Kayak Fishing Basics

This month Caine Goward will be talking about the basics of fishing from a kayak. We will cover the range of kayaks on the market, what to look for when purchasing your first kayak, and the abundance of modifications to make life much more easier to use.

The Stealth Factor

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The author absolutely loves fishing for bream from his kayak as can be seen here.

Kayak fishing is one of my favorite styles of fishing. There’s nothing better then sneaking up and actually feeling like you are hunting the fish. You cast your lure out to a unsuspecting fish then ‘Bang’ you’re on and getting towed around by a big fish. This really gets your heart pumping and it is a great way to stay fit, healthy and active. My main species I like to target on a ‘yak are estuary fish like bream, flattie, bass, silver perch and jewfish I do do a lot of deep sea kayaking but prefer inshore on light gear a lot more fun. Providing you can transport your ‘yak you can take it virtually anywhere – to give an idea I often fish from the following locations – Stockton and Newcastle, Lake St Claire, Lostock Dam, the Patterson River, Tamworth, Glenbawn Dam, Lake Macquarie, and Sydney. As you can see I like to travel and see new places and having a kayak opens up a world of exploration.

Choosing the Perfect Kayak

Kayak fishing has grown expedentially over the years with more people stepping away from a boat and land based to go the stealthy approach and now with so many different brands and makes of kayaks where do you start? Well I always advise first to start learning inshore first ie rivers, lakes and creeks this way if anything goes wrong at least you aren’t far from shore to get yourself out of trouble, So a smaller kayak is preferable light agile and stable platform to fish from.

Inside or On Top?

There are a few different types of kayaks – the main ones being the sit in or sit on top. Kayaks designed for ‘sitting in’ are more of a canoe type made for rapids tight creeks. You can fish from theses but they are not perfect for the beginner. They tend to be easy to flip a sit on top is a flat styled kayak designed usually with a wide stable body which can allow to stand and use like a paddle board or sit. I have owned and used a lot of kayaks over the years and its one of my favorite styles of fishing. I currently use a Viking GT Profish kayak  – they are one of the most versatile kayaks on the market can take them anywhere.

‘Yaks are the perfect watercraft for exploring the upper reaches of rivers and creeks.


The ‘4WD’ of Kayaks

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The author’s pride and joy at home ready, for a rinse off after a fishing session on the local lake.

I recommend doing a bit of research first before buying a kayak for a beginner kayak you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 – $1000 try and stay away from the cheap models usually they are of poor build quality but if you are on a budget here are a few key things to look out for. Press the bottom of the kayak firmly if the kayak hull bows easy then walk away it means the hull is thin and can take damage easy. Look at the shape of the base of the hull make sure it is streamlined to be able to paddle more efficiantly and track straight. Seating is a big one make sure it is comfortable or jump online check out aftermarket seating this is something you will be sitting in for hours on end. Don’t be scared to sit in it and finally check out the build finishes like hatches rod holders bungs and scupper holes.

Storage is Critical

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Storage is an important consideration when choosing a kayak.

Finally, make sure there are plenty of places to store your gear. For a good starting place check out www.vikingkayaks.com.au they have a awesome range from beginner to pro kayaks and remember the big 3 things to initially buy – A PFD or Personal Floatation Device, a good paddle, and comfortable seating the rest can come later. Here is where we get to the fun part what accessories to buy and use now this can get pretty expensive but for a beginner less is best try not to over do the accessories straight away a simple rod holder sounder and some storage for your catch is plenty. Get out on the water a few times and think do I need this or that could this make it easier or is it going to get in my way.

Custom Modifications

But after you get past that point and you want to deck out your yak. A great place to start would be Railblaza – they specialize in removable and interchangeable mounts and accessories. This creative company feature rod holders, camera booms, accessories holders, lights, flags wall slings, kayak trolleys and much much more a one stop shop for pimping your yak. On my kayak I have a removable tackle pod and chill pod. These are a big feature on the Viking kayaks and give you the ability to store and remove your catch and gear. I installed an abundance of Railblaza gear that I swap and change the setup depending of what style of fishing I am doing on that day. I also have fitted a Lowrance sounder and drift chute – both very necessary accessories.

Getting Out On The Water

So you are about to hit the water but before you do tripple check your gear and kayak. Make sure you have everything nothing worse then getting to the bank and realising “oh no” I forgot my seat and bung plugs which believe me has happened. As I said previously, stay inshore for the first time without venturing too far from land. Don’t try and paddle a million miles and practice rolling and re entering your kayak.

Safety First

A  simple thing that could save your life always wear your Personal Flotation Device or lifejacket. It is also well worth using a lanyard to secure your rods. I know it sounds like a pain but talking from a guy with experience of loosing over $1000 of gear over the side never to return again it is now a must.

And a final tip: When you hook on to a fish try to keep the fish infront of you  – it’s a lot easier to fight and control your kayak that way. If you are fighting from the side its harder to keep your balance., This can also cause you to flip your kayak.


A well fitted out kayak complete with net ready to land fish.


About Caine Goward

I started fishing at a very young age and was taught by my grandfather Peter (pop) Green. I have many memories of spending countless hours on the beach with my pop and brother Jai digging for pippies and arguing with my brother about who caught the biggest fish. These mornings on the beach watching the sunrise over the water and spending time with loved ones is what ignited my passion for fishin. Ever since then i have tried to learn every thing I can about fishin reading books and spending every chance i can on the water. But there was a snag in the water with no one willing to help and guide me in all styles and techniques of fishing I was stuck. That is until I met a bloke who fished in the ABT circuit he took me under his wing and showed me everything from salt to fresh, spin to fly, boat and land to kayak. I learnt alot from this man and spurred me on to fish and share my learning and knowledge. I moved home After I finished in the Army to be with my family I designed a fishing site on facebook to start showing people all the secrets the myths and generally have a laugh and get back to enjoying what fishing meant to me. I have fished plenty of boat and kayak tournaments through my time but my main specialty is kayak bream and bass fishing.


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1 Comment

  1. Nic
    April 08, 02:15 Reply
    Nice guide. could you recommend the best fish finder for kayak?

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