What Do You Need for Kayak Fishing? (How to Get Started)

There are some things out there that people can’t seem to agree on. One of these things is fishing. Some people think it’s fun, and others think it’s boring. But when fishing while kayaking? This is when things get interesting. 

Kayak fishing is a good mix between fun and relaxation. If you enjoy the process, you could even do it for a living or go for competitive fishing. 

However, keep in mind that you’d need a bit more preparation than you might think before you could head out for kayak fishing.

That is our topic for today. What do you need for kayak fishing?

For the sake of convenience, we’ll divide our list into four main categories, those are:

  • How to choose your fishing kayak
  • Safety items
  • Fishing items
  • Accessories. 

*This page contains affiliate links to products I recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

How to Choose Your Fishing Kayak?  

This might seem surprising, but not all kayaks are suitable for fishing. Some of them are even dangerous if you go fishing with them.

Kayaks are known for having closed decks, but some of those closed decks are a little more open than others. 

A good fishing kayak shouldn’t have a completely closed deck that only has a space for you to get in or out. Instead, you should have a good amount of space on deck for all the items we will discuss soon.

You should also consider getting a pedal kayak instead of a paddle one. 

Most people have more strength in their legs than in their arms. This could help you last longer in the water.

The Bonafide SS107 is an excellent example of what to look for in a fishing kayak.

Safety Items

PFD (Personal Floatation Device)

Safety always comes first, and nothing matters if you’re not safe. If you fall off your kayak for whatever reason, you’d be surprised how fast it drifts away from you.

A PFD can make your life much easier if that happens.

Having a comfortable PFD is a must, with emphasis on the word comfortable. The point of getting a PFD is wearing it the whole trip. So if it’s uncomfortable, you’re not going to wear it.

It’s also nice for your PFD to have plenty of pockets. It’s not a must, but you’ll notice how some of your tools are more used than others. Having those in a convenient place will make your life easier.


Getting an anchor is something that goes unnoticed by many beginners. You’d be surprised how hard some fish can pull you and your kayak into an unneeded water skiing session. 

Some fishermen lose their fishing rods while trying to reel in a big fish, and this could happen while kayak fishing too, or worse, a fish could be strong enough to flip you over.

An anchor could be as simple as a 10-pound steel ball tied to a rope. You could also buy anchors that are made specifically for kayak fishing.

Lights and Noisemakers

If your trip lasts long enough for the night to catch up with you, it’s best to consider light and noise sources.

They are critical for others to hear and see you, which could be very handy if you get lost.

Light rods are easy to find and buy, while a whistle or a simple air horn can serve as good noisemakers.

Fishing Items

Fishing Rods

The heart and soul of a fishing trip is the fishing rod. Without one, you’re just kayaking. 

Not much is needed to be said here, only that you need a reliable one that is strong enough to hold on to your catch and flexible enough not to snap. Yes, it happens.

Zebco 202 is a good-priced fishing rod that’s proven its reliability.

Rod Holders

We’re not talking about stand holders you hang your fishing rods on. We’re talking about the good old fishing boat holders you can attach to your kayak for extra grip against that stubborn fish.

Fishing boat holders are not a must-have, but they help greatly. If you try one, you’ll get so used to it that fishing without it will bother you. 

Check this Fishing Rod Holder. It should be more than enough.

Fishing Nets

Another item that is not a necessity but is very helpful.

Fish lose all of their resistance once they’re out of the water. A reliable fishing net helps to get your catch out of the water just quick enough for it to stop being a hassle.

For a little extra cash, you can get a good fishing net-like Plusinno fishing net.

Fish Finder Device

Some people are surprised that such a thing even exists. Fishfinders are essentially portable sonars that can help you locate and follow the fish you desire.

Think this is cool? Some of them even have built-in GPS that is very helpful if you get too far from where you started.

Fish-finding devices are not essential. You can certainly go out there and try your luck with whatever fish you catch. It would still be fun, but if you’re being competitive and looking to up your game, Garmin Striker 4 is a good value for money. 



Probably the most important accessory, you need to place your fish or your tools somewhere. You can simply use a plastic crate which is very reliable and secure with some zip ties.

However, with time (or in the beginning if you want to), you can grab one of those Fishing Crates to make things more comfortable.

Fish Grippers

Fish grippers are great, not a must, but simply great. Ask any fisherman about unhooking a stubborn fish, and they’ll tell you how hard it can sometimes be.

Fish grippers hold these fish in place to make unhooking them a breeze. Good thing they’re relatively cheap. Check out Rapala 9.

Waterproof Boxes

Waterproof boxes are essential to have, easy to acquire, and cheap.

Unlike the old days, boat fishermen now have a good amount of electronics that they need to keep safe. 

You don’t want your phone, fish finder, GPS, or food to go swimming.

Make sure to have one or two of these on your fishing kayak. You’ll need them. 

Metal Cutters

You might ask yourself why you need a metal cutter for a fishing trip? The answer is simple, fishing hooks.

You’ll find lost fishing hooks that could be anywhere in every fishing spot. They could be on tree roots, swimming fish, or floating on the water.

It’s not a question of “if it happens.” It’s about “when it happens.” Hooks can and will get stuck to your kayak, clothes, or in some cases, you.

Metal cutters are necessary to cut these troublesome hooks. Check Crescent Wiss on Amazon.


Multitools are your maintenance items. If your kayak is brand new, there’s little to no chance you would need a multitool.

But some bolts might get unscrewed as you go for trip after trip. Your seat could get loose, and your crates could lose some nails; any of those could happen.

A multitool is a good replacement for toolboxes that take a good amount of space. They are your go-to items should you need some maintenance on the go.

Gerber gear 47550N is a reliable multitool.


Last but not least, chargers. Even in our daily lives, portable chargers are becoming increasingly popular.

You can get a portable charger from any electronics store, but a solar charger would be more helpful as long as the sun is out there. Then, you’re never out of juice.


So there you have it, all the essentials (and some helpful non-essentials) that guarantee the value out of your kayak fishing trip.

Having fun and catching fish is good, but safety always comes first. So don’t forget your life jacket, lights, and noisemakers.

Always check that you have all the equipment before heading out, and have fun fishing!

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