Getting-Into-Kayak-Fishing Starter Rules

Photo taken by Chris Funk
(Photo courtesy of Chris Funk)
Are you getting into kayak fishing? Here are some starter rules for you…and a good reminder for those who’ve been in the game for awhile, too!

Wear Weather-Appropriate Clothing

It’s important you wear the appropriate clothes while out for a day of fishing. The weather can be very unpredictable, so you need to be prepared. Layers are a great way to start.

Always get the weather forecast before heading out, and bring along any extras you may need: rain gear, sun-blocking clothes, a hat, etc.

Quick-dry clothes are always best, just in case you flip your kayak and go for a little swim with the fish! But even when you stay in your boat, things like paddle drip, splashing fish and waves can get you a little wet.

Cold weather fishing calls for extra care, as well as a dry bag with a change of dry clothes in case of an emergency.

A Kayak Fishing PFD (Life Jacket)

You should always wear a PFD when you’re out on the water—no matter how much you think you won’t need one.

Fishing kayaks are made to be stable—so stable that you can stand and fish on them. But that doesn’t mean a slight tip can’t put you over the edge of the boat. Or you may get attacked by a goose. Really…just ask Bending Branches’ ProStaffer, Drew Gregory (it's all on this video)!

PFDs will keep you warmer in cold weather, and most of the ones made for fishing have all kinds of handy pockets and rings to stow small gear items, chapstick, sunglasses, keys and other small necessities.
big fish
(photo courtesy of @farmtownfather)

Practice Leave No Trace Policies

We want to keep our waters, shorelines and boat launches clean and trash-free. If possible, leave the waters you fish cleaner than you found them.

An extra plastic bag takes up very little room and is handy to collect any garbage you may find on the water or along the shore. And, of course, be sure you take any trash of your own back off the water with you, including discarded fishing line.

Click here for the 7 Leave No Trace principles.

Learn Proper Paddling Technique

More often than not, we see ourselves as anglers first and paddlers second. But proper paddling technique is vital to your success as a kayak angler.

Learning good paddle skills means you’ll be able to get to key fishing spots quicker, quieter and more efficiently. When you learn a few key strokes—like the forward stroke and draw stroke—it’ll not only help you catch fish, but also get you out of tough situations if necessary.

Recently the buzz in the kayak fishing industry has been about pedal drives. Although pedal drives may be able to propel you further and quicker, it’s still important to carry and use a paddle—and to know how to use it.

There are many situations when you’ll need a paddle to navigate tough waters like shallows, quick-moving rivers or around boat wake. A paddle will give you more stability and control over your kayak than pedals.
launching a fishing kayak
(photo courtesy of @mitten_state_fishing)

Share Your New Knowledge and Growing Expertise with Others

The kayak fishing community is truly unique and welcoming to anyone who wants to join. The community itself is full of anglers who are generous to share their knowledge. As much as you want to know, they want to share the types of baits they’re using, what boat they have, what type of paddle they have, what waters they’re fishing, and so on.

On the other side of that, don’t forget to share what you use, where you fish and your own experiences. It won’t be long before you’ll be the experienced kayak angler, and other newbies will be eager to learn from you!
(This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.)

What paddle questions can we help you with? Contact our friendly Customer Service team today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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