If you are reading this, then you are likely looking to get started in kayak fishing or looking for some additional tips on how to improve your experience. Lets begin with the fishing component. As with any body of water, it is important to know the species available to fish and their patterns. If you are looking to venture in to new water, make sure to ask local bait shops and any anglers you come across for pointers and tips. While some anglers keep things a secret, many are happy to give you some general advice.
Knowing what you want to catch, or at least what you might catch in a specific waterway will be helpful in narrowing down your gear. It is always a good idea to be thinking in terms of several species. Sometimes your target fish is just elusive. It helps to be prepared to fish for alternative species when your target is nowhere to be found. Just remember to keep your tackle selection simple.
Now lets look at the boat. Those of you with kayaking experience know there are so many different types of kayaks of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes kayak selection can be daunting for both the seasoned kayaker and novice alike. There are two approaches you should consider when selecting your kayak for fishing purposes, and they come down to perspective. Begin by answering this question, “am I looking for a kayak I can fish from, or am I looking for a fishing kayak?” The difference may look subtle, but makes a significant difference depending on the primary use of the kayak. Understand that it is possible to fish from any kayak and you can spend a day paddling in any kayak. It is the specific features of the kayak that make them better or worse for various specific water activities that can enhance or ruin your day on the water.
If you prefer to paddle most days and only fish occasionally, then it may be preferable to look at sit-in style kayaks. There are several varieties of sit-in kayaks that would likely suit your needs. However, since this post is about Kayak Fishing, we will focus on kayaks meant for that very purpose. For kayak fishing, sit-on-top kayaks are recommended. While the type of fishing you are doing can have specific implications, for most situations, a sit-on-top is preferred. The reason sit-on-top kayaks are preferred is because of the storage, and options to customize the kayak for your needs are much greater with sit-on-top kayaks. Many are built with gear tracks, rod holders and tackle storage. Many are able to handle small trolling motors, special anchors, and even electronics like fish finders. Sit-on-top kayaks can also provide the angler with a better perspective by allowing you to stand while fishing.
The real question is what do you need the kayak to do? Some anglers will need versatility based on target species. Others will have comfort considerations for longer days and trips on the water. Another thing to think about is transport. Weight of the angler and the kayak can be significant concerns which cannot be overlooked. For avid anglers, you will know the gear you need for fishing, so that knowledge can help determine the type of kayak needed. For those just getting into kayak fishing, it is best to speak with an “expert” first. An expert is simply someone who has been kayak fishing using different setups and has the experience to help guide your selection. For the serious angler, be prepared to spend at least $1000 on the kayak and depending on the specific needs/wants, the final cost could be well over $2000. Don’t be in a rush to buy a new boat without doing some research. A well planned purchase can lead to decades of enjoyment on the water, whereas a rush to purchase can lead to frustration and disappointment.
Click here for part 2 on kayak fishing for beginners.