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Fishing tackle

If you treat kayak fishing as light boat fishing then you won't do far wrong.

There are two main ways of fishing off a kayak, with bait, either at anchor or on the drift, and using artificial imitations of something fishes like to eat, which include all sorts or lures and even flies.

For bait fishing you may find that a lighter rod than you would use off a boat will fit the bill. Obviously it depends on what you are trying to catch, and where you are trying to catch it, but the vast majority of my fishing is done with less than 4oz of lead, and I enjoy it most where I can use 2oz or less. For this type of fishing a 6lb class rod is ideal, try and get one with a soft tip, and make it at least 7ft long, that way a fish can run round the bow of the kayak without causing any tangles. I tend to use braided lines, and a breaking strength of 15lb will stop almost anything you are likely to catch. I put the braid on a multiplier reel, an Abu 6500 size job again fits the bill perfectly.

When it comes to lure fishing a lot will depend on where in the country you intend to fish, further North and jigging is the order of the day, with feathers being widely used as well as Shads, with cod being a realistic all year round target. Rods tend to be heavy spinning rods, or we are just starting to see purpose built kayak lure rods appearing. For this type of fishing I would still use a multiplier reel, but I know a lot of people who also use fixed spools.

Further down South, then lure fishing tends to target bass, and lighter tackle is used. Methods range from surface lures, often referred to as 'poppers', shallow diving lures, and soft plastics. Poppers actually require a relatively stiff rod to make the lure work correctly, while other types of lures are OK on softer rods. Here fixed spools rule the roost. I tend to use Shimano reels, and some of my old Stradic coarse fishing reels, in 3000 and 4000 sizes have stood up to the abuse they receive on a kayak quite well, although they are engineering masterpieces and as such get a wash in fresh water after every trip.  

If you get the lure fishing bug, then there are two branches of the sport that are attracting a lot of attention at the moment, HRF and LRF, standing for heavy and light rock fishing. Both methods are ideally suited to use on a kayak, and basically imported methods from the US and Japan, which have proved very well suited to the waters in the South West of the UK.

Going even further into specialist lure fishing brings me to fly fishing. Fly fishing from a kayak seems to be a very logical and satisfying combination, and in the summer even the humble mackerel will give a fantastic days sport on a fly rod. As you are casting from the sitting position (standing up is for Americans on very sheltered mud flats) a longer rod than normal is required, and for salt water fishing make sure the gear is rated for salt water as some 'normal' fly-fishing gear doesn't last long on a kayak.

Recommended book

Discover Kayak Fishing
by Andy Benham

Purchase online!