A stakeout pole is the best way to stop a kayak in shallow water. Unlike an anchor, a stakeout pole is light, low-profile and uses less line, making it quick and easy to stick in the sand or mud and tie off. As an added bonus, a stakeout pole has less chance of snagging the fishing line and costing a catch.

Any time you stop a kayak in current or waves, there is a risk of flipping the boat or falling overboard. Follow these 5 steps to stake out and stay dry.

1. Pick out a stakeout pole matching the depth of the water

Pick out a stakeout pole matching the depth of the water.

Pick out a stakeout pole matching the depth of the water. Best models are between six and eight feet long. An aluminum pole is light and stiff with a machined point to pierce sand and mud. Loop a 20-foot piece of paracord to the pole as a tie-off.

2. Find a secure mounting point on the kayak

Find a secure mounting point on the kayak.

Find a secure mounting point on the kayak. A stakeout pole is awkward to store. Use a paddle holder or bungees to secure the pole horizontally to the deck when not in use.

3. Use the pole as a depth finder

Use the pole as a depth finder.

Use the pole as a depth finder. Feel along the bottom with the pole until it is shallow enough to stake into the sand or mud. Most of the time, its best to stake out in shallow water and fish deep water nearby.

4. Once the soft bottom is detected, drive it deeper

Detect soft bottom with the pole, jam the pointed tip into the bottom while shaking and rotating the pole to push it further into the sand.

Once I detect soft bottom with the pole, I jam the pointed tip into the bottom while shaking and rotating the pole to push it further into the sand. In most conditions, 10 to 12 inches should be deep enough. Always test to make sure the pole will hold the kayak in the current and wind before tying off.

5. Use a carabiner to clip the paracord to the kayak

Use a carabiner to clip the paracord to the kayak.

Use a carabiner to clip the paracord to the kayak. Depending on the wind and current, I attach the clip to a point that will hold the kayak in the direction I want to fish. Attach the cord to an anchor trolley for the most positioning options. If I want to fish into the wind or current, I stake out from the bow. If the wind and current are in opposite directions, I may stake out from the middle of the kayak. Never run the stakeout pole through a scupper in the kayak deck. This could damage the plastic or get stuck in the scupper.

For better boat control in bad conditions, I use two stakeout poles: one on the bow and one in the stern. Rigging an anchor trolley on each side of the kayak makes it easier to use two poles. Two stakeout poles offer peace of mind if I leave the kayak to wade fish.

When it’s time to move, pull straight up with a slight twist back and forth to release the pole. To counter balance a stuck pole, tilt slightly to the opposite side of the kayak. Once the pole is back onboard, return it to the paddle clips to keep it out of the way.

Stuck like Chuck. | Featured photos: Will Niemann

1 COMMENT

  1. Native kayakers, in traditional boats, would drift into a kelp bed and, using their paddle, they’d grab a kelp frond and lay it across their bow, a few on each side. This would keep the kayak from drifting, and the kelp forests were calming waters allowing them to even sleep in their kayak. For kayak fishermen, using a weed bed – along the edges, for example – will hold your boat in place against moderate currents and will enable you to cast out along the edge or into the week bed. Kayak fishing has been around for centuries, anglers are just learning how to be kayakers.

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