By Ron Strauss

FOMO; the Fear of Missing Out. A lot of people are curious about kayak fishing. Can I do it? Would I like it? Should I try it? I’ve talked with thousands of people about kayak fishing. Many jump right in when they understand the benefits that you gain fishing from a kayak. For some, there’s lots of misconceptions that prevent them from joining this booming sport. “Kayaks are too tippy and uncomfortable.” “You can’t add all the bells and whistles you can get on a power boat”—and more. These are all myths. The sport has matured to the point that options are plentiful. Is it for you?

Ask yourself these three questions.

1. What if I could fish remote waters that the power boat guys only dream of getting to?

2. What if I had more money to spend on rods, reels, lures and other items that could up my fishing game? Read on, I’ll explain how kayak fishing will help you get more from your fishing budget.

3. What if I could multiply the thrills and fun you experience from fishing? Sound far fetched? Let me describe some of my kayak fishing experiences.    

Get to remote spots that are inaccessible by others, that’s smart, really smart!

Admit it, you’ve done it. You’re driving by a lake, river or pond and thought to yourself, “I wonder if there’s any fish in there?” You then do research and load up Google maps to discover the name of the lake. You check out the DNR website and the survey confirms there’s fish. You post in online fishing forums or social groups and ask if anyone knows about the lake. You start to look for any public boat ramps or access. Then it all comes to a screeching halt! Dead end! There’s no way you can get your power boat on that water.

If you’re a kayak angler, you have more ways to access waters. I’ve dragged my kayak over rocks, up & down steep hills, through narrow wooded paths and paddled over super thick weeds to legally access remote waters. The experience is similar to going to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota—you know it may take a little more work to get on those remote waters, but you’ll be rewarded by seeing few other anglers. You’ll enjoy putting your presentation in front of fish that aren’t as pressured as on high traffic waters. You’ll enjoy quiet and solitude. And you’ll enjoy a fishing experience others can’t get to.

Lake Pike

Case study: The MONSTER Bass and Pike of Lake Wishyouknew!

When kayak anglers aren’t fishing, they’re planning the next outing. A friend of mine, Toad Outdoors, is a master at hunting down hot, remote fishing spots. He discovered a legal, secret kayak access to a lake that holds big bass and pike. The access point is very narrow and down a steep, muddy hill. Once you’re on the water, you need to paddle through extremely thick weeds for a long distance. This is doable in a kayak. In a propeller driven boat—Forget about it! Kayak anglers can also capitalize on shallow or dried up channels or streams that connect two bodies of water. Fishing kayaks open up new waters to be fished and enjoyed.

Spend little to nothing on gas and boat maintenance, spend more on the stuff that improves your fishing results

There’s a saying in the power boat world, “BOAT” stands for, Break Out Another Thousand—dollars, of course. Power boats are beasts that eat fuel and require maintenance and repair. Nothing kills the anticipation of getting out fishing faster than getting your boat in the water and learning it won’t start or is running poorly. We’ve all witnessed the agony of anglers suffering engine problems at the launch or out on the water. There’s very little than can go wrong with fishing kayaks.

Kayaks are very basic:A plastic boat and paddle powered by human effort. A basic set up can be purchased as low as $500. That’s certainly not a top-of-the-line fishing kayak, but it gets you off the shore and out on the water. Avid kayak anglers tend to spend more money to get fishing kayaks that are more stable, more comfortable, can carry more weight and are loaded with kayak fishing specific features. Top-of-the-line fishing kayaks with pedal or electric motor drives cost thousands of dollars. But even those top of the line fishing kayaks are lower in cost to purchase and operate than power boats.

Fishing kayaks have options for any accessory you can put on your power boat. Fish finders, electronics, audio, live wells, rod holders, anchor systems…anything. With the money you save purchasing a kayak vs. a power boat, you’ll be able to load up on all the accessories you want to increase your fishing results. Instead of dumping money into your boat’s gas tank, you can dump more money into rods, reels, lures and other gear that can increase your odds for better fishing results.

Hold on tight, enjoy more fight!

Fishing can be described as stretches of time that are redundant and quiet followed by moments of excitement, panic, thrills and a palpating heartbeat. In a kayak, you’re closer to the action. Big, strong fish can strike your lure, turn, run and pull you around the lake. This is called a “sleigh ride” and it’s lots of fun! I’ve had fish pull me upstream against the current and turn me and my kayak in a complete circle as they tried to escape a hookup. 

The excitement of top water strikes and strikes close your boat are amplified. I’ve watched fish follow my lure right next to my kayak, then turn, look me in the eye, grab the lure and run. They were only a few feet from me, and I could see the intensity in their behavior. During a musky outing, I was working a large Whopper Plopper top water lure when suddenly, just six feet from my kayak, a huge musky jumped out of the water and crushed my lure. The fish splashed down right next to my kayak! It was thrashing madly, and it was as if the lake water was boiling around me. She came unbuttoned, and I was soaking wet from the action­—my heart pounding. I caught other fish that day, but nothing came close to the thrill of that big musky. Fishing from my kayak and being so close to that fish created an experience I’ll never forget.

Don’t miss out, give it a try, find out why kayak anglers are hooked!

Most fishing kayak retailers have on-the-water demo days. You can get in a fishing kayak and try it on the water. There are also many kayak fishing guides. They’ll help you get comfortable with a kayak, take you out and get you on fish. I’m involved with a program called, “Kayak Fishing, Get Into It.” I’ll teach you all the basics, then get you out kayak fishing. This program is for individuals or groups, kayaks & pfds are provided. Bring your own fishing gear.

The popularity of kayak fishing continues to grow. Contact me if I can answer any questions. Ron Strauss, rnrs2255@gmail.com

FREE membership in the MN Kayak Fishing Association.  Get exclusive member deals, news on tournaments, outings and events. MNKayakFishingAssociation.org. Join our MN Kayak Fishing Association facebook group. Ask questions, post your catches, share your knowledge or just show off your kayak angling wit and humor. facebook.com/groupsmnkayakfishingassociation

About The Author

Ron Strauss

Ron Strauss is the President of the Minnesota Kayak Fishing Association.