In this article, we are going to list out items needed for kayak fishing. Everything from most important to least important, but still nice to have. I know whenever I go hunting or fishing I go through a mental checklist. Sometimes I still forget things. I recently read an article on hunting like this and it added a couple of things to my bag. At Columbia Kayaks we believe kayak fishing connects you with nature at an eye level. But be safe with nature as she is a beast.
The first thing you are going to need is a kayak. Honestly, you could fish from any kayak. It might not be very comfortable fishing from a cheap kayak with no rod holder or backrest, but you can do it for a short period of time. Read this article here for what to look for in a fishing kayak.
So, you’re not just going to need a paddle. You are also going to need a way to strap the paddle down when you catch a nice fish. You will also want to learn how to do this one-handed. When you are fighting a really large fish you will need the ability to do everything with one hand, even steer your kayak.
Get a personal flotation device (PFD). They have some that are so lightweight now it’s like you’re not even wearing one. You owe it to everyone who will have to come looking for you if you don’t have one and die. The above vest is what we wear here at Columbia Kayaks. I prefer we wear vests with bright colors to help prevent boaters from running us over.
Dehydration can get bad quickly. Imagine for a second you lost your paddle and it took a day or two for someone to find you. That could go from a beautiful, sunny fishing trip to your kayak turning into your casket. Bring lots of water, or even a camel pack setup for quick, easy access.
First-aid kits go with me everywhere. Trying to clean a salmon in your kayak could go wrong and become a bad situation very suddenly. A splice to the wrist and you could be leaking a lot of blood. My uncle went fishing one day and had a small catfish flail around and stab him in a vein. He bled so much he passed out in minutes, my dad had bandages handy and was able to stop the blood until we got him to the hospital where he was ok. I can only imagine how bad it would have been for him without a first-aid kit.
Emergency blankets are another item that can save the day. That number of uses a $2 dollar emergency blanket offers are endless. Here is a small list of ways an emergency blanket could save your life.
- A sail
- Rain poncho
- Water collector
- Signal for rescue
- Disposable Fish or big game cleaning station
Bring some food. It is easy to fish all day when you are not thinking of going and grabbing a hamburger. Bring some snacks or a sandwich. Also, bring a way to keep them all dry.
Of course, you are going to need a fishing pole. I personally wouldn’t bring my super nice fishing poles on a kayak. There are ways to secure them, but I would hate to lose one of my $300 fishing poles because I flipped my kayak. Here is a link to ways to secure your fishing pole on a kayak.
Bait and Tackle
Know how to catch your fish. Minimizing your gear on a kayak is essential. It is always nice to learn about new techniques and gear. You should try a new thing here and there. But when kayak fishing, stick to what you know will work.
The only fish I could really imagine myself needed a net for is salmon. Sometimes we fish for two days before we hook one fish. I would hate to lose a salmon because I can’t net him. But for bass or catfish, I might not even bring a net and just enjoy the free space.
It is important to have an anchor. When I first started kayaking I was unsure of whether or not I wanted to use an anchor. But after fishing on a couple of windy days I made the purchase. I got my self a small anchor and it really helped out a ton. I was able to hold my kayak in place on top of a school of fish. Unlike before when I had to consistently paddle up into the wind and drift over the school of fish.
Pool noodles inside your kayak can prevent your kayak from filling up with water and sinking to the bottom. Also used as an extra floatation device in a sticky situation pool noodles are a great cheap tool for kayakers. Used on the roof racks to protect your kayaks and wrapped around your fishing poles so they don't sink if you happen to flip. Watch around towards the end of summer or anytime you can grab a couple of these as they are nice to have when needed.