If you’re an avid fisherperson, you’ve probably wondered if this is the year to try out a kayak in your favorite fishing grounds. The technology of kayaks has improved in leaps and bounds in recent years, which has attracted more and more anglers.
There’s nothing wrong, of course, with having a nice solid boat under you when you head out in search of the wily bass or tricky trout. But kayaks, light and portable, are not only easy to get into and out of the water (all you need is a beach or a dock), but they can be maneuvered almost anywhere, including those neat spots where fish gather: in and under tree roots, at the edge of underwater rocks, and in quiet shallow spots where boats can’t go.
And the modern lines of kayaks – like the Hobie brand that we sell at Fay’s Boat Yard – come with all kinds of comforts and conveniences that make kayak fishing easy, safe and fun.
Still, there are a few tips and tricks that anglers should know before they go.
This is the first consideration when thinking about going out on the water in a kayak. The models available today, with fins, underwater propulsion devices and rudders, are very stable and hard to tip. But when you’ve got a big one on the line, you don’t want to worry about falling overboard! Look for models with side rails next to the seat that you can grab onto when needed. Most of the Hobie kayaks designed for fishing offer an H-bar attachment, which enables the operator to stand up for casting and reeling, using the crossbar to rest against at the belt level. Other kayakers simply affix a sturdy rope to the bow and use that to pull themselves up to a standing position.
Always important anywhere out on the water, kayakers, too, need to think safety first. That means wearing a PFD, carrying a phone or portable VHF band radio, having GPS aboard, and having some kind of signaling device on board, just in case.
It’s good practice to let other people know where you plan to go and when you plan to be back on dry land. Remember to protect yourself against the elements: pack bug spray, use sunscreen, and wear a hat and sunglasses.
And always remember to watch the weather. Those in boats can swiftly get themselves back to the safety of a harbor or dock. Kayakers can’t move as fast, so you need to keep an eye peeled on the weather. And even if the fish are biting, don’t play chicken with a thunderstorm.
Fishing kayaks are loaded with storage spaces for your gear. You’ll want to have at hand your lures, extra line and other tackle, as well as pliers, landing net, plenty of bottled water and more. Many kayaks have external rod holders when you’re paddling, and internal space to hold the rod and reel when you’re not on the water.
It’s a good idea to invest in underwater sonar to find the big schools. And having a GPS tracker is always a good idea. And if you’re planning to explore the shoreline spots, take along devices to hold you in place while you fish: shallow water stakes, lightweight anchors (tied to bow or stern only), drift socks and rudders.
Except for sailboats, kayaks are the most exposed vessel in the wind. Even with a heavy man sitting on one, a kayak is just a piece of lightweight plastic and it will go wherever the wind blows, sometimes even if said heavy man is pedaling or paddling like mad! Know the day’s wind direction and speed to plan your expedition, and always watch out for changes in the weather.
And if you’ve decided this is indeed the year to try kayak fishing, please come see us at Fay’s! We’ll show you the latest Hobie Mirage Pro models and all the outstanding technology that makes them the best selling kayaks on the planet!