Kayak Fly Fishing by Sean O’Brien
When kayak fly fishing, you are truly at the mercy of the elements. For the most part you are casting from a seated position, so line speed will be the determining factor in effective casting. You will be using only the strength in your arms, rather than your legs and hips when standing or wading. This will make a significant difference, and you will be forced to rely more on technique than strength. We will investigate the techniques that have worked for this writer in a future post, where we can devote the time needed to this fundamental action.
Stability is a major concern when you are fly fishing from a kayak. The assorted sit on top models available have been created with a wider base to allow for more stability and to allow the angler to stand safely. There are a number of stability controls in place as well, and these vary from boat to boat and style to style. This is just another reason why you should be testing multiple type and styles of watercraft before you make a decision, as the subtle differences can play a large role in how you are using the craft . We will look at different styles and types of angling kayaks in another article, because the landscape has grown so varied over the years, as the popularity of kayak fly fishing has soared.
Kayak Fly Fishing Gear
Gear is important to be able to managed in any and all situations when on the water. This is no different with fly fishing, except you seem to have more gear. Flies are everywhere on my kayak, and if (and when) I “go swimming”, I inevitably lose quite a few of them that I have hastily tucked away instead of using the systems I have put in place for dry storage. One of the reasons that this is so important when you are fly fishing from a kayak is that you seem to do much more leaning, and moving around overall than you would normally. This obviously leads to many more opportunities to flip. Standing, as mentioned above, is also more common when throwing flies, and as stable as these boats are becoming, they are still kayaks. Standing increases your chances of taking a dip. One way to negate most of the risk of capsizing is to have a secure spot for everything you will need on a day to day basis, and make sure that you have waterproof storage as well.
One of the major advantages of fly fishing from a kayak, or fishing altogether from a kayak rather than another type of boat, is stealth. A kayak is silent as it glides through the water, and allows you to stealthily go where the fish are, and sight cast at them. While any motorized craft creates noise and waves in the water, and larger watercraft like canoes or even flat bottomed boats make enough noise that they spook the fish. Kayaks, as a rule of thumb, do not. You are able to attack the fish where they are, and get there quickly and quietly.
As with anything else that you are inexperienced with, before making a purchase, get a second opinion, or take the kayak or rod for a trial. Working with a fly shop can pay dividends on getting the correct equipment the first time.
We will be returning with further entries into our kayak fly fishing series, with specific recommendations on technique, gear, storage systems, and the kayaks themselves. As always, leave a comment if there is something about kayak fly fishing you wish to share.