Kayak Fishing for Beginners
Paddling is such a diverse sport in that there are so many different ways to enjoy your time spent out on the water. Whether it’s coasting along a peaceful lake snapping photos, ploughing out from under a Class V rapid, or waiting for a bite on your fishing line - there’s no shortage of things to love about paddling. Fishing is actually one of the more popular uses that we find our customers using our K-Paks for! So that got us thinking - if you’re a frequent paddler, and maybe the occasional fisher, how do you get started in kayak fishing/angling?
Coined over 4000 years ago by the Inuit inhabitants of the Arctic regions of Russia, Canada and the US, this method of fishing and hunting during summer seasons has been perfected over the years. Granted you’ve got some base knowledge in both paddling and fishing, it may seem that all you really do is put the two skills hand in hand, though there’s a bit more to it than that. Trying to mix the two can seem a little clunky at first, and may even discourage you, but there are things you can do to smoothen out the experience. That said, it is advised to practice both sports separately if you haven’t already. Both kayaking and fishing are activities that do require a lot of knowledge and experience - to hybridize the two successfully requires some know-how.
Note: Since we’ll all be rocking our K-Paks for this occasion, all of our tips will pertain to freshwater paddling and fishing!
With fishing, you’re a little more physically and mentally invested in a good catch, meaning it’s very possible for you to take an unexpected dip when you feel a hearty tug on your line. This means that coming equipped with the right clothing will make or break your experience.
This means no cotton whatsoever. If you didn’t know, cotton has a way of sapping all of your body heat once it gets wet, which can turn a harmless dip into a survival scenario quickly. Nylon and polyester clothing are lightweight and dry out fast. A dry suit may seem overboard, but you can never play it too safe.
You’ll want to make sure that everything you bring with you is securely tied down or stored, as this may be your first time loading up the K-Pak with so much stuff. Floating storage or lanyards to tie gear down to your kayak will be lifesavers allowing for more leg room. We’ll also take this time to recommend picking up a quality dry bag for all the electronics and fragile pieces. The Ocoee by Watershed Drybags is a great choice!
Be sure to bring a GPS and your PFDs, as well as a map for backup! When traversing large bodies of open water, it's easy to lose your sense of direction. It’d be wise to store the smaller devices in the aforementioned drybag.
Here are some of the extra accessories that will make your kayak fishing experience easier, but aren’t deal breakers if you can’t get your hands on them.
Rod holders are super convenient for when you’re unequipping your fishing rod to paddle some distance to the next spot. You can purchase these separately and deal with a manual installation, coming in many different sizes and models.
Paddle leashes will be one of the most essential pieces of equipment you can have. As previously mentioned, you’ll be doing a good amount of back and forth between the paddles and your rod. It’s certainly possible for one of the two to plop into the water when going for a cast or leaning into a reel-in, so a leash is a worthy investment.
Anchor systems are mandatory. You don’t want to be jittering about too much, scaring the fish, and most importantly, you don’t want to drift away from your cast. Staying still and patient is the name of the game in fishing. When it comes to the weight itself, aim for anything over a few pounds and feel free to get creative with a DIY method. Old scrap metal, a dumbbell, etc.
Multi-Tool: Having a diverse arsenal of pliers, blades and various edges will come in handy when getting into the nitty gritty of a catch or making a repair on the fly.
Tackle Box: The universal staple of any fishing outing. You’ll need a place to store your lures, baits, hooks, lines and tools in a condensed, organized storage space.
Comms Devices: Not mandatory but helpful when your buddy drifts off a few hundred feet and you don’t want to scare off any potential catches - any standard walkie will do the trick.
First Aid: Every fisherman has cut their hands changing bait, and every paddler has suffered a migraine on the water after some time. Some bandages, neosporin, tylenol, any common household medicine that can fit in the bag can go.
Dry Clothing: Reduce your risk of illness and exposure incase you take an accidental dip.
All things considered, kayak fishing really is really just taking paddling and fishing and putting them hand in hand! If you’re adept in either category and have the gear, we’d say you’re good to go for your first outing.
If you’re a solid paddler but could use some fishing practice, take some time to improve so when you do decide to bring your rod and tackle box on the K-Pak, you know what you’re doing!