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Kayak Fishing Tips

By Kastking | 24 January 2018 | 0 Comments

How to effectively drift to catch more fish and spend less time paddling while kayak fishing.


I’ll never forget my first year of  kayak fishing and my first experience under the Marine Parkway Bridge. My Cobra kayak wasn’t as nimble as my Hobie but I’ll never forget how intimidated I was after being humbled by a hard 3 knot current. Needless to say I had several trips where I ended up skunked because I just hadn’t figured out how to fish a highly productive area.   I ended up sticking to mostly back bay areas and the Jamaica Bay Marshes. There is nothing wrong with fishing the back either and I enjoy a relaxing trip as much as anyone. In 2012 I spent close to 80% of my season in “hard current” areas.


It was a gradual adjustment that took five years to learn how to really properly approach areas like bridges and jetties while kayak fishing.  As soon as I learned how to fish the bridges, jetties and inlet areas better, my catches soared and surpassed all my expectations. Most importantly I took it easy. Don’t go right out to the middle of the channel if you aren’t ready for it. Gradual steps will bring you there in time.


  • Never let your line scope out


This has happened to all of us on when setting up a drift;  you stop your boat and let your line out in either a cast or straight drop and by the time you engage your reel your line is so far out you’ve wasted prime time. On kayaks this is especially important since you are exerting a lot of physical energy to get into some of these areas. I spent a good part of one of my first summers trying to figure out how to get a bucktail down in 40 feet of water easily and usually ended up physically exhausted and skunked. Over time I learned that casting uptide while I still was coming off the momentum from my paddle was key to my fluke bucktailing success.



When kayak fishing, one of the most important things is to point your bow directly into the flow of current and knowing how far uptide to cast if you are jigging fluke or stripers. You always want your line to settle down vertical or a little bit uptide to your kayak giving you more time in the strike zone and getting a proper presentation. Your catch ratios are significantly less if you are bottom bouncing with bucktails or jigs if your line has scoped out before hitting bottom. Precisely positioning makes the difference of using a 1 oz bucktail or a 1 ½ oz bucktail as well and that can really make a world of a difference in what you end up catching.



There is nothing more frustrating than having your line run straight to the stern of your kayak and having to reset your drift immediately since you have already exited where you were planning to fish. Always keep in mind every day is different. Sometimes you might need to cast just as few as ten feet off your bow if the current is mild in between moon phases.



kayak fishing Author Elias Vaisberg caught these four big tautog on a Phantom kayak fishing rod and a 2000 series BlackHawk Ecoda reel, 15 lb white Kast King braid, with some serious  jigging on rockpiles.

Author Elias Vaisberg caught these four big tautog on a Phantom kayak fishing rod and a 2000 series Ecooda BlackHawk reel, 15 lb white KastKing braid, with some serious jigging on rock piles. Biggest tog ran about 5lbs. (Photo Credit, Elias Vaisberg)



  • Drifting through bridge rips and the approach


Bridge rips can really be dynamite for bass many months out of the year but learning how to fish them by kayak is tricky. Some rips will hold stripers and some will be void of life. Knowing where the fish stage to ambush their pray is a huge help. These areas tend to be very small and loaded with fish and very close to structure. If your jig is not in that zone, at the right moment you’ll catch nothing or worse a snag. I see it all the time on south shore and west end bridges where many anglers will easily get frustrated with bridge fishing. The current can be especially hard and you really need to be alert at all times.


Bridge rips tend to have a lot of cross currents that can belly your line up bad and you will be snagged up before you blink. They can spin your fishing kayak at times so keeping track of your line can avoid you a costly tangle. If you are jigging with soft plastics or diamond jigs I always make sure that I never make a cast while my kayak has too much momentum coming off my pedals or paddle. The cross currents from the bridge will easily cause you to scope out too much line or to get hung up. The most important point for kayak fishing that I can’t stress enough is to locate the fish first either via fish finder, and when you are going over them the next time, be sure your line is vertical and your jig is working the bottom. Sometimes you only need to have that jig down there at the right moment for less than 30 seconds and a striper will gobble it up.



kayak fishing near bridges can yield big striped bass

Kayak fishing near bridges can yield big striped bass



Occasionally striped bass will feed in other areas of the water column by bridges, but I normally find them 1 to 3 feet off the bottom. Also remember to always have your paddle ready if you are headed into the bridge itself to gently push yourself off.


  •  Piece of safety advice – Hobies and Rips


I learned first-hand if you are running into bridge rips too fast with your Hobie you can get caught off guard and unexpectedly turned to a different direction. If you are unprepared it can cause a shift in weight and easily catch you off guard. In a paddle kayak you are in much more control of direction as you do not need to rely on a rudder. In a Hobie cross currents can cause your rudder to change direction. Always approach a bridge with caution slowly to get a feel for how the current is moving. It’s really for your safety to not cruise through an area top speed and unexpectedly get dumped. It hasn’t happened to me but I can see it happening very easily.


I do most of my bridge fishing during the day and have had banner days with bass and fluke in the same trip all throughout the summer. You can do it at night too but please do it with extreme caution and don’t even attempt it if you aren’t comfortable. It would be an articles worth of information how to fish the bridges when kayak fishing at night.


 By — Elias Vaisberg

–             Elias Vaisberg is a highly experience kayak fisherman who lives in Brooklyn, NY. He logs countless hours targeting anything that swims in Jamaica Bay and New York Harbor. He fishes on a 2011 Hobie Outback and is sponsored by Eposeidon and Hobie.




Eposeidon (www.eposeidon.com ) is an e-commerce company (Eposeidon Outdoor Adventure, Inc.) that brings a fresh, innovative approach to anglers by offering quality fishing tackle products at the best prices and no cost, or low cost shipping. Eposeidon’s goal is to exceed expectations through outstanding customer service and superior product value to their customers. Eposeidon is continually expanding its product lines, which include KastKing™ fishing line, fishing reels, and fishing rods, MadBite fishing lures, Ecooda reels, and other fishing tackle products, to meet individual fishing equipment needs. Eposeidon is headquartered in Garden City, NY, USA and sells fishing tackle products globally. Eposeidon is the sole North American Distributor for Ecooda fishing reels.

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