Kayak Fishing

by: Eric Henson

When it comes to fishing, learning to properly land and handle the fish is critical. Although every fish species will be a little different, having good safe practices are key. We all have a great story about the huge fish that we almost landed, but there’s no photographic evidence (or dinner on the table) because we lost it while trying to get it into our boat.  Learning to land your fish can be the difference between a good and a great day. There’s nothing like catching the fish of a lifetime and as soon as it gets next to the yak, it comes unglued. This usually happens when you try to lift the fish into the boat with your rod or you try to grab it with your hands next to the boat. There are many different types of tools that you can use to land certain types of fish in different types of situations. The two main tools that I use to land fish are a good landing net and a dehooker. These two tools can improve your game and help you successfully land more fish.

Landing Nets are the number one thing that I depend on in tournaments when it is most critical to land the fish. When picking out a net decide on what size fish is the average that you will be targeting. The last thing you want on your kayak is a huge clumsy net that is always in the way of your paddling or fishing. For inshore species I like to use the EGO Slider 2 17” or 19” as it has rubber mesh that is easier on the fish and is extremely easy to remove the hooks from (no tangled mess), it has an extension handle that makes it easy to use for reaching out on kayaks or when using a fly rod with a long leader, and most of all it floats!

Fish Dehookers come in many different sizes and styles. I personally use a shorter style as I have lots of experience with all different fish species and feel like I have more control of the device. If you are less experienced maybe start out with the longer ones. The number one reason I like using the dehookers, is for smaller fish that I don’t want to touch or should I say handle. This is because a lot of the times when we handle a fish with our hands it can disrupt their slime coat which can lead to bacterial infections and even death of the fish. The less we handle them the better that fish has a chance to grow up and become a trophy one day. There are times when we have to break out the old trust pliers if a hook is embedded too deeply.

Until next time, keep control of your catch and hope you land the fish of a lifetime! Tight Lines and Tight Knots to all!