KAYAK FISHING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
I would like to share my experience when it comes to kayak Fishing and what you'll need to think about to get started.
I'll talk through the minimum requirements you'll need to think about before jumping straight into the sport.
Kayak Fishing can be extremly rewarding in terms of catching and become addictive but just remember it can also be a dangerous sport. When you're out on the water you are at the mercy of Mother Nature.
When it comes to picking a kayak I find alot of people rush into buying a kayak.
There are many variations of kayaks at different prices. You'll find two types of kayaks, sit-in and sit-on top kayaks.
When it comes to kayak fishing alot of fisherman use the sit on top kayak as (in my point of view) it's better for fishing, but im sure some will dissagree with me.
Kayak fishing can be exspensive especially when you add up all the basic items you'll need to get started. I would choose wisely when it comes to the kayak you finally decide on. You will get what you pay for so remember that the cheapest or most exspensive kayak isn't always the best/worst.
You'll need to consider what type of environment you are going to fish - Rivers and Lakes or open sea?
My advice is test out a few kayaks at open days or if you know someone with a fishing kayak ask if you can test it out. It may sound harsh but if you have a big frame you'll most definitely need a more stable kayak that can support the weight of your gear and yourself. One kayak can be perfect for one person but not for another. Kayaks can be made out of different materials like plastic or fibre glass.
Fibre glass will be faster and easier to paddle but plastic is more durable and can be roughed up a bit more when it comes to launching and landing on stoney beaches.
The following are things to think about.
My choice of Kayak was the
Ocean Kayak Trident 13.
Its stable has loads of storage and can handle open ocean. I thought long and hard but to be honest I don't regret buying this yak. I find it has a happy medium when it comes to weighing up all the features I require.
The second most important item you'll need is obviously a paddle. Again you'll find many different types ranging in price and the material they made out of. I don't want to go too much into picking a paddle as I've bought a standard two piece paddle and it does the job. I'm sure as you progress in the sport you'll want to upgrade but that is all on personnal opinion.
The third most important item in my opinion is a roof rack. How are you going to transport your kayak to all the fishing venues you want to fish?
I have a roof rack that is designed for my vehicle but you can buy universal roof racks. Just remember when travelling on long distance journeys a good roof rack will help to keep the kayak stable and prevent you loosing the kayak on the motorway.
A kayak trolley will make your life easier when it comes to launching. With not every launch site having perfect parking right next to the water or a fellow angler to help carry your kayak.
I have survived without one so they wouldn't be one of the most important items to buy first. Once again you can buy different types at different prices. Have a look around and decide on which one best suits the kayak you buy.
Finally depending on what type of fishing you'll be doing I suggest buying an anchor. Anchors are good for keeping yourself in one position and can be used to stop yourself from drifting in the tide or if you want a brake from paddling. Anchoring up can be dangerous especially in strong tides so watch some videos on how to do it. You'll need an anchor trolley system installed on your kayak for positioning the anchor to the front or back of the kayak. they are simple to install and once again there are plenty videos that will show you how.
I use a 2.5 kg folding anchor attached to a diving reel with 160 feet of line for fishing deep water. You might need more line than I do for areas you might fish in.
My advice is watch YouTube videos on setting up an anchor system. Remember if you don't know what you are doing and fall off an anchored kayak you will float away in the tide and your kayak won't.
There are many safety items you can carry on a kayak but I'm only going to list a few that you will require to get started.
First of all a personal flotation device (PFD) has to be one of the top items on your list. I actually purchased mine before my kayak. You need to think about whether you require pockets to store items and whether the PFD can support your weight when submerged in the water. This is a life saving piece of kit so don't skimp on price. I use a Palm PFD because it can support my frame and has pockets to keep other safety items on my person at all times.
In Summer shorts and a Tshirt will be fine to paddle in but the rest of the year you will atleast need a wetsuit. Myself and most UK Kayak anglers use a Drysuit which will keep you dry if you fall in the water and you can wear warmer clothing underneath. It doesn't take long for hypothermia to take affect and in winter the temperature drops to dangerous levels especially if you get wet the added wind chill factor will speed up the process. Drysuits will vary in price and in some cases can cost more than the kayak. I personally need a relief zip built in for when I need to pee on the long sessions I spend out on the water. Another point to think about is how the zip does up. My current drysuit zip goes across my back and can be difficult to zip up on your own. I would buy one size up from what fits you as you'll be wearing warm clothing underneath in winter.
Some dry suits come with a fleece onesie for winter months but if you buy one that doesn't you might want to think about getting one. You can always wear other warm clothes but I find the fleece onesie will keep you alot warmer.
Finally I think another safety item that is worth thinking about is a VHF radio.
I do carry my phone in a waterproof case but if you don't have signal or something happens to your phone you will have no way of communicating with other boat users or signaling for help. I do suggest going on a radio course but if you atleast learn how to do a may day call and don't abuse the airwaves and just use the radio for emergencies I cant see that being a problem. I think the coastguard would rather you had a radio than not.
Kayak Fishing is addictive and can increase your catching by targeting fishing areas that you might not be able to access at the moment.
When it comes to safety be prepared and don't be caught out by lack of knowledge out on the water. You can ask fellow kayak fisherman for advice or even try and organise a trip with someone experienced. Don't just jump into purchases that might not suit your needs when out on the water and do your homework by reading forums and pages from fellow kayak fisherman. Finally have fun and share your catch reports with fellow anglers.
(The following advice / info is on my experience and point of view when it comes to kayak fishing)