8 Tips for Ocean Kayak Fishing

Ocean Kayak Fishing Tips

Kayak Fishing in the Ocean

Ocean Kayak Fishing can be an incredibly rewarding experience that provides peaceful relaxation and a good workout. Going out on your kayak to explore nearby coastal waters and catch fish can provide hours of exhilarating fun, regardless if you are an experienced angler or just starting.

Kayak has a long history of development. The oldest still existing kayaks are exhibited in the North America department of the State Museum of Ethnology in Munich. They are called traditional kayaks and are used for hunting, navigating, and fishing.

And now,  thanks to modern technological advancements and materials, sea kayak fishing has become easier than ever with various models of fishing kayaks.

With the increase in the popularity of fishing from kayaks, it is important to understand a few tips and tricks for making your time out on the water safe, enjoyable, and productive.

As with any outdoor activity, preparation is key to ensuring both a safe and enjoyable outing; learning how to properly equip yourself with the necessary items will be essential before venturing into open water. With the right set of gear and knowledge, anyone can start their journey on the water to take advantage of all that seafaring has to offer.

This blog post will provide you with helpful tips on what gear is needed for optimal Ocean Kayak Fishing, as well as safety hazards to look out for so that you can confidently set sail!

Ocean Kayak Fishing is Becoming Popular

Kayak Fishing in the Ocean is Becoming Popular

Kayak fishing in the ocean has been steadily gaining popularity, and it’s no wonder why. Taking a kayak out on the ocean provides an entirely different experience than other bodies of water that shore fishermen can access. Being able to float atop open waters while casting your line is an incredibly freeing feeling.

The great ocean depths are filled with a variety of fish that you would otherwise not be able to target from land, making it especially attractive for anglers who want to test their skills and luck against larger game fish like tarpon or marlin. Additionally, setting up shop on top of the waves lets you explore new locations as far as your kayak will take you and get away from crowds at popular fishing spots.

The Corpus Christi Bluewater Kayak Classic is an offshore kayak fishing tournament that has become one of the largest in Texas. Setting it apart from other kingfish tournaments, exclusively featuring paddle power with boats under 12 feet long and plastic construction, surpassing over a hundred entries annually.

This unparalleled success highlights a growing trend of participants turning away from larger and faster motorboats toward smaller, paddle-powered plastic or kayaks–even amidst vessels worth up to a quarter-million dollars! Exemplifying further popularity for this type of recreational activity lies Jacksonville’s widely attended inshore fish species tournament held solely by kayaks – showcasing its massive drawl among fishers today.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

What You'll Need to Get Started

A Kayak that fit for the sea

The most important piece of equipment for Ocean Kayak Fishing is, of course, a kayak. A regular recreational kayak may work on calm lakes and rivers, but this type of vessel will not be suitable for rough waters or sudden waves. Here are a few things you should look for: 

Hull Shape: For optimal performance in wavy or choppy conditions, a saltwater Kayak with a prominent bow and rocker in the hull shape is ideal. The slight curve of the keel allows for better performance on wavy surfaces so you can navigate confidently no matter what conditions come your way!

Propulsion: If you’re looking to maximize your time and distance on the water, a pedal or motorized kayak can be an invaluable advantage for inshore fishing. Now you no longer have to worry about limited mobility – open up new possibilities with modern propulsion!

Sit On Top: Experience the ultimate in water safety with a sit-on-top kayak. Not only does this style of the boat provide greater stability for inshore fisheries, but it also offers ample space and features self-draining scuppers to keep you afloat if splashed from all angles!

Rigging & Features: Every angler knows that to get the most out of their fishing experience, they need ample space for all rods and tackle, safety gear, as well as a cool or insulated bag if they plan on taking home their catches. Make sure the boat has enough room so nothing gets left behind!

Size: Experienced kayakers recommend a 12-foot sit-on-top “ocean” model for optimal results offshore – it’s highly maneuverable yet fast enough to get you where you need to be! For larger catches, consider going with a tandem 15-footer: although less agile than its single-person counterpart, this longer length can prove advantageous in certain circumstances.

Be sure to take the time to select one that fits your size, weight capacity, and budget needs – these can range from $500 up to several thousand dollars depending on how much you want to invest in your setup.

Fishing Gear

Once you’ve settled on the right kayak for your trip, it’s time to start thinking about the necessary fishing gear. The type of fish you’re after will determine what kind of rod, reel, and lure should be used – here are a few essentials:

Rod & Reel: Make sure to select rods and reels with sufficient line capacity, power, and strength that can stand up against larger saltwater gamefish like tarpon or marlin in unpredictable conditions. As a rule of thumb, choose ones rated for 8 lbs test line or greater for offshore trips. 

Tackle Box: Don’t forget the basics – stock up on sinkers, swivels, and hooks that can be used in concert with your other gear so nothing gets left behind! 

A net: To ensure optimal safety for the fish, a rubber mesh net is recommended. This special material prevents hooks from becoming tangled and allows them to be quickly removed without harming aquatic life.

A set of corrosion-resistant pliers: Enjoy longevity of use with corrosion-resistant pliers! To keep them rust-free, simply rinse them after each trip and apply lubricant occasionally. Plus, integrated line-cutters provide added convenience in your outdoor adventures.

A pair of lip-grippers: For anglers looking to land some saltwater trophies – including those with sharp teeth, lip-grippers are essential. From snappers and groupers to redfish and rockfish – the bite can be fierce! Lip-gripping pliers provide essential security against nasty nips, making sure every fishing excursion is an enjoyable experience!

A knife: Carrying a knife is an invaluable tool to ensure safety while out on the water. It provides a variety of uses, from preparing fishing lines and bait, all the way through taking care of your catch with humane dispatch. There’s no telling how useful this trusty companion will be in unknown waters!

A pair of polarized sunglasses: Discover a new world of sight with polarized sunglasses! Get ready to be amazed as you cast your line – the improved clarity and color transmission makes for an unforgettable saltwater kayak fishing experience.

Plus, give your eyes some extra protection from all that intense sun reflection on the water’s surface throughout those long days out there. You won’t regret investing in this one-of-a-kind must-have accessory for any angler!

These are just some of the essential items for successful ocean kayak fishing trips. With the right equipment and dedication, you’ll be catching fish before you know it! Be sure to stay safe out there and keep your eyes peeled for surprise visitors from the deep! Enjoy!

Favorite Baits for Ocean Kayak Fishing

Favorite Baits for Ocean Kayak Fishing

Kayak fishing in the open water requires a specialized set of baits and lures to maximize your success. 

If you’re looking for an unbeatable bait that looks incredibly natural, ribbonfish is the way to go. Fishing with live ribbons from a kayak allows them to move along gracefully and attract even more attention underwater due to their undulating dorsal fin.

Trolling slowly allows the long dorsal fin of the fish to undulate naturally underwater. Capture your own rather than buy pre-made ones – they will be significantly larger! To make it even more enticing, dress up the ribbonfish with sea witch skirts or add some weight if fishing during mid-day when kings usually stay deep (about 20 or 25 feet).

For anglers looking to give their catch an extra challenge, the Sebille Magic Swimmer is a great investment. This bait is expensive, but for those who want something more cost-efficient, there’s also the option of creating your lures from readily available blanks – just 9 or 9.5 inches long and made with durable plastic featuring two flexible joints making three pieces that sway through water movement like underwater chainsaws!

Here are some other favorites for offshore anglers:

Soft plastics: These lifelike imitations can fool even the wariest gamefish into biting down. Typically featuring shrimp, squid, or eels – they come in various shapes, colors, and sizes that make them perfect for enticing trophy catches! 

Jigs: Jigs are versatile options that sink slowly and can be retrieved easily with a rod tip. Each jig is made up of a lead head with feathers or other types of materials attached at its tail end. This unique design makes it easy to blend into the natural surroundings below while adding an extra bit of texture to attract hungry predators. 

Live bait: Live bait is always an effective option when it comes to fishing from a kayak in saltwater environments. From cut baits and shrimp to eels and crabs – these natural offerings entice even the choosiest catches!

Tips for Catching Fish from a Kayak in the Ocean

Tips for Catching Fish from a Kayak in the Ocean

#1 Investing in a Good Paddle

When you start your Ocean Kayak Fishing adventure, the importance of a good paddle may come as a surprise. Experienced fishers know that investing in an efficient and reliable paddle is essential for covering vast areas quickly whilst avoiding blisters and fatigue on hands/arms from long paddling sessions.

Don’t choose budget options here – it pays to invest upfront; plus, when upgrading down the line, you can take this quality equipment with you!

#2 Waterproof Camera with Mount

For the kayak angler, going solo can be a rewarding experience (Of course we still encourage you to have a companion not only to share the fun but also for your safety). However, nothing is more disappointing than not being able to show off a trophy catch with friends and family.

So To ensure that your trophy catch lives beyond just memory – and that every moment of fishing you do gets documented – consider investing in waterproof cameras such as GoPro models equipped with wireless remotes that easily attach to mounts on the boat for optimal footage-taking capabilities no matter where you are sitting!

When it’s time to catch some memories and show off your success at reeling in an impressive lunker, capture as many screenshots or videos of the moment! Avoid any would-be disasters – don’t risk dropping devices into choppy waters when trying to take selfies from cell phones.

#3 Bring an Anchor

Kayak angling can be an incredibly exciting sport – one that always has the potential for a memorable adventure. Kayak anglers have some seriously wild tales to tell, including tales of huge fish pulling them along in their boats while they battled it out. A less celebrated hazard is when fighting through windy waters or even getting pushed into mangroves where rods sometimes snap under pressure! 

Staying in place while kayak fishing can be a challenge, so don’t forget to bring an anchor or power pole along. The “dumbell anchor” is one of the simpler options while more experienced kayakers often opt for a power pole – similar in function to its larger-sized counterpart on boats – and will ensure stability during those windy days out at sea.

Don’t skimp here; it’s worth investing your money into something that will keep you safe! While this added expense will seem small compared to your other gear purchases now – on that windy day out at sea you’ll remember why it was worth investing!

#4 Protect Yourself from the Sun

As kayak fishing continues to become more and more popular, anglers are recognizing the potential for sun damage due to extended exposure to the water. Kayaks are no boat tops or cabins means no protection. That combined with reflected light off of the water amplifies kayakers’ risk of skin damage and premature aging due to UV exposure.

To protect against UV rays when out paddling, experts recommend investing in items such as a lightweight hat with wide brim coverage; long-sleeve shirts treated with UPF protection; neck/face buffs or hoodies that cover ears and necks effectively; pants designed specifically for outdoor use (preferably waterproof); sunscreen containing zinc oxide; chapstick formulated also containing this mineral.

Staying safe can ensure an enjoyable time spent outdoors!

#5 Bring Plenty of Liquids

For a truly successful day of kayak fishing, it’s essential to come prepared with more than just your tackle box. Deep sea Kayak fishing can be a rewarding experience, but don’t let the victorious feeling of reeling in that prized catch distract you from your most important priority: hydration.

Make sure to bring plenty of liquids such as water and Gatorade – or any other beverage you can bring on board with you on your trip – and if possible, keep it cool in a small cooler attached to the kayak. Even if the sun isn’t shining brightly (or even better when it is), this will help keep your body hydrated while paddling in hot weather, windy conditions, or otherwise strenuous activity.

Don’t forget either; an extra helping hand is vital for any fisherperson’s journey – make sure both yourself and your companion are equipped with adequate fluids so one doesn’t end up drinking all yours!

#6 Rain Gear

Kayak fishing can be an idyllic experience, but in areas like Florida, rain and lightning storms tend to appear with little notice and you may find yourself caught in a storm. Without the luxury of a high-powered boat to flee from bad weather quickly, having some rain gear on hand could make all the difference; while it won’t solve every problem presented by unexpected inclement conditions, its quality will leave your journey back much more bearable!

#7 Have a Plan

As an angler, it’s essential to have a clear plan of the type of fish you wish to catch. Do the necessary research to figure out what type of fish you are targeting, its preferred environment, and diet for best results. Without this knowledge, it can be difficult for any fisherman to reach success. It pays off to also prepare an alternate strategy in case Plan A is unsuccessful – because that can happen frequently! Don’t leave yourself without options; come prepared and maximize your chances of catching that prized find!

#8 Beginning Approach

When you’re ready to take the plunge and purchase your first kayak, be sure to check out all of your options with a few dealers offering demo days. Don’t forget to check out dealers’ demo days, where you can test numerous boats and potentially apply the fee towards a purchase. Additionally, some places offer guided fishing trips for anglers who want to try their boat of choice in real time! As soon as it’s yours though, be sure to spend plenty of time getting used to it before loading up – boarding too deep can easily cause tipping over or bottoming out if the water is shallow.

Getting in and out of the water can be challenging, but kayaking efficiently requires practice. Wear your life jacket at all times to stay safe; then hone your paddling technique before looking into additional accessories such as an anchor or push pole for more control of where you go. Make sure not to lean too far over: keep yourself centered with any activity like fishing so that you don’t tip the kayak off balance! Lastly, remember – to secure all gear down tightly either by tying it or using a bungee cord/clip for maximum safety when navigating across waters.

How to Keep Safe When Ocean Kayak Fishing

How to Keep Safe When Kayak Fishing in the Ocean

When it comes to Ocean Kayak Fishing, there are a few extra things you should be mindful of. The ocean can present a more dangerous environment compared to other bodies of water, with larger waves and currents that may be outside of your control. 

Taking the necessary steps to ensure your safety should be at top of your mind for any kayak fishing trip. With all the technology and forecasting data available today, it can provide key insights into a successful outing – yet there’s still always the potential for unforeseen challenges along the way. Make sure that you properly plan before taking off; though something unexpected can still occur on the water, being prepared will help mitigate any potential risks.

Life vest

To keep yourself safe and secure on your next adventure, make sure you’re wearing a life vest! Although it may not seem like much at first glance, this inconspicuous piece of equipment could prove invaluable in case of emergency – which is why many states have made its use mandatory while out on the water. Even if you consider yourself a strong swimmer everyone can benefit from having that extra layer of protection by their side; so don’t forget yours before paddling off into the sunrise for your angling expedition!


Knowing the wind conditions can be key to maximizing a successful day on the water – plan your time wisely and refer to trusted weather apps such as Windy, Windfinder, or FishWeather for reliable forecasts. I’m comfortable launching in winds up to 10mph from any direction. Winds between 10-20mph can be navigated if you’re near sheltered shorelines like bayside havens that will keep gusts at bay; however, anything over 20 mph should best be avoided unless you know your way around safe harbors to protect yourself against nature’s elements.

As a novice saltwater enthusiast, it’s important to remain mindful of the interplay between wind and tide. Don’t underestimate their influence or overestimate your abilities; even if you’re in shape, fishing requires extra skill – particularly when battling against strong winds and unpredictable waves that could make for dangerous conditions. Give due respect to the ocean and stay alert: one stray wave at an unexpected angle can spell disaster!

When setting out on the water, be prepared for any situation. Review maps to identify potential refuge locations in advance, pay close attention to forecasted weather patterns, and stay ready for anything that could arise-especially summer thunderstorms! Knowing where you can beach your vessel is critical if a launch site gets too far away.

Water temperature

For those looking to remain on open water in the winter, a dry suit and PFD are essential for safety. the 120 Rule recommends wearing a dry suit paired with your PFD. Not only will this waterproof ensemble make you look like an awesome fighter pilot, but it could even save your life! The rule states that if water and air temperatures combined do not add up to at least 120°F then either opt for drysuit protection or don’t go out on the open water – simple as that!

VHF Radio

When you’re out on the water, being self-sufficient is vital. To ensure a safe and enjoyable time for all vessels, equip your boat with a waterproof VHF radio – featuring 25+ channels of communication, channels 9 and 16 are key! Channel 9 connects recreational craft while 16 serves as an international distress channel to alert emergency responders when necessary; I keep my kayak fishing trips secure by tuning in to this crucial frequency. And who knows? You may even catch some fascinating conversations during the journey.

Other safety supplies

A signaling device such as an air horn or whistle: with the sound of an air horn or whistle, boaters can be instantly alerted if they are in danger of a potentially disastrous collision.

A flag for visibility.

A hand pump and a large sponge can help save the day, just in case your vessel takes on water. 

A basic first-aid kit.

A 360-degree white light: Ensure you’re prepared for any night fishing activity by having a 360-degree white light to alert others of your presence. However, if the unexpected happens and you find yourself out on the waters after sunset without this necessity, use your phone’s camera flash as an effective substitute until sunrise.

A cutting implement is ideal for any situation where you may be entwined in lines or anchored down, allowing you to swiftly cut and take control of the situation.


Fishing Rod Leash.

Paddle Leash.


Crucial for anyone just starting, Ocean Kayak Fishing should always be done in the company of an experienced companion — not only to ensure safety but also to capture some amazing photos from your big catches! 

Plan and make sure someone knows where you are heading, how long you will be gone, and what time they should alert authorities if necessary so they can alert authorities in case of any unexpected delays.


Can you do fishing in a kayak?

Yes, kayak fishing has become increasingly popular in recent years. Kayak fishing is the perfect outdoor activity for those seeking adventure and an escape from everyday life. With its affordability, accessibility, and unique ability to get you into hard-to-reach areas – kayaking offers a rewarding experience that many anglers are starting to explore. With the addition of specially-made accessories like rod holders and depth finders, it is now possible to experience a successful day out on the water without ever leaving your kayak!

Does salt water damage kayaks?

Saltwater can cause corrosion and other damage to your kayak (including deck cord, bungee rigging, seat material, and handles can all be worn away over time. Even lifejackets and wetsuits aren’t safe ) if not properly maintained. It’s important to rinse off your boat after each use and make sure all metal parts are adequately coated with a protective layer. Additionally, be mindful of the materials used in the construction of the boat – some may not be able to withstand long-term exposure to saltwater.

What type of kayak is best for ocean fishing?

The best type of kayak for ocean fishing is a sit-on-top style kayak. These kayaks have an open deck and are designed to be easy to get in and out of, plus they’re stable enough for fishing on choppy waters. They also feature storage compartments so you can bring along all the necessary gear for your day out on the water. Additionally, some models come with rod holders, which make it easier to keep multiple rods ready at once!

Can you catch big fish in a kayak?

Yes, you can catch big fish in a kayak! With the right equipment and technique, it’s possible to land powerful species like marlin, tuna, and other large gamefish from the comfort of your kayak. The key is having enough stability to handle the size and weight of the fish and being prepared for any surprises. It’s also important to know your limitations – if there’s ever a time when you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.

How do I keep my kayak from drifting while fishing?

Anchoring your kayak is the best way to keep it from drifting while fishing. This can be done manually with a handheld anchor or with an electric motor mounted on the back of the boat. Anchors are available in various sizes and materials, so make sure to choose one that is appropriate for your size and type of kayak. Additionally, there are a few other ways to keep your kayak from drifting – you can use a drift sock or deploy multiple lines off of each side of the boat.


Fishing from a kayak in the ocean can be a great adventure. It’s important to be prepared and know what you’ll need before heading out, as well as some tips for catching fish. Safety should always be your number one priority when kayaking in the ocean – following these guidelines will help you have a fun and safe experience. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can enjoy hours of peaceful paddling and fishing in the ocean.

Thanks for reading our article about Ocean Kayak Fishing. If you have any questions, leave a comment below. You can see more posts on our website here.

Happy fishing!

Further reading

A Beginner’s Guide to Deep Sea Fishing

Offshore Fishing Tips

Offshore Fishing: All Things You Need to Know

Inshore Fishing: All You Need to Know

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