Kayak Fishing Tips

This is probably the first rule in all of paddle sports, but especially important in fishing since you carry so much additional gear from your rods/reels to tackle bags, gps, anchor, livewell, boga grip, etc. – make sure everything is tied to the yak if possible or has a float attached. Rule number two for me is to have and use a drybag. My dad took an unexpected spill and lost a $150 rod and reel and a pair of sunglasses and drenched his cell phone and wallet in a matter of a few seconds. We managed to fish the rod and reel back out using a heavy weight and a big treble hook (lucky), but it would have been a much easier retrieve had we attached a foam float around the rod.


Jim Furst
Delaware Book Exchange #224


When mounting any accessories I recommend you have a friend help you. You sit in the kayak and have them hold the item in a few places. This way you can find the mounting position that will be the most accessible and comfortable while you are in a seated position.


Ashley Williams
Great Outdoor Provision Company


Most of the fishing done here in Texas from kayaks is
skinny water fishing. Kayaks allow you to go where most power boaters can not. Because kayaks are shallow water running and extremely quite fishing platforms, you can venture into areas where you will find Redfish with their backs out of the water, and site cast to them, go to the breeding grounds of large speckled trout and flounder. It seems like when I am back in the marshes of Texas, things seem to slow down, it might be because there is so much to see when you’re away from the crowds. Every trip is a learning experience, and you will see things you have never seen before that will make you want to go back.


Mr. Connie Mack Moran
Creative Feathers Studio & Saltwater Fly Shop


What makes Jacksonville and north Florida unique is the diversity of its waters, tidal conditions, and available fish. Whether you want to fish offshore for big game fish, work the jetties, fish the river, intra-coastal waterway, or creeks for inshore saltwater fare, or head into the freshwaters south on the river or in lakes and ponds, Jacksonville has something for you.


Offshore fishing is at it’s best in the summer, when huge pods of menhaden (pogies) populate the beaches and kingfish, tarpon, jacks, cobia, and sharks come in to feast. Huge red drum are also found beneath the pogie pods and make an excellent fight, and the Spanish mackerel runs yield plenty of action. Typical offshore tackle for yak anglers are spinning or baitcasting setups that would be appropriate for bigger fish, using heavier leaders, big hooks for live bait, or larger plugs for artificials.


Where Jacksonville really excels is its inshore fishery where there are literally hundreds of creeks off the intra-coastal waterway and river, including some sensational wetlands, preserves, and parks. The favorite inshore species are redfish, spotted sea trout, flounder, sheepshead, black drum, stripers, and even the occasional snook.



Inshore yak anglers use everything from live bait techniques on spinning tackle, to plugs, bucktail jigs, and plastic jerkbaits on baitcasting equipment, to fly-fishing gear. Common live baits inshore are shrimp, mud minnows, finger mullet, and blue crab. The most popular weapon of choice for live bait fisherman is definitely live shrimp on a jig. Fly fisherman prefer clouser minnow lures or crab patterns.


Jacksonville offers a tidal fishery, with two low tides and 2 high tides per day. The tides in north Florida swing anywhere from 4’-6’ twice a day – so if you are working a creek you need to plan accordingly or you may find a lot of mud between yourself and the mouth of the creek, or between yourself and your launch site.


Mike Kogan


Troll while you paddle. Maximize your fishing opps by doing what kayaks do best—a fast surface troll. Salmon often keep one eye on the ceiling, as do many mid water column fish. Check with experts in your area to see what species will play this game, then choose your flies accordingly. Most patterns will resemble bait fish and a good bet is a fly that matches the local fishes. Use an unweighted fly (weedless can be a help in messy water) and experiment with how far back you run it. Sometimes the fuss of the kayak moving through the water brings the fish up close. Remember to set the drag just tight enough to help the hook set. Check your fly periodically for grudge by pulling on the line with your fingers to see if ti’s running free. When you’re fouled, don’t reel in; pick up the rod and make a sharp forecast instead. Oftentimes this is enough to dislodge the weeds, then a back cast smoothly onto the water and you haven’t missed a beat. Use a fly rod holder designed for fly rods and mount it right off and a little behind your hip. I recommend a Down-easter (down-east.com) bolted to the boat. It has a unique, quick draw release and a low profile mount. Finally, remember to reel up when you’ve got some dicey water ahead; when it comes to kayak fishing—and this gem of wisdom often gets overlooked in the sport—the kayaking comes first.


Rob Lyon
Lyon Expeditions

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