Fishing Kayak Setup: How to Get the Ideal Setup for Your Kayak Trips

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced fisherman, finding your ideal setup on your favorite fishing kayak can take some time. There are people who take weeks, months, even years to find their own ideal setup on these kayak trips. To make things as easy as possible for you, we’ve decided to put together a list of things that can help you find your personal ideal setup for your kayak trips.

Now, it must be noted that these recommendations won’t work for all kayak anglers. Some steps will work for some people while some steps won’t at all. And that’s totally fine. The goal is to get you thinking about what you would like on your own fishing trips—what is your ideal setup?

However, these are the steps and tips I’ve learned over the years on how best to enjoy an ideal fishing trip. Some of these steps are common sense while others have been learned after trial and error. Either way, they’ve all contributed in resulting in a perfect fishing kayak trip.

Storage is everything

 I probably don’t need to tell you this, but storage is everything.

If your fishing kayak only has a little bit of space, it’s probably best if you don’t bring things that you really don’t need like a big heavy tackle box. Keep it simple, and keep it to the necessities.

This may result in you limiting the number of rods you take. I’ve heard of some kayak anglers bringing a ton of fishing rods with them, only to use one rod throughout the whole day.

This is, of course, depending on you and what you’re fishing for but having so many fishing rods and trying to paddle on a small sit-on-top kayak would be a nightmare for more anglers.

If you plan your day and know what you want to fish for, limit your rods down to what you know you’re going to need. Again, just focus on the necessities. You don’t want to overcomplicate things and you don’t want to weigh down your kayak with things that you really didn’t need after all.

Storage is also important when talking about bait and lures. Some people like to have a ton of different lures (sometimes even 50!) with them while other times they’ll just do with four or five.  Again, this just depends on you and what you know you’re going to need. When in doubt, only take the necessities. In this case, less can be more.

Add an anchor

 Possibly one of the greatest things about fishing using a kayak is how easy it is to maneuver the whole craft. However, on slightly windy days, this can also be a major downfall for any fisherman.

For days like these, a good anchor in place goes a long way. There are many ways to DIY your own kayak by adding an anchor, but one of the most common ways to anchor your kayak in shallow water fishing is by using a stakeout pole.

This stake out pole can then be attached to a loop or hole that most kayaks have; therefore, keeping you in place and not drifting out because of the wind. There’s even a remote control stake that you can add to your kayak if you wanted to!

If you’re fishing in deeper water, a regular, standard anchoring system is probably going to be your best bet. These vary in price and variety and it really just depends on what your budget is and what you want.

Use a fish finder

 Have you ever been fishing in one spot that resulted in a great, bountiful fishing day? And then, the following week, you get out on the lake or river and you realize you completely forget where you were fishing? This happens to so many fishermen all the time.

However, there’s now a way—with new technology—to make sure this never happens again. If you attach a fish finder to your kayak, you’ll be able to track where your best fishing spots are by using a GPS.

This fish finder lets you mark that bountiful spot on your GPS and will lead you back to this area next time you are out on the water. This little device is also great for helping lead you back to your launch, which always comes in handy when it all of a sudden is dark or fog has come in, leaving you a bit lost.

Organize your storage space – and keep a pattern

Once you find out what your necessities are (as I mentioned above), you should probably organize your whole kayak area. This takes a lot of trial and error and you’ll slowly learn how you like to organize your boat as you go out fishing.

Use the added pockets or storage areas in your kayak to your advantage. For example, some people like to have a center hatch that holds all of their most needed items, such as snips, leader, and extra lures.

Having these items that you use a little more consistently right in front of you, or right in your direct vicinity, makes it much easier once you’re out on the water. You don’t want to be searching around in pockets for things that you really need. In pockets or side areas, you can keep things like pliers, a radio, and your cell phone (which I recommend you put in a dry bag just in case).

These are the things that you don’t really need all the time when you’re out in the water. But, if they have a place—a place where they can easily be found—you know where they are at all times. This really helps if you’re in a rush.

Again, these are just a few examples. Finding out what works for you will take some time and will probably result in some of your own trial and errors. When you find out what works for you the best, it’s such a relief—and you can focus more on your fishing and your enjoyment of being out on the water instead of focusing on your storage or lack of room.

Finding an ideal setup on your kayak doesn’t have to be hard, in fact, you can save some time by purchasing an already pre-rigged fishing kayak just for anglers. Otherwise, it could take some time. However, with some carefully thought of ideas, patience, and joy to be out fishing, you’ll be sure to find your own ideal setup in no time.