3 Skills Beginner Kayak Fishers Should Master

By Lauren Seidl

Mar 09, 2017

Interested in kayak fishing? Learn some basic kayaking skills before focusing on the fish. Start with these tips on kayak fishing for beginners.

Kayak fishing is a sport that’s grown in popularity over the past few years due to a kayak’s quiet ability to weave in and out of tricky spots. If you’ve never fished from a kayak, there are a few skills you should work on before focusing on the fish.

1. Balancing in a Kayak

Those new to kayaking should get comfortable in a kayak before adding fishing into the mix. Practice getting into a kayak by orienting it parallel to shore and sidestepping in, grabbing the sides of the kayak as you do so for stability. Once in the kayak, keep your head centered inside the boat to stay stable.

If you plan to stand in your kayak while fishing, try a few balancing exercises to get comfortable in the kayak before venturing too far off shore. Balance on one foot and then the other to build your confidence standing. 

If you want the comfort and stability of sitting while kayak fishing but the vantage point of standing, try kneeling on a boat cushion during your kayak fishing trip. This is the perfect compromise for individuals who want to be able to see into surrounding water but don’t feel comfortable enough to stand in their kayak.

2. Paddling in a Kayak

To master kayak fishing, you must first master how to maneuver yourself efficiently in a kayak. A basic forward stroke involves dipping the paddle’s blade into the water, taking a brief pause to let the blade catch the water, performing the stroke and then removing the blade. While it might feel natural to rely on arm strength alone, your entire core should be engaged in each stroke. 

Research and practice different forms of paddling, including the sweep stroke for turning, the draw stroke for pulling into shore and the reverse forward stroke for stopping. Learning to properly execute these strokes will help you move efficiently and prevent you from startling fish with a poorly formed stroke. Knowing these strokes will also help you stay safe in varying conditions.

3. Multitasking in a Kayak

Once you have the basics of kayaking down, it’s time to add the elements of fishing. Be sure to buy a paddle leash and practice paddling one-handed; kayak fishing requires you to keep control over the direction and movement of your boat while fishing. Pay attention to how your movements affect your kayak. For example, your boat will turn toward the direction you cast. Use this knowledge to navigate waters efficiently.

Paddling your kayak into an area with thick vegetation can help keep the movement of your boat to a minimum. Equip your kayak with rod holders and other add-ons that can help save space in the boat. And just as with any other water sport, don’t forget to wear your life jacket.

Have fun out there!

This post is part of a series of sponsored content with Sierra Trading Post.
Lauren Seidl
Lauren Seidl
Lauren Seidl blogs for off-price retailer Sierra Trading Post, a partner of TakeMeFishing.org. She hikes, camps, climbs rock and explores the Rocky Mountains as often as she can. When Lauren isn't out finding adventures in her home state of Colorado, she can be found sipping a great Colorado microbrew.