Can You Troll in a Kayak?
The short answer is yes, you can troll in a kayak. Trolling is a technique to catch fish by slowly moving through the water while dragging live, artificial bait behind you. It’s a popular fishing technique because it allows kayak anglers to cover more ground and keep their baits in the strike zone for longer periods of time.
Kayaks have been used as vessels to troll from in recent years because they are stable and easy to move around on the water. These days there are even specific kayaks designed for trolling with rod holders already installed, offering kayak anglers everything they need to get started right away. So whether you’re looking for an activity that’s peaceful and relaxing or exciting and adrenaline-inducing, we’ve got some tips on how to successfully troll in your kayak.
Why Should You Troll from a Kayak?
You should troll from a kayak because doing so offers an array of benefits that can improve your experience on the water. For example, trolling is one of the only ways to catch fish when there are no docks, ladders, or other fishing structures nearby. It’s also useful for covering big areas of water and feeding multiple lines at once to provide you with more chances of hooking up with a big fish.
Further, many fishermen like trolling because you don’t have to exert much physical effort to do it; moving back and forth in your kayak while dragging bait behind you does all the hard work for you. And finally, kayak trolling allows anglers to explore new areas they wouldn’t be able to access if they were standing or sitting still.
How Do You Troll in a Kayak?
1. Check your equipment before you get started. Start by getting to know your kayak, especially if it’s your first time using one; you should be familiar with everything that comes standard on the vessel and how much weight each part can hold.
Afterward, take inventory of all the gear you’ll need for kayak trolling so nothing is left behind when you hit the water. Your list should include at minimum: rods, reels, life jackets (one per person), paddles or oars, anchors (if necessary), safety equipment like whistles and flares, fishfinder/GPS unit (with batteries charged), and fishing tackle .
2. Use proper rod holders. When it’s time to troll, you’ll need somewhere to hold your rods. Depending on how much space you have in your kayak and where you’re fishing, you can use either flush-mounted rod holders or removable-type mounts like Ram Mounts.
3. Come up with a trolling plan. One of the most important things to remember while trolling is that everything should be done slow and steady so as not to alarm the fish in the area. A good starting point for speed is between three and four miles per hour, but the exact pace will depend on factors like weather conditions, current strength, and location of fish activity.
4. Cast out your lines. Once your equipment is all set up, it’s time for some fun! Make sure your fishing lines are free of tangles and attach the appropriate lure to each one based on what kind of fish you’re trolling for. Then lower them into the water, hold onto two of your rods and get ready to paddle.
5. Keep your eyes on your rods. As mentioned above, trolling requires a slow pace, but it still requires some attention. Instead of focusing on paddling, make sure to keep an eye out for signs of fish activity (like bites) on your fishing poles; if you see anything unusual happening with one or more hooks, immediately begin reeling in that line.
6. Set the hook. If any of your fishing lines get hit by a fish while you’re trolling, the hook jerking upward and inward toward the fish. This is when you’ll need to reel in your other rods and try to hook the fish before it gets away.
7. Fight with your catch. Once a fish latches onto your bait, fight it out with patience and skill by reeling in line whenever the fish runs and taking breaks when it comes to you. A good rule of thumb is to play out half of your fishing line before bringing the fish within striking distance, but follow whatever guidelines work best for your rod and kayak fishing situation.
If you can, bring aggressive or large-sized fish close to the kayak using slow movements so they don’t injure themselves or flip over while trying to get away.
8. Land your fish. When you have a fish positioned where you can safely reach it, use these three steps to land the fish:
a) Grip it by the lower jaw with one hand and grab its tail with the other.
b) Gently turn the head so it’s pointing away from you and lay it out of the water on your fishing kayak deck.
c) Use pliers or another tool to twist the hook out of its mouth. If that doesn’t work, cut off as much line as possible before trying again.
After successfully reeling in a catch, even if it’s small, be sure to measure it for proper size limits before throwing it back into the water (if there are limits).
Different Kayaks for Trolling
There are three kayaks for trolling and they are paddle, pedal, and motorized kayaks.
- Paddle Kayaks – Paddle kayaks are great for trolling because they are very light and fast. They can reach high speeds when paddled through the water at an angle.
- Pedal Kayaks – Pedal kayaks are designed to be used with legs instead of arms to propel, or pedal them through the water. These kayaks are good for trolling because
- Motorized Kayaks – Motorized kayaks are designed for trolling through the water using an electric or gas-powered motor. They can be used by hand if desired, but they’re most often piloted from inside the boat.
Rods Used for Trolling in a Kayak
The suggested rods used for trolling are either trolling or a spinning rod.
Trolling Rod – Trolling rods are long and sturdy, with some being longer than seven feet. These types of fishing rods have large, open eyes for lures to be easily attached and they’re usually more flexible than spin casting rods.
Spinning Rods – Spinning rods are used for casting lures rather than trolling. They’re sturdy, but not as long or heavy as rods designed specifically for trolling.
Reels for Trolling in a Kayak
There are three different reels for trolling in a kayak and they are line counter reels, spinning reels, and baitcasting reels.
Line Counter Reels – These reels are suitable for trolling because they can track how much line has been pulled through the water without you having to watch it. They also have large handle knobs that are easy to attach or detach.
Spinning Reels – Spin casting reels have a revolving handle that allows anglers to keep a rod in one hand at all times. They’re used for casting lures rather than trolling, but they can be used twice as fast as baitcasting reels.
Baitcasting Reels – Baitcasting reels work well for trolling because they’re built with a stronger handle and a larger rotating system. While these reels are slow, they can be attached to both spinning rods and baitcasting rods.
Fishing Lines for Trolling in a Kayak
There are four fishing lines used for kayak trolling and they are lead core lines, braided lines, fluorocarbon lines, and monofilament lines.
Lead Core Lines – Lead core lines work well when kayak trolling because they sink deeper into the water, which sometimes leads to larger fish. These fishing lines are made from a single strand of lead that’s wrapped in nylon and used to go deep below the surface of the water.
Braided Fishing Line – Braided fishing line is made from many strands of stainless steel wire that are braided into a single cord. These lines work well for kayak trolling because they’re super strong and won’t corrode like monofilament or fluorocarbon lines.
Fluorocarbon Lines – Fluorocarbon fishing line is popular with anglers because it is not as visible as other types of fishing line. This allows the line to be more concealed and less visible underwater, which makes it perfect for trolling.
Monofilament Lines – Monofilament lines are made from filaments of solid plastic that have been extruded through a die. These fishing lines can be used for trolling because they’re strong and designed to move through the water quickly.
Rod Holders for Kayaks
There are three types of rod holders for kayaks used for trolling are side rails, down rods and Scotty Rod Holders.
Side Rails – Side rails are good for trolling because they can be mounted on the inside of any kayak with a flat surface. They also come with holes that allow anglers to mount them anywhere on the kayak and they can be used for holding fishing poles, spare paddles and items like a fish finder.
Down Rods – Down Rods are good for trolling because they’re designed to hold rods vertically at the side of a kayak. They rotate up and down so that anglers can adjust the height easily and they also come with a rod rest to make it easier to fish.
Scotty Rod Holders – These are good for anglers who enjoy trolling because they can be mounted anywhere on a kayak and hold fishing rods securely in place. They’re popular with anglers who want to use them for multiple fishing situations.
Challenges with Trolling in a Kayak
There are certain challenges with trolling in a kayak such as wind conditions, tides and currents and drags.
Wind Conditions – Trolling from a kayak can be difficult on days with strong winds because the boat will be pushed around while you’re trying to fish. This is why anglers need to make sure they have enough experience fishing in windy conditions before trolling in anything other than calm water.
Tides and Currents – Tides and currents can also be a challenge for trolling in a kayak because they affect the speed of the boat while you’re kayak fishing. Tides move the water from one side of an area to another, which changes how deep you can fish on either side of where you are. These conditions will also change how fast your boat moves through the water.
Drags – A boat’s drag is the resistance felt when your fishing line moves through the water. When you’re trolling with heavier lures, anglers need to make sure there is enough tension on their lines so that they don’t lose any fish. A good way to check this is by looking at your fishing rod and feeling it for a “bouncing” motion. This bouncing motion is an indicator that the line has too much drag and the fish will eventually break free from your fishing rod.
Controlling Lure Depth in a Kayak
There are two different ways to control lure depth when trolling in a kayak. The first way is by using the boat’s speed and the second is by using your fishing rod.
Speed – Trolling in a kayak can be done with or without a motor but it allows you to control how fast you want to go while trolling for fish. The speed that’s best when trolling depends on the type of water you’re fishing in and the depth that you want to fish at. If you prefer fishing close to shore, a slower speed is a good choice while a faster one is better for deeper waters.
Fishing Rod – Anglers can also control lure depth when trolling with their kayak by adjusting the rod that they’re using. This is done through a device called a fishing reel. The way it works is as the line comes off of the reel, you can hold on to it for as long as you want and as little as possible before letting it out. This lets you control how deep your lure goes in the water-based on the amount of line you let out.
Suggested Kayak Speed for Trolling
The suggested kayak speed for trolling depends on the type of water you’re fishing in and what depth you want to make sure your lures are at.
Shallow waters – One area where it’s best to troll slowly is in shallow waters such as rivers, lakes, and bays. This will allow anglers to easily maneuver around the areas that they’re fishing and since there isn’t a lot of current, it won’t affect the speed of the boat.
Deep waters – Anglers who want to troll in deep water need to go faster because of how fast currents move and the resistance they feel from lures dragging against them. Since there’s more water moving through an area, anglers will need to manipulate their kayak so they can stay in one place while trolling for fish.
Trolling in Rivers, Lakes and Bays
Rivers, lakes, and bays are usually calm areas of water that allow anglers to troll around them without too much difficulty.
When trolling in rivers which are done by floating downstream with the current, slow speeds are recommended because the water’s flow is slow and easy to maneuver through.
When trolling in lakes and bays, it’s important for anglers to use motorized kayaks to make sure they don’t use too much power because the water is shallow. To fish these areas properly, you need to make long lines between your lures and boat so you can drift over the fish. This will allow anglers to fish in the middle of deeper waters and be able to spot what they’re reeling in and catch more fish as a result.
Final Thoughts on Trolling in a Kayak
Trolling in a kayak is a simple and enjoyable method to catch more fish. It’s critical to note that various factors, such as the weather and water conditions, will influence how quickly you need to travel through the water and what depth is ideal for your lures. All of these elements may be controlled by kayak speed and boat/rod.