Kayak Fishing Ultimate Resource

Thursday, 10 August 2017 04:32

Kayak Fishing 101: Learn the Basics Before You Go

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Kayak fishing is growing in popularity, and it's no wonder! Here are some important things you need to know about the sport before you launch.Kayak fishing is growing in popularity amongst anglers. It’s inexpensive. It’s easy. And there’s almost nothing you truly need to buy before you wet your line.

Most anglers live close to waters which can be navigated with a kayak. Whether you want to fish in the sea or just spend an afternoon on the local lake, a kayak may be the perfect choice for you.

How do you begin kayak fishing? What do you need to know before you go? Here’s a guide to get you started on your kayak fishing adventure.


Why Kayak Fishing?

Kayak fishing is nothing new. In fact, archaeologists have discovered kayaks which are thought to be over 4,000 years old. The indigenous people of the Arctic relied heavily on kayak fishing as a matter of sustenance; not for fishing, but for hunting.

The earliest kayas were made of seal skins and the hides of other animals, and weren’t suitable for long salt water fishing expeditions. However, we’ve come a long way since then. Kayaks now are gaining in popularity as fishing vessels, both in fresh and saltwater.

There are a number of reasons why kayak fishing has quickly become so popular. As mentioned, it’s inexpensive: there’s little you need to get started. Kayaks are small, and can be transported by most vehicles. And despite their small size, kayaks have plenty of room to stow a catch.

Finally, kayaks are very environmentally friendly. Human-powered, they use no fuel and don’t leave traces of oils and other pollutants in the water. Some kayaks are even made from sustainable materials, such as recycled plastics.

But kayak fishing is a bit different from shore fishing, or even fishing from a larger vessel. There are safety concerns, and there are equipment options to consider before setting out on the water.

Are you ready to begin reaping the rewards of kayak fishing? Let’s get started!


Choosing a Kayak

The first, and most obvious, facet of kayak fishing is choosinga kayak. When you’re in the market for a new kayak, you’ll have so many options you’ll likely feel overwhelmed. Let’s break down the basics of kayaks; you’ll better understand what you’re looking for.

First, there are recreational kayaks. A recreational kayak may or may not be a good option for anglers. While they’re built for stability, the cockpit is quite a bit larger than some other models. You may have less room for equipment (and fish) storage.

You’ll also see a selection of touring kayaks. These beauties are built for speed, but they’re not great for fishing. Touring kayaks are better suited for someone who wants to spend a day on the water and burn a few calories.

Whitewater kayaks are pretty self-explanatory. They’re built for both stability and maneuverability, but aren’t an angler’s best option. They’re designed to excel in fast-moving water, and aren’t efficient for sportsmen looking for a bite.

If recreational kayaks are good, then fishing kayaks are better. The biggest difference between the two is the design of the boat itself. A fishing kayak is made with stability in mind, but will also provide ample storage for coolers and gear.

Examine your fishing kayak closely before you buy. Some will allow you to comfortably stand, or to adjust the seat. Many will provide ample room for “modifications.” And most will feature waterproof compartments for maps and electronics.

As mentioned, there are kayaks made from recycled materials. In fact, though, most kayaks are plastic. The boats range in price from the $300s all the way up into the thousands of dollars. Shop around, find a body style and a price point you like, and it’s time to shop for equipment!


Customizing Your Kayak

Here’s a fun fact: “pimp my kayak” is a very popular search term on Google. That’s because there are so many options for modifications you can make to your boat. Equipment you add to your kayak will bring it from ordinary to the ultimate fishing haven.

The first thing you’ll need to outfit your kayak with is a rod holder. While most fishing kayaks are built for stability, there are times when you’ll want (or need) both hands free. Rod holders are mounted with bolts to your kayak, and will allow you to keep your equipment close.

You may also opt to install an anchor. Some fishing kayaks come with anchors pre-installed. If yours didn’t, however, you can pick one up for as little as $30 on Amazon or from a sporting goods store. Folding anchors are particularly nice; they’re both portable and stable.

Finally, you’ll need a paddle leash. The last thing you want is to be fighting a drum and let go of your paddle. You’re literally up a creek without a paddle at that point. A paddle leash will ensure that you can bring your catch home.

There are plenty of other optionsfor kayak fishermen. Wading belts, drift chutes and traction pads are a few. Camera and fish finder mounts are others. But the appeal of kayak fishing is its simplicity – too much added gear and you may as well charter a yacht.

Choose what you think you’ll need the most, and begin with those pieces. As you become more experienced, you can add to the basics and create the perfect fishing kayak.


Kayak Fishing Safety

Kayaks are “tippy.” No matter how well designed your boat may be, it’s not going to offer the same stability as a larger vessel. For that reason, as well as others, there are safety considerations to look at before you launch.

Take your kayak out for a practice spin before you launch it in bigger, badder waters. You want to get a feel for the stability of the boat, especially if you’ve modified it in any way. They’re small vessels, and even the slightest weight change can cause them to tip.

It’s going to happen. You’re going to tip. It should go without saying that you should always wear a personal flotation device. Find one which meets Coast Guard specs and fits you well.

Be careful while you’re casting, as well. Keep your body centered as you cast. Practice on dry land or in shallow water before you take the boat out, and pay attention to your style of casting. Then, you’ll be able to compensate when you’re in deeper waters.

Always carry a knife. You may find yourself in a situation where your anchor is caught, or even your line, with a rising tide. You’ll need to be able to cut yourself free. Don’t take this lightly – it could be a matter of life and death.

Finally, you put a lot of money into your boat. You certainly don’t want to lose it to the river or the sea. But if and when you do capsize, save yourself first. Don’t worry about the boat until your own safety is secured. You can replace your kayak but you, dear angler, are irreplaceable.


Kayak Fishing: Let’s go!

Got your kayak customized and ready to launch? You can now go just about anywhere you like! Your kayak was probably built specifically for either saltwater or freshwater. But as a general rule, any saltwater kayak can also be used in fresh.

Try your hand at casting for muskie in the Susquehanna River of Pennsylvania. Bag a few flounder off the coast of Florida. Or, fish with a friend and land a tuna in Hawaii.

The beauty of kayak fishing is its versatility. Strap the boat to the roof of your car and you’re ready for a weekend adventure. Keep safety first, then enjoy one of the most popular, relaxing ways to fish.


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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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