Kayak Fishing 101: Essential Gear for Fly Fishers

Kayaks were invented by the Inuit people near the Bering Strait. They created the perfect personal fishing vehicle for traversing their relentless, frigid environment. Anglers should take heed at their ingenuity and sensibility. Kayaks simply get where no other watercraft can. And with the proper supplies, there’s no reason why the biggest fish of the season won’t find its way into the net.

Purchasing a Kayak

When buying a kayak, an angler must take into account his body weight in proportion to the width and length of the craft. Most websites will list a safe weight range maximum. If the site does not list a weight limit for the kayak, contact the manufacturer or the retailer to find out. Better to be safe than sorry.

Search for a craft with the fishing add-ons such as rod holders, webbing for your gear, dry box, bait tanks, and a platform for standing. Such amenities are essential for anglers who wish to have comfortable, safe, and rewarding outings.

One might also want to purchase more add-ons. Here is a list of more amenities to make fishing from a kayak more pleasurable.

  • life vest
  • padded seat
  • lightweight paddle
  • rod leash
  • cooler for lunch and water
  • bungees for tying down gear
  • anchor system
  • chest pack
  • fishing net
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Types of Kayaks

Two main designs of kayaks exist out there, with dozens of variations of each. The original design is the cockpit-style “sit-in” kayak, used most commonly for river running and competitive kayaking. These kayaks are not at all as safe for fishing because:

  • they require a greater sense of balance to maneuver safely
  • they take on water much more readily and are not self-bailing
  • they lack flat, reachable storage areas for tackle, rods and gear.

A “sit-on-top” style of kayak, however, is perfect for angling. These boats are flatter, more stable, and far more accommodating for fishing. A huge array of manufacturers and styles of sit-on-tops add to their allure as well. They are affordable and easily customized. Most require little or no help to load up, and no cumbersome trailers, oil, gas, or tags. Plus, kayaks can get anglers into places no other craft can.

Drifting in foot-deep water is possible in many “yaks,” which translates into fishing shallow coves as well as the inlets and outlets where springs and creeks feed into ponds and lakes. Often, bass and trout will sun themselves in these shallows. Without a kayak, many of these will remain elusive locales.

Kayaks are incredibly effective fishing tools. Not only are they fun and environmentally friendly, they provide many opportunities for anglers to catch fish in many different ways.

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