15 Best Fishing Kayak Accessories : To Make Your Kayak Epic

As most anglers know, the right gear can make a day fishing out of the lake seamless. That said, it’s easy to get overloaded with equipment that ends up bogging you down. If you’re kayaking, it’s important to be conscious about what you carry with you. You need to carefully prioritize what tackle, tech, and comfort items you bring.

That’s why we decided to make a definitive list of the gear that will serve you well. From fishing vests to gear mounts to cold-cell coolers, good gear can last several years of use and abuse on the most rugged adventures. After discussing angler’s favorite gear, we’ll wrap up with a discussion about how to select your accessories. So, without any further ado, let’s dive in!

The Best Fishing Kayak Accessories

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the highest-quality, most customer-approved kayak fishing accessories out there. Each item has been ranked in terms of quality and order of importance.

1. Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest


>>Check Price on Amazon<<

5/5

Features:

  • Comes with 20 pockets for keeping tackle organized
  • Unisex fit for men and women
  • Adjustable shoulder and waist straps can change fit

Available in shades ranging from light brown to bright blue, the Bassdash fishing vest is replete with all the on-person storage space an angler might need. The fishing vest is made from premium high-density polyester, making it breathable and sweat-wicking for those long trips on the water.

Featuring an adjustable suspension system, the vest can be tailored to your unique shoulder and waist measurements, which makes it appropriate for both men and women. The 20-pocket design allows you to keep all your tackle organized for on-the-go use.

The storage packets include 15 zippered pockets with smooth zippers, a dual front zip-down work station, a hydration pack rear mesh pocket, and a hook-and-loop to attach removable fly patches.

>>What Customers Think<<

The vest features an alternate quick release buckle closure and dual zipper closure, making it easy to slip in and out of. Moreover, a D-ring gear attachment, exterior chest D-rings for accessories, thermostat docking station, rod holder loops, and web gear lash make it easy to stay organized.

Users appreciate that the vest is very lightweight and exceptionally breathable. If you lack organization space onboard your kayak, this vest makes the perfect alternative.

Pros

  • Adjustable suspension system fits a wide range of different wearers
  • Lightweight and breathable construction makes vest easy to wear all-day
  • Perfect for those that lack organizable storage space onboard their watercraft

Cons

  • Not fully waterproof, yet the vest is somewhat water-resistant
  • Maybe baggy on small users and teens

 

2. YakAttack GT175 Generation II GearTrac Kayak Mount


>>Check Price on Amazon<<

4.5/5

Features:

  • Designed to withstand harsh saltwater and marine environments
  • Doesn’t require any backside access for installation
  • Offers high stability for mounted gear

The heavy-duty surface mount track is an adjustable, easily configurable surface for mounting all your favorite accessories. The track includes blunt-tip stainless steel thread forming screws, while a backing plate can be added later for better security.

The surface mount is tailormade for the harshest marine environments and is fully compatible with approximately 1/2″ wide track hardware. With purely topside installation, no backside access is required at all.

>>What Customers Think<<

Customers appreciate the GearTrac because it’s easy to install and makes kayak configuration a possibility. Anglers can install fishing pole holders, reel catchers, GPS fishfinders, and more to the side of their kayak with very little fuss. You can even attach oars to the GearTrac in order to keep your hands free to fish.

YakAttack offers a whole line of GearTrac mounts ranging from 4″ to 16″ in size. Most YakAttack surface mounts are made from aluminum or polymer and are compatible with 1/2″ wide track hardware.

Pros

  • Installation is super simple and doesn’t require any backside access
  • The brand provides a wide range of GearTracs in different colors, materials, and lengths
  • Optional back plating can be installed for even better security and performance

Cons

  • May not be universally compatible with all gear and mount types

 

3. Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer GPS


>>Check Price on Amazon<<

4.5/5

Features:

  • Shows movement, fish, and obstacles underwater though high-frequency sonar
  • Available in three different display sizes
  • Offers maximum read depth of 1,600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater

Want to add something a little more high tech to your fishing experience? This kayak fishfinder shows you what’s moving in the water around your boat through high-frequency sonar, providing detailed representations of structures, objects, and fish.

With a single keypad interface, the simple tracker is easy to get started with right away. The tracker is available in monitor sizes ranging from 3.5″ to 7″ display sizes. The waypoint map can be used to view, mark, and navigate complicated terrain. With a maximum sensing depth of 1,600 feet in freshwater (or 750 feet in salt water), the 12 Volt device works like a charm.

So, how does it work? The device sends a chirp sonar to output a continuous sweep of electric frequencies throughout the water. The Striker features better target separation than ever, allowing for crisper visuals and acuity concerning fish movement.

>>What Customers Think<<

Moreover, the sensor comes with a built-in flasher that’s ideal for both vertical jigging (or even ice fishing). And it’s waterproof rating achieves an IPX7 score, meaning that it can be submerged briefly or continuously splashed without worry.

Most users rely on the fishfinder to mark and return to their favorite fishing hot spots, ramps, and docks. Waypoints and routes can even be shared with others that have an echo mapping device.

With proper use, you’ll find yourself fishing at a more expert level than ever before. Want to check your speed on the screen to see if you’re using the right lure-speed combination for a particular species? It’s possible. Want to locate a particular spot with slightly elevated water temperature for better catching? It’s possible.

Pros

  • Produces accurate, isolated images of objects, fish, and obstacles in the water
  • Provides speed, water temperature, and depth measurements on-screen
  • Easy to find fish and mark your favorite hot spots

Cons

  • May be difficult to get used to all the functionalities at first
  • Unit may struggle in shallow water with a soft or mossy bottom

 

4. Complete Grapnel Anchor System


>>Check Price on Amazon<<

4/5

Features:

  • The anchor can be collapsed and stowed for compact storage and transport
  • Designed for all varieties of personal-sized watercrafts
  • Comes with 25-foot marine-grade rope and padded storage case

At just 3 and 1/3 pounds, the four-fluke folding anchor is surprisingly lightweight yet will keep its grip in mud, sand, gravel, underwater vegetation, and dense rock. Designed for personal watercraft of all types, the anchor is especially recommended for sailboats, kayaks, and canoes. It’s slim enough to fit under most boat seats, in PWC storage compartments, or storage canisters.

>>What Customers Think<<

The anchor is fitted with a 25′ long marine-grade rope that’s built to withstand the corrosive effects of saltwater. Moreover, durable nylon, padded storage case makes storing the anchor long-term super easy – the padding also helps to dampen noise the anchor makes when stowed.

Rest assured that the brilliant red anchor is coated in a high-pigment, protective finish, so it will keep its color and functionality over years of use.

Pros

  • Folds down for convenient storage and lightweight profile
  • Four-fluke anchor grips sand, rock, and vegetation with ease for personal watercrafts
  • Marine-grade nylon rope is built to withstand corrosion over time

Cons

  • Some suggest anchor works more effectively with slight modifications
  • The hook at the end of the rope may be too thick to fit through standard watercraft hooks

 

5. Scotty #455 Bait Board (No Mount)


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4.5/5

Features:

  • Exterior tray walls let you cut bait and prep lures
  • Keeps knives, pliers, and hook sharpeners in place on side holes
  • Works with most standard-sized mounting gear

The Scotty #455 bait board allows you to quickly mount all your favorite fishing accessories in a built-in lure rack. Featuring a broad exterior tray wall, it’s simple to cut bait and prep lures on the moisture-wicking surface.

Tools can be affixed from the sides of the make-shift prep board. The helpful little board can keep knives, pliers, and hook sharpeners securely in place between uses for added security. The board includes a back mount that can be affixed to any standard-sized gear mount, rail, or track. Once mounted, the board doesn’t show even the slightest hint of movement or wobble out on the water.

>>What Customers Think<<

The metal, powder-coated material sprays off easy and diminishes the appearance of cut marks on the board’s surface. A Scotty camera mount or cup holder can also be attached directly to the bait board for enhanced customization.

Pros

  • Stores your fishing gear, accessories, and knives with ease
  • High-quality material wicks away odors and is easy to spray off
  • Can be customized with additional attachments

Cons

  • Fits easily into Scotty-brand mounts but may have trouble with other mount types

 

6. Bending Branches Angler Kayak Paddle

Bending Branches Angler
>>Check Price on REI<<

4.5/5

Features:

  • Includes small paddle blade groove to rescue snagged lures
  • Made with fiberglass shaft and fiberglass-reinforced nylon blade
  • Lightweight construction at just 2 pounds 3 ounces

Built to be tough and lightweight, the Bending Branches kayak fishing paddle is tailor-made for anglers that need multi-purpose gear. The paddle is constructed with a fiberglass shaft and fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades, offering enhanced durability.

For anglers, the paddle includes a built-in groove on the blade to rescue trapped lures, pull in a large catch, and free the line from snags in the water. The blade is low-angle and asymmetrical, offering better distance per stroke than most paddles.

>>What Customers Think<<

At just 2 pounds and 3 ounces, the Bending Branches paddle is lightweight enough to reduce fatigue from day-long trips. At 230 cm, the paddle works for taller users or those with wide kayaks, helping to reduce the splashback effect during paddling.

Users state that the blades are strong, rigid, and responsive to movement, making them tough enough to wade through dense algae or remove barriers in the water.

Pros

  • The lightweight build makes it easy to use the paddle without getting fatigued
  • Fiberglass materials ensure durable, rigid performance on the water
  • Paddle groove to free lure snags is an angler’s best friend

Cons

  • Some dislike the paddle groove, stating that it gets too easily caught on objects in the water

 

7. CatchMeister Fishing Tackle Box and Lure Kit


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4.5/5

Features:

  • Comes with 117 pieces of saltwater and freshwater fishing gear
  • Designed for both beginners and experienced anglers
  • Made with water-resistant inner lining and stainless steel latch components

Want a heavy-duty lure kit? Look no further than the CatchMeister fishing and tackle box. Fitted with gear that’s meant for beginners and experts alike, the tackle box features options for catching any type of fish.

You can choose anything from spinnerbaits to crankbaits, fishing spoons, topwater frogs, rooster tails, swimbaits, rubber worms, jigs, fishing hooks, and more. The kit comes with over 117 unique fishing pieces that are tailormade for any task. The kit also includes weight sinkers, line stoppers, swivels, hooks, and leaders. It’s ideal for fishing on inlets, streams, lakes, ponds, or even in coastal conditions.

>>What Customers Think<<

Moreover, the tackle is especially recommended for limited-space kayaks since it’s exceptionally low-profile. The stowable box organizer measures just 7.8 x 4.2 x 1.8 inches. The box is constructed for high-density plastics and includes a double-layered seal for extra protection against the elements. A set of stainless steel lock joints and springs ensure the longevity of the box.

Each component is modularized for better organization, too. It’s easy to ensure the right fit and lure for the task. The CatchMeister kit breaks the old adage that you should never give someone a gift in a discipline they’re expert in. Rest assured that this set provides gear both beginners and experts will appreciate.

Pros

  • Includes universal items for any type of fishing environment
  • The lightweight, slim design is perfect for fishing kayaks
  • All clasps and springs are made from stainless steel for rugged performance guarantees

Cons

  • Some state that the rubber worm baits are slightly lower quality
  • The Box color is not as bright as in the pictures

 

8. ALPS Mountaineering Dry Bag

Alps Drybag
>>Check Price on REI<<

4/5

Features:

  • Allows for both gear compression and dry storage
  • Features roll-top closure and strap-based compression
  • Made from 70-denier ripstop nylon and coated in a waterproof layer

Acting as a compression sack and a dry bag all in one, the Alps dry bag makes it easy to keep all your important gear dry. The unique, air-permeable design lets you compress the air out but doesn’t let any water in – even when the sack is fully submerged.

Made from 70-denier ripstop nylon, the air control fabric is coated with a waterproof barrier. When compressed, the air pushes out through the bottom of the sack. Compression is secured through a set of attached compression straps – this is vital for the limited storage space available on a kayak. For extra protection, all the seams are waterproof taped with care to avoid even the slightest hint of leakage.

>>Check Price on REI<<

Like most dry bags, the Alps bag feature a roll-top and clip closure with a bottom handle for transport. A set of bar-tacked stress points enhance the durability of the bag – you can throw it, hit it, and splash it without a care in the world.

Users should keep in mind that, while the bag is designed to handle submersion, it’s not intended for prolonged submersion. For example, it’s not recommended to tie the bag to the side of your kayak and have it drift alongside you. Rather, the bag acts as a last-ditch effort to save your important gear and electronics from water damage. The medium-sized bag can hold 20 liters with a gear capacity of 1,272 cubic inches. At just 6.2 ounces, the lightweight bag won’t add bulk to your kayaking trip.

Pros

  • Allows for both dry storage and gear compression in the lightweight sack
  • All seams and stitches are coated in an extra waterproof layer
  • Available in sizes ranging from small to extra large

Cons

  • Not designed for prolonged submersion
  • Machine washing may strip the waterproof coating from the sack

 

9. Hopper Flit 12 Soft Cooler

Yeti Hopper

>>Check Price on YETI<<

4.5/5

Features:

  • The soft-case cooler is made from dry hide exterior and cold cell technology
  • Compact, cubed body offers better portability
  • HydroLok zipper keeps the cooler waterproof and leakproof

Yes, the Yeti Hopper cooler may have a soft outer shell, but the cooler is super durable. The Yeti cooler is built with a broad mouth opening that makes loading, access, and dumping easy. The compact, cubed body offers greater flexibility compared to heavy, plastic alternatives. The cooler is especially recommended for fishermen because it can stow live catches very compactly.

The cooler is constructed from a dry hide outer shell, that’s both waterproof and resistant to punctures, UV damage, and mildew. The thick liner is made from food-grade material that won’t trap in bad odors.

>>What Customers Think<<

On the inside, the Yeti features dense cold-cell insulation that’s based on a rubber foam. Compared to ordinary cold coolers, the cold-cell tech is far superior in providing long-term cooling without nearly as much ice.

A hydro lock zipper provides even better waterproof and leakproof performance. On the outside, the lightweight color measures just 10″ x 11 1/2″ x 12 5/8″, while the inside measures 8″ x 9″ x 11″. For reference, the cooler can hold 16 pounds of ice or 13 cans of beer, which should be more than enough storage space for a day-long trip.

Pros

  • Allows for superior cold insulation and waterproof performance compared to traditional coolers
  • Lightweight, cube-based construction is perfect for small watercrafts
  • Food-grade construction won’t trap in bad odors

Cons

  • Zipper is a little tricky to open and close, according to some users
  • Cooler tends to show fabric wrinkles when loaded with ice

 

10. Hawg Trough Fish Measuring Device

Hawg Trough
>>Check Price on Austin Kayak<<

4/5

Features:

  • Measures in 1/4-inch increments from 8 to 30 inches
  • Concave board style makes it easy to rest fish in the ruler
  • Dual-ended holes make it possible to attach the measuring device to a leash

The Hawg Trough has, by and large, become the standard measuring tool for anglers in the US. Tailored with a concave and slightly flexible design, the Hawg measuring device cradles the fish for fast and decisive measurements.

The tool measures fish in increments of a quarter-inch from eight to 30 inches in length. The concave, slightly broad board size of the ruler comes with an end-lip that better secures slippery fish during measurement. With a width of three inches, it’s even easier to cradle a riggling fish.

>>What Customers Think<<

Holes on either end of the ruler allow for easy leash attachment. Users should keep in mind that the ruler doesn’t float by itself, so the manufacturers recommend securing it to floating gear.

The ruler is available in shades like bright white or effervescent yellow, which makes it easy to spot if your gear is a little disorganized.

Pros

  • Provides easy and accurate measurement through cradling the fish
  • Available in bright colors for easy spotting
  • Provides US-friendly inch-based increments for measurement

Cons

  • The ruler doesn’t float on its own and should be secured to a leash

 

11. YYST Adjustable Kayak Rod Leash


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4/5

Features:

  • Comes with two adjustable four-foot leashes
  • Gear can be clipped through D-ring, pad eye, or velcro strap for paddles
  • Spring stopper can adjust the length of the cord

Like any angler, you’ll need to keep your fishing pole and paddle close during tricky operations. That’s where the YYST adjustable rod leash comes in.

Consisting of two four-foot leashes that can both be extended to six feet, these adjustable paddle holders are easy to use. You simply need to wrap the leash around your paddle to keep it fully secure to the side of your kayak.

The optional hooks at the end of the YYST leash can be used to click onto the pad eye or D-ring of your gear. After attachment, the spring stopper can be easily adjusted so you control how close or far your gear is from you.

>>What Customers Think<<

You can use the velcro to securely attach the paddle, or other gear, to the leash. Users state they appreciate the leash because they’re easy to use and they don’t have to worry about losing their rods off the back of the kayak. Some even use it string their live fish basket along behind them. Keep in mind that the leashes can get in the way during more vigorous paddling. It’s recommended to detach them when not in use.

Pros

  • Can be used with any variety of gear you want to tote along in the water
  • Keeps gear, paddles, and rods secure against your kayak
  • Leashes can be extended between 4 and 6 feet or can even be compressed

Cons

  • Leashes may get in the way during paddling

 

12. YakAttack Omega Pro Rod Holder

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

4/5

Features:

  • Provides a universal fit for many reel types
  • Includes locked, adjustment, and removal modes for easy use and dismounting
  • Significantly reduces the likelihood of reel damage and submersion

The YakAttack rod holder works seamlessly with a variety of spinning, casting, and bulkier conventional reels – even fly rods of any size. By allowing the spinning reel to be stowed in the natural downward position, none of your reels are hung off the side of your kayak.

The 360-degree, rotatable collar offers an improved ability to secure the rod by capturing the reel. Moreover, several modes allow fishermen to stage rods for quick access and locking. The YakAttack is apart of a broader series of rod holders in the Omega brand. Many users state that “this is the last rod holder you’ll ever need.”

In particular, the Omega Pro includes an extension arm to lift the reel higher off the waterline, which is helpful for accommodating bulkier rod bottoms. The universal locking system mounts to any kayak, boat, or watercraft.

The holder features three manual modes: locked, adjustment, and removal. In locked mode, users simply need to squeeze the lever to go into adjustment. With the adjustment, the mount can be rotated in any direction yet will not allow for removal. This ensures that it’s easier to make adjustments – even if a fish bites – without losing control of the rod. Finally, a simple flip system allows you to easily slide the track mount off of your kayak.

Pros

  • Improves the stability and security of your fishing rod
  • Universal holder works with spinning, casting, and conventional reels
  • Mount and Lock system will not detach from your boat, even when it’s hit or exposed to pressure

Cons

  • Somewhat pricier than most rod holders on the market
  • Bulkier than other rod holders since it’s designed for a universal fit
  • May be tight on catfish rods

 

13. Wilderness Systems Kayak Crate


>>Check Price on Amazon<<

4.5/5

Key Features:

  • Comes with lid storage and internal compartment storage
  • Fits in most standard-sized tank wells
  • Rod holder positions are fully adjustable and can be partially rotated

 

The all-in-one Wilderness Systems kayak crate features a large central compartment, individual storage lid for quick access, and four universal fit rod holders. The water-resistant box is virtually impenetrable when the latch is closed down tight featuring universal lash down points for easy stowing and transport. Each rod holder can be custom adjustments through the bracketing system, which raises their position relative to the container – this is especially important for narrow tank wells.

>>What Customers Think<<

Moreover, the rod holders can be angled and clicked at different positions on the box for your fishing needs. The crate comes with a total of four tube rod holders with extensions and six tube rod holders without extensions. The manufacturers suggest using the larger internal compartment to stow large gear and tackle boxes, while small items can be stowed in the secondary lid storage component.

Pros

  • The spacious box comes with both internal compartment and easy-access lid storage
  • Includes four adjustable rod holders
  • Fits in most standard-sized tank wells

Cons

  • Box does not come with any tie-downs
  • The large internal compartment doesn’t come with any modular storage wells
  • The clear plastic cover is subject to scuffing and damage over time

 

14. Plushino Floating Fishing Net


>>Check Price on Amazon<<

4.5/5

Features:

  • Designed for catching fish both large and small
  • Net floats to the surface of the water thanks to foam padding
  • 17″ handle collapses telescopically

The Plushino floating fishing net is spacious enough to catch everything ranging from steelheads to salmon, catfish, bass, and trout, as well as freshwater and saltwater fish. At 15.8″ x 11.8″, with a 12″ depth and 17″ handle, the allows for better precision in the water. The net has padded foam around the hoop that provides buoyancy – it’s easy to retrieve if it’s dropped or blown overboard.

Moreover, the Plushino net is coated in rubber to keep it hook- and snag-free. It’s simple to rinse away mud and stubborn sand with water. Whether you prefer catch-and-release or keeping your catches, the non-absorbent net keeps fish safe. The coating also prevents gradual waterlogging and odors.

>>What Customers Think<<

Constructed with lightweight aluminum, the net is easy to handle even with poor physical strength. At just 12.5 ounces, the weight and foldable design keep it easy to store on board your kayak. The pole handle also collapses telescopically to keep folding very compact.

Pros

  • Provides down and collapses into minimized size
  • Net floats on water for easy catch and retrieval
  • Lightweight aluminum construction makes it easy to position the net with specificity and minimal fatigue

Cons

  • Net doesn’t lock down when in the folded position, making it flop around in transport
  • The net volume may be a little small for the biggest fish

 

15. Wilderness Systems AirPro Max Kayak Seat


>>Check Price on Amazon<<

4.5/5

Features:

  • Frame made from aluminum tubing while the seat is constructed from mesh filler
  • Accessories can be attached to slide rails on side of the seat
  • Backrest straps allow for simple seat adjustment

One of the worst things about kayak fishing is, invariably, the back pain after a long day. Many kayaks are difficult to adjust your position in and leave you feeling fatigued after several hours. A good adjustable seat, like the Wilderness Systems AirPro, can help mitigate the body strain by supporting your back. Constructed with an aluminum tube frame, this premium all-weather seat features a breathable 3D mesh filler for providing the ultimate comfort.

The backrest allows for easy adjustments of the seatback angle. Need to rest and catch your breath? Simply loosen the side straps that secure the seatback against the butt of the seat. Recline can be adjusted simply throw unweighting the seat, shifting forward, and configuring the easy-access grab handles.

>>What Customers Think<<

The seat even allows you to attach gear and accessories to its slide rails. Users should keep in mind that this seat is only guaranteed to be compatible with the Wilderness Systems Ride115, 115X, and 135 model kayaks (2013 to present). Yes, the seat may be on the pricey side, but nothing is worth more than your comfort. If you routinely find yourself suffering from back pain after kayaking, it may be worthwhile to get a customized kayak seat.

Pros

  • Made with high-quality materials that ensure comfort and breathability
  • Supports high maximum weight capacity
  • The seat can be used comfortably in all weather conditions, hot, cold, or wet

Cons

  • The seat is somewhat pricey
  • Not guaranteed to universally fit every make and model of kayak

 

Choosing the Best Kayak Accessories for Fishing

 

Kayak Fishing Must-Haves

If you’re new to kayak fishing, picking the right gear can seem like an untenable task. Those first few trips, you might find yourself bringing too much of one thing while completely skipping out on something vital.

Packing is time-consuming and stressful. But, with a little preparation and forethought, your time spent out on the water doesn’t have to be.

Aside from your kayak and paddle (of course), you’ll want some essentials like:

  • Personal Flotation Device
  • First Aid Kit
  • Weather-appropriate clothing
  • 30+ SPF Sunblock
  • Medium-Length Fishing Rod
  • Spin reel or baitcasting reel
  • A tacklebox, bag, or vest
  • A fishing rod holder and adjustable mount
  • Hooked pliers
  • Hook removal tool
  • Fish bag or cooler
  • A paddle leash or clip (Optional, but strongly recommended)
  • GPS Fishfinder (Optional)

Above all else, never forget to bring the items that’ll keep you safe out on the water. Even if you’re a confident swimmer, a personal flotation device is a must. We also recommend a first aid kit because it’s easy to cut yourself on hook pliers or knives when performing technical operations. We also recommend bringing a compass (or GPS), kayak light, whistle, and plenty of food and water. For longer trips, we suggest packing a compact water filtration device.

Along those lines, we recommend a lightweight long-sleeve shirt and fishing hat to protect yourself against the damaging effects of sun exposure. Make sure to bring clothing with a UPF rating. Aside from the standard safety gear, you’ll need everything that you’d normally require to fish, plus accessories that make it easy to mount and store your gear. A lightweight, compact tackle box is particularly important for stowing all your small items. Hooks, lines, sinkers, floats, reels, rods, lures, baits, spears, nets, gaffs, waders, and traps should all be included in your tacklebox (depending on the fish you’re seeking out).

Even though it’s optional, we also strongly recommend a paddle leash or clip to keep your oar closeby. It’s inconvenient to fish out paddles that routinely go overboard at the slightest hint of water movement. When you’re searching for gear, make sure to bring items that are compatible with your kayak. Compact, low-profile storage units should be able to fit in your kayak’s storage space.

Are You A Minimalist? Or Do You Prefer Gear-Galore?

There are two types of anglers on this earth – those that bring everything, and those that try and keep their gear as simple as possible. Luckily, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to gear: It depends on your budget and how much you’d prefer to carry in your kayak. Do you prefer to be decked out in the latest gear and technology? Or would you want a more paired-down approach for the most basic fishing experience?

Decked-out fishermen may prefer to bring everything ranging from GPS fishfinders to reel accessories, books, waterproof maps, altimeter-barometer-compass (ABC) devices, bait mounts, and more. The more gear you bring, the more you’ll have to carefully consider how you store it. The way that gear is stored should be in line with what you most frequently access and use during your trip.

For the gear that you require most readily during fishing, we suggest wearing a gear vest for quick access. Less frequently or urgently needed gear can be stowed in kayak tank wells or compartment spaces on board. You may want to customize your kayak with screw-in gear mounts so you can keep your rod holders, bait boards, and GPS on hand without any risk of equipment going overboard.

What Type of Kayak Do You Own?

The type of kayak you own will play a big role in the gear that you’re able to bring. Many new fishing kayakers have a barebones inflatable or budget kayaks, which include very few (if any) pre-installed mounting options for gear.

By contrast, kayaks tailormade for fishing, such as Wilderness Systems kayaks, include many different options for mounting and stowing your gear. These angler’s kayaks will most often feature built-in rod holders, mounting tracks, a rudder/skeg combo, and transducer-ready capabilities. Fishing kayaks also include plenty of storage space that makes it even easier to be decked out in gear. In terms of storage, the rear tank well is the most important space as this is where it’s easiest to place your rods and tackle.

A kayak’s tank well should be spacious enough to tote a personal-sized cooler, in addition to your gear. Optionally, a fishing kayak may also include a central console storage space that makes it easy to quickly access your accessories. If you’re in the market for a fishing kayak, consider one that features watertight and leakproof consoles. Front hull and hatch storage can be used to store less frequently needed gear, like an extra personal flotation device, hand paddle, or bilge pump for self-rescue.

For less feature-rich kayaks, you’ll need to consider what gear the kayak will be able to carry. We recommend doing a test preparation of your kayak first so you have a better idea of the space requirements you have.

Where Are You Fishing?

Where are you fishing and at what time of year? The weather and water conditions, as well as the environment, will play an outsized role in the type of accessories that you should bring with you. For the roughest water conditions, you will need to better weather-proof your kayak and your belongings. We recommended carrying watertight storage options that can at least handle infrequent splashes and rain.

You’ll also need to better secure loose gear, such as tackle, so that wind and water don’t spray it overboard. Bring extra rod leashes, paddle clips, and attachable flotation gear for your compact, unattached storage units. Factor in how long the trip is and what time of day you’re headed out to the water. For lake fishing, the water will usually be calmest at dusk or very early in the morning. It’s ideal to ask locals about the area you’re fishing in so you have a better idea of what to bring. Before heading out, make sure to check the local weather report and adjust accordingly.

freshwater kayak fishing

Smaller Personal Items to Bring

When you’re trying to gather all the big-ticket items, it can be easy to overlook the small stuff that would serve you well on a fishing trip.

Keep in mind these key items before you head out to the water:

  • Extra sunscreen
  • A waterproof phone case or box
  • Small dry bag for your wallet, keys, and misc. items that can’t get wet
  • A wide-brimmed sun or fishing hat
  • Fishing paddle floaties
  • 360-degree visibility light and flag for night fishing
  • Food and drinks

F.A.Q

 

Where do I put everything?

With all this gear, it can be difficult to figure where exactly to put everything. In general, you’ll want to organize your gear based on the access pattern with which you use it. As with most things in life, this is very much a learning curve.

Over time, you’ll figure out where you best prefer to keep your gear for the best access. Place what you need the most readily, like the rod or GPS fishfinder, on adjustable mounts at the side of your kayaks. Your tackle box and cooler can be easily stowed in the rear tank well, which is fairly quick to access. Rarely accessed extra gear can be stowed in the central watertight storage compartment.

How many fishing accessories do I really need?

As with any fishing trip, you’ll at least need your rod, reel, line, and tackle. A pair of needle-nose pliers and a liner cutter are also very essential components. If you’re not practicing catch-and-release, you’ll also need a fish cooler and potentially a bait board.

Where do I put a fish once I catch it?

Once you’ve caught your fish, the best place to put it is in a watertight and leakproof cooler on-board. You’ll want to keep your fresh-caught fish cool soon after the catch, especially on a hot summer day. The cooler can be placed in the spacious tank well unit on your kayak right behind your seat. Optionally, you can get a floating cooler that attaches to the side of your kayak to keep onboard storage freed up.

How much tackle should I bring?

Every tackle box should contain a few essentials. Make sure to consider what type of fish you’re catching, or else you risk bringing ineffective equipment. In general, every tackle box should contain extra line, hooks, bobbers, sinkers, plastics worms, a couple of lures, needle-nose pliers, and a small first aid kit.

Final Thoughts

With a little bit of forethought, it’s possible to have a worry-free day out on the water. Make sure to consider the fishing gear that would best serve you and make your time well-spent. And, no matter what, make sure to have fun.

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