If you haven’t tried fly fishing from a kayak yet, or if you’re just looking to upgrade to a model that’s better suited to your fishing needs, what exactly are you waiting for?

Kayak fly fishing is pretty hot right now. In fact, it’s one of the hottest trends in outdoor sports. Whether you’re a shore angler in need of a kayak to reach distant fish and new waters, a avid kayak lover looking to bring your passion for fishing abroad a new vessel, or even a boat fisherman who recognizes fly fishing kayaks are a relatively inexpensive way to spend hours on the water, there’s a model out there for you that can totally change the way you fly fish.

If you’re a little intimidated at the thought of fishing from a kayak, keep in mind that it’s much safer and easier than it looks. For the past several years manufacturers have been producing models specifically for fly fishing, and most of these vessels are remarkably comfortable and stable. They’re also equipped with a wide range of features such as tackle hatches, rod holders, livewells, and even anchor systems. With all of the available options out there, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find a model that will fit your needs and budget.

Using a fly fishing kayak can be a real game changer, giving you access to hard to reach small waters. Paddling to the far reaches of skinny water that wading anglers and power boats are unable to go. This type of kayak will also allow you to park in an eddy downstream that’s easily within casting distance of a hot spot that’s boiling with feeding fish. With a kayak that’s designed for fly fishing, it’s all possible.

Changing the Fly Fishing Game

fly fishing kayak tips and techniques

Compared to conventional tackle, fly fishing requires quite a bit of movement. Landing, casting, and dealing with line tangles occasionally means that the kayak’s stability has to be at the top of the list.

Access to a high vantage point in order to locate structure and sight fish will take your fishing to the next level. Also, standing means that you’ll have the ability to make longer casts when needed. Not all anglers who fly fish want to stand as they fish, but given the advances in stand up fishing kayaks, it’s definitely something you should consider before you buy.

The fly angler is best served by a kayak that offers plenty of room for laying down stripped line or standing in the cockpit. The cockpit should also be clutter-free in order to prevent snagging your line. There’s really nothing more irritating than shooting a line only to have it get snagged on something in the cockpit, causing you to come up short of your target.

A good kayak for fly fishing offers more than just a fishing platform. You’ll need to get to fish in order to catch them. You also need to be able to quickly get into position to make the appropriate cast. Maneuverability, speed, and tracking are all important.

Whether you intend to remain seated when you’re fishing or you plan on standing, you’ll need a comfortable seat available to take breaks during a longer trip.

Kayak Fishing for Beginners

Kayak fly Fishing for Beginners

If you’re totally new to kayaking we recommend taking a course in basic kayaking. You can use your new skills to take little practice runs near your home on days when high winds are expected, so you can get a realistic taste of what it’s like to fish in these challenging conditions.

If you’re just learning how to handle a kayak, it’s best to remain in shallow waters where you’ll be able to stand up if you tip over and when harsh winds will end up blowing you towards the shore anyway.

You’ll need to spend a little time practicing how to steer and maneuver the kayak, or you may even want to practice casting your line from this smaller vessel before you take it out on your first fishing trip. At first, fishing in the kayak can feel unstable and a little shaky. But as you become more comfortable in your kayak, you’ll soon discover that it’s extremely forgiving in rough waters and very stable.

Do I need to Buy New Fly Fishing Gear for Kayak Fishing?

If you’re already a flyfisher, then you’ll be fine with your current reels and rods, matched to the fishing kayak of your choice. Using a longer rod will be perfect for keeping the line off the water, but it’s not essential. A short rod can also work if you don’t make long casts because it’s easier to land fish and you’ll be much less likely to break a short rod compared to a long one.

Fly fishing gear isn’t cheap, so make sure that you have the ability to secure your rod in the event you end up capsizing your kayak. Most models of kayaks come equipped with at least one built-in mount, but experts also recommend purchasing a rod leash for added security.

Most pros also recommend keeping your flies in a waterproof container, which is smart because you won’t have to worry about rusted hooks.

Bottom Line

When it comes to choosing the best fishing kayak to fit your needs, keep in mind that there really is no one-size-fits-all model. Before you decide to buy a kayak, the most important thing to do is take stock of how and where you plan on doing most of your fishing and paddling. Basically, you need to identify your needs. Will you be fishing for largemouth bass in freshwater? Do you plan on navigating rivers and streams to land trout and smallmouth bass? Do you love poking around flats, estuaries, and saltwater harbors looking for bluefish and striped bass? Or, do you have plans to venture out into the ocean? Will the kayak be used strictly for fishing or do you want a model that can also be used for recreational purposes? Once you’ve gone over your fishing goals and your needs, it’s time to choose a few models that match your desired criteria. At that point, we encourage you to read up on fishing kayak reviews in order to get a better idea of how each model performs in freshwater, saltwater, and different types of weather conditions. You’ll also get a realistic look at a kayak’s overall quality and what you can expect in terms of stability, comfort, and maneuverability.

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