The thought of fighting big fish from a kayak is enough to raise the pulse of any angler. However, you should never pick such a fight without a battle plan, especially when your battleground is not open terrain because any hooked fish will run for cover. Fishing from a boat or land provides fairly solid anchorage, but what do you do when you are fishing from a very “towable” vessel, like a kayak?
While not everyone will choose the same ’yak model, the strategy for winning the battle against a big fish is basically the same for everyone, whether (like me) they have a pedal-propelled kayak with reverse capabilities, a paddle-only kayak, or something in between.
Your success in this battle, which will unfold in a matter of minutes or even seconds, will come down to how well you plan and execute your strategy. As the saying goes, “Prior preparation and planning prevents poor performance.”
Having the capacity to back out of the structure is certainly a benefit that can turn fate to your favor, but pulling backwards on a big fish won’t always be the right strategy. You need a plan of attack that considers every conceivable contingency.
Here’s a list of the challenges you are likely to face when you hook a big fish from your kayak:
The actual choreography of your fight will vary, depending on the style of kayak you have. Nowadays, many kayak anglers opt for pedal-propelled kayaks to keep their hands free for fishing. This has enormous benefits when you’re hooked up because you can put powered pressure on the fish without compromising your rod work. Paddle-powered kayaks have been around a lot longer, however, and the basic battle plan to fight a fish from any kayak was developed long before the first pedals hit the water.
Regardless of your vessel, you should approach every cast ready to fight a fish.
Your priority should be to identify your best “exits”. Which way should you head once you’ve struck your fish? Think about this before you make your cast. Once the fish picks up your gauntlet, you won’t have time to plan.
The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women. View all posts by The WON