You may love to kayak and like to spend time exploring lakes and rivers. It’s a great way to spend time in the outdoors and enjoy good weather. What if there was a way that you could make your kayaking experience even more exciting? Fishing from a kayak is fun and interesting (with a regular spinning rod & reel), but fly fishing from a kayak is even more awesome!
Fly fishing from a kayak can be a fantastic way to make the most of your summer fun. It is a relaxing yet challenging activity that you can do with friends or on your own. If you’re new to the sport, you may have some questions on how to get started.
While many people will use a speedboat for fly fishing, a kayak is a much more affordable option and a lot of fun, too. The following tips will help you to learn how to become the best kayak fly-fisher that you can be and will help you avoid mishaps along the way.
1. Make Sure to Use a Wide Kayak
If you were just going to go kayak, you wouldn’t need to pay too much attention to the size of your boat. When it comes to fly fishing, there are several factors in play that make it important to choose the right kayak size.
First of all, you can sit down while fly fishing but because of the style of the rod and casting, it could be a bit uncomfortable. If you think that it would be easier for you to stand up while fishing, you’ll want to make sure to find a kayak that offers stability.
Also, you will want to consider investing in a wide kayak. You’ll need plenty of room for casting and preparing your rod, as well as space for your fishing gear. While they do go a bit slower than narrow kayaks, they will help you to have the stable base you need for changing positions and moving around.
2. Tether All Of Your Gear To Your Kayak
If you are new to kayak fishing, you may discover that there will be some mishaps here and there — at least while you get used to it. For example, many kayak fishermen have been known to tip their kayaks. Some like to say there’s only two types of kayakers: those who have flipped and those who are going to flip. For this reason, when you are still getting accustomed to fly fishing from a kayak, make sure to tether your gear to your kayak.
You don’t want to lose your expensive gear and you also don’t want to pollute the river or lake that you are fishing in. You may even want to consider investing in a kayak with storage areas, as this can help you make sure that your valuables stay safe, even if the kayak does tip.
3. Practice Getting In and Out of Your Kayak From Water & Land
It may seem very simple, but getting in and out of a kayak can be tricky. You don’t want to ruin your fishing experience by falling off or tipping it while getting out. Take your time and practice as many times as needed before setting out. To avoid losing your gear, you may want to consider practicing before you load it up with everything in a pool or a very calm water lake in chest-high water.
4. Practice Casting Before Trying It In the Kayak
If you have never done fly fishing from a kayak before or any time for that matter, you may want to practice from land first. It’s a bit different than the fishing that you may be used to and takes practice, especially when it comes to “fighting” with the fish.
You will want to learn how to do it right before trying to keep up with both balance and fishing on the kayak. Once you feel that you have it down, practice on your kayak. You’ll get the hang of it; don’t worry.
5. Practice Getting the Fish On the Reel Quickly
When fly fishing on a kayak, it’s important that you try your best to get the catch on your reel as quickly as you can. A common issue in kayak fly fishing is tangled lines. This often happens because the person fishing isn’t controlling slack well enough as the fish is struggling.
You want to avoid break-offs or even ruining your day out fishing. Make sure to work on reeling up slack when you get a bite. Alternatively, if the fish is larger and faster, let them tire themselves out with drag.
6. Consider Investing In An Anchor
In the best of scenarios, you’ll always have lovely weather and perfect sunny days for kayak fly fishing. While that would be amazing, you may find yourself with rainy or windy days that make it challenging to fish calmly.
Kayaks also tend to drift because of how light they are, so even if it is a clear calm day, you will want to consider using an anchor system on your kayak. It will help you to be able to spend as much time as needed in one area and keep you stable during rough weather.
7. Try Installing A Fly Fishing Rod Holder
No one wants to lose their brand new fishing rod! While some fishing kayaks include a rod holder, not every kayak has one that will fit your new fly-fishing rod. This is due to the very low reel position on nearly every fly fishing rod. You may feel you don’t need it but just imagine tipping over and losing your pricey rod. A rod holder is also helpful for when you’re kayaking to your fishing spot and keeps it out of your way as you paddle.
8. Make Sure To Keep Your Fishing Area Clear
It makes sense to want to have everything near you while kayaking and fishing. The issue is that when casting your line, you may knock things over or have it snag on something in your kayak. If you really want to make sure that you have everything organized, you could always wear a pouch on your body for the immediate necessities and store the rest in a hatch.
9. Realize How Close You Are to the Water
The one thing about practicing on land before fishing in the water is that you have a false sense of distance from the water. When you actually start fly fishing in your kayak, you will see that it is challenging to cast without slapping the water from a seated position.
To remedy this, you could either fish standing up or change your technique to where instead of casting straight back, you cast up and back. Take some time to find the best position and technique for you and your comfort.
10. Be Patient With Yourself
Fly fishing is more challenging than your average wade fishing or leisurely fishing. Many people who practice fly fishing do it because they enjoy the added difficulty. If you are new at it, you may find it more challenging than you had anticipated. Practice and be patient and before you know it, you’ll be fly fishing with ease.
Now It’s Your Turn To Start Fly Fishing From A Kayak!
Combining fly fishing and kayaking can be a great way for you to get your exercise and enjoy a challenging sport. Whether you want to practice to participate in competitions or simply want to do it as a hobby, you can be sure that it will be a rewarding experience.
The above tips are just a few to get you started. Hopefully, they are enough for you to be able to successfully begin fly fishing and kayaking at the same time.
Photo credit: “Fly Fishing Flint” by OakleyOriginals is licensed under CC BY 2.0