10 Tips for the Beginner Kayak Fisherman

Kayak fishing is another take on fishing that has slowly been gaining popularity. As the name suggests, kayak fishing is all about fishing in your kayaks. The reason why this is becoming a hit among hobbyists is because it allows you to enjoy the sport of fishing at a fraction of a cost. A regular kayak is truly cheaper than purchasing a full run-about; also it helps save on fuel because all you really need for this type of fishing is your fishing gear, a kayak, and a paddle.


When it comes to kayak fishing, there are a lot of tips that can help you out, but where most beginners get caught up is choosing the right kayak for them. Thankfully, it isn’t really all that hard, and as long as you think about a few things before you go and drop your hard earned money down on a new kayak, you will save yourself a lot of time and frustration, as well as make sure that you get out on the water more often. Buying the wrong fishing kayak will discourage you from wanting to go out for the day, and cause the boat to begin collecting dust, or make it’s way to the classifieds section of your local newspaper.

First, you are going to have to think about the types of water, and the conditions that you will be fishing in. If you are going to be fishing in colder water, or during colder weather periods, you are going to want to consider purchasing a sit inside model fishing kayak. These kayaks lower your center of gravity into the water, and reduce the chances of flipping the kayak, but they also protect you from the elements. You can easily install a skirt over the hatch that will keep the wind out, helping your lower body stay warm.


If you are fishing in warmer waters and climates though, you can get away with buying a sit on top model. These kayaks are usually wider, and often times slower than the sit inside models, but make up for it with the amount of storage space available, and the options that you have for rigging the boat up. With all of the flat areas found on sit on top kayaks, you can literally mount whatever you want, wherever you want it.

Once you have determined which model you are going to need for the type of fishing that you do, you are then going to get to focus on how you want the kayak rigged. You can either purchase one that is fully rigged from the manufacturer, or you can simply buy the kayak, and then purchase the aftermarket additions such as rod holders, fishing crates, and gear leashes. While you are rigging the kayak though, ensure that you make sure your top priority is safety at all times. Without having a safe fishing kayak, you are putting yourself at serious risk every time you go out on the water, regardless if you are fishing in a small stagnant pond, or a raging class 2 river.


For those who are interested in kayak fishing, below are some of the essentials gears or equipment that you need in order to make your kayak fishing experience a success!

The Kayak

For the most obvious reason that you will be fishing in your kayaks, what kayak to purchase is one of the most important things that you have to decide on. Kayak manufacturers have now come up with various sizes and designs for anglers to choose from. It is critical that you look for a kayak that you can be comfortable in in order to make fishing a breeze. Aside from that, you should also take into consideration the paddles that you will be using and the seating of the kayak. Kayak trolleys are also handy equipment that you can get in order to ease the transportation of your kayak. They can save your back from carrying not only the weight of the kayak but the fishes you will be catching as well.

Safety gear/equipment

Whenever you are out fishing, it is important that you ensure your safety. There are various essential safety equipment that you need to bring with you when out kayak fishing. First is the compass; a compass will help you know which direction to go to in case you get lost or in case of low visibility due to fogs. Second are your personal floating devices; it is important that you wear your floating devices in case your kayak gets tipped over. Keep in mind that kayaks are very light as compared to a boat, so even a slight increase in wind strength can easily tilt over your kayaks. On that note, it is also important that you have a tether line to keep you attached to your kayaks even when you get dumped off. Lastly the EPIRBs; radio beacons will help rescuers locate you during emergency situations and where communication is no longer possible.

Kayak accessories

Due to the limited space, there are various kayak accessories that can help you maximize the space on your kayaks. Rod holders are one of the essential accessories that can help you keep your rod safe even if you have a lot of things to attend to. They also keep your rods safe and out harm’s way when you moving about in your kayaks. There are also accessory bars available to keep your equipment stable and in place.

Fishing equipment

The key thing to remember when choosing which fishing equipment or gears to bring with you is to keep it light. There is barely enough space on a kayak, so only bring the essentials. You can bring with you one two light rods, basic rigs and lures and other gears such as landing nets, gaffs, line cutters and the like.


Kayak fishing is a fun and peaceful sport you can get into for a low investment. Having no motor gives fishermen the potential of catching more fish and charting smaller areas. But having less storage space and having to paddle present new challenges. If you’re just getting into the world of kayak fishing, use the following kayak fishing tips to catch more fish while staying safe.

Tip #1: Purchase a bright colored kayak

A bright colored kayak is the best choice for safety as it is more visible. Darker colors, especially blues, can be hard to spot and can lead to accidents. When purchasing a kayak, look for the colors green, yellow, and orange.

Tip #2: Always wear a lifejacket (PFD)

If you’re going to be kayak fishing, chances are you’re going to roll over at some point. And swimming accidents can happen even to the best swimmers. Always wear your PFD while in a kayak.

Tip #3: Practice kayaking before fishing

So you just bought a kayak and had it rigged for kayak fishing. You purchased all the accessories, and are more excited than ever to go out and fish. Well if you don’t have experience kayaking, you’ll need to get the hang of balancing and paddling first. Take your kayak out a couple times just to get the basics down before attempting to bring your fishing gear.

Tip #4: Set aside enough time for fishing

Don’t expect to go out for an hour and come back with a catch. Kayak fishing, like all types of fishing, requires time and patience. Plan to spend at least a few hours out on the water if you want to catch anything.

Tip #5: Get a good paddle

You may want to buy a cheap paddle to save some money, but down the road you’ll probably regret it. More expensive paddles are lighter and stronger. You don’t want to be a mile from shore and have your paddle break, and you don’t want to take frequent breaks just to rest your arms.

Tip #6: Dress to swim

There’s always the chance of rolling in a kayak. In the event you do go underwater, you’ll want to be wearing the right clothing. This of course means wear your PFD, but you should also consider quick-drying materials rather than cotton. It’s also a good idea to pack extra clothing.

Tip #7: Make sure your gear is secured

As mentioned, there’s always the chance that your kayak will roll. For this reason, it’s important to keep all your gear secured to your kayak using straps. Also keep non-water resistant items secured in dry bags.

Tip #8: Paddle quietly

This one might seem obvious, but often goes overlooked by beginners. When paddling, try to paddle smoothly and quietly to prevent splashing. The quieter you can be, the less fish you’ll scare away.

Tip #9: Bring a waterproof VHF radio

In the event of an emergency, you’ll need proper equipment to contact emergency assistance. A waterproof VHF radio will do just that. Make sure you know how to use it (what frequencies to use) before hitting the water.

Tip #10: Avoid high-traffic areas

Avoid high-traffic areas where you’ll be competing with other fisherman for fish. One benefit of kayak fishing is the ability to fish in shallower areas where power boats can’t go. So look for areas other’s are not fishing, this will give you an obvious advantage.


Here are a few fundamentals to help you master kayak fishing.

1. Be safe.

It is essential that you take the appropriate safety precautions before you set out to fish with a kayak. You must check the weather and the tide before embarking on your trip. If the weather looks rough or changeable, postpone your trip, or you may wind up facing unnecessary danger. By taking heed of the weather conditions, you will be in the safest position possible prior to embarking on your trip.

2. Keep the hatches closed.

You must make sure that the hatches of the boat are closed while fishing. This is one point that every angler who is using a kayak should heed. By closing the hatches, you prevent water from seeping into the kayak.

3. Steady fishing.

Once you are in the middle of the water, it is important that you are anchored. This will not only help you catch fish but it will steady the kayak. If you are steady and secure it will be easier for you to fish as you will not then need to concentrate on the kayak itself.


Rudder Or No Rudder?

This is simply a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer a rudder because it gives them greater control, sometimes easier control. Others don’t like them because their lines frequently get caught in them. If you are able to, hire a kayak with a rudder and see if you like it.

Sit On Or In Your Kayak

The vast majority of kayaks are the sit-on type. However, there are still some kayaks that you sit inside, much like a canoe. These tend to offer much less storage capabilities though so there are some drawbacks. Unless you have a great fondness of canoe type boats or you simply cannot get to grips with sitting on a sit-on type, then I would advise you go for the latter.

Don’t Forget The Simplest Things

When you look at your kayak in a store you must imagine yourself out of water. Are the rod holders sturdy and strong and are there enough of them. How about the paddle keepers? And is there a cup holder? Try to think of every eventuality.


If you’ve ridden the rapids and roved the rivers a few times and want to expand your interest in kayaking and canoeing, sooner or later there’s the distinct possibility that you will find yourself in an ocean or touring kayak or canoe on a broader and deeper patch of water where fishing becomes an attractive option. Kayak fishing is fast becoming a very popular sport and there’s every chance that you’ll be bitten by the fishing bug which usually bites in the place where it hurts most… in your pocket. However, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t equip yourself for some great kayak fishing sport with good quality kayak fishing gear designed specifically for small boat applications such as kayaks and canoes

Use these kayak fishing tips to stay safe and increase your chances of catching fish. Kayak fishing is a rewarding sport and we hope these tips will help you get the most out of your new hobby.

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