Kayak Fishing for Bass can be Easy and Extremely Fun to Do
By Joshua Workman
Whether you’re looking to expand your bass-fishing horizons beyond the bank, test new waters or experience the sport in a whole new way, fishing from a kayak is a great way to make it happen.
My kayaking journey began in 2011, when fellow Nebraska angler Marty Hughes encouraged me to give it a try. I quickly became hooked on the concept and today 99% of my fishing adventures include one of these affordable, easy-to-handle fishing platforms. Kayaks offer bass anglers many benefits. The biggest advantage is financial. Kayaks cost much less than traditional bass boats to purchase, maintain and operate.
For less than $1,000, you can get a hard-fishing kayak like the Ascend FS10 Sit-In Angler Titanium Kayak that doesn’t burn gas or oil, requires no special tow vehicle and generally costs less to register than larger watercraft.
But that’s just the beginning. Accessibility is another huge gain. A kayak allows you to launch virtually anywhere, unbridled by the need to find a traditional ramp-style access point. Once afloat, it glides along in mere inches of water. Collectively, this lets you fish small lakes, rivers and shallow areas of larger lakes that anglers in bigger boats can’t touch.
I also appreciate the stealth factor. Kayak anglers can essentially hover right over their quarry because even trophy fish are less wary of the craft’s relatively small profile, minimal water displacement and virtually silent operation.
Kayaks also allow you to fish slower and work areas more effectively. Plus, when a kayak drifts with the wind, it moves at a perfect speed for natural lure and bait presentations.
Then there’s the hassle factor. Kayaks are easy to store, transport and launch, even when fishing by yourself, and gear is kept to a minimum. This makes it easier to go fishing, especially on spur-of-the-moment trips whenever time allows. And that means you’ll go fishing more often, which in itself is a priceless benefit.
Finally, there are intangible bonuses like the sense of adventure you get when testing your fishing skills using a small craft under your own power. You also get more exercise and enjoy nature up close and personal in ways not possible from a boat. Because wildlife isn’t bothered by your presence, you can drift close to deer, waterfowl and other wild creatures.
Admittedly, fishing from a kayak does require a few adjustments. Space is at a premium, so choose tackle wisely. Take what you need and nothing more. Researching trips ahead of time can help you determine necessary tackle, such as soft plastics versus crankbaits. Also keep in mind that various mounts, racks and gear crates help maximize storage space.
Presentation-wise, the biggest difference between fishing from a boat and fishing from a kayak is you sit lower to the water in a kayak. This slightly reduces your view when sight-fishing. It can also affect rod selection and hooksetting, but once you figure out what works best for your styles of fishing, you’ll find all the basic bass lures and tactics are fair game when fishing from a kayak.
You might also want to adjust your fish-fighting techniques. I have found it extremely helpful to keep one side of the kayak free and clear, for space to fight and land fish. Choosing sides is a personal matter; I prefer to fight fish to my left. Also, when fighting a fish, don’t forget about your own center of gravity. Most modern kayaks are extremely stable, but it’s still a great idea to keep your head toward the center of the vessel.
Since you can’t blast across large expanses of water like you would in a bass boat, kayak fishing calls for precisely working prime fishing areas rather than employing fast-paced, run-and-gun tactics. This is especially important when fishing large bodies of water. Before you launch, study lake maps to pinpoint fish-holding areas or you’ll spend more time paddling than fishing.
In the end, kayak fishing is for anyone who wants a little adventure and a chance to experience fishing in a whole new way. There’s nothing more peaceful than gliding across the water, becoming one with the elements and with nature. Anyone who loves to fish will fall in love with kayak fishing – guaranteed.