There is a primitive excitement that comes with fishing from a kayak. After all, it is how our ancestors used to fish before there were motorboats and other means of traversing the water. Even after all this time, kayak fishing is a beautiful way to pass the time for many.
However, be warned, kayak fishing falls into the category of extreme sports. This means, without proper knowledge and safety steps, you have a high risk of injuring yourself. It is essential to train yourself before taking on any excursions on a kayak. This guide will help you achieve that to some extent.
In this article, we will give you a complete guide on kayak fishing for beginners. Furthermore, you will learn how to set up your kayak and all the tips and tricks when it comes to fishing. So without any further delay, let us jump in.
How to Get Started with Kayak Fishing
Before getting to the fishing part, you need to ensure you have all the supplies needed for the task. There are a good number of items and equipment that you must have for kayak fishing. We will go over them one by one, in the following section.
It goes without saying that you need a fishing kayak for this sport. There are a few different types of kayaks that you can buy, and each can give you a different experience. So you need to decide which one you will get before you can start fishing. Although there are several models in the market, mostly, fishing kayaks can be divided into two categories, sit on top, and catarafts.
Also read – best tandem fishing kayak
Sit on Top Kayaks
These boats will give you the authentic kayak fishing experience. They are made with an open hull design and usually made of cast plastic. As a result, these units are quite lightweight and easy to use. Furthermore, they are self-bailing, which allows you to make fewer mistakes of tipping over the boat.
Although technically not a kayak, catarafts can get you close to the kayaking experience without any of the risks. These units allow you to mount motors or engines if you do not want to take the stress of paddling. You also get tons of storage space. For a complete beginner, who just wants to go fishing, these units are a great choice.
When you have the kayak of your choice managed, next comes the fishing reels. There are a lot of tiny aspects of the fishing reel that you should consider when making your decision, and to be fair, the topic requires a separate dedicated discussion on its own. For now, we can take a look at a few variants of fishing reels that you can choose for kayak fishing.
Spincasting reels are often regarded as the best option for beginners as they are easy to use and also quite affordable. However, they are susceptible to line kinking and can overthrow if you are not careful.
Baitcasting reels are perfect when you want to catch a large fish. They go well with a heavy line and lures. However, they are difficult to control for an amateur and can backlash if not handled properly.
Spinning reels are the best of the bunch in terms of quality. These units are easy to use and control and allow for accurate throws. Additionally, they are nearly impervious to backlash or line kinking. However, they can be quite expensive.
In traditional fishing, there are a plethora of options when it comes to fishing rods. Thankfully, for kayak fishing, you only need two. In most cases, with these two types of fishing rods, you should be able to handle any situation you run into while angling. They are casting rods and spinning rods.
You need a casting rod in your toolset to use with baitcasting reels and heavy lures. They come with a short handle and include a reel seat. In most cases, you will also find foam padding on the handle that makes gripping easier.
As the name suggests, spinning rods are used with spinning reels. The handles in this type of rods are long and designed so that you can hold it against the bottom of the boat. One of the most common features of spinning rods is the cork handle.
Anchors and Trolly
Anchor trolly may seem like a small thing, but it helps out a lot when you are fishing in a high current location. It allows you to change the anchor point of the kayak so that you can have stable parking on the water. You can find many kayaks that come with a pre-installed trolly system. If yours do not come with one, you should make it a priority to buy an aftermarket system.
The small plastic tubes you see at the side of kayaks are known as rod holders. They allow you to place your rods when you are paddling and moving from one fishing spot to the next. Most fishing kayaks come with rod holders out of the box. You can even make them using PVC tubes quite easily.
An easily overlooked feature in a fishing kayak is the paddle holder. Imagine you are out in the water and found a great fishing spot. If your kayak does not come with a paddle holder, you might as well turn back since you cannot store the paddles anywhere safely.
Every fishing kayak will have paddle holders. However, if you own a recreational kayak and want to use that for fishing, then you have to make sure that you have it on board. Otherwise, you have to buy aftermarket holders, or DIY it.
Personal Floatation Device
Personal floatation devices or PFD are basically life vests. They are just as important to your fishing experience as any other equipment. Even if you are a great swimmer, you should ensure your safety when out on the water. In some states, it is illegal to go kayak fishing without PFDs. So make sure you have one on your before starting the fishing trip.
Beginners Tip for Kayak Fishing
Now that you have all the gears checked, let us head over to fishing. The following tips will help prepare you for the coming fishing trip as well as teach you how to fish.
1. Always check the weather
It should go without saying that you should always take a look at the weather report before going on a fishing trip. With kayak fishing, it can be dangerous, even fatal, to be on the water in heavy wind and rainfall. Fog is also problematic when fishing during the winter as you can lose your bearings easily.
2. Stay away from other boats
If you are fishing in a public lake, there might be other boats or kayaks in it. Take care not to bump into others when moving to your positions. If you are on a large water body, make sure to check for big ships and vessels. They can easily tip you over or even break your boat if you are not careful.
3. Bring safety gears and food
Remember, a fishing trip can last quite a long time. It is a game of patience. And you should pack plenty of food and water to last you a good few hours. If you are out far in the water and get thirsty, it will take a long time to reach the short. You run the risk of dehydration without a few water bottles with you on your trip.
Furthermore, ensure that you have all your safeties in check. Sunscreen, PFDs, all are equally important accessories that you must have on your trip. Additional tools include a whistle, a headlamp, a basic first aid kit, and an emergency repair kit for your kayak.
4. Sight Fishing
Sight fishing is when you try to look for fishing spots with your eyes. For this, you need a pair of polarized glasses. Otherwise, the glare from the sun will obstruct your vision, and you will not be able to look very far.
5. Move fast and quietly
When you find a good spot to fish, you need to move quickly without making any unnecessary ripples on the water. Remember, you are in the natural habitat of fish. If you cause any extra commotion, they will simply move to another location.
6. Practice changing lures
Changing lures efficiently is a skill you must master if you want to catch fish. The problem that most beginners face is they take too much time changing lures. By then, the fish already moves away. Practice in your free time, and soon you will be able to change lures in moments.
Drifting is another skill that is useful when you want to get towards your target, making as little commotion as possible. Instead of using your anchor, paddle a bit in the direction you want, and let the current drag you slowly. It takes a few attempts to know the perfect stroke, so give yourself some time to learn it.
8. Fishing Upwind
Casting the fishing reel upwind can be challenging for anyone. One way to make it easier is to slightly tip the rod sideways. That way, you will be able to cut through the wind and hit your target with better accuracy. Additionally, you can try to cast reel in between gusts.
9. Understand your position
It is essential to know your bearings on the water. Make a mental chart of where the shore is and work your way slowly around the lake, hitting each fishing spot one by one. Without a clear understanding of your location, you might just be running in circles.
10. Know how to re-enter the kayak
A sit on top kayak is quite forgiving when it comes to tipping you over. However, it can happen, and if you are a beginner, it will happen to you once or twice. When that happens, you must know how to get back on the boat. Especially if you are offshore fishing since there might be predator fishes close around you.
Not many activities can match the thrill of catching a fish from your kayak. It tests your strength, patience, perception, and stealth all at once. In no way should you take this sport lightly. However, with enough practice and time, you will be able to catch fishes every time you take out your trusty kayak.
We hope you found our article on beginner kayak fishing tips informative and helpful. With the advice we have given you, you should feel confident about your upcoming fishing trip.
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