Kayaking Pros: How To Outfit A Kayak For Fishing

How to Outfit a Kayak for Fishing

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Nothing is better than returning from kayaking trips with a bucket full of big and fresh fishes. But, if you want to have that merriment, you might wonder how to outfit a kayak for fishing.

Optimizing your kayak is all about personalizing and customizing the ride for your fishing style. So before anything else, drop the long list you’ve prepared in your mind for your kayak fishing trip. Since the space on the kayak is indeed tight, you need to be picky.

Optimizing your kayak space to be functional for fishing might be overwhelming. Moreover, if it’s your first time, the process can put you in a fix.

Luckily for you, this article will explore how to outfit a kayak for fishing. So let’s get to the crux of the matter so that you can have a lovely kayak fishing trip!

Best Kayaks For Fishing

Are you sure that the kayak you have is efficient enough to handle fishing? Before moving on to the complete list of supplies for your kayaking, many of you might want to know the ideal kayak for fishing.

In most cases, a kayak needs to have the following abilities to be considered suitable for fishing needs:

  •     Maneuverability
  •     High stability levels
  •     Plenty of room for the supplies and gears

If your kayak does not offer these properties, you probably should not drag it for a fishing trip. You’ll most likely be disappointed to have an unsuccessful fishing trip on such kayaks.

You want a kayak with high maneuverability so that you can confidently and quickly make it to the fishing hotspots.

Moreover, high stability is crucial so that you can secure your gear and cast. This security will help you move around the waters without getting knocked over.

Finally, kayaks have an ill reputation for being short on storage space. However, you can find some kayaks with enough space to accommodate all your essential gear.

An ideal fishing kayak has all these traits, which make it suitable for the given purpose. However, if your kayak doesn’t have these utilities, it might be better to reconsider your fishing plans.

Outfit Your Kayak For Fishing With These Essentials

Turning your regular kayak into one that is ready for fishing will likely take some serious elbow grease. Though outfitting your kayak is not too tricky, it needs a long list of gears. As a result, you might have to make a quick stop at the supply store for some of these gears.

Thankfully, most of these additional fishing gears for kayaks are affordable, so you won’t have to break the bank to get them. Now, let’s take a look at the supplies you need to outfit a kayak for fishing.

For Safety & Accessibility: Fishing Rod Holders

These days, most kayaks come with rod holders. Some of these flush-mounted rod holders are positioned behind the seats, while some are on the front seat.

When you use them for the first time, you’ll realize that the holder’s position is inappropriate. The rod holder should be accessible without intruding in the paddling or casting.

These are the two types of fishing rod holders that will be suitable for a fishing setup in the kayak:

1.      Track Mounted Type Rod Holders

Since the holders can be adjusted, they offer a degree of flexibility to the user. In addition, most of these track-mounted holders swivel 360-degrees to provide you with versatile placement options.

The best part is that these holders are trouble-free to install. Moreover, you can place and move them for different casting and trolling applications.

2. Flush Mounted Type Rod Holders

This type of rod holder comes pre-installed on the kayak. Once you set them up on the kayak, they will stay there for a long time.

In addition, these rod holders won’t restrict any onboard activity since they sit flat.

For Convenience And Comfort: Seats

The second update your kayak needs is that of comfortable seats. It may not seem as important now, but it significantly adds to your convenience levels.

Fishing is an activity that can take hours and plenty of patience. A comfortable seat will ensure that you do not feel fatigued after fishing for prolonged hours.

You certainly don’t want an uneven seat to be the reason for missing out on a big fish. Therefore, make sure to get a good seat with adequate support before taking your kayak for a fishing trip.

For Storing The Gear: Crate Systems And Gear Bags

What determines your readiness for fishing is how you lug your fishing gear in the kayak. For this purpose, crate systems and gear bags will serve as perfect solutions to safeguard and store the supplies. Moreover, they come in various shapes and types, so you’ll be spoiled for choices.

1. Trays And Tackle Bags

There are gazillions of plastic material trays and tackle bags to store your fishing gear.

If you have lots of equipment on you, a stackable plastic box is a more practical option. In case you choose a container, make sure they have numerous pockets and storage compartments.

2. Milk Crate

Milk crates are one of the most typical options for storing your gear. You can get hold of a milk crate at your nearby grocery store. These are mostly affordable and economical storage options. In addition, you can customize them in different ways to make them more efficient.

3. Crate Systems

There are essentially two kinds of crate systems for kayaks – soft-side and hard-side crates. However, most people prefer hard-side boxes so that the items within the container remain safe and don’t get squashed.

4. Dry Bags

If you are dealing with electronics and an extra pair of clothing, you’ll require waterproof dry bags. These bags are excellent for storing fresh clothes, cameras, and mobile phones.

Since there are various sizes available, the choice of sizing depends mainly on personal requirements and preferences.

For Location Fish Hotspots: Fish Finder

One impeccable way of making your fishing trip more successful is to use a fish finder. There are several devices these days that can help you out with this. The best part is that these devices can work in all kinds of scenarios.

However, don’t buy a GPS device with a screen smaller than 5-inches in size. To use this device, you also should know nautical maps. Though they may take time to get used to, they are exceptional for detecting fish hotspots.

For Keeping Baits Fresh: Portable Livewell

If you want to have a successful kayak fishing trip, it can’t be possible without a portable livewell. Fishing experts agree that live baits are an unbeatable tactic for catching fish.

A livewell, as the name suggests, will help keep your baits alive for longer. Moreover, you can choose a portable livewell with an aerator to ensure the best performance.

Lively baits are a crucial factor for catching good quality and big-sized fishes. Still, make sure you pick a lightweight product since a kayak has limited weight capacity.

Additionally, you can opt for a watertight livewell for more efficient functioning.

For Recording The Moments: Action Camera

How many times have you wished you had the camera turned on during your best catch of the day? Moreover, if you have a blog or youtube channel, you might want some good shots to brag.

Your mobile phone might have phenomenal quality, but why put it at risk of getting damaged or lost during the trip? For this reason, we highly recommend getting an action camera. Go Pro is an attractive choice for action cameras.

What’s more, these cameras are waterproof. So even if you want to take some spectacular shots of fishes falling for the trap underwater, GoPro can make it happen.

However, the action camera is a suggested gear rather than a necessity. You can ditch it if taking pictures isn’t a priority.

For Handling Fish Safely:  Landing Net

When fishing on a compact vessel such as a kayak, the most ill-suited scenario would be a large catch flopping around. Not only can the fish cause injuries to itself, but it can also be dangerous for you. This is another prominent reason to invest in a good-quality landing net.

You can attach the landing net to either side of your kayak. Moreover, pick a long-handled landing net so that you don’t have to bend when lifting a big catch.

Ask any kayak fishing enthusiast, and we are sure they’ll have many stories to tell of the kayak flipping while they were trying to grab a big fish!

In any case, having a bigger-sized net is ideal since it will help you catch any fish regardless of their size. Therefore, you should choose a robust and top-rated landing net if you have big goals in mind!

For Convenient Fishings: Fishing-Centric Kayak Paddles

If you think your regular paddles are suitable for the fishing environment, you’re mistaken. After all, fishing paddles exist for a reason.

The best fishing paddle for kayaks will have a built-in tape measure on the handle, making fishing a breeze. Additionally, you should look for paddles that come with an adjustable ferrule.

However, if you are worried about having a budget-friendly fishing setup, no worries! You can find plenty of affordable fishing paddles in the market as well.

Alternatively, you can also opt for slightly advanced and lightweight paddles. For example, if you find your existing paddles heavy, you can try out a carbon paddle.

For Positioning Your Kayak: Trolley Kit And Anchor

You can significantly enhance your kayak’s fishing capacity by adding a trolley kit and anchor. Both these tools will prove to be pretty handy when you are fishing at weak spots. These are places where the current and wind causes your kayak to move, making it hard to maintain the site.

Most of the anchor kits come with a storage bag, marine-grade rope, carabiner, and a buoy ball to hold your ride steady.

1. Main Anchor

The typical main anchor is of several different types. These are pretty much portable and offer you a stable position in most situations.

Two types of main anchors you’ll come across most commonly are claw anchors and folding anchors.

–       Folding anchors: Folding anchors are more popular since they offer easy portability. They can also provide you with an excellent level of stability.

–       Claw anchors: Claw anchors don’t have folding spikes. However, they are perfect for rivers or lakes with a soft bed. Plus, they have a much more firm and solid grip.

2. Anchor Trolleys

Anchor trolleys are the extension of the line of anchors. They will help you create an adjustable attaching point on the kayak. Using this trolley, you can pull the anchor line closer to your seat.

Most professional kayakers prefer having anchor trolleys on both sides for enhanced controls. Regardless of the weather or tide conditions, the wind trolley will have your back.

For Keeping The Fish Fresh: Cooler

Imagine catching a bucket full of fishes for your meal only to reach home and realize that they’ve gone stale. Nobody would like to consume a fish sitting on the stringer or kayak for the whole day.

By carrying a pack of ice and a cooler in your kayak, you can ensure that the fish remain fresh for hours. For this purpose, you’ll come across various sizes of coolers in the market. In any case, you should first analyze how many fishes you are planning to catch.

Something to remember while buying a cooler is to look at one that comes with handles so that you can carry it easily. You’ll be surprised how great these coolers are at keeping your catch fresh.

For Additional Safety: Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

A golden rule for kayak fishing trips is to never go for a ride without a personal flotation device, as it’s an essential piece of safety gear. Though kayaking only takes place in calm waters, it’s better not to take risks.

For more efficient fishing, you should equip your kayak with a set of PFDs. Fortunately, many good-quality PFDs in the market come at price points that won’t make your wallet cry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you are trying to outfit a kayak for fishing for the first time, it’s natural to have some doubts. We’ve curated this FAQ section to clear all your doubts, so hopefully, reading this will give you more clarity on the topic.

1.     How To Make A Regular Kayak Suitable For Fishing?

Before you head out with your old regular kayak for fishing, you need to analyze its conditions. You can take the kayak out for a ride and observe if it can handle a fishing trip.

If you feel that there is enough room for you and your fishing gear, that’s a good sign. Next, if the kayak feels stable on the water and not too shaky, you can probably use it for fishing.

However, with regular kayaks, you have to begin by attaching a few rod holders. Since these holders are pretty big, make sure to mount them at a place where they won’t restrict paddling.

Next, you have to add a suitable anchor to stay put. The setup might take some time to get right, but the elbow grease will be worth it.

2.     Is It Possible To Fish While Kayaking?

Of course! Fishing while kayaking is a typical activity that most kayak owners undertake. While you’re on a kayaking hotspot, you might come across many kayakers choosing a stop, throwing down an anchor, and casting baits.

However, you should know that not all kayaking hotspots may be great for fishing. Likewise, not all water bodies with fishes are suitable for kayaking.

It’s probably best to do some research about different waters and get a good fishing setup. Some of the kayak-friendly fish hotspots have beautiful varieties of fishes awaiting your bait!

3.     Is A Sit-In Or Sit On Kayak Better For Fishing?

Sit on top kayaks are one of the best kayak variants for fishing. Not only are these lighter in weight, but they also have superb stability and flexibility. Additionally, you’ll find it easy to move in or out of sit-on-top kayaks, and they also accommodate kayakers for all skill levels.

Not to mention, you can also stand up on sit-on kayaks for a better fishing range.

The Bottom Line

Fishing on a kayak trip is a thrilling experience. However, to make the activity successful, you ought to have the right supplies by your side.

Now that you have all the information you need to outfit a kayak for fishing, don’t you feel more confident about heading out on a fishing trip?

So, what’s the hold? Plan your next kayak trip today!


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