How to Land Big Fish in a Kayak

Nothing is as bad as enjoying fishing on your kayak only to be dragged down the deep waters by a 150-pound fish you’re trying to catch. Hooking up a big fish from a big boat is totally different from hooking one heavier than you from a surfboard or kayak.

You don’t want to tumble overboard as a large fish drags you along. Therefore, it becomes important to learn how to land big fish from your kayak.

Factors to Consider When Landing Big Fish from Your Kayak

There’s no doubt you want to catch the biggest fish in the waters when you set out on your kayak. Every angler does. However, you must be prepared to tackle your monster when fishing from a kayak.

Here’s what to do when landing big fish:

Set Your Drag Prior to Making a Cast

Before making your first cast, set your drag tight enough to ensure the fish you’re trying to catch doesn’t run. It should also be loose enough to protect your leader, line and rod from the pressure of excess load.

Do this especially if the fish swims close to your kayak. Note that a quick change in direction or twist can easily snap your line tip you over or even break your rod. Adjust your drag accordingly to minimize the risk of such things taking place.

Position Your Catch

Position the fish in front of your kayak of it tries to fight back or gets near the water surface. Although you can laugh at a 3-pound bass flinging in your kayak, you won’t feel the same about a marlin weighing 150 pounds.

You gain control over the fish when you position it in front of your kayak. It also becomes easier to get backup in case the flinging action gets uncomfortable.

Battle the Fish

Before moving the fish alongside your kayak, battle it to ensure it gets exhausted. However, if you don’t intend to keep the fish, if fishing for leisure, don’t over-exhaust the fish. That would be unethical.

Tow Large Fish in Water

If you’ve caught large fish, tow it instead of getting it onto your kayak. Tow bulky fish to the show instead of loading it onto your vessel, lest it capsizes. Keep your safety in mind while towing because you can easily lure unwanted predators that might want to feast on your hard-caught game.

Stow Your Gear

Secure your gear, keeping it stowed as if you’re about to capsize. When your kayak flips, you need to think fast, reconnect with your vessel, overturn it and climb back into it. That makes the process quite stressful.

It’s not easy getting back into a capsized kayak. Therefore, there’s no time to worry about your gear sinking to the depth of the waters. Leash all your gear, including first-aid kit, paddles and other fishing essentials using fishing pole or paddle leashes. Keep small items in your hatches, if any.

Leashes vary in coil cord, length, bungee and webbing they come in. With all your hands on the fish trying to gain control, your lifesaving paddle, reel or even rod are beyond touch. Therefore, they can easily drop into the depths of water.

Secure your gear essentials to ensure you return home safely with a peace of mind, knowing all your fishing items are safe.

Cut Your Fishing Line in Emergency Situations

Re-rigging might cost you a lot of money. But, if being pulled overboard, it’s best to cut your lines. That would ensure you’re safe and your gear don’t get dumped into the water as big fish drags you overboard. Don’t hesitate to use a knife, line-cutter or whatever you have at hand to minimize your potential losses.

Take Advantage of Your Legs

Use your legs to lift the weight of your big fish after bringing it along your kayak. Make sure your center of gravity rests in the middle of your kayak to keep balance.

Slide your foot beneath the fish, arching it behind the dorsal fin. Make sure sharp spines don’t prick your feet. Raise your leg high and push your catch into the kayak. If possible, onto your lap.

Keep Your CoG in the Middle of the Kayak

Make sure your center of gravity always rests at the center of your kayak to keep balance and stay upright. What’s difficult is maintaining your CoG while wresting a big catch. Although a lot of movement is involved, keep your mass as low and wide as possible to balance your weight on the vessel.

If standing up, sit down whenever possible to lower your CoG. Leaning in a single direction can impair the balance you’re trying to strike. If you have to, stretch your limb in the opposite direction to keep your kayak balanced on the water.

Consider outriggers to help balance your kayak when handling big fish.

Stay Safe

Even before setting out in the waters, you need to wear a flotation device made for personal use. It’d help ensure your safety when need arises. Make sure it’s of the right weight and fits properly.

Your safety gear safeguards you when battling your fish. You never know what could happen; you might flip over into the waters with your gear. That explains the need to wear safety gear onboarding a fishing kayak.

Land Your Big Catch

Use your fish grips to lip grip your catch. Do this as soon as you put back your pole and paddle. It would ensure you give the fish a steady hold, making sure your fingers are far from its sharp teeth. Grab the fish and place it in your kayak after securing its lips.

Layer Your Laps for Increased Comfort

Wear gloves and cover your lap with a towel to comfortably land your big fish into the kayak.

Take a Snap Shot

Bring with you a camera to capture the great moment of landing your big catch. You’ll want photos to bring the memories back home to your family and friends. Or, simply use it as memorabilia of the great moment.