Promising simplicity, versatility and access to new waters, kayaks are the ultimate fishing machines. Here’s how to get in on the action
#7 WORK WITH THE WIND
The most common question I get from novice kayak anglers is how to deal with wind. That’s because if you fight the wind in a kayak, you will always lose. First, if there’s more than a 25-kilometre wind, get off the water—being out there is both unsafe and unpleasant. In moderate winds, however, it’s still possible to effectively fish a weedbed, shoreline or other structure. The trick is simple: cast downwind. To do this, set up so you drift past the spot, leaving your hands free to cast or jig.
If you’ve got a rudder, set it to help control your drift. Even if you need to occasionally pick up the paddle to adjust your direction, you’ll only lose a cast or two. When largemouth fishing, for example, I often drift long sections of shoreline, then troll back to the beginning and do it again. On good days, this can be productive in both directions. You can also use a drift sock to control a long, open-water drift, which is handy for vertical jigging over walleye or lake trout.
The ridiculous and frustrating alternative to this drifting-and-casting technique is to cast, then paddle upwind past the same spot, make a couple of casts, then drift back, and paddle up again, over and over. It’s the angling equivalent of Sisyphus eternally pushing his boulder up the hill.