An Introduction to Rigging a Fishing Kayak E-mail
Tuesday, 13 October 2009 06:47

The way an angler rigs a kayak for fishing is a very personal undertaking. The choices you make are dependent upon your fishing style, and the waters you paddle. What works for me may not work for you. In this new series of articles I will offer some of my ideas which may help you create your perfect kayak fishing platform. Please feel free to alter these rigging options to best fit your fishing scenarios. As this is our first glimpse into the infinite world of kayak rigging, I will simply give an overview of some of the more popular rigging techniques, before going into more depth on individual ones in future articles.

As most kayak anglers are aware, the typical fishing kayak consists of a sit-on-top kayak with a couple flush-mounted rod holders behind the seating area, and a strapped-on milkcrate in the tankwell. These two options enable the angler to transport both rods and essential gear, which may not have been possible without their addition. The next common feature would be a pivoting-style rod holder, such as a Scotty or Ram, normally mounted to the front of the seating position. With this feature, a rod can be placed in nearly any position, and located in front of the paddler, for easy access and view.

For an angler who wishes to anchor during an outing, the installation of an anchor trolley system is very common. A trolley system can be as simple as a cleat, or as complex as utilizing pulleys and bungees to attain the best anchor line position. Keep in mind that anchoring a kayak in turbulent or flowing water has its dangers. The same anchor that helps you stay on the fish can also cause a kayak to be pulled under water. If using an anchor, always carry a good knife!

Another popular add-on for the fishing kayak is the fishfinder or sonar unit. These electronics can be purchased new for anywhere from $75 to several hundred dollars. It all depends on what resolution you want, how many “bells and whistles” it has, and how big your budget is. As for the rigging of these devices, some prefer to attach the transducer with suction cups below the hull, while others use a through-hull transducer application. Each has its benefits and downfalls. We will address this topic in a future article.

rigged kayak

Finally, an important piece of equipment which is often overlooked is the seat. If you want to enjoy your time on the water, you need to be comfortable. I always recommend that the new kayak angler invest in the best kayak seat that he or she can afford. Look for durable stitching, and a high back for added support. If you can’t get comfortable in the kayak, you won’t be on the water very long. Some seats even have optional rod holders attached right on the back, or even a small tackle holding area.

kayak rigged

These are just a few items to keep in mind when first considering a kayak for fishing, but also remember a few mandatory items, such as a personal floatation device (life jacket), whistle, and some form of light if paddling at night. The PFD has to be comfortable just like your seat so that you will always wear it, because it may save your life. The whistle may help you signal assistance for others if you are “up a creek without a paddle”, or just trying to hail your paddling companion. The light may keep you from being overrun by that oncoming container ship!
The list of rigging options and accessories for the kayak angler is extensive. Each time you hit the water to fish, you will think of new ways to best rig your kayak for your own purposes. In the coming months we will elaborate on these ideas, and make our kayak fishing experiences both more enjoyable and safer. To many kayak anglers, the art of rigging a kayak is nearly as entertaining as being on the water hunting for a favorite gamefish.

fishing kayak ready to fish

 

John “Toast” Oast is a member of the Johnson Outdoors Pro Staff, and resides in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is the founder of the Williamsburg Kayak Fishing Association and Fishyaker.com, and is a member of the East Coast Kayak Fishing Team. His kayak rigging videos have received thousands of views, and been linked to websites around the world. For more information, visit http://fishyaker.com/ and his Youtube page at http://www.youtube.com/fishyaker.

 

 

 

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