15 Tips For Kayak Bass Fishing That Are Actually Helpful
If you are an avid angler and you are looking to get better at kayak fishing, you landed at the perfect spot! In this article, we are going to give you all the tips you need to know for kayak bass fishing. This article will come in handy for everyone, from beginners to advanced kayak anglers.
Tips for kayak bass fishing
1- Have the proper kayak position/angle when fishing bass during sunny days (Casting shadows)
2- Be considerate with bedding bass
3- Be silent and approach slowly (in vs out of the water noise)
4- Know where and how to position your kayak when fishing drop-offs and steep ledges
5- When fishing down the bank from your yak, cast on the right angle
6- Avoid getting snagged on a tree by doing this
7- Take advantage of the small size of your yak (2 key points)
8- Take a rain suit with you
9- Take full advantage of the stealth of the kayak
10- Get foamy
11- Learn how to drift
12- Don’t rely only on electronics to locate bass
13- Learn how to land fish properly
14- Keep your gear on the same spot, always!
15- Getting a PFD is nonnegotiable
How did we come up with these tips?
Before we wrote this article, we noticed all of the other articles and blog posts that talk about this topic (tips for kayak bass fishing) are very “obvious” tips (no shit, Sherlock! I didn’t think of “having fun” or "wearing sunscreen" when going out with my yak…), so we decided to really put some dedication to building something that is actually helpful for you.
We did a lot of research on different videos, blogs, forums, facebook groups, in combination with personal experience to come up with these tips. We only put here the ones that we think are helpful. You will find the most useful tips in this blog post. We made sure to leave out the "obvious" tips (with 1 exception at the end).
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #1: Have the proper kayak position/angle when fishing bass during sunny days (Casting shadows)
Predatory birds also cast a shadow when they are flying over fish, so fish have developed an instinct that tells them to hide when there is a shadow coming from above.
This is ten times more important when fishing bedding bass, because bedding bass are usually easily spooked. They are in a situation where they move to shallower waters, lay eggs and attempt to reproduce their species. Because of this, they become very vulnerable to predators. This makes bass very skittish.
You have to consider the casting shadows as one of the essential elements that will determine weather you catch bass or not.
The solution for this is to approach the bass with the sun facing you. The sun has to be in front of you. This will make the casting shadows be behind you, and thus they will be far away from the bass you are targeting. This eliminates the casting shadows problem.
If the sun is behind you, you will have to go around that area very silently. If you are fishing for bedding bass, you will have to do this extra silently.
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #2: Be considerate with bedding bass
This applies specially for tournaments. When tournament anglers go fish beds, those bass are usually released when the tournament ends, and they are released far away from where they were caught. It’s a long chain of events that this causes, and it ends up on the death of hundreds of unborn or very young bass.
If you are doing the normal catch and release, this shouldn’t be a problem. We just want to lay this point out. Some anglers might not be aware of this.
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #3: Be silent and approach slowly (in vs out of the water noise)
Approach bass silently. This is a general rule but applies even more when fishing bedding bass. Be subtle with your paddle strokes. Don’t approach too quickly. Be silent from yards before getting to your target spot. On the other hand, other sounds like any item hitting the floor, closing the hatch to abruptly, or making a strong enough noise, could also spook bass away.
In vs Out Of The Water Noises (Sound Through Air vs Sound Through Water)
The sounds you make inside the water (for example, dropping and item on your yak, bumping something, or anything that will transmit vibrations through the water) travel much faster than it does through air (out of the water). Air vibrations (AKA sounds) are often “bounced” from the surface of the water, so a lot of the surface noise does not go through the water.
The point we are trying to make is that sounds outside the water are much less influential unless they are too loud. Although, this is conditional to what the situation is. If you are approaching bedding bass, just to play it safe, be as silent and slow as possible. But if it’s any other type of situation, then you don’t have to be extremely silent with outside of the water noises. Just don’t be obnoxiously loud.
Instead, be more mindful with noises that are made directly in the water like aggressive paddle strokes, very rough movements from your kayak, and anything that will transmit vibrations to the water.
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #4: Know where and how to position your kayak when fishing drop-offs and steep ledges
You want to keep your bait near the structure areas. You can achieve this by casting in a parallel way. When fishing on ledges and drop offs, cast parallel and the bait will remain close to the structure.
A lot of anglers make the mistake of casting from a far distance from the structure they are targeting. They cast against that structure. This will cause the bait to bounce off the structure and sink in a way that is towards you and your kayak, further and further away from the structure you were aiming at. It’s kind of a pendulum motion. The point is that you should position your kayak as near to the structure you are targeting as possible and cast parallel to it.
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #5: When fishing down the bank from your yak, cast on the right angle
When you are trying to find your strike zones when fishing from your kayak down the bank, and you don’t know on what strike zone the bass are at, then you have to do your casts in a 60° angle. The reason for this is that if you cast straight to the bank, you will have your bait on each strike zone for a very small amount of time.
The optimal thing to do here is to cast between a 50° and 60° angle. This will let you be in each strike zone for a fairly decent amount of time (10+ seconds on each strike zone, more or less). They key is to find the depth where most fish are located. Once you have located a depth where you are getting many bites, stick to that depth zone.
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #6: Avoid getting snagged on a tree by doing this
When your line gets stuck on a tree but not completely snagged, what you have to avoid is going crazy, doing aggressive motions all over the place and getting your bait and line really snagged.
What will get you snagged is that pendulum or “swing” motion that the line and lure do when they are hanging on that tree branch, and you are pulling and pulling the line. This will make the line tangle up all over the place, resulting in a big mess.
The optimal thing to do is avoid making any movement until the swinging motion of your bait/line stops. You can also do this by letting the lure touch the water.
Next step is to pull the line in an upwards motion in a quick and decisive motion, making the lure “hop” over that tree branch. After that, the problem should be fixed.
If your bait does get snagged and messy, make sure not to pull in an upwards motion, because with enough force, you will break your rod. Instead, pull in a backwards motion (pull towards you). Don’t pull too hard because you could mess up your reel.
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #7: Take advantage of the small size of your yak (2 key points)
If you are conscious about the advantages of fishing on a kayak will enable you to exploit those advantages. It’s important for you to know them.
The first advantage of kayak fishing is that you can easily get into very shallow water (even 5 or 6 inches of water) with no problem with a kayak due to size/weight. With a kayak, you can get into remote areas on any body of water. One thing you could even do is use a larger boat to transport your kayak, and then use your kayak to get into very narrow areas that are full of bass.
The second advantage of fishing with a kayak is that you can basically position your kayak however and wherever you want without much trouble. Being able to position your kayak on certain areas, and in certain positions gives a big plus to kayaks over other watercrafts.
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #8: Take a rain suit with you
Invest a little bit of money on a rain suit. Avoid buying a cheap one as they will leak after a short amount of time of using it. The key here is to not leave it at your truck or car. Take it with you, it’s one of the fishing essentials you need to take with you (remember it’s key to pack as light as you can).
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #9: Take full advantage of the stealth of the kayak
One of the biggest advantages of having a kayak is stealth. You can approach a spot very silently, unnoticeable. On the other hand, other watercrafts with motors on them have that disadvantage. They are much more noticeable to fish when approaching.
Take advantage of the stealth of your fishing kayak. Approach silently. You won’t spook fish away. It’s a huge advantage. Learn how to paddle silently.
This takes us to the next tip:
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #10: Get foamy
Glue a piece of foam on the top rail of your yak, which is where you rest your paddle when you exchange them for your rod and reel.
It might be a pain to rest your paddle on the sides without making noise due to both being hard materials. This is why we suggest adding some foam to the top rail. This will let you silently rest your paddle, adding stealth to your kayak. Remember what we said earlier. Bumping stuff into your kayak will emit vibrations through the water, spooking fish away.
The second place where you will want to place some foam is that specific place where you are always going to have your essentials (which we mention on tip #14). This will eliminate the possibility of you making any noise when putting an item down that will spook fish away.
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #11: Learn how to drift
This is huge. It’s a skill that will pay off. This also adds to the stealth element.
Position your boat in a way that you can drift through the water by using the current of the water, or by letting the wind move you without using one single paddle stroke. Bass will not even know you are there.
This is something that is conditional to where you are fishing and/or weather conditions, but if you can, use it in your favor. Make sure you are silent when anchoring.
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #12: Don’t rely only on electronics to locate bass
It’s a combination of common sense and electronics that will take you to the next level. Relying only on one or the other will be limiting yourself.
With electronics, you will be able to know the depths of structures, water temperatures, etc., but you won’t exploit that information if you don’t know anything of bass habits, likes, dislikes, food sources, behavior, etc.
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #13: Learn how to land fish properly
Kayak anglers often make the mistake of, when having a fish they are about to catch, they grab with one hand the rod by the tip, and with the other hand they try to grab the bass.
This will only lead to disappointment, as fish will often break lose if you are doing it this way.
The correct thing to do is to change the rod to the other side of the kayak from where the bass is, and push the rod up and away from the fish (which often ends up with the rod being on a nearly vertical position). Grab the rod by the handle, avoid grabbing it by the tip. We found a youtube video from Chad Hoover that explains it very well (by the way, check out his channel. He has very useful stuff that will help you a lot):
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #14: Keep your gear on the same spot, always!
You will create muscle memory for when you need a specific item. For example, if you need a different lure, you will automatically go to the side storage on the right side to get them. This will save you a lot of time and in case you need to get something very quickly (for example, the pliers, water bottle, lures, any type of terminal tackle), you will be able to get a hang of it right away instead of having to look for it.
We recommend doing it only for the items you need the most and in a frequent basis, if not it loses its purpose.
Kayak Bass Fishing Tip #15: Getting a PFD is nonnegotiable
We know, we know! We promised you non-obvious tips, but we want to mention this one because it’s really important. Don’t take Personal Flotation Devices as something you don’t need or something annoying. There are many people who lose their lives for not using a PFD. Just get one, it’s worth the expense.
And there you go! We truly hope that these tips are helpful to you. If you liked this article, please share it! You have no idea how much you help us when you share one of our articles. That also allows us to keep creating helpful content for you. Really hope you enjoyed the reading. Let us know your opinion on the comments below, or if you have a question, make sure you leave it there as well. We will get back to you as quick as possible. Thank you for sticking with us to the end.