So you’ve purchased a kayak that best suits your preferred type of fishing. As kayak fishermen, we are inherent tinkerers and much of the enjoyment of this sport derives from using our creativity to design the best rigs on the water! Much of this will be a result of experimentation and your time on the water.
That being said, beginning kayak fishermen should avoid these 3 basic mistakes:
When fishing on a kayak, all essential gear and tackle should be secured to the boat. Rods should be attached to rod leashes, even if they are already inserted into rod holders. Tackle boxes, even if they are waterproof, should be secured to the boat under bungees, or in a hatch. I have heard too many stories of kayak anglers who capsized their boats and lost hundreds of dollars worth of gear. An unexpected wave out at sea or a bad surf landing can result in your gear being strewn across the water.
Ensure that your gear is out of your space when you paddle. This is especially important for smaller kayaks under 12 feet. If you have a pedal kayak, such as a Hobie Mirage, make sure your pedaling motion is not obstructed by your rod holders. Before you start installing fishing accessories on your boat, sit in it and use your paddle for various strokes, cast with your rod and see if all of your gear is within easy access. If you have a pool, it is a good idea to see how accessing different pieces of gear will affect your stability. You can then mark different places on the boat where having accessories such as rod holders/ fish finders would be beneficial. Not rigging your gear so that it is out of the way of your paddle will definitely cause a huge headache out on the water! Consider using a rail or gear track system for your rod holders and mounts. These rail systems are modular and allow you to position and remove kayak fishing accessories with ease.
Many novice kayak fishermen make the mistake of taking lots of unnecessary gear with them. If you overload your kayak, you put yourself at a greater risk of capsizing it and losing your gear. Take only what you need. Small items such as food, water and phones should be kept in containers. Generally speaking, if your kayak has a weight capacity of 350 and you weigh 200 lbs, you should not take more than 60 lbs of gear with you. This 3/4 of weight capacity rule applies to most, though not all kayaks.
Fishing on a kayak with limited space is about safety and efficiency on the water. Discovering the most effective, minimalist set ups can be almost as fun as the fishing itself. Once you purchase your first (or 11th) fishing kayak, start rigging, learn from your mistakes and have fun doing it.