Considering yourself a fisherman implies many different things and not all of them are probably true. There are plenty of ways fishing can be approached, evident by numerous tactics and ways people catch fish these days. Historically, there have been a lot of differences in far corners of the globe and a lot of it is true today.
For example, ice fishing where there are no rods is vastly different than regular fishing, as is catching fish with hands or spears. Using giant nets in the ocean without ever needing hooks and line is a whole other story and a skill that needs to be learned differently than the typical way of casting from the shore.
When casting is concerned, there are also a few ways to do it. We all know that the most common type is doing it next to the body of water, safely and securely from the shore. But what about actually being in the water on your own vessel, casting directly where the fish are? Well, that is where kayaks come in and where kayak fishing steals the show.
Making the Switch
It is not easy to simply wake up one day and decide to make the switch of fishing from a kayak instead from the land. However, in reality, it is anything but. An angler needs a few extra skills if they are to be successful in kayak fishing. Everything that they have been doing so far is still relevant, but not enough.
Since you need a kayak in order to do it, a lot of what needs to be done revolves around handling it in different ways. From storing it at home and carrying it all the time, to transporting it to the water and setting off from the shore, this is still just the beginning. In the following sections, we talk more about the essential skills for kayak fishing.
Using a paddle to make your way through the water is the only way to move the kayak around. While easier than actual rowing on a larger vessel, it still takes a lot. Also, there is a proper technique of doing it or rather the right motion to make with your arms.
There are different paddles too, longer, shorter, those can be dismantled… Finding the most optimal for you and the type of your kayak is very important and will be the deciding factor in how well you maneuver and how fast you move.
If your kayak is also fitted with pedals that can propel it forward or backward, you will need to know how to properly do it and not get too tired. There will be more words on staying physically active a bit later, but knowing how to pedal the vessel will help you with constantly falling behind, getting cramps, and preventing leg muscle spasms.
2. Surviving Skills
This is a broad spectrum of skills and some things most fishermen already know prior to taking on the kayak. They include the basics like properly handling yourself in the wild, using tools to cut things, applying first aid to cuts and punctures, etc. Since you are now also in water, you must be more mindful of your surroundings and think in more ways than when on land.
Packing things the right way, making everything in the kayak accessible, and bringing enough equipment can all be difference makers. On top of these, the angler needs to know where they are going and what to expect from the environment there.
It is a no-brainer, but an essential skill that still needs a proper place on this list. Forget about kayak fishing if you do not know how to swim. There is always a possibility of capsizing or falling overboard.
Your kayak could get seriously stuck in some weeds or branches at which point you are practically stranded. Relying on your swimming will save your life. While wearing a life jacket (life vest) can help those who cannot swim, swimming is still an absolute must when going fishing in a kayak.
4. Strength, Stamina, Balance
There is no question about it, kayak fishing is more physically demanding than staying on land and casting from the shore. This is due to many different factors that influence kayak fishing.
First of all, the angler should know how to balance the weight of their body and everything else on the kayak. As the kayak moves, it will steadily shake from side to side as it is on the water after all. Learning how to counter it and when to paddle and when to stop is very important while on the water.
Once you stop, the balancing is even more important because it is easier to capsize or fall over when the kayak is in place. Your core strength and stamina should be on optimal levels and you should definitely be in shape if you mean to have a good time.
Paddling for hours and constantly standing up and sitting down (sit-on-top kayaks only) does become exhausting after a while. To properly enjoy a day out kayak fishing, you must be ready to be more active than during a regular fishing trip. You will get winded for sure the first few times around.
5. Maintenance, Cleaning, Organization
Last but not least, an often overlooked skill when it comes to fishing is caring for your gear. The kayak will instantly become the most important part of your fishing setup, as well as the most valuable. It is definitely an investment and you have to know how to clean it, maintain it, and organize the equipment that goes alongside it.
If you want it to last you for years since you are now a kayak angler, you have to have a dedicated palace to it at home, the right means to transport it, and the right items, gear, and accessories to equip it. The kayak has to be rigged properly for a quality fishing experience, otherwise, you will not be doing the most and there will be no pleasure in catching fish while on the water.