You may or may not flip while kayak fishing. This is not the situation to be optimistic. A kayak angler should always go into the water ready to flip. It doesn’t matter that you are experienced, or that you will be paddling in a calm lake, assume that you will flip. And prepare for that. If you have any valuables like your phone, keep them in a waterproof bag. In short, for anything that can get damaged by water, have waterproof storage. Get a leash for your paddle. Floats (more on that below) will prove to be useful as well. Don’t be like this Redditor who got too comfortable and lost his kayak fishing gear worth $300.
As you interact with other kayak anglers, intermediate and pros alike, you will realize that most of them have one thing in common. They have lost fishing rods in the water at some point. It happens more often than people care to admit. And you rarely lose a cheap rod—it’s always the fancy ones. That event is what drives many kayak fishermen to look for rod floaters. Be smart and learn from their mistakes. Instead of waiting to lose a rod, go ahead and get yourself a floater in advance. For a lot of anglers, the rod floaters are cumbersome and not fun to use. But it is a small price to pay if it means you will go home with your rods. Others prefer rod leashes.
Fishing kayaks are lightweight. It is something you appreciate when transporting your kayak but not when it keeps moving while you’re fishing. If you are new to kayaking, have someone teach you to anchor your kayak properly. Incorrect anchoring is one of the leading causes of boating accidents. Kayak anchors are a fantastic invention. They are usually light and easy to bring with you. To make a kayak anchor more efficient (and safer), you will need an anchor trolley system. It is not as complicated as it sounds. It is a small simple system that gives you options and a sense of control when anchored. Learn all about it here.
You can only carry so much on your fishing kayak. Bringing everything you think you need will only make you uncomfortable. As they say, “less is more.” It’s not like you’ll be gone for days. Your first few kayak fishing trips will be short. Bring necessary items only. Since you won’t be going far initially, you can experiment to know what is necessary for you and what isn’t.
It has been mentioned in the fishing tips above that in the beginning, your fishing trips will be short—as they should be. Curb your enthusiasm and don’t do anything extreme. Going out in the ocean on your own, for instance, is a bad idea. You are better off finding a small, calm body of water to get started. And even though you feel energetic, cover short distances and don’t go far from other water users. You can get too exhausted and dehydrated.
Do you remember the point about being prepared to flip? Well, there’s more to worry about than keeping your stuff dry and safe. You have to find a way to get back onto your kayak. If it capsizes, the task will be trickier. Never go kayak fishing if you haven’t mastered this technique. A lot of times, kayak anglers have to go out alone and you should be able to get yourself out of trouble. Luckily, it is easy to learn, as long as you have a good teacher.
Kayakers love to interact with each other. You will find many forums online and groups on social media for kayakers. They like to share tips, go kayak fishing together, and talk about all things kayaking. Solo trips are peaceful and awesome. But having a friend would be nice. You will love having someone to talk to about the newest gear, your biggest catch, and things like that. So get out there and interact with your fellow anglers.
Nothing compares to the excitement of catching your first (big) fish. When that happens, ignore your thumping heart for a moment and relax. After everything you have endured, you don’t want to lose your fish and fall in the water. Reel it in calmly and keep your head upright and in the kayak. You should have a long fishing rod (6’6 minimum) because it gives you control over your fish. You can get it around obstacles with ease. For big fish, align the tip of your rod with the bow, as opposed to the side. It will be harder for you to take an unexpected swim.
Every water user near you should be able to see you from a distance. Most kayaking PFDs come with a reflective strip that improves visibility. In addition to that, find a brightly-colored hat or clothes. If you like, you can go a step further and get a fishing kayak or paddle with bright colors. It is also important to be aware of other water users. You need to see them too. Large vessels approaching at high speed can be bad news. They create huge waves that may cause your kayak to capsize. If something like this catches you unaware, paddle towards the wave and meet it. Don’t let it hit your kayak from the side.
So what happens when you finally catch that largemouth bass? Fish have a lot of parts that can seriously hurt you such as the fins and gill plates. Different types of fish have different sharp parts. Understand what you have in your hands and how to hold it. Ensure that you bring equipment for that purpose too. Don’t forget your net, gloves, pliers, line cutter, etc.