How and Where to Launch Your Kayak
The appeal of kayak fishing for most anglers is the simplicity of kayak launching and the ease of fishing. For many kayak anglers, launching is just pulling your kayak off your vehicle or out of the bed of your truck. Some kayakers also use trailers. With a kayak, there are no complicated launching procedures when fishing alone. Even the newest kayaks with pedal drives and motor systems lack the ability to cover large water distances quickly, so picking the best launching spot for a kayak can be the determining factor in having a productive day on the water. During a typical day, most kayakers can cover between four and eight miles in their kayak – and if the spot that is chosen isn’t favorable, moving to a different location is much easier with a kayak than it would be with a boat.
Where is the Best Place to Fish?
How do you choose which of your local spots is going to be the most productive? Looking at the weather and tide reports can be helpful. The weather report is the most important factor for kayak anglers – the wind needs to be favorable and safe. If the wind is going to be less than 15 knots, pick a kayak launching point based on what direction the wind is blowing from. For east winds, look for spots to launch where you can fish a sheltered, eastern shoreline. The same applies for any other wind direction – northern shore lines for north winds, southern for south and western for west. If the wind is projected to switch during the day, plan for the wind to be at your back on the way back to the boat ramp. The last thing any kayak angler wants is to paddle or pedal into a headwind after six to eight hours of fishing.
When looking at the tide report, think like a fish. The tide is one of the biggest factors in fishing in salt water. Whether incoming or outgoing, fish feed more on a moving tide. The more you can present your lure or bait so that it looks as natural as possible, the more successful you’ll be. Pick areas to fish where your lure will be swimming with the tide during the retrieve. Fish tend to stage up in areas so that they can ambush bait that is being swept with the tidal flow. Google maps and a chart of the body of water can be extremely useful resources when looking at kayak launching points. Look for areas where the tide will pull baitfish near and around ambush points such as oyster beds, sand bars, small channels and creek mouths, or even seawalls. Having knowledge of each local ramp and surrounding area during different wind and tide conditions will make it easier to choose which one will be the most productive launching point.
Kayak Launching Courtesy
Once you have chosen your lucky launch point, load up your vehicle in preparation for the trip. Launching from a boat ramp is always easiest – however, the beauty of kayak fishing is that you can use almost any public bank to launch. Find a safe parking spot, and with the use of a kayak cart, pull your kayak down to the water, or travel as far as you need. The C-Tug kayak and canoe cart offers two different wheel options, depending on the ground surfaces over which you’ll be pulling your kayak. Even though launching a kayak is easier than launching a boat, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the same common courtesies as boaters at the ramp, where speed of launch is important. Being properly organized beforehand will make your kayak launching experience even easier. A product like the YakGear Angler Crate is useful to hold all your tackle boxes, pliers, Fish Grips and leader material. There’s nothing more satisfying than wheeling your loaded-down kayak right to the water and launching while boaters look on jealously.
We choose to fish out of kayaks for a myriad of reasons, but ease of access to the water is usually at the top of most anglers’ lists. It’s important to do everything you can before launch, like looking at environmental conditions and having the proper gear to keep organized, to ensure that you have a productive and safe day on the water.
About the Author
Jeff Lange fishes salt water flats and offshore along the Florida Northern Coast around Panama City, Florida. With years of experience and a degree in Marine Biology, Jeff loves the water. His passion for fishing and his passion for kayaking are a great match.