How To Fish From A Kayak

When someone mentions kayaking, most people don’t automatically think of fishing. But wetting a line (a.k.a. Casting a line into the water) from a kayak is one of the most relaxing and enjoying uses for your kayak. It’s not incredibly different from fishing from the shore, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Things To Consider Before Fishing From A Kayak

While the familiar motion of fishing might be the same on both kayaks and land, there are a few notable differences. When you’re fishing from a kayak, you need to make sure you are very well prepared. Once you are out on the water, the last thing you want is to realize that you forgot something vitally important. If you are casting off from a dock or shore, you can simply run back to your car or cabin if you forgot something. That’s not the case when you’re fishing from a kayak!

There are kayaks that are made specifically for fishing. They are generally called angler kayaks. While you can fish off of almost any kayak, angling kayaks have all of the extra design features that will make your fishing experience extra comfortable. Angling kayaks have ample storage, rod holders and sometime they even have built in coolers for your catch. These extra goodies are great, but as long as you’re comfortable with your kayak and you have enough room for some basic gear, then any kayak will do.


How To Fish From A Kayak

  1. Gather your gear! There isn’t much that is absolutely necessary for your fishing experience, but you will need a few things.
    • A rod holder is extremely convenient and can be relatively simple and inexpensive. Getting a rod holder and attaching it to your kayak can keep your rod in place in case you flip or just hit rough waves. You really wouldn’t want to lose the one piece of equipment that is vital for fishing!
    • An anchor will keep you in place once you’ve found that sweet spot where all the fish are gathering. Just like fishing from a boat, you’ll want your kayak to stay in place once you’re in the “honey pot.”
    • Paddle cord. You do not want to lose your paddle and be stuck! A paddle cord can save you some major headaches.
    • Snacks, water, sunscreen! It seems elementary, but many fishing trips that were supposed to last an hour or two will stretch long into the afternoon. You don’t want to find yourself sunburnt, hungry, dehydrated and far from shore.
  1. Be cautious when you launch. Your boat will feel different in the water when it’s loaded down with all of that gear. Make sure you front load your boat and move slowly. You boat will most likely be lower in the water than you’re used to.
  1. Know your prey! Fish are skittish. Loud motors and shrieking kids will scatter them. That’s one reason that kayaks are great from fishing. They are quiet and stealthy. You will be able to quietly sneak up on the spot where the fish are biting as long as you’re careful to disturb the water as little as possible and keep your gear from banging around.
  1. Cast-off with care. If you’ve never fished from a kayak, it would be smart to practice casting-off in shallow water before you head out to deeper waters. It can feel awkward and vulnerable to cast-off from a relatively unstable foundation, but with a little practice you’ll get the hang of it. It requires more movement of the arms and less of the body than casting-off from shore. It’s important to keep you head as centered on your kayak as possible, so you can remain balanced.
  1. Handling your prize. Once you’ve caught a fish try to reel it in away from your anchor line. If the two get tangled it can be a hassle to deal with. Make sure your paddle is always secured with a paddle cord so you don’t lose it in the excitement, and reel your fish in slowly. If you plan to catch and release you should really avoid touching the fish. Fish have an important protective layer that will be damaged by even the slightest human touch. If you plan to keep your catch, then make sure you have a fish cooler with you to keep your dinner fresh.


Fishing from a kayak isn’t so different from fishing from land. If you know the basics of a rod and reel and you’re comfortable in a kayak, then go for it! Anyone can do it and it can be a great way to spend a healthy, happy Saturday outdoors. Fishing in general can be a relaxing, engaging, even addictive hobby, but being out on the water in a small vessel is even more enchanting. Now you’re ready to gather your gear and hit the water!