The Ultimate Guide for Kayak Anglers
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The Ultimate Guide for Kayak Anglers

Written by Joshua K.

Kayak fishing is a great hobby. It is probably the best way to spend your leisure time as this amazing feat of activity makes the time full of fun, adventure and much needed physical exercise.

It is also quite inexpensive and with bountiful catch of big fishes this amazing activity can give you the exuberant pleasure of hunting but in comfort and safety.

However, fishing from kayaks is not like catching fish sitting safely on the bank of a pond. You have to take your kayak into the endless expanse of rivers, lakes and even oceans in search of a good catch. It needs patience, ingenious techniques and a lot of precautionary measures.

So, before moving with your kayak, you must know about these methods and techniques and to avoid life threatening dangers, you must have ample knowledge about the necessary safety measures and the survival techniques.

How We Prepared this Guideline:

In this article, our kayak and angling experts have discussed all the techniques and safety measures of kayak fishing for you. To prepare this guideline for you we have maintained the following steps:

Discussion with Expert Kayakers and Anglers
Our own pool of expert kayakers and anglers have consulted the best experts of this discipline on the techniques and safety measures of kayak fishing. Their suggestions and discussions have been included in this article.
Extensive Research on the Fishing Kayaks
Our experts have examined and studied varieties of fishing kayaks to know about the existing facilities and their limitations. Their practical experience of decades of kayaking and fishing enriched this review.
Our experts have talked with the thousands of kayak fishermen and anglers from beginners to experts to know about their experience, criticisms, suggestions about kayak fishing.

Kayak Fishing Tips For the Beginners:

For the aspirant kayak anglers or the amateurs kayak fishing, if they know the proper techniques will be mind boggling experience. To get the most of the kayak fishing they should follow the following instructions:

Pick the Appropriate Kayak:

This is the first step for anyone who wants to fish with kayak. In the market there are thousands of varieties of kayak but all of them are not designed for angling or fishing. Fishing kayaks are designed separately and often fitted with extra gears.

Perfect KayakNot only that, there are specialised designs of kayaks for fishing in the saline water and freshwaters. And there are recommended designs for beginner anglers and professional anglers also.

So, before purchasing a kayak, you should, at first, fix where you want to fish and for that purpose what kind of kayak you. Our articles on Best Sit On Top Fishing Kayaks and Ultimate Guide to Buy Fishing Kayak will be very useful for you.

You can also watch this video for further queries

Choosing Your Fishing Spot:

You must also chose a suitable spot for angling. You should also consider the characteristics of your kayak for doing this. In fact, kayaks can take to all kinds of waterfronts. But you should choose the best spot based on your pedaling experience, distance, time, affordability and ability.

You can watch this video to know more about this issue.

Learn About the Fish Species:

You should investigate about the fish species of your fishing spot before going to catch them. Otherwise, you will not be able to prepare the appropriate bait and your angling session might turn into an embarrassing failure. Not only for preparing the baits, knowledge about the fish species will also help you to customize and prepare your kayaks for the exciting fishing session.

Customizing the Kayak:

For beginners, this is one of the most important steps before going to fish with kayaks. Fishing kayaks available in the market are not always fitted with all necessary equipment. 

Customizing the Kayak

To make the best of your first fishing experiences, you have to make it suitable for your personal fishing experience. For example, you can equip the vessel with outboard motor if the distance is long, taking rod holders and fish finders can give you comfortable fishing experience, you can also take extra store box and cooler for preserving your catch.

However, for these necessary modifications, you must also consider the design and structure of your precious kayak.

You can learn more about the configuring the fishing kayak and can get help to choose the appropriate gears for your fishing kayak from these following videos. 

Taking Your Kayak To the Spot:

For beginners transporting the kayak to the fishing spot can be a real problem. Fishing kayaks are often larger is size and need special carrier for maintenance and transportation. Small trucks and vans are suitable carriers to transport the fishing kayaks. Inflatable fishing kayaks can be a better option to solve this problem.

Kayak Fishing Techniques for All:

If you can maintain the aforementioned instructions,  then you are not a beginner anymore. However, for every kayak fishing enthusiasts, our experts have derived some of the most useful and tested techniques of fishing with kayaks. Applying these techniques will enable you to make the best of your fishing expedition.

Position Your Kayak:

Kayak Fishing Tricks

Positioning the kayak appropriately is one of the most important skill for kayak fishing. This is because anglers on kayaks may have to move constantly in search of fish. So, try to move downwind and it will take your minimum strength to reach a fishing spot and take a suitable position. Moving upwind may make your kayak a bit unstable.

For fishing in waters with strong current, you can choose a kayak of wider bottom and sit on top seating arrangement. To bring a bit more stability in your kayak in the upwind situation, you can straddle the kayak with your legs while downing your line into the water. It will make it a bit more stable.

Or you can also move into the shallow waters with grass beds and vegetation which will reduce the drifting motion of your kayak. Partially grounding the bow of your kayak to the bank can also be a way to bring stability of the kayak while taking a position against the wind.

Drifting Downwind:

Kayak Fishing DirectionsDrifting is not an obstacle for finding fish. Rather if you know the drifting technique it will help you to locate the perfect spot for fishing faster.

While drifting downwind, the most common problem to tackle is kayak never follows the direction of the wind with exactly, rather, it always deviates to some degree either in the left or in the right direction.

This happens due to the weight if your body falls asymmetrically on the shell of the kayak in any particular direction. You can bring correction in the direction of your drifting kayak simply by changing your orientation from left to right or vise versa by one backward thrust of the paddle in either side of the kayak. 

This video of drift fishing may come in handy for you

Finding Nervous Water:

The low position of kayak is suitable for finding ‘nervous water’ in the lakes and rivers caused by large fish or schools of fish. Nervous water that unstable water caused by moving fishes is the primary indicator that fishes are their. Since, kayaks are designed to have low height, under water visibility from kayak is very poor. 

Standing on the kayak to have a glimpse under water is risky because only very stable and sturdy kayaks will endure this posture.

So, kayak anglers should be constantly in search for nervous waters in the selected fishing spots. Electronic fish fish finders can also be used to locate the schools of fish to minimize the hassle of locating fishes.

Select the Appropriate Bait:

Keeping in mind what types of fish you are going to catch, you must collect and take the appropriate baits. Attach the bait with the line and keep the line attached tightly to the fishing rod. While lowering the bait make sure that your pedals are stored in a convenient position.

If you have anchored your kayak, then you must take step to keep the fishes away from the line of your anchor. Otherwise, you will face difficulty to lure the fishes to your line and the bait from the anchor.

You can watch this video to know more about proper selection of the fishing baits

Increase Your Line Capacity:

Every anglers want to catch a trophy fish. But for doing so, you have to increase the capacity of your line for long, sustainable fishing hours. A 6 lb test spinning line should have 250 yards of line or even more. 

200 yards of line fitted with 10 lb test fishing line is very effective in bringing fishes of considerable size. For catching larger fishes with kayaks,  20 lbs fishing line can be used from seven feet or seven and half feet rod with 200 yards of line. These lines can easily bring trophy fishes including some species of sharks, however, exceeding 20 lbs may be risky to tackle with your kayaks as even fishes of five or six pounds can tow your kayak around.

You can watch these following videos to know more about different types of fishing lines and to know how you should select the best.

How to Handle Your Catch:

How to handle your catch

If you equip your kayak with the above mentioned fishing lines, it will not be difficult for you to bring the fish next to your kayak. Because, in the open water, very few fish is strong enough to break the line of  such strong capacity.

However, after reeling in a fish, the best way to handle it is to release the fish again. If you must keep it, keep as much as you need for your dinner. Then release the rest of the fishes so that the species can survive.

Before releasing do not rub the fish with open hand as fishes have a protective coating over their body that protect them from aquatic fungi.

Preserve Your Catch:

Once you have kept your catch in the kayak, you should be think of its better preservation. Small to medium sized fishes can be preserved in the storage tank with ice box. For large catches, you can wrap them with towel and place bags of ice on them. You can also string them with fish stringer. But in the saline waters or alligator infested areas, stringed fish may attract sharks or alligators

Even if your catches start to bleed you must separate the catch from you as soon as possible to avoid these fish hunters who are also expert in hijacking other’s catches.

Special Tips for Freshwater Kayak Fishing:

  • Select the appropriate bait because freshwater fishes have a wide range of appetite.
  • Freshwater fish species are usually sensitive to temperature. So, study the fishes’ behaviour that you want to catch and fix the time and depth to know when and where you can catch them.
  • While fishing in fresh waters using a slip bobber can be very useful. You can tie a knot and a stopper above this bobber with a hollow hole and decide when on the line the bobber stops. In this way, you can fix the depth of your line and this allows you to maintain the quality of the bait casting.
  • Keep your hands clean and free of any smell. Any fragrance or odour can be easily detected by freshwater fishes and any unfamiliar smell can steer them away from your kayaks.
  • Be careful about the low hanging branch and hidden rocks in case of narrow rivers with strong current. 

You watch this video to see how a guy caught some big black crappie with his kayak.

Special Tips for Saltwater Kayak Fishing:

  • Select strong, durable, fast and stable ocean going kayaks
  • Learn about the tide and nature of current before going for the fishing
  • Take the right type of paddles before venturing into the ocean
  • Take necessary supply and fishing equipment
  • Keep your kayak noise free, because schools of fish in the shallow sea can be driven off by the noise
  • Ensure that all of your fishing gears are either made of plastic or stainless steel, otherwise they might corrode easily in the saline water

Watch this video to know more about professional kayak fishing

Safety Measures for Kayak Fishing:

When you go to fish with your kayaks, you must take some precautionary measures. Otherwise you will put your life in fatal dangers. Our experts have suggested following precautionary measures that you must consider before launching your kayak:

  • Be informed about the weather forecast. Fog, lightning and stormy wind may destroy your fishing session and you may find yourself in great jeopardy.
  • Be careful about the exposure to the elements. Cold wind in the frozen waterfronts can lead to fatal hypothermia. Again, water magnifies the daytime temperature which may also lead to dehydration and heat stroke.
  • On kayaks, anglers remain very close to their catch who often fight for their lives. Fishes with sharp teeth or bard should handled with care. While releasing the catch from the hook, be careful about the sharp, pointed hook of your line
  • Be careful about the predators like sharks, snakes and alligators which are abundant in the waterfronts all over the world and who are also after the same catch like you.
  • Avoid the shipping and boating channels. Current created by the motor boats and ships can easily capsize your kayak.
  • Take the safety equipment. A minimum list is given below: 
      • A first aid box
      • Sunscreen
      • drinkable water and dry food
      • Whistle
      • Lifejacket and safety belt
      • Rescue flag
      • Flashlight
      • Anchor
      • Compass
      • VHF, GPS radio/cell phone

Watch these following videos to know more about the recommended safety equipment for kayak fishing and to know how you should prepare before long kayak fishing expedition.


In this article we have tried to accumulate all the existing knowledge about kayak fishing tips and techniques. We hope that this guide will help you to make the best of your kayak fishing expeditions with safety and comfort in all kinds of waterfronts.  

About the author

Joshua K.

We usually assume that there is no skill required in fishing when we start out. Truth be told there is method and technique to it. I started out fishing as a hobby and ended up falling in love with it. I assumed that fishing would be similar to hunting. Both involve creatures. However, I came to fishing Read More