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How To Get Started Kayak Fishing (Beginner’s Guide)

The great thing about kayaks is that they’re easy to maneuver on the water.

They’re also rather quiet, so you can focus on your surroundings without disturbing the fish.

So, if you’re looking for a fishing setup outside of a traditional boat, then let us help you get started with kayak fishing.

Kayak Fishing Setup

Follow these tips to turn your kayak into a fishing fighting machine:

man fishing in kayak


When fishing from a kayak, you need to be able to access your gear easily and move it out of the way so you can cast and paddle.

You’ll need a storage container that fits on the back of your kayak but that’s large enough to hold your rods and tackle.

The milk crate is a handy tool to help you store and transport your gear.

Just attach it to the side of your kayak for durable storage or attach it to one of the many hooks on your fishing rig.

Milk crates have grated sides, allowing for easy drainage and ventilation.

These crates are light and sturdy, and easily secured to the side of your sit-on kayak with bungee cords.

Simply clip your rod to the side of a milk crate and you’re good to go.

Anchor Systems

For an inexpensive fishing kayak setup, install a trolley anchor system.

This is a pulley system that will allow you to drop your anchor from the stern, bow, or the middle of the boat.

Another anchor option is an anchor pole.

This is ideal for fishing in shallow water fishing (under 15 ft.)

You can use just anything from copper piping to a broomstick for the pole.

Tie a line from the pole, and there you have it, you’ve got an anchor pole.

Kayak Fishing Accessories You’ll Need

Here’s a quick look at the basics of what you’ll need with you out on the water to do some kayak fishing.

  • Storage
  • Fishing Rod Holder for Kayak
  • Dry Sack
  • Map Case

See more of our recommended accessories here.

Kayak Fishing Tips

Casting from a Kayak

Most kayak anglers seated when they are casting but this raises the difficulty in casting with accuracy.

Here are some essential tips to boost your casting success.

  • Eliminate All Line-Catching Snags – When you’re ready to take your kayak out and start paddling, place your gear in a crate to keep it secure. Keep the deck as clear as possible!
  • Anchor Up in Wind and Current  – You need an anchor system in your kayak, particularly if you are a beginner and/or plan to spend time in the open water.
  • Shoot Line to Gain Distance and Reduce False Casts – With a little practice you’ll find that distance can be added through line shooting by bringing your rod tip to a defined stop at the end of your forward cast.

Reeling In from a Kayak

The main thing to remember is that you came for the fish.

Don’t chase after them, but be patient and allow them to come to you.

When they do, be sure you are ready for a fight with your best gear.

Benefits of Fishing from a Kayak

A Kayak is very economical.

One of the biggest benefits to fishing with a kayak is that it is very economical.

The only expense is basically when you buy the kayak and after barely costs another dime.

Paddling a kayak is a very economical way to travel in the water, not to mention far better for the environment.

A Kayak is Convenient

It is much easier to transport and store a kayak away than a larger boat.

You easily rope a hard-shell kayak to the top of your vehicle to transport to the water.

Have an inflatable kayak? Just pop your trunk to store it.

A Kayak Makes Available Far More Access

With a kayak you can get in and out of small places that a motor boat may not have access to.

It allows you to find your way into remote areas on any body of water.

A Kayak Glides Faster than Most Trolling Motor Boats

With a kayak you can go faster than you ever thought possible.

The quiet speed and stability will help you get to your destination without losing too much time.

A Kayak Offers Peace and Quiet

With a kayak there is no engine to make noise, a motor to buzz or rattle you around and the smooth glide of the paddles that allows for a very calm and relaxing environment.

Risks of Fishing from a Kayak

Kayak fishing is a safe sport, and it can be a lot of fun.

However, there are some dangers that you need to understand about kayak fishing so that you can stay safe.

Some potentially dangerous situations you should be aware of include:


This is very real, and it has happened to anglers on more than one occasion.

Make sure you strap down everything when you go fishing or have a leash on it.

That way, when you capsize, all you have to focus on is righting your boat.

Getting Lost

For ocean anglers, it can be tough to find their way back home after they’ve cast off.

Make a float plan to help keep you on track and let someone familiar back on land know where you are headed and how long you plan to stay.

If you do not have a GPS, pay attention to landmarks in the landscape.

It may start off as a big tree that stands out or a house on the shore, but as you get further and further from land, your landmark will probably be much larger.

Dangerous Creatures

Kayakers need to be cautious and careful while fishing in the ocean. It is not uncommon for them to meet a shark from time to time.

Down south it could be an alligator or poisonous snake.

Educate yourself on what dangerous animals lie in wait in the waters where you fish.

There really is nothing more peaceful and exhilarating for an angler than a crisp blue sky day on a kayak.