It sounds so easy… go in the kayak, bring a fishing rod, smash the big ones, post it on Instagram. Boom.
Like most things an initial well-intentioned plan actually requires quite a bit more thought. Here are a few very straightforward suggestions of how to get your kayak fishing ready.
Outfitting your Kayak
Contrary to many blogs, articles and videos you do not need massive amounts of gear. In fact, there are on a few items that are key to helping ensure success on a basic fishing trip.
Fishing Rod LanyardThe #1 story you will hear on the beach after a day on the water is what someone lost. Whether it’s a roll over (happens a lot more often then you might imagine), a Fish-On! Or just peddling too fast to your next spot – people loose a lot of gear. A little time spent considering how to secure your gear with a Rod Lanyard will save you time, money and frustration.
Paddle LeashOf course, you can’t afford to lose your paddle while you’re out fishing, and this is where the rod & paddle leash comes in. Even with the very popular pedal drives you need your paddle as a back up, to push you out of trees and mud, or even beat off that random shark. However, the leash doesn’t have to be very complicated; on the contrary, the more minimalist the better.
StorageKayaks generally have limited storage but it’s easy to increase it by using space wisely. The must-have for every Kayak Angler simply is a milk crate. Add a few sections of PVC pipe with zip ties and you are good to go. This is a good place to start before investing in an expensive system. Also has the benefit of being super-lightweight.
Not to be overlooked… A good storage box will not only keep your bait and tackle well organized, but also protected from the environment. Look for options that have locking closures and lanyard holes. Loosing this is easy (heavy and sinks quick) and puts you out of business immediately. Look for a strong and extendable clip system to secure these.
Fishing Rod HolderRod holders are important for all the obvious reasons. Most fishing kayaks have them built right in. The key factors are keeping your rods separated and ensuring a secure fit. While most kayaks have rails and connection points, don’t overdue it here. Casting and catching requires space, and if the side of your kayak looks like the space station it’ll be hard to maneuver around.
Fishing ToolsLook for the basics here and don’t go overboard. You need pliers, a simple bait knife and a Lipper if you’re after ocean-going game. Less is more, and quality matters. Don’t forget the lanyards!
Kayak Fishing StringerIf you are after any kind of keep fish, don’t go without a high quality and reliable Fish Stringer / Game Hook. Nothing is worse than finally landing that monster and having git flip flop out of your hands into the water. Landing a fish on your lap is tough enough, the first thing to do is hook it up. If you bleed your fish a great system will drag your fish in the water. Just be sure there aren’t other predators around.
You can choose to get any number of angling electronics for your kayak. If you are offshore, a GPS can be important to help you navigate in low-light or foggy areas. If you’re just starting out, a high-quality waterproof cellphone case is more than enough.
Water & SnacksWhile the fanfare is still rampant, a high quality water vessel that keeps ice over hours is great – but more importantly choose one that can be tied down… yes, it sounds basic, but if you’re on the water for hours this can be your most important consideration. We love the Rambler by Yeti.
You may have noticed a key theme – tie it down! Go light, don’t overpack.
Kayak Fishing continues to be one of the fastest growing and exciting new water adventures out there. Heed the experience and reach out to the community - its very friendly.