Kayak Fishing Guide 101 (6 Tips, Factors, And FAQs)

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: November 29, 2022
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Kayaks are better suited for fishing when compared to boats because they’re lighter and easier to maneuver in shallow waters that would be inaccessible for bigger boats. Kayaks also have greater stability which means they’re able to create a longer-lasting drift on big or fast-moving fish in open water.

Key Takeaways

  • While kayak fishing, you should pick a lighter fishing rod and cast it one-handed
  • You should use a fishing grip or gloves so that you can move on comfortably on the kayak
  • Stability is important while kayak fishing, therefore you should use kayak anchors
  • The outrigger is a combination of a stabilizer and a pole and it will provide more stability to your kayak and your kayak won’t get imbalanced

Step-By-Step Guide To Kayak Fishing

Well, in this article, we will learn about the step-by-step guide to fishing with a kayak along with other safety tips and ways to manage outriggers while fishing later. Let’s dive into the steps now – 

1. Pick A Lighter Fishing Rod And Cast One-Handed: At the beginning, it is vital to choose a fishing kayak that is more stable and pick a fishing rod and line that are easy to maintain (we suggest you pick the lightest one you have). Mount good fishing rod holders on your kayak for better control. 

2. Control Your Paddles Like A Pro: While fishing, your kayak will move a lot and without having good paddling power, you may be flipped down with your kayak. As you have to fish with one hand, use another hand to paddle your kayak at the right place and move anywhere that the fishing requires you to. Use a fishing grip or gloves so that you can move on comfortably. 

3. Use Kayak Anchor Most Of The Time: Stability is important while kayaking use your feet to locate your kayak accordingly and balance your body as you have to control your fishing rod, paddles, and (catching big fish) everything simultaneously. Adjusting your boat position is too much important in kayak fishing. If you pick a wavy river to fish; you may have to face a hard time in the beginning to find a good fishing spot and this is how you will gain experience. So go on. 

4. Use A Fishfinder & Other Fishing Gear: Pick a good fishfinder before going kayak fishing and mount necessary gear like a rod holder, gloves, Life jackets, and so on for boosting your confidence. The more confident you are – the better chances you will have to catch fish and manage your tiny kayaks professionally. 

5. Go To Calm Lakes & Rivers First: In the beginning, never go fishing in the windy lakes and rivers where you see heavy currents, all the time. Start fishing in calm lakes and rivers (for better paddling efficiency and control) and once you manage some fish, go to big fishing spots at big rivers or lakes later. 

6. Use Required Tools: Keep important items within easy reaches, like fishing gear. Mount rod holders on kayaks for trolling and carrying spare combos. Install a sonar/GPS unit. The T&R System allows you to stay fishing even if you change bait types and other such things.

Here Is A Video To Follow –

Things To Keep In Mind While Fishing With A Kayak Or Canoe

Safety Is The First Priority

In any recreational activity, safety should be your first concern. It is very important to ensure that the life of a person is safeguarded and that there is no chance of any damage or accident. Kayaking, along with fishing, especially needs care. The kayaks can run out of stability as fishing needs the kayak to stop at one place, which can cause the person to fall and can be dangerous. So such a condition needs to be prevented in the first place. There are outriggers available to prevent the kayak from getting imbalanced and causing harm to the person or people sitting on it.

Role of Outriggers In Fishing

The outrigger is a combination of a stabilizer and a pole. It is attached to the kayak for providing a wider stance so that the kayak becomes more stable and doesn’t get imbalanced. The outriggers are a very important tool for providing stability to the kayak and play a very important role in activities like fishing. The outriggers, due to the wider stance, can facilitate a person to stand in one place without getting imbalanced, which can be ideal for fishing situations.

Inflatable outriggers are the best in business as they can be carried easily by everyone due to various features it has like lightweight, easy to fill the air and then release, easy to install, and very easy to handle. The outriggers are very durable and can be the best thing to make the stance wide enough to facilitate fishing activities. The height of the outriggers can also be adjusted easily by simply twisting the sail.

What Type Of Kayak Is Best For Fishing?

Kayaks are broadly categorized into sit-in and sit-on-top types. Both can be used for angling; however, the best option that has fishing-friendly features are the sit-on-top kayak. They are steady and effortless to get in and out of, and there is no feeling of imprisonment on them. Also, they are self-bailing, which means water drains via small holes known as scupper holes. They go via the bottom of the kayak.  This indicates that you can’t swamp a sit-on-top kayak.

Another outstanding safety feature is that sit-on-tops are quite more comfortable than sit-insides to get back on from water if at you fall off.  The one drawback to a sit-on-top kayak is that you are almost assured of getting wet while paddling, while sit-inside lets you stay dry all day.

Sit-inside kayaks can be an ideal choice for anglers who will be in colder water, who need to stay dry while paddling, and who desire a faster-moving kayak. The one downside in a sit-inside kayak is that if you flip, recovery won’t be a simple process, you know, since the kayak might swamp. So, if you are a learner, try to stay close to shore or in sheltered water so you can swim in if you want to.  Choosing the best type will, therefore, scale down to experience and personal preference.

Once you have chosen your preferred type of kayak, you will need to select a length for your fishing kayak. Typically, a long and narrow kayak is faster, while a short and extensive kayak is slower but a bit steady. If you are going to participate in sight casting and fly fishing, then a short, wide, and stable boat will be an excellent option for you, because standing will be comfortable.

The trade-off means that kayak will be slower and not perfect for paddling any real distance. On the flip side, if you desire to troll maybe offshore or cover more grounds, you may be required to select a longer, narrower kayak that travels via the water more efficiently.

There are different types of kayaks available in the market, which can be ideal for fishing activities, whether it is occasional recreational fishing or regular fishing activity. Nowadays, kayaks are specially designed for fishing, sports, or just recreational purposes. It is effortless to learn how to fish with a kayak with rising innovations in kayaks.

Here Is A List Of 5 Kayaks You Can Choose While You Are Just Starting Out – 

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So with some safety precautions and the right choice of kayak, one can have an exceptional fishing experience. If everything is done in the right way, one could end up having a very good experience with fishing along with kayaking.

Kayak Fishing FAQs

Is Kayak Fishing Worth It?

Yes. With its latest generation offering better angling efficiency and versatility than its predecessors, there is no doubt kayak fishing is worth it.

Whether you have a boat or you are looking forward to getting off the bank, here are numerous reasons to consider kayak fishing:

1. More Affordable Compared To A Powerboat

A completely rigged kayak is cheaper than a primary fishing motor and boat. Apart from the lower cost upfront, kayak anglers spend less on insurance, maintenance, towing fuel, and launch fees.

So, if you have to plan your budget, a kayak is the best fishing platform to get you away without breaking the bank. You should know that not all kayaks are created equal. Adding accessories, and electronics, and going for a propulsion system beyond a paddle raises the price.

2. Easy Water Access

There is no doubt everyone can’t pass a waterbody without thinking about what fish they would catch in it.  A powerboat needs a launch ramp. As for the kayak, anglers access waterways off-limit to powerboats.

3. Versatile Fishing

With a kayak, you can fish a wide range of bodies and catch several species—many like kayaking into sloughs and backwaters where largemouth bass lurk. But the good thing will use a similar rig to hoop pools in small first rivers. Apart from bass, kayak catches comprise pike, panfish, muskie, walleye, and striped bass.

Many fishing kayaks are extensive and steady enough to stand in and fish. This is ideal when executing underhand casts to target. Access to small lakes gives you more options to catch from.

4. Portability

Kayak is considerably easy to transport to and from the water. Besides, there are inflatable kayaks that are designed for fishing which makes them convenient to get to the shore. You will not need a trailer or a cart as the inflatables can be put in a backpack and pumped once it is time to fish.

5. Travel On A Dime

Once you have understood how to fish from a kayak and you are a proficient paddler, new angling will automatically arise. No matter the place you will be, if you can get access to a kayak when you are far from your leading boat, you will wet a line.

6. Improved Perspectives

Fishing from a kayak offers unique angling benefits than being in bank fishing or when in a powerboat.

Here Are A Few Examples:

Low Angles- kayaks are usually low to the water line and therefore make it quite effortless for an angler to skip soft plastic bait up between the limbs of downed timber or under a dock.  Also, being low to water places you closer to the action

Slow And Relaxing- fishing from a kayak is slower compared to fishing in a powerboat. Due to that, many folks enjoy kayak fishing. The silent paddle strokes and downtempo pace are relaxing.

Fishing Right Where You Are With What You Have– numerous anglers praise a kayak for assisting them to boost their angling skills. Since mobility is limited, you tend to spend a lot of time on a spot attempting to figure fish out.

Change Is Good- kayak fishing provides a refreshing modification from the casting deck or the bank. As anglers, it is crucial to mix things up now and then, but why? Because it challenges us to learn new ways of catching fish. Also, it assists reconnect with one’s passion for fishing.

Fitness Advantage– kayak fishing with no doubt mix workout time on the water and provides you a break from walking, biking, and running while permitting time to stop and fish at a go.

Is It Hard To Fish From A Kayak?

No. Kayak fishing isn’t hard, as many people may think. However, a kayak can’t move faster or cover as much water as a powerboat. So, successful anglers use the following kayak fishing tips:

1. Use multipurpose, effortless-to-fish lures. This minimizes re-rigging and retying; hence you will make more casts in the day and catch more fish.

2. Locate fish using swimbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and search baits. After catching active fish, do a U-turn with a small jig, and drop-shot bait to coax bites from less active ones.

3. Change tactics to target various species before leaving an area.

4. Troll from a kayak as an alternative to casting or covering water.

How Dangerous Is Kayak Fishing?

Typically, kayaking fishing is safe, but various immediate risks cannot come directly in your mind when you are ready to hit the lake. So, kayaking can be deadly sometimes. Here is what you should keep in mind:

1. What Kind Of Insects/Animals Will You Encounter?

Nothing hurts more than a few bug bites. Insects like mosquitoes carry all kinds of nasty diseases and can easily transmit them. So, bug spray is essential for kayakers to combat such insects. There are other dangerous animals you can come across, such as sharks, snakes, alligators, and beavers. So, you must know how to avoid and defend yourself against these creatures. For example, you can prevent encountering a shark by beating it with your paddle.

2. Will There Be Any Large Boats There?

Large water bodies such as lakes and seas tend to attract boaters. Mostly, boaters aren’t directly worried about your capability to handle the waves their vessels create. It is, therefore, paramount to learn to handle all kinds of waves. If you fail to do that, you will end up swimming, and your gear is likely to sink.

When you begin kayak fishing, it is vital to get used to your kayak and learn how to handle it because each one is different. So, do your trials in small lakes until you are ready to move up.

3. Will You Have To Go Through Rapids Or Around Rocks?

If you neglect to sturdy the river you are fishing, you are likely to face rough rapids, which are terrifying. Small rapids are controllable and fun if you are experienced. However, if you are inexperienced, then even small rapids can be dangerous. These patches of swift water sometimes place you up against the rock or dump you out of your kayak. So, ensure you stay away from rapids when you begin kayak fishing and move into slow rapids as you gain experience.

How To Anchor A Fishing Kayak

Final Words

Kayak fishing is fun, and everyone angler would appreciate partaking in the activity. So, learn all about kayaking, and you will gain a lot of experience needed to fish with it. The article has answered most of your concerns, and there is no doubt kayaking fishing is beneficial and can be done with ease. So, get your fishing kayak and fish with no limit!


  • https://castandspear.com/kayak-fishing-101-tips/
  • https://www.takemefishing.org/how-to-fish/fishing-tips/kayak-fishing-tips/

Last update on 2024-04-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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