Monday, March 31, 2014

Choosing a Kayak Fishing Rod

Fishing from a kayak offers so many advantages over fishing from shore or motorboat.    Mobility, stealth, manouverability, and adaptability being chief among them.    Not to mention price compared to the cost of purchasing/licensing/fueling/maintaining a motorboat.    However there is one key area we need to be careful of when kayak fishing, and that is making sure we have the right gear.

One piece of essential gear that you want to make the right choice on is the rod.   Obviously the first thing you need to look at when buying a rod, is what type of fishing are you going to do with the rod.   You simply cannot use the same rod for perch or brook trout fishing as you would for sturgeon, stripers and muskie.   If you are going for small mouth bass, you would something different again.   And of course if your are out on the salt water, there are more considerations still.    Finally there is the whole other niche of fishing which has it's own set of criteria when choosing a rod which is fly fishing.

Regardless of the type of fishing you may be interested in, there are rods well suited to shore fishing or motorboat fishing that simply are not ideal to use in kayak.    The key attribute I found that you need to be careful of in kayak is the length.    A rod that is overly long, while typically able to cast further, will dramatically increase the difficulty of steering a big fish when it gets close to the kayak.

If you are out fishing for something like stripers or sturgeon and you are lucky enough to hook into a big one, imagine how you are going to land the fish if your rod is pointed 10 feet up in the air.    A 6 - 7 foot rod on the other hand will be much easier to work with.   As well, when your rods are secured in your kayak's rod holders, you have to be wary of where you are paddling and how you orient the rods.   If you are paddling under tree branches, you won't want to have a long rod pointed up in the air, and positioning it straight forward or back, may hinder your ability to manouver around narrow streams or rivers.

I try to keep my rods at around the 7 foot length, give or take 7 inches.   Sometimes I may find a rod I like that is a little over 7 foot, but that is pretty rare.     While I haven't gotten into fly fishing as of yet, I do want to try it at some point, and when I do, I'll be looking at a 4 piece rod with a compact waterproof carrying case.   Such a rod and case would be much easier to stow away on a kayak making it much easier to bring with you on basically any outing, just in case you have call to use it.

The rods I'll be using primarily this year are from Denali.   These rods are of the highset quality.   They are lightweight, strong, and immensily sensitive.   I'll use the Denali rods for all of my fresh water fishing, while opting for my 2 surf rods (a Fin-Nor and Shakespeare) for when I'm in the salt water or fishing for stripers on reversing falls.

Unfortunately Denali rods are not available at this point in Canada, so if you would like to get one, you would want to order it into Calais.   For those of you who live in my area, and are able to come fishing with me or with the Greater Saint John Kayak Anglers, feel free to ask to borrow one sometime!   If you are interested in purchasing one, I'm sure I can help make arrangements.

The Denali Rods I have this year are:

  • The Jadewood Drop Shot rod: Will be my key medium action spinning rod for smaller fish such as perch, catfish and others.
  • The Kovert Misc Spinning rod:  An all around medium action spinning rod I'll for many species like pickerel and Small Mouth Bass that will put up more of a fight.
  • The  Rosewood Finesse rod:  A great medium action spinning rod to try many different approaches for fighters like Small Mouth, Trout and Land Lock salmon
  • The Rosewood Spinnerbait rod:  My first of two medium heavy action bait caster rods to target sturgeon, musky, and striper.   I will also use it to troll for larger trout and land locks.
  • The Mark Tyler Signature rod:  A very high end medium heavy action casting rod again to be used to target bigger fish like sturgeon, musky and stripers.    I will also use it to troll for larger trout and land locks.

  • As muskies sometimes require very large and heavy lures, I may look at adding the Jadewood or Rosewood Rig Flipping rod from Denali.  These are Extra Heavy Rods with lure ratings up to 3 ounces which should be all I need for kayak fishing for muskies.