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How to Fish a Chatterbait From a Kayak

One of the first things a kayak angler will hear from other anglers, is that fishing from a kayak is riddled with limitations and disadvantages. As kayaks continue to advance, this is becoming less and less the case. Even before kayaks became extremely stable fishing platforms, there have been a few presentations that are well suited for this type of fishing. One of those baits is a vibrating jig or bladed jig, more commonly known as a chatterbait. So, let’s dive into how to fish a chatterbait from a kayak.

How to Fish a Chatterbait: The Basics of the Lure

Chatterbaits were developed as a mix between a traditional jig, swimbait, and spinnerbait. One of the most prominent characteristics of a chatterbait is it’s distinct blade that’s on top of the jig head that creates vibrations as it’s retrieved. This lure has become extremely popular due to its versatility and effectiveness in a wide variety of situations. On top of versatility, it can be modified by adjusting the blade or adding different trailers that will alter the action of the bait.

How to Fish a Chatterbait: Focusing on the Basics From a Kayak

The biggest differences between fishing from a boat versus fishing from a kayak is a majority of the time fishing from a kayak, you’re sitting down. There are some techniques where this presents challenges, but for chatterbaits, it’s great. When fishing out of a kayak, you’re really close to the waterline. Baits like the chatterbait work best when fished with your rod tip low or pointed at the water. This allows the bait to swim at the correct depth and run true while running through the water. Keeping your rod tip low also allows you to feel how the bait is running and gives you a better sense of what’s in that area in terms of rocks and other structures.

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Setting the hook with a chatterbait is usually really straight-forward, however, in a kayak you need to be careful and manage your movements to avoid rocking the kayak and disturbing the water

Most fishing kayaks these days are plenty stable but if you’re the type of angler who likes to set the hook like you’re swinging for a homerun, you can still have issues. Remember that even the most stable kayak can be tipped, but with these newer kayaks that are highly engineered, they’re stable as possible. Once you’re comfortable with your kayak, you’ll know it’s limits.

How to Fish a Chatterbait: Setting the Hook and Landing a Bass From a Kayak

Overall, the hookset with a chatterbait is really simple. Depending on how the fish hits the bait, you may only simply have to raise your rod tip and maintain pressure on the line. Depending on the time of year or the weather conditions, fish will strike a chatterbait differently. In early spring, around ice out here in New England, bass tend to move slower and as a result, the strike feels as if you’ve snagged something or the bait caught some weeds. In the warmer parts of the season, bass can become more aggressive and it will feel like your bait was hit by a truck (that’s the fun stuff).

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When landing a fish caught on a chatterbait, you’ll want to get the fish into the boat quickly.

That doesn’t mean over power them, but the longer a chatterbait is hooked in a bass, the more likely the bass is to throw the hook. One way to give yourself a major advantage, make sure your kayak and kayak accessories are out of the way. There are a lot of really neat looking accessories that can be rigged on a kayak but the more you have, the more objects your line can get snagged on, so make sure you keep things tidy and out of the way. Consider the direction you cast the most and be sure to avoid mounting things like fish finders in the way. Accessories can be your best friend and then quickly turn into your worst enemy while trying to land a giant bass.

There are a wide variety of different chatterbaits on the market, so get in a kayak and give them a try, you won’t regret it!

 

Kayak Bass Fishing Welcomes ‘ANGLR’ of the Year Title Sponsor

ANGLR, the world’s most popular fishing intelligence platform, has become the title sponsor of the prestigious Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) Angler of the Year award. Not just for 2019, but for 2020.

Kayak Fishing History

If you’re unaware of the kayak fishing movement, it’s time to wake up and smell the freshly molded plastic. It’s a movement and something that we think has been way overdue.

There was a huge gap between bank fishing and buying a $60,000 bass fishing boat or inshore skiff. We couldn’t be more excited and supportive of the 10-13 foot piece of plastic that is beginning to bridge this gap. The kayak fishing era is now and we’re not going to watch it happen from the shore.

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2018 ANGLR of the Year, Cody Milton with Chad Hoover

“KBF is constantly looking for new ways to enhance the kayak angler’s experience and improve the caliber of competition and opportunities for our members. Because of this we are delighted to be working with ANGLR who shares our commitment to continuous improvement, lifelong learning, and deeper enjoyment of the sport.” – Chad Hoover, KBF Founder and President

“It’s so cool to find another brand who is as passionate about growing this sport as we are.” – Joe Haubenreich, KBF COO

“Kayak fishing has become incredibly popular in recent years and continues to grow,” said Dave Washburn, FLW Vice President of Operations

Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF), the nation’s foremost organization supporting kayak bass anglers, has been a key player spearheading this movement since 2009. The KBF was formed in 2009 to offer kayak anglers the opportunity to compete for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and prizes at premier fisheries around the country. They are currently in their seventh season for live events. KBF offers more than 25 professional-level bass fishing tournaments to kayak anglers. For complete KBF details, schedules and updated information, visit KayakBassFishing.com.

About the KBF AOY Program

Only four years old, KBF’s Angler of the Year (“AOY”) award recognizes season-long, consistent, outstanding performance and commitment to competition in all KBF TRAIL series.

The award is based on a points system. Points are awarded based on performance of KBF members who compete throughout the tournament season. Points are summed up from three primary trails:

  • Top three scores from the 2019 KBF TRAIL Series Tournaments
  • Points from one Regional KBF TRAIL Series Championship
  • Double points from the 2019 KBF TRAIL Series National Championship

See the current rankings!

The New ANGLR of the Year

Cody Milton, the 2018 AOY will be the first official “ANGLR of the Year” title holder. ANGLR also stepped up to sponsor the upcoming 2019 crowning, AND we’ve picked up the future 2020 race as well! We are committed for the next two years and wanted to show our enthusiasm for this segment of fishermen right off the bat.

“To me this partnership is massive, I believe in both companies, the people working for them and the community around them. Some of the best people in the world paddle these little plastic boats. This community is unlike any other, this is something special. AOY will never be the same…” – Scott Beutjer, Kayak Angler and Industry Developer

Much More Than a Sponsorship

We wanted to form a closer working relationship with KBF and their members to learn how we could better serve their community. Chad’s expertise in the Kayak fishing industry will be critical to help us shape the ANGLR app and future development of features for the kayak fishermen.

We loved the play on the name and how well it fits, but we also loved what this title represents to KBF members. It is a symbol of the ANGLR mission in many ways. It represents drive, constant improvement, learning, and commitment to the craft. The title encapsulates everything we stand for. We exist to help anglers constantly improve.

We’re committed to the kayak community and love the passion these anglers exhibit both on and off the water. This community has repeatedly proven they put the angler first, and that’s what we’re all about. This partnership is just the first paddle stroke of many in the journey ahead into uncharted waters with kayak anglers. We couldn’t be more excited for what the future holds!

 

Photo Credits: Scott Beutjer

Selecting the Right Kayak Fishing Rod Holder for Your Kayak

Featured Image Credit: Anthony Shingler

Out of curiosity, I created a Facebook poll for the members of the Clarksville Area Kayak Fishing group to see how many guys use a kayak fishing rod holder while bass fishing. Definitely not a statistically representative sampling, but since I only use them to hold rods I am not casting, it was an interesting way to learn more about possible uses. If there is anything kayak anglers love to talk about more than fishing, it is how they set up their equipment.

Bobby Brown started the poll with “rod holders are for storing rods, not for fishing”. Now since this guy is a fan of the Ned Rig, I thought that maybe he would use one to dead stick it; it is the only way I could fish a Ned Rig… cast it, put the rod in a holder and forget about it while you eat a snack; then reel it in and get back to fishing with something else.

Kayak Fishing Rod Holder: The Options Often Used

I wasn’t surprised when 79% of the responses were the same since the majority of kayak tournament anglers use holders for equipment while underway. Most of them are stored vertically in holders integrated with standard or modified milk crates, YakAttack BlackPack’s,  the Hobie H-Crate, or any number of creative pvc solutions.  

Several anglers prefer to use the “tube” designs that can easily be attached to GearTrac using one of the mounting designs on the market.  This allows the angler flexibility to store the rods vertically or horizontally to avoid overhanging trees or low bridges.  A friend, Ben Meredith, uses this type of design to secure his equipment while unhooking, measuring and photographing fish.

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When other anglers started to respond that they, “use rod holders while out on the kayak”, I was curious and reached out for more information.

It seems that there are many ways to fish while using them. KBF allows trolling in their bass tournaments, Trophy Catfish Kayak Anglers (TCKA) director Ron Himmelhaver uses a four rod holder setup to chase monster catfish and several guys who responded to the poll will drop worms or minnows while paddling. Ben even has a spider rig setup for crappie fishing that he uses on his kayak, not something I had even considered as an option.

Kayak Fishing Rod Holder: The Crate System

My first kayak, a Jackson Big Tuna, had a Ram Mount attached. It was more than enough to paddle around the local creeks. Within a few months, I decided to fish tournaments and I needed more rods.

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I replaced the Ram holder with a mutated milk crate because I wanted my equipment in front of me; the boat allowed for this setup to be efficient.

Kayak Fishing Rod Holder: The Crate and Cooler in One

It was not pretty, but it was highly functional; in my Hobie PA14, this setup would never work, so I opted for an Engel Dry Box with attached rod holders. It has a lid with latches that I use to store tackle, but can be used as a cooler on hot days. In the Outback, I have an H-Crate because of the types of water I fish in that boat, and I use it to get others involved in kayaking. The crate system is easy to load and unload, making it perfect for anyone to bring some gear along.

It will take you a few trips to decide what is the best setup, but you can start by asking yourself what types of water do you plan to fish and what fits your style.

Just remember to consider horizontal versus vertical storage options if you fish a lot of small water, how many rods you carry and what path you take to get there. Are you using the rod holders to fish, for trolling, or just to transport from one location to another launch?

In the end, it is up to you the angler to decide what works for you. Sit in the boat, paddle/pedal it for a while and see what fits. Your first setup will most likely not be your last and companies are now realizing the kayak market is growing, so you have a lot of options to pick from.  

A Basic Guide to Kayak Fishing Nets

Kayak fishing nets aren’t always the first thing that comes to mind when deciding how to outfit your kayak or prepare for a day of fishing, but they play a major role in landing fish. When you speak with other anglers, you’ll most likely hear mixed results around if they use a net or not. If you’re an angler who uses a net, or one that wants to start using a net, here are some key tips for you.

Kayak Fishing Nets: Size Matters

When selecting a kayak fishing net, always keep in mind what kind of fishing you’re going to be doing. You’ll want to make sure that the net you select is more than wide enough to fit your intended species with some room to spare. Nets can be your best friend, but they can also ruin a catch by knocking a fish off the hook if it’s not wide enough. You want to make sure that you select a net that is going to give you the biggest advantage possible. If you select a net that’s too wide, you could be constantly dealing with snags on other pieces of gear, potentially even expensive rod and reel setups.

Kayak anglers need to give special consideration to the impact a new piece of gear may have on the rest of their set up.

Depending on the size of the kayak that you’re fishing out of, you may want to consider different handle lengths. When you’re searching for different fishing nets, you’ll notice that there are a wide range of options for handle length, so here are some things to consider:

First, consider your style of fishing.

Some kayak anglers tend to be more animated with their hooksets and other movements, if you’re one of these anglers, you’ll know that space is valuable. Longer handles offer an advantage for grabbing fish further from the kayak but they also take up more real estate when not in use.

Secondly, you need to consider how the net will fit in your kayak with either pedals or your paddle.

For anglers who paddle, longer handles can more easily be stowed out of the way. Anglers who fish out of pedal drive kayaks will want to be careful with longer-handled nets as they can easily become tangled or interfere with your drive. If you have a pedal drive and still prefer a longer handle, there are plenty of companies who make kayak attachments that can aid in stowing a net handle out of the way while remaining accessible when needed.

Kayak Fishing Nets: The Right Net Material

One of the biggest differences between cheaper and more expensive nets, is the material the net is made out of. More expensive nets are typically made out of rubber material or have a rubber coating on them. This is beneficial for a few different reasons. The first, it’s better for the fish as it doesn’t harm the slime coat. Cheaper, nylon nets are more abrasive and tend to scrape a fish. Uncoated nylon is also fantastic at getting treble hooks caught in it which is no fun when you’re trying to make your next cast. Nets made of a rubber like material also tend to last longer as they aren’t as susceptible to fraying and getting snagged.

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There is never any shortage of thoughts or opinions when it comes to an angler’s preference so go try a variety of nets and find what works best for you!

Tournament Kayak Setup: Developing the Layout to Fit Your Needs

It is tournament day and your kayak loaded with gear is in the water. There are still five minutes until the official launch…one final check is in process. The tournament kayak setup mental list playing; phone/camera in the right pocket of my NRS Chinook, Ketch measuring board attached with a lanyard, Diet Pepsi, snacks, water, tackle, lucky duck, depth fin…. dang it.  Coming back from the truck, attaching the depth finder… paddle, net, identifier, flag and light, truck locked (again)… keys in the left pocket of the Chinook, with my wallet. Extra bump board stowed, maybe rain… so the rain suit is on board… toilet paper in the hatch (‘cause you just never know).

Time to push off from the ramp, “here we go”.

Pull up to any site where kayakers are launching, you will find them attaching widgets and gadgets to fit their style and deck space. These moments are the culmination of a lot of work, decisions, trial, and error. If it is the first tournament you have ever entered, congratulations; you will learn what you forgot soon enough. If, like many of us, it is August and you are at your twenty-fifth tournament, there is no doubt you have spent countless hours developing the layout of your kayak.

Tournament Kayak Setup: Maximizing Accessibility and Space

I am a manufacturing engineer by profession so I approached setting up my Hobie PA14 as a project. I had two goals in mind; use as much space as possible and make everything accessible.  

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I needed space because I am not a light packer and I needed it easily accessible because I am too old to be climbing all over to reach equipment.  

I began by making a mental list of all the tackle and boxes in my arsenal, lay out all of the rods I think I might need, choose a depth finder, grab my net and paddle… then sit down in the kayak to map out an imaginary day fishing.

Tournament Kayak Setup: Using Mounts and Rails

Before you can catch ‘em, you have to find ‘em, so I looked for the best depth finder location.  My Hobie has predetermined wire routing and the H-Rail system gave me the ability to move the finder close so my old eyes could see the Lowrance Elite TI7.  If you don’t have the H-Rail, YakAttack makes it easy to mount almost anything with their GearTrac, so it becomes a matter of where you want to put it.

After mounting that unit on the right, I chose to mount my net holder (YakAttack RotoGrip) on that side since I am right handed.  Now, some guys like their nets behind them, some beside them; I chose in front of me so I didn’t have to turn to get it.  To be very honest, I lost three nets in trees or choppy water with it behind me, so it was not only that I struggle to turn around during the fight; I wanted it where I could see it fall over.  You can carry one of hundreds of nets, but after losing a few I started picking up the Frabill rubber net from WalMart; cheap and effective.

Mounting the paddle opposite the net and depth finder made sense to me because it makes it easier to step in at the ramp. I could survive with no net in my pedal yak, but I carry a Bending Branches Pro Angler Carbon paddle because my style of fishing often lands me in the shallowest areas of a lake. There are also times where the wind keeps the kayak from being responsive so to overcome these obstacles, this paddle is light and easy to manage one handed in case I need it while fighting a fish.

Tournament Kayak Setup: Find What Works for You

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I travel thousands of miles each year, often with little sleep, so I felt that I needed a “system” because I still remember how unprepared I was to fish my first tournament.

Sitting in the garage was the start of that system. I reached for gear in my tackle boxes and bags, picked up rods and put them back, grabbed the net and paddle. Then, fishing a few days on the water helped me to refine the setup.

Now, it is the same on every trip. I have an order to loading tackle and rods, attaching the depth finder, net and paddle; reducing the time it takes to load and unload allowing maximum time on the water.  A place for everything and everything in its place.

Fishing From a Kayak for Beginners

Fishing from a kayak presents a more approachable and affordable way to get out on the water. With the sport growing in popularity, so too is the selection of kayaks. Below are some key considerations to keep in mind when selecting your first kayak and how you can rig it.

Fishing From a Kayak for Beginners: Selecting the Right Kayak

When purchasing a kayak, like many other things, you get what you pay for. Kayaks can range in price from a couple hundred dollars to well up into the thousands. The price of some kayak models may seem on the higher side but it’s often cheaper to buy the kayak you want to start with, rather than upgrading later on.

The price of a kayak is typically based on the quality of construction and the features included.

Take some time to review kayaks from different companies and start to get a feel for what features you think you’ll want. While there’s no shortage of thoughts and opinions online, it’s best to take the time to visit a local outfitter and try a few kayaks before you make a final decision. Often times, people select a kayak that they weren’t even considering before and who knows, there may even be a sale going on.

The days of having to paddle your kayak are in the past.

Some anglers prefer to paddle when kayak fishing, but if you’re looking for an alternative, there are plenty of pedal and motor options available. When considering which is best for you, consider the type of water you’ll primarily be fishing. If you mainly fish rivers or moving water, you’ll probably want a kayak that turns quickly and tracks well. With current and hazards hidden in rivers, it can be a good idea to stick with a paddle-powered kayak so that you can minimize the amount of equipment in the water and prevent getting caught up. If you fish lakes and larger bodies of water, pedal-drive kayaks can be a great way to cover a lot of water while saving your arms. Pedal-drive kayaks also allow an angler to keep a fishing rod in their hands longer while staying on their spot more easily.

Fishing From a Kayak for Beginners: Rigging and Accessories

Nowadays, the rigging options for kayaks are endless. Most kayaks come with gear tracks or other methods to mount accessories like fish finders or rod holders without having to drill into your hull.

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When making rigging choices, keep in mind how you fish so that you don’t add something that interferes with hooksets or paddling.

Most fishing kayaks on the market are designed for accessories, but be careful that you aren’t adding too much weight to your boat. If you overload your kayak, you’ll have difficulties moving, turning, or worse, you’ll sink it. Check out companies like YakAttack and Railblaza for some great options.

Fishing From a Kayak for Beginners: Safety

Every year there’s always a few tragic stories of kayakers going missing because they underestimated the body of water they were on or the weather conditions. To be prepared for a day on the water and ensure that you return safe, there are a few simple safety items to keep in mind.

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First and foremost, a Personal Floatation Device (PFD).

Many kayak anglers decide not to wear a PFD because it’s uncomfortable or they think they’ll be fine if they were somehow to fall into the water. When an incident occurs that sends an angler into the water it’s rarely expected. You’d be surprised to hear how some of the most seasoned anglers have panicked when they’ve ended up in the water. There are so many options to choose from when it comes to PFDs, take the time to find the one that’s right for you.

Another vital piece of safety equipment is a visibility flag. Kayaks come in all sizes and colors but trust me when I tell you that no matter how bright of a color you choose, boats still won’t see you every time. There are many companies that make flags with built in LED lights for those early mornings or late night fishing trips. When fishing popular bodies of water, it’s essential to do everything within your power to make yourself visible to other boaters and avoid an accident.

Once the weather and water warms up, it’s always a good idea to take your kayak out with your PFD but leave the rest of your gear at home. Paddle or pedal around to get a feel for how the kayak handles. Take your time to get comfortable with it and even make a few leans to figure out how much stability you have in each direction. Don’t be afraid to tip, worst case, you’ll get to test your PFD. Knowing the limits of your kayak will help you gain confidence in what you can and cannot handle.

Kayak Tackle Management Strategies with Matt Ball

One ever-present challenge for the kayak angler is having to decide what stays and what goes. This is where kayak tackle management can be key. Take too much and you may as well be lugging an anvil around all day. Take too little and find yourself in desperate need on the water. We sat down with 2016 KBF National Champion Matt Ball to discuss how he builds his manifest each time he hits the water.

Kayak Tackle Management: Taking What You Need

Everybody thinks they have to pare everything down for kayak fishing. Well yeah, you do compared to a bass boat, but I still take a lot of stuff. I want to be prepared for just about any situation. If there’s nothing but a lot of shallow grass present, then yeah that narrows down what I need to take. But I fish a lot of deeper lakes where I may be fishing 30-feet of water. It’s all a process of elimination for me.

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You just have to narrow it down for the water you’re going to fish.

I have a couple boxes setup for river fishing. I know those are the type of baits that I’m going to use and that’s all I really need. If I’m fishing a lake, it’s the same kind of deal. I’ll leave the rest in my truck for pre-fishing.

The biggest thing for me is research on where I’m going to be fishing, looking at the conditions, and knowing what I should expect from the water before I get there. I do a lot of research before I go fishing. You can eliminate a lot of baits and weight out of your kayak that way. I’m not going to take a box of 10XDs to a shallow lake. That stays in the truck.

Kayak Tackle Management: Find Ways That Work for You

Terminal tackle is the one thing I use a lot of. I try to contain all of my terminal tackle to my Cal Coast Battle Box. It’s one of the best things that I have found so far for kayak fishing. It has a lot of little cylinders that you can put your weights and hooks in. The little pill bottle style deals. Say I’m throwing 1/4 ounce tungsten bullet weight and a 3/0 Extra Wide Gap hook, I’ll have those two things in my PFD and I never have to go in that box. That way I’m not constantly turning around looking for something if I break off.

I carry about 6 rods every time and that’s another thing that you’ve really got to watch. A place like Caddo where we fished the 2019 KBF National Championship, you can’t have those rods sticking up all behind you because they’re going to be snagged in those cypress trees all the time. You have to have your rods staged where they’re accessible but they’re not going to get in the way of your fishing.

Instead of taking a spinnerbait box and a buzzbait box and so on, I have a box that has 4 or 5 spinnerbaits of various colors and sizes. In that same box, I have my buzzbaits, a couple top toads, a couple of frogs.

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You’re throwing baits in categories instead of having the whole box full of just one presentation.

Your kayak crate is everything when it comes to your kayak tackle management. I use the Jackson JKrate. It’ll hold two Cal Coast Battle Boxes and 3 or 4 3700 Plano boxes. Then I have two soft plastic bags that I’ll keep under the seat. That’s where I have to do the most weeding down. One thing that’s really helped me in a kayak is that I’m a big user of the Z-Man plastics. By using those, you can take a whole lot less. There are certain situations where a Z-Man bait doesn’t work because I don’t want a buoyant bait. But for the most part I use a bunch of the Z-Man stuff because I know I can take one pack and it’s going to last me all day.

Kayak Tackle Management: Stick to the Basics

The other thing I’ve learned to do, I pretty much stick with 3 basic colors in my soft plastics. The black and blue, the natural colors and then the shad colors. You can do pretty much anything with those colors. There are so many color variances these days, but you don’t have the luxury that you have in a bass boat to have 6 different variances of pumpkin seed.

I’ll start out with a lot more tackle pre-fishing than I really need. But by the time the tournament comes and I have a pattern figured out, I can eliminate a lot of stuff out of there. That helps on loading and unloading the kayak too. There are some necessities like rain gear that you simply have to have. You can’t have a lot of stuff, but with necessities like that, I usually have them compressed down in a dry bag.

There are a lot of tournaments where we can launch from any public land. So, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and time if you’re packing light and can just dump the boat in off the side of the road instead of having to paddle 2 miles. The guys that can really pare it down have a huge advantage, especially on the bigger water without a lot of access points.

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You just learn and adjust over time as you figure out what works best for you.

 

Kayak Tackle Storage Options for the Avid Kayak Bass Fisherman

First of all, bass fishing is bass fishing. There seems to be some misconception that fishing from a kayak is dramatically different than fishing from a 20-foot fiberglass boat. Granted, we cannot run at 60 mph but since a fish isn’t racing around the water at that speed; do we need to?  Today’s kayaks are extremely lean and agile fishing machines. They can access places a larger bass boat can, and places they cannot. Properly equipped they are just as, if not more, effective. Especially when looking at all of the different kayak tackle storage options!

The real limitation to the kayak is space.  The average angling kayak ranges from 10.5-14 feet long by 32-42 inches wide with most of the space occupied by the angler.  Most do not allow for deep storage compartments, or have spare cargo area. This makes it difficult to carry a ton of gear, so kayak tackle storage can become an exercise in either minimalism or creativity.

Kayak Tackle Storage Options – The Minimalist Approach

I admire the minimalists on the water. They carry a handful of tackle, a couple of rods, and head out to fish. These guys usually have a milk crate with Plano waterproof boxes (waterproof just in case you roll) and a couple of bait binders filled with creature baits or jigs. They have a cup holder filled with lures they have cut off, or plan to use soon.

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They are better managers of tackle, time, and the space available.

Just like them, my cup holder (or the cover to my Lowrance) tells the story of the day. It doesn’t seem like it should be in a discussion about tackle storage, but when space is so limited you use what is available to you.  I can reach down while loading the kayak and use that pile of lures to record what did or didn’t work for me. Unfortunately, it is all too often an indicator of how bad the day went on the water.

Kayak Tackle Storage Options – The Creative Approach

Now, to the anglers like me, we carry more than we really need and require solutions that allow us to carry tackle “just in case”. I have an Engel Dry Box filled with waterproof Plano boxes; one of each for topwater, crankbaits, jigs and a mixed box full of stuff off the floor of the kayak. The space under the seat of the kayak holds more Plano boxes or soft binders filled with Senkos, worms, creatures, bugs and one dedicated to craws. I pedal a Hobie PA14 because it also has integrated storage in the deck where I store terminal tackle, and a hatch up front allowing access for the day on the water.

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You don’t have to worry, there is no need to get a PA14 to carry everything you think you might need because you don’t have under the deck storage.

There is also no need to leave rods back in the truck to create space on your kayak. Companies like Yak Attack, Plano, Hobie; even new players in the industry have recognized that the kayak fishing community is growing.

They are delivering products like the Engel box, BlackPak, the H-Crate and Plano’s V-Crate;  giving the angler some serious choices. Many even allow for vertical rod storage and can be modified with other accessories.  

Again, bass fishing is bass fishing. Anything that can be used on a 20-foot fiberglass rig to catch ‘em can be used in the kayak… you just have to be more creative about where to store it during your trip on the water.

KBF and FLW Propel Professional Kayak Fishing Into National Spotlight

Featured Image Credit: KBF and FLW

FLW – KBF Joining Forces

Propelling Professional Kayak Fishing into the National Spotlight

Press Release, March 11, 2019 – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today that it has partnered with Kayak Bass Fishing, LLC, (KBF) the nation’s foremost organization supporting kayak bass anglers, to hold two kayak bass fishing tournaments in 2019. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The two events will be held in conjunction with FLW Tour events – the FLW Tour at Lake Chickamauga and the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton – on nearby fisheries to offer kayak anglers and tour pros separate fisheries for competition. KBF will manage operation of the two events, and the winners will be recognized on the FLW Tour stage and featured in FLW’s media outlets.

To learn more and read the entire press release, click here: https://www.kayakbassfishing.com/FLW/

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First Event Details: FLW/KBF Open – Nickajack Lake

  • Two days: Saturday, May 4 & Sunday, May 5, 2019, in conjunction with the May 2-5, 2019, FLW Tour stop on Lake Chickamauga
  • Nickajack Lake, near Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Hosted by Fish Dayton and Fish Lake Chickamauga
  • Full field competes both days
  • Top 100 in rank qualify to for the August 9-10 FLW/KBF Cup in Hot Springs, AR.
  • Top 20 get Entry Fees waived for that FLW/KBF Cup tournament.
  • Entry Fee: $200 per person (one per watercraft), 25% of proceeds rolling over to the FLW/KBF Cup
  • Competitors must be:
     – 2019 FLW Competitor Member OR
     – 2019 KBF Competitor or Lifetime Member and KBF Pro Tour Registrant*
  • Competitors must be 18 years of age or older.

Kayak Carts 101: Everything You Need To Know about Kayak Carts

So you made it to the lake, now what?

A decade ago when I began the journey into fishing from a kayak, things were not as complicated as they are today.  I’m not even sure if complicated is the correct word, but either way, kayak fishing has grown, and with its growth, a massive industry has developed to support it.  Our kayaks are now built as fishing specific machines, equipped to carry more weight, and every crevice and crease is used to house more gear. With this, the kayaks have become heavier, but more stable in the water, and better equipped to serve as an awesome fishing vessel. With the heavier kayaks, kayak carts have become a necessity.   

Back when I started, kayaks were generally lighter, not as wide, and they had carrying capacities that are not even close to the limits of modern day fishing kayaks. Back then a couple rods, a milk crate loaded with a little tackle, a set of pliers, and you were kayak fishing. When you take a minute and think about how much the sport has grown over the last ten years it’s just crazy… but crazy in a good way.

Kayak Carts Allow For Ease of Transportation

With all of this said, we need a way to get our heavy rigs to the water’s edge from our transport vehicle. Getting the kayak to the parking lot is a whole other article that we will unpack at another time.

There are several ways to accomplish getting the kayak to the water, but one way I have found changed my life.  This is the kayak cart. There are many types sold as well as the DIY versions where the sky is the limit as far as your design and build go.  They can be made as simple, or as complicated as you want them to be. With the weights of some popular fishing kayaks, kayak carts have almost become a necessity. 

Weights of some popular fishing kayaks on the market today:

Wilderness Systems ATAK 140:  95-pounds

Hobie Pro Angler 14:  120.5-pounds

Old Town PDL:  117-pounds

Popular Kayak Cart Models

Popular Kayak Cart Models: The C-Tug by Railblaza

I personally use the C-Tug made by Railblaza.  I have put this cart through its paces and have had only one issue the entire time.  I broke the kickstand on a boat ramp that I had no business dropping the kayak off of, the break was completely my fault.  The cool thing is, all of the parts are replaceable as the unit breaks down for storage and requires no tools for disassembly or assembling.  

Kayak Carts (3)

Pictured above is the C-Tug made by Railblaza.  It can be found today on some sites for around $140.00.  The picture above belongs to shop.potomacpaddlesports.com.

All of the C-Tug’s parts are replaceable should you break the cart dropping it off of a boat ramp you have no business dropping it off of.  The cart will fit most kayaks due to its adjustable pads and is corrosion free. There are several different tire choices for the many different terrains we encounter as kayak anglers.  The maximum load weight is 120kg/300-pounds static loading. If you are in the market for a kayak cart you can check out the C-Tug at https://www.c-tug.com.  

Popular Kayak Cart Models: The Boonedox Landing Gear

Another very popular cart, or more like a flight system for a kayak, is the Boonedox Landing Gear.  The landing gear is made by Boonedox in Thomasville, North Carolina.

Kayak Carts (1)

The above picture is the property of boonedoxusa.com

The Boonedox Landing gear is made to actually bolt onto the kayak. When you are in the water the legs simply fold up and are out of your way while fishing or just leisurely paddling around. When you make it back to the dock simply fold the legs down and roll your kayak back to your vehicle, house, or wherever you may need to go.  The wheels are always with you so lifting a heavy kayak to place a cart under it is not a factor.

For our heavy fishing kayaks, this has become a very popular option. I have not used one personally, but I have a couple close buddies that swear by the Boonedox Landing Gear.  

The Boonedox Landing gear can be purchased for around the $270.00-$300.00 and comes in some different models that are kayak specific. On the site, if your kayak model does not have a specific landing gear listed, then the general Landing Gear can be purchased and in most cases should work for you. Like the C-Tug cart, there are replacement parts that can be purchased if you were to break something. There are also different tires available for the many different terrains we traverse trying to get to that one magical place that holds the bass of a lifetime. Check the Boonedox Landing Gear out at https://boonedoxusa.com.  

Popular Kayak Cart Models: Hobie’s Kayak Carts

Let’s take a look at Hobie’s kayak Carts. Hobie makes their own carts for their very popular line of kayaks, and generally, have one for whatever Hobie kayak you paddle or peddle. Their carts work by inserting the scupper tube into the scupper holes of the kayak near the rear of the boat, behind the seat. Hobie makes a few different carts.

    • Fold & Stow Plug-in Cart –  This cart weighs in at just over 5-pounds and will break down (no tools) to fit inside a large hatch.  The maximum capacity for this cart is 175-pounds. It comes with a nice carrying bag for storage.
    • Hobie Plug-in Carts – This cart comes with removable wheels and is made out of Stainless Steel.  Your choice of wheels, Standard with a 150-pounds capacity and Heavy-Duty allowing you to carry up to 225-pounds.
    • Trax 2 Plug-in Cart –   This cart is great in the sand because of its pneumatic tires.  The tire pressures can be lowered to assist you in softer sand or soil.  This cart has a 176-pound capacity.
  • Trax 2-30 Plug-in Cart –   This cart is the same as the above listed Trax 2, but with a higher carrying capacity because of the 30cm pneumatic tires.  This allows you to carry up to 242-pounds and is the best Hobie cart for sand duty.

Contact a Hobie dealer near you or check them out online at https://www.hobie.com/accessories/carts/.

Popular Kayak Cart Models: Other Kayak Cart Options

There are also some kayak carts that are made for general duty or purpose.  A simple google search will provide you with several options for a basic cart.  Some of the ones on the market today are:

A Final Option: DIY Kayak Carts

Some PVC and lawn mower wheels can get you well on your way to a DIY cart.  The picture below is a fine example of a DIY cart that someone made for probably a really affordable cost.  It uses the above-mentioned items along with a pool noodle that can be picked up at your local Walmart or General Dollar Store.  The PVC, glue, and wheels can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot. You will find many instructional videos on YouTube in reference to building a kayak cart.

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The above picture was obtained from gearcloud.net

No matter who you are or how old you are, your back is taking a beating by lifting and moving your kayak around every day.  If you are one of those kayak anglers like myself that doesn’t live on the water, then do yourself a favor now and get a cart.  Some of them are expensive, but the DIY carts will work fine and at least get you started, your back will thank you later.

As always stay safe on the water, take care of each other, promote our sport in a positive light every chance you get, and always have fun.