kayak fishing tips and tricks

Table of Contents

Kayak fishing is an unparalleled experience. Even seasoned anglers and beginners are captivated by it because kayaks can access places that motorboats cannot, it is a low-cost way of fishing, and it can be combined with other outdoor pursuits. At first, kayaking may seem daunting due to the long list of equipment needed and the learning curve involved, but once you get going, you’ll realize how accessible it is. To help you get started, I have put together a list of the top kayak fishing tips.

fishing with kayak

Fishing Strategies Key Takeaways:

Here are some tips for successful kayak fishing:

  • Use baits that are adaptable and easy to use. This will save you time by not having to constantly retie and re-rig, allowing you to cast and catch more fish.
  • Use search baits, such as spinnerbaits, swimbaits, and crankbaits, to find fish. Once you’ve caught some active fish, go back over the same water with a small jig, drop-shot, or other finesse bait to catch even more fish.
  • Switch up your fishing strategies to hunt different species as you prepare to leave an area. A good tip is to maintain a selection of three to five rod and reel sets to facilitate quick swaps when fishing for different species.
  • Instead of just casting, try troll fishing from your kayak to cover more water and potentially catch more fish.

By being adaptable and modifying your fishing methods based on the conditions you encounter, you can become a successful kayak angler and catch plenty of fish.



Why settle for just any fishing kayak when you could have the best one – the one you own? But don’t stop there. Imagine enhancing your experience with a boat specifically designed for kayak fishing. With recent advancements in technology and design, owning a rigged fishing kayak will provide limitless potential for your new obsession.

kayak beginner

And if you’re wondering where to start, look no further than Old Town’s Topwater series. With its sought-after design features, such as a sit-on-top design and wide, stable DoubleU hull design (also known as a pontoon shape), this beginner fishing kayak will ensure you never grow out of your vessel.

Here are a few other features to look for in a fishing kayak when you’re out on the water:

  • Paddle holder: The paddle holder is another handy feature. It’s basically a little clip on the side of the kayak where you can store your paddle when you’re not using it. This is really helpful because it keeps your paddle from getting in the way or getting lost while you’re fishing.
  • Enclosed storage: also referred to as a dry hatch: The enclosed storage, or dry hatch, is a compartment on the kayak where you can store things like your phone, wallet, or fishing gear. It’s called a dry hatch because it’s designed to keep your stuff dry even if water splashes onto the kayak.
  • Deck storage with bungee to keep items secure: The deck storage with bungee is another type of storage on the kayak. This is basically an open area on the kayak where you can put larger items, like a tackle box or a cooler. The bungee cords help to hold these items in place so they don’t slide around while you’re paddling.
  • GPS/fish finder mount for when you decide to add some gadgetry: If you decide to add some gadgetry to your kayak, like a GPS or a fish finder, you can use the GPS/fish finder mount to attach it securely to the kayak.
  • Retractable pedal power propeller (optional hands-free propulsion available on some fishing kayaks): Finally, some fishing kayaks come with a retractable pedal power propeller. This is an optional feature that allows you to pedal the kayak with your feet instead of using a paddle. It’s a really cool way to move through the water hands-free, which can be helpful when you’re trying to focus on fishing.


In kayaking, a good paddle is crucial. The most efficient and comfortable paddling experience will be had with a paddle that is properly sized for both you and your kayak.


You need to pay attention to the total length of your paddle. You need a paddle that is long enough to reach the water without straining your arms, but short enough to be easily maneuvered.

Several factors, such as your height, the width of your kayak, and your paddling style, determine the ideal length of your paddle.

There is a formula for determining the perfect paddle length, but 8 feet and 2 inches (or 250 centimeters) is a good starting point for most people. It’s important to try out a few different paddles to find the one that suits your height, kayak’s width, and paddling style.

Consider the paddle’s construction materials alongside the paddle’s price when making your purchase. Different materials are used to make kayak paddles, such as wood, aluminum, and carbon fiber. There are advantages and disadvantages to each material; pick the one that best fits your needs and budget.


Keep in mind that you are close to, if not actually in, the water. That’s why it’s smart to always wear a personal flotation device (PFD), also called a life jacket. You should always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) because it will save your life if you fall into the water.


As an example, kayak fishing life vests typically have large storage pockets, ideal for stowing away tackle boxes of various sizes. If you do this, you won’t have to stop fishing to unbuckle a heavy tackle box and sift through it to get to your favorite lures, hooks, and leaders;

instead, you can keep them all in one convenient location. Wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) like Old Town’s Lure Angler jacket ensures that you won’t sink while keeping your gear neat and easily accessible.

Kayak fishing PFDs are typically more comfortable and less restrictive than traditional life jackets, in addition to providing storage space for your fishing gear. Paddling and casting will be easier and more comfortable as a result of this.


Fishing from a kayak is a fantastic way to get in touch with nature, but it’s important to remember to bring gear suitable for the weather. If you want to look your best while kayak fishing, consider these suggestions.

Protecting yourself from the sun’s rays is essential if you plan on doing any fishing in areas that receive a lot of direct sunlight. To protect yourself from the sun, put on a light long-sleeved shirt, a hat, and some shades.

dressing for kayaking

Additional protective gear, such as lightweight shell pants, neck gaiters, and gloves, is readily available. If you start to feel too warm, you can cool off by dipping your clothes into water and donning them again. Be sure to bring along some water and sunscreen to keep yourself hydrated and your skin safe.

To save yourself from the sun an Umbrella can be a great option

Wearing layers can help you stay warm while fishing in cold air or water. Hypothermia can set in after even a short time in cold water, even if the air temperature is relatively warm. A wetsuit is a cheap and long-lasting way to stay warm, and it can be worn under a shell jacket for added protection from the wind. Layer up with wool or synthetic materials like polypropylene, and top it off with a water-resistant shell to stay dry.

Keeping yourself warm and dry while kayak fishing is essential for a good time. Regardless of the weather or other environmental factors, you can remain relaxed and safe if you take the time to carefully select the appropriate clothing and equipment.



When kayak fishing, bass are one of the most frequently pursued species. To catch bass, it is essential to have a tackle box stocked with irresistible lures. Here are some guidelines for selecting the most effective lures:

lure selection for fishing

Begin by assembling a collection of lures that offer various presentations and allow you to access various water sections. You should bring a top water lure to skitter along the surface, spinner or crank baits to pull across your desired water column, and a bag of wormlike soft baits that can be rigged in a variety of ways, including diving, jigging, and suspending. You will be able to fish in a variety of depths and water conditions if you have a variety of lures, and your chances of catching fish will increase.

Once you have a basic assortment of lures, you must learn how to employ them effectively. Invest some time in practice and experimentation with each type of bait and presentation. You can also learn new techniques and strategies by watching videos or reading articles.

As you gain experience, you can begin to expand your collection of lures and tailor your selection to the fishing conditions you’ll encounter. For instance, you may wish to add lures designed for fishing in dense cover or deep water.


When kayak fishing, it is important to be prepared for whatever the bass are doing on any given day. Rather than wasting time constantly switching lures, it is advisable to have a couple of rods already prepared.

rod quilber

For kayak fishing, seven-foot rods are optimal, as they provide an optimal balance of sensitivity and power. You should consider carrying multiple types of rods, each designed for a particular technique or presentation. For instance, you could have a specific rod for topwater lures, another for spinnerbaits or crankbaits, and a fourth for soft plastic baits.

If you’re new to kayak fishing, you should begin with a spinning reel because it’s easier to learn than a baitcasting reel. Spinning reels are more forgiving and require less dexterity to operate successfully. As you gain experience, you can experiment with various types of reels to find the one that best suits your fishing style.


You have the advantage of being able to navigate various water terrains when using a fishing kayak. This means you can explore areas typically inaccessible to larger boats, such as banks, tree stumps, and lily pads.

By taking advantage of this advantage and knowing where bass are likely to be, you can significantly improve your chances of success. Look for areas where the depth of the water varies, the land pinches the body of water, partially submerged objects, and the edges of aquatic vegetation, as these are all excellent places to begin fishing.

With a fishing kayak, the options are limitless, so don’t be afraid to explore and test out new areas.

Check if your kayak weight is appropriate



The first time you cast from a kayak is likely to feel awkward. The boat will oscillate, leading you to believe it is unstable and about to capsize. It may sound easier said than done, but you must remember to relax and trust your boat for the purpose for which it was designed.

The design of your kayak has what is known as initial and secondary stability. Initial stability is the boat’s flat position in the water while paddling. Secondary stability occurs when the boat leans, such as during a sudden maneuver. This is the stability upon which you must rely.

When we say “relax,” we mean to loosen up your lower body and allow the boat to rock from side to side below your waist. As you become more accustomed to this, you should reduce your casts. Make nice, simple lobs. Practice remaining loose in the boat and allowing your lure to touch the water gently.

If your fishing kayak has a wide platform design, such as the Topwater we mentioned earlier, you may gain the confidence to cast while standing, which is a great way to increase your line of sight and casting distance. If you attempt this, remember to maintain a wide stance, bend your knees, and maintain flexibility below your waist, for the same reasons stated previously.


Half of the thrill (and difficulty) of kayak fishing is getting there. If you want to get where you’re going, even against a strong wind or current,


you need to learn how to paddle properly. In addition to conserving energy, paddling with proper form helps you better deal with the opposition.

You will most often use the forward stroke. Basically, it’s the gas that drives your travel plans. You can improve your forward stroke by following these guidelines.

• Slice the blade out of the water around your hip if you’re not using it to steer.


Catching a fish while kayak fishing can be exciting, but landing it can be tricky. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Reel in the fish until you have an arm’s length or less of line from the tip of your rod to the fish.
  2. Hold the rod in the hand that is furthest from the fish.
  3. While keeping tension on the line, draw the rod across your body, away from and slightly up from the fish.
  4. Use your free hand to net or cradle the fish in a safe manner.

By following these steps, you can safely land your fish and enjoy the satisfaction of a successful catch.

The 10 best kayak fishing tips:

1.Try before you buy

The fishing kayak is a fantastic piece of equipment that allows you to get to places that are inconvenient to get to by boat or on foot. They can effortlessly navigate through water that is too shallow for boats but also too deep to wade through. But they can be costly to buy and cumbersome to store away.

If you’re going to invest in a kayak specifically for fishing, make sure it’s the right kind and that you enjoy fishing from it.The fishing kayak is a fantastic piece of equipment that allows you to get to places that are inconvenient to get to by boat or on foot.

They can effortlessly navigate through water that is too shallow for boats but also too deep to wade through. But they can be costly to buy and cumbersome to store away. If you’re going to invest in a kayak specifically for fishing, make sure it’s the right kind and that you enjoy fishing from it.

2. Pick the right type of fishing kayak

There are several different types of fishing kayaks available,
Sit-on-top kayaks are my go-to because of how much more comfortable they are. Sitting in a kayak for long periods of time can cause hip and back pain. Pedal-powered sit-on-top kayaks are the best option.
However you can check out these other options:

• Inflatable fishing kayaks: These are perfect for city dwellers or those with limited storage space.

• Sit-on-top fishing kayaks: These are the most comfortable option for fishing.

• Standup fishing kayaks: These are great for longer casts if you are experienced enough to use them.

• Sit-inside fishing kayaks: These have a traditional kayak setup.

• Multi-person fishing kayaks: These are ideal for families or couples, and for longer trips.

• Pedal-driven fishing kayaks: These are great for casting and moving.

• Saltwater fishing kayaks: These are generally wider and more stable, making them essential for fishing in the sea.

• Freshwater fishing kayaks: These are generally more transportable.

When choosing a fishing kayak, it’s important to consider the type of fishing you’ll primarily be doing and the prevailing weather conditions. If you’re fishing in the sea, a saltwater kayak is essential, especially if the conditions change quickly with high winds or swells. If you’re experienced and looking to cast long distances, a standup kayak is a good option.

3. Invest in good safety equipment

Unseasoned anglers should exercise extreme caution when kayak fishing, especially in open water. The best safety advice for novices on the ocean is to always go with a more experienced companion and to always check the wind speed and tidal conditions before heading out.

And must invest in Quality PFD device. Top-tier personal flotation devices have extras like high-intensity flashing lights, personal locator beacons, spray hoods, and whistles. All of which you will be extremely thankful for if your boat sinks in hazardous waters.

4. Always check the weather forecast

This is especially crucial for longer kayaking trips or trips out into open water. Extreme dangers exist for kayakers during the spring when winds are strong and tides are high. We’ve had a few scary moments off the UK’s southern coast when we failed to account for the effects of the wind on the water.

It is not recommended for novices to embark on lengthy expeditions. Especially in bad weather. So, before you go fishing, study the local weather forecast to learn how the wind will affect your stability, and check the tide charts to see how strong the tides typically are.

The wind and waves aren’t the only things you need to watch out for. Cover up and keep your skin and eyes safe from the sun if it’s going to be a scorcher outside all day. Even though it might not look like it will rain too hard, out on the water you should always be prepared for the worst.

5. Check the tide

Although this is more of an issue for sea kayakers, there are freshwater rivers, estuaries, and other bodies that are tidal or fed directly by the ocean, so kayakers should be aware. You should know if the marks you intend to fish will be affected by the tide.

Your success at catching fish at particular marks will be greatly influenced by the tide, as some of those spots may only be accessible at very high tide. Make sure you won’t be stuck when the tide goes out if you want to visit these fishing spots.

6. Purchase the necessary accessories

Kayak fishing is more expensive and time-consuming than conventional fishing, but it gives the average angler access to previously inaccessible areas. To improve your chances, you should adjust your kayak for:

• Ease of use: we recommend a sit-on-top kayak, but a stand-up kayak is another viable choice.

• Safety: a lifejacket is mandatory, but a paddle leash, whistle, GPS device, and flashlight are also useful in case of an emergency.

Storage and organization: a fishing kayak must have rod holders, but it must also have a place to store a tackle box or a cooler, as well as a place to keep a fishing net, pliers, and other fishing gear.

A fish finder, polarized sunglasses, and a spare rod and reel will help you catch more fish in less time, and you should also prepare for the fish you catch before heading out on the water. Equipment for quickly and safely releasing caught fish, such as a landing net, pliers, disgorger, or other similar device.

7. Bring a dry bag

Obviously, cell phones are a necessity for every trip. I mean can you imagine a trip without phone? Moreover, even though the vast majority of recent models are waterproof, you should still bring a dry bag just in case.

In addition to electronics, a dry bag is essential for any extended trip if you plan on bringing items like fire starters or matches that can’t be replaced if they get wet. Really, A low-priced but crucial piece of equipment.

8. Familiarise yourself with local laws and regulations

In the US, local laws and regulations govern not only the size of fish that can be caught and kept, but also the areas where fishing is restricted or completely prohibited. Similar to the UK, there are Marine Protected Zones where fishing is regulated.

Therefore, it’s important to be aware of where you are allowed and not allowed to fish, as well as which fish you are permitted to keep. Some freshwater lakes and bodies of water may be private fishing areas or restricted, as are certain harbors and docks. It’s important to research and comply with all relevant fishing regulations to avoid any legal issues.
for fishing law’s in the usa, check gov site.

9. Fishing Licenses in the US, Uk and Canada: What You Need to Know?

A fishing license is required in the UK unless you only fish in saltwater. A single fishing license is valid across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Costs for fishing licenses range from short-term recreational permits to long-term game fishing permits.

Each US state issues its own fishing licenses, with varying fees and rules. The Canadian federal government is responsible for issuing fishing licenses, though provincial governments set their own fees and regulations. If you want to fish legally, you should do your homework and get the right kind of fishing license before you head out.
For fishing licence info check US GOV fishing site.

10. Learn how to handle fish effectively

Even though this is not something that is unique to kayak fishing, catching fish and landing fish in a kayak, especially large fish, is a different experience. Because you have less stability and are more subject to the will of the water, you need a combination of the right equipment, experience, and technique.

Therefore, you need to ensure that you have a landing net, pliers, and a method for safely landing fish. for the benefit of both you and the fish. Then check that your abilities to handle the kayak will allow you to remain in a secure and stable position while you attempt to land the fish.

Location and Season

When it comes to kayak fishing, choosing the right location and season can make a big difference in your chances of having a successful and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips to help you navigate the waters in the USA, Canada, and the UK.

Choosing the Right Location

The USA offers some of the best kayak fishing locations in the world, with a variety of freshwater and saltwater options. Some popular locations include:

  • Florida: With its abundant waterways and warm weather year-round, Florida is a top destination for kayak fishing. Some popular locations include the Everglades, the Florida Keys, and the Gulf of Mexico.
  • California: Known for its rugged coastline and diverse marine life, California offers some great kayak fishing opportunities. Some popular locations include Monterey Bay, the Channel Islands, and the San Francisco Bay.
  • Texas: With its long coastline and variety of habitats, Texas offers some great kayak fishing spots. Some popular locations include Padre Island National Seashore, the Gulf of Mexico, and the many lakes and rivers throughout the state.

Canada is also home to some world-class kayak fishing locations, including:

  • British Columbia: With its rugged coastline and numerous rivers and lakes, British Columbia offers some great kayak fishing opportunities. Some popular locations include Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii, and the Fraser River.
  • Ontario: Known for its abundance of freshwater lakes and rivers, Ontario is a great destination for kayak fishing. Some popular locations include Lake Ontario, the French River, and Algonquin Provincial Park.
  • Quebec: With its mix of freshwater and saltwater locations, Quebec offers some great kayak fishing opportunities. Some popular locations include the St. Lawrence River, the Saguenay Fjord, and Lac Saint-Jean.

In the UK, there are also some great kayak fishing locations to explore, including:

  • Scotland: With its rugged coastline and abundant marine life, Scotland offers some great kayak fishing spots. Some popular locations include the Isle of Skye, the North Coast 500, and the Firth of Forth.
  • Wales: Known for its stunning beaches and coastal waters, Wales offers some great kayak fishing opportunities. Some popular locations include Anglesey, Pembrokeshire, and the Llyn Peninsula.
  • Cornwall: With its warm climate and stunning coastline, Cornwall is a great destination for kayak fishing. Some popular locations include the Camel Estuary, Fowey Estuary, and St. Austell Bay.

Best Seasons for Kayak Fishing

The best season for kayak fishing can vary depending on the location and species you are targeting. In general, the warmer months of spring and summer tend to be the best for kayak fishing in the USA, Canada, and the UK. However, there are also some great opportunities to fish in the fall and winter months, particularly for certain species.


Kayak fishing is a fun and exciting way to explore the great outdoors and catch some fish along the way. By following these tips for choosing the right location, understanding the best seasons for fishing, and staying informed about regulations and safety considerations, you can have a successful and enjoyable kayak fishing experience in the USA, Canada, or the UK. So grab your paddle and hit the water – happy fishing!

Are there any specific kayak fishing laws and regulations in the UK?

Yes, there are specific laws and regulations that apply to kayak fishing in the UK. For example, you must have a valid fishing license, and you must adhere to catch limits and other regulations set by the Environment Agency. You should also be aware of local bylaws and restrictions on where and when you can fish. It’s important to research and understand these regulations before you go fishing.

How do I safely handle and release fish from a kayak?

To safely handle and release fish from a kayak, you should use barbless hooks to minimize harm to the fish, and avoid handling the fish with dry hands or rough surfaces. If possible, keep the fish in the water while removing the hook, and release it as quickly as possible. You can also use a fish gripper or net to help you handle the fish more safely.

How can I safely transport a fishing kayak on my car?

To safely transport a fishing kayak on your car, you should use a properly fitting kayak rack or carrier. It’s important to secure the kayak tightly to the rack or carrier, and to use additional straps or tie-downs to prevent it from shifting or falling off during transport. You should also be aware of any height restrictions or weight limits on your vehicle.

How do I properly rig a kayak for fishing?

To properly rig a kayak for fishing, you should start by installing a rod holder or two on the kayak. You can also add additional gear such as a fish finder, anchor, and tackle storage. It’s important to keep the weight balanced and evenly distributed on the kayak to ensure stability and maneuverability. You should also be mindful of the weight capacity of your kayak and avoid overloading it.

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