How to Launch a Fishing Kayak

ProStaffer and Kayak Bass Fishing founder, Chad Hoover, shows us how to launch a fishing kayak in this video…

kayak fishing at sunset

You’re all set for a day on the water. You’ve loaded your kayak, got it all rigged up and you’re ready. The last thing you want to do is dump it over when you’re launching it!

When Chad Hoover received multiple requests for a video on how to launch a fishing kayak, this was the result:

Launch Ramp Etiquette

Pull off to one side, get your gear ready and stay out of the way until you’re ready. “Don’t be that guy” who hogs up the ramp! Stay off to the side in case someone else comes to launch while you’re rigging up.

Quick and Convenient for Local Fishing

When you do most of your fishing locally there’s no reason why you can’t leave your rod holders and other equipment attached to your kayak. Doing so means launching is quick and easy every time with a minimum of set-up.

Once you’re parked and ready to go, put on your PFD while you’re still on shore. No ifs, ands or buts!

Two Launching Mistakes

One of two mistakes are common when launching:

  • You place the kayak parallel to the ramp and then try to walk down the nose. That’s like walking a tightrope! Not only do you risk stepping on your gear or—worse—a hook, but you risk tipping and taking a bath.
  • You pull the kayak too far up on the bank and then try to scoot back. This is another good way to flip your boat! When your back end is floating but your front end is sitting on the bank, your kayak is far less stable than when it’s completely in the water.

Correct Launching Methods

To launch correctly, tip the nose of your kayak to one side in the water and use your paddle to align it parallel to the bank. Bring it in close enough so it’s in the water but an easy distance for you to step in.

pull your fishing kayak parallel to the shore

From there you can use either the standing launch or a sitting launch:

  • For a standing launch you’ll step in front of the seat on the inside on the kayak, using your paddle to stabilize you. Bring your other foot over to step on the other side and push off.
  • For a sitting launch you’ll want your boat out just a bit further. Sit sideways on your seat (the seats of fishing kayaks are higher than touring or recreational kayaks so it’s easier), pivot and bring your feet inside and you’re ready to go. Scoot a bit or use your paddle to get you going.

for a sitting kayak launch

Coming Back in (Recovery)

Come in at a 45º angle and use your paddle to steer you parallel to the shoreline. Once you’re close enough, stand up and step out with your weight on the inside (closest to the bank), using your paddle to stabilize you. Use your other foot and your paddle to pull your kayak in to the shore.

Thanks to Chad for these basic but very helpful tips!

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