Kayak fishing is one of the fastest growing areas of our sport. Following the lead of countries such as New Zealand, South Africa and the USA, where kayak fishing is a very popular pastime, Australians are fast warming to this great form of recreation.
In this four part series I will be examining all the standard and bonus features that will have you making the most of your kayak fishing trip.
For me, kayaking offered a new challenge in the fishing arena. It’s kind of like starting over again with a clean slate. There are many new challenges, fishing situations and species to target. Kayaking opened a whole new can of worms, so to speak, and the added exercise is also a bonus.
Kayaks allow you to enter areas not accessible to many other trailer boats. The quietness and stealth are an added bonus for targeting most inshore and freshwater species. Launching from beaches is a good option for targeting schools of pelagic fish feeding in close, or for beeline access to other fishing areas. Don’t think that you can’t land quality fish from kayaks, as many large specimens have been landed over the years, even blue marlin.
Recently, after much research and deliberating, I decided to finally purchase a kayak. For me the best option was the Ocean Kayak Prowler 4.5m, which was purpose designed for serious fishing. This craft had many great features and came highly recommended by several keen ‘yakkers’. I had several options fitted to my new craft and also added a few of my own to make it a serious fishing machine.
On most kayaks a rudder is an optional extra, which some, especially on smaller kayaks, prefer not to have. On my craft, the rudder can be raised and lowered from the seated position via cords, which run along the sides. Once you have launched and paddled out, you can lower the rudder into the water by pulling on the cord. The rudder is then controlled via adjustable foot pedals.
Instead of changing the paddling stroke to turn the craft whilst under way, you can just continue paddling and then steer with the foot pedals. If you hook a larger fish that then tows the ‘yak, the foot pedals can be used to follow the fish more precisely and therefore avoid the situation of having the fish angled from the side of the craft, which may result in capsize if using heavy line and drag settings.
The anchoring kit for the Prowler is basically a clothesline type system. There’s a pulley on each end of the craft and a cord loop running through these. This loop has a short section of rope attached and a shackle on one end, onto which you attach the rope from your anchor. With a pulley system, it is easy to adjust your angle of pull on the anchor rope, which allows you to adjust the kayaks position and to face in any direction after anchoring. I purchased a small sand anchor, a reef pick, a foam float, 1m of galvanised chain and some shackles to easily set up a functional anchoring system. A Styrofoam float on the anchoring rope allows the anchor and rope to be quickly disconnected and left in the water without being lost if you have to go and chase a fish.
The Prowler 4.5 came fitted with two rod-holders, both in easy reach just behind the seat position. These are flush mounted and protrude into the hull but naturally they are fully sealed in the bottom of each holder to maintain the waterproof properties of the hull.
In addition, I had another adjustable holder added just in front of the seated position so that I can see the tip of a rod while rolling. This is especially important when fishing the estuaries, creeks and impoundments with small minnow lures, which can easily be fouled by weed and other debris. If you can’t see the rod tip then you may troll for a considerable distance without knowing the lure was fouled and possibly skimming along the surface. At present I only have the one trolling rod holder at the front but may invest is a Scotty Triple Mount, which will allow up to three rods to be trolled from the forward position.
The Ocean Kayak Prowler 4.5 has been purpose built for fishing and its standardised features really set up for an awesome day on the water. Next week I will be looking at sounders/GPS and optional extras to really ensure the most out of your fishing.
The entire package ready for a serious fishing session.Reads: 307