September is finally here bringing along with it the start to the fall kayak fishing season. It’s an anglers perfect season with temperate temperatures, quiet lakes, rivers and oceans, and most of all- great fishing. Fall is also the last chance to enjoy the sport for many who will soon have to put their kayaks away until Spring.
Layer, Layer, Layer
As we roll into the fall season paddlers will need to be prepared for the steady drop in temperature. The best way to do this is to layer your usual summer angling outfit. I recommend starting with two base layers, one to cover your arms and the other to protect your legs.
When fall and winter start intertwining, you are going to want to take extra care to bundle adequately. Splash and dry wear will be your new best friend and will comfortably fit over your base layers to keep you warm and out on the water.
Let There Be Light
With fall comes shorter days and darker evenings. For those who enjoy a post-work paddle this makes extra lighting a necessity. If you plan on enjoying a few evening paddles then a kayak fishing light is the way to go.
Anyone night fishing should also take time to review the laws in their area regarding watercraft lighting after dark. Many states require that you have a 360 degree white light.
For those of you who plan on getting out on the water during the weekends, protection from the sun will be an absolute must. Thankfully, covering up for the sun and cold weather go hand in hand.
Shop for apparel with UPF ratings on them as well as items that will cover your hands and face. A solid hat such as will protect your face and neck from the sun when you are out on the water for a long day of kayak fishing.
Change your Fishing Routine
Go in the afternoon
Kayaking in the afternoon is a great way to take advantage of the warmer weather. Afternoons allow kayakers plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely paddle in some sun and make it back home before nightfall, leaving you with enough time to relax when the mercury goes south. Of course, kayaking in the late-afternoon also gives you just enough light so you don’t kayak into any unexpected darkness! Plus it’s always more enjoyable to kayak when the temperature is up than freezing your rump off out there!
When kayak fishing in autumn, it’s important to pack for the unpredictable weather. Layering is a must – after all, you never quite know when that sunny afternoon will turn to a chill and windy breeze. And even on those overcast days, sunscreen should be your friend – UV rays are still out there! Don’t forget to bring along a light water-resistant jacket and a hat with good coverage too. Last but not least, polarized sunglasses can be a kayaker’s best friend for reducing glare off the water. So make sure you don’t forget these essentials on your kayaking adventure!
Change your Kayak Fishing Technique
Slow and Steady
As the temperature drops and winter approaches, anglers who kayak for gamefish must adjust their strategies accordingly. Gone are the days of savage, speedy casts and retrieves; now is the time to dial down the speed and finesse your technique. Your kayak provides a distinct advantage with its stealthiness, so make use of it by investing in deck padding to soften your approach even more. Fish metabolism slows as winter dawns, so imitate the bait they are hunting if you want to experience a successful kayaking season – slow and steady wins this race!
As kayakers, one of the most important things we can do in autumn is to up the size of our bait. Not only will this give us more bang for our buck – and who doesn’t want that? – it also mirrors the habits of gamefish that are looking towards winter. Skimping on bait size means you risk missing out on these hungry critters as they’re no longer interested in chasing after tiny morsels – there’s little point burning calories at this time of year, when delectable and sizable baitfish lie in wait! So be sure to bear this advice in mind the next time you’re hitting the kayak, and you could land a far bigger catch than you’d bargained for.
Follow The birds
If you’re kayaking in the fall, keep your eyes peeled for birds. Areas where a flock of birds are swooping and calling could be sign that those fishies have done their homework and formed a school! All alluring to the hungry birds, this is a great opportunity for humans to take advantage of lunch time for the fish. Cast your lures in that direction and you may very well hook on to one yourself! So don’t miss out – take note when birds are circling above, ’cause it just might mean more than one type of creature will get its fill.
Find Fishing Hot Spots
Sun Warmed water
Search for coves, shorelines, and gentle turns in shallow waters as these areas heat up quickly in the golden sunshine. Remember that fish also look for sun-warmed water during this seasonal change so if you discover an area with a darker bottom (such as mud or gravel) that’s in a sunny patch then you’re luckier than a cat with nine lives!
Areas of full of will provide plenty of great spots to cast a line. Not only that, but as the weeds start to die off and shrink, these areas become even more inviting to various species of fish as they feed up – and where the bait is, there’s bound to be gamefish following close behind. So kayak around these weed beds and you’ll soon see why this approach can really pay off!