How to get started with kayak fishing

November 3, 2015

Fishing from a kayak offers unparalleled adventure, but limited space and special requirements mean there are some things to consider before starting out. Here are some tips to help you get started kayak fishing.

How to get started with kayak fishing

The kayak

When choosing a kayak, consider what type of water you will be fishing on. You don't want to gear yourself up and launch into the sea, only to be flipped by the first wave you encounter.

  • Generally speaking, a kayak under 10 feet long will be too small for your needs, and you will struggle to comfortably stow all of your equipment on board. A vessel 12-13 feet or longer is really what you should be after.
  • Most anglers go for a sit-on-top style kayak, as this allows for better manoeuvrability within the vessel, as well as easier exit and entry for wading.
  • You will need storage space for food, tackle, bait and clothing.
  • Most kayaks come with hoops and other fastenings for strapping items down, but a kayak with one or more inbuilt, enclosed compartments is ideal for keeping your belongings dry and well organized.
  • Another important factor is rod storage. Many kayak brands offer additional clips that can be secured to the side of the vessel for carrying one or more rods.
  • Stands are also available for use with many kayaks. You may also wish to carry an anchor system.
  • Specialist fishing kayaks are available that contain most, or all, of the above features.

Water proficiency and safety equipment

If you're new to kayaking, it is recommended to seek advice from an experienced kayaker, especially if you will be venturing out to sea. Knowledge of paddling technique and coping with a capsize, as well as how to read the water and weather signs, are all vital to ensure your safety.

Some essential safety equipment includes:

  • Flotation jacket
  • Waterproof layers
  • Extra warm layers
  • Communication device, such as a mobile phone, although an VHF radio is advisable
  • Whistle
  • Drinking water and emergency food
  • First aid kit
  • Tow line
  • Compass

Other items you may wish to consider include a GPS system, flares, a head torch or lamp, and waterproof matches.

Rods and tackle

Space saving is the key here. An 8-9 foot rod, featuring a short butt and fitted with a compact reel, will fit best.

  • In most situations, anything over a 15-pound line and set-up is too much.
  • You also won't have room for all of your favourite lures, weights and other accessories.
  • Trim your kayak fishing kit down to the bare minimum for ease of use and conservation of space.

After a few sessions out on the water, you'll soon get a feel for what you need with you.

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