10 Kayak Fishing Gear Essentials

Kayak Fishing Gear Essentials

Kayaks have taken the fishing world by storm. They are easy to use, affordable, and put everyone on an equal playing field. They also allow you to sneak up on fish, take advantage of shallow and weedy areas, and allow anglers a chance to access bodies of water without a public access. With all of these benefits, it’s no wonder anglers are choosing to purchase new kayaks over a new boat.

However, it should be known that kayak fishing does require more than just purchasing the actual kayak. Yes, finding the right kayak is important. It’s important to own the right size, the right weight, and the right type. This assures it can be loaded, carried, and controlled for each individual. However, making it “fishable” is just as important. This means having a place to carry gear, rods, and being ready to face the challenges that come along with limited space and limited mobility.

That’s why we have compiled a list of kayak fishing essentials to get the job done.


Storage is going to be the number one necessity when rigging up a kayak for fishing. This is where gear will be stored, rods can be mounted, and accessories should be kept. These items include tackle, pliers, rods, water, snacks, and so much more.

As kayak angling becomes popular, some kayak systems have storage systems built in. However, this isn’t the case for the majority of kayaks, especially affordable ones.
Instead, many kayak anglers choose to install a crate in their kayak. This crate sits in the back of the unit, allowing it to be used as a rod mount and a storage device. The best part is that its affordable and can be found nearly anywhere.

Rod Holders

The next items that need to be purchased are rod holders. Anglers need to store their rods when navigating the water, and the only way to do that in a kayak is with rod holders.

Just like with storage, designated fishing kayaks will have rod holders built in. Even non-fishing kayaks may have a deep enough cup holder that will suffice when money matters.

However, if built in rod holders are not an option (or simply not well designed), anglers can easily purchase boat rod holders that can be installed into the kayak or onto their storage crate.
If paying for rod holders is out of the question, then anglers can build their own with PVC pipe. As long as the rods are out of the way while staying easily accessible, anything can get the job done.


There are situations where staying stationary in a kayak is a must. These are those windy days on a lake or those treks down a turbulent river.

That’s where bringing a portable anchor is essential. Because kayaks are light, anchors don’t need to be extremely heavy. That’s why these will vary significantly from the traditional anchors that many witnesses on the boat.

Kayakers should invest in a folding anchor. These anchors will “dig into” the ground keeping the kayak in place without compromising size or weight. There are also automatic power pole/micro anchors for shallow water kayak fishing.

Paddle Leash

Although select kayak manufacturers are starting to come out with pedal systems, the majority still use paddles. That’s why having a leash is important. Nothing would be worse than fishing a deep lake, the ocean, or rapidly moving body of water to find that a paddle is no longer in hand.

A paddle leash works by securing the paddle to the kayak. Therefore, if it’s dropped on accident, or simply needs to be thrown aside when reeling that big fish in, it’s assured to not go anywhere.

Action Camera

For those who want to create fishing content, share their story, and have a video to remember their catches, an action camera is a must. The most important part of adding this action camera; however, is mounting it.

Many kayak anglers will mount their camera on a pole behind or in front of them. This can be done with professional mounts or simple GoPro mounts that stick to any part of the kayak. Additionally, action shots can be taken by mounting the camera on the body. All three are great options when creating a video, but there is a much simpler method especially if you are on a budget. Your cell phone can easily act as an action camera, as well as a safety device, and camera for photo taking while kayaking. The Rooster Wrap cell phone holder is perfect for kayak fishing, especially if you want to film your adventure. With most GoPro’s operated by an app via Bluetooth, the phone in an easily accessible place acts as a picture taking device, video camera, and control board for your other cameras.

Landing Net

Being closer to the water doesn’t eliminate the need for a net. As a responsible angler, it’s crucial to bring a landing net. This decreases handling time and increases the odds of a successful catch (and release!)

There are generally two areas to keep the net on a kayak. The first is to lay it in front, keeping it very accessible. The other is to mount it in a rod holder by the crate, keeping it out of the way and freeing up more space.

Cell Phone

When it comes to having a convenient camera, it’s hard to beat the cell phone. Photo and video quality is great and are immediately available to use and share. They can easily be shared with friends and family or all over social media with the touch of a button. In fact, having a cell phone along means sharing that trophy catch right on the spot.

Again, in addition to being its own action camera, many modern action cameras are controlled by phones. This means they are essential to turning the camera on and off, checking the angles, and uploading video from both the action camera(s) and your phone.

Cell phones are also important for safety. In case of an emergency, safety is a phone call away. Checking weather conditions, fishing reports, and staying in contact with a fellow angler are also benefits of keeping that cell phone accessible on the water.

With many modern phones being water resistant or having waterproof and even floating cases, bringing them along is a no-brainer.

Fishing and Kayak Cell Phone Holder

It’s obvious that bringing a cell phone along is essential. However, where to store that cell phone is the important question. Thankfully, it can now be securely stored across the chest with a simple strap. Thanks to RoosterWrap, keeping the cell phone convenient and safe has never been easier. Instead it’s securely fastened to the body, but still available for photos, texts, and phone calls. Long gone are the days where anglers had to worry about dropping it in the lake.

Rod Floats

Just like a cell phone, no one wants to lose a rod to the bottom of the lake. That’s why rod floats can be a lifesaver for every kayak angler. These floats simply slide over the base of the rod. They stay out of the way by assuring the rod will float if it falls overboard.

Life Jacket

Most kayaks can be tipped. If a kayak is incredibly steady, then casting and balancing means angler’s risk falling in regardless.

Modern life jackets can be inflatable, meaning they don’t feel bulky or cause excess sweating. Considering even the greatest swimmers will struggle to pull themselves onto a kayak in the cold or turbulent water, having a life jacket is an absolute must for kayak fishing. It is also illegal in most situations to not have a life jacket while kayaking or kayak fishing.


Kayaks have changed the fishing industry. It allows more people to experience time on the water. However, as we mentioned, finding the right kayak is only part of the equation. Having it properly rigged with the essential kayak fishing gear is as equally important. That’s why when shopping for kayak accessories, it’s important to keep the above items in mind!

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