Take your kayak fishing game to the next level

Adding multiple species to your target list is one way to up your kayak fishing game. (Photo by Phillip Gentry)

Kayak anglers always have room to grow

Kayak fishing can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. You can fish for fun in a local farm pond from an inexpensive kayak you picked up at Wal-Mart and strapped to the top of your car. You can travel the country trailering a state-of the art boat rigged with all the latest gadgets and compete in high dollar fishing tournaments. Or you can do something somewhere in between. You can’t do it right or wrong in this sport, only what’s right for you.

It’s only human nature to want to get better or go bigger with anything you love to do. 

If you’re one of those fortunate anglers who has caught the bug here’s a few suggestions on how to advance to the next level.

Join a Kayak Fishing Club – Kayak fishing clubs, whether in person or even internet-based, allow you to correspond with experienced anglers. They can often show you how to up your game and/or give you advice on what to expect.

Trophy Fishing – Trophy fishing for a number of species frequently involves specialized tactics and tackle. The kayak angler also often foregoes the opportunity of catching more, or different species of fish because they focus on catching one big fish. Trophy fishing sometimes means traveling to destinations known for harboring trophy sizes of the fish you’re after.

Multiple Species – Some of the best all-around anglers are those who choose to fish for a variety of species. Some kayak fishing clubs even take that to the next level by having monthly tournaments based on one given species per month. Being proficient in catching both salt and fresh water species is a great way to take all of your kayak fishing skills to the next level.

Propulsion – In recent years, a three-way split has evolved with paddles, pedals, and electric motorized kayaks. Motors may not be the next step in kayak evolution, but it definitely puts a spin on kayak fishing range and speed. 

Kayak Repairs – Learning how to work on your own boat is definitely a next level step. This might include rigging the boat to suit your individual needs or repairing something that has become damaged. Many manufacturers offer replacement parts for typical high-wear items. And the information, tools and materials are available for repairing cracked or damaged hulls without taking the boat in to a shop.

Some anglers can overdo it, taking so much stuff with them that it’s all in the way once on the water. (Photo by Phillip Gentry)

Too much stuff

A natural tendency when “getting into” a sport is buying every piece of gear made for that sport. Kayak fishing is definitely a less-is-more sport when it comes to gear. But many anglers manage to stow away a lot of integral tackle and gear by developing good organizational skills.

This skillset often spills over to the kayak vehicle or trailer with additional, and lockable, storage systems. Kayak anglers, particularly those who are on a multiple day fishing trip or tournament may not be able to carry everything they need on the boat. But they at least have it with them if conditions warrant changing tackle or tactics.

The other side of this equation is lugging along stuff just because another person or more likely, some advertisement or kayak fishing You-Tuber said you need it. Storage in a kayak is at a premium. Even with public launch facilities and kayak trailers, odds are still pretty good you’ll have to drag your boat some distance from your automobile to the water.

Once you get on the water, do you really want to paddle around with items that are going to catch the wind and push you around as if you had sails? Or even worse, possibly tip the boat because it’s too top heavy? 

Keep in mind that a kayak does not equal a power boat. Many kayak anglers make the mistake of trying to match gear and tackle with everything a power boating angler can carry.

Kayak anglers have created some very ingenious solutions to storage constraints when it comes to carrying live bait, retaining fish, staying hydrated, and protecting themselves from the elements. Taking your kayak fishing game to the next level often means figuring out what you do need, what you don’t need, and how to minimize the impact from a space and weight perspective of the stuff you can’t live without.

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About Phillip Gentry 778 Articles
Phillip Gentry of Greenville, S.C., is host of “Upstate Outdoors,” a weekly radio show that can be heard on Saturdays at noon on WORD 106.3 FM.

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