Kayak fishing can be tough, but it’s also one of the most rewarding ways to catch fish.
By combining paddling skills, fishing knowledge, and good exercise, kayak fishing can become your favorite way to cast a line.
To be a successful kayak angler, however, you need a little know-how. Take a look at these simple tips to get started.
CHECK THE WEATHER BEFORE YOU GO
No matter where you live, no matter what the season, always check the weather forecast and radar before you go out on your kayak. Many kayak anglers fish alone, and getting stranded in a major storm by yourself is not a fun experience, and can be very dangerous. If rain, heavy winds, or lightning storms are coming today, you probably want wait and go fishing when the weather clears up.
WEAR BRIGHT COLORS ON BUSY WATER
While there are tales of sharks and alligators attacking kayaks, the greatest danger to a kayak angler is an irresponsible boater. They should always be on the lookout for hazards, including kayaks, but you can do boaters (and yourself) a favor by wearing bright colors on the water. If you plan on fishing an area that is known for boat traffic, wear a neon shirt. Don’t worry, it won’t keep you from catching fish, but it will make you safer on the water.
USE THE KAYAK’S SMALL SIZE AND MANEUVERABILITY
You can reach places in a kayak that boaters and shore anglers can only look at. Use this to your advantage. Get into the tighter vegetation, go through narrow passages, and cast into areas that are full of fish waiting for a meal. Spots with thick vegetation and dense trees often hold plenty of fish, but only the kayak angler will have a shot at them.
KEEP A ROD’S LENGTH FROM TIP TO LURE
Whether you are handling your lure or taking a fish off the hook, keeping a rod’s length allows you to easily access the end of your line. Reach and flexibility can be limited on a kayak, but having enough line gives you the movement you need.
THINK SPINNER BAITS, SOFT PLASTICS, AND TOP-WATER
You can use just about any light tackle on a kayak, but many anglers will have success casting three basic lures: spinner baits, soft plastics, and top-water lures. Spinner baits are great for grabbing a fish’s attention, and soft plastics replicate food of all types. They are both light and easy to cast and retrieve from a kayak. Top water lures are an obvious choice for kayakers because they can be used in areas that might be too weedy for swimming lures; areas that are perfect for kayakers.
ALWAYS HAVE THE PADDLE READY
No matter where you are on the water, always have your paddle ready to use. Keep it on your lap so you can make small adjustments to your positioning. You could also need the paddle to keep a big fish from pulling you into weeds or tree branches. (You may be surprised by how far a fish can pull your kayak.) Always be prepared to paddle at a moment’s notice.
Photo Credit: Photographer Jim Noetzel captured these beautiful shots of the Bayou Pirates Kayak Fishing Club's recent tournament on Cypress Black Bayou in Benton, Louisiana.