How to Start Kayak Fishing for Beginners

You love to fish, you’ve never been kayaking, but since the explosion of kayak angling, you’re interested in giving it a try. You’re probably also interested in learning how to start kayak fishing, so you’ll at least have a rough idea of what to expect and what type of gear you need. Kayak fishing is actually very fun, inexpensive, and easy, once you learn the basics. It’s a great way to finally access those hard to reach fishing spots and it’s a much more affordable option than buying your own fishing boat and trailer.

Getting Started

When it comes to getting in the kayak, it should be staged sideways to the shore. Make sure you keep one side of the kayak in shallow water so while you’re climbing in, one side of the boat will be stable and bottomed out, which will make getting in or even out of the kayak much easier. You’ll need to sit down quickly and use your paddle and body motion to push off. Avoid getting in on shore in an attempt to slide down the bank. Doing so can easily cause you to tip over.

For your first time in your new kayak, give yourself at least thirty to sixty minutes to get comfortable paddling around before you decide to go down the river. You should also practice leaning side to side in order to get a feel for the kayak’s thresholds and stability. The paddle takes some getting used to because it has an offset. Focus on learning an efficient forward stroke so you’re able to cover more water without much effort.

Kayak Angling

While you can fish from pretty much any type of kayak, a model specifically designed for angling is sleeker and narrower so it’s easier to use simply because it’s simple to maneuver. This will allow you to slip into those hard to access hot spots that are ripe with fish.

Additionally, you’ll probably want to go with a sit-on-top kayak because they’re much easier to get in and out of than a sit-inside kayak that’s equipped with a deep cockpit. The downside to a sit-on-top is that you’re going to end up soaked, but that’s to be expected and just part of the fun.

In a kayak, you’re going to be basically sitting right in the water. Your elbows will almost touch the water, and you’ll probably feel unstable in it for the first few times of use. As you practice paddling around and gain a little experience you’ll find yourself more confident about kayak fishing. If you’re used to fishing from shore or in a boat, it’ll definitely take some getting used to, but you’ll also notice plenty of benefits, such as the ability to go wherever you want in the water and how easy the kayak is to navigate.

Casting Changes

When you fish from a kayak, you’ll also need to change the way you normally cast. For many anglers, this can be a difficult adjustment. Since you’ll be fishing in close quarters, you’ll need to get the hang of casting using just one hand. Any experienced angler can cast one-handed, even with spinning tackle or bait casting. Again, this is something that will require some practice.

You’ll also need to learn how to paddle using one hand. While kayaking with both hands is pretty simple, doing so one-handed can be a little tricky, especially if you’re fighting a fish with the other hand. Make sure you practice locking the paddle’s shaft to your forearm. This works to anchor the paddle along the arm, so it can be used more like a canoe paddle.


Kayak Angling

Did you know that certain baits such as chatter baits, spinner baits, and crankbaits can be used to help you steer? If you’re in a lightweight kayak fishing with crankbait, you’ll find that the resistance that occurs when you’re reeling the bait in also works to pull the kayak in the same direction that you’re casting in. You can actually use this to your advantage by casting in a specific direction in order to adjust the position of the kayak,

Use a Current Wisely

Because kayaks are so light, you’re probably thinking that a strong current can be a recipe for a disaster, but fortunately, that’s simply not true. Basically, you need to learn how to use the current to your advantage.

An eddy is a circular current of water. They actually come from currents that pinch off sections of water. You may have seen these small whirlpools of water as you’re paddling around. Considering the compact size of a kayak, most models will fit inside an eddy. This will prevent the kayak from traveling downstream and can give you a lot of time to fish a corresponding current.

Currents can also be dangerous, especially combined with the kayak’s lightweight design. If you find yourself stuck in a current, the best course of action is to start up the motor. If you don’t have a motor, you can drop an anchor or work slowly toward shore by steering towards it at an angle. Of course, if you normally fish in rough waters then you’ll need a heavier kayak and one with a motor.

Claw Anchor

Many anglers prefer to forego an anchor because they take up too much space and they can be cumbersome, but they can definitely come in handy when it’s windy or when you want to fish in a certain offshore area. But unlike a traditional boat, the kayak doesn’t need a huge twenty or thirty-pound anchor. Instead, most do just fine with a stand three or four-pound claw anchor. As we mentioned, an anchor can also be used if you’re caught in a current and want to avoid going further along the current’s path. However, you need to be careful that you don’t end up dropping the anchor directly in the current’s path, otherwise, you can risk the current pushing the kayak under water. Because of this, we recommend purchasing an anchor that utilizes a quick release clevis so you can ditch the anchor quick in an emergency.