Fishing from a kayak will give you a huge variety of locations and conditions, allowing for the widest variety of species to target. Its on the water, right on top of the action and will give you one of the most exhilarating fishing experiences you can get. This is why kayak fishing is one of the fastest growing segments in sports fishing worldwide.
Florida has everything you want in a kayak fishing destination. From estuaries and rivers to lagoons, reefs and of course the great blue open ocean. You can catch small, feisty fish in the mangroves, or target big game fish out at sea. There is something for everyone, from the beginner to the seasoned professional.
Before you head out into the waters of Florida though, take a look at our 10 essential tips for kayak fishing. These tips will help you be safe, and be stronger on your kayak and come home with the big one.
Tip 1: Choose a great paddle
When you are spending loads of time on the water, you want the best gear. After your kayak and fishing gear, the next most important item is your paddle.
Florida has such a wide variety of locations, conditions and choice of fresh and salt water, you will want a paddle for all conditions.
Not only will a nice paddle help you in terms of speed and efficiency, but it can even help out your hands/arms in terms of fatigue. Also, a good kayak paddle can help reduce the number of blisters you get on your hands during a long session of paddling.
You can learn on a more basic kayak, you can upgrade your kayak further down the line, but rather start with a great paddle.
Tip 2: Sun Protection
Florida is known for its hot, balmy weather and is popular because of the sun. Because of this, you can fish all year round and all day long.
This makes it imperative that you have good sun protection. When kayak fishing, you not only get burnt from above, but the reflection off of the water will get you too. Sun damage to your skin leads to cancer and it is imperative that you protect yourself at all times.
Important to note that just because it is overcast, does not mean you are not getting burnt. Harmful rays from the sun will still come through cloud cover. So it is imperative that your are always protected from the sun.
Make sure you have the following items always:
- A good wide brim hat
- A 50+ UPF Rated long-sleeve microfibre performance fishing shirt
- A fishing neck/face buff
- Fishing pants
- Waterproof sunscreen with Zinc Oxide (zinc provides total protection, and it’s reef and ocean friendly)
- Polarised sunglasses: this is a must on the water when fishing.
On top of this, remember that the weather in the tropics can change at any time, so be prepared for wind and rain too. You always want to have a lightweight raincoat on board your fishing kayak. A waterproof hat is also a great idea and will double up just as well for the sun.
Tip 3: Fish Finder and GPRS
You may think that because you are heading out fishing from a kayak, you can keep it simple. After all, you are not on a huge fishing boat.
But, if you want to find the best live bait and shoals of your target fish, the Fish Finder is an invaluable piece of technology to have on board. Our Van Hunks Black Bass 13’0 (Internal Link: https://vanhunksboarding.com/sa/?product=black-bass-130-fishing-kayak) has a waterproof center console for storing your Fish Finder and your GPRS.
You should never be on the open water, especially the ocean, without being able to track your location. There are many small units that are easy to carry onboard a fishing kayak.
You can also put down location markers for your favorite fish spots in the area and download points from popular Florida fishing sites and the Florida Keys tourism site (Outward Link: https://fla-keys.com/fishing/).
Sharing your location data also helps conservation efforts, as species of fish can be tracked and their numbers monitored. You can help further, with tagging and releasing your fish. Have a chat with the local wildlife center and see how you can help out.
Tip 4: Safety Equipment and Mobile Phone
The ocean and any body of large water can be a dangerous place and conditions can change in the blink of an eye. You need to be prepared.
Florida has tropical weather and this means storms can pop out of nowhere. You could be caught in a squall or blown off course. The speed with which this can happen can be quite fast, so it is always better to be prepared.
The following safety equipment is non-negotiable when kayak fishing:
- Life Vest
- Cellphone (on a fishing kayak you are almost always in cellular range and thus able to call for help if required)
- A good knife – in case you need to cut lines.
- Small medical kit
- It is also not enough to just have the safety equipment, you need to regularly check it too. Flares, for example, have an expiration date and you need to check that they are still usable before you head out onto the water. Also regularly check your life vest, to make sure it is in good condition. In addition, look through your medical kit to make sure no moisture has gotten into it and ruined the products inside.
A well prepared fisherman is a safe one.
Tip 5: Regional Fishing Guide
Know before you go, is the saying and its good advice. There are plenty of great regional fishing guides available, both online and in book and fishing stores. The locals are always a great resource, though you may need to wait until you have shared a few cold drinks after a day of fishing before they give away their local knowledge.
You can also go into the local kayak and fishing stores and chat with the staff, most of whom will also be passionate fishing fans, with a wealth of local knowledge.
If you ignore this, you may spend most of your time figuring out where to find your target species, instead of maximizing your time actually catching fish. Get the lowdown on Florida fishing and locations before you hit the water.
Tip 6: Take a Buddy
We all enjoy the solitude that fishing provides, but some things are just better when you have a friend along.
Some of the advantages of having a friend along are:
- Help to stabilize and anchor your fishing kayak when you fighting the big one.
- Keep an eye on you when you are to busy fighting a fish.
- Assist you if there is an emergency.
- Always easier to find the fish if there are two of you looking.
- You can steal their packed lunch.
- The simple pleasure of sharing the joy of fishing.
- Lastly, if no one saw you catch that monster fish, did it really happen? A reliable photo of you and your fish taken by your fishing buddy will prove your story and that is priceless.
Tip 7: Learn to cast one-handed
This one will take some time to master, but believe us it’s worth training for. Most anglers are used to having a stable platform to cast off of, but this is not available when you’re kayak fishing.
Even the most stable kayaks don’t have much room between the sitting surface and the water – making the standard two-handed windup cast a difficult proposition. Experienced kayak anglers cast one handed the majority of the time, with either bait casting or spinning tackle, so it’s important to gear up with the right tackle.
For kayak fishing, you definitely want to use lighter rods, with good flex and to utilize way more finesse in your casts.
Put the time in to make sure you have the right gear and that you have mastered the art of one-handed casting. The benefits will be real.
Tip 8: Stick to the bank in difficult conditions
Many first-time kayak fishermen learn this lesson the hard way. Paddling in the middle of the oncoming current, or against the wind is difficult when you are just paddling, never mind when you are trying to fish too.
Use your fishing kayak’s strength, in having a shallow draft, to hug the shallower waters on sandbars and near the bank, where you will find less current and resistance. This will give you more time to fish, save your energy and of course make it easier to get back when you are done.
Never paddle down wind first. It’s going to feel nice and easy at first, but the moment you turn around to return you are going to have a terrible time. If the wind is up, we always advise paddling upwind first.
Tip 9: One-Handed Paddling
This is the hardest but most useful kayak fishing technique, but you can master it with practice. This method is used when you need to steer and keep the kayak in a particular position while handling the fish with your other hand.
One-handed paddling is useful when your catch is at stake, and you can’t use both hands to move your kayak. You can further anchor the handle of your kayak using your forearm while steering with the paddle part immersed in water.
Again, this is going to take some time to master. You could practice in shallow water, the better you get at this, the better you will be at kayak fishing.
Tip 10: Mount an HD camera on your kayak
If it was not recorded, did it really happen?
There are a number of great action cameras that are waterproof you can make use of on your kayak fishing trips. Most have easy mount systems and can be controlled off of your mobile phone.
This means you can grab that footage of your catch immediately, upload it to your social media channels and show the family what’s coming back for dinner. It is also helpful to remember where you caught what species and most of these new action cameras have a geo-tagging function for all footage that is captured.
Kayak Fishing in Florida
Florida is one of the best destinations on the planet for kayak fishing. With a multitude of both fresh and saltwater species, there truly is something for every level of kayak fisher.
With our tips above, you should be able to make the most of your time on the water and hopefully catch the fish on top of your target list.
The multitude of species (we will have an article soon), water types and the wide variety of locations will ensure you are always having new experiences.
Our Black Bass 13′ Fishing Kayak (Internal Link: https://vanhunksboarding.com/sa/?product=black-bass-130-fishing-kayak) is the perfect craft for fishing in Florida:
- Length: 395cm / 13ft
- Width: 81cm / 32inches
- Height: 35cm / 14inches
- Weight: 33kgs / 73lbs
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 250kgs / 550lbs
What do you receive from us:
- 1x Vanhunks Black Bass Kayak.
- 1x Two Piece Paddle, two pieces with 3 position adjustment made of a heavy-duty black EDC coated aluminum shaft with hand grips and PVC anti-drip rings.
- 1x Deluxe Aluminium seat.
- 3 x Storage hatches (one triangle, one oval one and round one).
- 1 x Rudder system (foot pedal and fin).
- 1 x Bungee (fasten on the track).
- 2 x fishing rod holders.
- 2 x Carry handles.
- 2 x Side handles with bungee in the middle.
- 8 x Drain covers.
- 1 x Drain plug.
- 1 x cup holder.
So be prepared and get out there and enjoy yourself. We hope you catch the big one!
Get yours today and kayak fishing will put you close to the water and into the action. We have a full range of water craft, so go check out our online store and lets get you on the water – https://vanhunksboarding.com
Written by: Kai Linder