Kayak Fishing Ultimate Resource

Thursday, 06 September 2018 07:21

Tips For Catching Big Fish From Your Kayak

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Catching a big fish from a kayak comes with its risks, so if you want to reap the rewards you are going to have to be careful.
If you want rest, relaxation and to spend some time in the great outdoors, then you really can't go wrong with kayak angling. Of course, as with any type of water activity, there is also an element of danger involved, which is why all kayak anglers know what safety precautions to take. There are plenty of fish that can be caught safely from a kayak with little to no hassles, but anglers in search of bigger thrills can also target some of the larger species. However, catching a big fish from a kayak comes with its risks, so if you want to reap the rewards you are going to have to be careful. Here are just a few tips to ensure that when you get something big on the line that you are able to stay safe.

Keep Your Gear Secure

Ensuring that your gear is secure is a must no matter what type of fish you want to catch for a kayak, but it is especially vital when taking on bigger fish. With bigger fish there is always a bigger risk of capsizing, so make sure you won't be losing any expensive gear if this happens.

Use The Right Gear

Speaking of gear, using the right tools for the job will also make your life easier and safer. Using a stiff rod for larger fish makes sense when angling from a boat, but in a kayak it might not be as effective. Instead, opt for a lighter rod that can absorb some of the shock from battling a large catch. You should also not compromise when it comes to your reel and get something that is strong enough for a large fish. 

Keep A Line Cutter With You At All Times

Losing a gear is obviously something you want to avoid, especially if it is an expensive one, but no lure is worth saving if it places your own life in danger. In the event that you get something on the line that is beyond your abilities to safely catch, it is better to make peace with your losses and cut the line. There are fish out there that are large enough to pull an angler off their kayak or yank your rod right out of your hands, so if you feel that you are losing control of the situation and the risk is getting too big, it is better to sacrifice the line and lure.

Work On Your Technique

When you have a big fish on the line while angling from your kayak you should always use the proper technique for reeling it in. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and try and reel in the fish with your rod aimed at the side of your kayak. With a large fish this is a mistake as the fish can pull you sideways if it is big enough, which compromises the stability of the kayak and could even result in you ending up in the water. Anglers who are used to reeling in big fish know that it is better to align their rod tip with the front of the kayak for the added stability. 

There's No Need To Bring The Fish Into Your Kayak

Posing for a picture with a huge catch is undoubtedly cool, but once again, it's not worth the risk if it cannot be done safely. If the fish is too big to hoist into your kayak, you can still take a photo of the fish alongside the kayak before releasing it. Not only will it be safer for the fish if you don't plan on keeping it, but also safer for you and your equipment. For bigger fish make sure that you take extra precautions when taking pictures and that you have a good grip on the fish.

Know How To Use A Gaff

For some of the larger, more dangerous fish, it is safer to use a fishing gaff when bringing in your catch. This should only be done if you plan on keeping the fish, so don't use one if you have any intention of releasing your catch. It can be tricky to use a gaff from a kayak, so make sure that you know how to use this tool safely and efficiently. When bringing the fish aboard your kayak you have to keep the deck clear as they may still twitch even when they are dead. Once the fish is aboard your kayak you will also have to deal with the added weight, so make sure that you are able to keep your balance.

Don't Bring The Fish Aboard Unless It is Absolutely Safe

Controlling your kayak with a large, heavy fish aboard can be tricky, but not impossible. However, if the fish is too big to bring aboard, it is not worth the risk and you are probably better off making use of a fish stringer. This can protect you and your gear from any sudden movements made by a large fish that is still green, although you may want to get it back to shore as quickly as possible if there are other, larger predators lurking in the water. 


Being able to tell people, and show them the photographic proof, of course, that you have reeled in a tuna, tarpon, striped marlin or other massive fish from your kayak is undoubtedly the dream of many anglers. However, this is not something that should be attempted lightly and you should be very aware of your limitations before attempting these feats. The tips above can help you when dealing with bigger fish, but there will always be an element of risk involved, which is why it is also better to always ensure you have a few friends along to help out. 
Let us know on the forums or in the comments below what your biggest catch was from your kayak and how you managed to bring it in safely.
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Naomi Bolton

Yakangler's Community Manager and Editor - in charge of sourcing news and articles for the website. ┬áIf you have any ideas for new content, please do get in touch with me at: [email protected]

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