How to Rig Kayaks for Fishing

How to Rig Kayaks for Fishing
Combine fishing and kayaking to merge two sports into one. Whether you have an existing fishing kayak or wish to retrofit your touring or ocean kayak into a fishing set-up, certain pieces of gear and rigging are necessary. Set you boat up and customize it for your own adventures on the brine, fishing with the hopes of full fish storage hatches, and lots of strikes. Use custom-designed gear, or modify items found around the house to make your kayak a fishing craft.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Sea kayak
  • Paddle leash
  • Assortment of bungy cords
  • Plastic milk crate
  • Boat strobe
  • Sea anchor or sock with 20 feet of nylon cord
  • #5 size plastic bucket with cover and holes punched into the sides and top
  • 10 feet of nylon cord
Step 1
Tie 20 feet of nylon cord to the grommet on the sea sock or sea anchor. Tie the remaining end of the nylon cord to the metal loop on the aft of the kayak where the carrying handle rests. Place the sea anchor under the rear deck's bungee cords. When you arrive at your fishing grounds, deploy the sea anchor to keep a semi-static location.
Step 2
Attach the paddle leash, via the quick clip, or plastic fastener that comes with the paddle leash to the front deck's bungee cords. Attach the paddle to the leash via the Velcro connecting band on the other end of the leash. Keep the leash on when paddling, and when casting or retrieving while fishing. Place the paddle under the front deck bungees with the leash attached if you need both hands free when fishing.
Step 3
Fix the boat strobe to the front deck of the kayak, either with epoxy or with the attachments included with the strobe. Turn the strobe on when paddling out to fish in the early mornings if there is fog or if visibility is difficult so other boats are alerted to your presence.
Step 4
Attach the milk crate to the back deck of the kayak with the bungee cords. Use the milk crate for tackle and gear storage instead of in the enclosed storage hatches. Keeping the gear handy and on deck lets you access the gear when needed, versus having to go ashore to access gear stored in the storage hatches.
Step 5
Tie the 10-foot section of nylon cord to the handle of the #5 bucket. Tie the other end of the nylon cord to the rear bungee cord gunnel. Store the #5 bucket in the milk crate until you reach the fishing grounds.

When fishing, push the bucket into the water, letting it fill. Store caught fish in this bucket to bring home after your day on the water. Take extra precautions if you fish in an area with sharks, alligators or other water predators, as the fish scent may attract them.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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