Ocean Kayak Fishing: How to Stay Safe, Secure, Mobile

Ocean kayak fishing requires a specific kind of craft. There are several types of kayaks such as “recreation,” “whitewater,” “ultra-light,” and “fishing.” Designs vary, depending on the type of water where it primarily will be used.  The ocean is big and intimidating. Here are some things to consider before going kayak fishing in the ocean:

1. Safe

A sea or ocean kayak needs to be able to remain stable, whatever the conditions of wind, current, and swells. This stability will help provide the much-needed confidence for ocean journeys.  You’ll also want a reliable personal flotation device, to stay visible with a flag and light, and review all the other safety tips.

2. Secure

For kayak fishing in the ocean, Ric Burnley, editor of Kayak Angler magazine and the Paddling Buyers Guide, spends almost his entire time ocean kayak fishing and heeds the advice of another noted kayak angler, Jim Sammons: “rig to flip.”   That’s right, assume the worst can happen and that the kayak rolls over.  You and the kayak will remain buoyant but you don’t want to lose all of your tackle. Take a minimum of ocean kayak accessories and secure everything with clips, bungee cords, and netting.  Ric’s kayak even has “a hatch large enough to hold my fishing rods in case I wipe out in the surf.”

3. Mobile

The best ocean kayaks are designed for efficient paddling to cover great distances and move through whatever the ocean conditions. Ric chose an ocean kayak that was “low and lean to cut through the water and duck the wind, rolls over waves, and I can still stand and fish, even in choppy seas.”   Some ocean fishing kayaks have peddle-type propulsion while others even have electric trolling motors so that you can focus on other aspects of the fishing trip.  

Before setting off on a big ocean kayak fishing trip, here's a quick kayak fishing tip.Gain some kayak experience on smaller, more forgiving water first.  Ocean kayaker, Neil Schulman compares ocean kayak fishing to alpine backpacking because of the need to be mobile, safe, and have stuff secure. And make sure your fishing license and boat registration is up-to-date before setting out on one of the ultimate fishing adventures!

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.