27 Kayak Fishing Tips for Beginners: Complete Kayak Fishing Guide

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Written By Russ Egan

Russ is a professional fisherman with over 20 years of experience. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ comprehensively tests and reviews all his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing he prefers than heading down to his local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test.

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Kayak fishing is becoming more and more popular throughout North America but it can be tricky for beginners. We have put together these kayak fishing tips to help give you some information to improve your fishing kayak fishing adventure.

There is a lot to love about getting out onto the water in a kayak. It allows you to get up close to the fish without making much noise so you can catch scared fish species. It also allows you to get closer to the bank and structure than you ever could in your boat.

Going out in your kayak with your friends and catching some trophy bass can be one of your favorite memories.

Have a read through our tips below.

Let’s go!

Kayak Outfitting Tips

  • Choose your paddle carefully – having the correct length means you can use it comfortably. See a professional to get the proper size, or a good starting point for most people is 8’2″.
  • Get a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) – Safety is important, particularly if you are kayaking on your own. You never know when you will capsize and need a helping hand from a high quality life jacket.
  • Store your net in a rod holder. The last thing you want to do when you have a fish at the kayak is to be rummaging around in your hatches trying to find your net.
  • Be organized – don’t take all of your fishing equipment with you, only take what is necessary. Create a secure spot for your knife, multitool, and bait so you can access it easily.
  • Get a high quality seat – standard plastic seats don’t offer any back support which is fine for a few hours, but if you have a multi day fishing adventure then you will want to protect your back.
  • Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, bug spray, and a hat to protect you from the elements.
  • Pack extra water and food if you are going out for more than few hours.
  • Carry an anchor – this allows you to stay in place at your target fishing spot. If you don’t have an anchor then be prepared for a lot of extra paddling just to stay in position.

Kayaking Tips

  • Learn to paddle properly – this will save you energy over a long day, particularly if you are fighting against the wind and current. 
  • Watch the weather – kayaking is hard work and even more so if there are waves and swell. Learn to read the wind patterns around you so you can take advantage of wind at your back when you see it.
  • Be visible to boats. This can either be high visibility clothing or a flag.
  • Move quietly to avoid scaring skittish fish.
  • Look at getting a kayak cart – if you are fishing from hard to reach destinations then it can be painful to carry it long distances, particularly if you have a heavy cooler or tackle bag.

Types of Kayak for Fishing

  • Sit on Top Kayak – This is a common type of kayak for fishing as they are often more stable and allow you to stand up when casting. 
  • Sit in Kayak – Sit in kayak’s are suited for ocean going but will keep you inside the compartment.
  • Pedal Kayak – Pedal kayaks use leg power to convert through either flippers or a propeller to move you through the water. This is a great way to eliminate paddling and keep your arms free for fishing rod casting.
  • Look at a wide hull design – this gives you more stability and in many cases will allow you to stand up and cast when you reach your target destination.
  • Try before you buy – take out a friend’s kayak for a test ride to check its comfort, stability, ease of use, and speed.

Kayak Fishing Casting Tips

  • Make sure your kayak is stable enough to handle your body movement when casting.
  • Wide kayaks with a flat platform allows you to stand up and cast with ease.
  • Set you drag correctly – if you are retrieving strong fish then you will want to set the drag slightly lower than you would otherwise to maintain good stability in your kayak.

Kayak Fishing Technology Tips

  • Get a sounder/fish finder – knowing where the fish are is just as important for kayak anglers as it is with boaters.
  • Retractable pedal kayaks or propeller driven models allow you to cast with your hands while slowly moving through the water.
  • If you are kayaking anywhere near the ocean then get a marine VHF radio.

Kayak Storage Tips

  • Store your kayak out of the elements and off the ground – this will protect it from moisture and damage as well as insects and rodents.
  • DIY kayak stands can be made out of PVC or wood as well as rope and pulley and strap based options.

Kayak Fishing Tips Video


That brings us to the end of your kayak fishing tips article. I hope you have gained some knowledge and will feel more comfortable in going on your first kayak angling adventure. If you have any more questions then please leave a comment and we will strive to reply as soon as we can.

Kayak fishing is a brilliant hobby and is something that I would like to do a lot more frequently than I currently do. It is a good combination of fishing and being out in nature. It allows you to stealthily get close to the fish.

There are plenty of other resources available if you are looking for more kayak fishing tips.

If you have any tips of your own for beginner kayak anglers based on your experience then please share in the comments below so everyone can learn from your wisdom.

Happy fishing!