Fishing can be a calm outing, a great bonding experience and a great way to spend some time with nature. But it is important to have the right gear to not only fish effectively, but stay safe. Before every fishing trip you should plan ahead and make sure you have all the proper equipment and it is in good condition. So whether it is your first time kayak fishing or you are an old pro, you should always have the right gear when you go fishing in a kayak.
Fishing Kayak Must Have Gear : Being Prepared Pays Off!
The necessary things you need to successfully catch fish in your fishing kayak are:
Fishing Kayak: Obviously you cannot go kayak fishing without the kayak. But it is important to choose the right one. Consider the size of the kayak you need, where you will be fishing, how much storage you need and what features you will want when fishing. Are there places for you to fit all the things you want to add to the kayak or will you need to create places yourself? Doing your research, asking around and knowing ahead of time what exactly you want on your fishing kayak.
PFD: A personal flotation device (PFD) or lifejacket is always a must have on any kayaking trip, regardless of what you are doing. The worst can happen when you least expect it and you need to do everything you can to keep yourself safe and give you the best chance of survival.
There are PFDs that are specially equipped for fishing with lots of places for storage and easy access to all your things. Whether you choose to go with the fishing PFD or a standard one, you need to make sure it is in good condition and is appropriate to your weight and where you are going to be. If the PFD doesn’t have enough buoyancy or doesn’t fit properly you might as well not be wearing one.
Paddle: You will not get far without a paddle, but it is crucial you pick the right one. The weight, size and grip of the paddle can all affect how easy or hard it will be for you to paddle and steer. This is especially important when you are going on longer trips because you don’t want to risk not having the strength to paddle back.
There are paddles specifically for kayak fishing on the market if you prefer something more specialized for your needs. These paddles feature a ruler, a notch to help you retrieve lures, and a much lighter weight than regular paddles.
Anchor: Without an anchor you can end up floating around while you are fishing. This may not seem like a huge deal on smaller bodies of water, when fishing in the ocean or larger bodies of water you can quickly lose track of the shore and get lost.
There are anchor systems available that make it smoother and easier to deploy and reel up the anchor if you choose to spend more money. But at the very least it is important to have an anchor secured to the boat via a strong rope. Check the rope before every fishing trip and make sure it is in good condition so it doesn’t break and make you lose your anchor.
Tackle Crate: Organization is the key to simple and efficient fishing. A tackle crate will hold your fishing gear in place behind your seat and allow you to easily access all your belongings.
Rod Holder: While paddling out to your desired spot it is important to secure your rods and make sure they don’t fall out of your boat. There are different options available for your kayak and you can typically choose between key features like greater security or quicker access.
Navigation System: Whether you plan on rivers, lakes or oceans to be the location for your next fishing trip, a navigation system can help you figure out where you are going and how to get back. Especially on larger bodies of water, you can easily get turned around and lost so a navigation system is always a good thing to have.
Fish Finder: Fish finders are especially helpful for fishing in a new and different area so you can get a better understanding of how things are set up and where the ideal spots are. To optimize your time on the water and the amount of fish you catch, a fish finder is the way to go.
Dry Bag: No matter what you bring, you can guarantee they stay safe and dry in a dry bag. There are many different options and styles of dry bags on the market and you can find one that fits your personal style or needs.
Measuring Device: Because of the restrictions on sizes and what you can legally catch, you should always bring a measuring device to guarantee you are legally allowed to keep it. It can also help you prove your fishing prowess to your friends.
Fish Grips/ Landing Nets: To help you secure the fish and prevent losing a catch you worked so hard for, it is important to take advantage of the technology out there to help you get ahold of, and keep hold of your catch. There are many options out there but fish grips and landing nest are the most commonly used.
Kayak Cart: To help you transport your kayak from your vehicle to the water it can be incredibly helpful to have a kayak cart. Consider all of the gear you have in the kayak and the distance you will need to carry it to get it to and from the water. A kayak cart will not only make this much easier and let you save your energy for paddling, but prevent damage to your kayak from dragging or dropping it.
Leashes: The last thing you want to worry about while kayak fishing is losing your rods or paddle. This is where a leash comes in handy. If you do happen to knock you paddle or rod out of the boat the leash will keep it attached to the boat and allow you to easily get it back into the boat.
Fishing Pliers: Pliers designed for fishing can help you quickly and easily change out lures and tackle. While you may think regular pliers will work just as well, fishing pliers maximize your efficiency and minimize the amount of gear you need to bring.
Floating Stringers: Choosing a floating stringer over a standard stringer can mean the difference between getting your stringer back or losing it to the water. The floating stringers are much easier to pick back up and reuse without having to worry about getting to them in time before they sink.
Drift Chute: On days where there are high winds your boat can easily drift around. To slow that drift and help you stay in the general location you are in, a drift chute is your best bet.
Visibility Light: It is important to prioritize your safety and make sure you don’t put yourself in any unnecessary danger. Visibility lights, flags and special paint are all great ways to keep your boat visible to other boats and anyone on shore. This not only keeps you safe from being hit, but able to get help to your location if you need it. This is especially important for early mornings and late nights out on the water.
First Aid Kit: A basic first aid kit can prevent you from having to rush back to shore or head back early to take care of a wound. Infection, irritation and gashes can all make it uncomfortable if not impossible to enjoy your fishing trip. Even though it is recommended to back a first aid kit that provides help for a variety of situations, even a dollar store first aid kit is better than no first aid kit.
Knife: While it doesn’t need to be a large knife, having a blade to cut lines or have any other need for a sharp object can be incredibly helpful. It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Gloves: To minimize your risk of injury to your hands and protect them from the elements when it isn’t the best weather on the water, glozes are a great addition to your fishing trip. It can also protect your hands from blisters when paddling.
Skin Protection: Whether it is the sun, the wind or the rain, it is important to be prepared and protect yourself. This means sunscreen, waterproof clothing, layers, and a way to block the sun from your eyes. This not only makes you more comfortable on the water, but prevents issues that would make you have to call it quits early.
Bait Bucket: If you want to use bait like worms, shrimp or minnows it is better to have them in a designated bucket to easily access them than a bag or awkward container. While some fishing kayaks may include a place to hook your bait bucket on, you can easily just use a bungee cord and create your own. It is all up to personal preference.
Artificial Lures: Having a variety of lures to choose from is always a good idea so if one lure is lost or isn’t getting any bites you can switch it out and try something new. Or if you just want to mix it up and try something new, several different artificial lures are always great to have.
Rudder: If you will be navigating an area with a lot of turns or if the water has strong currents or it is really windy, a rudder will help you to steer the kayak and keep you on track. The rudder is operated with pedals by your feet and even on calm waters, can be a great addition to your boat and make it easier on your arms to steer.
Seat Upgrade: Spending hours on a kayak seat is less than ideal for back support and cushioning. But there are seat upgrades available on the market that can make your time on the water much more comfortable. Consider any issues you have like back or hip problems, and then consider what the seats offer you. It can make hours on the water go from being uncomfortable to never wanting to stop fishing.
Camera: A camera may not seem like the most necessary or important item but it is always a great thing to have. Whether you want to remember the scenic view on the water, capture the wildlife around you, or document that big fish your friends won’t believe you caught, you never know what you will see and want to get a picture of.
When you are packing up to go fishing you really need to think about each step of your journey and what you typically use. If you find yourself struggling on the water to fish smoothly or get stressed out during what should be a relaxing time it is important to consider why. It may be because you are lacking the proper equipment and gear for fishing in a kayak. Remember that fishing in a kayak is different from fishing in other boats and you need to consider stability, ease of access and the way you will be moving through the water.
It is recommended that you make a list of all the things you need to keep with your kayak and check all of the gear to make sure it is there and ready to go. It is important to consider the condition of all your gear as well and make sure they will all function as they need to for your trip. If anything is old, cracked or damaged in any way you will need to replace them before you go out on the water again. When in doubt, you can look at forums, ask local shops and contact fellow kayak fishers to see what they use and recommend. But you should always consider your own individual situation and feel free to add your own must have gear to the list.