Since its introduction in the early aughts, kayak fishing has exploded in popularity — and with good reason. During the pandemic alone, kayak sales ballooned to $405 million dollars in a 12-month period. The sport is a great alternative to the limitations of powered boats and allows anglers to get up close and personal with nature, in freshwater and saltwater.
Kayaks outfitted with rod holders, angler crates, and fishing seats still come in under budget when compared to their powered counterparts. The sport boasts a lower barrier to entry when compared to other offshore fishing methods, offering opportunities to those who normally would be left fishing from the shoreline.
Kayak fishing also puts anglers at the forefront of the action, able to fish shallower waters than your typical boat engine would allow. Some of the best fishing spots are not accessible with larger vessels, plus lightweight kayaks make skipping over dry ponds to deeper waters a breeze.
Before heading out, consider these tips to make your day of fishing a success.
Tip #1: Make sure your kayak is properly outfitted
The easiest way to spoil your outing is to forget a crucial piece of equipment or realize something is not operating properly before leaving for your destination. Take a few minutes to run through each scenario from cast to catch to ensure you have everything you need, including emergency supplies in the event of inclement weather or operation failure.
Tip #2: Check the tides and weather conditions
Like any water-based adventure, be sure to look at the tide and weather conditions for the entire day. Any Floridian knows how quickly clouds in the distance can turn into a thunderstorm that could strand you or worse. Tides will determine your ability to access specific areas and, of course, what species of fish are more likely to make an appearance.
Tip #3: Know your limits
While kayaking allows anglers access to hard-to-reach locations, the sport is physical in nature. Take your kayak out for a trial run to test your capabilities with a paddle.
Tip #4: Practice paddling with one hand and casting with the other
This will take some time to do successfully, but the practice will help whether you’re fishing in lakes, streams, rivers, or the ocean. The wind and currents will always have their own idea of where your vessel should go. Eliminate frustration by learning to cast one-handed so you can direct your kayak with the other hand.
Tip #5: Invest in an anchor
There’s nothing worse than spotting a school of bluegill or finding the perfect mangrove nook only to constantly drift farther and farther from your target. Even small two or four pound kayak anchors can make a huge difference.
Already an experienced kayaker? Check out this extensive freshwater tip list to improve your chances of a great catch.