Kayak fishing has modified a lot over the previous few years, however there’s one primary precept to comply with in relation to a superb fishing kayak setup: what do you’ll want to catch extra fish?

You want different items of substances and equipment for security and luxury, however since catching extra fish is the driving drive for getting a kayak within the first place, every merchandise you rig in your kayak ought to make it easier to land extra fish.

The instruments of establishing a grab-and-go kayak are easy, and it solely takes some cautious thought to put out your boat precisely as you want it to your model of fishing and your native waters. Seize a drill, crank the tunes, pop open a frosty beverage, and begin rigging. Seek the advice of the next rules when buying new gear, and be taught every thing you’ll want to know when establishing a fishing kayak for freshwater.

Desk of Contents

  • Widespread Instruments to Setup a Fishing Kayak
  • The Good Seize-and-Go Freshwater Fishing Kayak Setup
  • Seize the Greatest Fishing Kayak Paddle You Can
  • Decide the Proper PFD For Your Fishing Kayak Setup
  • Mount Excessive-High quality Electronics to Discover Fish
  • The Greatest Digicam Gear For a Fishing Kayak Setup
  • Retailer All of Your Sort out, Instruments, and Gear Inside Attain
  • Carry Gear to Measure Your Fish on a Fishing Kayak
  • A Good Fishing Kayak Setup Helps You Catch Extra Fish
Energy instruments like an influence gun can assist safe fishfinders to your kayak. Ben Duchesney

Widespread Instruments to Setup a Fishing Kayak

You don’t all the time want each one in every of these instruments, however when it’s time to get inventive, it positive helps to have them readily available.

You’ll want:

  • Cordless drill/Cordless influence gun
  • Superglue
  • Marine sealant
  • Screwdriver
  • Bungee cords or parachute wire
  • Utility knife
  • Store lights
  • 2 sawhorses


Bonafide Kayaks EX123

The Bonafide EX123 is a superb fishing kayak as a result of its light-weight and simple to maneuver in freshwater. Amazon

The Good Seize-and-Go Freshwater Fishing Kayak Setup

The everyday weekend plans imply your finest home windows for fishing will occur through the work week. After you think about visitors, a fast chunk to eat, and launching, that leaves about two hours to fish. Not like establishing a saltwater fishing kayak, your freshwater setup ought to be about velocity on the launch. The precise kayak can’t create extra time, however it could possibly shave off essential minutes on the launch to get you on the water quicker. Sit-inside kayaks, or hybrids that mix one of the best of a fishing kayak and a canoe, are light-weight and simple to stability in your shoulder, making them the right possibility for a quick-to-launch boat.

At 67 kilos and with a price ticket that’s cheaper than most of the present fishing kayaks obtainable, (with the seat put in) the brand new Bonafide Kayaks EX123 is sort of 20 kilos lighter than many different fishing kayaks. Bonafide designed the boat because the “SUV of kayaks,” which is why you may pack on tons of substances, as much as 375 kilos, nevertheless it paddles extra like a sports activities automotive. Inside a couple of paddle strokes the boat picks as much as 4 mph, with out even making an attempt. It does have the soundness of an even bigger boat, designed with Bonafide’s catamaran-style “HyCat hull,” which places your ft under the water line to deliver down your middle of gravity. You’ll be able to stand as much as forged with ease.

Carrying the Bonafide Kayaks EX123 across the road.
The Bonafide Kayaks EX123 is gentle sufficient to hold in your shoulder. Ben Duchesney

Earlier than you begin drilling into any new fishing kayak, sit inside and lay out all of your gear the place you suppose you’ll want it. Make sure that nothing will get in the way in which of paddling, casting, touchdown fish, or taking pictures of your catch. Use the options of the boat as a lot as you may, solely including accent mounts the place you’ll completely want them. Any piece of substances you add is one other jiffy preparing on the launch.

I barely made any modifications to the EX123 fishing kayak. The one drilling I wanted was to put in the fishfinder and transducer, which I’ll cowl additional under. The remainder of my gear I secured to the rear hatch, which Bonafide calls the HatchWell, and is a brand new spin on the standard rear hatch design widespread on many fishing kayak setups. A shallow tub within the prime of the hatch and tie-down shock wire makes it straightforward to safe a kayak crate, and nonetheless offers you a ton of dry storage contained in the hatch. Though this makes a perfect grab-and-go kayak, the rear hatch is giant sufficient to retailer a weeks price of tenting gear, clothes, and meals––and retains all of it dry. Close to the bow, a molded-in ahead storage nicely with a hook-resistant, vinyl-coated cowl provides one other storage resolution for gadgets it’s possible you’ll want on the water, like dry baggage or rain gear.

So your necessities don’t go flying round contained in the hull of your fishing kayak setup, Bonafide included a detachable console on the entrance of the cockpit, which options an built-in “MiniTub” for retaining your cellphone, pockets, and keys dry and safe. The lid doubles as a selfie stand for taking pictures and movies or for utilizing a navigation app. The knobs that safe the console to the hull could be swapped out for any YakAttack mount, fishfinder shows, rod holders, and the rest it’s possible you’ll want. Two flush-mount rod holders come normal behind the seat. The seat itself is comfy, like sitting in a garden chair, and has sufficient again help for all-day paddling.

Paddling the Bonafide Kayaks EX123 looking for largemouth bass.
The wonderful thing about fishing from a kayak is the boats are nice for drafting over shallow water or via vegetation, and may get you to areas different anglers may not be capable of attain. Ben Duchesney

Bending Branches Angler Pro Plus Fiberglass Telescoping Kayak Paddle

You’ll be able to’t fish that honey-hole on the opposite facet of the lake if in case you have no manner of getting there, so put money into a strong kayak paddle should you can afford it. Your shoulders will thanks. Amazon

Seize the Greatest Paddle You Can

If you happen to’re going to save cash wherever in your fishing kayak setup, don’t be low cost in relation to a paddle. The paddle is your engine, so should you pair your candy new kayak with a awful paddle, you’re placing a lawnmower engine inside a sizzling rod. You desire a paddle that’s light-weight, stiff, and, in fact, one that appears nearly as good as your boat.

There’s a motive the Bending Branches Angler Professional Snap kayak fishing paddle has received so many awards––this factor is sort of excellent. Do not forget that 4 mph velocity I discussed above? Even with a quick boat, should you skimp on a paddle, your entire power is wasted within the flex of the blades, inflicting you to paddle twice as arduous to succeed in the identical velocity. The Angler Professional Snap is feather-light and doesn’t flex in any respect once you’re pulling it via the water. Which means each ounce of energy is straight transferred to the water. The quicker you may paddle your fishing kayak with ease, the extra water you may cowl and the extra photographs you get at fish.

The Bending Branches Angler Pro Snap Kayak Fishing paddle.
Select a stiff, light-weight paddle just like the Bending Branches Angler Professional Snap Kayak Fishing paddle. Ben Duchesney

Since you’ll want to look good on the water too, the Angler Professional is obtainable in three patterns unique to Bending Branches: the high-visibility Dorado blade, the Raptor, or the Radiant. The Radiant shade sample matches the EX123 and appears nice on the outsized blade. The carbon shaft feels gentle and balanced within the arms and, with many alternative lengths obtainable, is lengthy sufficient to paddle with standing up.

Decide the Proper PFD For Your Fishing Kayak Setup

Your PFD, or private flotation system, is probably not a part of your fishing kayak, nevertheless it’s one of the vital vital items of substances you may deliver on the water. Some anglers refuse to put on their PFD, or solely put on their PFD in sure conditions, however should you get one that matches comfortably, you may put on all of it day with out even noticing it. When bass fishing from a kayak, I don’t anticipate to get moist in any respect, so to remain comfy via the muggy canine days of summer time, I attain for an inflatable PFD.

The author wearing the Mustang Survival Elite inflatable pfd.
You must all the time put on a life-jacket once you’re kayak fishing, however should you don’t just like the match or added insulation of a conventional life-jacket, contemplate one of many self-inflating fashions, that are unobtrusive and received’t make you overheat in the summertime. Ben Duchesney

Mustang Survival Elite 28 Inflatable PFD

Even should you contemplate your self a grasp swimmer, accidents do occur, so put on a private floatation system (PFD) just like the Mustang Survival Elite inflatable PFD, which is so light-weight and comfy, you would possibly neglect you’re sporting it. Amazon

The Mustang Survival Elite 28 Inflatable PFD was designed particularly for Bassmasters Elite Collection bass anglers. When you could not paddle at 60 mph, Mustang Survival designed the PFD in a wind tunnel so it doesn’t buffer in any respect at velocity. The life vest is so gentle that you simply’ll hardly discover it’s there, and the flat again received’t intrude together with your kayak’s seat like another PFDs.

Mount Excessive-High quality Electronics to Discover Fish

Once you’re establishing your boat and sitting inside it in your storage, pay particular consideration to the place you place any electronics. Typically, kayak anglers will rig their fishfinder too near their seat. You might be able to see the display screen extra simply, but when it will get in the way in which each time you forged or paddle, you’ll get too annoyed for it to be any use. As a substitute of getting a smaller fishfinder which you can’t see until it’s shut, up your display screen measurement and safe it to the deck simply out of attain. Ninety p.c of the time you don’t want to the touch the display screen, and once you do, the EX123 is secure sufficient to slip ahead and chart out your subsequent paddle.

Setting up a Garmin fishfinder on a freshwater fishing kayak.
A rotating and tilting fishfinder mount enables you to see your charts sitting, standing, or wading. Ben Duchesney


The unit options built-in Quickdraw Contours mapping software program and it’s small and lightweight sufficient that it received’t get in the way in which of different kayak fishing equipment you may need on board. Amazon

I discussed drilling to put in the fishfinder on the Bonafide Kayak. I might have put in it on prime of the detachable console, however I wished to verify it was out of the trail of my paddle. The GARMIN ECHOMAP Plus 63cv with a six-inch display screen is large enough that I might see the navigation charts or sonar screens simply, even when leaning again or paddling. This unit has every thing you could possibly want to seek out fish: Garmin CHIRP conventional sonar, CHIRP ClearVü views, LakeVü g3 maps with built-in Navionics® information as much as one-inch contours, and the flexibility to create waypoints in your native waters.

Marking fish and navigating on the GARMIN ECHOMAP Plus 63cv.
The GARMIN ECHOMAP Plus 63cv can mix navigation charts with each CHIRP sonar and conventional sonar views. Ben Duchesney

The included rotating mount was excellent for mounting on the deck of the kayak. It even tilts up and down, so I can maintain on the lookout for inside activates the nav charts or spot fish passing beneath after I’m standing up. You’ll be able to customise your display screen nonetheless you wish to fish, and switching between modes is simple sufficient to do in between paddle strokes.

The Greatest Digicam Gear For a Fishing Kayak Setup

Clearly you’ll desire a digital camera to point out off your catch. You can drill a digital camera mount to the highest of your kayak, or place an motion digital camera on a digital camera pole inside your flush mount rod holders, however I don’t do both of these. As a substitute, I desire a digital camera that’s dynamic that may transfer the place I would like it to get the shot. I mainly need one other digital camera man on the boat filming me like I’m within the Bassmasters Elite Collection. That’s the place the ActionHat is available in.

ActionHat DIY kit

If you happen to’re the kind of angler that likes to movie your personal adventures, you need to use the ActionHat DIY package to show your go-to hat right into a digital camera holder. Amazon

(Full disclosure, the inventor of the ActionHat, Rex DeGuzman, is a pal. Nonetheless, I haven’t stopped utilizing the ActionHat on my fishing kayak since I first tried it solely as a result of it actually works.)

The ActionHat DIY package, can flip your favourite hat right into a digital camera mount that’s comfy to put on, straightforward to make use of, and even floats once you drop it into the drink. As a substitute of wrangling with a GoPro strap one-handed, stretching it throughout your face and praying the fish stays on the top of your line, the ActionHat is as straightforward to placed on as, nicely, a hat. I pair it with a GoPro Session so turning on the digital camera takes a single press of a button, which I can do whereas placing it on. Inside seconds of hooking up, I’m recording. As soon as the fish is landed, merely place the hat on the deck of your boat to get your hero shot with the fish.

Rigging a DIY ActionHat kit to film freshwater kayak fishing.
The DIY ActionHat package enables you to flip your favourite hat into your private cameraman. Ben Duchesney

Aqua Vu Micro Stealth 4.3 Underwater Camera Viewing System

Whereas motion cameras are nice for recording your catch, you’ll want to really catch the fish first. Amazon

Have you ever ever come throughout one thing in your fishfinder that you simply wished to analyze? As a substitute of guessing, have a look with the Aqua-Vu Micro Stealth 4.3 digital camera. Many ice fishermen use this digital camera for taking a peek inside their holes within the ice, however a more in-depth have a look at a bit of construction beneath your kayak can present beneficial perception into how fish are oriented, or how energetic they’re, which can assist you set collectively the puzzle of what lure to tie on.

Aqua-Vu affords a kayak mount, however I positioned the digital camera proper contained in the detachable console on the Bonafide Kayaks EX123. Once I got here throughout a picture on the fishfinder that I wished to discover slightly nearer, I dropped the digital camera on the top of an influence wire right down to the underside and turned on the included gentle to take a more in-depth look. I watched fish circle a mangled buying cart and located that a couple of had been large enough to chase with a spider jig. Once I was finished, I reeled the digital camera again in with the reel on the again of the monitor and packed it away in seconds.

An AquaVu camera rigging inside a fishing kayak.
Typically it helps to have a transparent picture of how fish are sticking to construction. Ben Duchesney

Retailer All of Your Sort out, Instruments, and Gear Inside Attain

Most significantly, the place do you set your lures, chief, and different deal with? Discovering a superb kayak crate that may final season after season is hard, as you’re continually going out and in of the crate all through your day on the water. That put on provides up over time, particularly once you’re coping with zippers or velcro. My best kayak crate is straightforward; simply large enough to retailer all of the necessities, and nothing else to fret about breaking.

Flambeau Outdoors Tuff Krate

Cupboard space on any fishing kayak is a finite factor, however with some customizable crates like those from Flambeau, it’s best to be capable of pack away every thing you want. Amazon

The Flambeau Outdoor Tuff Krate is so simple as you want, and could be custom-made to hold every thing else you determine is important over time. Easy plastic latches are impervious to rust and are straightforward to open one-handed. Two rod holders on the facet of the crate are giant sufficient for a rod butt of any measurement, and the two-tiered compartment storage helps you keep organized. It’s the kayak-fishing custom of utilizing a milk crate—solely advanced. As a substitute of throwing every thing into one compartment, I used to be capable of maintain sunscreen, snacks (numerous snacks), chief, and a first-aid package within the prime, and enormous deal with packing containers, smooth plastics, plugs, and extra contained in the second tier.

Grabbing a lure from the Flambeau Outdoors Tuff Krate.
The Flambeau Outdoor Tuff Krate is ideal for storing your entire bass fishing deal with and different important gear. Ben Duchesney

The Tuff Krate is good for a second motive: customization. As you may see within the picture above, I rigged the Rapala Magnetic Instrument Holder to the entrance of the crate. The common tie down ports settle for many equipment that may maintain your crate evolving, and it even options security flag rings should you select to fish within the salt. Whereas rigging up on the launch, I used the lid as a piece floor for rigging lures and tying chief, reasonably than balancing my instruments on the floor of the kayak’s hull.

Instruments are one other vital issue to think about when rigging your kayak. You don’t need your instruments tangling in line or getting knocked into the water by a fish. That’s why I mounted the Rapala Magnetic Instrument Holder behind me, on the entrance of the crate. Nonetheless inside straightforward attain, the Instrument Holder retains a agency grip on the pliers, bolt cutters, and scissors so I do know they’ll all the time be there. You don’t want all three instruments on a regular basis, and hopefully, you’ll by no means want to make use of the bolt cutters, however it’s best to all the time carry them in your fishing kayak. If you happen to ever get a hook in your hand, the bolt cutters can save your fingers and be the distinction between a visit to the hospital and persevering with to fish.

A Rapala Magnetic Tool Holder rigged to a Flambeau Outdoors Tuff Krate.
I rigged the Rapala Magnetic Instrument Holder proper to the entrance of the Flambeau Outdoor Tuff Krate for straightforward entry. Ben Duchesney

Carry Gear to Measure Your Fish on a Fishing Kayak

You’ve chosen the correct fishing kayak and rigged up the necessities. When you begin catching fish, it’s time to measurement them up for correct bragging rights. A bump board has develop into the usual for all kayak bass fishing tournaments, and whether or not you select to compete or not, they’re excellent for measuring fish shortly and precisely in your fishing kayak setup.

Many fishing kayak paddles, together with the Bending Branches Angler Professional featured right here, embrace a measuring tape on the paddle shaft. These are excellent for fast measurements, reminiscent of gauging whether or not a fish is worthy of an precise measurement, however once you’re competing in a match and there are laws you’ll want to comply with, you want a bump board. Plus, bump boards maintain fish safer than letting them roll round in your lap or round inside your fishing kayak’s cockpit.

Measuring a big largemouth bass with the YakGear Fish Stik bump board.

Bump boards just like the YakGear Fish Stik assist measure fish shortly, precisely, and safely. Ben Duchesney

The YakGear Fish Stik Bump Board folds up right into a slim, easy-to-store package deal, and suits behind your kayak’s seat out of the way in which once you’re not measuring fish. When you get your fish within the boat, pull the board out and unfold it throughout your lap or kayak’s deck. The Fish Stik could be unfolded simply with one hand or can lock into place absolutely prolonged and be saved at full size, able to measure fish instantly. The YakGear Fish Stik comes with a black marker for marking the numbers on the bump board to make it simpler to your digital camera to choose up the measurements of your fish. That is required should you’re going to compete in fishing kayak tournaments and makes it simpler to measure your fish quick so you may get them revived and efficiently launched very quickly.

Learn Subsequent: The Greatest Fishing Kayaks Below $1000 – Discipline & Stream

A late-night fishing kayak rigging session.
Take the time to correctly rig your fishing kayak to fit your model of fishing. Ben Duchesney

A Good Fishing Kayak Setup Helps You Catch Extra Fish

You will get on the water with rather a lot much less gear than the gadgets listed above, however it’s possible you’ll determine that you simply want much more. The most effective a part of rigging your fishing kayak your self is which you can lay out the boat precisely the way in which you want it to fit your fishing model, your goal species, and your native waters. For me, these are the necessities for kayak bass fishing, and every merchandise both helped me hook up with extra fish, or stored me secure whereas I used to be doing it.

Rigging up your fishing kayak setup is usually simply as enjoyable as fishing, so take your time and ensure to do it proper. A number of nights within the storage, blasting tunes and ingesting a beer, are time nicely spent when the result is a superbly laid out kayak bass-fishing machine.

When you’re completed, get the fishing kayak on the water for a couple of shakedown runs to verify every thing is the place it must be, and nothing is in your manner. Testing your setup is vital, so should you want extra time than simply two hours after work, it might be time for a day without work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *