Kayak fishing is a growing trend. More and more people are figuring out that a kayak is an option that will allow you to fish in areas you simply cannot get to without a boat. Compared to the hassle of trailering and launching a fishing boat, kayak fishing gets you back to the essence of just being on the water.
Why Kayaks For Bass Fishing?
Kayaks are perfect for bass fishing. It takes very little force from a paddle to move a kayak several feet. You do not disturb the water and you do not create the vibrations that spook the fish. The kayak angler can slip quietly into the areas where the bass are hiding.
Bass like to hang out in some pretty gnarly areas for boats, which gives kayaks a huge advantage.
If you are fishing in small creeks and rivers, the kayak will allow you to go places that the motorized boats simply cannot go, largely because your drag (the amount of boat underneath the water surface) is so minimal. There are hidden horseshoe lakes and small areas that are not fished because the anglers in the boats cannot get into them. Your kayak will stealthily slip into those areas and provide you with an opportunity to fish for monster bass that are not hook leery because they never see humans and hooks in their neck of the woods.
Bass anglers know that these fish love to get up under limbs and in the most difficult places to navigate. Hanging out in those spaces allows them to get plenty of food, shade, and safety. The great thing is your kayak is safer in those areas, too. Kayaks and bass fishing are simply made for each other.
Kayaks are also a bit better than canoes, because they are highly-maneuverable and more stable (because you sit lower in the vessel when kayaking vs. canoeing). That is important when you hook a fish, get excited, and start shifting your weight around!
Kayak Bass Fishing Considerations
There are a few downsides of bass fishing with a kayak, but we think they pale in comparison to all the advantages.
When you are bass fishing with a kayak, you are going to have to learn the art of the one handed cast. You also need to learn the art of the one handed paddle. That way you can gently glide your craft with one hand while you cast your lure to the best spot using the other hand. When you are reeling in your line you will find that you will be propelling your boat in the direction the line was cast. Utilize this to move in closer to the honey spots the fish like to hide in. Once you master it, you will have a big advantage over other fisherman (and maybe even over the bass!)
You may want to consider a fly fishing setup for kayak fishing, because it is made for not constantly reeling or spinning. A fly fishing line can just be laying out on the water and you can flip the lure to wherever you want it to go.
Another consideration for kayak bass fishing is that you need to deal with the problems that come with fishing from a small vessel. If you are on lakes or rivers where there are a lot of motorized vessels causing heavy wakes or safety issues, then your small craft is going to be harder to control. One trick is to slip out onto the lakes or rivers early, just as the sun is coming up, or wait until late in the evening. You want to get your boat floating before all of the big boats start trying to leave the ramp all at once.
If you do get waves coming from another boat, just shift your weight towards the side the wave is going to hit. This will keep it from tipping you over. If you are netting a fish, you want to use your hips and shift your weight to the opposite side of the vessel to create a counter balance and prevent tipping.
The final consideration is that you need to be a little more efficient with your gear. If you are going to be fishing from a kayak, you do not want a really deep fish net or a massive tackle box. You are going to have to work the fish up close to the vessel before you swoop down with your net. Do not lift the fish out of the water before you position the net or you will learn the heartbreak of the one that got away. Also, consider a more compact tackle bag, not a big box that is clumsy or bulky.
When you go out on the water in a kayak, you are alone with nature. You get the opportunity to relax, slow your pace, and enjoy the experience completely.
Rigging yourself up with a kayak for fishing will cost a tiny fraction of what a boat will cost.
A brand new fishing kayak might cost you $1,000. A boat, on the other hand, will run up to $100,000 for a deluxe fishing rig. Even if you just go with a small aluminum fishing boat, the trailer, registration, storage, and maintenance costs will really add up.
Great Fishing Kayaks
There are a couple fishing kayaks on the market that we really like right now, and they are great for bass fishing as well.
Eddyline Caribbean 12 or 14 Kayak
The Eddyline Caribbean series is great for fishing, and we are fans of both the 12 and 14 foot version. Eddyline is a trusted brand, based in Washington State, that has been around for 50 years.
Check out our overview of Eddyline kayaks, and specifically the Caribbean if you are interested in fishing.
ASCEND® FS10 Sit-In-Angler Kayak
This is a premium fishing kayak that has superb maneuverability. The increased ability to maneuver the vessel easily is created by the V-style hull. This style allows the vessel to have an extended keel and aggressive strakes with a performance rocker.
It is designed with a large open cockpit that makes it very easy to mount or get out of the boat. You will not have as much restriction of movement so casting is more precise.This kayak also has a seating system that can be removed or adjust the seat with one hand. Constructed with a steel frame, it is one of the most comfortable kayak seats on the market. Anglers between 5’2” and 6’2” will all find the seating comfortable because of the positioning of the foot braces.
I liked the flush-mounted rod holders, which allowed me to fish 2 of my freshwater rods in the kayak easily, keeping them within easy reach and without having to worry about breaking them.
Designed for fishing with a pair of 4” cleats that are perfect for tying your minnow bucket to or a fish stringer when you land a few. It also comes with dual bungee paddle holders that keep you from losing your paddle while you are busy fishing and a waterproof, weathertight area positioned beneath a screw out deck plate.
The ASCEND Kayak has plenty of room for small coolers, buckets, your fillet knife, and some shore lunch fixings. It only weighs 57 pounds and is 10′ long and 30″ wide , so it is easy to load and unload from your vehicle. This particular kayak can support weights of as much as 325 pounds.
Perception Sound 9.5 Kayak with Paddle
This kayak weighs only 38 pounds. It has a depth of 13 inches, is 28” wide and 9.5” long, and can support up to 300 pounds. There are two molded handles in the kayak that allow you to carry the vessel securely.
The Perception Sound 9.5 Kayak features a tri-keel hull that allows it to have increased stability and effortless steering that will track straight and true. The molded dash has mounting points to hold your accessories. 2 molded rod holders located behind the seat and a rear storage area provide ample space for gear. This area is even secured with a bungee cord. For additional storage, you can find a compartment with a shock cord in the stern of the vessel to stow your fishing gear.
The seating is padded with foam for extra comfort, and it can be adjusted according to your height. You will also find thigh pads and foot braces that can be adjusted so you can be perfectly comfortable.
This kayak comes complete with a Drifter brand 2-piece paddle so all you need is a life preserver and some water, and you are ready to fish.
Should You Use a Fish Finder?
A common question I get about kayak fishing is if someone should use a fish finder. We did an entire piece of kayak fish finders, and let me just say they have come a long way in terms of compactness and accuracy.
If you want to be sure you get yourself on the fish, then use one. If your main goal is to just get some peace and quiet, and be in nature, then another screen might not help the cause! I will say, though, that I like using a fish finder because it really helps me understand the structure of the lake or river beneath the water surface — something that just fascinates me in general.
Any article on kayak fishing would be incomplete if it didn’t mention safety. Using a kayak is a fun, effective way to fish, but you need to be safe!
Wear A Life Jacket
Problems on the water can happen in the blink of an eye, especially when you are dealing with a lightweight vessel like a kayak. To be safe, wear a life vest preferably a paddling life jacket. If you don’t want the vest to get in your way while fishing and casting, you can buy a low-profile one that wears more like a belt, and is easy to inflate if needed. Check out what we mean here on Amazon.
Go Where You Know
There are too many stories of people going on big open water or on a fast-moving river, only to have life-threatening issues occur because they caught caught in the wrong current, have bad weather come up, or hit a violent rapid. Whether you are freshwater fishing in Texas for bass, or trying to sneak in to some structure off a Northwoods lake, don’t take chances in a kayak.
Stick to areas you know well, and if you are feeling the need to explore new areas, study a detailed map first, check the weather, and ask locals if there are any hazards, rocks, or strong currents you need to keep in mind.