Kayak Fishing, why you want to try it

Kayak Fishing

Spring is here, which means open water season in Manitoba. I will soon be out doing my absolute favorite activity, kayak fishing. The kayak is ancient. First used by the Inuit up to 4,000 years ago. That’s a long time to tweak and improve the design! What we end up with in modern times is a fantastically fun and affordable way to fish. Kayak fishing is becoming more and more popular. Why do you suppose that is?

Affordability, don’t break the bank

Let’s face it, a good fishing boat can get expensive, fast. A boat, trailer, and motor can run from hundreds, to thousands, to tens of thousands of dollars. Not to mention all the secondary things like electronics, insurance, and of course fuel. Yes, a tricked out bass boat can be a load of fun, and a load of money.

With a fishing kayak, you can get started with just the boat, and a paddle. The most popular style for fishing is the sit-on-top design. These generally range in length from 8 to 18 feet long. With the smaller sized ones, not only do you not need a separate trailer, but you don’t even need a truck! Kayaks up to 12 or 13 feet are easily transported on a roof rack of a car or SUV. If you do have a truck, you can fit most kayaks right in the box, or use one of many available bed extenders.

Sit-on-top fishing kayaks typically run between $400 to $2000 depending on size, features, and of course brand name. My personal fishing kayaks are 13 feet, and cost me $900 and $1300 respectively. Outfitting your fishing kayak can likewise cost as much or as little as you want. There are a few mandatory pieces of equipment such as a paddle, personal flotation device, and emergency kit. The rest is up to you.

Paddles come in different styles and different materials such as aluminum, wood, or carbon fiber. You can expect to run a large range of prices, depending on material. The paddles that I currently use are carbon fiber, and cost me around $180, however I have also used basic aluminum ones that were as cheap as $45. I have also seen paddles that were up near $700. Your choice of paddle, personal flotation device, and how much you want to spend on them comes down to experience and finding what is comfortable for you.

All told, you can expect to get a very good kayak and all the necessary gear for between $1000 – $2000. Certainly not cheap, but well below the cost of getting that bass boat on the water.

kayak fishing

and able to catch jumbo bass all the same!

 

Accessorize, make it your own

While more limited in space than your typical boat, a fishing kayak can come with a surprising list of features. What you lack in the raw carry capacity of a canoe, you make up for in versatility. Kayak fishing can be as simple or as complex as you make it. Depending how you decide to gear up, you can target any species that you could want, from small panfish to huge channel cats and more.

Many fishing kayaks come with molded in rod holders, bungee cord webbing, and dry hatches for an abundance of storage. You can pack a surprising amount of gear onto a good fishing kayak. I regularly take mine out on backwoods camping trips. Coming up this spring, I will be heading out on a 10 day backwoods trip with a friend. Each of us will pack everything we need on our kayaks.

With some setups, you have a track system. On this track you can mount nearly anything. Cup holders, rod holders, fish finders, camera mounts, live bait storage, you name it . The possible configurations are nearly endless. For my personal kayaks, I am fairly minimalist and run with just rod holders and a fish finder.

Newer models of fishing kayaks even have mounting areas for electric motors if you really need to cross some water at speed, or want to troll a shoreline. The point is, aside from more space and a gas motor, there is really no lacking any convenience items when it comes to kayak fishing.

Accessibility, go where others can’t

One of my favorite things about kayak fishing is just how accessible everything becomes. With my personal fishing kayaks I can float in just a few inches of water, although paddling in that is another story! Kayaks are very similar to canoes in that you can take them anywhere and access waterways that someone with a powerboat can only dream of. Of course, this can put you on some really pristine lakes and rivers with practically no fishing pressure. Obviously this is a good thing no matter the type of fish you are targeting. Our recent trip up the Rabbit River comes to mind, in which we were catching walleye nonstop on bare jigs with no bait!

When you own a fishing kayak, suddenly your fishing world opens way up. You will find yourself planning trips to remote areas that you didn’t even know existed.

Suddenly this becomes a viable fishing destination…

Effective, catch more fish

This is what it all comes down to, isn’t it? Will you be able to catch while you are kayak fishing?

To that I answer an emphatic yes! I have caught more fish kayak fishing than I ever did on a powerboat. There are a few reasons for this, and I’ll touch on them here. For starters, there is the point about reaching more pristine waters that I made above. This let’s you fish in areas that receive less angling pressure, making it easier to entice fish to bite.

Secondly there is the stealth factor. When kayak fishing, you have a smaller, slimmer profile, therefore casting less shadows and spooking less fish. Of course you are quieter too with no motor and disturb very little of the water as you pass by. Of course you spook less animals too. There has been many times when I float not 25 yards away from a loon, goose, beaver, or even a deer or bear without scaring them off. Kayaks are the ninjas of the fishing boat world.

Another factor that lets you catch more fish on a kayak is the ability to be right in the middle of any structure you want. We all know that fish are most often found among rocks, trees, and other forms of cover. Well, in a kayak you never have to worry about tearing off a prop from your motor. You can park on top of a rock, wedge yourself in under a fallen tree, or sit on top of a thick weed pad. None of these obstacles will even phase you in your kayak.

In fact one of my favorite techniques when fishing is to park myself on top of a shallow reef, hop out and walk around on it casting out into the drop offs on each side. Being able to get anywhere that the fish can get to is a huge advantage for the kayak fisher, and one that consistently nets me big hook ups.

No way a motor boat is getting past this obstacle, but for my kayak it’s no problem!

Kayak Fishing, the Bottom Line

Kayak fishing is a fun, affordable, and effective way to get out on the water and net some fish. It is beginner friendly, great for your general health and fitness, and is one of the best ways to really get out and connect with nature. The first time you get taken for a ride by that monster pike or catfish, I guarantee you’ll be hooked as well.

 

 

This is part 1 of a planned 3-part series. In the next part, I will talk about how to select and prepare your kayak and related gear.

3 Comments

Leave a Comment