Kayak Trolling

Kayak Trolling | Kayak Trolling Tips with Adam Rourke

Trolling from a kayak can be a very exciting and effective way to catch fish. For years, anglers have been rigging their boats in ways that work really well for kayak trolling in both freshwater and saltwater fisheries. 

With kayak accessories becoming more advanced, it’s never been easier to troll for some big fish. That being said, there are definitely some key tips you should consider before hitting the water. Below are some straightforward and effective tips to help make sure your day spent kayak trolling is a good one!

Kayak Trolling: Prepare Your Kayak

If you’ve ever trolled for fish, you’ll know that it can be really tough on your gear, especially your kayak. Depending on what you’re fishing for, you may need to install special accessories that are specifically suited for trolling applications. If you have a standard gear track mounted rod holder, that may work for trolling for smaller fish like trout or bass but larger fish will require stronger gear. 

Downrigging is a great example of a technique that would require special equipment and some modifications to prevent damage to your kayak or other pieces of gear. Downriggers can put a lot of pressure on the hull of a kayak so as a safety precaution, you should always add a metal mounting plate behind the base of your downrigger mount to help spread the pressure on the hull while giving it additional strength. When trolling with baits like crankbaits that run deeper in the water column, the constant vibration and pressure of the bait can loosen up mounts or create cracks in a kayak hull if not reinforced. 

Kayak Trolling(1)

Depending on what you’re trolling for, you’ll want to make sure the gear you are using allows for your fishing rods to be pointed in the right direction. Photo Credit: Kayak Angler Mag

This will help ensure that fish stay hooked and will also make it easier to manage a catch once it’s hooked. A good trick for this is to make sure the drag on your reels is slightly loosened up, this will help relieve some of the pressure on your fishing rods and kayak.

Kayak Trolling: Prepare for the Unexpected

With trolling there’s a lot of line and other gear involved. Knowing this, it’s essential to have the right gear ready just in case it’s needed. The first piece of gear that comes to mind, is a knife. Unlike larger boats, kayaks are definitely more susceptible to being pulled around by the wind and if by chance your line were to get tangled, it could potentially lead to tipping the kayak over and potentially losing all of your gear. 

This is an especially relevant concern for anglers who’ve transitioned to a pedal drive kayak. These pedal drives can be bound by fishing line, leaving an angler potentially stranded or capsized. 

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Like always when in a kayak, be sure to wear your PFD, it could save your life. You can always replace your fishing gear. Photo Credit: Robert Field

This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert

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Adam Rourke


Adam Rourke is a bass angler with over 10 years of tournament fishing experience. About eight years ago, he shifted his focus to the sport of kayak bass fishing which led him qualifying for the Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship in 2018 and 2019.

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ANGLR Expert, Adam Rourke

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