Kayak Fishing Ultimate Resource

Thursday, 12 August 2010 21:45

Typical Kayak Fishing Accessories

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I often get asked from someone who is new to the sport of kayak fishing what do I need?  Although we all have our preferences for equipment we bring while on the water here are a few, and I stress a few accessories you might find useful while fishing from a kayak.  A quick disclaimer, this article has nothing to do with what safety gear you should bring, that can be found here in our Kayak Safety article.


An anchor is a must-have element for fresh water fishing in the kayak. The ability hold position will make or break a day of fishing and the anchor is your best bet. Kayak anchors are typically small collapsible styles as shown here or the rounded mushroom shape. A trolley system like that for a drift chute can be used to position yourself according to the winds or currents. Anchor lines have a tendency to attract your lines and lures so be aware of where it is and how your fish are running.

It isn't advised to drop an anchor in the open ocean and it can turn quite dangerous. If your anchor gets trapped the rising and falling of the swells could pull your kayak over or under the water. Drift chutes are the better choice for the open water - leave your anchor for fresh water and in the bays.

Drift Chute
A drift chute can turn an otherwise frustrating day into a successful fishing trip. When the winds are blowing too fast for a good drift then the chute can be deployed to slow your kayak down, allowing you time to present your baits the way you want. Another way to use this chute is to catch tidal movement to propel your boat on a drift. If the winds aren't moving you but a tidal change is significant enough then the current can fill the chute and move your kayak along.

A drift chute is typically tied to a short length of nylon rope or a shock cord between 2 and 6 feet long and attached to the kayak with a carabineer or clip. A trolley system can be easily created to

Stake Out Pole
position the drift chute anywhere along the side of your kayak. This is basically a large loop of line that is run through pad eyes and then is knotted where the chute will attach with a clip. A cleat is then used to tie off the rope to hold its position. This allows you to position the chute at the rear of the kayak to point your nose down current or downwind, in the center of the kayak for a perpendicular drift or near the front to put the nose up current or upwind. $20-$40 depending size and material in the chute.

Stake Out Pole unlike an Anchor or Drift Chute is used only in shallow water.  They come in many different materials but all the basics are the same.  They have a pointed tip and a long shaft that allows you to stick it into the mud or sand to hold your kayak in place.  If you’re fishing shallow water the Stake Out Pole is much more convent for keeping put.

Lip Gripper
Fish Gripper
, unlike a gaff the fish gripper is typically used for catch and release.  They safely grab the fish by the lower jaw allowing you to control the fish without harming them.  I always carry a gripper
with me whenever I'm fishing.

are a simple enough concept, a giant hook for sticking in a fish. With a concern for safety of the kayak angler, though, there are a couple of tips for accurate and safe gaffing.

A gaff handle around 30" or more can be beneficial for creating leverage and speed when striking at a fish. Shorter gaffs will work and some may find them preferable but the extra reach can come in useful for large or stubborn fish. When striking a fish you should come at it from underneath for two reasons. 1. If you're striking at a fish like you're wielding a hatchet you run the risk of missing and then gaffing yourself or your line. 2. When coming from underneath you are lifting the fish out of
Paddle Leash
the water with your strike rather than dragging it across the water. Lifting a fish up into the kayak when it has been gaffed from above will usually allow the fish to fall off the gaff. Lift the gaff up under the fish, strike firmly and continue lifting it up into the kayak where you can secure it with a rope or game clip. A gaff can cost anywhere between $10 and $100

Paddle leash when tied up on a kayak pad eye or to a ring on your seat it prevents your paddle getting away from you if you're fighting a big fish or just want it out of the way while you drift.

The 12v battery
is essential for powering your fish finder. You can wire this provide electricity to your bait tank, lights and compass light as well and a single 12v 7.0 amp hour batter should last all day. More often, though, a 6v battery is used to power bait tanks as the slower flow it creates is kinder to the fish inside. The full power of a 12v can push bait fish into the walls and tire them quickly.
These are sealed lead-acid batteries and a small trickle-charger will keep it powered up between runs. Most places that sell these batteries also have the chargers. Like most rechargeable batteries it's a good idea to completely discharge it once in a while so that it will take a full charge and hold voltage longer. Battery prices vary based on the voltage and amp/hour rating but they'll fall between $15-$25.

Fish finders
or 'sonar' is one of the most eye-catching improvements on the fishing kayak. People seem to always notice the electronics above anything else and for good reason, they're cool. You don't have to spend much money to get good results on the kayak because our requirements are much simpler. Being able to see structure, bait balls, weeds, suspending fish, fish hugging the bottom and the type of bottom you're over can all be accomplished with units ranging from $80 to $200. No need for much more because finding thermo clines at 30 knots isn't anything a kayaker needs to worry about. Transducers can be mounted inside the hull or hung over the side of the kayak and as long as it's pointed straight down you'll get a clear picture of what's beneath you.

Hobie Livewell
A bait tank
is essential for the big fish hunters to keep bait (mackerel, sardines or anchovies here in CA) alive and kicking throughout the day. For tournament anglers in the bass world they are used as live wells to keep the bass alive for weighins. A bait tank or live well for the kayak consists of 4 main elements. A tank to hold water, a pump to pull water from the ocean/lake in, a battery to power the pump and a discharge vent or drain. Wiring a pump is easy - a simple switch from Radio Shack or West Marine in line with the battery will give you on/off control. Some flexible tubing to route your water from the pump into the tank and the drain can be as simple as a hole in the tank at the desired depth.

Seat Cushion
Inflatable seat cushion
- your best friend in the kayak. This item needs little explanation. The only note I'd make is that it does raise your center of gravity. While it may seem negligible when you look at it be prepared for it to feel very different the first few minutes you sit in your kayak after adding an inch to your height. $25-$30 for all day comfort.

Fishing Rod Leash
Like a paddle leash a rod leash can help you keep gear in your possession longer. Flipping over or fumbling gear can get very expensive if rod leashes aren't holding your favorite fishing rods in place.

Game Clip
The game clip
is used to secure a fish to your boat. With large fish such as Yellowtail, White Sea bass or a big Halibut the clip can be used to restrain a fish after it has been gaffed to help ensure he doesn't find a way overboard. When keeping fish for dinner they game clip is a handy stringer. When not holding fish it can be used to gather up a bunch of kelp and act as an anchor.

Read 35907 times Last modified on Saturday, 08 January 2011 13:07
Mark Watanabe

Mark "YakSushi" Watanabe is the Co. Founder of YakAngler.com, "He built this site!". He considers himself a mediocre fisherman and an unexceptional writer. He's the devoted father of a ton of little sushis (Air Quotes) and everyday tech ninja.


# MichChef 2014-10-23 14:19
A couple things on here that I haven't thought of. Thank you!

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