I was fortunate enough to get out on the water with Mike Holland (Minister of Resource Development)for a little fishing. He had never fished from a kayak so we ventured to Oromocto to try our hand at looking for multiple species and we were rewarded for our efforts. For those who are interested in trying their hand at angling from a kayak, as Mike was, then there are a few things you need to consider. There are obvious things that I won’t discuss here at this time such as cost of kayak, size, capacity, style etc. But I can write something at a later date to cover all of these. For this article I will focus on what I consider the essentials for making the most out of your first kayak fishing trip to see if it’s for you or not, as well as some ideas to maximize the enjoyment of just being out in the water.
First off you need to own it have access to a kayak, paddle, PFD (life vest), Rod(s) and tackle. If you’ve made it this far then you have overcome some of the largest hurdles already and that is to decide to go and try it. If you have never paddles before or kayaked before then I suggest for your first trip that you go with someone who has experience as they can easily answer most of the questions which will come up like how do I get in the kayak which is normally followed a few hours later by how do I get out. It’s easier than you think and again these can all be discussed in a later article.
Getting comfortable with how your kayak feels is important. Each kayak rides and handles differently in the water so becoming comfortable with how you react to the kayak and how it reacts to your movements is key to getting a sense of relaxation so you can focus on why you are on the water in the first place and that’s to fish. I brought two kayaks on this day, one was an Ocean Kayak Big Game which you paddle and the other was an Old Town Predator PDL which you pedal. I got Mike to try both and while he enjoyed both he definitely had a favourite. His level of comfort added to his confidence on the water and made for a far better fishing experience but enough about that for now. Many kayaks have built in rod holders but I always add more for ease of access. Finding the right fit for your style of fishing is important so mix it up and place rod holders in different locations on the kayak if that is an option for you or add a crate with rod holders attached to it to store them when not in use. No matter what you do, you will find the system that works best for your style of fishing and level of comfort. There isn’t a wrong way to rig your boat if it works for you and your style of fishing. Some anglers are minimalists when they go fishing and bring just the bare necessities, I however could never be classified as a minimalist as I bring gear and tackle for very possible species that I expect to encounter. This is not to say that I couldn’t catch each species on the same tackle but I enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out what one specific species would prefer. That’s just part of my process and what relaxes me and allows me time to think and enjoy my surroundings. Alright, now let’s assume you are on the water, paddle in hand, PFD is on you are relaxed and comfortable and ready to go. Knowing where to go or what to use is valuable information so never be afraid to ask questions if you aren’t sure. Kayak angling is just like every other type of fishing, there is never a guarantee that you will catch fish but you can increase your chances by doing a little research before you head out onto the water. What species are there, what’s the weather like (windy, rainy, sunny) all of this information is easily obtainable and could be a game changer.
For a first trip I suggest going for an area that has multiple species to increase your chances. You don’t normally have to go far from where you launch to be able to start fishing so keep it simple. Fish near shorelines, points, structure like rock piles or down trees, weed lines all of these hold fish on them or near them. Downsize your gear for smaller species such as perch, sunfish or redbreast and you will be glad you did. They have a smaller mouth but they have lots of fight in them and could easily make for an amazing day in the water just hooking and releasing these little feisty fish. We ended up focusing on these small species and it reminded us of when we were kids again, just the joy of catching a fish regardless of its size.
The biggest thing to remember is to enjoy yourself. Relax. Being on the water should be something that constantly draws you back or leaving you with the desire to return. It should never be stressful although I have seen many people snap while kayak fishing and just paddle back to shore never to do it again…It’s not for everyone this is true but it’s better than sitting in the coach watching the TV.