Before I take someone out on one of my guided trips I usually suggest that they go to one of the local shops and first just try paddling on the bay. If you want to kayak fish, you have to paddle, so you better see if it's for you first.
Next, ...We supply the kayaks, fishing gear and everything else needed for your day on the water. For most people this will shorten the learning curve by one or two years. It is also a great way to see if kayak fishing is for you before you make the investment on a new kayak.
If you feel you are ready to venture out on your own start out small. Bring one rod (not your favorite four hundred dollar stick) and some of your favorite plastics such as fish traps and some crocodiles.
Fishing for Calicos, Sand bass and Barracuda is a great way to get a feel for your boat. Just remember if it's not tied down you will loose it, so everything should be secured to your kayak.
Add gear such as multiple rod holders, fish finders, GPS and live bait tanks. Of all the pieces of equipment on my kayak, the live bait tank is the one that has increased our catch the most. These home built tanks will hold up to two dozen Mackerel. And paddling speed seems to be perfect for slow trolling these live Mac's for the Yellows.
Here are some things that you don't want to leave the beach without:
Your kayak: The best thing to do is test several kayaks to see which fits your needs the best. For a fully outfitted fishing kayak (kayak, seat, paddle and rod holders) you can expect to pay from $600 to $900...not all kayaks fit all people so test a few.
Paddle: Obviously if you want to get anywhere you need a paddle. A good paddle will run you about $125. I also suggest you carry a second cheaper two-piece paddle inside your kayak. I had a client loose a paddle two miles from shore that backup paddle saved us. (available at Tom's TopKayaker Shop-Kayak Paddles)
Seat: Just like kayaks they come in many different sizes and
styles, and like a kayak not every seat is for every person. Go to a
shop that will let you test the different seats on the water. A good
seat makes a big difference in your comfort. (available at Tom's
TopKayaker Shop-Kayak Seats)
Paddle Leash: This allows you to get your paddle out of the way while fighting a fish but keeps it close at hand. (available at Tom's TopKayaker Shop-Kayak Accessories)
Personal Floatation Device or PFD: This item is not only required by law but just a good idea. (available at Tom's TopKayaker Shop- PFD)
Fishing Rods: Gear the rod to what you are fishing for. The main consideration is length. Don't buy into "short boat short rod". You will want to use a rod of about seven feet for a couple of reason. It will increase your casting distance but more importantly allows you to reach around the bow of your kayak while fighting a fish.
Rod Holders: I like to carry several rods, so having several rod holders allows you to do this. There are several on the market I prefer the rocket launcher type. (available at Tom's TopKayaker Shop- Fishing)
Fish Finder: I use the Hummin Bird portable unit. They are not expensive and can make the difference between a good or bad day of fishing.
Dry Bags: Don't let anyone tell you these boats are waterproof. If you have anything you want to keep dry you need dry bags. (available at Tom's TopKayaker Shop- Dry Bags)
Fishing tackle: I personally keep my tackle in a waterproof fanny pack. This keeps it secure and available to me at all times.
Bait tank: Live bait can give you a shot at some of the real bad boys out there. You can use a Plano bait bucket; they work well but limit you to only a couple of baits. My live bait tank holds dozens of baits and will keep them alive all day.
Safety Equipment: I carry a small first aid kit in it's own dry bag, a small pack of hand held flares, and a towline. I always bring my cell phone with me on the water and a hand held radio. I also carry a GPS and a compass as backup. When that fog rolls in they will get you home safe. These items don't take up much space on your kayak and can mean the difference between life and death. (See also "Signal Devices" on this site)
Fishing from a kayak can give you a whole new appreciation for the ocean and the creatures that live in it. Being so close to the water you almost feel at one with your surroundings. Kayak fishing truly is an addiction and my passion. I hope this give you a little insight into kayak fishing. For more information please call Jim Sammons at La Jolla Kayak Fishing, (Southern California) at (619) 461-7172. Please let the big Calicos go - they are the future"
Books / Video / DVD are available at Tom's TopKaker Shop:
The best selling, most complete book available for the beginner
sit-on-top solo paddler.
This is famed kayak fisherman Dennis Spike's instruction video. Filmed on the Sea of Cortez and California's Eastern Pacific.
FISH THE FORUMS to get answers to your kayak fishing & diving questions.
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