Nothing compares to the thrill of gliding cozily on the water with a kayak, as you explore different fishing spots, across rivers, lakes, and oceans. Kayak fishing is also one of the most affordable and accessible outdoor activities. Whether you grew up in a fishing family or not, any person can enjoy it. Kayak fishing also offers numerous health benefits such as enhanced relaxation, improved cardiovascular strength, and increased body strength. Kayak fishing also teaches self-reliance and patience. However, catching fish is not as easy as it sounds. If you are planning to go for a kayak fishing trip, the following tips will help to make your excursion more enjoyable and successful.
Choose the Right Kayak
The success of your fishing trip heavily depends on the fishing kayak that you will use. If you choose the right one, there is a high chance that you will enjoy a successful fishing trip. On the other hand, if you choose the wrong one, your fishing trip may turn out to be a miserable experience. But with so many different types of fishing kayaks on the market, how do you ensure that you choose the right one? Here are some considerations.
- Kayak type: There are two main types of kayaks – sit on top and sit in. Sit-in kayaks are not recommended for fishing. If water gets inside the vessel, it will remain there until you empty it. Also, they are quite hard to recover if they flip. You will also notice that their cargo space is significantly limited, which means that it may not accommodate all your fishing gear. On the other hand, a sit on top kayak offers the best choice for fishing trips. If water gets inside the vessel, it will drain out fast, through the scupper holes located in the bottom. Also, sit on top fishing kayaks feature an open design, which makes it easy to access the cargo area. They also have ample room to mount additional accessories such as a fish finder. If you will be kayaking with a friend or a child, then a sit-on-top tandem boat is a better option, compared to a sit-in one.
- Your body type: You also need to consider your size and body type when choosing a fishing kayak. If possible, it’s highly advisable to attend a kayak demo day if there is one near you and use several kayaks. During this demo, you should check the comfort, fit, legroom, how it pedals as well as knee positioning. Considering that you will be spending a considerable amount of your time fishing using this kayak, it should be as comfortable as possible.
- Stability: Stability is vital when it comes to all water vessels. And fishing kayaks are not an exception. Considering that you will have to twist, turn and do several other body movements to cast and land fish, your fishing kayak should be as stable as possible. If you prefer to fish while standing, then you should stay away from kayaks that have a V-shaped hull, since they have a tendency of tipping. Instead, you should opt for a kayak that has a flat bottom or tunnel hull. Also, your fishing kayak should not be less than 30 inches wide. However, avoid short, broad vessels, since they are a bit sluggish. Also, short kayaks are easily tossed around by waves, making it hard to maneuver them in rough waters. Longer kayaks, on the other hand, cut through the water smoothly and easily. And that’s why most touring kayaks feature a skinny, long design.
- Ease of transportation: The kayak that you choose for your next fishing trip should also be easy to transport. You need to consider whether you will carry it in your truck, on the roof of your car or whether you need to purchase a trailer to tow it. Most importantly, don’t compromise your safety.
If you are going for your first fishing trip, it’s advisable to use a used kayak instead of purchasing a new one. You will only know your fishing style, preferences as well as features that you would like after you go fishing for an entire season. You can find plenty of used kayaks on various platforms like Craigslist. After fishing from the used kayak for a season or more, you can then decide whether to move up, replace it or keep it.
Consider the Time and Season
Weather, sunshine, tide and other conditions affect the availability of fish. Therefore, knowing when the best time to go on your kayak fishing is vital. There are four periods in a day that you can go fishing. They are early morning, late morning to early afternoon, late afternoon and night.
Water temperatures tend to be at their lowest right before dawn. Therefore, early morning can be a great time to go fishing, especially during summer, early fall, and late spring when the daytime temperatures are extremely high. Also, there are fewer people fishing at this time of the day, which means you will not have to contend with loud kids, swimmers or fellow anglers. Furthermore, the light levels at this time of the day are quite low. Therefore, this will be a good time to catch species like catfish and bass, which see well in such conditions. Also, flying insects, are highly active during early summer mornings. It will, therefore, be a good time to catch bluegill, trout and other species that feed on these insects. However, if you intend to go for your kayak fishing trip during the winter months, then you should avoid early mornings. Air and water temperatures are at their lowest early morning, which means that most fish will be inactive during this time.
Late Morning to Early Afternoon
Catching fish during this time of the day will be extremely hard, especially during the warmer months. Most fish will go deeper as they look for colder water. Also, the sun’s rays are extremely strong during this time of the day, thus encouraging species like bass to lay low. On the other hand, if the conditions are rainy, windy or overcast during this time of the day, then you can still enjoy a successful trip. Rain, clouds, and wind will reduce the strength of sunlight, thus lowering the water temperatures. If you are fishing during the colder months, then this is the best time to land a massive catch.
Late afternoon presents almost the same conditions as early morning. By this time, the water has already started cooling off, thus encouraging fish to come closer to the surface to feed. Also, the sun’s rays are also weaker at this time, which will encourage predator species like bass to come and feed.
Also, make sure you check local fishing forecasts before you head out. Local bait shops and your fellow local anglers can also provide you with useful information about water levels, currents, and tides. Understanding when the different species of fish are active as well as where you can find them will make your fishing trip more successful as opposed to going blindly.
Check Local Weather Forecasts
Your safety should be a priority when you are going for any outdoor excursion. Therefore, you need to check the local weather forecasts before you head out. For instance, fog can make you lose track of your position when you are out in the water easily. On the other hand, windy conditions will make the water rough. And this can be dangerous especially when you are fishing with a small vessel. Therefore, regardless of the fishing destination that you intend to visit, you should always check the predicted weather conditions for that place. If the weather conditions will be extreme, then you should choose another destination or even postpone your fishing trip until the weather becomes friendlier.
Go with a Fish Finder
As an angler, you will need to overcome various challenges before you can catch any fish. You will need to set up your hook properly, play the fish, and lure the fish to your bait. But before you even overcome those challenges, you first need to find a spot where there are is a large shoal of fish. As you might probably know, it’s almost impossible to do that with your naked eyes, and this is where a fish finder will come in. Just like the name suggests, fish finders are electronic devices that are designed to help anglers find and catch fish. A fish finder will help you to see the structure of the surface, the depth of the water, and the location of the fish. Therefore, you don’t have to rely on trial and error to find and catch fish. Instead, a fish finder will save you time and effort, thus enhancing your fishing experience.
Invest in a Quality GPS Unit
Apart from a fish finder, you will also need a quality GPS unit when going for your next kayak-fishing trip. The majority of modern GPS units will allow you to save several waypoints and locations. For instance, if you happen to come across an area that has a large amount of mature fish, you just need to save those coordinates in your GPS. You can then come back later to the same spot during your next fishing trip. Also, a GPS unit will help you to find your way around whenever you get lost. You just need to navigate your vessel following the routes that are stored in your GPS device.
Carry Enough Food and Water
Going for a fishing trip means that you will be spending most of your time in the water, casting your hook repeatedly as you try to catch fish. Sore legs, bruises, bumps, and achy backs are common in the water. And that’s why you should ensure that your body is adequately nourished, to ensure you have enough energy for fishing and so that your body can recover as fast as possible. Unfortunately, preparing and cooking a well-made meal is not always easy when you are out there in the water trying to catch fish. Fortunately, you can overcome this challenge by carrying some ready foods and snacks. Dried fruits, snacks, energy bars, salads and foods that will not spoil will be perfect for your fishing trip.
Whether you are an experienced angler or you are going for your first kayak-fishing trip, proper planning, and preparation is vital. Therefore, make sure you choose the right kayak, check weather forecasts, invest in quality gear, and carry adequate food and water. And just like any other outdoor activity, your personal safety should always come first.