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4 Kayak-Friendly Fishing Lures

Fishing from a kayak has become an increasingly popular pastime for anglers - newbie or professional alike. With its stealthy approach, access to skinny water, and simplicity (especially compared to a bass boat), a kayak offers much to the fishing community. But it does have a few challenges. Fishing from a kayak requires tweaks to casting and retrieving because you are so close to the water, compared to boat or shore fishing.

A simple kayak is constantly affected by waves, wind, and currents. Staying in one place can be a difficult endeavor. And even the act of casting and retrieving can turn your kayak. Finding ways to combat this reality is important - learn to cast one-handed (so you can paddle with the other), invest in an anchor trolley system, or use a pedal kayak or skeg. But if you are looking for another simple solution, you can pick lures that are good for casting from a kayak.

Here are 4 ideas for lures to take with you on your next kayak fishing trip.

1. Popper for Kayak Fishing

On a calm day when the action is at the surface, choose a topwater lure like a popper with a short body and deep nose cone. The popper’s nose cone will push water along the surface creating a disturbance that will attract fish to bite. The short body and weighted tail make it good for long casts from your ‘yak, but also allows you to “walk” or pop the lure with the rod tip parallel to the water’s surface. This is great since kayaks sit so close to the water, it is not difficult to get your rod parallel to the surface. 

2. Crankbaits for Kayak Fishing

Crankbaits are a great post-spawn lure for fish when they are more sluggish. Choose a crankbait that is designed to track straight no matter the speed. Since kayaks are prone to drifting and spinning, a good straight lure is more reliable, even in dynamic situations. Kayaks are also great in areas where motorboats fear to go. So crank out your crankbaits near structures, fallen trees, and weeds. A square crankbait is designed to go anywhere. Choose one with a small body to maneuver through woods and rocks. (Avoid large-billed crankbaits as the pressure on the deep diver can actually pull the kayak in the direction of the cast, slowing the retrieve and reducing the lure’s action).

3. Paddle Tails for Kayak Fishing 

Soft plastics are extremely popular lures for kayak anglers because they are versatile. They are designed to mimic baitfish, worms, shrimp, etc. They work great in high wind and current as well as dirty water. Fishing deep might be the best option when the water is churned by wind or waves. If that is the case, you will find a paddle tail soft plastic is a great option for fishing the bottom. A paddle tail is also a great search bait so it can be a great go-to for your first cast of the day. A paddle tail is versatile because it can be used in many situations: clean or dirty water, hot or cold water, shallow or deep water, wind or calm. All you need to do is change the weights and hooks. 

4. Trolling Lure for Kayak Fishing

Another great option for kayaks is trolling. Since many kayaks have built-in rod holders, you can rig your line to trail behind as you paddle. Crankbaits can be good for trolling as well.  Pick one that gives a natural presentation and can be fished from bottom water to top water (as well as trolling). You will need one that is good at slow speeds. They can dive to different depths and then rise if you slow down so you can prevent them from snagging in weeds and such by just controlling your kayak speed. This will keep your line in the water longer. 

Get the most out of your kayak fishing game by recognizing the challenges of the ‘yak. Learning to select and use lures that work with your kayak (not against it) will reward the savvy angler. 

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