Fishing the salt in a Kayak?

i would get a fishing specific sit on top. maybe even get an outrigger for extra stabilty. to me it seems the benifit of a sit on top is that u can change positions on the deck, or even stand on it to look around. i imagine fishing from a enclosed cockpit is less then ideal. on sit on tops u can kneel, face backwards, stand, swim, etc. all without much worry.

maybe something along this idea.
The guys on the NW Kayak Board mentioned earlier are always looking for guys to go out with them, and welcome beginners. If you are interested in kayaks, this is a great site.

My first kayak was an OK Scrambler. I was leaning overboard to release a nice Humpy when a wave from a passing boat hit me broadside and knocked me into the water. I was fortunate to be wearing a PFD & was close to shore, so I came away reasonably unscathed and learned a lot from the experience.

The most important safety tip, other than wearing a good PFD, is to practice falling out of the boat and getting back in. It's a lot more fun to learn this important technique in a shallow area of a local lake on a hot day, vs. taking a dip in the Sound with all of your gear. Once you realize how easy it is, your confidence goes way up.

Last year I traded the Scrambler in for a super-stable Drifter model, which wouldn't have tipped over that day at Dash Point. It's a bit heavier, but worth it to me. I also learned that you can make a kayak really stable by sticking your legs off the sides and using them to keep balance. I do this when landing fish, fussing with an anchor, or when casting. A lot of folks wear waders in kayaks, which is OK as long as they are fairly tight fitting and you wear a belt. To be on the safe side, I wear a farmer john wet suit, which is designed to keep you warm if you get wet. I cut the legs off some old stockingfoot waders and wear them underneathe the wet suit, which allows me to wade without getting wet.

Just thought I'd pass along some learnings. Kayaking is a lot of fun and I encourage you to try it.

Thanks to everyone for all the good pointers. I second the idea for gettin a group together to go out paddling/fishing. I'll probably be makin a purchase this weekend and I'll let you guys know how it ends up.
It may be a long drive but you should check out Alder Creek Canoe and Kayak in Portland, they just had a sale, not sure if it is still going, and no sales tax in Oregon. Plus they have a great selection.
I bought a kayak a couple years ago for fishing the S. Sound. Down here there are too many areas that were unfishable from the shore- overhanging trees, houses, etc. I chose tthe Dagger Blackwater kayak for a number of reason- the price (very reasonable for a kayak), stability (I've never swamped and use it in all kinds of weather...very stable for casting and playing a fish), maneuverability (lower the aluminum skeg to keep the kayak straight in windy conditions, or raise the skeg to make sharp turns), and portability (weighs about 50 lbs, and is fairly maneable to carry and transport).

The cons are few. Its not the most comfortable thing, and after a few hours your ass is pretty numb. And I've found out that when SRC's hit a trolling fly their first run is almost always towards shore, and that is enough to drag the boat in...which simply makes it more sporting for the fish when I have a taut line in one hand and a paddle in the other trying to keep from getting buried in the brush.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
By late summer, after we've all been paddling a bunch, and are in shape to do 12 - 18 mile plus (round-trip) day trips, I might be up for sharing some exploring of the coastal estuaries for searun cutts. I am offering this so I can generate some fly angling kayak-fishing buddies.

I usually go on days when the tides/wind/weather line up to make it a reasonably fun trip with a good probability of finding some searun cutts.
I usually have more ideas than I can follow up on, but that's a good thing, giving me the option to hit a several day run of good tides and weather and choose a different destination each day. The wind is often the "last minute" deciding factor in making a choice of where to go.

This would be for kayak paddling cutthroat fly anglers in shape and experienced enough to know their stuff.
Any whiners that manage to show up will be cut into tiny chunks and used as crab bait.
I've been going alone, but don't mind company at times.
I can usually only handle about three days a week of this, as my arms need recovery days, which mysteriously happen to coincide with work days. I often re-schedule my ever-morphing schedule at the last minute, as spontaneity and changing winds demand.
I'm thinkin' mid-July thru August would find better fishing, but I'll begin exploring for cutts anytime after the 1st Sat in June, to get in shape for the better fishing later.
I'm 58, in fair shape, and my boat is slow. I haven't been paddling all Winter or yet this Spring, but will be very soon. I need to check out some hunches alone, anyway.

I'm also up for paddling in the S Sound and plan to explore various shorelines of Hood Canal, including Quilcene and Dabob Bays. I sometimes paddle around the Sequim Bay entrance.

I usually go to places where there are fewer power boats around... this is where shallow mud flats and low tides are your allies.


Active Member
Jim those tide flats down on the coast are intense
i work out in longbeach once in a while but haven't drug the yak out
once got stuck in an aluminum skiff hunting ducks by bear creek
you must be the master of tides and river flows
saw some gear guys on the naselle any idea what they were fishing for?
Well guys, I did it. I ended up with a Tarpon 120. This is funny because it's the same thing I used in Texas. I would definitely be down with going JW. I won't be here near the end of the summer but until then I plan on getting out whenever the winds cooperate. I wanted to take it out today to break it in but the winds were awful. It would be nice to tag along with someone who has some experience around this area.

Some questions from a person that is comfortable in a kayak but never kayak'd in the salt:

Is there a certain number you look for(ex: <5kts) or do you just throw your finger in the air?

Is it even possible to paddle a sitontop in the opposite direction of a moving tide?

Chester Allen

Fishing addict and scribbler
There is a huge kayaking clave at Tacoma's Point Defiance Park this weekend. It's not free -- $30 bucks for one day or $55 for two -- but there are lots of boat tryouts, clinics, seminars and the like.
I'm not involved with it in any way, but it may be worth the time and money if you're looking to examine and test lots of kayaks.
I think there is a lot of information on the city of Tacoma's website.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
The "Pay-to-Play Clave" sounds like a good deal for someone looking to check things out. My own boat acquisition budget has been drastically revised downward, so I'll either be working or fishing this weekend.
I'm happy with my Native Craft Ultimate 12 "hybrid canoe" for many of the places where I usually fish. Backwaters, lower rivers, estuaries, small lakes, etc. Its not the best solution for big, potentially rougher water, though, being a low-profile, open boat.

Rotato, gear guys probably going for salmon or sturgeon, or steelhead upstream in winter.
You have to stick to the stream channels as the tide drops towards low to avoid getting stuck.
At low tide even some of the stream channels are spread out over a wide, shallow run in places, and you sometimes have to get out and drag your boat in a few inches of water.

texanflyfisher, Yes the wind and the tide can have their ways with you. In my pokey slow boat, I can sustain a paddling speed of up to 3 mph for possibly as long as an hour without a break, but if I'm fighting a 2 to 3 mph incoming tidal current, I'm not moving very fast and the experience becomes a paddling treadmill workout. Good planning and paying attention to the time helps prevent paddling against the tide.

Quite often the wind from the ocean blows harder onshore in the afternoons and early evening due to thermal effects, and blasts upstream, getting funneled by the mud banks and accelerated by the Venturi effect. If you are upstream and heading down, this can be bad enough if the tide is still falling and the current is on your side, but fighting strong gusty onshore winds, as well as the incoming tidal push may have you screaming damnation at the elements, or something like that.
Good planning and paying attention to the time, tide, and weather helps prevent this.

What I'm usually doing is heading across an estuary and up a tidal creek or river, or just throwing in on the lower river and heading further upstream with the tidal push, and then returning to my starting point by low tide or dark, or soon after.
I try to move with the same directions as the tide is flowing. So I check tide tables and weather forecasts, prevailing wind speed and direction, etc, and keep potential late afternoon thermal effects in mind when planning my paddling.
Some places work out better on different conditions than other places, so there is usually at least one place where the conditions are tolerable. (Knowledge of these variables comes with experience).

Then, you have to find the fish.:confused: July Aug Sept are the months to hunt for searun cutts in the coastal estuaries and tidal creeks.


New Member
i regularly fish from my tarpon 160i...there are tons of knowledge and resources available at

just last week some of us went to sucia island and fished out of our kayaks...i was attempting to catch a ling with my flyrod and shrimp luck i had to switch to a jig to land this fish

my plan is to use my kayak to get to places that are not accessible to waders or motor boats

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Nice ling-thing, HBH.

I'm holding off until I can afford to spend, but I plan on getting an SOT for fishing bigger, rougher water. Still undecided as to what make/model to get...thinking about a Hobie w/ mirage drive because I've been a cyclist most of my life. I miss a lot of strikes while paddling, and pedaling would solve that problem.
I really like my Native Ultimate 12 for what I use it for, though.


Active Member
Nice Ling! You wont find me out in a kayak but nice work to those of you that fish that way. I just cant ever seem to stay upright in those things. Tramatized since about age 9. never again :)