How to Get Started Kayak Fishing

There has been a massive rise in kayak angler numbers, and they show no signs of dropping. If you want to start kayak fishing, it can be daunting what you need and how to kayak in the first place.

You will find that kayak fishing beginners focus more on the kayaking side than the fishing, aside from a few things.

All you need for your fishing gear to start is your tackle box, rod, and possibly some bait. In our guide, you can learn more about fishing with kayaks from the basics and things good to know.

By the end, you’ll know the gear you need that is suitable to head out on the lake and catch your first fish from your kayak. (Learn What Muscles Does Kayaking Work)

Basic Guide in Kayak Fishing

How Do You Start a Fishing Kayak?

When you learn how to get into a kayak, stage the yak so it’s sideways to the shore. Ensure one side of your kayak is in shallow water, and one side of the boat is secure and bottomed out as you climb in.

Sit quickly and push off with your paddle and body motion. If you try to slide down the bank, you can easily tip over.

Spend some time getting into a kayak and paddling around in your new kayak before deciding to head into open water. You can use this time for leaning side to side and get a feel for the kayak’s limits and stability.

Your paddle will take some getting used to, so focus on an effective forward stroke to cover more water with less effort.

Choose a sit-on-top kayak rather than a sit-inside kayak. Just be aware you can get wetter on this type of kayak. (Read Storing Kayaks)

Once you get started in kayak fishing, you’ll need to change your casting technique. Casting one-handed is par for the course since you’ll be fishing in close quarters.

Besides this, it doesn’t matter if you’re landing a small fish or big fish; keep your rod in hand furthest from the fish and keeping tension on your line.

Besides this, you’ll need to master how to paddle with one hand. Kayaking with two hands is simple, yet one-handed can be challenging, especially if landing fish with the other.

Make sure to lock the paddle shaft to your forearm as this secures your paddle to your arm and allowing it to be used as a canoe paddle. (Learn How to Carry a Kayak)

Is Kayaking Hard for Beginners?

Kayaking isn’t as hard to learn as you may imagine, and to paddle effectively, you only need a few basic skills. It could take a bit of instruction on entering and exiting your kayak and how to execute forward and sweep strokes for turning the yak and comfortable paddling.

For strength and athleticism, having lots of strength makes learning to paddle more of a challenge.

Using your back to paddle is inefficient and leads to soreness and fatigue. You can practice learning and propelling the boat forward with your trunk and core. Placing your paddle in the water and twisting your body to pull your body toward the paddle.

The arms hold the paddle, yet many believe digging their paddles in and drawing back on them can move forward faster. Paddling is a body rotation idea many beginners don’t understand.

Pay attention to your arms when paddling, and if they feel sore and tired, you’re probably not using your core to the best effect. Kayaking delivers a good body workout, yet it is a low-impact activity.

If you sit in your kayak in the required sitting position and can freely rotate from side to side, chances are you can paddle effectively.

Kayaks come in a variety of shapes and sizes and stability levels. Some can be easily tipped, while others are not. (Find out the Calories Burned Kayaking)

For fishing, you’ll need one that offers lots of stability. The key is to choose a boat appropriate for kayak angling, as you can stand on these without the worry of capsizing within certain limits.

How Much Does it Cost to Start Kayaking?

You can spend a fortune on equipment, yet there is no need to go wild. Here you can see how much it costs to get started, yet we have omitted the costs of your tackle boxes and rods as the list could be endless.

Here, you can find a rough guide of kayak fishing for beginners costs for kayaking gear only.

Recreational Kayak

You will need a good reliable recreational kayak. You can purchase fishing kayaks, yet now manufacturers are making multi-purpose yaks.

Cost for these can range from $200 to $1,500

Recreational kayaks are midsize, affordable, and very stable. Best of all, they are great for beginners as they are suited for slow-moving water. You’ll find these are from 9 to 12-foot and offer wide cockpits, and getting in and out is easy, as is storing your fishing gear.

Variants of the recreational kayak are the sit-on-top kayak, which is even better for fishing as you can easily move around in your seat.

Necessary Gear:

Necessary Gear for Kayak Fishing

Personal Flotation device (PFD)

Cost around $70

Whatever kayak you choose, you need a PFD personal flotation device. A Kayaking life jacket has less padding and material, so it won’t restrict any movement when fishing or paddling.


Cost Around $30 upward

Most men of average height paddle at 210- to 220-cm from tip to tip. Paddles come with straight shafts, which are more affordable, or bent shafts for better ergonomics. Many anglers use trolling motors, though these are not what you’d need in the beginning.

Bilge Pumps

A handheld plastic pump can remove water; however, you have the scupper holes on a sit-on-top kayak to drain water.

What is Needed for Kayak Fishing?

The best fishing kayak is the one you own, and over the past few years, there are many kayaks specifically made for kayak fishing. A boat already rigged to fish can save you lots of hassle in searching for the right gear. (Read Kayak Storage Ideas)

Other features to look for in your fishing kayak are:

  • Elevated seat position offers a better field of vision and comfort throughout the day
  • Multiple rod holders. Some recreational kayaks come with two as standard.
  • Paddle holder – a necessity, so you don’t lose your paddle.
  • Deck storage is used to hang onto your tackle boxes when not in use.
  • GPS and fishfinder mount should be there for when you get the kayak fishing bug.
  • Optional on some fishing kayak models.

Choose the Right Kayak

Kayaks available for anglers should be designed specifically for fishing. They have a wider base, fishing rod holder, and built-in storage for tackle and gear.


By law, you are required to wear a PFD when in your kayak. Make sure you are not restricted, and the life jacket fits snugly without being tight.

Watch the Weather

Don’t get out, and even in the summer, make sure you dress appropriately. Water temperature is much less than the air temperature. A little bit of foresight goes a long way, especially if your capsize is very wet.


Try to have another person with you while kayak fishing.

Keep Fishing Gear Simple

It is much better to keep your gear simple. You don’t want to be caught capsizing, and you reach the far corner to grab your tackle box. Take what you can easily hold and what you need on the lake or river. Too much gear could make you reach the upper limit of what your kayak can carry.

When starting, limit your gear to one or two rods, a tackle bag, and possibly a couple of lure boxes and baits.

With experience, check the milk crate setup behind your seat for more tackle and rod holders.

Stick to all the above, and you can find you’ll be catching fish in ways you never thought possible. The kayak fishing sport is on the increase, and you can see exactly why this is. You’ll also find you don’t need to spend a fortune to have fun fishing from boats.

How to Get Started Kayak Fishing