Kayak Fishing Tips for Beginners

Recreational fishermen in small kayak.

Kayak fishing is more popular than ever, for many reasons. Not only are fishing kayaks much more affordable compared to hard-shelled models, but they also allow an angler to access hard to reach fishing spots that a traditional fishing boat can’t. The access to these hard to reach spots allows you to explore remote, under-fished waters. These kayaks can also be rigged with almost any feature that you’ll find on a traditional fishing boat. If you’re new to kayak fishing, or you simply want to learn more about fishing in general, our kayak fishing tips will go over all the benefits of the best fishing kayaks and how you can use one to your advantage the next time you’re out on the water.

The best kayak fishing tips include:

  • Learn how to cast using one hand
  • How to paddle and reel in fish at the same time
  • Learn how to use your feet as an anchor

There’s no question that fishing out of a kayak is much different than fishing from a standard fishing boat. Learning how to adjust your fishing style in order to keep the kayak stable and changing how you cast to accommodate for the lack of room can take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll find that a fishing kayak offers many advantages that other fishing vessels just don’t, including the ability to track fish down tight river channels or the fact that you can now easily access those hard to reach shallow fishing spots where you would never dream taking a regular fishing boat.

Keep on reading to learn how a fishing kayak can change the way you fish for the better and what type of small adjustments you can make to your fishing style that will ensure you bring in a bigger haul than ever before.

How Kayak Angling will Change the Way You Fish

Kayak fishing is much different compared to fishing in a traditional boat. For one, as we mentioned, you’ll have easy access to under-fished waters. The kayak will give you the ability to travel down narrow, tight channels, and other routes that you would never consider attempting with a standard fishing boat. You’ll also be positioned closer to the water, in a fishing vessel that’s not quite as stable. However, you will also be more at the mercy of the elements and the current. All of these factors will require you to take a different approach when you’re fishing out of a kayak compared to a regular fishing boat. However, despite these drawbacks, you’ll find that fishing in a kayak provides a challenging, fun, and exciting experience that you won’t get from fishing off a large boat or onshore. Our tips on kayak fishing will go over some of these challenges and exactly what you can do to make the most out of your next angling trip.

One-Handed Casting

If you’re used to fishing from the shore, then learning how to cast using just one hand can be a bit of a challenge. However, if you’re planning on making the switch from a traditional fishing boat or onshore fishing to angling from a kayak, then learning how to one hand cast is necessary. Most kayaks are tight on space, which can make casting using the standard two hand method very difficult. Most experienced kayak anglers can easily cast one-handed, using a spinning tackle or when baitcasting. Instead of using a one-ounce jig and a cumbersome flipping stick, try fishing with a lighter combination, which can make one-handed casting more manageable.

Perfect Your Paddling

In order to efficiently fish out of a kayak, you’ll need to perfect the art of paddling with one had. Of course, paddling with two hands is a breeze since rhythm tends to come easily, even for beginners. But if you’re trying to reel in a largemouth bass as the kayak is moving upstream, then learning how to maneuver and guide the kayak using one hand is a must. The next time you take your kayak out on the water, try practicing locking the paddle’s shaft along your forearm. This will anchor it, allowing you to use it just like a canoe paddle, which will give  you the security and control you need to manage the direction of the kayak as you fight to reel in a fish.

How to Use Your Feet

An experienced kayak angler knows how you use their feet. If the kayak you purchased is very narrow you can actually use your feet as rudders and steer the kayak as you’re drifting. Your feet can work as anchors when you’re fishing laydowns or in other types of shallow areas. To do, just stick out a foot and hold onto a nearby structure, such as a log. This will keep the kayak in place as you haul in your catch or fight to reel in a stubborn fish.

Related Questions

Is it Possible to Steer by Casting?

Yes. Certain types of baits that offer resistance, such as crankbaits, can be used to help you steer the kayak. If you’re using a crankbait, you’ll soon realize that the simple resistance you’ll experience when you’re reeling the bait in can actually pull the kayak in the same direction that you’re casting in. This can easily be used to your advantage, allowing you to cast in specific directions by making small adjustments to your position. To learn more about crankbaits, click here to read out article on How to fish a crankbait.

What Type of Lightweight Kayak Will Work Best for Whitewater Angling?

The Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost has a reputation for speed and stability. It’s also a sit on top kayak, which means it can keep you nice and dry, even when you’re fishing in choppy water conditions. This single style kayak comes loaded with everything the avid angler will need including rod mounts, excellent tracking capability, and plenty of storage space.

Can You Use an Anchor with a Fishing Kayak?

Yes. While heavy and awkward, you can definitely use an anchor with a fishing kayak. This is especially true when you’re fishing in windy conditions or in offshore areas where you want to remain in one particular area. A two to four-pound claw anchor should work well for most kayaks.

Final Thoughts

If you’re new to kayak fishing, then you can definitely expect a learning curve in the beginning, especially if you’re exploring underfished areas. But by following our kayak fishing tips, you’ll find that you have more of an edge the next time you head out for a day on the water, whether you’re fishing in whitewater, flatwater, or down a tight river channel.