Saltwater Kayak Fishing Tips for Beginners

In recent years, many freshwater anglers have decided to forego a traditional boat in favor of a kayak. Kayaks are usually much more affordable, and they allow you to access waters you couldn’t reach in larger vessels. But they’re not just for freshwater. They also helpanglers put their lures in front of more fish! Sure, the ocean presents more challenges for kayakers, but here are a few great saltwater kayak fishing tips to help you get started.

Splurge on Your Paddle

Even though kayaks are more affordable than boats, your budget may require you to make a few sacrifices when outfitting your new vessel. Just be sure you don’t skimp when picking out a paddle. A good paddle will help you propel yourself around the water with ease. A low-quality paddle will only lead to frustration and blistered hands.  

This is also true for anglers piloting pedal-powered kayaks. You may not need to use your paddle very often, but if your pedal-drive system malfunctions, you’ll be glad you have a high-quality paddle to help you return to shore. 

Bring Plenty of Water

You should always bring plenty of water when using a kayak, but it is especially important when paddling out into the ocean. Even if the temperatures are relatively mild, you’ll spend the day getting blasted by the sun and strong winds. This can cause you to become dehydrated very quickly.  

Figure that you’ll need one liter of water for every hour you intend to spend on the water and stash an extra liter or two for emergencies.

Protect Yourself from the Elements

Speaking of the sun and wind, it’s also important to protect your skin from the elements while paddling around offshore. You’ll likely find that light-weight, UV-resistant clothing works best while kayaking, as these types of garments help shield your skin from the sun’s rays while still allowing your sweat to evaporate and your skin to breathe.  

You’ll also want to pick up a good hat to protect your scalp and a pair of polarized sunglasses to shield your eyes from the glare. Finish up by slathering some sunscreen on any exposed skin that remains. 


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Use Floating Storage Containers

Spend enough time in a kayak, and you’ll eventually fall out. It happens to everyone. It’s important to ensure you plan for these types of problems and protect your gear accordingly. You don’t want to find yourself treading water while helplessly watching your tool kit or cellphone sink into the abyss.

Floating storage containers and bags are the best way to protect your stuff while on the water. Just be sure to tether them to your kayak, so they don’t float away with the currents.

A Lifejacket Is Mandatory

You should always wear a lifejacket while kayaking. It’s especially important when fishing in the ocean. You may be able to swim to safety if something goes wrong at your local reservoir, but you don’t want to bet your life on your ability to swim miles back to shore in the open ocean.

Don’t worry—you don’t have to wear one of those uncomfortable orange life jackets you wore as a kid. There are plenty of comfortable lifejackets on the market, and many are designed specifically with anglers in mind. 

Always Bring an Anchor

An anchor is an incredibly valuable piece of equipment that you should always have onboard. Without one, you’ll often find it hard to keep your kayak in the proper position, as the currents and winds will blow your vessel back and forth. This will force you to concentrate on your kayak’s position, instead of focusing on the fish.

Consider adding a proper anchor and winch to your kayak fishing setup, which will be easy to deploy and retrieve as necessary. You could also rig up a makeshift anchor with a length of strong rope and a plastic-coated hand weight if necessary.

Carry Any Fish-Handling Tools You Need

Landing a big catfish while standing on the shore is sometimes challenging, but it is significantly easier than landing a 30-pound mahi-mahi while rocking back and forth in 100 feet of water. Even if the fish is completely exhausted from the fight, it still won’t be easy to hoist it aboard once it’s alongside your kayak.

Accordingly, you’ll always want to bring along anything you may need to land the fish you catch. Minimally, you’ll want to bring a good pair of pliers or a hook removal tool, but you may also want a landing net or set of lip grippers.  

Be Ready to Navigate

It’s easy to lose your bearings when you are far from shore, which can cause obvious safety problems. The best way to avoid such eventualities is by picking up a combination fish-finder and GPS unit for your kayak. This will help you explore and navigate unfamiliar waters.

If you can’t afford a fish finder, consider downloading a GPS app for your smartphone. This won’t help you find sunken structure or schools of baitfish, but it will help you figure out how to get back home.

Dress For The Action

There’s nothing fundamentally different about saltwater kayak fishing. You just need to prepare for the specific challenges the ocean presents. One way to do that is to dress appropriately. Bone On Sportswear provides a full line of performance fishing clothing to help you stay out on the water longer, in comfort and style.