How to Kayak Fishing?
Kayak fishing is a combination of kayaking and fishing but there are a few specific skills you must learn to have a successful expedition. You must be aware of the local fishing reports depending on where you are. You must be familiar with the weather and any challenge it may pose. You should have all the essential gears in your fishing kayak and be safe on the waters. You can get an inflatable fishing kayak and pack in all the accessories. Yet, it will not be a traditional fishing vessel. Your fishing technique will also be limited to the rod and reel. Since you are likely to spend some time at specific spots on a course, you should be aware of the presence of any other vessel, especially speed boats and larger boats.
• The first thing you should learn about kayak fishing is sight fishing. You are not casting a net to capture all the fishes found in the area. Sight fishing is basically looking as far into the water as possible to spot fish and then to lure it for the catch. You can use polarized glasses that will almost completely counter the glare emanating from the surface of the lake, river or coastal waterway. Some water bodies have very little visibility so sight fishing may be difficult. In places where it is possible, sight fishing is fun and rewarding. You can use a sit-on-top or standing Sea Eagle kayak for sight fishing.
• You should always have the rod ready and you must be prepared to change the lures as and when needed. Not all fish respond to the same bait. You should not take much time to change the lure or cast the rod when you find some fish schooling in one place, feeding or fighting. For this purpose, have the rod and lure ready alongside the fishing kayak. This is easier than having the rod aimed towards the front. A rod placed straight over the front deck will make it difficult to maneuver whenever there is some wind.
• You must learn to be stealthy. You cannot make too much noise. Whether you are paddling or placing and controlling the fishing rod, none of the accessories or essentials should make a lot of sound. The rod should not knock against the fishing kayak. You should paddle softly in order to avoid splashing on the water. Vibrations, sounds and splashing water will drive fish away. They will swim away from the shallower parts to the deeper parts of the river or lake. Some people get a fishing kayak with pedals but not with motor for this reason.
• You should learn to drift. Paddle to get to the fishing spot. Once you are there, stop paddling and use the natural current of the river or the wind over a lake to drift slowly and steadily. You can use an occasional stroke on the right or left to stay on the intended course. Drifting is crucial for kayak fishing.
Things to Have With You When Kayak Fishing
An increasing number of hobbyists are getting into kayak fishing. It no longer seems to be a mere trend as preferences for fishing from kayaks are on the rise. The benefits are hard to ignore. It’s a cheaper and less fussy way to get out and fish in the waters. There’s no fuel, maintenance, and other preparatory requirements; and there’s no need to look for (and queue at) a ramp to launch your kayak. Kayak fishing also opens up more spots to hook your prized fish where your big boat can’t steer into.
If you’re considering on embarking on this alternative fishing experience, the following are things to have with you when kayak fishing.
The kayak is, of course, a primary gear. It is your flotation equipment that enables you to move conveniently and swiftly on water. There is a variety of choices and you need to select one that fits your skill, purpose, and storage capabilities. Touring kayaks are fast and easy to maneuver. These are great for long trips but may require a lot of space. A sit-on, recreational, or inflatable kayak are smaller in size. These are your better options if you need to consider storage space.
• Kayak paddle
A kayak paddle is a necessary match to your primary equipment. It is your main gear for movement. There is also a variety of choices. Types differ according to shape and material used. Beginners may be content with commonly designed paddles. But as you get more skilled, you may prefer specific shapes for performance and power issues. When it comes to material, you may want to consider durability and adjustability. Beginners may want to prioritize a lightweight feature. These paddle types are less fatiguing and can get you going for longer.
• Personal flotation device
A PFD is a must. This strap-on lifejacket ensures that you are able to float in water anytime you fall in. Designs vary but the most useful ones will have multiple compartments for storing your lures, D-rings, and other fishing gear. Consider adjustable shoulder and side straps for better and comfortable fitting.
• Fishing rod and reel
These are your instruments for catching fish. The fishing rod can be medium to long length. You can choose between an inshore and offshore rod. Some may be heavy for a novice so opting for a lightweight material is an option. The fishing reel is your device for casting a line, baiting fish, and reeling your catch in. You can choose between a spin reel or a baitcasting reel.
• Other essential items
There are essential items you should consider getting to complete your gear and be more prepared for a safe and enjoyable time during kayak fishing. A first aid kit should be on hand so you can treat cuts and other wounds immediately. A tackle storage box lets you organize your fishing tools neatly. Consider getting mountable rod holders and paddle holders if your kayak doesn’t have them yet. These secure your gear onto the kayak so you don’t lose them during sudden jolts. You may also opt for leashes.
Do’s and Don’ts When Kayak Fishing
Kayak fishing is still quite new to other hobbyists. This interesting method of catching fish may be one way to spice up the way you go fishing and could probably get more friends to join you on your next fishing trip.
Kayak fishing is relatively safe and can be high on fun but it can quickly turn dangerous if you don’t prepare well. Keep fishing safe and pure joy in your inflatable kayak (or other types) by making careful planning and consideration of all you need to do and have for an upcoming kayak fishing adventure. Following are some do’s and don’ts when kayak fishing.
Do’s When Kayak Fishing
• Do maintain an awareness of weather conditions and of your surroundings.
Check weather forecasts before launching out on a certain day. Prepare your items keeping in mind what the weather conditions may be like. Maintain awareness of your surroundings as you fish in your kayak. Stay mindful of other boats and vessels in the fishing area. Be ready to maneuver and make signals so you can keep a safe distance from them.
• Do consider investing in useful electronic equipment.
GPS, compass, fish finders, and the like help you maintain the right direction, preventing you from getting lost. It gets you to places and to your catch faster. It redirects you on the right path sooner. Horns, flares, radio, and other communication and signaling devices help you alert rescuers when you need immediate attention. These also inform others of your presence on the water, helping you avoid collisions and other hazards.
• Do get yourself in physical shape and condition.
The seasoned kayak fishing hobbyist may look at this practice as an exciting recreational activity and a great way to exercise and burn calories. For the beginner, however, kayak fishing may be physically strenuous and risky if the body is not in physical shape. You can choose basic workouts that build strength and endurance in order for you to handle the physical challenges this activity entails. Do arm and leg reps so you can build and strengthen those muscles you’ll be relying on to paddle and navigate you through the waters. Try jogging, biking, stair climbing and other routines to work on your stamina.
Don’ts When Kayak Fishing
• Don’t disregard your physical readiness and existing medical conditions.
Get a recommendation from your doctor. And, if you have a current medical condition, let your doctor assess and approve you for kayak fishing before planning to go on one. Each body uniquely handles the physical factors and environmental factors (like extreme heat or cold) that play into kayak fishing. Also, know how to schedule your trips. You may be in tip-top condition at one time but quite the opposite at another time.
• Don’t go kayak fishing unprepared nor unlearned.
As you fish and paddle your kayak, you’d want to use appropriate gear and execute right techniques. So, research, learn, and get basic training in kayak fishing. By researching plus learning from professionals, you can learn key principles on proper paddling techniques and choosing more appropriate equipment. These will help you be more guided and strategic each time you go on a kayak fishing trip.
• Don’t consume the wrong types of food and drink.
Have a sufficient amount and bring the right types of food and drink. You’re never sure how long you’ll be in the water. Kayak fishing may run short. But, you may also enjoy it too much and decide to stay longer. Or, you may have made a promise not to leave without a catch and the wait may have turned out long. The hot sun can get you dehydrated quickly so have enough water and bring fruits that are rich in water. You get natural sugars and you replenish those fluids lost. Colas and beers are welcome treats but drink pure, plain water more. No water ride may be complete without some snacks but favor nutritious types like nuts, boiled eggs, and other protein-rich treats.
Must Know Fishing Regulations in US
The fishing regulations in the United States are laid down as per the statutes of the Fisheries Law. Fisheries Law includes federal and state legislation.
There are many relevant laws such as the Magnuson-Stevens Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act. The collective of such laws ensures endangered fish species are protected, overfishing is averted, the natural habitats of marine species are not damaged and there are demarcated waters where people can fish. The laws also have provisions to protect the water bodies, whether freshwater lakes and rivers or the coastal areas and the high seas up to the international waters.
There are different types of fishing and accordingly relevant laws are applicable. Commercial fishing has more stringent regulations. Recreational fishing or sport fishing is much easier. One does need a fishing license though. Commercial fishing requires permits. There are catch limits and also a clearly marked fishing season. An individual with a relevant license can indulge in recreational or sport fishing aboard an inflatable kayak in public waters around the country at most times of the year.
Recreational fishing does not call for the implementation of stringent regulations such as annual catch limit or the statutes of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act, Fishermen’s Protective Act, International Fisheries Law or National Fish Habitat Conservation Act. You can fish on public waters such as national lakeshores and seashores, beaches, rivers and those in national wildlife refuges. There are two hundred and seventy national parks and three hundred and nine national wildlife refuges where you can fish. These are administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. A total of two hundred and forty five million acres of land under the Bureau of Land Management are accessible to the public for recreational fishing. There are two hundred and eight rivers and streams where you can fish.
It is imperative to have a fishing license before you embark on an expedition aboard an inflatable kayak. Every state has its own regulation for fishing license. You must read about the relevant state law. Fishing licenses are typically provided by Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks or Department of Fish and Game. There are a few types of fishing license. Residents and nonresidents get different licenses. There is saltwater fishing license and freshwater fishing license. There is a recreational type and a commercial fishing license. You must apply for a nonresident fishing license if you are on vacation in another state. Freshwater fishing license does not enable you to take your inflatable kayak out to the sea and catch a bass.
You can apply for a fishing license online, over the phone or in person. You can also send a mail and receive the license subject to approval. You must pay the required fee to get the license. Every state has its own process of application. Not all states accept applications by mail or over the phone. Online application is the easiest and fastest way to get a fishing license in any of the states across the US.