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Tips to Rig Your Kayak for Expert Fishing

Hacks, tips, tricks can mean time-and-money savings. So, if you are all about spending less time on land and more on the water. Check out some tips and tricks to rig your kayak for expert fishing that can save you time, energy, money, and more.

Kayak Fishing Tips

1. Zip ties (Duct tape’s favorite cousin)

Grab some of these plastic straps that can be found in a variety of colors and sizes. (You can even find adjustable and reusable ones). Kayak anglers might want to consider the black zip ties as they usually contain a small amount of carbon black that resists ultraviolet rays.

These handy little ties are useful for creating plastic rings for attaching leashes to reel or paddle, making a emergency “handle” for the bow or stern if something breaks, keeping your transducer cords in order (either secured to the arm or coiled and wrapped), stringing zip ties together in a chain to create ways to attach all your gear within reach but secured to the yak. And that is just the beginning. Once you have these around, you are sure to find innumerable uses for them. (And hey, throw in a roll of duct tape while you are at it).

2. Extra paddle

Yep, the old adage is true. . . you never want to be up a creek without a you-know-what. It is just smart kayaking to invest in a spare kayak paddle and have it stashed within easy reach. While a paddle leash is advisable when drifting or anchored, you don’t want to use it when you are actively paddling as it becomes a liability.

So, what happens if you lose your paddle in rough water? Well, no worries, just reach over to your storage hatch and grab your extra paddle (that is, of course, attached to a short piece of paracord that makes it easy for you to snatch and retrieve the paddle.)

3. Easy repair kit

You never know what you will encounter on the water, but with a little preparation,  you won’t be sidelined by the unexpected. Stash some waterproof tape and marine goop in your kayak for quick repairs.

Just pull your kayak to shore. Clean and dry the area, fill the hole with goop, give it a bit of time to cure, then cover with waterproof tape. You are ready to launch.

4. Lighten the load   

Most expert kayak anglers have created a “gear crate”. Many times it is a refurbished milk crate but you can also buy crates specifically designed for the kayak fisher.

a. Tackle your tackle

Have a tackle tray for each type of lure and then before each trip use an empty tray to load with the ones that you expect to use that day, just that tray goes on the kayak (while the rest can be left in your vehicle or at home). Less weight, less hassle.

b. One trip Tim

By creating a compact and well organized crate, you can load your kayak faster and more efficiently. Add sealable pouches to your crate that can hold sunscreen, bug spray, and other small items. Other pouches or trays can hold scissors, clippers, and other tools. Use a velcro strap to hold your fishing rods together during transport and a duffle bag over your shoulder to carry electronics, lunch, etc. Making it from the parking lot to the kayak in one trip means more time on the water.

5. Keep it clean

You’ve invested in tools and equipment to help you enjoy this activity, so it is important to take care of them. Keep a garden sprayer of freshwater in your vehicle for a quick spritz of your reels and sensitive equipment after a day on the water. Use a damp cloth to remove grime and goo.

A little investment in time can yield great dividends. Your equipment will last longer and you won’t have a more arduous cleaning project on your hands at the end of each season. Although you will need to do some deeper cleaning occasionally to maintain your equipment at peak performance.

6. Light it up        

Level up your fishing game by fishing at night! Just make sure that you are very familiar with the waters and have your kayak lighted properly. Take the added step of adding red/green LED lights to your yak. When you are facing the bow, place the red light on the port (left) side and the green light on the right (port) side (just like boats).

Use a headlamp! They are extremely useful for night fishing. Just make sure that you don’t shine it in your companion’s eyes. Use red light to maintain your night vision. And just switch on the headlamp when you need to do close up work in the boat.

7. Trolling motor or pedal system

The more you fish from your kayak the more you are likely to appreciate a pedal drive system (or a trolling motor). The pedal drive is a really nice option for the kayak angler as it allows you hands free motion. Instead of trying to fish and paddle one-handed, you can use your feet and keep your hands free for fishing.

A trolling motor is also a nice option for a long day of fishing; however, research state and local laws as some may require you to register as a motorized watercraft.

8. Fish Finder/Upgraded Sonar

If you are serious about catching fish, you will probably want to invest in a fish finder. These devices can range in price, sensitivity, screen size, and features like GPS/sonar, chirp technology, and more.

Turn your sensitive down in more shallow water to look for large objects that denote structural changes like drop offs, humps, or changes to the bottom composition. Turn your sensitivity up as you go deeper to mark fish. Turn it all the way up when you settle on a structure or school of fish. This allows you to mark your lure as it “swims” through the fish marks.

9. Push/Stakeout Pole

Invest in a push pole (aka stakeout pole, anchor pole/pin, stick-it anchor, stakeout stick). This large (6-12 ft), strong stake is used to anchor in shallow water. They are best in calm, shallow water where they can be driven into the bottom and attached to your vessel with an anchor pole mount. They can help to keep your kayak in place so you can focus on fishing.

The pole can also be used to push. If you are moving through a shallow march  (even 2-3 inches), it helps you glide smoothly. It is also a very quiet way to navigate, often even quieter than a paddle which can splash, so it is particularly good for kayak fishing.

Do you have other tips or tricks that help you ‘up your kayak fishing game’? Let us know what has been your best hack.

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