Fishing is supposed to be relaxing, right? If kayak fishing is new to you, there a few simple steps you can take to ensure you have a stress-free day on the water – and hopefully catch the big one!
1) Pick The Right Fishing Kayak
When fishing, you tend to have a lot of gear — rods, bait, buckets, nets, cooler, tackle, lunch, and more. With that in mind, a sit-on-top kayak may offer the added room that you need. However, a recreational kayak can work. You may simply find that you have to be more strategic about where you place things so that everything is within reach.
Many fishers also opt for pedal kayaks, giving them the freedom of movement without having to paddle. This way, you don’t have to put down and secure your rod every time you want to change spots.
2) Start Simple With Your Rig
You may be tempted to fully deck out your kayak before your first outing. You may, however, want to start with a simple rig. Toss your stuff in a dry bag and let your time on the water inform what (if any) additional equipment you’ll eventually want to bring.
3) Watch The Weather
Check the weather forecast and be prepared. Have rain gear stowed for rainy days, and extra sunscreen even on cooler sunny days. Temperatures can fluctuate significantly throughout the day, especially in spring and fall, so dress in layers.
An important consideration for fishers — Winds are higher above the water surface, so if it’s windy, point your rod tip sideways when casting.
4) Bring An Anchor
A lot of fishing is finding the perfect spot. You may want a small anchor to drop over the side of your boat to keep you in place so you can stay awhile.
5) Sshh – This Is Kayak Fishing After All!
Any sharp noise can drive fish away. Be quiet, just like when you’re fishing from land or in any other fishing boat. Try to keep your paddle from hitting the sides of your boat. Speak quietly. Don’t rummage around too much. Enjoy the quiet before heading back to the hustle and bustle of city living.
6) Secure Your Gear
With fishing comes a lot of extra gear. You’ve got rods, buckets, nets, coolers, all things that you don’t want to float away if you tip your kayak. Tie down your gear before launching. Keep loose, unsecured items to a minimum. You should also bring clips for your hat and your sunglasses. You wouldn’t want to watch as your favorite hat floats down the river.
7) Practice Wet Re-Entries
No one wants to tip, but the water may become choppy, bad weather might kick up, you might lose your balance. Even the best of us end up in the water now and then. Ideally, you won’t need to do a wet re-entry, but every kayaker should master this skill just in case.
When you capsize, you need to get back into your boat. Start by righting your kayak by grabbing the opposite side of the boat and turning it over. To do a wet re-entry — getting back in your kayak from the water — grab your paddle and place it on top of the kayak. Position each hand on either side of the compartment and slide yourself back up on your belly. You may need to use your paddle for leverage by climbing up on it. Then carefully bring your legs around and lower yourself into the seat. If this is too difficult, you can try pulling yourself up on the back of the kayak, using your arms and your paddle for leverage. Then inch forward until you are able to bring your legs around and lower yourself into the seat.
8) Drift The Kayak
Want to catch more fish? Drifting is tough to do, but when done correctly, it can help you get more fish. Drifting the kayak means finding the sweet spot in the river so that the current gently floats you downstream. If you have a boat with a rudder, this should be relatively easy. If you are rudderless, you may need to occasionally paddle to stay on course. The fish are drawn to your bait as you drift through the water. If you are a serious fisher, you can use an underwater parachute, also known as a drift sock to assist with drifting.
9) One-Handed Casting
The size constraints of a fishing kayak necessitate finding new ways to enjoy fishing. An important skill to master is one-handed casting. This saves space and allows you to keep hold of your paddle with your other hand.
Many fishers like pedal kayaks for this very reason. They are able to steer and move while keeping both hands free for the important task of catching dinner.
10) Use Crankbait To Guide Your Fishing Kayak
One thing kayaks do really well is move effortlessly through the water. You can use this to your advantage while fishing with some larger bait. If heavy enough, bait can actually help steer your boat. Cast in the direction you want to head, and let the crankbait pull you.
These tips will have you telling tall fish tales around the dinner table in no time flat.
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