Kayaking fishing essentials

As I plan on fishing from my new kayak when it comes in I wanted to get some feedback from the forum in hopes to help me and anyone else that’s just beginning at this.

What are your essentials when fishing from a kayak? What do you keep within easy reach as opposed to in you crate or under a hatch? Do you carry extra safety items, if so, what?
How many rods and how much tackle do you bring?

Also, please specify what you mainly do (I.e. day trips, lake, pond, rivers etc.) because it seems like “essential” is a bit different between what type of water your on. I will be maiming fresh water lakes, streams and rivers and possibly the occasional trip to a marsh, Thank you!

Salt or sweet?

Just edited it. I’ll be mainly in freshwater lakes/ponds and rivers/streams although I might make the occasion trip to a salt water inlet/marsh area

Dynamite is a really good fish catcher but might be considered hazardous in some settings. Esp if you get caught.

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And it tenderizes it for you too!! Lol

Sorry it took so long to reply. I’ve been kayak fishing for about 20 years and this is what I’ve narrowed it down to for me. I fish everything from creeks to coastal waters. I keep this simple list handy when I’m leaving in the morning because you’d be surprised how many times I forgot things before I made it. Here goes: Paddle, anchor (3 lb. plastic coated dumbbell works good), fishing rod and small tackle box, PFD with whistle, boots (NRS Boundry Shoe in winter), seat pad(depending on what yak I’m in), sponge, food & water, sun glasses and small water proof gearbox. In the gearbox are emergency and everyday things that I need. In the gearbox I have: small packable rain suit, small binoculars, extra knife, small compass, waterproof head light, small container of sunblock, peroxide(a necessity in the south!), and 100% DEET, 2 mylar emergency blankets, a foot or 2 of heavy mono(for snatching hooks from flesh,works great!) spare reading glasses (I’m old!) and last but most important Toilet Paper! I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s really not. Most days I can carry all my gear in one trip to my truck, then go get my yak and I’m done! Some of these things you may not need if you stay near your vehicle and after a while you’ll figure out what works for you. Also this is a fantastic site for paddling info, but there are better sites for kayak fishing info.


I have pared my stuff down to a minimum. I carry a paddle, hat, water shoes, PFD with a whistle in the pocket, 5L dry bags, a bottle of hydration stuff, small tackle box and a pole.

If I need sunscreen that day, I preapply it, same with bug spray. If you put too much in your boat it makes it hard to fish around.

What you need to carry depends on where you fish and what kind of boat you use.

If you are in cold water, more steps must be taken to keep you warm.


thanks for the reply, but may I ask, why the sponge?

The sponge is for cleaning the mud/sand out of the bottom of your kayak. When fishing I use the bottom of my yak as a work area for changing lures, pouring coffee or whatever. No matter how hard you try to swish the mud from your feet, some will always end up in the bottom of your boat. Also handy for getting (bailing) water from your yak if you are in a sit in yak.

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I also have tried to trim down what I bring. My current this is: Paddle, Life Jacket, Water, Seat, Fishing Poles, Knife, Anchor, Wading Boots, Sunglasses and a Whistle. But I usually print out this list when I’m going on a camping fishing trip to make sure I can everything I might want. https://www.bassgrab.com/checklist-for-a-kayak-fishing-trip/