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Intro to Kayaking
As you start your journey into the adventurous world of kayak fishing, please take time to learn a few helpful hints from us that will make your kayak fishing outings enjoyable and safe!
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Always follow the same safety procedures as you would on any padding outing, including wearing a properly fitted PFD, staying updated on weather forecasts, bringing the proper safety gear (including a whistle, first aid kit and cell phone in a waterproof carrier), and wearing clothing appropriate for the conditions. As a kayak fisherperson, also pay attention to hooks, fish teeth, tree branches and other potential hazards. If you should capsize (hint: practice it sometime), flip your boat back over, kick with your legs and pull yourself back on board on your stomach, grabbing the far rail and you swing your legs around into a sitting position.
Outfitting and Accessories
A variety of Perception Kayak accessories exist to make your kayak fishing experience more enjoyable; your budget is the only limit. Many kayaks come with tankwells, dry storage hatches and rod holders to secure your rod when paddling and in event of a capsize. Holders — including flush-mounted tubes that hold the entire rod (some include a rod leash); and secure-mounted holders which clasp your rod in place — can also be mounted easily. Paddle leashes can also attach to the shaft to further secure your paddle (i.e. when your attention is on your rod). Many boats also have paddle tie-downs for this purpose.
Tackle boxes and crates can house additional gear. Many anglers also equip their kayaks with sonar fish finders (popular brands include Garmin, Lowrance, RayMarine, HawkEye and Humminbird). To keep your kayak in place when you find that hot spot, use a small (2-3 lb.) anchor with line. Claw anchors work great for sandy bottoms, while folding anchors are versatile and more portable.
Another thing to consider is getting your kayak to and from the water, and a kayak cart makes toting your heavy fishing kayak much more manageable. These kayak carts don't take up much room and some anglers even stow them in the tankwell while fishing.
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Whether the fishing is good or bad, anglers are known for staying out longer than they expected. Plan accordingly, bringing the right apparel for the conditions as well as water, food and sunscreen. Always tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Load the heaviest gear toward the boat’s center for balance and handling, and make sure all your gear is secure and tied-down before heading out. If loading from a dock, place your paddle behind you and across the boat and dock and grab the shaft for stability as you get in.
Casting and Catching
Fish scare easily. Be stealthy and quiet as you approach; avoid splashy paddle strokes or banging the kayak. Perception makes custom Silent Traction Pads tailored for your specific kayak; these look great and keep your deck noise to a minimum. Hint: pick up a pair of polarized glasses for better visibility. If your kayak is stable enough, stand up to cast for better reach, keeping your stance wide. If sitting, keep your body weight centered; also try sitting sideways with your legs in the water to stay cool and provide balance.
If you get a fish on the line, double-check that your paddle is secure and raise your rod tip over your head to keep the line tight. When landing, get it close to the boat before netting. When removing the hook (hint: use forceps), handle the fish with care if releasing, and wet your hands beforehand to protect their skin.
If you really want to accelerate your learning, connect with other kayak anglers or even compete in online tournaments then fishing apps and facebook groups are a great way to do that. These days, you can win money and lots of kayak fishing cred from online tournaments using apps like Tourney X. Fishing apps like Fishbrain, Fishidy, Navionics, Fatsack Outdoors, and FishTrack can also help you find out where the bite is hot, what they're biting on and what the weather will be. You can view maps, boat launches, and record and share your personal catches!