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10 Posts
I bought a kayak 3 years ago for small lakes. Felt to confined on it. Even set up with fish fider, dual anchors for wind.
Saw a guy, talked to him in a pram, so comfortable looking.
I ended up with an Outcast Clearwater raft. Stanle, very light. Fish finder set up for lakes or use the raft on exploring rivers.

Feckin eejit
609 Posts
100% of my fishing is from a kayak over the past 12 years - and 90% of that is in the ocean. Been through a number of kayaks, and here's what I've learned that may help others.

Dive in cheap to decide if you like it and upgrade along the way. There's always a market for used kayaks.

It needs to be a sit-on-top kayak. Sit-inside kayaks put your posterior too low in the water to cast effectively.

"Fishing" kayaks do not have odd hull shapes. The greatest fishing hull ever designed was that of the Ocean Kayak Trident 13 - now discontinued - and they have a mostly rounded hull. The Wilderness Systems Tarpon hull is flat, with shallow channels (less than 1-inch deep). What fishing kayaks have in common is space in which to mount accessories and carry fishing gear.

Pedal-driven kayaks, Hobie and others, do not make the best fly-fishing platforms. You lose 2/3rds of the cockpit space to the drive and your legs (what do you do with your legs if you aren't pedaling?) and - especially in a Hobie - your fly line is absolutely going to find it's way down through the drive opening at the worst possible time.

How fast you can get somewhere is outweighed by holding position once you're there if you're in a current or a stiff wind. We cast and retrieve, and holding position - or positioning for the best drift - is best done with a paddle. Pedal there, then grab a paddle? That's what I did when I owned a Hobie.

(By the way, the fellow I usually fish with can paddle his kayak as fast and as far as I've ever seen anyone manage in a pedal-driven kayak. You just need to know how to paddle properly.)

You never need to stand up to cast or fish. A kayak can drift right over fish in shallow water and not spook them.

THE VERY FIRST THING you need to do is learn self-recovery. Find a quiet pond or lake and intentionally roll your kayak over in water deeper than you are tall, then right it and get back in. You need to be able to be back on top of your kayak in 30-seconds or less to insure you can always get out of trouble. Practice self-recovery each year and do it any time you change kayaks.

Casting from a kayak isn't hard, but it's not the same as when you stand. You're casting from your butt, not your legs and while I can make an 80-foot cast, that's my limit. The best way to see what I mean is to either take a short stool out on the lawn, or sit on the ground and try casting. It doesn't take long to adapt, but there's a bit of a learning curve.

All boats drift. Kayaks drift a bit faster. You adapt. Kayaks also move in the wind more than a boat but a lot less than a pontoon. You adapt. It's not hard if you're clever about it and let the wind or the current push you to where you want to get started.

You can keep the kayak facing more-or-less where you want it by dragging one end of the paddle in the water, but the better way is to learn to cast in any direction - to either side or even backwards.

The hardest part of learning to fish from a kayak is what to do when you have a fine fish on and the wind/current is pushing you towards an obstacle. You can hold a fly rod and the paddle at the same time, but managing the fish, too, takes some dexterity.

It takes more dexterity to change flies in a kayak without dropping everything in the water, and don't ask me how I know, please. Best idea is to break the rod down into two sections whenever you need to work near the tip.

There are few experiences when fishing as cool as hooking a fine fish and going on a sleighride as it tugs you around. Which brings up my final comment: don't anchor. It's dangerous if you don't really, really know what you're doing. Very few of us - a handful at most - in the NorthwestKayakAnglers and the NorthernCaliforniaAnglers group use - or even own - an anchor for a kayak.

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