Planning a kayak fishing trip entails a few steps before actually fishing. This article will elaborate on the steps I take in planning local and traveling fishing trips. Believe it or not kayak fishing is a dangerous sport. I hope these tips will help you plan your next saltwater kayak fishing trip and make it a successful and safe one!
Species to Target
All locations differ on species to target. Some fish maybe seasonal or some may be abundant year round. Its good to do some research on what species you want to target. Check the local regulations on these species. We live in a day when there are creel limits and even regulations of tackle and bait used to lure the fish. For example in Maryland Striped bass are catch and release only for the spawning season. Along with the catch and release regulation tackle is also strictly monitored to number of hooks and barb-less hooks. Along with bait it has been for a few years illegal to posses or fish with bait such as river herring. These are all factors as an angler it is your responsibility to research for the species you plan to target.
Choosing a location for your kayak fishing trip can vary on the choice of Species Targeted. It can also vary on weather conditions and tide predictions. Take these into account. If the wind is going to be coming from the NorthEast most of the day plan on an area with shelter from that wind and where you think the fish may hold. Plan on a location with the ability to park and launch your kayak. Some places its illegal to park in certain areas. Also private land can be an issue.
When scouting a new area I always research using google satellite maps. It can give you a good idea of a place to park and launch. However it is always good to drive to the area prior to make sure its safe and accessible. Then i study the charts on the Navionics web app.
Weather conditions are a huge factor in kayak fishing. Wind being the primary disadvantage in most cases. Paddling or peddling can become exhausting over time. Location is key in windy situations. Plan for the wind and plan your drop in location and route accordingly.
Check the weather forecast days before to plan. Weather conditions can change any minute of the day or night. Personally I like to use weather apps such as Windfinder and Accuweather for air temp and precip forecasts.
Dress for the weather. This is important see the Gear and Safety Section below.
Know your limits. Don’t go out of you know the winds are going to be too much for you to handle. Paddling all day against the wind is no fun and can be dangerous.
The weather always varies and predictions are typically off so just go and see how it is at the drop in. Don’t let weather forecasts cause you to stay home. Just take them as a precaution.
Moon and Tides
Believe it or not Moon phase and Tide flow is essential to saltwater fishing. This should be a major part of your planning. IF you drop in at high tide where will the tide be when you get back? All mud? These are things to think of when picking your location.
Also certain species of fish feed at different points within a tide swing. Its good to take note of these times while fishing. It could benefit you on future fishing trips.
Gear and Safety
Gear is everything you plan on taking with you on your kayak. As stated kayak fishing can be very dangerous so safety should be a major concern. Its good practice to always wear a USCG Class III approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Basic safety gear like a whistle and a signaling device such as the YakAttack VISICarbon Pro are great additions.
Dress for the weather.
Summer time personally I dress in long pants and shirt with an SPF rating of 50+. Fishing pants I prefer are Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pant. And for shirts Columbia Men’s Terminal Tackle Long Sleeve Shirt for an example as there are so many Sun Shirts on the market. If possible always avoid cotton. Cotton absorbs water and does not dry quickly.
Winter Dry Gear is very important for safety. The no cotton rule applies much more here. I personally love the Kokatat Hydrus 3L Tempest Dry Pants with Socks. Layer up with base layer under the dry pants. Top start with a base layer. Mysterioso shirt is the best i have worn over the years.
Also always remember to bring water with you. A lunch or snack is always good as you don’t always know how long you may be out fishing.
A rule of thumb is to always have a dry set of clothes packed in your car. Just in case.
Its a good practice to let family or friends know the location you will be launching just in case you happen to encounter trouble. Its always good to have people know your whereabouts as a precaution.
An example. What to have in your tackle box for Flounder fishing can vary. Its good to always have multiple colored and weights of jigs handy. A spool of 20# test leader line should be handy. Terminal tackle such as swivels slides and 3/0 – 5/0 octopus style hooks are needed. Teasers you can tie your own or purchase some.
For Stripers examples being. Jigs, Swim baits, and even hard swim baits are a key choice of tackle. Personally I still bring too much tackle but you never know what you may need throughout the day.
A milk crate or YakAttack Blackpak is an excellent addition to store tackle and also add additional rod holders for more fishing rods. I typically take 3 – 4 rods with me depending on the fish i am targeting. This way you can have different tackle tied and ready.
Always good to have a net handy. This goes along with a pair of Aluminum Fishing Pliers and a sharp Knife with Floating Handle. Rod leashes goes with the saying if you love it leash it. If using bait you may want a Bait Board or a live Bait Container.
Having a fish finder with GPS charts is an excellent addition to your kayak. A great tool for fishing. Being able to read where the bait and fish are located in the water column is a huge advantage. Seeing whats on the bottom while using the charts to see where drop offs and structure can change fishing into catching. The GPS charts will come in handy when a thick fog rolls in. Also are handy for locating charted structure and landmarks.
Also its good to have some form of communication. A water proof cell phone or in a Waterproof Dry Bag. Or a Handheld VHF Submersible Radio. These electronics will be very useful in an emergency situation or just communicating with your fishing buddys.
All depending what species you are targeting you may want to have an SEA-LECT Designs Folding Economy Anchor Kit handy. Windy situations a YakAttack ParkNPole will come in handy. Just make sure you install and use an Yakattack Leverloc Anchor Trolley to get your anchor lines at the bow or stern of your kayak in currents. Anchoring off the side can be a big mistake.
I hope these examples of how to plan for a saltwater kayak fishing trip come in handy. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me! Tight lines!