Fishing and kayaking make an exciting combination. A kayak is more affordable than larger vessels such as a boat and can take you to places where larger vessels can’t go. A kayak will bring a whole new dimension to your fishing experience. Moreover, kayak fishing is not limited to freshwater. More and more anglers are using a kayak for saltwater fishing.
Saltwater, however, is an unforgiving mistress. The sea presents more challenges to kayak fishermen than freshwater. It pays for a first-timer to be well prepared before venturing out to the sea on a fishing kayak.
If you are a beginner who wants to do saltwater kayak fishing, our well-researched beginner tips will ensure that you have a safe, fun-filled, and satisfying outing.
- Brush up on your paddling skills
Even if you have paddled a kayak in freshwater earlier, you need to brush up on fundamental kayaking skills before hitting the sea. Skills such as paddling strokes and maneuvering capabilities are invaluable when you run into trouble on saltwater.
You can find many outfits offering simple lessons, as well as more intensive courses. You can use your lessons to practice proper techniques to develop muscle memory. All this practice will stand you in good stead during an emergency.
- Choose the right saltwater fishing kayak
Unlike other kinds of kayaks, a fishing kayak is designed differently. They are shorter and wider to give you increased stability in the choppy sea. Buy a kayak specifically designed for saltwater fishing. They are built to withstand the corrosive effects of saltwater and are custom-fitted with an assortment of holders for fishing gear.
Choose sit-on-top kayaks (SOTs) over sit-inside kayaks (SINKs) as they are easy to get in or out and have more storage options to fit in your fishing equipment and gears. Their seating option, too, is comfortable and helps prevent backaches.
- The importance of a good paddle
While you can buy the Best Fishing Kayak for Under $1000, you need to splurge on a good paddle. A paddle is what drives your kayak from one fishing spot to the other. Using a cheap paddle will make paddling inefficient and ruin your saltwater kayak fishing expedition by tiring you out.
Buy the best paddle you can afford. It must be made of quality materials like fiberglass reinforced nylon, have the most efficient design, and be of the right size. A good paddle is indispensable in the ocean. So, always leash your paddle to your kayak to avoid the nightmarish situation of losing your paddle in the high seas.
- Gear and equipment
Fit your kayak with rod and paddle holders to free up space and keep your hands free. You can even consider using floating containers. These will not only protect your accessories from being lost in the sea but also save space if you tether them to your kayak.
When it comes to fishing gear, most anglers take around three rods to cover most types of fishing scenarios. But whatever fishing gear and accessories you take, ensure they can withstand saltwater corrosion. Apart from your fishing equipment, you’ll need the following-
- A multi-tool for snipping line, cutting up small baits, and removing your hooks from your catch.
- A light anchor to hold your kayak in place.
- Waterproof epoxy putty to repair any unexpected damages to your kayak.
- Good quality nets with a non-slip grip.
- Good quality fishing gloves.
- First aid kit.
- Headlamps with extra batteries if you plan to fish in the dark.
- A bug spray for pesky mosquitoes and other critters that attack you while fishing close to the shore.
- Prepare for the elements
When out paddling in the sea, you’ll be vulnerable to the elements as there is nothing over your head. Apart from covering up properly, use a waterproof sunscreen with Zinc Oxide liberally. Use goggles with UV protection as direct exposure to the sun’s rays are made worse due to the water’s reflective surface.
For the colder seas, carry suitable warm wear. A wrong choice of clothing will ruin your saltwater kayaking experience. It is advisable to always pack a light raincoat for those unexpected storms. You have a good selection of performance fishing clothing to help you kayak longer, in comfort, and in style to choose from.
- Learn how to navigate
When you are far from the shore, it’s easy to get lost. Having a combination of fish-finder and GPS unit in your kayak is a great option. It will be an excellent aid for paddling in unexplored waters and finding fish. But if you cannot afford a fish-finder and GPS unit, you can download a GPS app on your smartphone. It will help you get back home if you get lost.
- Safety considerations
Before you hit the sea for some kayak fishing, you must seriously consider the following safety measures-
- Avoid going alone. It is always good to have someone close by in case of an accident. Make your saltwater kayak fishing trip a social occasion.
- Wear a well-fitting, comfortable life-jacket or any floatation device while on any type of water. This will keep you afloat in case you fall overboard.
- Always keep a close watch on the weather conditions. Weather can change drastically on the high seas. If you’re too engrossed in fishing to notice any change in weather, you’ll be in for a tough time.
- Use adequate sun protection along with a wide-brimmed fishing hat. A bad sunburn will ruin your saltwater kayak fishing experience.
- Take plenty of water. The sun and wind in open seas will dehydrate you quickly. Keep yourself hydrated with a good supply of water.
- Do not rely on your smartphone for any emergency communication. A VHF radio with fully charged batteries will be a great backup if your smartphone cannot be used.
Some parting thoughts
Our 7 beginner tips will ease you into the exciting world of saltwater kayak fishing. You can enjoy a diverse fishing experience with a wide variety of catch and conditions the ocean offers. The more you paddle out into the sea, the better you’ll become. Your saltwater kayak fishing experience will become only richer with time.