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Yakking 101 – Part 1: Setting Up
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Yakking 101 – Part 1: Setting Up

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Kayaks are becoming one of the more popular ways to hit the water in search Australian freshwater fish. Kayaks are affordable, stealthy in the water and can be easily stored and transported. There are thousands of different kayaks on the market, from paddle to peddle and even motorised options, there is a yak to suit everyone of any age and fitness level. Today’s kayaks are fully customisable and can be set up for any style of fishing whether it’s trolling, jigging, fly fishing, bait fishing or casting lures.

The author on the Murrumbidgee River with his kayak all set up for freshwater fishing

Choosing your Kayak

There are a few thinks you’ll need to think about before you go out and purchase a kayak:

  • Am I fit enough to paddle or peddle or will I require an electric motor?
  • How am I going to transport my kayak?
  • How much storage and how many rod holders will I need?
  • Will I need a stable kayak I can stand up in and cast?
  • How much time am I going to spend in my kayak, is it comfortable enough?
  • Who am I fishing with? Can I keep up or do I want to go at my own pace?

There will always be a kayak to suit you in various price brackets. Head down to your local kayak supplier, not only will they help you out answering your questions but more often than not they will have demo options to test out or a few different kayaks you can hire for the weekend before you invest your hard earned money. It’s also worthwhile jumping online and looking at yakking forums or getting in contact with your local friendly kayaking club on Facebook, there is a wealth of knowledge out there, all you have to do is ask.

Dan with his customised kayak which is set up with an electric motor, sounder and rod holders

Customising your Kayak

You have your own personality and your own fishing style and you want your kayak to reflect that. After using your kayak a couple of times you should now have a feel for it and it’s time to deck it out with the bells and whistles.

Customising a kayak is very similar to customising a boat. First and foremost you want to choose a sounder which is by far the most useful tool on my kayak, even if it couldn’t sound up fish the ability to tell the water depth is priceless.

Another tip, invest in more rod holders. My Hobie Outback came with four rod holders built in, these are great for placing my rod in while peddling to my favourite fishing spot, but I find it hard to troll with the rods in that position. I have added two more rod holders for trolling which I installed closer to hand. There are many brands and styles of rod holders available from various boating and tackle stores, I found Railblaza’s mounting system perfect for my kayak and with its interchangeable fixtures via its star port it’s defiantly worth getting your hands on a couple.

This is all the gear you need to get started with kayaking in the freshwater: seat, oar, life jacket, net, sounder, waterproof case, small esky, tacklebox, and rods.

If your kayak doesn’t come with any storage options you should look into a purchasing a few dry bags, you can stow these away inside your hatches or strap them on top of your kayak with a bungee cord.

If you plan on pulling up for a bait fish or a few casts in your kayak you will need an anchor. Blackmore’s brush gripper’s easy clip on clip off system is perfect for kayaks and will hold you on the fish with ease. If your plan is to drift a bait or drift and cast you will need a kayak sea anchor in case of higher than expected winds. Electric trolling motors can be added to any kayak new or second hand. With a bit of research, tinkering and ingenuity you can whip up a custom mount for your motor and you will be hands free making your kayak more fishable tenfold.

 

Kayak Safety

Here in NSW kayaks are classified as a vessel and must adhere to NSW maritime legislation. Kayaks sit low in the water and are sometime hard to see from large fast moving boats. There are a couple of thing you can do to reduce the risks

  • Attach a high visibility flag to a pole on your kayak
  • Wear high visibility clothing while kayaking
  • When kayaking in a group try to stay in tight formation
  • Stay close to the shoreline
  • Try to paddle during daylight hours. Avoid kayaking in the dark
  • Carry a waterproof torch
  • Wear a life jacket at all times (compulsory in enclosed waters, alpine waters, when kayaking alone and between dusk and dawn)
Staying close to shore and wearing a life jacket is important - especially in alpine lakes

The To and Fro

Now we are ready to get you to your favourite waterways. Kayaks are slim and lightweight and easily thrown on your roof racks or caravan. You kayak can be trailered already setup so you can hit the water as soon as you arrive. Pool noodles can be sliced down their length and placed over front and tailgate of a box trailer. All your gear and swags can be stored underneath you kayak in the trailer for a weekend or a whole week away fishing and camping. When you get to your desired fishing spot and there is a walk from your car to the bank to launch your kayak, wheels or a trolley will make the trek considerably easier and can be found in any good boating store.

‘Keep an eye out for Yakking 101 Part 2 where we will learn how to fish out of a kayak.’

Adam Smith

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Adam Smith Adam Smith is a valuable team member of Social Fishing and is also a lure maker. He is the founder and owner of FTL Lures where he makes quality and affordable spinners which are great for Trout, Redfin and Golden Perch. Adam love his Trout fishing and spends most of his time in the Snowy Mountains trekking the small streams and paddling across the lakes in his kayak. You can visit the FTL website at: http://ftllures.angelfire.com/

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