Getting Started In Kayak Fishing
By Philip Metz
Ever been on the shore watching the fish break just beyond your every cast? Ever say if I could only get another 5 feet on my cast I'd be catching fish? Well if you can't cast farther then the next logical choice is to get closer. Buy a boat, you say, well not exactly. With the addition of a kayak as a fishing vessel you can increase your catches and become the envy of the shore bound angler.
Over the past few years the use of kayaks as fishing crafts has increased dramatically. Kayaks provide the angler with a relatively stable, light, maneuverable vessel in which to fish from. Not all kayaks are created equal when it comes to kayak fishing. The kayak fisherman will have to address the specific needs associated with the types of fishing he or she partakes in. Will the angler be traveling long distances to get to the fishing grounds? Will the angler be primarily fishing back bay areas or the open ocean? Will the angler be carrying heavy loads during the fishing session? These are just a few of the questions that need to be addressed when choosing a kayak. While the answers to these questions may vary from angler to angler there are certain essentials that the kayak fisherman must have to be efficient and successful.
Lure/gear storage: To be successful at kayak fishing the angler must have an area within or atop his vessel to store various lures and tackle. Most kayaks have a small hatch or pot in which to store the days most essential lures while providing additional room for storage containers below. Some ingenious kayak anglers have attached internal pulley systems within the hull to attach lure boxes which prevents them from sliding out of reach while underway. Other anglers opt for a small milk crate attached to the rear section of the kayak where they store the gear they will use for the day. Both methods work well and are determined by angler preference.
Rod storage/holders: It is nearly impossible to paddle a kayak while holding a fishing rod at the same time so the kayak angler must provide some type of holder for the rod when not in use. Two of the most popular types of rod holders in use are the flushmount and the basemount rod holder. Flushmount rod holders require the angler to drill a hole into the hull of the kayak and drop the holder within the hull of the craft. The advantage to the flushmount rod holder is that when not in use it remains out of the way of the paddler. The basemount rod holder requires the angler to mount the base of the holder into the hull but allows for a wide range of motion and settings when the rod is placed in the holder. Again either one can be employed as it is the preference of the angler.
Leashes: To ensure that in the case of the kayak being upset the gear is not lost, the kayak angler can employ leashes to all essential gear atop the hull. Leashes can be made from rope or twisted telephone cord secured by a snap to the kayak and the gear. Fishing rods, pliers, scissors and a net or gaff are some common items secured by leashes. They may be a little cumbersome to get used to at first but are much better than losing a two hundred dollar rod and reel combo.
Anchor/Drift Sock: Although not an essential piece of equipment, an anchor is a good item to have when kayak fishing. If a productive area is located, one can simply drop the anchor and cast to the intended target. Also it serves as a safety item in case the angler tires and need to take a break. Simply drop the anchor and take a breather. Utilized more often however is a sea anchor or drift sock. A drift sock is like a parachute for the water. Once deployed it catches the water and forms resistance thus slowing down the anglers drift. This can increase the time spent in productive fishing zones, allowing the angler to be more successful.
Safety Items: Last but not least are the safety items such as a sound signaling device, visual aid and first aid kit. All kayak anglers should carry at least one sound-signaling device like a whistle or small airhorn to avoid potential dangerous situations or make others aware of an emergency situation. Visual aids such as distress flags, flairs and strobe lights are beneficial in preventing tragedies and making others aware of an impending situation. A first aid kit that provides sterile wraps, ointment and minor tools such as tweezers can save the day should a mishap occur.
These are some of the basics a potential kayak fisherman must consider when starting out in the sport. Careful consideration and preparation in choosing and outfitting a kayak for fishing will ensure the best possible time on the water for the angler. The use of a kayak increases the angler's mobility and gives him or her access to areas unattainable from the shore. So the next time you're on the beach and you hear the fish are just out of reach, grab your kayak, head for the water and tell them not anymore. Good luck and good fishing.
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