Three obvious items you’ll need for kayak fishing
Kayak: it would be impossible to go kayak fishing without a kayak. Again – congratulations on your purchase!
Paddle and paddle leash: unless you went all in and purchased a pedal-drive kayak, the paddle is the means of propulsion and you are the motor. A paddle leash is attached to the kayak, and has bungee cords that attach to the paddle. If you drop your paddle overboard, it will not float away from the kayak.
Fishing rod: I recommend bringing only one rod out on your first trip. The fewer rods you have, the less you have to worry about getting tangled in low-hanging tree branches. As you gain experience with your kayak and being on the water, you can bring more rods.
Now for the not so obvious items needed for a safe and fun outing.
Safety related items
- Personal floatation device (PFD): I placed this here because I see kayak anglers, both rookies and veterans, going out on the water without wearing their PFDs. A good PFD is one that is comfortable and fits properly.
- Safety whistle (affixed to PFD) and a light (a small flashlight): Most states require one or both of these items on board. In the event of an emergency, three shorts blasts from the whistle is the universal signal for distress.
- Experienced kayak fishing partner: Someone who knows a good spot that is protected from the wind and current for your first trip, who can help you enter and launch your kayak, assist in landing fish, photograph your first catch, and lend a hand in the event of an emergency.
- Paddle/float plan: make sure someone back home knows where you are going, who you are with and when to expect you back.
- Dry case/bag: for keeping your cell phone (if you don’t have a waterproof case for it), wallet, and car keys safe and dry. Attach the bag to the kayak to ensure it does not wander off during the trip. (Photo of dry bag)
- Fishing tackle and lures: as with the fishing rod, keep it simple to start. Try to limit it to a small tackle bag or box.
- Pliers/hook removal tool: needle nose pliers are great for removing hooks
- Polarized sunglasses: polarized lenses cut down on the reflected glare on the water, enabling you to see what’s below the surface.
- Waterproof camera: to photograph your first (and subsequent) kayak fish
- Landing net: this will help you get the fish out of the water and into the kayak.
- Food and drinks: a small cooler with water and snacks
- Water sport clothing: wear shoes and clothing that you won’t mind getting wet and dirty. [Editor’s note: Don’t wear cotton, even in warmer climates or weather. It dries slowly, and extended wear of wet clothing after a rain shower or unplanned water entry can cause hypothermia. –IR]
- Dry clothes/towel: bring a change of clothes/shoes and a towel. If you go for a swim (planned or unplanned) you will be glad you did. Place them in a double lined trash bag, and stash it out of your way in the kayak.
Enjoy your first trip in your new kayak, and tight lines!