The origin of the kayak can be traced back to rudimentary fishing and hunting methods of the Inuit in the Arctic Circle. Centuries have passed since the first kayak embarked into the ocean, made from sealskin and whalebone skeleton.
Hunters used spears and harpoons to capture marine mammals, with the kayak allowing smooth stealth-like transport through the hunting grounds.
Today, where the equipment is wildly more advanced than four thousand years ago, the principal is the same. The kayak enables a stealth approach, quiet and effortless in comparison to machine driven boats.
In terms of catch, due to their limited size and solitary ensnarement measures, kayak fishing is also incredibly sustainable in this modern era, where environmentalism is at an all time high.
Throughout this article, we look to give you some helpful tips and tricks to improve your kayak fishing methods, as well as touching on some important safety points for when you’re out in open water.
Kayak Fishing Tips #1 – Research, Research, Research…
As with any form of hunting, or any activity for that matter, it’s very important to know what you’re doing. Therefore, if you’re a land bound angler looking to make the transition to kayak fishing, it’s key that you learn how to use and feel comfortable with a kayak. The last thing you want to be doing is getting stranded in open water, capsizing and not being able to recover. Sample a few kayaks before heading out, and be sure to feel confident in all aspects of maneuvering.
Choice of kayak should also be taken into account based on your destination. Craft with a higher degree of stability should be used if you are heading out into open water, and vulnerable to wave action, where lighter craft can be used for lake and freshwater fishing. Consult with kayak hire shops as to which vehicle is going to suit you best for the day’s outing, expert opinion shouldn't be passed up.
Your research should encompass more than just which kayak to take out though, especially if you are targeting a particular species of fish. There are many factors that influence the number of fish available for captures at one time. These include environmental factors like weather, with some species only surfacing in particular weather conditions. Seasons also play a large part in which fish are available, mainly due to breeding seasons.
If you’re fishing at a time when fish are laying eggs, there will be a substantially smaller number in the waters than at the next breeding season. There is also a preference of bait in each species, so if you are targeting one kind of fish, check to see if you have the corresponding bait. A lot of fishermen find it useful to keep a data log, which is something we would recommend.
Kayak Fishing Tips #2 – The Right Gear…
Heading out in the right kayak is only half the battle when it comes to kayak fishing. It’s important to have the right equipment to hand; unfortunately spears don’t cover it anymore, especially in lake fishing. First things first, consider your paddle, your main tool when it comes to moving into position and staying there. At some point, it’s likely you’re going to have to juggle a rod in one hand and your paddle in the other.
Therefore, don’t cheap out on the entry-level paddle, by paying the extra twenty dollars or so you can get something much lighter and easier to use with one hand than the chubby cheap one. It’s also worth adding a paddle clip to your kayak, to stow it out of the way when moored.
Next up come your rods. First things first, your rods should always be within an arms reach. You can pick up excellent rod holders for as little as fifteen bucks. There are an infinite number of combinations of rod length and line weights, as well as bait types. We think we have found the ideal combination for reasonable sized fishing though. While no good for those hunting marlin, Bluefin tuna and swordfish, a seven and a half foot rod with a twenty pound line weight is more than substantial for your average kayak fisherman. The line is strong enough to reel in the fish without the risk of toppling your kayak.
On the topic of reeling in fish, it’s also worth having a net to hand. By using a net, you can scoop up your catch when it gets close, to save wrestling it onto your kayak. This one again reduces the chance of capsizing at the crucial moment.
Lastly there are a couple of nifty tricks that will make your outing easier. The first one, and I cannot stress this enough, is to make sure your seat is comfortable. Being comfortable makes all the difference, the last thing you want is to ruin your trip by not being able to sit down for six hours at a time. Finally, keep all your bait and weights in one container; you don’t want to be fumbling for the right piece at the wrong time.
Kayak Fishing Tips #3 – Technique…
The only thing left to cover is a few tricks of the trade when it comes to your technique. Our first tip is to paddle out with other fisherman. This can be really handy, especially when in unfamiliar territory. It will give you and idea of the right areas to head to as well as any potential danger areas to avoid. It also raises your visibility to other boats that may be on the water, kayakers are easy to miss because of how low you are to the waters surface.
When it comes to positioning yourself you want to be facing downwind. From here you can easily adjust you position with minimal effort by stroking single strokes either side of the rear of your kayak. From here you can look for nervous water as an indicator as to where to toss your line in. If you’re feeling a little unstable, you can straddle your kayak with legs either side of it to steady yourself.
As with all sports, practice does make perfect. But provided you bare in mind a number of tips we’ve mentioned, you should soon be a more than successful kayak angler.