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Tips for Kayak Fishing in Shallow Waters

Kayaks pose the unique advantage of opening up the places you’re able to navigate with your boat. This comes in handy for those into fishing, as you’re able to explore remote locations or spots normal fishing boats can’t reach.

There are lots of fish, like bass and some flounder, that thrive in shallow waters, and fishing kayaks are especially unique in their ability to access them as well as fish in other various areas of a lake, river, or ocean. Mastering kayak fishing in shallow water will elevate your angling game and present an engaging challenge while you’re at it!

Can You Go Kayak Fishing in Shallow Water?

The short answer is yes, of course you can! Kayaks are typically more slender and often also have flat hulls that allow them to float in shallower water than a traditional fishing boat would be able to access. Many kayaks outfitted for fishing specifically take this into account so they can be as versatile as your angling interests.

While the basics of angling still apply to shallow-water kayak fishing, you will need to be particularly skilled at handling your boat and casting off to ensure you don’t spook the fish away. Stealth is your best friend when it comes to this type of fishing.

To ensure you are as unobtrusive as possible, and therefore most likely to successfully catch some fish on your trip, it’s helpful to practice different techniques and possibly invest in some extra gear to make that transition as smooth as possible.

Fishing Kayak Equipment for Shallow Water

Many anglers enjoy targeting fish that stick to shallower waters, so 4-5 feet deep might be as far as they typically go. A fishing kayak typically needs 5-6 inches of water to successfully float, so they’re an ideal vessel for these occasions. To help ensure you catch something on your trip, consider these pieces of gear:

  • Hull Insulation–this is typically rubber or foam padding to add to any spots along the hull that might bump up against something rough and startle nearby fish.
  • Deck Padding–this ensures your paddle won’t clank about and be disruptive and helps muffle your movements if you need to reposition or grab something.
  • Easy to Use Anchor–a simple, effective anchor that can solidly stick into the bed of whatever body of water you’re in will be instrumental in keeping your position in place while you fish.
  • Durable Paddle–your paddle might come back worse-for-wear after shallow water fishing, since your paddles will likely make contact with the ground or be used to push you off obstacles while in shallow water.

Shallow Water Kayak Fishing Techniques

Staying stealthy in shallow water requires some skill. Any bumps or weird movements will be more obvious in less water, so make sure you’ve practiced these skills to ensure you aren’t casting off in vain:

  • Shallow Paddle Strokes–to minimize damage to your paddle and make less commotion, shallow paddle strokes made without hitting the side of your boat are key.
  • Anchor Yourself Intentionally–casting parallel to or in the middle of your target radius will help your bait land more naturally on the water. Stake out a strategic anchoring place to make this easier.
  • Watch out for waves–winds and waves create more disturbances in shallow water, so either checking the weather or making sure you aren’t adding to that momentum with your paddling will be key.

The more you practice and get more comfortable with moving efficiently in shallow water, the better you’ll be able to apply your fishing know-how to catching the fish you want. Let your fishing kayak take you anywhere you want to go, and hopefully you’ll get some fish out of it as well. Happy fishing!

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