The eagerly anticipated spring fishing season is close at hand and for kayak fishing, that means one thing…
SAFETY FIRST!! That is the most important aspect of kayak fishing period. Once you have taken the proper safety precautions, let the fun begin!
Now that you have your PFD, let’s fish! Wait, let’s get ready to fish first.
You can’t kayak fish without a kayak. Selecting a kayak for fishing is much more challenging that I had initially thought. See this post for my adventure in selecting my first kayak.
With the groundwork already laid, selecting the second kayak was much easier. It was late fall almost early winter and there in front of my local Rural King was a Pelican The Catch 100 in ghost grey on sale for $599 ($699 list) which was outside of my initial budget, much less a second kayak budget. The price was steady for 2-3 weeks but then it started dropping and finally one day, there it was – $439. I couldn’t ask for it, I already have one and don’t need this one.
On our way to town after church on Sunday, my wife could not contain herself and said to me “let’s go look at that kayak at Rural King”. I was floored! I knew how much it was originally and what it had dropped to and I was starting to sweat and shake. There’s no way! But today, there was a way and today it was marked $419! Also, our anniversary was in 2 days. Yep, my wife bought me a dream kayak for my anniversary! I love that woman so much!
Rod and Reel
Ah, the hand tools of fishing. I have historically used spinning reels on light to medium action rods without concern to brand or length and I have been a fairly successful fisherman. My only advice is to find something you are comfortable with and can cast from a sitting position. Personally, I use a Lews Mach1 now because it was on sale at Academy Outdoor Sports on Black Friday but I consistently use my Shakespeare Micro-Spin when kayak fishing simply because any size fish feels bin on this setup.
Just cannot emphasize enough how important fresh line is to the start of a new season of kayak fishing. Avoid frustration and lost lures by getting some good quality line.
Full Tackle Box
This is the equivalent of shoe shopping for women. There is no such thing as a full tackle box, it doesn’t exist. However, with kayak fishing the storage solutions are much more compact and organized for the type of fish you may be going after or the type of water you maybe fishing. I myself use small tackle storage boxes with loop-and-hook adhesive strips on each side so they can be stacked together. This makes keeping up with and rotating out tackle boxes very easy.
Can’t forget the paddle! The kayak is kind of useless without it. Nothing fancy here for me, simple $30 paddle but length selection is important! Mine is 240cm long and is perfect for my boat and my frame. One trick that you can do with a kayak paddle is to place a piece of duct tape at a 45-degree angle where the water cutting edge of the blade turns toward the handle. This effectively diverts runoff directly toward the water instead of down to your hands.
These are extremely important and come in many sizes and styles. Get one for a dry set of clothes for when you dump the kayak or just to get out of those wet swimsuits at the end of the day so as not to soak the car seat. Also don’t forget that you will need one for you cell phone or camera. These should be considered essential gear like everything listed above.
There are other comfort items to mention such as lanyards tied to pretty much everything that does not float including rod and reel, pliers, dip net, sunglasses, etc. Imagine the kayak flipping over and now picture what sinks to the bottom and what doesn’t. Tie off everything that you think could be lost.
Don’t forget that kayak fishing should be fun and successful which means to ALWAYS be safety minded. Be conscious of your surroundings and your skills both on and in the water. Know how to right a flipped kayak, watch the videos! When you decide to go kayak fishing alone, make a plan with someone. Let them know where you will be going and when you will be back. This is no joke. People love you and want you to come home safe and smelling like fish. Let them have that moment and remember their smile for the next time you adventure and find yourself Halfway Home.