Now take a step back to the "old" days - like a few years ago. We didn't have all these fancy additions for our kayaks. Don't get me wrong - it's nice to have all the bells and whistles on your kayak. Maybe you are new to kayak fishing and want to know the bare bones to get by out on the water. Maybe you have a limited budget for what you can afford for your boat. Maybe your chance to fish doesn't come often, and when it does maybe you don't have the time to load tons of gear.
This last one is the case for me. As a stay-at-home mom the opportunity doesn't pop up too often, so I have to be quick to gather and load up. So, what gear should you have with you at all times, other than your rods and tackle and USGC-required items? I can tell you the things that are my musts on the water. It should be no surprise that these items are always within reach on my boat, maybe even attached to my PFD, not behind my seat or in a front hatch. When a fish is on, you want to be prepped and ready.
Some of the items listed below are made by more than one company, or have different sizes and styles. Be sure to read reviews on YakAngler.com so you can choose what best fits your needs and budget. In no particular order, here they are.
Lip grips - Not for use on children, although that would be nice if they made some. They come in a couple sizes and an assortment of colors. Great for helping support the fish so you don't harm it when removing the hook or handling for photos. I have even used mine to help revive the fish by gently pulling it through the water.
Pliers - You can spend as little as $20 or way up into the hundreds for a pair of pliers. A must for every angler!
Braid snips - A perfect clean cut on braid and monofilament. This is an item I keep attached to my PFD for quick easy access.
Rod Holder - Some need a rail system to attach, while others mount into a permanent location. They’re great for allowing you to securely stow your rod after landing a fish to get that perfect photo.
Small tackle box - We all have that large tackle bag. Mine sits behind my seat. It almost acts as my backup, because it's somewhat a pain to turn around and get it. Having a small tackle tray with a happy mix of lures, jig heads, etc., is extremely handy for switching out tackle on the double.
Anchor - Stakeout poles are great, too, so it's personnel preference. Anchors do add some weight, but I like being able to just quickly lower an anchor into the water. My stakeout pole is bungeed to the side of my boat, so a little more effort is involved getting it into the water. In addition, you are more limited to depth with the pole, which is why most days I prefer the anchor.
Tight lines and sore fish lips everyone!
[Editor's note: And the one item to never forget, and always wear - your PFD! -IR]