If you have a kayak or are contemplating buying one for fishing, there are a few things you should know before shoving off with your expensive Loomis rods and Shimano reels inside.
Although newer ones are more stable than earlier models, they’re still not as stable as a boat, especially a bass boat. But there are ways to stabilize a kayak for fishing, even stand-up fishing.
First off, consider tackle storage. A rollover could drop all you gear in the drink. This can happen when reeling in a big fish, especially when doing so almost to the rod tip. Veteran kayak anglers suggest not reeling it in too close to the rod, as you should give the fish enough slack. To get the fish in the boat, merely raise the rod tip to swing the fish in At that time, stick the rod under your arm in front of the reel and use both hands to grab the fish to remove the hook and for a release if that’s the plan.
For tackle storage, today’s kayaks usually have a storage hole or compartment behind the seat or in front, or both. It’s here where you can stow gear in a special tackle box or make one out of a plastic milk crate. With electrical-type conduit clamps, secure two pieces of PVC pipe to serve as rod holders. Then fasten the crate to the kayak itself. YakAttack (yakattack.us – 434-392-3233) makes one but it’s pricey at $125.
To insure you don’t lose your rods, reels, pliers, tackle boxes and other small items, it’s suggested they be attached to some floatation. To do this, pick up one of those pool noodles and cut them into sections and attach them with nylon string to each tackle item so they float in the event of a rollover. That, and tie other items down such as placing your paddle under bungee-type cords some kayaks come with.
It’s also recommended practicing getting in and out of your yak in a pool, pond or shallow lake. There could be a time when you move too fast and over you go. And re-entry could be tricky, especially if you get a charley horse.
Now one way to alleviate that is by installing a floatation outrigger like those sold by Castle Craft (castlecraft.com – 888-274-8490). They offer two types of floats; soft Eathaform stabilizers, and, Hydrodynamic rigid stabilizers with hollow centers. These could be had for around $250.
Then there are Freedom Hawk kayaks with inline outriggers. They look like a regular kayak but once ready to fish, merely pull two handles on the top sides of the yak and the stern riggers push out to form a “Y” for standing stability. To make them lighter for transport, the outriggers easily disassemble. Of course these kayaks fetch a higher than normal price. But the company’s website shows an angler fighting a 6-foot long sailfish. So they’re exceptionally stable in that when extended they provide eight feet of width.
FREE FISHING DAY
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is offering their second Fish-for-Free Day on July 4.
Anyone, Pennsylvania residents and non-residents, may fish Commonwealth waters that day for free meaning they don’t need a fishing license.
The free program is intended to introduce friends and families to the sport of fishing. And it’s a convenient way for visitors to our state to fish popular lakes during the July 4th holiday weekend.