Keith Combs shows what he has caught from a kayak. Photos by Andy Crawford

Five fishing tips learned from a kayak

Tip number 1: Stay quiet

Being stealthy any time while fishing pays off, every bass angler knows that, but some of us seem to forget once inside the enclosure of a big fiberglass boat. Noisy talk, banging lids and clomping boots let all the fish know it is not a safe time to feed anywhere near that big floating object.

However, multiple bass literally will bite at the rod tip — like 6 feet from the boat — if not scared away by noise. That happens occasionally in a bass boat, but not nearly as often, and it is a convincing bit of detail as bass boats have a much more obvious presence. The bass feel at home around a kayak, so they will still commit even when they’re close.

Make an effort to keep a low profile, shut off all sounds, and stay off of the trolling motor as much as possible are winning moves during tournaments.


Tip number 2: Fish what’s there

Dissect what is in front of you. In a bass boat, if you don’t feel your current spot is “on” you can run 20 miles until you see something better. In a kayak you are not going to go 20 miles. So, it becomes necessary to fish what’s there.

We often have to fish in a crowd and share water. If you take the time to wait your turn to fish the key cover or structures, and if you learn to pick apart your targets, it can add up to better finishes.

Tip number 3: Go where you’ll get bites

The best way to get better as an angler when you’re learning to fish is to go someplace where you’ll get a lot of bites.

In a kayak there are many places to go that others cannot, including small bodies of water. It is often easier in those places to catch 50 or 100 fish than it is on the big lakes, and a kayak puts the angler in position to access and explore those places easily. It is easy to experiment with tackle and presentations in the knowledge that the fish will help dial in the best bait and technique.


Tip number 4: Avoid the crowds

Kayaking has hit home in how important it can be to get away from others. There are times you’ll have to fish in a crowd, but if it’s not necessary, avoid it at all costs. Fishing out of a bass boat limits the fishing locations to main channels, a few creek channels and some roadbeds. In the kayak, there’s no place off limits.

Tip number 5: Pack light

Fishing out of a kayak forces the angler to be judicious about the tackle to bring. Twenty tackle boxes just won’t fit. To really learn a particular technique, just bring the equipment for that style in the boat.

In a bass boat, it is possible to keep it simple, but fishermen will always have more options. Fishing out of the kayak has often forced fishermen to work with what is packed, and in turn, that can help to refine patience.