If you’ve reached this page I’m guessing your very interested in kayak fishing? If you are then read on and let me introduce you to a whole new adventure in fishing!
Fishing from a sit on top kayak has many obvious advantages over shore fishing. How many times have you stood on your local pier or rock edge in the freezing cold hoping for a big Cod to nod your rod? On the other hand it may have it’s disadvantages but here I’ll try to explain it all.
The first thing you need to do is weigh yourself. We all know roughly how tall we are and how heavy we are but it does matter when choosing your kayak. I think it’s always a shame when big guys say to me “I’d probably sink one me” or “I’m too big for a kayak”. If you did a little research I think you’d be very surprised 😉 I’m currently very overweight at 17 stone but I managed a Prowler Big Game for 4 years without being tipped off it at all and I’ve been out in some pretty rough conditions I can assure you over 9 years of paddling a kayak to fish.
You need a kayak that’s going to be right for you ie: if your 12 stone and 5’7 then a Big Game or Trident 15 isn’t going to be your kayak. You’d want something slimmer & sleeker like a Prowler 13 or the newer Elite 4.1 maybe or any other main stream kayak that’s not too long or heavy for you to handle & paddle.
If your 17 stone or over & are a big guy then I can heartily recommend the Ocean Prowler Big Game for the sea! It can take up to 600lb in weight believe it or not! Both Wayne & I got on my Big Game half a mile out to sea a couple of years ago whilst snorkelling & testing our yaks out & the Big Game never flinched! The newer Trident series are just as big and believe me when I say that you can paddle them, please do not listen to hear say but check out our video archive then make up your own mind 😉
If your an average person with average or low income then you need a budget prior to doing anything. Don’t rush out & buy everything you’ve read about. You need a kayak, paddle and a buoyancy aid to begin with & the 2nd hand market is now booming with lot’s to choose from either in sites like ours or eBay. Then you need a paddle buddy with experience if possible? A paddle buddy is one of the most under estimated and under publicised areas of the sport as well as possibly the most important. A paddle buddy will know you, your gear & your fishing area well. Your mobile phone, VHF radio & flares do not! Your paddle buddy doesn’t run out of batteries (hopefully) and is always there for you if you need them & vica versa! If your paddle buddy has already got a VHF radio then you can drop yours down the list of requirements until you’ve got other items that are more important like dry suit, wetsuit, dive boots etc.
If you’ve got a couple of grand spare and can afford to buy into the sport as some do then just make sure you read reviews on gear and don’t buy on impulse as it can lead to bad gear and more importantly disaster at sea!
Why a Sit On Top Kayak?
Sit on top kayaks are the ideal vehicle to carry an angler across water as you simply sit on it and can store lots of equipment whilst keeping it all to hand. The hollow build of these kayaks gives the paddler even more storage which is also dry too! As well as storage the “SOT” kayaks is buoyant and unlike the sit in type, if it tips on the water you simply swim back to it, turn it back over to its upright position and climb back on board. They’ve got scupper holes that run right through the kayak from the top to the bottom so that if a wave hits the water drains straight out and when you turn the kayak back over in the water it’s already drained so you can re-enter it and carry on.
All equipment is “leashed” to the kayak so you won’t be left up the creek without a paddle so to speak. Kayaks are relatively small compared to boats and have a distinct advantage as they can gain access to areas where boats daren’t venture to access fishing grounds.
Equipment and Rigging
The equipment you can amass is pretty impressive and if your a ‘gadget’ fan then your going to love kayak fishing! We fit fish finders with GPS, we use VHF radios for coastal communication and emergency usage. We’ve got rod holders pre-fitted into “angling kayaks” but most fans enjoy self rigging their yak to suit their personal taste. Storage for our equipment ranges from sealed boxes to modified milk crates but the list of opportunities is endless!
Other “bits n bobs” you may add to your collection include a trolley, a sail, a rudder and believe it or not but some newer kayaks come with the fittings ready for an outboard engine! so it’s pretty much the ‘gadget man’s dream! Take a look at the ‘tiger’ like kayak in the picture above. That’s Wayne’s ‘yak which shows just how inventive one can be. It’s even got a video camera fitted to the front now too.
Peace and Quiet
When I go out on my kayak I know that on most occasions I’m in for a real treat! I work hard most of the time repairing computers for others and problem solving which is pretty heavy on the old noggin so I need a break. Out as sea on my kayak I’m usually accompanied by paddle buddy Wayne who shares my sentiments entirely and together we enjoy the peace and quiet away from our problems and stress. You can still see the “rat race” from our usual fishing haunt but you can’t hear it. The gentle lapping of the water against the kayak hull is all you can hear and your mind can wander as you fish and paddle about your chosen area. Another great aspect of kayaking along the coast is the fact that you get to see the coastline from the “other side” of which only boat owners get to see & it can be pretty amazing watching the sun set in the west whilst bobbing about on the North sea with a few fish on board!
I love taking the kids to the Lake District in Cumbria. We’ve camped there for over 20 years and never get tired of it and the kids have grown up on it. Paddling the fishing kayak on the lakes is absolutely awesome! Getting up early before all the tourist boats and play boats as well as other kayakers is something you’ll always remember as you feel guilty dipping the paddle into the water spoiling the otherwise mirror image of the surrounding hills and countryside. Your only company is the courting ducks and mothering swans as they drift by as a family. Catching fish is just an added bonus! Even during the day in a busy camp-site you can hear the barking dogs and screaming kids fade into the distance as you paddle out on your quest for peace, quiet and maybe even a fish! BLISS!
On fresh water lakes like Ullswater and Windermere in the English Lake District I fish for perch, trout & Pike but being quite the novice I’m finding it quite difficult to catch anything of a decent size. All fish I catch are returned and I insist on ‘squashing’ all my hook barbs to lessen the harm to any fish I do hook. Accessing small nooks, streams and other places nobody else can access is very exciting. Fly fishing from the kayak where nobody else is around and in total serenity is simply beautiful. The only action around is the courting ducks, flies tapping the water surface and swans gracefully passing by you and I can even forgive the menacing magpies and rooks etc. as they go about their business. Woodpeckers are an amazing site as they tap on trees totally unaware of you as you gently drift by in the wind. AWESOME!
The sea as we are all pretty much aware is a very dangerous place to be and paddling a piece of plastic on it can be seriously dangerous under the wrong circumstances. The sea commands respect and if you fail to respect it then it WILL take your life! The sea can also be a tranquil and peaceful place to be on a good day with flat calm waters and fish biting as you paddle around in the blazing sun enjoying the tranquility of it all.
Exploring your coastline is one of the many advantages of kayaking as well as fishing unexplored holes and gullies that others are unable to reach. Also, the view of your local coastline from your kayak is one that not many “land lubbers” and shore anglers alike get to see and it’s great fun as well as a good chance to stretch your legs, rest and maybe grab a bite to eat?
The main reason I fish from my kayak though is to catch Cod. I’ve spent many cold winter nights on secluded beaches and dangerous rock edges casting a line out into heavy kelp and gullies in the hope of landing that elusive club winning monster without success but on the “yak” its much easier to drop a line down without that snaggy angle to get past and retrieving your line is a lot easier too but getting to the places that shore anglers and boats cannot reach is the most exciting and enjoyable aspect of it all. Using small pirks and lures as well as trotting a bait along the seabed as well as spinning with lures or trolling them “all at the same time” can be very tiresome, enjoyable and productive!
As you probably already know the sea is a very dangerous place to be and must be given the respect it deserves. If you fail to realise this then you really shouldn’t go anywhere near it as it WILL kill you! I grew up living on the North east coast of England and spent most of my youth at the seaside. As an adult I continued this with a surf kayak and body boards which led me on to kayak fishing. The dangers are not just drowning but there’s hypothermia, exhaustion and illness to consider too so do read up on it prior to diving in (sorry 😉 ). There’s a “safety page” on our web-site that you must read prior to even buying your kayak. Read up on all the gear required and work out the costs
Here in the British Isles we don’t have a lot of good weather but for us kayak fishermen it’s even tougher as our paddling depends on the wind speed and direction as well as tidal strength, ebb, flood, rain, thunder & lightening storms. All these need to be considered if your going to try your hand at this great hobby/sport. You don’t need to be a great swimmer but obviously it would help. As I’ve previously mentioned, if you tip the kayak you’ll need to be able to swim back to it and grab it to tip it back over and climb on.
I’ve always maintained my own motto on going out on the kayak and that is “if it looks dodgy then it probably is, don’t do it!” and I recommend you stick by this because I have and I’m still here after a good 9 years of kayak fishing on the north sea. It’s becoming more and more apparent that people are getting frustrated at the conditions and are going out there despite the risks purely out of desperation to “wet a yak”. This is a very dangerous thing to do so be warned! Going out in fog is pure stupidity, even if you think your safe, how do you know that somebody on the shore hasn’t called the rescue services because they think your stranded or in danger? It’s how we’re perceived by others that is more important than most other things as it’s too easy to get kayak fishing a name for being dangerous sport. Nobody wants a better half nagging them the sport is dangerous do they? A fish is not worth risking your life for! There’s always another time to go so just be patient and enjoy the moment when it comes, I’m sure you’ll love it all the more 🙂
Just remember that when your going out to sea on your kayak, your representing the sport as a whole, not just yourself!