Kayak Bass Fishing

Kayak Bass Fishing 101: Gear You Need and Tactics to Learn

Kayak bass fishing is some of the most fun you can have afloat. Here's how to start.

Ever since we saw the first bass of our lives jump out of the water, we've been transfixed with the idea of luring it to the hook and catching it. Once we realized that we could get off of the shore and float around the lake to do it, it was us who were hooked.

We've waded, used a float tube, and built docks or piers to stay on top of the water and fish, but when we discovered the indomitable kayak we knew we had found what we were looking for.

From there we conquered the double sided paddle and found out how easy they are to use. It was only a matter of time until kayaks were loaded with every type of fishing staple to make our angling more successful. Since then most fishermen have seen the light and at least tried fishing from one, but for those bass anglers who haven't but would like to try, we're giving you the start that you need right here.

The Fishing Kayak

There are many pros and cons to using a fishing kayak, but for most anglers the good definitely outweighs the bad. There's less maintenance with a kayak, they're easy to transport, and they're far less expensive than traditional fishing boats.

Fishing from a kayak gives the user his or her own space and time to cast a shoreline as they please, paddle around to find the honey hole, or sit in one prime spot and catch fish after fish. Kayaks are the epitome of function and style, and when it comes right down to it they are every bit as stealthy a watercraft that you would think they are.

Manufacturers have seen the writing on the wall and given the fishing community exactly what they have been asking for. Kayaks come in many styles and brands. Venerable companies such as Hobie, Old Town, Perception, Wilderness Systems, and Vibe have been perfecting the fishing kayak with anglers in mind for many years now, and they just keep on coming up with new innovations.

There are kayaks that are strictly powered by paddle, and there are kayaks that are peddle powered. Some have trolling motor propeller systems and some have rudders, but they all are built to catch fish. Fishing kayaks routinely come with rod holders, water resistant gear bins, and even cup holders. The ability to customize to your liking is what's made the fishing kayak biz such a lucrative one.

Kayak Bass Fishing

Kayak bass fishing shouldn't be so much different than normal bass fishing, it should be better! Kayak fishermen can get up close to some areas that shore fishermen can't think to get to and boat fishermen wouldn't dare to try. Only float tube anglers can go to where some kayakers can get to, and even at that they can only go so far in a day paddling by their feet and legs.

Yaks that can be peddled have an advantage since they can fish hands-free. Even at that, kayak fishing isn't some sort of race that has to be won; it's just a simple matter of paddling into a good looking spot and drifting in slowly and quietly.

Likely spots are the same: defined weed edges, drop-offs, sunken timber and brush, rock piles, and the kayakers dream- beaver dams.

Keeping the right tackle close to you in a kayak shouldn't be all that difficult, but it has to be said that you are fishing mainly from a sitting position in a small-sized watercraft and even the best models can tip over under the right (or wrong!) circumstances. Wearing a PFD is the order of the day, but beyond that you should keep a good pair of fishing pliers handy, have the proper polarized sunglasses, and a tackle pack or bag that is sized for kayak fishing.

Yyou can find some models that have a lot of the luxuries of boats including a trolling motor, but downsized fishing in a kayak should be just that: a way to have fun on the water with a little less to worry about.

Kayak Bass Fishing Gear

Depending on what species of bass you are targeting, anything from a 7' medium to medium heavy action rod or smaller is usually the best choice. Spinning reels spooled with 10 to 15 pound test fluorocarbon line work well for clear water conditions, but don't count out your baitcasting rig just yet.

Since pitching and flipping baits are best done from a standing position, you may have to think twice before attempting these techniques from a kayak. But laying a finesse bait, jig, or soft plastic into the best cover was never quite as awesome as it is from a kayak when you are mere feet away from your target zone! Honestly, for most kayak bass fishing the best idea is to keep it simple: take a few of your favorite baits such as a spinnerbait, crawfish pattern crankbait, and a floating frog to tease those early morning pockets around likely topwater areas.

Since you're fishing from a smaller place in which to rig or re-rig your tackle on the spot, and laying your rod down doesn't always work so well, having a kayak with a couple of rods in the rod holders helps immensely, and many brands already have then in place.

Honestly, one thing that helps me when I'm kayak fishing is the use of a good quality ball-bearing swivel for fast changes.

Bass Fishing Kayaks

Depending on the amount that is affordable to you, bass fishing kayaks can be easily bought for $300 and under, or they can cost well over $1,000. The honest truth is that for those who can afford one of the luxury yacht versions, they can be fished while standing, have a trolling motor, or even be peddle powered.

It should also be said that some of the cheaper versions can have some serious issues with stability, especially for larger-sized folks. This is not to say that only certain people can bass fish from a kayak, on the contrary, many anglers can have a great time fishing from one, and also be quite safe.

There are kayaks that are perfect for the smaller, calmer waters of lakes and ponds, and kayaks that are quite well suited for saltwater fishing the open ocean. We are fortunate in that we can find one that suits each of our specific fishing needs.

Look for a bass fishing-specific kayak and take into account the weight capacity (as well as its own weight), the length of the kayak, is it sit on or sit in style, does it have high side walls or low wall, and is it best for big water or small water. Some bass fishing kayaks can be accessorized with electronics, rod holders, and gear bins.

Selecting a kayak that has a comfortable seat and is stable while remaining maneuverable is key. Typically, anglers look for a kayak in the 10- to 12-foot range, as it can help when trying to turn the boat in tight spaces. One of the biggest factors is finding one that tracks well so you aren't constantly trying to stop and reposition yourself in a good spot.

Consider the type of water that you will be fishing first and foremost and then the type of fishing. For largemouth bass, you will usually be fishing slower, quieter waters with the emphasis on stealth and positioning. For smallmouth bass fishing, you may have to consider water clarity and depth as more of what you will encounter.

Paddle-powered kayaks can get through virtually any cover including dense weed beds, shallow beaver ponds, and right into downed tree structure. Peddle-powder kayaks are wonderful for getting into position and keeping you there, especially when sight fishing, but cannot be taken into some of the aforementioned places since they have a low hanging prop.

Kayak fishing in creeks and rivers can be great, and many brands have versions that work well under those circumstances. Look for one that will carry not only you and your favorite fishing gear, but food and drinks as well. Kayak fishing is a lot about relaxing and enjoying the moment, and having some good food and a cold drink can really make a great situation even better.

Kayak Bass Fishing is for You

Kayak anglers are are able to fish quiet backwaters, and can get to places that haven't been been fished for a long time, if at all. Newer, heavy duty fishing kayaks are capable of venturing into the open water with a motorized or pedal drive that gives them the option to go long distances and target fish like any good bass angler would.

Anyone who discovers the fun and function of bass fishing in a kayak learns something important. Even some of the pros on the circuit will tell you that bass fishing from a kayak is one of their favorite pastimes. It's about figuring out a body of water on your own, working with the tools and vessel designed to catch fish, and doing it the way you want to do it, without as many restrictions.

Give kayak bass fishing a try, and you'll learn it too.

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