Kayak Fishing Tips for Beginners

Kayak Fishing Tips for Beginners

Matthew Davies image of a person on a kayak on a lake surrounded by beautiful mountains and blue sky.

One of the most popular outdoor activities in the United States is fishing. More than 49 million people will head out to their local lake, stream, or ocean to drop a line in the water at least once a year. When it comes to the frequency of fishing trips, convenience is the number one factor. Meaning, if someone has to drive over an hour to their fishing spot, they are less likely than someone that can walk out their backdoor and fish. I, Matthew Davies, want to give you something else that you can do when you go fishing. In addition to the typical fishing supplies you have, you will want to get your hands on a kayak. Now, this can be something you own, or it can be something you rent. Either way, it can add an extra level of fun to your next fishing trip.

For example, if you usually fish from the shore, a kayak will give you access to more of the body of water you are fishing on. I would suggest a boat, but those can be quite expensive. Before I saved enough money to buy a boat, I would always go fishing in a kayak. Considering the limited space, you have in a kayak vs. a boat, you will have to make adjustments. Below, you will find some tips that you should consider before setting out on the water.


As always, safety is the number one priority anytime you are fishing. It doesn’t matter if you are fishing from shore, a boat, or even a kayak. You want to make sure that you have everything you might need in the case of an emergency. Some of the things that you should consider packing in your kayak are a personal flotation device, a VHF radio (to call for help), a signaling device (to help others to find you on the water), and any other items that are listed as essential by the United States Coast Guard. It would also be a great idea to back some food, water, a first aid kit, and sun protection. After all, you will be sitting out on the water where the sun is reflecting on you. The water intensifies the sun’s rays. If you are not adequately prepared, you may end up with more than just a fishing trip. You don’t want to end your day with a trip to the hospital.

Float Plan

This is a lot like a flight plan with aircraft. While you do not need to formally tell any government agency where you are going or how long you will be gone, it would be a good idea to let someone know. In case you don’t return, they can have an idea of where to look. While it might not be necessary for small lakes, larger lakes or oceans can prove quite challenging to locate someone. All you need to do is tell someone what time you are leaving, what general direction you will be traveling, and what time you will be home. Should you not arrive back in time, they can provide this list to authorities who will be better able to locate you with this information.

On a side note, make sure that you don’t stop doing this when you do become more experienced. The majority of people that go missing are and were seasoned outdoorsmen. It only takes a second to write this stuff down, and it does save lives.


When you think of kayaks, you likely don’t think of carrying an anchor. Kayaks are quite light. Therefore, a small gust of wind can move them several feet off where they want to be. This is not only a safety concern; it will also keep you in the fishing spot you want to be in. You are using a kayak to get to fishing locations that you cannot reach from shore or by boat. Using an anchor can be the difference between getting your personal best fish and missing that opportunity.

When you attach the anchor to your kayak, make sure you do it at the front (bow) or back (stern) of the vessel. If you connect it to the side (which I agree could be easier to deal with), you run the risk of capsizing (flipping) your kayak. It isn’t that big of a deal if you do flip over, it is just that you will be wet the remainder of the day. No one likes to sit in wet clothes for hours. It might be enough to make you cut the trip short. Depending on how far you traveled to get to the fishing location, it could waste your entire day.


A GPS should be attached to your kayak at all times and should only be removed when you need to charge it or travel to the fishing destination. If you don’t have a personal kayak, ask the rental company if they have a GPS that you can rent.

Short of having a GPS, you should at least carry a compass. While they are not as good, they can help you find your way back if you know how to use them. With the technology we have today, GPS is the better choice.


Before setting out on the water, you want to make sure you know what elements you will be facing. The hotter the day, the more water you want to bring. If it is going to rain, you might want to bring a poncho. Download a weather app and track the weather leading up to the big day or weekend. Don’t be surprised by any weather Mother Nature might throw at you.


And there you have it. These tips that I, Matthew Davies, have provided you should be enough to get you through your first few trips. You will learn over time what the best locations are. I can’t tell you these things. You will have to talk to locals and learn from experience. I wish you the best of luck on all your upcoming fishing trips.

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