Tips for Fishing Off a Kayak: Launching, Fishing Spots and Etiquette
How and Where to Launch Your Kayak
The appeal of kayak fishing for most anglers is the simplicity of launching and the ease of fishing. For many kayak anglers, launching is just pulling your kayak off your vehicle or out of the bed of your truck. With a kayak, there are no complicated launching procedures when fishing alone. Even the newest kayaks with pedal drives and motor systems lack the ability to cover large water distances quickly, so picking the best launching spot can be the determining factor in having a productive day on the water. During a typical day, most kayakers can cover between four and eight miles — and if the chosen spot isn’t favorable, moving to a different location is much easier than it would be with a boat.
Where is the Best Place to Fish?
How do you choose which of your local spots is going to be the most productive? Looking at the weather and tide reports can be helpful. The weather report is the most important factor — the wind needs to be favorable and safe. If the wind is going to be less than 15 knots, pick a launching point based on the direction the wind is blowing. For east winds, look for spots to launch where you can fish a sheltered, eastern shoreline. The same applies for any other wind direction — northern shorelines for north winds, southern for south, and western for west. If the wind is projected to switch during the day, plan for the wind to be at your back on your return to the boat ramp. The last thing any kayak angler wants is to paddle or pedal into a headwind after six to eight hours of fishing.
When looking at the tide report, think like a fish. The tide is one of the biggest factors in fishing in saltwater. Whether incoming or outgoing, fish feed more on a moving tide. The more you can present your lure or bait so that it looks as natural as possible, the more successful you’ll be. Pick areas to fish where your lure will be swimming with the tide during the retrieve. Fish tend to stage up in areas so that they can ambush bait swept up with the tidal flow.
You’ll find Google maps and a chart of the body of water extremely useful when looking at kayak launching points. Look for areas where the tide will pull baitfish near and around ambush points like oyster beds, sand bars, small channels and creek mouths, or even seawalls. Having knowledge of each local ramp and surrounding area during different wind and tide conditions will make it easier to choose which one will be the most productive launching point.
Kayak Launching Courtesy
Once you have chosen your lucky launch point, load up your vehicle in preparation for the trip. Launching from a boat ramp is always easiest — however, the beauty of kayak fishing is that you can use almost any public bank to launch. Find a safe parking spot and, with the use of a kayak cart, pull your kayak down to the water. The C-Tug Kayak and Canoe Cart offers two different wheel options, depending on the ground surfaces over which you’ll be pulling your kayak.
Launching a kayak is easier than launching a boat, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the same common courtesies as boaters at the ramp. Speed of launch is important.
Being properly organized will make your kayak-launching experience even easier. A product like the YakGear Angler Crate is useful to hold all your tackle boxes, pliers, Fish Grips and leader material. There’s nothing more satisfying than wheeling your loaded-down kayak right to the water and launching while boaters look on in jealousy.
We choose to fish out of kayaks for myriad reasons, but ease of access to the water is usually at the top of the list. It’s important to look at environmental conditions and have the proper gear organized before you launch to ensure you have a productive and safe day on the water.
Originally from the Chicago area, YakGear Brand Ambassador Jeff Lange began fishing at a young age. Each summer his family took vacations to a small lake in Minnesota, and Jeff could always be found with a line in the water – whether fishing from the dock, land or a boat. This translated into a love of the sport and the ocean, which carried over into both his education and career. It wasn’t until he attended college in Melbourne, Florida, that Jeff began to fish in saltwater. After studying marine biology and working in Alaska for a few months, he moved to Panama City Beach, Florida, and purchased his first kayak. He has been addicted to saltwater fishing ever since.