Although the practice of hunting by kayak has been around for thousands of years, modern kayak fishing has only become popular recently. Kayak fishing provides an exciting fishing experience because it is more intimate than boat fishing and offers you the opportunity to wrestle with your catch.
Anyone who loves the sport should consider kayak fishing. If you are looking to ditch your boat and try kayak fishing for the first time or if you want to ensure that you pack thoroughly for your next kayak fishing excursion, check out our kayak fishing gear checklist to make sure you have all of the items you need when you head out on your next fishing trip.
Benefits of Kayak Fishing
If you are new to kayak fishing, it is an excellent idea to discover why you should invest in the items you need for the sport. What makes kayak fishing so amazing? Consider the benefits of kayak fishing over other types.
- Get closer to native wildlife
- Explore narrow, hidden waterways, small streams or flooded areas for better access to a wider fish population
- Pay less for equipment, as kayaks are much less expensive than motorized boats
- Help the environment – paddle kayaks are eco-friendly as opposed to motorized boats that use gasoline
- Get exercise – paddling your kayak works your muscles
- Experience exciting catches as you balance the kayak with the tugging from the fish
A kayak fishing excursion is more than just a fishing trip. Kayaking allows you to get in touch with nature and experience solitude, which is good for the soul. Just make sure you know the ins and outs of kayak transport, like how to strap your items down safely and what your local laws are regarding what you can transport on a kayak.
Kayak Fishing Checklist
When you head out on your first kayak fishing trip, make sure to pack everything you’ll need for the day. Once you are out on the water, you can’t return home to grab it, so look carefully at the fishing gear you’ll need to prepare ahead of time to bring with you.
The first item you need for a kayak fishing trip is your kayak. There is no one right kayak, but consider the following elements when choosing a kayak for your trips. Not all kayaks are designed for fishing. Look for a model that has:
- An elevated seat so that you have better visibility
- A paddle holder
- Enclosed storage for items that need to remain dry or out of sunlight
- A holder for your fishing rod, possibly for multiple rods
- Sizable storage areas with bungees that keep your items from falling out
- A mount for a GPS system or fish finder device
Choosing a paddle that fits with your body and your kayak is essential. Pick a long enough paddle for you to reach the water without straining, but that isn’t so long that it becomes awkward to use. Pick a lighter paddle with a flexible shaft and sturdy blade to make it easier on your arms, back and shoulders.
3. Fishing Rods and Net
Bring your fishing rods with you on your kayak fishing trip, along with a sturdy fishing net. You never know what you might encounter while kayak fishing, so bringing your rods and net provides you with options to use to catch the fish or other water animals.
4. Life Vest
A life vest, also called a personal flotation device (PFD), is another essential piece of equipment to have on a kayak fishing trip. Whether you are an experienced swimmer or not, capsizing in a kayak is dangerous, and a PFD may save your life in the case of an accident.
5. Safety Gear
Aside from your PFD, there are pieces of safety gear to consider packing. These include a first aid kit, safety whistle, sunscreen, rope, knife, flashlight, water and food.
6. Visibility Flag and Light Pole
Always equip your kayak with a visibility flag and light pole. Kayaks are small watercraft and are not easily seen by large or motorized boats. To prevent boat collisions, a flag and light pole make you more visible to other watercraft in the area.
7. Fish Finder
Fish finders are devices that detect underwater contours, temperature, depth and fish and other animals beneath the surface. Look for a model that comes with a mount, rugged, waterproof housing and several hours of battery life.
Also, consider bringing a GPS tracker, especially if you plan on kayaking in a new location. Exploring is fun, but not when it ends in you becoming lost for hours. A GPS tracker helps you know where you are and how to get back home.
9. Proper Clothes
Wear clothes that protect you from the elements, and bring an extra pair just in case. Depending on where you are fishing and what time of year it is, dress in clothing that won’t leave you overheated, sunburned or suffering from hypothermia. Essential items include a hat, a lightweight, long sleeve shirt made of moisture-wicking fabric and a neck gaiter.
10. Fishing Tackle and Crate
Don’t forget to pack your fishing tackle and tackle crate. You have to select what you want to bring ahead of time because storage space on a kayak is limited. Decide what lures to bring for the fish you aim to catch and the location you’re in.
One final item to bring on your kayak fishing trip is an anchor. An anchor helps you hold your position when the day is windy or the current is strong.
Decide on Your Destination
Once you have your kayak packed, it’s time to figure out where to go. Check out the best kayak fishing destinations in America to discover a new, beautiful place to bring your gear and fish. Consider a trip to New Zealand, where you can participate in big game hunting and inexpensive kayak bass fishing.
Now that you have your checklist, get packing! Kayak fishing is an exciting way to catch fish, get close to wildlife and spend some quiet time out in nature. Head to Mossy Oak to make sure you have all the high-performance apparel you need before hopping in your kayak and paddling downstream.