How To Setup Your Kayak For Fishing
You can fish on a kayak or a motorized boat, but the biggest difference between fishing on both of these watercraft is space or to put it more precisely how much space you have. If you are fishing on a kayak, you need to get everything meticulously organized or it will turn into a mess. Space is tight in a kayak, so if your fishing gear isn’t placed properly, accessing it might be impossible. If you are just venturing out in the world of fishing, fishing kayaks require accessible storage containers, fishing reel,rod holders, an anchor system and a trolling motor in case if it is a regular kayak. Sure there are some Top-of-the-line kayaks with all the bells and whistles, but for now, just focus on the basics.
These tips should help you set up a kayak fit for fishing. So, let’s get on to it:
Tips To Setup A Kayak For Fishing
Rod holders are the most additions of a fishing kayak if you are retrofitting a touring or recreational boat for fishing purposes. In other words, rod holders are the primary equipment of a fishing kayak. The first thing you need to determine is how many rods you may need to set up. If you are only one or two, install them right behind the cockpit as it’s the right place to put them. Make sure they are out of the way of your paddle stroke.
Furthermore, check whether the rod is positioned at an angle and pointing behind you. If you are thinking about three or more rod, you should probably put some of them in front of the cockpit. Ensure they are installed in a way that the rods make an arc over the paddle stroke and the line does not interfere with it. Use the template that is included in the packaging of the rod holders so you know where the holes need to be drilled on the kayak.
If you are new to this, it might seem scary at first, after all, no one wants holes on their boats, but it’s actually quite easy. After you are done with drilling the holes, bolt in the rod holders, and add the sealant where it attaches to the kayak. Manufacturers include sealant with the rod holders, but you can always buy a silicone sealant of your own.
If your kayak is a sit-on-top model with a paddling system and the platform is behind the cockpit, your tackle storage will be stored here. Typically anglers place a plastic milk crate on this platform and lock it using a pair of bungees. This technique makes transporting your fishing gear back and forth from your car to the kayak convenient. On the other hand, if you don’t own a sit-on-top kayak, you need to store the tackle in front of you between your legs. We recommend you get a small tackle box with few lures. This setup won’t be comfortable but it will discourage you from bringing extra gear which you probably won’t use during the excursion.
Meanwhile, the sides of the milk crate are also great to attach your rod holders. For this make your own rod holder by using DWC piping and cutting to match the length of your rod's handle. Use zip ties or fasteners to attach the piping to the sides of the milk crate. Even better, milk crates also happen to have the perfect size to store a fully-loaded tackle box and fishing net.
While fishing you need your kayak to be in a stationary position, and that’s where an anchor comes in handy. For fishing kayaks, the trolley anchor is the most versatile one out there. This anchor consists of a pulley that runs the entire length of the kayak and the carabineer is attached to the line. Another line is fed from the cockpit—passed through the carabineer to a heavy metal anchor. It’s relatively easy to install the anchor, you only need to drill a few holes onto the kayak. Anchors will be immensely helpful when fishing especially when you locate the perfect fishing holes and want to keep fishing there.
Similar to anchors, installing trolling motors on your fishing kayak can be really handy. Whether you are scouting the area for fishing spots or just want your hands off from the paddles for some time, a trolling motor will help you cruise easily through the water. Even though, trolling motors can be one of the trickiest part fishing kayak setups. If you are a beginner, we recommend you set up a 12-volt transom mount motor. There are a couple of options for mounting the motor on your kayak or boat. Most anglers install the transom motor on the stern. There is nothing flawed about it, but some fishing kayaks come with seats that may make accessing the stern difficult than others.
Another alternative to mounting the trolling motor is behind the seat on the midsection of the boat. The right way to do it by connecting the motor to a 2X4 mounted across the width of the kayak. Also, the 2X4 motor setup should be attached to the milk crate. The milk crate can be used to house the battery of the motor. This setup will make it easier for you to control the trolling motor as it is within reach. The shortcomings of this motor setup with milk crate are that you will have reduced space to store the tackle and other gear.
There are many ways when it comes to customizing a fishing kayak, but these are the basics to get the ball rolling. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or plenty of time to set up your fishing kayak. A couple of hours is enough for you to put together a great fishing rig that will not only provide you with a great fishing experience but hours of fun on the water.