The Ocean Kayak Fishing Revolution
  |  First Published: April 2011

Kayak fishing is one of the fastest growing recreational activities in the world, and there are many reasons for this revolution.

The greatest part of kayak fishing is its primitive nature; you feel like you totally deserve every fish you catch because you have to paddle there, find the fish, entice the fish to bite, catch it, fight it, land it and then paddle back essentially without assistance. There is a remarkable sense of achievement and reward for your efforts.

The second and is the total stealth ability of a kayak fisher to enter a fishing spot undetected and induce hook-ups much more successfully that motorised craft. When you encounter a school of fish that has been working baitfish to the surface a kayak can target the predatory fish without breaking the school up, which can often happen with a powerboat.

Likewise, a kayak can go a lot of places that a bigger craft simply can not.

All these great factors combined produce a recipe for many hours of productive fishing action and rewards to match.

It’s not just fish that you can sneak up on. You can get close to other wildlife on the water, which can add another element to your day on the water. I have had incredible encounters with dolphins, seals, turtles, penguins, gannets and a multitude of bird life. Dive bombing gannets are always a fantastic spectacle and it’s only when you are close to them you get to admire these fishing/dive bombing experts.

A kayak is one of the most affordable on the water craft available. There is next to no maintenance or running costs. They can be launched almost anywhere, which saves boat ramp queues, and angst. It even provides you with a good upper-body work! A day spent kayak fishing can be a gentle easy-as-you go outing or a hard core paddle of 30-40km if you are fit and want more of an adventure. It is a very peaceful way to experience the open sea or inland on rivers, dams, lakes or estuaries.

The evolution

The evolution of the sit-on-top kayak has made the sport a much more attractive and practical option. The Ocean Kayak Prowler range is a fine example with their designs originating from 40 years of research and development as the world’s largest manufacture of kayaks.

I have a sea kayaking background but I wanted to move to a sit-on-top kayak. This is because I wanted to fish more and I wanted to take my kids out with me to experience all the adventure, fun, joy and excitement at a young age.

I researched the market thoroughly and very carefully and decided upon the Ocean Kayak Prowler Elite 4.5. The kayak did not disappoint me. It was incredibly stable, fast paddling with a good glide speed (essential for dolphin encounters and long distance paddling) and it could handle the rough weather and the surf with ease.

It was almost as quick as my sea kayak. By switching both my sea kayaks to sit-on-tops, I lost nothing but gained a superbly laid out fishing platform that would allow me to tackle big fish and take my young girls out in the huge tank well area behind me.

To propel my Prowler Elite 4.5 I kept my Carlisle Carbon paddles (Arctic) that I used on my sea kayaks. The Prowlers already came with flush-mounted rod holders and a good quality fully adjustable seat and fitted rudder. I already had a couple of good quality spin set-ups and a couple of overhead sets that would work well off the kayak.

Essential to this set up is a paddle leash and a rod leash for each of my valuable rigs. Rule number one of kayaking is to secure everything that you value to the kayak. - Dion Dougherty

Typical day trip items:

Depth sounder

VHF radio and or cell phone

Personal EPIRB

Dry bags

Fish Stringer

Running anchor rig

Sea anchor

Rod holder

1.5m Pacific Action Sail

Cut-down gaff with float

Divers/safety knife

Iki spike/Fish donger


Lip Grippers

Pre-made fishing rigs


Whole baits

Miniature bait board


Wetsuit booties

Paddle jacket and pants

Sunnies and leash

Change of clothes


Sun hat

Suntan lotion

First aid kit

Handheld flares

Water proof torch

Cyalume light sticks

Water and emergency snack food

On multi-day trips also take:





Sleeping bags


Bio-degradable dishwashing liquid

Food and filtered water.

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