Kayak fishing is no longer a niche sport for fringe fishermen. Today, anglers around the globe embrace paddle fishing. There are countless opportunities to travel and fish from a day’s drive to the other side of the planet. I’ve fished all over the United States and on several continents. All you have to do is decide where you want to go and what you want to catch. Then pack your bags. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you find great fishing destinations and make your time there a success.
3 Steps to Find Your Next Great Fishing Destination
1 Do Your Research
Start your online search by looking for resorts or lodges with “fishing kayaks.” Modern sit-on-top kayaks with rod holders and accessories are becoming more common at destinations that are close to great fishing. Renting a quality fishing kayak makes travelling easier.
If a resort or vacation property advertises fishing kayaks, they probably have good information on local guides. Ask for referrals from other anglers before booking.
Be sure to purchase licenses and permits before leaving home. Too many people have booked the fishing trip of a lifetime only to find fishing season closed when they arrive. Also, check on packing fish home. Many guides offer storage and preparation of your catch.
2 Get Packing
I always bring my own kayak seat with built-in rod holders and a pouch for tackle. Pack a handful of pad-eyes and self tapping screws to turn any livery kayak into a kayak fishing machine.
Check on the availability of lures and rigs. Guides and outfitters will be able to supply local favorites. If you have to bring your own tackle, choose carefully and pack frugally. I bring my own paddle—a four-piece packable with fiberglass blades and carbon shaft.
Travel rods that break down into pieces and fit in a small tube are often better quality than the rentals available at the destination. Pack an inflatable PFD, or risk wearing one of those orange, foam horse collars. I’ve had crappy rental gear ruin too many trips. CO2 cartridges 50ml or less are subject to airline approval.
3 Go With a Guide
Internet research will get you started with tackle and techniques. Guides and outposts often purchase fishing kayaks directly from the factory, so contacting manufacturers can be a good source of recommendations, especially if you favor a certain brand of boat. A recent search of “kayak fishing” on Tripadvisor.com resulted in more than 10,000 hits.
Calling, writing and hounding the local outfitters can fill in the blanks. The best way to learn the lay-of-the-land is to hire a local guide for the first day of your trip. Even a boat-based guide will improve your kayak fishing.
My recent trip to the Soubine River in Belize included crocodiles and killer bees. If it wasn’t for the knowledge of the local guides at Belize River Lodge our trip could have been a very dangerous day on the water.
A whole different meaning to fly fish. | Feature photo: Jason Arnold