Kayak Fishing for Beginner: Everything You Need to Know

Kayak Fishing Guide

Fishing kayak offers a different approach, making previously unattainable areas accessible. Even if the fishing kayak is the founding father of the practice of kayaking, it has experienced a revival in recent years because of the emergence of new forms of boats specifically adapted to modern fishing.

Shore fishermen looking for new playgrounds, boat fishermen wishing to facilitate the organization of their fishing trips or simply curious to discover new sensations. So if you want to get your arms around and enjoy the best fishing stations with great energy, then kayaking is a good option.

However, kayak fishing for beginner requires a minimum of equipment, often specialized, to be practiced in good conditions. We will try to enlighten anglers who want to get into kayak fishing through this article!

Why kayak fishing instead of others?

Kayak fishing brings several advantages to the fisherman:

  • New Experience: Practice kayak fishing means discovering new biotopes, implementing new techniques and having a different approach. Whether you are fishing in the sea or in freshwater, using a fishing kayak will greatly expand your prospecting area.
  • Inexpensive: It is a trendy outdoor sport with certain freedom and it remains inexpensive compared to the price of a boat. You can buy a good quality fishing kayak for 300 to 100 dollars. Kayak fishing is also absolutely quiet and has remarkable stability compared to a float tube.
  • Easy to Transport: It is easily transportable on a car roof or even you can carry in a backpack for inflatable models. No need for a motor in a kayak, whether it is propelled by paddles or a pedal board, it is our body that works to move forward.
  • Cover Distance Quickly: You glide quietly on the water and it is possible to cover great distances quickly with a little practice. It is a craft designed to split the water and easily go upstream. Fishing kayaks are generally “sit on top” (open cockpit) models. And mostly they are unsinkable.
  • Great Equipment for Fishing: This small, light and fast boat is formidable for fishing. You can take it anywhere and its shallow draft gives access to areas where boats do not go. It is a real adventure and you can observe nature without disturbing it and approach the fishing stations with precision and discretion.
  • Good Outdoor Sports: Also, kayak trip is always a good opportunity to do a bit of sport and to take a rod and a lure box on board to do some casts.

With all these strengths, kayak fishing quickly gains a large number of followers in the world. Clubs create various meetings among kayak anglers, are held monthly.

Kayak fishing action

As we have seen, kayak fishing allows you to approach isolated posts without noise! However, kayak fishing is generally practiced in shallow water heights up to about 6 meters. Even if some anglers practice vertical fishing with their kayak, it is better to get your hands on where the height of water is lower.

Here are some tips for easy and harmonious kayak fishing.

  • – Don’t go fishing with tidal coefficients greater than 100, the currents can be very strong!
  • – Be careful when handling hooks, you are often far from everything!
  • – Always take your cell phone, pliers and a knife, it can be useful.
  • – Dress in the weather conditions: sunscreen, sunglasses, cap or, conversely, a hat, dry suit, etc.
  • – Try it north in an area where you have no footing and try to get into your kayak!
  • – Check the weather and especially the wind.
  • – Secure your equipment, cane, paddle, etc.

A Complete Guide to Kayak Fishing for Beginners

Having fun while improving kayak fishing skills is very possible. You just need to get the right gear and follow some pro tips that we are going to include in the following section.

Choose the right kayak

The choice of the kayak is essential: it is your playmate and your safety depends on it. There are two main categories for fishing kayaks, deck kayaks or kayaks called Sit On Top. This choice essentially depends on your performance and your safety on the water.

In order to start quietly and safely, it is preferable to orient yourself towards a SOT kayak.

  • The decked or Sit-In or closed kayak: the deck kayak is a sea kayak with tight lines. This is a marine model, ideally designed for traveling up to 6 miles offshore. The Sit-In kayak requires a bit of technique in use. It is more suitable for a connoisseur who may have taken a good practice course. It has the advantage of protecting anglers from spray and roll.
  • The SOT kayak (Sit On Top): the SOT kayak is better suited for beginners because it offers more safety in the sea. It looks more like a surfboard that the angler simply sits on. This type of kayaking requires no special technical knowledge of Eskimo. However, it is better suited for practice in calm waters such as estuaries, lakes, port areas or bays rather than in the open sea.

In any case, the choice of the fishing kayak should essentially turn to a stable and easy-to-maneuver model. But you also need to choose a kayak that directly meets your expectations.

Stability is preferred for optimum comfort of use when fishing. On the other hand, a less stable model will be more beneficial to competitive kayak fishing where changes of positions and speed will be frequent.

Also, several characteristics should be considered when buying a fishing kayak: your size, its weight and the type of fishing you want to do. If you prefer comfort fishing, you will opt for a stable model, a little less maneuverable but with optimal comfort on board.

Recommended: Beginner fishing kayak buyer’s guide

Set specific and realistic goals

As we mentioned, kayak fishing is a sporting activity and fun practice, specially dedicated to the active fisherman. In general, a kayaker fishing enthusiast seeks to expend energy in an original way, while developing his passion in areas particularly populated by fish.

This practice will be benefited anglers in different ways. It allows to approach fishing spots sometimes inaccessible by boat. Kayak fishing is a calm and silent practice that you can practice in complete freedom.

Safety equipment

USA regulations impose minimum safety equipment that it is imperative to have. The most important point is to wear a life jacket. It is also possible to put on waders if it is cold. Especially no PVC model which risks filling up and causing us to sink in the event of a fall.

To be safe, it is good to have a rope on board, you can always use it to pull your kayak or moor to the shore.

Fishing equipment

The fishing kayak does not require special equipment other than fishing classic carnivorous! We prefer a rod with a short heel like a float tube, because the length is not a priority either, maximum 2 meters so as not to be crowded on the kayak.

For the fishing rod, the best is a medium rod or even a second in medium light. Always look for lightness because you will already tire to move forward so you might as well be comfortable fishing! Some fishing kayaks are equipped with rod holders and additional accessories that can also be found sold separately from the brands.

Recommended: Kayak fishing rod buyer’s guide

Onboard, you must also provide one or more airtight storage to keep your belongings dry.

Use electronics device

It has become very easy to install a sounder / GPS combo on a kayak! A significant asset for kayak fishing. You can easily spot the most suitable spots for your fishing but especially where the fish are hiding!

The installation often requires a few small DIY but remains within the reach of all. On certain models, you can fix the probe on the side or even completely below using a suction cup!

Feel free to check out our article on the best fish finders to help you make a consistent choice.

Another electronic equipment that can be very useful is the VHF if you experience difficult conditions, discomfort or any other incident.

Master the techniques

Kayak fishing does not require you to cast your rod very far to attract fish. A short cane will suffice. However, to save time and quickly unhook your fish, crush the barbs of your hooks. Also, learn to handle your hooks well to gain performance and avoid straying too far from the fish.

We advise beginners to always equip themselves with a cell phone, pliers and a knife for the first time. The first try in a usual area is also necessary as preparation for sea kayak fishing.

Control the drift

The best catch is when the kayak is drifting, not when you are paddling. Your kayak is indeed pointing in a different direction than you were drifting, and you will then need to know how to put it back in the correct orientation at that time.

To control your kayak when it’s time to fish, just hold your fishing rod in one hand and paddle with the other to stay on course.

Dress properly and safely

A safe kayak fishing session requires wearing a full, 3/2 or short type wetsuit. Added to this is a safety vest, ideally multi-pocket to be able to put down the whistle as well as some easy-to-unpack foods in case of hungry.

Use an effective knife

A survival knife can be particularly useful when needed, such as cutting a rope that has become tangled. However, for a knife to be effective, it must be within reach, hanging on the vest for example, and sharp. A knife with a questionable edge is ineffective or even dangerous.

Hang your knife on the kayak or other floating object to avoid losing it at the first inattention.

Waterproof lamp

This equipment is part of the compulsory equipment (means of light spotting) for the practice of kayak fishing but it is also particularly practical for morning or late outings.

A headlamp is also more practical to keep your hands free while being able to be used by hand if necessary.

Check the weather and tide times

You should systematically check the weather forecast and tide times before going to sea kayak fishing. Climatic hazards such as sudden changes in wind and current can be dangerous at sea.

Also, in this case, remember to equip yourself with safety equipment. Avoid going fishing with tidal coefficients greater than 100. You may face very strong currents.

Adapt to the weather conditions

Of course, you will choose your fishing clothes according to the season and the weather conditions. Shorts and fleece Lycra will be necessary in case of a light breeze. A long neoprene overall and a jacket will offer you optimal comfort in mid-season conditions.

When it is sunny, do not forget your caps and sunglasses. Likewise, hats are essential in cool weather.

Equip yourself with a fish cooler

A small cooler is always useful during a day of sea kayaking fishing. In particular, it allows you to keep the fish cool. In summer, opt for an airtight and watertight cooler, more suitable for spending several hours fishing without altering the catch.


Kayak fishing is nowadays popular all over the world, because of its vast benefits over conventional boats. Also, kayaking fishing is both fun and great outdoor activity. It is above all about relaxing while practicing your favorite sport and not about stressing yourself out of not having had the biggest catch of the day. It can be very enjoyable when conscientiously practiced and in the rules of art.

It is always good to have two eyes open, especially if you are a beginner in such a beautiful sport.

Liam Dean is a Professional Blogger and Outdoor Enthusiast. He completed Masters in Sports Sciences and spend all of his free time doing sports and other outdoor activities. During vacations, he goes hunting, fishing and mountaineering.

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