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Kayak Fly Fishing Guide + Tips

Last Updated on September 28, 2022 by Donnell Henderson

Kayak fly fishing is a sport millions of people enjoy because it’s easy to learn and can be done in many different places. It doesn’t require expensive gear, and the durability and versatility of fly fishing gear make it an economical choice. One of the most popular methods among fly fishers is kayak fly fishing, which allows you to enjoy unspoiled scenery while you fish.

It’s hard to say why some people choose it over other styles of fly fishing, but I think it’s because kayak fly fishing provides a unique experience that you can’t get from standing in the bank or wading a foot or so deep into the river. It’s very peaceful and enjoyable yet still offers the challenge of casting your line into the water and trying to reel in a fish.

What Should Be Your Budget for Kayak Fly Fishing?

Choosing your budget for kayak fly fishing is usually a matter of choosing your preferred level of equipment, but some things should be considered in the process. What are you looking to get out of the sport? How much time do you have per week to invest in it? Do you want to be a pro, or are you just looking to learn the basics? Are you a fan of the old-school cast or prefer a high-tech approach?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you choose what kind of equipment would be best for your needs. If you’re new to the sport, it’s best not to spend too much on your first set-up, as this will put pressure on you to perform with it, and if you don’t, the money wasted could lead to frustration and disappointment.

On the other hand, if this is something that you see yourself doing for years and years, don’t skimp on quality. You can always upgrade as time goes on, but starting with a higher standard set-up will give you better results right off the bat.

Tips and Tricks for Kayak Fly Fishing


1. Pick the Right Boat

When looking for the right vessel for fly fishing, you want to ensure that your kayak is appropriate for navigating in the river, and stable enough to support your equipment and you. In order to cast a fly rod from a kayak, you need to have a good amount of stability in the water so you don’t capsize or fall out of your vessel.


The first thing you want to do is find a kayak that is heavy enough so that it doesn’t float away when you are on it. You can determine this by checking the weight capacity of the kayak. You want one that supports at least 300 pounds, so it can support your weight and all the equipment you will be carrying.

Storage Room

You should also look for a kayak with ample storage room. In order to carry all of your equipment, you need storage space for your tackle box, waders, vest, etc. The more storage space available, the better off you will be. A small storage hatch works well for holding smaller items, while a large area behind the seat works well for storing larger items like waders and vests.

Person’s Skills

A person’s skill level should be considered when choosing the right kayak. If a person has been kayaking for a while, they will be familiar with their abilities and what types of terrain they prefer. If a person is just starting out with kayaking, choosing a shorter, wider kayak that is easier to maneuver is best. Kayak fishing, especially for a fly fish, is a difficult job to do. Maintaining a proper fly line is good, but the best thing that can happen to you while fly casting has fly fishing rod holders. Because it’s the rod holder which makes the difference.

Person’s Experience

A person’s experience level and goals should also be considered when choosing the right kayak. The ideal fishing kayak should be able to hold a lot of gear and easily transport it from place to place. Also, someone who wants to go farther away from shore will need a longer, faster, and more powerful kayak than someone who enjoys staying closer to land.

Length and Width

The length and width of the kayak affect how well it moves through the water. The longer the kayak length, the faster it can go through deeper waters. However, long boats can become unstable in deeper waters because they become more difficult to turn quickly and change direction rapidly.

2. Choose the Correct Equipment

The best way to begin kayak fly fishing is to understand the equipment needed. Most fishing kayaks either don’t have complete kayak fly anglers gear or any maintenance. But the best fly fishing kayaks are those which at least have the best kayak anglers with the right tools like navigators, hatches, and paddles. Having too much or too little gear can ruin your experience. So it’s important to know what you will need for a day on the water and the optional equipment.

Set the Hook

First, you must know the basics of fly fishing, including “how to set the hook” and cast properly. It is important to have a certain level of comfort with this before going into a kayak.

Fly Rod

Next, you will need a rod, reel, line, and flies. Most people think that they can use their spinning setup from their local sporting goods store, but this is not the case. Fly reels differ from regular spinning reels and can be bought in most fly fishing stores.

Fly rods are also very different from your everyday rod since they are graphite or fiberglass. You will also need flies and lines for your fly rod and reel setup; these are usually sold as a combo at your local fly shop or online retailer.


Finally, you will need waders purchased at most sporting goods stores or online retailers. These may be hard to find if you don’t live near a large city so call around before you buy them online.

Select the Area

A kayak is the ideal fishing vessel, especially on the river. However, you may need to adjust your technique and gear slightly when fishing from a kayak. For example, a fly fisherman using traditional gear might be difficult to cast when standing up in the kayak. It’s typically easier to fish from a seated position inside the kayak than standing and fishing from outside the boat.

3. Angling From Inside the Kayak

If you’re only fishing from inside the kayak, it’s best to use a longer rod than you normally would. A 9-foot fly rod will give you optimal maneuverability and range of motion. You’ll also need a longer line for casting because you’ll be sitting down and fishing in an enclosed space. If you’re using a shorter rod or shorter line, your cast may end up going over the side of the kayak as opposed to where you want it to go.

4. Angling From Outside the Kayak

If you plan on standing while angling from outside your kayak, you’ll need to use shorter rods and lighter lines. The lightweight will allow your rod and line to fall quickly so that your lure hits the water quickly.

5. Keep Your Life Vests On 

One of the most important things for kayak fishermen to remember is that you should never go out on the water without your life vest on. Many people think they don’t need to wear their life vest when they’re in a kayak, but it is actually one of the most important pieces of equipment you have with you. If something should happen to your kayak, and you have to swim or float back to shore, having that extra piece of safety equipment could make all the difference in whether or not you survive the experience.

If you’re going to fish from your kayak, remember that it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Take some time before your trip to sit inside the kayak and ensure that everything will be easy to reach once you’re on the water. Don’t put anything in your storage area that will be impossible to get to if you were ever in an emergency situation where you had to quickly grab something out of there.

6. Choose the Right Paddle

When choosing the right paddle for kayak fly fishing, you must consider a few things. Is the paddle going to be used primarily in saltwater or freshwater? Are you planning on using it more in a recreational setting, or are you looking at using it more in a competitive environment? How big are your hands? These are all things that should be considered when picking out a paddle.

If you plan on using your paddle in a saltwater environment, consider a few things. First, you should look for a carbon fiber blade on the paddle. These blades are much lighter than aluminum blades, making paddling easier on your arms and shoulders. Also, look for lightweight handles as well as lightweight shafts. This will also help make your paddling experience more comfortable.

When using your paddle in fresh water, you should look for an aluminum shaft with an aluminum handle. These are less expensive and will allow you to use your paddle in different environments without worrying about damage being done to it by the other environment. Aluminum handles can also provide better grip so that, again, this will make paddling easier on your body.

Final Thoughts

Kayak fly fishing has been growing rapidly in popularity in the last few years, and if you’re worried that there aren’t any resources out there for people interested in this method, I’m happy to tell you that there are many books, magazines, and even websites dedicated to kayak fly fishing.

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