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Kayak fishing is a great way to get some exercise, explore the outdoors, and reel in a few fish. But before you hit the water, you must ensure your kayak is appropriately set up for fishing. A well-equipped fishing kayak will make your life easier, safer, and more enjoyable on the water. Here are some tips on how to set up a kayak for fishing properly:
Choose a kayak with a wide bottom for stability when fishing
Fishing kayaks are different from regular kayaks because they have unique features and accessories that make them more suitable for anglers. One of the most essential features is stability. You want a kayak that can handle the waves, wind, and currents without tipping over or rocking too much. A wide-bottomed kayak will give you more stability and allow you to stand up, cast, and fight fish without losing your balance. Some fishing kayaks also have a pontoon or catamaran design, adding even more stability and buoyancy.
Put a high seat in the middle of the kayak
Another feature that makes fishing kayaks stand out is the seat. A good fishing kayak seat should be comfortable, adjustable, and elevated. A comfortable seat will prevent back pain and fatigue during long hours of paddling and fishing. An adjustable seat will let you change your position and angle depending on the conditions and your preference. An elevated seat will give you a better view of the water and make getting in and out of the kayak easier.
Select an affordable spinning reel rod for fishing
Regarding fishing rods, you don’t need to spend a fortune on a fancy one. A simple spinning reel rod will do the job just fine. Spinning reels are easy to use, versatile, and reliable. They can handle different types of lines, lures, and fish. They also have less backlash and tangles than baitcasting reels. A spinning reel rod should be about 6 to 7 feet long and have medium to medium-heavy power and fast action. This will give you enough length, strength, and sensitivity to cast far, hook fish, and fight them.
Include an anchor to prevent the drifting of the kayak
One of the difficulties of kayak fishing is keeping the kayak still while fishing. The wind, current, and waves can make your kayak drift away from your desired spot or direction. To prevent this, you need an anchor. An anchor is a device that attaches to your kayak and digs into the bottom of the water to hold it in place. Different types of anchors exist for different situations, such as mushroom anchors, grapnel anchors, stake-out poles, or drift chutes. You should choose an anchor that matches the depth, bottom type, and conditions of the water you are fishing in.
Bring a small tackle box containing bait and other necessities
A tackle box is a container that holds your fishing gear, such as hooks, lures, weights, swivels, leaders, pliers, scissors, etc. A tackle box is essential for any angler, especially for kayak anglers with limited space and need to be organized. A small tackle box in your kayak’s storage compartment or behind your seat is ideal. You should pack your tackle box with the essentials for the type of fish and water you are targeting. If you use live or natural bait, you should also bring some bait, such as worms, minnows, or shrimp.
Store your valuables in a watertight bag
Kayak fishing involves getting wet. Whether from splashing water, rain, or accidental capsizing, there is always a risk of getting your belongings wet or lost in the water. To protect your valuables, such as your phone, wallet, keys, camera, etc., you should store them in a waterproof bag or case. A waterproof bag or case is a sealable bag or container that prevents water from entering or escaping. You can find them in different sizes and shapes at outdoor stores or online.
Make sure the boat is in good condition
Before launching your kayak into the water, you should check its condition and ensure it is safe and ready to go. You should inspect the hull for any cracks, holes, or leaks that could compromise its integrity or performance. You should also check the fittings, screws, bolts, nuts, etc., for any loose or missing parts that could cause problems or injuries. You should also check the accessories, such as the seat, paddle holders, rod holders, etc., for any damage or malfunction.
Get a good paddle
A paddle is your primary tool for propelling and steering your kayak. A good paddle should be lightweight, durable, and ergonomic. A lightweight paddle will reduce your fatigue and increase your efficiency. A durable paddle will withstand the wear and tear of paddling and fishing. An ergonomic paddle will comfortably fit your hands and arms and reduce strain and injury. It would help if you also chose a paddle that matches your height, kayak width, and paddling style. A general rule of thumb is to add 20 to 30 cm to your height to get the ideal paddle length.
Check your lines and hooks
Before casting your line into the water, you should check its condition and ensure it is ready to catch fish. You should check your line for any knots, kinks, frays, or breaks that could weaken or cause it to snap. You should also check your hooks for any rust, dullness, or bends that could affect their sharpness or effectiveness. It would help if you replaced or sharpened any damaged or worn-out lines or hooks to ensure you don’t lose any fish.
Get a life jacket if you’re not using a PFD
The purpose of a life jacket, or personal flotation device (PFD), is to keep its wearer afloat in the event of accidental immersion.
A life jacket or PFD is a safety precaution and a legal requirement in most places. You should always wear a life jacket or PFD when on the water, regardless of your swimming ability or experience. A life jacket or PFD should fit snugly but comfortably on your body and not interfere with your paddling or fishing movements. It would help if you also chose a life jacket or PFD that has bright colors, reflective strips, or a whistle for visibility and signaling.
Kayak fishing is an exciting and enjoyable outdoor activity. But before you head out, make sure your kayak is properly outfitted for fishing. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to put together the perfect fishing kayak setup for safe, productive kayak fishing trips.
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