Kayaks are long steeped in Native American and Alaskan Native history and legend. These human powered boats are efficient, sleek and low to the water, which gives the paddler a unique perspective of the seas. Modern kayaks use modern construction materials to give a lightweight and sleek method of heading out onto the seas, lakes and rivers. Many have adopted these craft for the age old tradition of fishing. If you are using a kayak for fishing purposes be sure to take advantage of the following five tips to give a safe, streamlined and highly efficient way of landing your catch.
One of the biggest tips to take advantage of comes in the concept of balance with the kayak. Kayaks are built to roll and tip, which makes them easy to flip accidentally when fishing. When a large fish strikes when kayak fishing you need to have balance pre-thought out and prepared to prevent unwanted flips and wet-exits from the craft. To achieve the be sure to distribute wight equally on both side of the kayak. As you line out the rod, keep in mind that when the fish strikes, it is going to pull you necessitating the need to lean opposite the side of the strike to provide ample balance that prevents the flip.
2) Center of Gravity
One thing most fisher people will agree one is the need to be above the surface of the water and to achieve an angle with the rod that is at least 45-degrees to the water surface. This is not easily achieved in a kayak, especially in kayaks that are sealed. You need to learn how to use the rod at lower angles as the center of gravity in a kayak must be kept as low as possible.
One thing that needs to be addressed before you head out fishing is how or where you are going to store your catch. If fishing saltwater where there may be predators, slinging the fish along the side of the kayak in the water may not be a safe choice. Instead, figure out a dry storage in the kayak itself that is easy to reach and access. Small coolers make ideal fish storage areas for kayak fishing.
4) Bait Access
Like catch-storage, if you are using live bait, you need a method of strong and accessing it while kayaking and fishing. Use small coolers to store the live bait and store it between the legs in the cockpit. This allows you to reach it without disturbing the kayak. Prepare ahead of time and try a dry run to make sure the position works for your needs.
5) Landing the Fish
It may be easy for you to land a fish while you are standing on a dock, the shore or even in a different type of boat that allows you to stand, but the kayak is a different animal. You need to learn how to use body-english and leaning to help with the reeling and landing of the fish. Also, if you are going for large fish, simply dropping a net in to try and scoop the fish up into the kayak could lead to tipping. Learn how to use the natural cants to the kayak to lean and work the fish to the sides of the boat. Slowly bring it up onto the deck and then into the storage container.
Once you’ve mastered these basics, you’re ready to get started with tournament kayak fishing, it’s the most fun you’ll ever have on the water, I promise you.