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Beginner Kayak Fishing Tips

If you are ready to combine your love of kayaking AND fishing, then dive into this wonderful world of whoopers and walleyes with some tips and tricks for beginner kayak fishing.

Why Kayak Fishing?

There are so many reasons to try out fishing from your kayak.

  1. Reach more places: With your small, shallow kayak, you can reach places inaccessible by boat or standing on the shore (shallow waters, deep water, inlets, etc).
  2. Stay quiet: Kayak fishing is quiet with just the slap of the paddle occasionally (unless you attach a trolling motor). But generally fishing from your kayak is quiet so it doesn’t disturb the fish.
  3. Transport easily: Unlike a boat fishing, your kayak won’t require a launch or special trailer with hitch. Just slip it into the water and you are good to go. This opens up so many opportunities.
  4. Simple to use: a kayak doesn’t require a lot (unless you’ve rigged yours up extensively) but for beginner kayak fishing purposes, it is quite simple and easy to use.
  5. Good exercise: kayaking is excellent exercise as well. Paddling or pedaling, you are sure to get a workout in while you reel in your catch.
  6. Cost effective: kayak fishing is also much more cost effective than owning and maintaining a fishing boat. Especially if you are just getting your toes wet (so to speak) with fishing, trying it from your kayak can be a good entry into the world of angling.

Tips for the Beginner Kayak Angler

  1. Right Kayak: buying or renting, make sure you think about the kayak before you venture out. Most fishing kayaks are sit-on-top (rather than sit-in), this allows greater options for casting - sitting or even standing. And a wider kayak will be more stable (albeit a bit slower and more sluggish) and therefore better for providing a platform for casting, reel in, storing, etc.  Kayak fishers might also consider a pedal kayak instead of just a paddle driven one. This allows them to maintain motion (with their feet) even while continuing to cast/catch.
  2. Right Clothing: It is helpful to think about what to wear for this activity. Layers (for warmth, sun protection) are important. Also, choose quick-dry or water-wicking materials, as the likelihood of getting wet is quite high. No one plans to capsize but it is a possibility - and the low-to-the-water kayak is susceptible to waves/wakes for other boaters or even the overly aggressive catch you are trying to reel in.
  3. Right weather: for beginner kayak anglers, checking the weather forecast will be an important consideration. While there is no ideal, certain weather conditions for kayak fishing will be an element of making your adventure more enjoyable.
  4. Right practice: spend a little time getting comfortable with your kayak before the first cast. Try paddling or pedaling around to get a feel for how the kayak handles. Consider the angle of the kayak to the surf/flow so you don’t get flipped. Test our your other equipment as well. Is everything within reach? Have you attempted to stand up and sit back down? Try a few of these basic movements on your kayak as you get started.
  5. Right kayak safety equipment: make sure you are putting safety first. A few necessary, every-time-you-go-out sort of items to bring along are a personal flotation device (PFD), paddle leash (and even a spare paddle - when you are in the heat of an epic struggle with 10lb bass you don’t want to have to worry about your paddle), whistle or flare, first aid kit, light source even if you don’t plan to be out after dark, fishing rod leash (like your paddle leash you don’t want to lose your tools overboard), straight blade or knife, and an emergency kayak repair kit.
  6. Right plan: especially as you take your initial steps into kayak fishing, make sure that you have a route marked out in advance. Talk to other fishermen, research online, and then make sure that you leave the information with someone on shore. You might even consider doing a paddle-only-run in advance of your fishing trip. That will serve to check off “right practice” and “right plan” on your tips for beginner. 


Fishing from your kayak is a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors, expand your kayaking experience, and bring home some great stories. Are you an experienced kayak angler? Are there other tips you would suggest? 

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