Kayak for Ocean Fishing: Setting Everything Up Like a Pro

Proper setting up of your fishing kayak is essential to catch more fish and navigate waterways securely and more comfortably.

The focus of kayak fishing is to enjoy your fishing experience and have fun. An essential factor in achieving this goal is selecting and properly rigging your ocean fishing kayak.

Even if we get up early, paddle through the ice, fish in the rain, and struggle all we can, rowing a badly made, uncomfortable, ineffective, and badly setup kayak is a major letdown.

You can also boost your comfort and safety by using various accessories and, equipment + gears in addition to your kayak.

After all, we got our kayaks to catch more fish, but if it isn’t properly rigged, doing so can be challenging.

For this reason, we’ve put together a detailed guide on everything you need to set up an ideal and comfortable fishing kayak.

Your Fishing Kayak

If you’re interested in kayak fishing, buying a high-quality fishing kayak should always be your top priority.

There are numerous designs and manufacturers to select from but picking a kayak that is made with fishing in mind is crucial.

The availability of many different designs makes buying a fishing kayak simpler and more challenging.

Because of the availability, you can find a kayak at a low price, but at the same time, you might acquire one that is inappropriate for your fishing expedition.

On the other hand, high-quality, highly recommended fishing kayaks with wide bases provide more stability.

Additionally, they contain several built-in specific amenities for fishermen to use, such as rod holders and equipment storage.

When you require greater flexibility, go for a smaller kayak; when you need greater stability, go for a larger kayak.

Always consider the type of fishing you will practice the most and your storage and transportation options for the boat.

Having stated that, you can fish from a conventional kayak, especially with some improvised modifications.

Your long day on the water will be much more enjoyable if you keep this in mind.

How To Create The Ultimate Fishing Kayak Setup

Kayak setup

1) Put safety first

Your safety is the next and most crucial factor to consider.

Your safety is a top recommendation since, even if you manage to catch all the fish you desire, your valuable life can become the catch if you are not careful to stay safe.

It is true Kayaks are lightweight and a lot of fun, but they don’t offer much security. As a result, safety must always be your top priority. An obvious example would be the need for a PFD (personal flotation device).

Also, always keep some safety supplies or kits on hand, such as knives and tools, lights and beacons, rescue kits, whistles, and signaling equipment in case you become separated from your kayak, in your life jacket, or a dry bag.

Safety Tips to consider:

  • Always keep safety supplies or kits on hand, such as knives and tools, lights and beacons, rescue kits, whistles, and signaling equipment in your life jacket or a dry bag.
  • Watch out for power boats if you’re on a larger body of water. They might miss you occasionally.
  • Steer clear of busy areas and waterways at night or when it’s misty.
  • Keep an eye on the forecast to avoid being caught by a surprise thunderstorm.
  • Ensure your kayak has a continuous exposure light if you’re paddling in the dark to improve your visibility.

2) Your Anchor system

A small, light boat is always subject to the whims of the wind and stream.

Without an anchoring mechanism, it is impossible to hold a kayak still. However, by using a trolley system, you may easily drop an anchor from the bow, the middle of the kayak, or the stern.

This method prevents the boat from tipping over when turning against the wind or river.

Anglers who fish in shallower waters prefer stakeout poles, whereas grappling anchors are preferred by those who fish in deeper areas.

Anchor System tips to consider:

  • Use a trolley system that will enable you to drop an anchor from the bow, the middle of the kayak, or the stern easily.

3) Your Paddle

Understand the Value of a Good Paddle.

When putting together a fishing kayak, choosing the kayak paddle is just as crucial as picking your kayak for ocean fishing.

When going fishing, most people opt for cheaper gear to save money.

With the paddle, which serves as your personalized motor, you should never do anything like this.

The boat’s effectiveness and the angler’s comfort are directly impacted by the design and quality of the paddle. The paddle you purchase must be stiff-flexible, and lightweight, making it easier on your wrists and joints.

You want your paddle to be as light as possible because it will be in your hands almost as often as your fishing rod.

Paddle tips to consider:

  • Consider the best paddle length for your seat height.
  • Don’t opt for cheaper gear to save money rather choose a quality paddle.
  • The paddle you purchase must be stiff-flexible, and lightweight.

4) Your Storage

Every angler is aware that they need a variety of tools, and a fishing kayak setup should take protection and organization of gear or tackle into account.

As you fish from a kayak, ensure all your fishing equipment is readily accessible.

To prevent corrosion of the rods and other equipment, use a tackle system that is watertight and composed of plastic that gives off chemical vapors.

Kayak anglers frequently choose to keep the storage boxes towards the back of a kayak because there is more space for them.

Alternatively, use a milk crate as a storage option if you don’t have specialized storage.

One of the significant problems with the restricted room and the weight capacity of your kayak is keeping your catch cool.

However, if you simply measure your kayak, you may find a cooler that fits incredibly well.

Some anglers frequently utilize sealed fish bags that can be frozen before the trip or a top-notch chiller that fits the tank properly.

Storage tips to consider

  • Take a tank well measurement behind the seat.
  • Alternatively, use a milk crate as a storage option if you don’t have specialized storage.
  • Think about the gear you typically bring on trips and how it will fit in the container.
  • Dry storage is crucial because, in the harshest weather, dry boxes and bags will keep your equipment safe.

5) Trolling Motors

Finding a place to attach the trolling motor is the first step.

Adding a trolling motor to your kayak may be advantageous since kayak fishing involves packing a kayak with a lot of gear, making it heavier and slower on the water as there is more gear inside of it.

Trolling motors make it simple to cruise and let you concentrate only on fishing.

Using a trolling motor to go to and from fishing places will save time and effort.

Since most trolling motors are designed for small boats, your kayak will be able to move through the water with no problem using one of these.

You should have at least two pounds of a push for every 100 pounds of weight you intend to move.

It would be best if you still considered the trolling power because too much is not ideal.

The Battery

You’ll need a means of providing energy to the trolling motor if you’re thinking of getting one for your kayak.

Once you’ve located a good position for the battery, all that’s left to do is mount the trolling motor and connect it to the battery for power.

When selecting a battery, you must achieve a balance between cost and servicing. A 12-volt marine battery is designed to manage a trolling motor.

Trolling motor tips to consider:

  • Using a side mount for easy reach is the best option for mounting a kayak trolling motor.
  • You should have at least two pounds of a push for every 100 pounds of weight you intend to move.

6) Your Rod Holders

Rod holders should always be near the top of your purchase list.

Endeavor to get rod holders that are the most durable for trolling.

It would be best if you fastened them to the kayak without causing any damage.

Behind the paddler, you’ll find the most flush-mounted rod storage on the port or starboard side.

You can add extensions to alter the rod’s angle, height above the deck, and accessibility.

The overall purpose of an adjustable rod holder is to keep it closer to the angler and out of the water.

Rod holders’ tips to consider:

  • Get rod holders that are the most durable for trolling.
  • Kayak holes can be avoided by using rod holder mounts.
  • Add extensions to alter the rod’s angle, height above the deck, and accessibility

7) Your Fishing rods

For beginners, a great rod for various fishing situations is excellent. Choose a rod about 7 and 7 1/2 feet long, a rod of the typical inshore size.

A 6 to a 6 1/2 would be appropriate if you’re sitting down because longer rods may interfere with your seating position.

The ideal rod length will vary depending on whether you are casting toward dense cover, where accuracy is crucial, or out in the open when casting distance is the most vital element.

Rods’ action and length are designed with kayak anglers in mind. So, go for robust, delicate, and light.

Fishing rod tips to consider:

  • Invest in rods that suit various fishing situations.
  • The ideal kayak fishing rod length is between 6 and 8 feet long.
  • A six to a six and a half would be appropriate if you’re sitting down.

8) Install Fishfinders

A Fishfinder, also known as a sounder in Australia, is a device that uses sonar-like technology to detect reflected sound pulses to identify fish underwater.

An operator can analyze data from a modern Fishfinder’s graphical display to discover schools of fish. These devices measure the reflected sound.

Installing a fish finder has the most significant impact on fish capture.

When selecting a Fishfinder, consider its type, whether it includes a GPS, and the frequencies that will be most effective in the deep-water, coastal, or inland habitat where you fish.

The Battery

The most effective power source for a kayak is a battery that operates at 12 volts. The battery box or bag could also be kept on the deck, but if you do, make sure the battery bag is securely fastened to the kayak in case it capsizes.

Fishfinders tips to consider:

  • Before getting a fish finder, consider the type, whether it includes a GPS and the frequencies that will be most effective where you fish.
  • Do more research on fish finders and how to install them on your kayak.

9) Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

A vital piece of gear is a personal flotation device (PFD).

Making the appropriate choice will increase your comfort while paddling and safety on the water.

A PFD’s flotation properties are influenced by its design. Foam vests that contain pockets and connection points are best for kayak anglers.

Low on the body placement of the flotation foam ensures that it is submerged to create lift.

While some padding on the tops of the shoulders is excellent when you’re portaging, foam that floats above the waterline when you swim won’t help you float. To achieve the ideal fit, select the suitable size vest and check for many adjustment points.

(PFD) tips to consider:

  • Avoid sitting on your PFD to prevent compression and abrasion.
  • PFDs with less foam are more comfortable; consider that when picking one.
  • Check for many adjustment points.


All the Kayak setup accessories we mentioned in this article are quite simple to obtain or you can modify.

But the most important thing to remember is that safety must come first.

So, continue to learn and master the techniques and strategies you need to set up your ocean fishing kayak; look for more articles and videos.

You’ll be able to catch more fish by doing this while also saving time and staying safe.