Tx Fly Tyer

Fly Fishing from a Kayak

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Fly fishing from any type of kayak is a challenge. I have done it out of both pedal, and paddle kayaks, and I kinda hated them both equally. You're low to the water, so false casting tough. It's also disruptive on the water. You are constantly rocking the boat when casting, which can spook the fish. And the line management it a pain! Especially with a pedal kayak. 

 

For me personally, I only do it where I can stand up to fish (mostly freshwater). I made an oversized stripping basket out of a big plastic trash can and I would velcro it on the bow, just forward of the pedals on my Hobie. I would try my best to strip into the basket, but it didn't always work. Honestly, that was my biggest fumble with fly fishing from a kayak. The line always seems to get fouled on the pedal drive, and sometimes would even go through the hull and get tangled in the fins under the boat. It really was rather miserable for me. 

 

I did slightly enjoy fly fishing from a paddle kayak. Again it was a stand up game for me. Line management is a bit easier. Overall, I pretty much hated fly fishing out of a kayak. You also can't conveniently store fly rods on a kayak like you can spin/conventional gear. If you're going to try it, I'd recommend the shortest rod you can find that will do the job. It makes casting better, and also landing fish. I see plenty of people doing it. Some folks love to work around all the things that make it challenging, and good on them for it. It's just not for me. Hopefully someone else can weigh in with some better suggestions to help make your time more efficient if you take a dive into it. 

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It helps to learn to cast with short, fast double hauls. I made a  shallow stripping basket out of pipe insulation and a contractor garbage bag to  keep the line from migrating.  I put a leash on it. Can get  very, very frustrating, but  sometimes the rewards are great.

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I enjoy fly fishing from a kayak. I catch panfish and large and smallmouth bass. You don’t have to cast far. You can get very close to fish in a kayak. I paddle a sit on kayak and strip the line between my legs. I don’t use a stripping basket. In salt water I have caught blues, weakfish, lady fish, jacks, and Stripers. It is fun and a very productive way to fish. Best of luck! You are going to have fun.

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Short head lines work well on kayaks and you shouldn’t need to cast more than 50ft anyway?

For me fly fishing from kayak is all about line management and my Hobie 180 drive was a game changer. Too much slack and just a couple of short touches in reverse and your good.

Love fly fishing from my Hobie . I don’t feel too disadvantaged.

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Fly casting from a yak is not the easiest thing to do at times, I’ll admit. I have done it for many years with some good results. It seems to me to be similar to trying to cast while wading. Many of us do that all the time with good results. 

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I think one of the challenges is that unless you standing, it takes your lower body out of the cast and requires a slight tweaking of your form.  In a lake I just strip into the water outside the yak.

 

Have had some success from the yak, but I would much rather use the yak as a transport vessel to somewhere I can get out and wade.

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I have been fly fishing out of a kayak for about 10 years. I primarily fish for Juvi tarpon in small creeks and rivers. Somehow you will need a clear deck to manage the fly line. I have read that some use a wet towel. I just stripped everything off the deck of my paddle kayak, a native ultimate ultimate 12’. I also removed the manufactures seat a use a raised beach chair which is really a turkey hunting chair. I can’t imagine trying to fly cast with a pedal drive in the middle of the boat. That would be tough. If your targeting fish over 10 pounds I would also suggest a 8’ fly rod rather than a 9’. I have a 8’, 9 weight St Croix rod that works well for me. I also find a small anchor as an absolute necessity. Unless you anchor up, wind and tide will make casting to a target impossible. I don’t stand up when fishing and don’t have any problems making 50 or 60 foot casts when needed, however I only strip out enough line for the fishing situation to minimize tangles.

 

it’s funny, I have been looking around for a replacement kayak for a few years however I still have not found a sot kayak as good as what I have.

 

hope this helps!

bill

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Been fly fishing out of a yak for a long time. I just strip to a garbage bag in front of me, or straight onto the deck. I don’t stand anymore. I practice casting sitting on one of those low beach chairs.  Juste let the rod work. One of the famous casting guys has several videos of him fishing out of a yak, will pop on my head at some point.  If possible I will put my feet over the sides when targeting some fish. I tried rolling up on my knees, easier to cast, but not worth it to me in creeks as I lose my ability to adjust with the paddle.

 

if fishing shallow, I like a low rocker yak. A bit harder to turn, but saves scraping over stuff.  Love the tranquility in marshes and tidal creeks.

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On 7/2/2022 at 5:01 PM, bill dietz said:

I have been fly fishing out of a kayak for about 10 years. I primarily fish for Juvi tarpon in small creeks and rivers. Somehow you will need a clear deck to manage the fly line. I have read that some use a wet towel. I just stripped everything off the deck of my paddle kayak, a native ultimate ultimate 12’. I also removed the manufactures seat a use a raised beach chair which is really a turkey hunting chair. I can’t imagine trying to fly cast with a pedal drive in the middle of the boat. That would be tough. If your targeting fish over 10 pounds I would also suggest a 8’ fly rod rather than a 9’. I have a 8’, 9 weight St Croix rod that works well for me. I also find a small anchor as an absolute necessity. Unless you anchor up, wind and tide will make casting to a target impossible. I don’t stand up when fishing and don’t have any problems making 50 or 60 foot casts when needed, however I only strip out enough line for the fishing situation to minimize tangles.

 

it’s funny, I have been looking around for a replacement kayak for a few years however I still have not found a sot kayak as good as what I have.

 

hope this helps!

bill

I bought a used 2008 native ultimate 14.5 tandem back in 2014, stripped out the tandem stuff and turned it into a solo - it isn't ideal but like you, I can't think of anything better that doesn't cost as much as a small boat. I use it in the salt marshes and estuaries - not an open water kayak, but a good inshore kayak to fish out of. I will stand and fish in it, but much prefer to use it as transportation to get to a wading spot.  

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On 7/2/2022 at 7:06 AM, JRT said:

Short head lines work well on kayaks and you shouldn’t need to cast more than 50ft anyway?

For me fly fishing from kayak is all about line management and my Hobie 180 drive was a game changer. Too much slack and just a couple of short touches in reverse and your good.

Love fly fishing from my Hobie . I don’t feel too disadvantaged.

A Rio Outbound Short really helped my kayak fishing so I second this.  Two quick double hauls and you're in business. I do have to say though I really struggle when any delicacy is needed.  That short aggressive head is hard to turn over gently, but everything is a compromise.

 

Line management definitely is the name of the game.  I don't use a pedal drive,  and I'm sure using one complicates things.  You'll definitely want some sort of stripping basket or bucket. 

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just got a topwater pdl. started fly fishing from it, very doable standing. when i am casting, i just slide my seat back as far as it can go to keep the line away from the drive. the only issue i have is the line occasionally catching the drive at the tail end of my cast. not really a problem if you are throwing plenty of line. a shorter 8' rod would help a ton for bigger fish. any bass over 30" gets a little tricky on the 9 footer. also you have to be real careful when getting a fish on the reel as the line can get caught in the drive. havent had an issue yet but i will inevitably lose a good fish to it at one point

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The key for me when flyfishing out of the kayak is to use a softer rod, or overline by 1-2 weights.  It’s difficult to load the rod while sitting so I need to have the rod load easier….do more of the work.  I prefer spinning gear in the kayak in saltwater, but love flyfishing warmwater ponds and lakes from the yak.

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