Top 7 Tips for Fly Fishing From a Kayak

top tips for fly fishing from a kayak

No vessel gets you closer to the action than kayaks. Whether you are tracking a trophy fish such as tarpon or casting for trout in the evening, nothing can give you more fishing ground than kayaks. Conventional anglers understand this, and they have been using kayaks for several years. But, since most kayaks are not designed for fly fishing, fly anglers have been slower to adopt this vessel.

However, considering the many benefits of kayak fly fishing, some fly anglers have joined this bandwagon and are reaping the benefits. Kayaks are low maintenance vessels that can access all the hard to reach places in the water. So, it is high time more fly anglers embraced the paddle!

Even though it can allow you to get closer to the fish without spooking them, a kayak also opens you up to new challenges. With kayak fly fishing, you will have to adjust some of your casting techniques. That is a small price to pay for all the benefits that come with kayak fly fishing. So, here are some tips for kayak fly fishing.

fly fishing from a kayak

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Top Tips for Kayak Fly Fishing

1. Purchase a Fly Fishing Friendly Vessel

There are several fishing kayaks in the market that vary in size and designs. While a huge percentage of these fishing kayaks are ideal for normal fishing, they don’t meet the unique requirements of fly fishing. Remember, the success of your kayak fly fishing trip will depend on your vessel, so look for something that is fly fishing friendly.

Fly angling is an active and dynamic activity that will require you to stand or change your technique when casting. Therefore, the first factor to consider when looking for a fly fishing friendly kayak is stability. Fortunately, some fishing kayaks are ideal for stand-up fishing. But with fly angling, you must consider the size and shape of the vessel’s hull.

Kayaks that are over 30 inches wide and 14 ft long can be ideal for fly angling. For extra stability, suggests looking for a vessel with a pontoon-shaped or flat hull. To make stand-up fishing even fun and easy, you can purchase a stand-assist strap. You can attach this 3 ft long strap on the deck, a few feet from your seat.

kayak fly fishing

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2. Anchor Down Your Kayak When the Current and Wind Are Strong

Kayaks are portable vessels that can be blown off course by strong currents and winds. So, when fishing in a pond or lake with minimal current and wind, you can use a normal anchor to hold your vessel in place. Your anchor can keep you safe in a certain location as you focus on fishing. With an anchoring system, you can paddle to a new fishing ground and anchor your vessel in a place where you can access all the fishing spots.

anchor down your kayak

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But, fishing in a large stream or river with strong continuous currents and strong winds can be tricky with a normal anchor. To combat the strong currents, we suggest that you add a unique anchoring system to your vessel. Fortunately, there are numerous off-the-shelf anchors in the market and even more DIY ideas. So, choose an anchor, install it on your kayak and learn how to use it efficiently.

man in kayak


3. Make Sure Your Deck Is Clear

Any fly fish angler knows how easy it is for his/her to get caught when casting their rod. And casting can be even harder when using a kayak. Therefore, you should purchase a vessel with less protrusion on the deck. You can also create more space behind your seat and below-deck. With your gear stored safely, nothing will be on your way when casting.

But since space is an issue in most fishing kayaks, your gear can be a problem when casting. So we recommend that you look for a tarp and cover your gear. The tarp will prevent your line from getting stuck on any loose gear when casting.

kayak fisherman


4. Make Sure Your Kayak Has a Fly Rod Specific Holder

A huge percentage of the fishing kayaks are not designed for fly angling, so they don’t come with a fly rod specific holder. And since paddling with one hand while holding your fly rod with the other is impossible, you should get a fly-rod specific hold and install it on your kayak. With the right holder installed, you can cast your line and then paddle around with your rods safely secured.

kayak with fly rod holder


See also: Top 10 Best Kayak Fishing Rods Review 2024

5. Make Sure You Are Comfortable When Casting Your Line from Your Kayak

As fly anglers, we know that casting from a kayak can be quite tricky, especially when using a sit-inside vessel. Therefore, the best option for anyone looking to get into kayak fly fishing is purchasing a sit-on-top vessel. The sit-on-top option will improve your accessibility and comfort. But remember, even though the sit-on-top kayaks are comfortable, casting can still be challenging.

fishing from kayak


One of the best ways to improve your cast and catch more fish is by investing in knee pads. With a knee pad, you can kneel comfortably and cast your rod. Another method you can use is cast while standing. With a stable stand-fishing kayak, you can stand up and cast your line. Incorporating these ideas into your routine can enhance your fishing ability and provide more comfort.

6. Make Some Adjustments to Your Casting Techniques

As we have just mentioned, casting from a seated position even with a sit-on-top kayak can be quite tricky. So, you must be ready to adjust some of your casting techniques. One of the most challenging fly fishing techniques that can be challenging is backcasts. Since you will be very close to the water when seated, keeping the backcasts high can be tricky. Most people tend to slap the water and spook the fish when making backcasts. Therefore, the best option is keeping them as high as possible.

The best solution for this problem is making some tweaks to your technique. So, instead of doing it the normal way, you can direct them back and up. With a little practice, you will be making accurate backcasts in no time. To reduce the number of false casts and cast further, you must develop your line shooting techniques. Remember, you might find yourself fishing in a backwater or small creek channels where making long backcasts can be quite challenging.

Check out this video for a demonstration!

7. Fight Your Catch from the Reel When Kayak Fly Angling

All the above tips can lead you to successfully catching a fish. And once you do, your approach to fighting the catch should be different. To reduce the chances of the line breaking, you must watch out for line tangles. To prevent line breakage, you should try and get the fish to your reel within the shortest time possible. Try pinching your line while reeling it in and make sure there is no slack left when you start fighting the fish. A considerable catch will take up all the slack as it’s trying to run away, and once the line is tight, you can pull drag until it gets tired and then reel it in.

Final Thoughts

Kayak fly fishing can be a rewarding and relaxing activity that can help you keep fit while reducing stress. With the right flies, you can catch any type of fish and reel it in as you relax on the water. With the above unique tips, you can have an excellent kayak fly fishing trip, but you should be ready to learn some new tricks and tweak your casting techniques.

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