give you a few useful pointers.
You only have two hands and sometimes you will need to hold the line and paddle at the same time. Unless you learn to do each with one hand simultaneously, you will lose. In all honesty, this is one of the most difficult skills you have to master. Imagine trying to fight a current and fish from a kayak all at once. The dominant hand will do an okay job but the non-dominant hand may let you down terribly. Don’t forget that you also have to focus your mind on two things. The only way to master this is to practice. The YouTube video below helps you get the idea. But being in the water and knowing your weakness will show you what you need to improve.
Not everyone will be excited about paddling while fishing. You fish better when both hands are free, no doubt. Besides, who doesn’t want to get to their fishing spot faster? There is no shame in using a kayak trolling motor (don’t listen to people who say otherwise). It will come in handy when there is a strong current. Or when you don’t want to get too tired. While it would be nice to have one, there are downsides. Sneaking up on fish will be harder—which takes away the main benefit of fishing with a kayak. You could also get used to it.