Kayak Fishing……… A Beginners Guide
Like most things in life, when you first start Kayak Fishing it would be a good idea to get a good start to your Kayak Fishing Experience. My advice would be learn to paddle and then learn to fish. We run a series of Courses and Training Clinics which will give you the best possible start to your Kayak Fishing experience. If I am not available I will recommend someone who can assist you. Firstly as I mentioned try to attend a course, or at least ask a friend to help you. If you have a bad first experience you will probably not go again. When you are confident and can get through the surf zone you are ready to learn the Fishing aspect of Kayak Fishing. You have the chance to land world class game fish even Sail Fish and Marlin form your Kayak. Prepare yourself for the best experiences of your life because that is what will happen. Get the right tackle at the beginning. Speak to me whatsap Mick 072 938 1769 Even if you don’t want my advice speak to someone local to you who Kayak Fishes and most importantly catches fish. Not one or two fish but catches fish consistently. The more they have caught over 20kg the more valuable their advice is! Secondly get this book and read it a few times Kayak Fishing Offshore Book Now you are ready for your Kayak Fishing adventure to start. Read the items listed below and start practicing them or collecting your equipment.
Equipment & advice
Start with your Kayak, a Paddle, and a PFD Personal Flotation Device (not a Life Jacket!). There are so many Kayaks available today your mind will be blown and it can be a very frustrating experience choosing a Fishing Kayak. That’s what we are here for contact us at the beginning as in the long run you will save a lot of wasted time and money.
- Your kayak: The best thing to do is test several kayaks to see which fits your needs the best. For a fishing kayak expect to pay R6000 – R12000 second hand and R12000-R20000 new. Fishing Kayaks hold their value well and can always be traded in against a new one. For reference I prefer the Stealth range I feel it is the best choice out there and is the market leader. It is at the top end in pricing but well worth it. But again not all kayaks fit all people so test a few.
- Beginner Kayak Wavemaster Kayaks are great for when you are first starting out in Kayak fishing and the very best for practicing your paddling in the Surf Zone.
- Kayak Construction Kayaks are constructed both in Fibreglass and Plastic with separate compartments for safety and storage reasons. I have always recommended Fibreglass Kayaks however there are a few Plastic models I would now also recommend.
- Personal Floatation Device: This item is not only required by law but an absolute necessity. Must fasten under crotch for maximum safety. Contact us before you buy so we make sure you make the correct choice.
- Paddle: If you want to get anywhere you need a paddle. A good paddle will cost you about R950 – R3000 Paddles are available in flat blade or wing blade and fibreglass or lightweight carbon epoxy. Please try both types before you buy. Most guys scrimp and scrape on a Paddle but when you find the correct Paddle you will not part with it. Again get the correct advice before buying!
- Seat: Kayaks come in many different sizes and styles, and a Kayak is custom made when new, although most are now adjustable via the foot pedals. Please contact us before you buy. Your Kayak will last years so make sure you get the right one!
- Paddle Leash: This allows you to keep your paddle with your craft at all times. Imagine fighting a fish out at sea and when you turn round the paddle has gone! We have developed a very good paddle leash, please be aware in the surf zone.
- Transporting your kayak Roof bars are ideal and should be padded for extra protection. On a long journey store your kayak with the deck facing down. Straps must be tensioned correctly and not too tight.
- Fishing Rods: Match the rod to what you are fishing for, ideal rods are Shimano Beastmaster and Elbe ski pro 8-12kg or 12-16 kg or the budget Kingfisher SF10 or SF12 The main consideration is length. Your rod must be able to fit in the hatch but also allow you to reach around the bow and stern of your kayak while fighting a fish. A spinning rod is also required for catching Bonito, Snoek, etc. and can also be used to catch Mackerel or sardines. Top of the range is a Shimano Trevala or a budget version of the same size rod. Drop shot rigs may also be considered.
- Reels: For trolling a reel in the “50” size should be used like Shimano TLD Star 20/40 or Daiwa Saltist 50 BG (Black & Gold)Daiwa Firewolf is a good budget version with low maintenance plastic bushes instead of bearings. Good reels for spinning are Shimano Saragosa, Shimano Sustain, Daiwa BG, or Penn Battle 11.
- Rod Holders: I like to have an extra rod holder fitted behind the seat and one in front of me.
- Fish Finder: Don’t worry too much about them at first but one day you will need one, especially for new areas. Not for finding fish, but for finding reefs, pinnacles, wrecks, drop offs. Contact me for further advice.
- Dry Bags: A dry pouch for a cell phone is a must, none of the dry hatches are really dry 100% Snap shut boxes used for storing food are also very good.
- Safety Equipment: You will require a small pack of hand held flares, a tow rope in case someone has to tow you in an emergency also handy for tying up a huge fish. Keep these items dry in a waterproof sealed box.
- GPS Great for plotting routes and going back known marks that produce fish. Also good for an emergency to tell someone your position.
- Rod leashes: Essential so you don’t loose your expensive rod and reel
- Gaff: Always gaff a fish you intend to keep so you have control over the fish so hooks and teeth are not flying everywhere. Do not permanently fix gaff to Kayak when fishing. Please note when you gaff a fish watch your balance!
- Priest \ Fish Pacifier: Make sure the fish is subdued quickly if you intend keeping it to eat, you don’t want a fish jumping around in the hatch
- Back Rest: If you find you are getting back aches in your lower back use a back rest, two types are available please see website
- Sun protection: Don’t forget hat and sun cream and sunglasses in hot weather Island Tribe waterproof sun cream, also something for bluebottle stings
- Bait box The Safari chiller is the best but the budget polystyrene type will be ok. Wrap in white duct tape to improve this type of bait box.
- Releasing a fish. If you intend to release your catch please release as soon as possible so the fish is returned unharmed. If you are photographing the fish do so quickly.
- Billfish Are the ultimate prize. If you are lucky enough to catch one please release them unharmed. If you cut the leader they will swim away and the hook will rot away. If you want a photograph bring them to your Kayak and grab them by the bill. A Sailfish or Marlin bill is very rough. Use a glove or use your hat in your hand or you will cut yourself. Be very careful when they are close to the Kayak. They may try to jump on or over you!
- Storing your Kayak Your kayak must be stored out of the sun and off the ground. Wall racks are ideal or hang suspended from a garage roof.
- Know your limitations don’t paddle alone and always complete a float plan. Stay within your own paddling capabilities. By law you are not allowed more than 1 nautical mile (2km) off shore.
- Trolleys: are available to make long walks to the sea easier
- Anchors: are available for safety (staying in one position in difficulty) or fishing from one spot, good for when catching bait. Store in soft bag so no damage occurs to Kayak.
- Back Rest We have a range of Kayak Back Rests available form basic to deluxe models. You can purchase them here Kayak Back Rest
- Line: Use a clear or green line Maxima Ultra Green, Berkley Big Game Clear, or a similar clear line rated 15kg clear kingfisher giant abrasion green 10kg 12.5kg or 15kg if fishing for Bill fish or big Kingies
- Fishing tackle: I personally keep my tackle in a waterproof sealed container. In this container you store traces, pliers, wire cutters, or combination, knife, weights, 1/2oz ¾ oz 2oz -6oz to suit current, fluorocarbon leader, Rapalas, Halcos, elastic bands for down rigging, forceps, scissors
- Accessories: Full range of accessories see Kayak Fishing Online Shop
When returning from a kayak or fishing trip clean kayak and gear with fresh water and grease all reels. If using fish finder or GPS clean with salt away Q20 WD40 or similar
Please get to know your fish and how many you are allowed. Check KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife website ie you may catch up to 10 Couta (King Mackerel) or 10 Snoek per angler with a licence per day. MAXIMUM 10 of any species! Tuna must be over 3.2kg. Bonito are not bait fish. Please release as many fish as possible ie King fish and Bill fish if you can safely and cleanly release them. You must also pay for skipper of a vessel on your fishing licence.
Hooks Trolling treble hooks size 4 or size 2 VMC 9626 in silver or black also VMC and Owner Stinger ST66 are good
Hooks trolling front hook size VMC 4/0 9626ps or mustad tuna or mustad hoodlum
Wire Size 5 front size 6 back In wire 6 front 7 back
Line clear like Berkley big game 10kg or 12.5kg 15kg in winter when larger fish arrive. Alternatively use 17kg Suffix clear or green Kingfisher giant abrasion
Dusters Pink, Green Pearl, Pink Pearl, Chartreuse, Blue are all good
Good websites to learn knots are http://www.marinews.com/Centauri-Knot-317.php or www.animatedknots.com Knots you will need to know are Bimini twist for joining a leader to your main line (acts like a shock absorber) Figure of eight (Centauri knot) for joining lines of similar diameters and hooks / swivels. An improved clinch knot and finally a haywire twist which is the knot for joining hooks and swivels to wire.
Safety & laws
Licensing You must pay for a normal fishing licence if you fish from your craft and you must also pay for a skipper of a vessel (on your licence)
Laws and regulations apply to kayaks please adhere to them (See below)
The MINIMUM Safety Requirements for sea Kayak Fishing in South Africa are as follows –
- Kayak must be over 3 metres
- Kayak must have minimum 30% buoyancy
- You must wear an approved PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
- Carry a 10 mtr rope. (tow rope)
- 750ml water.
- Carry pencil flare (not out of date. They last 3 years maximum)
- Bailing device (bucket or collapsible bucket)
- SAKFA sakfa.co.za (Our representative body South African Kayak Fishing Association) also recommend the following……
- Kayak should display approved identification number
- Cell phone in a waterproof pouch
- SMS your launch and return time or leave a float plan with someone
- Paddle leash
- Please remember individuals are responsible for their own safety and must take all precautions to assure your own safety. No individual or club liable for your safety.
- Always check the weather forecast before you leave and keep checking when you are out at sea
- Attach your paddle to your ski via a leash (some like to detach during launching and beaching)
- Carry a set of pencil flares (make sure they are not out of date)
- Wear a suitable PFD (personal floatation device) often called a life jacket
- Make sure you can turn over and climb on your Kayak if it capsizes
- Never paddle alone always paddle with at least one person
- If your Kayak capsizes stay with it and phone for help
- Tell someone where you are going and estimated time due back. Fill in a float plan
- Complete the launch register at your launch site if applicable
- Carry a cell phone in a watertight case programme NSRI number 082 911
- Check your Kayak before leaving home for any cracks or leaks. Make sure the bungs are in!
- Remember – know your own personal paddling capabilities and do not exceed your limits.
- Don’t forget your fishing licence and vessel licence (both on the same licence)