By Browning Hemric
Whitewater kayaking is grand, and we love the adrenaline rush and adventure that comes with it. Sometimes though, we need a calmer and more relaxing experience out on the water. Fishing is just about the next best thing to gnarly whitewater in our book, and you can combine your love of kayaking and fishing into one! Kayak fishing is a popular sport but also fairly new and features it’s own unique variables different from regular kayaking or regular fishing. These are some tips to get you started on hooking some killer largemouth bass while happily floating the lake or river in your kayak.
Choose Your Vessel
Kayak fishing is going to require a vessel unlike your river runner or creek boat you know and love dearly. You’ll need to consider where you’d like to fish, and what that environment is like. Would you prefer larger ponds, saltwater or freshwater, big rivers or small creeks? Will you be fly fishing? You’ll need to take these questions into account so you can choose a boat with the correct stability, comfortable seating, storage and size that you can transport where you’re wanting to fish. Lots of places will let you try before you buy, and paddling festivals and events are a great place to demo kayaks. You’ll likely want to look for a recreational or sit on top kayak for this kayaking fishing experiment.
Choose Your Weapon
We love any reason to buy new outdoor gear, and the beginner kayak fisherman needs a trusty fishing pole! Not any pole will do however, and some factors need to be taken into account. Typically, a shorter rod is suggested for kayak fishing which keeps all the action near the cockpit. This shorter rod however can become troublesome if a big monster fish decides to run on you, which game fish love to do. Unless your rod tip can be swung completely around the kayak beyond the bow and the stern, a fish cutting right angle escape routes under your cockpit will take your rod with it. Be sure you can swing a complete circle around your kayak so you can stay in control of your fishy foe!
Find the Best Fishing Spot
If you’re used to whitewater kayaking the rivers and creeks near your area, these may not be the best spots for kayak fishing. You want to fish smarter not harder, and your choice of location can be a big factor in whether you’re reeling in a trophy fish and posting pictures to Instagram, or tiny guppies that will get thrown back. Ask around and see if your hard core fishing buddies have any secret spots they’re willing to take you to. You’ll also want to take into account what type of fish – if any – you’re looking to catch, and where those specific species thrive.
Familiarize Yourself With Fishing Techniques
You’re likely familiar with how to catch eddy lines, and drifting techniques in your kayak but again the rules are different with kayak fishing. You’ll want to brush up on some kayak fishing techniques to use while you’re on the water. It’s a good idea to consult a local fishing guide or expert – even if that’s your best friend or neighbor – on some techniques and tips. You’ll need specific boat positions, drifting styles, and will need to take wind into account. Balancing on a kayaking while whipping a fishing rod around, or reeling in a huge fish is a different ball game than regular whitewater kayaking.
Use the Water to Your Advantage
Any good kayaker knows to use the river to his or her advantage, and the same can be done with kayak fishing. Utilizing eddies will help to keep you right where you want to be without having to paddle or steer while you have a catch on the line. Go past the spot you want to fish, and tuck into the eddy behind it for a perfect spot to set up shop. Hug the shoreline in shallower water where the current isn’t as strong, and making headway upstream is far easier. Vegetation will help slow current, but be careful of getting caught in strainers! You can also cast to steer, the simple action of reeling in your line will cause your boat to move in that direction.
Why fish from the shore, when you can hook some beauties atop your trusty kayak! Kayak fishing is growing in popularity, and we can see why. You get the relaxing experience of fishing but the added enjoyment of kayaking we all know and love. And this way, if your better half says either you can’t go fishing or kayaking this weekend, just choose the other and you’re all set!