67 Essential Skills For Kayak Anglers | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
Skills
A kayak angler casts from his kayak during sunset. Photo: Jason Arnold

Easy answers to every kayak angler's toughest questions from the experts

Some people fish for the fish. Some people fish for the great outdoors. Whether you fish for comradery or solitude, relaxation or adventure, big fish or small ones, there are always new tricks to discover and new skills to master. Everywhere we go, it seems everyone we meet has a hundred questions on techniques from beginner to advanced. We took the top 67 questions anglers ask and got expert advice for easy answers. 

How do I fight a fish? 

Fighting a fish in a kayak is one of the greatest thrills in sport fishing. A three-pound bass will pull a kayak in circles; a 150-pound tuna will drag the small boat for miles. The key is to control the chaos. Since the fish is pulling the kayak, be sure to set the hook with authority. To keep pressure on the fish, hold the rod low to the water and close to the boat. Point the rod tip towards the bow to turn in the direction the fish is running. Gain line as the fish pulls the kayak. Make short pumps of the rod while cranking, then lift steady until the rod tip is level with your eyes. When the fish is close to the boat, use the rod tip to direct it away from rudder or pedal fins. If the fish dives under the boat, put the rod tip in the water then use the rod to spin the kayak towards the direction the fish is running. Should the fish run into structure, take the reel out of gear and let the line go slack. Then paddle the kayak to follow the fish and untangle the line.

How do I land the fish?

Getting the fish from the water to the kayak, and keeping it in the kayak, is when most trophies are lost. There are three ways to land a fish in the kayak.

The scoop: Best for smaller fish or toothless giants. When the fish is close, let out enough line to grab the leader. Position the fish parallel with the boat, drop the closest leg into the water, then flip with the line while lifting the leg to scoop the fish into the kayak. The fight is not over. To keep the flopping fish from flipping back into the water, cover it with your legs and prepare for hand-to-fin combat.

The net: Best for light line, small hooks or tournament trophies. Be careful the net doesn’t tangle in rigging and other rods. When the fish is close to the boat, put the hoop of the net in the water, direct the fish overtop the opening, then lift the net and swing into the kayak. Keep the line tight to keep hooks from tangling in the webbing.

The gaff: Best for big fish with sharp teeth. A gaff or kage allows the angler to secure and control the fish. When the fish is close, reach the gaff, hook pointing down, across its shoulders, then sharply pull towards the angler to jab the point into the fish and swing it into the kayak in one move. Keep the deck clear and drop your legs into the water then grab the fish’s tail and use the gaff to control its head. 

 

What's the best way to release a fish? 

  1. Use barbless hooks to reduce injury to the fish.

  2. Use tackle heavy enough to bring the fish to the boat quickly.

  3. Wet hands before touching the fish.

  4. Avoid placing fingers inside the fish’s gills.

  5. Hold horizontally with two hands, support the fish’s belly.

      6. Keep camera and measuring device in easy reach.

      7. Leave the fish in the water until ready to photo.

      8. Before release, hold the fish in the water to revive it.

Get the gear: Windpaddle Release Right fishing net. Designed specifically for kayak anglers, the Windpaddle net folds into an 11-inch hoop for storage. Once deployed, the net floats on the surface. Keep the fish in the net while preparing to release it. Rubber coated mesh does not harm the fish and it's tight weave won't snag hooks. 

How do I stand and fish?

Standing while fishing is more comfortable and efficient than casting and working lures from a seat. Standing also gives anglers a better view of the water and fish swimming below.

Get up: Put feet together in...  

 

 

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