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Kayak Fishing Tips For Beginner And Experienced Anglers

Mark Armstrong
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Kayak fishing can be a fantastic way to spend a few hours away from it all. It can also be a great way to get out on the water to get closer to those fish for an added advantage. But catching fish from a kayak may not always be as easy as it sounds. And you may have reservations about the stability of a kayak.

So how can you make your kayak fishing trip more enjoyable and successful? Well, we’ve put together some kayak fishing tips to help you, whether you’re just starting out or you have a little more experience.

Because let’s face it, even with experience, we could all use a little help now and again.

Kayak Fishing Tips For Beginner And Experienced Anglers - PinterestPin

14 Kayak Fishing Tips To Help You Catch More

1. Find The Right Fishing Kayak

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Choosing the right kayak for your fishing trip can be the difference between a successful trip and an unsuccessful one.

One of the main features that you might want to keep in mind when choosing a yak is its stability. A stable craft can help give you a more secure platform for angling, which can help when you’re casting your line or reeling in your catch.

Yaks that are primarily designed for fishing will tend to be stable, with some having the additional stability to allow you to stand up to fish. They will also usually have additional features, such as built-in rod holders and storage for fishing gear.

> Tackle boxes

> Backpacks

You may also find that dedicated fishing yaks will likely have a more spacious seating area and possibly a more comfortable seat. This is to allow you to stay on the water for longer and give you enough space to move around or shift your position as you fish.

2. Check Out The Local Fishing Forecast

Before you head out, it can be a good idea to research the peak fishing times for that particular spot. Local bait shops will often have this information, along with other useful information about tides, water levels and currents.

You might also be able to check online with various local fishing forums, or even on an app. This can help you find out when the best times for catching fish might be, and when might be a good time to avoid.

What about full moon fishing?

3. Invest In A Fish Finder

Having a fish finder with you can mean you’re not fishing blind. A lot of the time it might not be possible to see where the fish are but with a fish finder you can be alerted to their locations using SONAR technology.

Video: What Is Fish Finder And How Does It Work?

A fish finder can greatly enhance your fishing experience, allowing you to catch more fish.

It provides information on water depth, bottom contours and underwater obstacles, which can also reveal hiding spots for fish.

Fish finders, such as the Garmin Striker 4, can often be easily mounted to your kayak and don’t usually take up a lot of room. This one also has GPS built in, meaning you can mark waypoints along your route for easier navigation.

Try to make sure your fish finder is waterproof.

4. Invest In A GPS Unit

GPS kayaking and fishingPin

A GPS unit can be particularly useful when you’re kayak fishing (if you want one separate from a fish finder). As well as helping to prevent you from getting lost while on the water, it can also help you save waypoints and areas where there are a significant amount of fish.

This means that if you lose your way, you will have your route or any other previous routes stored within the GPS to enable you to find your way back to where you started. You should also be able to navigate your way back to that fantastic spot where you found a bounty of fish on your last trip.

A GPS can also let you download various maps onto the unit, so you can have them stored for reference on your paddling trips. There are some things you may want to look out for with a GPS for kayaking, with one of the most important things being that it’s water resistant.

5. Pack Plenty Of Food And Water

Kayak fishing tips - Picnic basket food and waterPin

When you’re planning on being on the water all day, or for several hours, you should always make sure you have enough food and water for your trip. It can also be a good idea to pack a little extra just in case of an emergency situation.

Foods that won’t spoil can be ideal, such as energy bars and dried fruit and nuts.

Coolers for kayaks

6. Make Sure You Have Sun Protection

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When you’re out on the water, you can be at a higher risk of sun exposure because of the reflection of the UV light off of the water. Sunscreen can be essential in preventing sunburn and can allow you to enjoy your fishing trip for longer.

Sunglasses and a hat are other items that can help you stay out on the water for longer, as these can help prevent you from suffering from the harmful effects of the sun.

Polarized sunglasses can also help to stop the glare from the water, which could mean you’re more likely to see fish, as well as see what you’re doing when reeling in that all-important catch or baiting a hook.

7. Check The Weather Forecast

Kayaking In The Rain FloodsPin

Planning ahead can be beneficial, especially when it comes to the weather. If you check the weather forecast before you head out, you can be more prepared with what you might need to pack for your trip.

However, if you plan to fish in an area where the weather can change quickly without warning, you may want to pack items and clothing for various types of weather.

Checking the weather in advance can also help you to avoid potentially dangerous conditions while you’re on the water. The last thing you want to do is get caught in a storm or capsize in rough waters.

8. Prepare To Get Wet

Kayak fishing - Man Paddling Waves- Kayak GuruPin

Whether you’re on a sit-on-top or a sit-inside, it can always be a good idea to prepare to capsize or get splashed on deck. This means it can be useful to wear waterproof clothing or clothes that will dry quickly.

For safety reasons, it can also be a good idea to be wearing clothes that you could potentially swim in, if you ever need to. Think about clothing that may get caught on logs or branches if you were to fall in and perhaps leave those items behind when you head out on the water.

It might also be a good idea to pack a bag of spare clothing on a day trip, so that you can change out of your wet gear.

Don’t forget a life jacket!

> What to wear when on the kayak

9. Think About Your Footwear

wet water shoes after kayakingPin

You don’t necessarily need to splash out on an expensive pair of water shoes if you don’t feel the need. But you may want to think about what shoes you do wear, as they will likely get wet.

You should make sure your shoes are able to handle water conditions and have a strong, sturdy sole that will give you good grip on wet surfaces. You don’t want to slip as you step into or out of your kayak.

10. Secure Your Gear

Lock A Kayak - kayak fishing guidePin

Whether it’s your fishing rod, your cooler or your bag of spare clothing, you might want to make sure that it’s all securely stored on your boat. Tie down loose items with bungee cords and secure your gear with a leash to keep it from floating away if it comes off your craft.

Paddle leashes can be great for attaching to your rods and other items.

11. Waterproof Your Valuables


We all have phones, gadgets and other valuables and the last thing any of us wants is to lose something to depths of the water. Before you set off, make sure your valuables are secured inside a waterproof bag or case and make sure it’s then secured to your vessel.

This will keep them safe against water damage and will protect them in the event of a capsize. You might also want to make sure that the bag or case floats, as you don’t want your newly waterproofed gadgets sinking.

12. Know What Type Of Fish You Want To Catch

Different fish will prefer different lures and bait, as well as different fishing techniques. There will also be lakes and rivers where some species of fish will be in a greater supply compared to others.

Video: How To Choose The Right Bait When Bass Fishing?

So before you head out, you may want to research the lake, river or ocean where you plan to fish so you can be adequately prepared with the right bait and gear.

For bass fishing, you may find that certain lures will work better at different times of the year. For fish like crappie, you may find that techniques such as jigging works best.

Video: How To Jig For Crappie?

13. Use An Anchor

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If you’re floating in your yak, waiting for a fish to bite, having an anchor can be useful, particularly if you’re in a moving river or an area with currents. The anchor can help you maintain your position on the water while you keep your hands free for your rod.

14. Pedal Power

If you’re new to kayaking, sometimes a pedal powered yak can be useful, as it requires less paddling skills than a traditional paddle powered craft. It can also mean you can free up your hands for fishing without having to worry about paddling.

The pedal powered vessels can give you the speed to cover greater distances by using your legs instead of tiring out your arms. They can be more expensive than traditional vessels but if you plan to fish a lot, they may be beneficial.


Whether you consider yourself an experienced angler or a beginner (or new to kayaking or kayak fishing), hopefully you’ll have found some useful tips in our guide.

You’ll have seen that a lot of our tips involve you taking the time to research your location and prepare in advance for your trip. Prior research and preparation can give you an advantage over other kayak anglers, so this can be a wise move.

If you have any other tips that you think are vital, then let us know, or simply let us know if your next fishing trip is successful. Don’t forget to share this with your followers to help them out on their next paddling trip.

> Our full fishing guide

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