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Fishing

 

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THE ART AND SCIENCE OF DIY The Ozark Puffball was born on a picnic table in Missouri’s Montauk State Park, where photographer Colby Lysne and I sat drinking beer and licking our wounds after an unimpressive show of fishing skill at one of the premier trout parks in the Show-Me state. All morning long, stocker trout had snubbed our dough baits, following them through slow riffles, eyeing them warily in the pools, but simply refusing to eat. We were stumped, but not yet beaten. It seemed that we needed some kind of hack for the lowly ball of scented dough, some trigger to turn the trout’s obvious interest into a committed bite. The Puffball was Lysne’s idea— I’ll give him full credit— but it fell to me to field-engineer the innovation. Our solution was to fasten a pea-sized glob of fluorescent orange PowerBait to a tiny #16 treble hook. Next, we smeared the glob with a skim of Secret Bait, a dough-and-glitter conglomeration made by some Ozark hillbilly and sold in every trout park for miles around. A split shot and split-second timing were the only other ingredients.

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To work the Puffball’s magic, I’d cast it downstream and watch the drift until a trout eyeballed the mutant wad but refused to eat. That’s when I’d snap the rod tip, telegraphing a pulse of energy down the line, which jerked the Puffball just enough to release a brown smudge of atomized Secret Bait into the stream. Intrigued by the piquant fog, the fish would then spot the orange PowerBait emerging from the mist. It would be like waking up from a dream about Thanksgiving dinner to find a ham biscuit on your pillow. The wiliest trout couldn’t resist. Unorthodox? You betcha. But jerry-rigging a doughball is just par for the course for the avid angler. Fishing seems to bring out the shade-tree design engineer in outdoorsmen. With fishing, the margin between success and failure is often tippet-thin— and dependant on an angler’s ability to innovate, modify, and adjust gear to specific conditions. Trim a spinnerbait’s rubber skirt by a half-inch and you might double your rate of hook-ups. Upgrade a baitcaster’s gears and you can rip lunker bass from the thickest weeds. Make your own fly rod and you can save hundreds of dollars. And most fishing gear tweaks and hacks are cheap and easy. In fact, a lot of the tricks in this book require little more than odds and ends you likely have in your basement or garage right now. A small finishing nail to give a soft-plastic crayfish a more lifelike action. Leftover plywood for a worm box. An old coffee can to convert to a leech trap. That’s so much of the fun of fishing— figuring out how to use what’s close at hand to better your odds at catching fish. After all, it’s not enough to know where the fish are. It’s not enough to be able to make the perfect cast or tie a gorgeous fly. You have to put a hook in the fish. You have to convince your quarry to eat whatever you’ve tied to the end of your line. Sometimes that’s easy. Sometimes that’s nearly impossible. You

never know until you’ve done everything you can to stack the deck in your favor. I learned that lesson down on Florida’s Suwannee River, in a tip you can read about in this chapter. Sometimes the smallest tweaks can make a huge difference. During the spring spawn, the male redbreast sunfish, known in the South as a “robin,” is a riot of crimson, green, and blue colors. Fishing for redbreast is a tradition so steeped in Southern culture that it’s the subject of local festivals and highbrow doctoral dissertations. Jim Greek and Billy Cason, however, were less concerned about the robin’s role in the fabric of rural experience than in how to entice one onto a hook.

When I ran across this pair of anglers, they were each 64 years old and had forged a deep friendship based on a love of bream fishing. Thirteen years earlier, Cason was running a backhoe on his peanut farm when Greek, his neighbor-through-the-woods, dropped by to ask if he might have time to push dirt over his trash heap. Cason was there within 30 minutes. A couple of days later, they went fishing together for the first time. Ever since, they’ve fished two or three days a week. Every week. These boys know how to catch a robin, and they were happy to share their secrets.

“I think a worm’s about the sorriest bait there is, at least for river fish,” Greek told me matter- of-factly, as he threaded a cricket on a hook. Their go-to rig was a #6 extra-light wire hook topped with a small orange bead and a 1/ 16-ounce bullet weight. But it was the bobber they fussed over most carefully. Each one was hacked very specifically. I won’t tell you how, not right here. Just turn to item #151 for the details. But I’ll tell you this. Their change resulted in a cooler slam-full of robin, and a riverside fish fry I’ll never forget. “It makes the line slide through the cork easier,” Greek explained about their tweak. “It don’t get hung up as bad, and drifts deeper. Sometimes those little changes make a difference.” As in all the difference.

 

74 SUPERCHARGE A LURE WITH A NAIL

With nothing more than a simple nail, you can make your softbait do all kinds of crazy moves. Here are a few.

HANG YOUR HEAD Make a wacky-rigged worm or Senko even wackier by putting a small finishing nail into the head of the bait. The soft plastic will flail more erratically.

MAKE A BACKDROP Push a nail into a soft-plastic shad’s back just ahead of the tail and run a plain hook through the nose. The lure will drop back when you pause the retrieve.

STICK IN THEIR CRAW Put a finishing nail into the tail of a soft-plastic crawfish and hook the bait through the head. The nail keeps bait and hook at a better fish-hooking angle.

75 HACK YOUR PLASTICS

You don’t have to fish with a standard lure. With a careful trim, your lures can take on new life.

MAKE A MINISKIRT One solution to bass tapping at your spinnerbait without connecting is to add a trailer hook. That’s fine for open water but can result in more snags around any structure. Instead, trim the skirt so it hangs evenly with the hook bend.

SHAVE YOUR LEGS Sometimes bass grab the skirt legs of a hollow-body frog lure and miss the hook. Trimming legs back even ½ inch can reduce short strikes and actually give frogs a smoother side-to-side glide when “walking the dog.”

TAKE A BACK SEAT How many times have you reeled up a curly-tailed grub with no tail? Solve this by cutting away a portion of the front so the hook sits just in front of the tail. Cut back a soft-plastic shad for the same hook placement.

76 MAKE A WOODEN DOWEL POPPER Making custom diving lures is a challenge. Lips, weights, balance, and buoyancy all factor in to getting one to swim properly. But making a popper is cheap and easy. All you need is a wooden dowel, some screw-in eyelets, hooks, split rings, and some simple tools, like a drill and sandpaper. Cut the dowel to your desired length, taper one end of the cut piece with the sandpaper, drill out the mouth with a large bit, and screw an eyelet into the tail, the belly, and the mouth. How you decorate the popper is up to you, but it will float and it will pop, and you need not be an engineer to get it right.

77 AVOID TREBLE

I recently spent half an hour un-trebling a trio of snarled plugs and— more than once— I’ve had to extract trebles from human flesh. And they can rip fish mouths to pieces. If you’re fishing with kids, especially, replace treble hooks. Most spinner hooks aren’t attached with a split ring, so use side-cutting wire snips to remove the trebles. If the hook eye is particularly stout, clip it in two places to create a gap, and slip it off the body wire. Replace with open-eye hooks. Before replacing trebles, evaluate the track of topwater and diving lures so you can compare their performance with single hooks. Most will do fine. For many largemouth baits, replace the hooks with some 1/ 0 or 2/ 0 ringed live-bait hooks. Remove the belly treble entirely, or just replace it with a ringed live-bait hook with its point facing forward. The point on your trailing hook should face up.

78 MAKE A CUSTOM FLY ROD

Working just an hour or two a night, you can build a fly rod in less than a week, and fish with your handmade custom beauty for the rest of your life. Rod kits contain all the components and instructions, and you can use rod blanks that vary from basic to cutting-edge.

SEAT THE REEL Find the hood recess at the base of the handle. You’ll probably need to enlarge it slightly to fit the reel seat hood. A rotary tool works well. Set the handle aside. Use 1/ 2-inch-wide masking tape to create two bushings under the place where you’ll glue the reel seat, just thick enough so that the reel seat fits snugly over the bushings. Spread waterproof two-part epoxy over these bushings, then slowly slide the reel seat into place. As you slide the reel seat down, fill all gaps with epoxy. Attach the butt cap with epoxy.

TOP IT OFF Use epoxy to glue the tip top in place.

HANDLE IT The rod channel needs to be custom fitted to your blank, so use a tapered rat-tail file to create a good fit. Go easy and check the fit frequently. You should have to use gentle pressure to fit the handle into place. Once you have it right, prepare the blank by gently sanding under the handle with 200-grit sandpaper. Spread more epoxy at the location of the handle, and slide the cork into place. If your kit has a winding check, glue it into place now.

GET GUIDANCE Taper the end of each guide foot with a fine-metal file. Rod-building kits will come with a spacing chart. Hold guides in place with thin strips of masking tape. For a consistent width, mark up a business card with the desired width of the wrap, and use it as a template to mark the beginning and ending points of each guide wrap with a grease pencil. Begin by wrapping the rod blank with a half-dozen tight wraps over the tag end of the thread. Snip off the tag and continue. As you spin the rod, angle the thread from the spool slightly so that each wrap is snug against the previous one. To finish a guide wrap, stop when the wrap is 1/ 8 inch shorter than the planned finished length. Form a loop of monofilament with an overhand knot, pinch it so that the closed end is narrowed, and place this closed end on top of the wraps so that the pinched end sticks out just a bit. Wrap over this loop to the end of your wrap marks and cut the winding thread with a 3-inch tail. Thread this through the exposed end of the loop, then pull back toward the wrap. This will pull the loop and the tag end under the wraps. Trim the excess with an X-Acto knife. To hold the rod in place and provide thread tension while wrapping the guides, make a rod wrapper: Cut notches in a cardboard box to hold the rod blank horizontal. Run thread under a book and through a small hole punched through the box. Last, wrap the female end of the ferrule with a 3/ 4-inch wrap to give it added strength. Apply rod finish to all the windings. To prevent the finish from running, support the rod in a horizontal position and rotate 90 degrees every minute for 15 minutes.

79 MARK FLY LINES I had wads and wads of mystery fly lines until I started marking each new fly line with a permanent marker: eight tiny little hatch-marks at the end of the fly line for an 8-weight, seven hatch-marks for a 7-weight, etc. Simplified my life and saved money.

80 FLOAT A LINE WITH AN EARPLUG For a cheap yet effective bobber for light-tackle fishing, use a foam earplug. Just thread the hook through and slide it to the desired position on the line. You can make it a slip bobber by inserting a length of plastic coffee stirrer.

81 FISH A GREASED LEADER Before strike indicators, fly casters greased leaders to provide bobber action and fly suspension. It’s still a great tactic. Fishing with a greased leader suspends pupae and midges at predetermined depths and makes it easier to track the path of a fly by keeping an eye on the floating leader. But there’s a cost. A leader floating in the film is more visible to trout. Beware. Use a thick silicone paste, and smear the goo on your thumb and forefinger. Pinch the leader butt with these fingers, and pull the leader through. Stop a few inches farther from the end of the tippet than the depth you want to suspend the fly.

82 DAMPEN LINE TWIST A big problem for spinning anglers, whether using live bait or lures, is dealing effectively with line twist. This can cause tangles or affect the action of a lure to the point where it won’t attract fish. Here’s how to keep the line running straight and true.

STEP 1 Close the bail with your hand, not the reel handle. When you turn the handle, the spool also turns slightly before the bail snaps shut, which causes the line to twist.

STEP 2 Set the drag properly. If the line slips too much while you’re playing a big fish, you’ll end up with line twist.

STEP 3 Let the rod fight the fish. Spooling line under tension creates line twist. When you have a big fish on the line, raise the rod. Reel in line only while lowering the rod (when the line is no longer under tension).

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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.

6 Easy Upgrades for Your Fishing Kayak

A Kayak is a canoe made by the Inuit the commonly known as the Eskimo and made of a light frame with a watertight covering having a small opening in the top for a person to sit in.They used driftwood and sometimes the skeleton of whale, to construct the frame a particular kayak and also using animal skin, particularly the seal skin was used to create the body of the Kayak made often done some refining. Today, Kayak Fishing is one of the hottest trends in modern outdoor sports. Whether you are a starter shore-bound fisherman and you are getting into a kayak to reach deeper new waters and distant fish or whether you are a recreational kayaker looking to bring your passion for fishing aboard on your plastic vessel, or you are a boat fisherman who recognizes that fishing kayaks is an exciting and usually a cheaper way to get out on the water, there is something in kayak fishing for just about anyone willing to explore the waters.

The anchor System in a kayak need to be upgraded. To keep your kayak to stay in one place for a long time you will definitely need a strong built anchor system and this also makes you kayak to be stable on the water. Any heavy materials can be used as kayak anchors and function fit for the purpose but it is mainly recommended to use an anchor which is specifically designed for the purpose of being used in the anchoring of your kayak. Most of the standard kayaking anchors will weigh around 1.5 lb. or at most 3.0 lb.using an anchor for your kayak protects it mainly on strong wind and it can be used in 11 feet kayak. It is very easy to install and use the anchoring system and more so having a vivid Yellow color to spot rope easily and this gives your kayak high durability.

 

Short-Handled Paddles.Your paddle will be in your hands the entire time you are on the water, therefore picking the right paddle for your kayak is very critical as you will spend most of your fishing time handling the paddles. Having short-handled paddle is great for easier maneuvering around docks, they also help the river anglers to avoid blowdowns and rocks while still holding on to the rod in their other hand. Short handled paddles also provides high speed and power in each purchase of the blade’s interaction with water.

A Stand-up aid. So as to stand on a fishing kayak, you need good balance and how well you balance yourself will be determined by the kind of a kayak you have invested in. The width of a kayak however will improve on its stability but the wider it is the slower it will move. Investing in a stand up aid however will help the angler to stand and you fish with your kayak maintaining correct balance and stability on the water.

Hull storage. The storage inside most of the kayaks is not completely waterproof and also anything that you put me that storage has the tendency to end up at the other end of the kayak. The solution however is very simple as you just acquire a number of the clip-lock containers which are waterproof airtight from the supermarket and some stick on Velcro strips. You will then stick some pieces of Velcro inside your kayak and at the bottom of the kayak and stick some on the bottom of each container and you will then have waterproof containers that won’t slip around and from place to place.

Forward Rod Holders. Some kayak anglers usually prefer to keep the forward boat deck clear and to use the front-mounted rod holders which are angled to clear your paddle or to clear the pedal stroke. These are very ideal for easily spotting strikes while trolling in the water. When on a particular time you are using the casting technique, the only time a rod will go in this holder is when you’re retying the rod, when you are changing lures or the moment you are unhooking a fish. The holder thus prevents the rods from being bumped.

10 Tips On How To Use Your Fishing Kayak

Kayak fishing offers the thrills as well as the chills to make your vacation fun and memorable. But, you need to check your boat and, of course, yourself to ensure everything’s in good condition to catch big fish. Or else you might end up fishing in troubled waters!

Is There A Perfect Kayak?

The first question that could arise in your mind is: what is the best kayak for fishing? Well, to tell you the truth, there is nothing like the “best” or “perfect” kayak. Although ocean kayaks and Hobie kayaks are popular, there is no universal kayak that promises comfort to everyone. It’s like buying a pair of shoes. Is there a perfect pair of shoes that suits everyone? No. It’s the same for kayaks.

10 Tips for the Beginner Kayak Fisherman

 

When choosing, you usually consider the type of water you want to explore, your fishing plan, the number of people with you, the weight, and other factors. It is good to check the kayak when the water is agitated to get an idea of ​​its true resistance. Ah, do not worry about stability! You will undoubtedly want to stand, but this is not a ship’s people! You need to learn to be stable during kayaking. Mastering the art of paddling (which takes time, of course) and even a tippy kayak would seem stable to you.

Tips On How To Use Your Fishing Kayak. It slides gently through the water. He needs less effort to paddle.

Can you catch big fish with a kayak?

Yes! The bigger the fish, the more exciting the game of kayaking! Be sure to set your shuffles correctly, so the big fish will not pull you out of the kayak. What if you fall? If you are using your flotation device and have a cut tool attached to your vest, fine. If not, call the rescue!

Tip: Always keep your head on the center line of your kayak, allowing the kayak to slip under you. Remember, your body follows your head. So, do not peep too much in the waters.

Fishing Equipment Kayak

Kayak fishing is an adventure sport, but you must be cautious and have all the proper equipment with you. Safety should be your priority. Apart from regular fishing supplies, you should have all the equipment you need for better fishing and to keep you safe. You should also know how to self-rescue in case of kayaking; This happens often, so be careful.

Fishing kayaks are usually for ponds, freshwater lakes, and rivers. But there are people who dare to fish in brackish water and even the ocean for a dose of exhilaration. Choice of water doesn’t matter much if you have the proper gear in place and know how to fish in a kayak.

When going kayak fishing, your rod, as well as your hook and line, should be appropriate in the types of fish found in the pond. Having the right tools will allow for effective fishing, so if you are fishing at a kayak location, your fishing gear should also be suitable for this type of river condition. If you are aiming for small fish, you need to have a rod and bait appropriate for small fish. Of course, if you want to catch larger fish, you need to use the larger baits as well. The first thing to consider is having the right fishing tools, so your kayaking activity will not be in vain.

One thing you need to remember is that before you go kayaking is that you have to make sure that all the things you need especially your bar and bait are already prepared to avoid making unnecessary moves once you are in the kayak. It is not easy to balance a kayak while throwing its lines into the water. But if you have everything ready and you know where you put your bait and bar, everything will be much easier for you.

Buying kayak fishing accessories is not an easy task because you can not just randomly choose from a store. Being knowledgeable about important things that can help you decide on the type and quality of a fishing rod will make your search simple and quick not to mention finding the right equipment for kayaking.

Last but not the least, have lots of water with you while going for kayak fishing. It’s normal to lose track of time while chasing your big catch. Your body might be yearning for water, and you may not know it amidst the thrill. So, make sure you stay hydrated so that you do not tip off in fatigue while reaching the dock. Happy kayaking!

Create basic fishing rigs

A fishing rig is whatever you tie on the end of your line to hold and present your bait. It’s a combination of hooks, sinkers, floats, snaps, swivels, leaders, and the knots that tie everything together.

  Fishermen use many different rigs for special fishing situations. There are rigs for live bait and artificial lures. There are rigs for fishing on the bottom, on the surface and in between. There are rigs for trolling, drifting and staying in one spot. There are rigs for fishing in current and still water. There are rigs for using more than one bait at a time. Beginners don’t need to learn a lot of complicated rigs, for now, a few basic rigs will provide the means for catching most popular species in many settings.

Fishing Knots: Holding the Rig Together

  One thing all fishing rigs have in common is knots, so learning to tie knots is the logical starting point in a discussion of rigs. You will have to tie knots several times on each fishing trip, so learn this lesson well!

  Tying a knot in a fishing line weakens it. An improperly tied knot can reduce line strength by more than 50 percent. But a properly tied knot will retain up to 95 percent of line strength.

  Following are instructions for tying six fundamental knots. The first three are used for tying line to hooks, sinkers, swivels, etc. The fourth knot is used to tie a loop in the line. The fifth knot is the one I use to tie two lines together when I’m adding line to my reel. And the sixth is a good knot for adding line to an empty reel spool.

  When tying any of these knots, I always follow two rules: before snugging a knot tight, I always spit on it to lubricate it. Saliva reduces line-weakening friction and heat buildup as the knot draws tight. And I always leave 1/8 inch of line when I dip the tag end. This allows for some slippage in the knot without it coming undone.

Trilene knot-This is the knot I use for 90 pecent of my fishing. I tie it almost every time I need a line-to-hook or line-to-lure connection. It’s a very strong knot, and it takes only a small amount of practice to master. I highly recommend it. To tie the Trilene knot, run approximately 4 inches of line through the hook eye, loop it around and pass it through the hook eye again. Pull the line to draw the loop down to a small diameter (1/4-1/2inch). Now catch and hold this loop between your thumb and forefinger to keep it open. Wrap the end of the line around the standing line 5 times. Last, pass the end back through the loop, and snug the knot tight by pulling the standing line and the hook in opposite directions. ‘trim the tag end.

Palomar knot—This general-purpose knot offers maximum strength and versatility. The palomar knot is dependable and easy to tie, and is a good alternative to the Trilene knot.

  To tie the palomar, bend the line back on itself to form a double strand 6 inches long. Pass this double strand through the hook eye, and tie a loose overhand knot, leaving a loop deep enough so the hook or lure can pass through it. Pass the hook through the loop, then tighten the knot by pulling the hook with one hand and the double strand of line with the other. Trim the tag end.

Improved clinch knot— This is a third general-purpose knot. It’s slightly weaker than the Trilene or palomar knot, but is strong and easy enough to tie to be the choice of many experts. To tie the improved clinch knot, thread the line through the hook eye 3-4 inches. Wrap the end of the line around the standing line 6 times. Then run the end back through the opening between the hook and the first wrap. Last, turn the end up and thread it through the long loop between the wraps and the downturned line. Hold the end and snug the line by pulling the standing line and hook in opposite directions. Clip the tag end.

Surgeon’s loop—When you want to tie a loop in your line, this is the knot to use. The surgeon’s loop knot is easy to tie, and it won’t slip.

  To tie the surgeon’s loop knot, bend the line back to double it. Then tie a simple overhand knot. Instead of snugging this knot tight, make another wrap in the overhand knot. Now snug the knot tight and clip the tag end.

Blood knot—The blood knot is good for adding new line to old line on your reel. To tie the blood knot, overlap the two lines 4-5 inches end to end. Wrap one around the other 5 times. Next, wrap the second line around the first line 5 times in the opposite direction. Last, pass both ends back through the center opening in opposite directions. While holding these tag ends, snug the line up tight. Then trim the ends.

Line end knot—This knot is used for tying line to an empty reel spool. Its simple and allows the line to slide down snug against the spool. Begin by looping the line around the reel spool. Then tie a simple overhand knot around the standing line to form a slip knot. Last, tie another over-hand knot in the end of the line to anchor the slip knot when the line is drawn tight. Snug the line tightly around the reel spool and trim the tag end.

Hooks, Sinkers, Floats

Hooks, sinkers and floats are basic components in many fishing rigs. Different combinations of hooks, sinkers and floats produce rigs that can be used on everything from small panfish to large and agressive gamefish. These items of terminal tackle come in many different sizes and designs for a wide variety of applications and purposes.

Hooks: Getting to the Point

  Hooks run the gamut from tiny wire hooks for trout to giant forged hooks for such saltwater brutes as sharks and marlin. Hooks also come in different thicknesses, temper (springiness), barb configurations and other features. Different styles of hooks bear different names: Aberdeen, 0 Shaughnessy, Carlisle, Limerick, etc. With so many variables, it’s easy to understand how a beginning angler can feel intimidated when faced with choosing just the right hook Making good hook selections, however, is easy if you follow a few basic guidelines. First, buy quality hooks, stick with popular brand names that are most widely advertised and distributed. Second, pay special attention to hook size. The simple rule is to use small hooks for small fish and big hooks for big fish.

It’s important to understand the system manufacturers use to label hook sizes. Smaller hooks are “number-sized,” the larger its number, the smaller the hook For instance, a #32 hook is tiny and used in small flies. A #10 hook is much larger and might be suitable for bluegill or perch. A #1 hook is larger still and a good size for crappie, walleye, small bass and catfish.

  At this point, numbering switches over to the aught system and heads in the other direction. After a #1 hook, the next largest size is a 1/0 (pronounced one-aught), followed by 2/0, 3/0 and so on. These larger hooks are used for bigger bass and cat-fish, pike, muskies, stripers, lake trout, etc.

Sinkers: A “Weighty” Matter

  Sinkers are weights that pull the bait down to the level the angler desires. Sinkers are molded —typically from lead—in many different designs and sizes. The type of sinker you use and how you use it depends on what rig and technique you select for the species you’re after. In terms of size, use a sinker heavy enough to do the job, but no heavier than it has to be. In most cases, the lighter the sinker, the less noticeable it will be to the fish.

The most common sinkers are those that damp directly onto the line. Split shot are small round balls that are pinched onto the line along a slit through the middle of the sinker. Clincher sinkers are elon-gated weights that pinch onto the line. Rubbercor sinkers resemble clinchers, but they have a rubber strip through the center. Line is looped behind this rubber to hold the sinker in place.

  Sliding sinkers have holes through the middle so the line can slide freely through them. Three common examples are the egg sinker, the bullet sinker and the walking slip sinker.

  Egg sinkers are used with stationary live bait rigs. The most common use for bullet sinkers is with Texas-rigged plastic worms. Walking slip sinkers are used with slip-sinker rigs to crawl live bait along the bottom. Various other sinkers are used with bottom-bumping or stationary rigs. Bell swivel sinkers are bell-shaped and have a brass swivel molded in. The line is tied to the swivel, which prevents line twist when you’re drift-fishing or bottom-bouncing. Bank sinkers are general purpose bottom sinkers which cast well, slide easily along smooth bottoms and hold well in current. Pyramid and inverted pyramid sinkers have sharp edges and fiat sides for gripping in soft, smooth bottoms.

Floats: Visual Strike Indicators

  Most fishermen start out as bobber fishermen. They watch a float with a bait suspended beneath it, and they wait for a fish to pull the float under. This is a very simple yet effective and exciting way to fish. Floats actually serve two purposes. The first is to suspend the bait at whatever depth the angler wishes, and the second is to signal when a bite is occurring. A float holds the bait as shallow or deep as you desire. It allows you to dangle the bait just above bottom or suspend it over the top of brush, submerged weeds or other underwater cover. Also, if you want to fish close to the bottom, but you don’t know how deep it is, the float can tell you. If your sinker is resting on bottom, there’s no weight pulling against the float, so it will lie on its side on the surface. But when you shorten the length of line between your float and sinker so the sinker is no longer touching bottom, the pull will cause the float to ride upright. Then, knowing that your bait is a set distance below your sinker (i.e., 6 inches), you know how deep your bait is and its position relative to the bottom. Floats come in many materials, shapes and sizes. Most floats are made from hard or foam plastic, wood, cork or porcupine quills. Float designs include round, tubular, barrel-shaped, pear-shaped, quill-shaped, and combinations of these designs. Long, slender floats are more sensitive to light bites than round ones. Slender floats cast better since there’s less wind resistance. I recommend them over round floats for most small-bait, light-tackle situations. If you’re fishing for larger fish with larger baits, sensitivity isn’t so critical, and round floats will work fine. A good compromise for general use is the combination of a round or barrel float with a quill-like stem passing through the center. The thick part provides buoyancy for the sinker/hook/bait, while the quill adds sensitivity to indicate that you’ve got a bite.

  Most floats attach to the line with a small, spring-loaded wire dip. Others are pegged onto the line and a third group slides up and down the line freely. Don’t make the mistake of fishing with a float that’s too large. Select a float that’s the smallest possible size considering the weight of your sinker, hook and bait. You want the float to ride high on the surface, but the slightest tug should pull it under. If a float is too large, smaller fish will have trouble swimming down with the bait. This unnatural resistance may alert them to danger. So keep several different-sized floats in your tackle box to match different fishing conditions and rigs.

Snaps, Swivels, Snap Swivels, Split Rings and Leaders

  Snaps, swivels, snap swivels, split rings, and leaders are additional types of terminal tackle for use with various rigs and lures. A snap is a small wire bracket with a safety-pin catch. It’s simply a device for changing lures or hooks faster and easier. Tie the line to one end and snap the lure on the other end. To change lures, simply unsnap the catch, take the old lure off, put the new one on and fasten the catch back. A snap, however, adds more weight, drag and hardware that the fish might see. Also, snaps occasionally bend or break under pressure. A swivel is a small revolving metal link that’s often tied between the main line and other components of the terminal rig. A swivel prevents line twist caused by rotating lures or natural baits. Like snaps, swivels also have drawbacks. The best swivels are ball-bearing swivels that revolve under less pressure than other swivels. The three-way swivel is an important specialty swivel. As its name describes, it has three tie-on rings and is used in some bottom-fishing rigs.

  A snap swivel is a combination of a snap and a swivel. Many fishermen use snap swivels with all types of rigs and lures. In most cases, however, they’re unnecessary and even ill-advised. Snap swivels add weight, which can deaden the action of a lure. They can create a weak link between line and hook and increase the chance of fouling on brush or weeds. The split ring is a small overlapping wire ring threaded into the eye of a lure—the line is tied to the ring. This allows the lure more freedom of movement and more lifelike action. A leader is a length of fishing line or thin wire tied or fastened between the main line and the hook/lure. Leaders serve either of two main purposes: they increase line strength next to the hook and provide a low-visibility connection. This keeps visible line from scaring fish and makes the bait look more natural. Leaders can also mean an additional length of line tied into a terminal rig to add extra hooks.

Rigs for Everyday Fishing

Following are explanations and diagrams of nine basic rigs, including how to tie them and where and how to use them. Sizes of hooks, sinkers, floats and lines in these rigs will vary from one fishing situation to the next, depending on size and strength of target fish, water depth, bottom type, amount of current and other variables.

Fixed-Bobber Rig

  This is the old standby float/sinker/hook rig that catches almost anything. It’s used mainly in calm water (ponds, lakes, rivers or pools of streams). It works with both poles and casting tackle, although it’s awkward to cast with more than 3 feet of line between the bobber and hook.

  To assemble this rig, first tie the hook to the end of the line. Next, fasten a split shot, clincher or Rubbercor sinker 6 inches up the line. Clamp or wrap the sinker tightly onto the line so it won’t slip down. Last, attach a bobber onto the line at the desired distance above the sinker. The bobber can be adjusted up or down the line to float the bait at whatever depth you desire. Always balance the size of the sinker and float. Use just enough sinker to take the bait down, then match this with a float barely large enough to hang on the surface. When a fish is nibbling, the bobber will twitch on the surface. When the fish takes the bait, the bobber will move away fast or be yanked underwater. That’s the time to set the hook!

Slip-Bobber Rig

The slip-bobber rig is so-named because the bobber slides freely up and down the line. It allows you to offer the bait at any desired length. The slip-bobber rig is similar to the fixed-bobber rig, with the exception of the free-sliding bobber. Pass the line through the middle of the bobber and run it up the line first. Next, attach a sinker 6 inches up the line. The bobber will slide down and rest atop the sinker. Then tie the hook on the end of the line. Last, a bobber stop is attached to the line above the bobber that gives the depth where you want to fish. For instance, to fish 5 feet deep, tie the bobber stop 5 feet up the line from the hook.

 A bobber stop is a short piece of plastic tube with thread tied loosely around it. To use this stop, run it up the line first, then follow with the float, sinker and hook as described above.

 When casting with a slip-bobber rig, the bobber, sinker, hook and bait are near the end of the line. When the rig hits the water, the weight of the sinker and hook pulls the line through the bobber until it hits the stop.
Bottom Rig

  This is the basic rig for fishing on the bottom without a float. Bottom rigs are used for bottom-feeding species. This rig is built around a three-way swivel. Tie the main line into one ring of the swivel. Tie a 12-inch leader on the second ring of the swivel, and tie a bank or bell swivel sinker on the other end of this leader. Last, tie an 18-inch leader into the third ring of the swivel. The hook and bait go on the end of this leader.

The bottom rig is highly versatile. It can be used from shore or boat, with light or heavy tackle. Length of the leaders for the sinker and hook/bait may be altered as desired. Typically, though, the hook leader should be longer than the sinker leader.

 Live-Bait Rig

  This stationary rig allows natural action from live bait. It can be used in any type of water and for a wide variety of fish. To tie this rig, run a sliding egg sinker up the line. Clamp on a BB-size split shot sinker below the sinker, 18 inches up from the end of the line. This split shot keeps the egg sinker from riding down on the bait. Last, tie the hook on the end of the line, and bait it with a minnow or night crawler. The bait can swim freely off the bottom and pull the line through the sinker.

Slip-Sinker Rig

  Also called the walking-sinker rig, this rig is used to pull live bait across the bottom, either by trolling or casting and slowly cranking in line. This rig is highly effective on walleye, but it can also be used for many other species. Slide a walking-type sinker up the line, then tie on a small barrel swivel. Tie a 3-foot monofilament leader onto the other end of the barrel swivel, and add the hook at the end of this leader. Bait with a night crawler, leech, crawfish or minnow. Most experts troll or drag slip-sinker rigs with spinning tackle. When a fish takes the bait, they trip the bail and the fish can run. When the run stops, they reel in slack line until they feel pressure on the line, then they set the hook!

Bottom-Bouncing Rig

  Bottom bouncers are weighted wire devices used to troll baits along snaggy bottoms. Thin steel wire is bent into an “L” shape. A lead weight is molded around the center of the long arm. The short arm has a ring for tying on a 3-foot leader and hook. The main line is tied into the 90-degree bend of the “L” between the two arms.

  The bottom bouncer is mainly used from a boat. It is lowered to the bottom and pulled slowly through likely structure. Enough line should be let out so the bottom bouncer is trailing well behind the boat. The wire holds the weight up off the bottom and the leader and baited hook float behind, just above the bottom.

Two-Hook Panfish Rig

This is a deep-water rig and is fished “tightline” fashion (no float) from a boat. The sinker is on the bottom of this rig, and it’s jigged slowly off bottom while two baited hooks dangle above it.

  First, tie a bell swivel sinker to the end of the line. Next, tie a surgeon’s knot 18 inches above the swivel to form a loop that is big enough to stretch 3 inches. Now tie an identical loop 18 inches up from this first loop. Last, add hooks to the loops in the following manner. Pinch the loop closely together so the line is doubled, then run it through the eye of a thin wire hook (#2-1/0). Then open the loop and pull the hook back through it. Slide the hook tight at the end of the loop, and add bait.

Texas-Rigged Plastic Worm

The Texas-rigged worm is the favorite way to use plastic worms. A Texas-rigged worm is weedless and can be crawled through thick cover. Start by running a sliding bullet sinker up the line (1/8-3/8 oz. for depths up to 10 feet), then tie on a plastic worm hook. Insert the point of the hook 1/2 inch into the head of the worm. Now pull the point out the side of the worm, and slide the worm up the shank of the hook until the eye is pulled into the head of the worm. Last, rotate the hook and reinsert the point into the side of the worm, completely covering the barb. Done correctly, the worm will hang straight with the hook in place.

  Rigged in this manner, the sinker will slide freely along the line. Many anglers prefer to peg the sinker at the head of the worm. This can be done by using a screw-in sinker or by inserting the small point of a flat toothpick to provide resistance. Then slide the sinker down the line to the head of the worm, and it’ll stay in place.

Carolina-Rigged Plastic Worm

  Where the Texas-rigged worm is meant for fishing in heavy cover, the Carolina-rigged worm is designed for open structure fishing and covering long distances of a submerged channel dropoff, sunken point, bank, etc. It’s very similar to the live-bait rig, except it uses a plastic worm for bait. It’s also a very easy rig to use. You simply make a long cast, allow the rig to sink to the bottom, then crank it back in very slowly. There are two basic presentations: dragging—pulling sideways with the rod tip; and small hops by making vertical lifts with the rod tip. To make a Carolina rig, run a heavy bullet slip sinker(-1 oz.) up the line; then tie a barrel swivel on the end of the line. Next, tie a 3-foot leader with a hook and plastic worm or lizard on the end. With this rig, the bait is usually fished with the point exposed. Do this by inserting the point of the hook into the head of the worm/lizard and then threading the worm around the bend of the hook and up the shaft. Last, pull the point out the top of the bait, and pull the bait up to straighten it. The worm/lizard should hang straight on the hook.

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