Ever snag a lure in your net? Why not do it on purpose the next time you hang up a bait in shallow water? A net is just one of the many kayak fishing tools available to the paddling angler. Photo Jeff Little
Three Kayak Fishing Tools You Need, Already Own, But Haven’t Figured Out Yet
By Jeff Little
By the end of a day on the water, the cockpit of my kayak looks like a tackle shop vomited on top of where some raccoons tore through someones garbage. That’s just the way it is. Limited real estate to organize tackle, fast and furious rigging and meals choked down like the family dog stealing the Thanksgiving turkey leave quite a mess. But that doesn’t mean that I have things there that are extraneous. In fact many of the kayak fishing tools I carry have a dual purpose.
Rack Strap Tow Rope
I used to make tow ropes for all of the creative access points, steep descents and gravel bars in need of crossing. But one day upon realizing that I hadn’t packed it, I used something else that we all have: roof rack straps. This simple tool should be tossed in a hatch as soon as you unstrap the kayak from the roof rack, trailer or pick up truck bed. There will be some stretch of shallow water you’ll want to wade through. Run the strap through the kayaks grab loop, and close the strap around your waist for an easy way to drag the boat wherever you need to go that lacks water to float it.
I’ve used it to pull boats upstream over ledge rocks, across gravel bars, through weeds and across land to another body of water. The longer the strap, the easier it is to pull. Also dragging a kayak with it’s full length flat as opposed to dragging it solo by the bow handle spreads out the pressure, so you’ll be less likely to wear through the hull.
As soon as you unstrap your kayak from your car our trailer, put the strap in a hatch since it makes a great tool for towing your kayak through skinny water and rough terrain. Photo Jeff Little
Landing Net Lure Retriever
I’m a huge fan of plug knockers. I carry one spooled up on an old bottom half of a two piece spinning rod. But it’s not always so complicated to get your stuck lure back. Tossed your jerkbait into an overhanging branch? Dug your crankbait into a submerged stump? If it’s just out of reach, grab your landing net and intentionally jab the nets mesh toward your treble hooks. We often mutter under our breath when trying to extract treble hooks from nets after handling fish. But if it can help us in bringing home a $7 crankbait, that’s not so bad.
Stuff all those stray wrappers and tag ends of line into a water bottle and keep trash out of the water. Have a reusable water container, grab someone else’s trash and put that to use. Photo Jeff Little
Water Bottle Trash Can
I hate seeing trash in the river. Nobody likes to set the hook, feel a throb, only to learn that they’ve hooked some discarded fishing line at the bottom. But in a kayak, with wind swirling around, Power Bar wrappers, balls of tangled braid and plastic sandwich bags take flight. Organize your messy cockpit and clean as you go.
Once you’ve guzzled the first water bottle, turn it into a trash can. You would be surprised how much garbage can fit into an empty 16.9 oz plastic water bottle. Jam your wasted soft plastics, food wrappers and empty lure packaging in there. But maybe your beverage is in a reusable Nalgene bottle. No worries – just look around. Certainly someone else has littered a soda bottle for you to turn into your refuse container for the day.