Kayak Fishing Offers Anglers A Close-up Experience
In recent years, fishing from a kayak has become increasingly popular among new and experienced anglers alike. Though the sport can trace its beginnings to the southern and coastal states, an increasing number of anglers can be seen fishing from kayaks on Nevada waters. This growth is reflected in the number of manufacturers that now produce full lines of kayaks designed specifically with fishing in mind. Long gone are the days when standing in a kayak to cast a line was a crazy idea. Many of today’s fishing kayaks are designed specifically with the standing angler in mind and even those who prefer to use electronics while pursuing their fish. There is something for everybody. “As with any pursuit, kayak anglers all have their own reason for picking up a paddle, but the thing I like most about kayak fishing is its simplicity,” said Doug Nielsen, Conservation Education supervisor for the Nevada Department of Wildlife and an avid kayak angler. “Paddling through coves can be rather relaxing, and the kayak allows me the freedom to focus on one area without feeling pressure to race all over the lake. I don’t feel the need to fish fast.” Still, an angler can cover more fishable water on a kayak than while fishing from the shoreline. The increased mobility of a kayak allows the angler to move from the back of a cove to open water and back again with relative ease. Another aspect of kayak fishing that anglers find attractive is the feeling that they have their own personal space on the water. In a way, this solitude gives you one-on-one time with the fish, and there is no motor to announce your arrival. “The kayak provides a stealthy approach that allows me to slip up on unwary fish, even through flooded brush. It is amazing how close you can get before spooking a fish. I have literally drifted to within two to three feet of black bass and then caught those fish without spooking them,” Nielsen said. Another thing that attracts anglers to kayak fishing is the relatively low cost involved with taking up the sport. The single biggest expense is the cost of the kayak. A quality entry level fishing kayak can be had for about $900, and the price ranges from there to a high of about $4,000 for the top-of-the-line model. If you purchase a used craft, the price is substantially lower and there are plenty of rentals available it you prefer to start there. Fishing kayaks are available in both sit-inside and sit-on-top configurations, but most are the sit-on-top variety. Nielsen said he likes the open feel of the sit-on-top designs and how easy they are to get on and off of when compared to a sit-in configuration. Another option that is available to anglers today deals with the means of propulsion. While models using the traditional paddle are still available, a growing number of kayaks now use some means of peddle power. Both systems have their pros and cons, but in the end the choice between the two is really a matter of personal preference or a matter of budget. Peddle-driven kayaks free up an angler’s hands to fish while in continued motion, but they are at the high end of the price range. Once you have your kayak, all you need to add is a life jacket, a paddle and your fishing tackle. Today there are many choices when it comes to a life jacket, so take the time to compare their attributes as well as their price tags. Life jackets designed specifically for paddle craft are more comfortable to wear when paddling than one designed waterskiing or motorboating. They also need to be U.S. Coast Guard approved. If your life jacket is comfortable, you will be more apt wear it. And if you don’t wear it, it won’t work when you need it. Since kayaks are much smaller than a traditional fishing boat, storage space is limited. So, you must limit your tackle selection to only those items you use most frequently. For some anglers, this transition is an eye-opening experience because it forces one to admit that most of the tackle they haul around does little more than take up space. Of course, you can’t throw your bait without a fishing rod or two, or even six if you have the rod holders on your kayak to carry them. Any rod will do so long as it matches the water and the fish you are after. You can even fly-fish from a kayak. A fishing kayak can be more convenient to store in urban living conditions than a boat, and you can launch one from anywhere your vehicle can safely reach.