How to Get Started in Kayak Fishing

If you're sick of crowded beaches and piers, perhaps it's time to get into a kayak for a more peaceful fishing experience. The sport of kayak fishing is an excellent way to spend your day, but before you get started, be sure you know the basics.  

More: Whitewater Kayaking for Beginners

Choosing a Kayak

It's important to try before you buy. Visit several shops and rent a variety of kayaks to compare models. What looks cool in a picture may not always be the best fit for you.

What you need will depend on the distances you want to cover, the conditions you'll be fishing in, and the amount of gear you need. Find the one that has the right blend of stability, speed and deck layout. Remember wider beams give more stability, and longer yaks are faster. 

More: What You Need to Know Before You Buy a Kayak

Start Simple

For kayak fishing, you'll need at least one rod. 7-foot rods are ideal because you can store them in a hatch when you launch and land, and they can be worked around the tip of the bow. With this in mind, get something you can afford to lose and abuse.

Flipping, while not likely, is an eventuality. You should have leashes for your rods and the rest of your gear; these will enable you to recover them. Dress so that you can withstand a dunking or a sudden change in weather.

More: Kayak Clinic: How to Perfect Your Forward Stroke

Because you'll be working only inches from the water, whether you get in the water or not, you need to maintain all your gear by rinsing it off with fresh water after each use—as soon as you get home, preferably. Always use lubricant on the parts of your rod that may corrode such as the rod, reel and tackle. 

On The Water

Conservatively judge your own experience. Start out in protected areas and work your way up slowly, over a period of years. Hire a licensed, professional kayak fishing guide. And be sure you know how to use every piece of equipment you'll carry, especially your compass, GPS, and VHF radio.

More: How to Care for Your Kayak

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About the Author

John Schwartz

Jon Schwartz is a fishing & travel writer and professional photographer. He has appeared on Nat Geo TV, and his pictures and articles featured in magazines like Marlin, Sport Fishing, Forbes, and Field &

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