Author Topic: kayak fishing tips.  (Read 1768 times)

Offline joco

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Re: kayak fishing tips.
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2008, 03:14:17 AM »
the rest off the tips..

Trolling takes a little experimentation and practice. You will have to experiment a bit to decide where you want to set your rod while you paddle-troll. I used to just wedge the rod butt under my knee with the tip extending out beside and slightly aft of the seat. It worked ok but wasn't really convenient and was pretty rough on rods. It took some experimentation to find a way to mount a rod holder so that while I was trolling, the line and rod didn't interfere with the paddle

Some fishermen prefer to use rod holders mounted behind the cockpit. They are definitely out of the way there. You will probably want a drag that makes enough noise so you will know when to drop the paddle and grab the rod.

I like to mount the rod holder up near my feet. The Rod is beyond the normal swing of my paddle. The line runs straight back over my head and doesn't foul with the paddle even while turning. The tip is held high and out of the way but I can still see when the rod starts jumping and easily reach the rod to reel
« Last Edit: April 04, 2008, 03:15:11 AM by joco »

Offline joco

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kayak fishing tips.
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2008, 03:13:41 AM »
Fishing from Your Kayak

Although it sometimes seems like a new idea, many of the earliest kayaks were used primarily as hunting and fishing craft. Fishing is actually the reason I started kayaking in the first place. I liked to fish in places that were difficult to reach. Less pressure from other fishermen meant more catching. A kayak allows me to get beyond those areas that I could easily reach by walking and launch where there isn't a boat ramp. For ocean fishing, I could reach areas that were too far to comfortably run in a powerboat and even fish in protected coves when it was too rough to run to or enter from the outside.

I still have a perfectly good power skiff parked in the garage, But I found that it is so much easier to load, launch, rig, land and then put everything away after kayak fishing that I seldom use the power skiff anymore. While kayak fishing, I've caught salmon, trout, rockfish, lingcod, cabazon, greenling, grayling, perch, barracuda, mackerel, bass, pike, shad, crawfish, crappie and crabs. I've even used a kayak to get out to dig giant clams on virgin mud flats that I had all to myself.

Kayaks for Fishing:
If you already have a suitable kayak it will only require a few accessories to get it ready for fishing. If you don't yet have a kayak, I would recommend one that is stable enough so that you don't risk capsize whenever the paddle isn't available for a quick bracing stroke. Depending on how much tackle you like to carry, you might be able to get along fine without hatches or a tank-well where others might carry boxes, bags and buckets of tackle.  You will want to consider where you will carry your catch. A tethered mesh bag that you can set in the tank-well works fine for most instances. You might be able to drag fish on a stringer but don't expect to be able to paddle very fast with a stringer of fish dragging in the water.

Many fishermen prefer to use sit-on-top type kayaks but traditional style kayaks are fine for some types of fishing. Sit-on-tops usually provide lots of places to mount accessory gear and clips. So far as I know, SCUBA tank-wells (a good place to carry your catch) are not available on any sit-inside cockpit kayak. For ocean fishing, sit-on-tops are often preferred chosen because of safety concerns. They do not have the high risk of flooding if accidentally capsized and are much easier to re-board from the water. I recommend that you practice self-rescues. Otherwise you would have to do your best figure it out, when cold, wet and startled by your first accidental capsize.

Do you want gear hatches? I don't like to carry much tackle if I can avoid it. I try to carry whatever I might need in a vest that is large enough to wear over my PFD. You should consider where you might want to carry some lunch, and do not forget to take plenty to drink! Opening hatches out on the water can be hazardous so I would only carry those things inside a hatch that could wait until I paddled ashore to reach.

You want some wide flat surfaces to mount a rod holder or two. Flat surfaces on the top and sides also make adding clips and accessories much easier. There is an accessory called a Rhynobar that gives any kayak angler a space to mount rod holders, fish finders or other accessories.You can also add hatches if there are suitable locations. Many kayaks have been designed for optional hatches and this certainly simplifies adding them.

A suitable kayak for fishing will be determined by several factors. The water and conditions that you intend to fish in (warm water, cold water, lakes, fast moving rivers, bays or an exposed coastal area are one consideration. Your size, balance, and the distance you intend to paddle will also affect your decision. You will also want to consider how you will transport the kayak. Lighter (and shorter) kayaks might make transportation less of a chore.

A fishing kayak will probably be at least 11 feet long for adequate tracking and carrying capacity. If the kayak will be used primarily for fishing in fast moving rivers, I would then look for something short enough for good maneuverability and I would avoid boats with any kind of keel.

The kayak will probably be at least 24" if it is to have enough stability to use for fishing. Wider boats generally offer greater stability but less paddling efficiency. Although fishing will seldom require much speed, if you expect to paddle more than a mile or so to your fishing spot, you might want to avoid anything more than 28" wide. If you are much over 200 lbs., you may however, need greater beam to get enough stability (and butt-room) to be comfortable.

The best way to tell is to paddle enough different boats so that you can develop a sense of what feels best. After you have begun to settle on a model, I would take it out for at least a one-hour paddle to confirm your decision. Once you begin to feel tired, what may have seemed like minor differences may feel more significant.

Specific Kayak Models:
I would recommend almost anyone begin their search by looking at either a (12' X 29" X 56 lbs.) Scrambler XT by Ocean Kayak (OK) or a (13' X 28" X 62 lbs.) Ride by Wilderness Systems (WS). These two kayaks are very stable, both have a tank-wells are easy enough to paddle and comfortable for most people. If you want something a bit faster, look at the (16' X 28" X 63 lbs.) Tarpon by WS or any of the (15" X 26" X 56 lbs.) Scupper Pro models by OK, one has a tank-well. Paddlers who want an efficient hull in a slightly lighter (and less expensive) package might try the (14" X 26" X 48 lbs.) Scupper Classic. Curiously, even large paddlers may find the shallower seat of the Classic more comfortable than the Pro (but they will need better than average balance to stay upright.) Smaller paddlers who desire a lighter boat might also consider the (11' X 28" X 45 lbs.) Scrambler (NOT XT) by OK. If you are a XXL+ paddler, you might consider the (12.5" X 34" X 58 lbs.) Drifter by OK or even a (12' X 35" X 61 lbs.) Malibu II, a double kayak which can be paddled as a single. If you are thinking of drift fishing in fast moving rivers, the (10.5" X 30" X 53 lbs.) Yahoo might be what you want. Other manufacturers make some good fishing kayaks too. These are models we sell and I know them best.

Sit-Inside Kayaks:
These can work fine, particularly if you are not going to paddle through any rough water and you hope to stay dry. Regardless of the type of kayak you choose, you should not neglect the possibility of a capsize. (Do not paddle a kayak anywhere you are not prepared to swim.) You might consider these type of kayaks so long as they feel stable to you. A large cockpit opening like the (12' X 29" X 49 lbs.) Pungo by WS, is fine but not essential for fishing. If you intend to take a sit-inside kayak into conditions where there is a significant danger of capsize, you might want to consider equipping the kayak with inflatable sponsons. When sponsons are properly installed and inflated, they can add a great deal of stability and reduce the likelihood of capsize. They can deflated and even removed for normal paddling.


Hardware for mounting Accessories:
Stainless steel fasteners with washers and nylock nuts are the best way to go, but you must be able to get a wrench or socket inside of the boat to tighten them. This is not a problem when the bolt is to be located within an arms reach from a hatch, however not every boat has a hatch where you might need it. In this case there are special blind "Pop" rivets for attaching hardware to plastic (do not use rivets if you have a fiberglass kayak.). They expand with a large X shaped head holding inside the plastic and work quite well. Because they are aluminum, they will need to be replaced every three or four years if you paddle in salt water. If you have a fiberglass kayak or you want something that doesn't need to be replaced every four years, you should consider using well-nuts for blind fastenings.

You can use a sealant like Lexel or "AquaSeal" under everything you attach to help seal water out.

Rod Holders:
While paddling to the area you want to fish, you may need a place to park the rod where it will not get in the way. I don't like clips that hold the rod alongside the cockpit because they can be "knuckle busters" and get in the way while I'm paddling. You can use flush or bracket-mounted rod holders. They can be mounted in front of or behind the cockpit. I would start out with the simple PVC rod holder you can make yourself for about $3.

Deck mounted rod holders are also fine. Neither will require that you cut any big holes in the deck. At least not until you are certain where you put it is where you want it to stay. If you are going to mount a flush-mount rod holder, be sure that the bottom is not open, as this would let water enter the hull. You will also need to make sure that there is enough room inside so that the tube that extends inside the hull will not bottom-out before the top flange reaches the deck.

With a deck-mounted rod-holder, I like the bracket to be fairly low profile so there isn't a huge clump of plastic left there when I remove it. When mounting one that has a wing nut, be sure you put the nut on the side so you can still adjust the rod angle. Allowing plenty room for the rod butt if it will rest against the kayak.

Fishing from an anchored or drifting kayak isn't very difficult and very little is needed in the way of explanation. I like to carry whatever gear I might need in a fishing vest so that it is easy to reach. Trolling from a kayak takes a little more preparation.

Even if you are going to fish calm water, you should seriously consider using some sort of tether to attach your rod (as well as your paddle, net, bait bucket, portable depth-finder, VHF, cell-phone, GPS, tackle box, and what ever else that might be dropped) to the boat. Divers often use webbing straps with snap hooks, which is a pretty slick way to leash gear to the kayak.

Backrest and Seat:
If you are paddling a sit-on-top, you need a backrest. If your back ever gets sore, get a tall backrest like the one made by Surf to Summit. If you have any back trouble, consider getting a tall backrest with an inflatable lumbar support. I like backrests that have a pouch so I can carry water bottles and maybe a snack. There is also a backrest specifically designed for fishing that has rod holders built-in. If you are considering a backrest with built in pockets for water bottles, first check to see that the pockets will fit your cockpit. Most of the better backrests will have a seat pad as part of them. I would be cautious adding extra padding to the seat. Increasing your seat elevation will quickly raise your center of gravity and can reduce your stability.

Paddles are priced from around $40 to $400. Even the inexpensive ones are plenty strong. I like paddles with a dihedral (raised ridge) face. They are very smooth stroking and don't flutter when you dig in. Less expensive paddles are usually heavier, often made of aluminum (which is cold to the touch and corrodes particularly on 2-piece jointed paddles. If you have a 2-piece paddle, store it in two pieces.)

Light paddles are really nice to use. Even at cruising speeds, a kayaker is only maintaining an average propelling force of around five pounds. Paddling a kayak forward is done using powerful muscles of the shoulders, arms and abdomen. The muscles used to hold the paddle up are less powerful. If you can shave off a few ounces, the difference is quite noticeable. After an hour of paddling, the difference is enormous! If you have a light paddle, I don't recommend trading it with any paddling partner that is using a heavy paddle to try out, unless you don't mind waiting until you get back to the beach for him to return it!

Lighter paddles may also be less rugged. If you are rough on gear, I wouldn't go very light. If you want a paddle you can use to push off of rocks get one with molded plastic blades. Surprisingly, I see tough paddles break as often than the light ones. I suspect that paddlers tend to abuse tough, heavy paddles and exercise care with premium ones.

Paddle Leash:
A leash keeps the paddle with you and allows you to drop it in the water when fighting a fish. You can simply use a piece of line or various specially made designs. I like paddle leashes that will attach to the bow toggle so I don't have to add an attachment point (an eye strap.) You want the length such that there isn't much slack in it but I don't want to be pulling against the elastic at any time while paddling.

Personal Flotation Device:
It must be comfortable, because I am going to wear it whenever I'm on the water. I like ones with a zipper so there are no long tangled straps and once its adjusted, I don't have to mess with it. I like pockets too.

If the water is too cold to swim in, you should wear a wetsuit (or dry suit) to keep you warm and to prevent hypothermia, particularly if you capsize. A neoprene hood or cap will also help you to retain body heat.

Full wetsuits may keep you plenty warm but I find them uncomfortable to wear while paddling. If you are going to wear a full wetsuit, you might consider wearing a Lycra "rash guard" to prevent chafing under your arms. I like to wear a farmer john suit while paddling. It is like a pair of farmers overalls made of neoprene. Although a 3 mil (1/8 ") suit is fine for regular paddling in our area, I prefer a 6 mil (1/4") suit when fishing because I find I expend less energy fishing and it takes more insulation to stay warm. I take along a nylon-paddling jacket in case I start to get cold but it is usually too hot to wear.

Neoprene booties are the standard footwear. I like high top boots to keep the coarse gravel out and rubber soles so I can get out and walk around comfortably. Six mil boots will obviously keep your feet warmer than thin boots

Gloves? I am blessed with warm hands so I don't have to bother with gloves. If your hands get cold, you may need neoprene gloves. You might be able to cut out the tip of the index finger and thumb to preserve your sense of touch.

A net may not be needed to land smaller fish but may be required by fishing regulations. I have a large net with a short handle that I keep in clips on the rear deck. Landing a fish in a net from a kayak can be difficult. 

I seldom use one but since there are times and places they might come in handy. I like the 2-lb. Folding grapnel anchors best for kayaks. If you expect it to hold, you will probably need an anchor line that is at least four times the depth of the water. Better yet, if there is kelp, take something you can use to tie on to it.

Depth Finder:
Have two depth finders I could mount on my kayak but so far, I never have. One is a Hummingbird portable unit, the other is a (Bottom Line, Fishing Buddy) unit that has the transducer on an attached tube and runs on flashlight batteries. If I thought I needed it, I would hook it up but so far, have not. (Ok, it is on my list of things to do.)

A five to seven foot rod is fine for trolling, jigging and bait fishing. Some kayakers like using short rods and a few like using longer rods. Decide what works best for you and the intended catch. Select the action that suits the weight of line, tackle and fish you are going after. You will probably find you prefer using light gear for kayak fishing. I like to set the drag just enough to keep line from pulling out. This will give you some time to grab your rod after a strike and eliminates the risk of "Old Moe" from pulling the kayak over. I would choose rods with long butts so they will rest in the rod holder securely.

Use whatever you like best. I've even used hand lines successfully. I like reels that are simple, rugged and work just as well after they have been dunked in the water.


Anchored or Drifting with Bait or Jigs:
This is easiest. I have to assume that you already at least know the basics. Some fishermen use drogues to reduce their drift, you can also slow your drift some by dangling your feet in the water. If you start getting uncomfortable, you can also swing both legs over the same side and sit "side-saddle" if you can balance and are comfortable that way.

    --contributed by Dave Martin, Noyo Pacific Outfitters