If you're interested in trying kayak fishing in the ocean, but don't know where to start, this guide is for you. Kayak fishing in the ocean can be a incredible experience, but there are a few things you should keep in mind before heading out. Here are some tips on how to go kayak fishing in the ocean.
First, we'll assume you've already become familiar with fishing from a kayak. The basics remain the same in still water or the ocean, but are amplified in an environment like the ocean. Now, 'the ocean' can mean many different things depending on where you are located, so for now we're just going to highlight some common essentials.
2. Ocean fishing kayak gear
As it relates to kayak fishing accessories, your primary concern will be Gear Retention. Some key items include:
- Pedal Drive Lanyard: You need to be absolutely certain you will not loose your pedal drive as you head out or head in.
- Paddle Leash: While your paddle may be secondary to your Pedal Drive, it can become your primary propulsion if things go wrong. Additionally, you may find it essential for entering and existing
- Fishing Rod Leash: There's are a lot of factors that can lead to loosing a rod, and they are all overlooked. A hug and unexpected bit might yank the rod from your hands, you might roll over during entry or exit (happens way more often then you might think!) or it simply falls out of a rod holder when moving from one location to the next.
- Fishing Stringer: A good, heavy duty game hook (fishing stringer) designed for Kayak Fishing will help ensure you come home with a harvest to share with friends and family. A 'kill bag' is also a good consideration, but not always necessary.
3. Tips for fishing from a kayak in the ocean
The tide can play a huge role in both your entry and exit as well as the fishing conditions.
- Entry and Exit: Choose a location that has been used before. If you can find a boat launch this is the best as you can remove the variables of a beach launch. If you are launching from a beach, pay special attention to where the tide will be when you plan to come in. Also be sure you mark your entry point on a GPS if it not obvious (from the water) where you need to reenter.
- Timing the Bite: General rule of thumb is an hour before and an hour after high tide is a good time to hook up. Also consider what the beach or dock will look like at both low tide and high tide.
- Current: You will notice quickly on the water that your position will change drastically with current and wind. Be mindful of your position at all times and make small corrections though the day vs 'floating' for a few hours an being surprised with a few mile paddle at the end of the day. Magic Seaweed is a commonly used App for forecast tides and weather.
- Sun up & sun down: Don't underestimate how quickly it will get dark on the water. Paddling though surf after sun down is a very unpleasant experience.
4. Ocean kayak fishing safety
There are a few items that should be considered mandatory when heading out in the ocean:
- Go with someone: While you may see seasoned anglers solo, this should only be done with years of experience. Kayak fishing is more fun with a friend, and it is also safer. If you are fishing alone, be sure to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
- Life Preserver: This is arguable the most important and non-negotiable piece of equipment. It should be high quality, comfortable, have reflective material and be Coast Guard approved. Many Kayak fishermen use inflatable personal floatation device for ocean fishing, however it's generally recommend to use a white-water approved PFD.
- Exposure Wear: Be prepared for weather changes. The weather can change quickly in the ocean, so be sure to bring appropriate clothing for the conditions. If the weather gets bad, it is best to head back to shore. Depending on your environment, you may need splash guards or even a drysuit. This gear can mean the difference between life and death and should not be overlooked. Consult your local paddle shop or forums for advice on the best brands.
- Whistle: A very high quality whistle is an inexpensive and in most cases required safety device. It should be tied down to your life vest. We recommend 'Whistles for Life'.
- Light: A waterproof personal light should be kept on your person. In the event your are operating in fog, at dawn or dusk, or in an emergency, a flashlight can make a very effective signal device.
- Radio: A VHF Radio is another must-have for an ocean excursion. They are waterproof, float and will ensure you can connect with the Coast Guard in an emergency. The Best VHF Radios for Kayaking for 2022.
- Predators: Take special note of the predators in your area. While sharks are a concern in most waters, sea lions, dolphins and even whales can present hazards.
Know your limits. Don't push yourself too hard when kayak fishing in the ocean. If the conditions are too rough, or if you are tired, it is always best to head back to shore.
Kayak fishing in the ocean is an incredible and adventurous sport... for some even considered a 'bucket list' activity. Be sure to consult local experts before venturing out, and do plenty of research in advance. With the proper preparation, you can have an amazing and safe time fishing from your kayak in the big blue.