'Yak Fishing 101:
Don't let your friend's shiny, new boat with its heavy-duty motor make you jealous. Nowadays, many serious anglers are opting to choose a different type of vessel to tackle their fishing adventures. The kayak fishing community has exploded in recent years, with the establishment of kayak-only fishing stores, forums, and even tournament circuits. If you're looking to add a new tool to your fishing arsenal, here are some benefits of owning a kayak that you should consider:
Accessing a variety of water isn't an issue for kayak fishermen. Some areas have horsepower restrictions or may lack a formal boat launch. Kayak anglers are not so easily deterred. 'Yaks can be launched just about anywhere you can safely reach the water’s edge. As long as the water is legal to access, you’ll be able to fish remote areas that potentially hold the fish of a lifetime.
The Element of Stealth
Never underestimate the element of surprise! Kayaks are extremely useful for sneaking up on spooky fish. This is especially true during spring and summer when the sun is high, as fish are more aware of their surroundings. In clear water situations, imposing shadows, hull slap, and motor sounds from larger vessels make wary fish even more conscious of an angler's presence, which in turn makes the bite more difficult. The silence of a kayak will allow you to get up close and personal with spooky species in freshwater such as bass and carp. You can also pack up the ‘yak and take it to the salt to target stripers, redfish, and sea trout!
Whether you are fishing fresh or saltwater, shallow areas often harbor superb angling opportunities. The ability to push deep into skinny water is a huge bonus for those looking to fish unpressured waters. At certain times of year, seasonally variant water levels leave some spots inaccessible to those bound to their combustion engines. If you’ve got a ’yak, you’re never left high and dry mid-season.
New Age Vessels:
Long gone are the days of the mundane wooden canoe with its small oar and tackle box. Paddle vessels offer incredible customization opportunities. ‘Yak owners often outfit their rigs with rod holders for all their Cheeky Reels ,peddle-drives, dry storage, landing nets, live wells, coolers, GPS systems and much, much more! We know what you’re probably thinking; is it worth adding all those fancy gadgets if you're bound to the seat of your glorified rowboat? Well, modern fishing kayaks are tailored to adventure seekers who desire to stand up while kayaking. Some are even more stable to stand on than stand-up paddleboards, and can open up a whole new world of sight-fishing opportunities.
If the big time bills associated with owning a boat intimidate you, a kayak may be the perfect solution. You can purchase a smaller sit-in kayak for only a couple hundred bucks, while the larger fishing kayaks that offer the stability to stand up range anywhere from $1500 to $3000+. Additionally, paddle vessels are more affordable in the long run, since they require significantly less day-to-day maintenance and allow you to drive straight to the lake without having to repeatedly fill up on fuel.
So, you hit the lake to fish, and it's not panning out? No problem. Head back to the ramp and drive somewhere else! Without the limitations of heavy tow capacity, kayaks can be secured to just about any type of car, and are easy to store when you’re off the water. They can even be loaded onto a larger vessel for the ultimate "mini-mothership operation"!
Sharing the Love
Kayaking is a great group experience to share with others, regardless of fishing experience or interest level. The next time you're out on the water, bring along a friend who likes to explore. You don’t need to be a paddlesport enthusiast or pro angler to enjoy a day on a scenic waterway!
DON’T FORGET SAFETY!
While kayak fishing is a blast, safe practices on the water and on the road are a must for anyone looking to get into the game. This includes pre-planning trips, understanding the waterway you’re going to explore, knowing your vehicle's limitations, bringing along a buddy, or letting someone know of your travel plans. Learn the dangers of extreme water temperatures and currents, and wear a PFD (personal floatation device) when you're on the water especially when fishing alone.
UTILIZING THE RIGHT FISHING GEAR
Most veteran paddlers agree; having quality fishing gear makes the whole kayak fishing experience much more enjoyable. With the open design of most kayaks, having gear that is built to withstand the elements and handle some paddle splash or ocean spray is a must. The Cheeky Limitless Series of fly reels with completely sealed drags, and the Cheeky CYDRO Spinning Reel Series with its corrosion-resistant components, are great fishing reel options for kayak anglers looking for great gear that is built for adventure. Get yours today!
Photo Credits: Joe Gugino of Why Knot Fishing, Cody Rubner & Thomas Freund of Cheeky Fishing