Top kayak fishing tips

Top 5 tips for beginning kayak anglers

As we spend more and more of our time fishing from our Old Town Predator XL on area rivers, I wanted to share some of our initial observations and pass on some useful tips to help make your first kayak fishing trips this year more enjoyable.

1. WEAR YOUR LIFEJACKET. The water is still cold and while not likely, you could still fall in. A lifejacket can give you the time you need to get to shore, before hypothermia sets in and your quick afternoon trip turns tragic. Make it back home to your family. Wear your lifejacket. Extrasport makes a great paddlers lifejacket designed specifically for fishing, the Elevate Angler. That's what I'm wearing in the picture above. Check it out!
2. Put a lifejacket on your rods too. Nothing can put a damper on an afternoon trip more than a rod that is sent to a watery grave. Rod floats are exceptionally cheap insurance against your rod becoming part of the structure that collects fish in your favorite fishing hole. These foam floaters are held tightly against the rod blank with velcro straps, and to my surprise, don't interfere with your rod's sensitivity, or with casting/retrieving baits, or landing fish. They cost a couple of bucks apiece, at most, and each of the rods that you bring into your kayak should be equipped with one. You can see that I have my two favorite St. Croix Rods dressed for success with their own individual life jackets in this picture. 
3. Leash that paddle. How are you going to make it back to the access when your paddle goes overboard in the excitement of landing an early season trophy? A paddle leash will ensure that your paddle doesn't drift too far away from your boat, making for easy retrieval. The leash will wrap around the center of the paddle, and won't interfere with your paddling stroke in the least. Sooner or later, you'll be glad that you tethered that paddle to your boat! I use a very basic leash from Austin Canoe and Kayak. It is another piece of very inexpensive insurance.
4. Don't forget about the sun. One big change for me as I have transitioned between my big water rig and my Old Town Predator is that there is no longer any way to hide from the sun. Sad as it may be, my Ranger's bimini top has to stay on that big boat. Sun protection is serious business for the angler who is exposed to its damaging rays for many hours at a time. Strongly consider three items: sunscreen (applied liberally), a hat, and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
5. Do one thing at a time. Especially during your first couple of trips, you may struggle to manage all of the things that have to occur in order to have a successful kayak fishing adventure. My advice is to pick one thing to do at a time, and complete that task before you move on to the next one. Do you need to take a couple of paddle strokes to position your boat for the next cast? Put your rod down, grab your paddle, and then make those strokes. When your boat is where it needs to be, put the paddle down, grab your rod, and make a good cast. Work that cast all the way back to boat, and then think about adjusting your boat positiuon as necessary. Don't get lazy or creative by leaving your bait in the water, half way back to the boat, while you make additional paddle strokes; if you do, you'll be happy your followed tip #2, above.
Kayak fishing is great fun, and is an excellent way to target fish in smaller, untouched bodies of water. Give it a try this season, and stay tuned for more kayak fishing tips!
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