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Kayak Fishing Without Electronics

Faster, easier. . . better? Our modern world likes to move at the speed of electronic bits and bytes. But what about the joy of slowing down, taking time, using our own bodies and brains?

Many kayakers and anglers love fishing because it gets them away from the screens, the urgency, the distraction and lets them enjoy the kayak fishing world of tranquility. However, electronics seem determined to sneak into even this. Fish finders, sonar, GPS seem to be part and parcel of the modern fishing world. But they don’t have to be!

If you want to leave the electronics behind, there is no reason you can’t successfully kayak fish. Whether you want to lighten your load or hone your skills or stare at something besides a screen, there are many reasons to eschew electronics on your kayak.

Tips for Kayak Fishing Without Electronics

Here are a few tips to finding the fish without succumbing to the lure of electronics.

Out of the water

Use your Brain

The first step in catching fish is to use your common sense. Before you even step into your kayak, engage your brain. Make a plan. Research your area. Take note of your surroundings. And then, if you’ve done everything you can and you still aren’t catching anything, change the plan. Yep, use your noggin to say, if it isn’t working today, try something else.

Watch the Weather

Understanding the weather can help you be a better fisherman. Raining? Cold? Hot? Where will the fish be? On a hot day, look for spots of shade or deep waters, where the fish can stay cool. In cooler weather, fish might be in shallower waters or near rocks warmed by the sun.

Judge the Activity

Know the area that you are fishing. If it is a highly trafficked tourist destination with lots of boating, make a game plan. Decide to go earlier in the day before the crowds arrive or seek a quiet inlet. The nature of a kayak makes more secluded, hard-to-reach areas possible. Take advantage and find the out-of-the-way spots not frequented by recreationalist.

On the water

Notice what is happening on the water. Your eyes can tell you a lot even if you can’t see below the surface.

Birds flocking

If you see birds focusing on a particular spot, you should too. Check out what has them entertained and you might find a school of fish.

Fish jumping

Are there fish flipping in the distance? Something has them worked up. A baitfish on the surface could let you know there are bigger predators below. Time to paddle on over.

Lilypad fields/grass beds swaying

These can be prime opportunities for fish to hide and wait. They will sometimes rise to the bait or even attack from the edges. The beauty of a kayak is that you float right up close to these areas where a boat might have difficulty.

Under the water

While you might not be able to actually see under water without a fish finder, you can learn all about what is happening beneath the waves, when you learn to spot a few telltale signs.

Submerged logs/lay downs

Where there are fallen trees or logs, there are likely to be fish feeding. Drop a line to either side of the log and see what you can find. You can even try to drop your bait right into some branches.

Dams/spillways

These are great places to find fish, especially in the spring. Rocks in a riprap or dam warm more quickly from the sun and can transmit that to the water. Fish like the warm water in the spring and the food sources that crop up around these structures.  

Points of land

When you see a point of land jutting into the water, you can imagine that there are structures/shallows/changes to the bottom that can attract fish. Try staying to the leeward side of the point and work out to deeper water as you cast back to shore.

Shade

Don’t discount this surprising detail. Shade can be an absolutely great way to snag a fish or two. In the heat of summer, fish can be deep. Shade is a protective feature for them. Even the narrow shadow offered by a tree truck or utility pole can harbor a surprising catch.

 

Do you leave the electronics at home when kayak fishing? What are your top tips for a good catch (without the aid of technology)?

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