Kayaks for Fly FishingNathaniel Treichler
As fishing grows in popularity, more spots are getting blown up and well known spots are receiving more fishing pressure than ever. If you are looking to escape the crowd or add some stealth to your approach, then a kayak can be a cost effective option to take your fishing to the next level.
Fish are more sensitive to sound than we think and a quieter approach won’t hurt any angler. Whether it’s the oar smacks from a raft, hull slaps on the bottom of a boat, or simply commotion from people around you, fish become aware of the noises and lock their jaws. The way that a kayak sits and glides through the water quietly allows you to approach fishing spots with ease and stealth. This allows you to fish pressured areas without detection, as well as sneak up to fish in the shallows.
Aside from adding stealth to your fishing approach, kayaks give you the opportunity to explore areas less traveled. The construction of modern kayaks allows them to withstand some scratches and tough conditions. Not to mention, the absence of a motor and not requiring a boat ramp to launch, you can launch a kayak anywhere.
Whether it’s deep in the salt marshes where boats can’t get past shallow sandbars or branches of rivers with no boatable access or sufficient banks to fish from shore, a kayak can get you there. Exploring in a kayak can lead to fish that are hungry and not used to seeing the flies you are throwing.
Kayaks Under $1,000
Kayaks, like fishing, have come a long way. It can be overwhelming searching for kayaks as many look the same, yet pricing is all over the place. Having experience with kayaks, we’ve compiled a list of 3 kayaks under $1,000.00 that are conducive to fly fishing. These kayaks have ample space up in the bow for limited fly line snags and storage in the stern for your gear. Each of these kayaks are also wide and stable enough for you to stand.
- Ascend 12T Sit-On-Top MSRP $779.99
- 12’ in length and 31” wide
- Approximately 77 pounds
- Flat casting deck with non-skid foam mat
- Very open bow to minimize line snags
- Comes in a 10’ option for $100 less
- Pelican Catch 100 MSRP $729.00
- 10’ in length and 34” wide
- Approximately 58 pounds
- Wider and flatter profile for extra stability while standing
- Two-position seating system for low or high positioning
- Comes in a 12’ option for $110.00 more
- Old Town Topwater 106 MSRP $899.99
- 10’ 6” in length and 34.5” wide
- Approximately 75 pounds
- Built with Old Town’s double U hull for extra stability
– Open bow with EVA foam padding for standing
Hacks for Fly Fishing
Make sure you clear the deck of all potential line snags. An easy way to do this is cover the deck in your casting space with a damp towel. Doing so will give you a snag free surface, and the damp towel will add a little slickness to your line between casts.
Purchase fly rod specific rod holders. Most fishing kayaks come prefabricated with rod holders, but these are for conventional rods. You can make your life a lot easier if you modify your kayak with fly rod holders. Not to mention ease your mind knowing that your rods are seated securely in place.
Keep your backcast high. One of the most difficult parts about fly fishing from a kayak is keeping your backcast off the water, especially if you can’t stand in your kayak. Get confident with your overhand casting technique along with a double haul to eliminate the amount of false casts. Halt your backcast a little earlier than you normally would, it may feel strange at first, but will help keep your line off the water.
Fight fish on the reel from the kayak. Avoiding snags and line tangles will be one of your biggest hurdles when fishing in a kayak. If you can do it quickly, once you’ve hooked a fish, get him to the reel. Doing so decreases your chances of tangling your line and potentially losing the fish. If you’re in shallow water with a hard bottom, don’t be afraid to hop out and fight the fish on foot.
Invest in a good anchor system. Fighting wind and current in a kayak can be difficult. Having a good anchor system that can be deployed quickly will help you hold and maintain a favorable position.