So, you want to get out on the water and take a cast from a kayak to catch that trophy fish, but you haven’t yet taken that first kayak fishing adventure? Here are 10 tips to take into consideration prior to making your move.

kayak fishing catching a fish
These 10 kayak fishing tips will help you paddle or pedal to success on the water.
  1. Most importantly, pick a kayak that’s built for fishing. Kayaks built for fishing have integrated rod holders, seats that are comfortable to fish from all day, and places to put a tackle crate and/or storage boxes within reach. See Selecting the Best Fishing Kayak for some detailed isight into what to look for.
  2. Safety first. Once you pick out your kayak, get it on the water. But, get out there without your tackle or rods a few times. Learn to handle the boat, and understand your limitations on distance and the ability to control your craft in wind and waves.
  3. Pick a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) that is made for fishing. One that has a few pockets for items that you want with you in case you ever topple over. I have my phone in one of the pockets, a knife in another, a whistle, and when on big water, a portable VHF marine radio. Keep in mind that your PFD is your primary life safety device. Wear it at all times and don’t overload it to the point that it can’t support your weight plus what you are carrying.
  4. Before you launch your kayak, learn proper ramp etiquette. You should have your kayak fully loaded and ready before wheeling it to the ramp. If you don’t have wheels or a cart to get your kayak to the water, consider unloading next to the ramp or find a soft launch where you have a bit more time to unload your boat and gear. And avoid socializing at the ramp when others are waiting their turn. You’ll have plenty of time out on the water.
  5. Proper dress is an important piece of the kayak experience, and dressing for the weather is essential. Keeping the sun off you in the heat of summer and staying warm in cooler weather is a must for a great day out on the water.
  6. Choose fishing rods that work well for a kayak. I use seven-foot rods so if I need to, I can lead a fish around the bow of the boat. A longer rod helps in landing a fish too, allowing you to bring the fish to the boat by leaving enough line out, then guiding the fish to the net.
  7. Choosing a fishery that you are familiar with and have fished before is always a good choice for your first outing. You want to have success and build your confidence on the kayak, and landing a fish will make that happen!
  8. Don’t overthink it and keep things simple. Use fishing techniques that have worked for you in the past. You don’t want to try to take a longshot trip for that giant striped bass on your very first week of fishing. Building confidence and skill takes time.
  9. Being able to land your catch is your number one goal once you’ve hooked that fish, and doing so will require you to keep your center of gravity in the kayak. I do this by keeping my head in the center of the boat. I don’t lean over the side, then use a net to scoop up the fish or lip-land the fish next to the boat. Don’t reach or lean too far out and lose your center of gravity.
  10. Now let’s go fishing: plan your trip in advance. Select tackle for the species you are targeting. And most importantly check the weather before heading out.

Remember a cast not taken is a fish not caught. Get out there and take that cast off of a new kayak!

-By Eric Packard