Beginners face an uphill battle when kayak crappie fishing. This is especially true if your experience is slim and none. Before you even head out onto open water, you should be prepared with the right gear and proper setup on your kayak.
Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to convert your kayak into an industrial machine of crappie-catching efficiency. If you don’t have a kayak with a couple of rod holders, you need to install some on your own because rod holders will be central to your success.
- Rig your kayak up with a good seat, rod holders and storage for gear
- Use a lightweight spinning rod with fluorocarbon line
- Troll with crankbaits
In fact, the standard rod holders some kayaks have won’t be sufficient for the level of trolling you will need to do. If you have the right gear, you will convert your kayak into a year-round crappie machine because crappie season is essentially all year long.
Kayak Crappie Fishing Tips
Benefits of crappie fishing from a kayak
If you’ve never used a kayak for crappie fishing, you probably didn’t realize that kayaks are one of the most popular choices for crappie fishing craft. A kayak is perhaps the most silent craft out on the water, so you’re never in danger of scaring the crappie away.
A good kayak is also highly maneuverable. No matter where the crappie are moving to, you can probably get to them. Boats are great, but they’re never going to get through those tight, narrow channels and inlets.
Thanks to a kayak’s size, everything is close at hand. Fishing for crappie means finding their mood. That means carrying multiple baits, bobber rigs, jig rigs, slip-float rigs, and double jig rigs.
Of course, you probably can’t have that many rigs going on a single kayak with just yourself, but you will have everything within easy reach if you decide it’s time to switch things up.
Another huge benefit is how easy it is to launch and get out on the water. The most complicated thing you will have to deal with is a tie down in your truck bed or a roof rack. Slip the kayak off, and you’re in the water, ready to go.
Rigging a fishing kayak
You have to rig your kayak for the kind of fishing you want to do. The thing is, there aren’t many people out there who fish for crappie and nothing else. Bass swim in the same waters, after all, along with other delicious fish.
A lot of sites will steer you towards kayak tackle companies, and that’s fine if that’s your thing and you don’t mind selling one of your kidneys on the black market to rig your kayak up for fishing. So depending on your budget, you’ll need a few essentials to get started.
- Rod holders
- Proper seat(s)
- Use your center hatch for lures
- Use your tank well for extra gear
- Purchase sturdy, reliable, rotating rod holders and install them
- Sonar mount
Rod holders are important, especially if you want to go after crappie in every way possible. Rotating rod holders are immensely helpful when you switch over to a 10lb fluorescent line and start trolling.
Proper seating is second on the list because an uncomfortable seat will turn your fishing expedition into a living nightmare of uncomfortable agony. A good fishing kayak will have multiple compartments, like the tank well and center hatch. Use them to hold your spare and extra gear.
Last but not least, go ahead and dump that money on a solid Lowrance or Garmin fishfinder with a mount to boot. You’ll thank yourself over and over again when you discover that there is absolutely no hiding place for crappie again–ever.
Best gear to use
You don’t need anything more than a couple of lightweight spinning rods. A 5lb fluorocarbon line is an excellent choice because it’s nearly invisible. Use a second spinning rod if you want to troll with some crankbaits, only keep a 10lb fluorocarbon line on that one.
Since fluorocarbon drops, your crankbait won’t run very shallow, and that’s perfectly fine. Crankbait is one of the best baits to use in the summer, so keep that in mind.
- Slip-float: Use this rig for docks and pilings and keep your lure and float close together.
- Double Jig: Great rig for trolling, especially if you’re worried about tangling up.
- Bobber rig: Crappie are usually not too far down from the surface, so keep a shallow separation between the bobber and your bait.
It’s not too difficult to get your kayak or canoe suited up for fishing, and you will find that as time goes by, your kayak will evolve into a bristling hodgepodge of fishing conveniences. Crappie is a year-round fish, so long as you know where they are throughout the seasons.
A lot of anglers will swear that crappie can see monofilament. Whether that’s true or not, err on the side of caution and stick with fluorocarbon for everything. It’s a little more pricey, but you have nothing to lose from using it.
Good rod holders that allow you to quickly pull your rod are essential, and they’re also great for trolling. Regardless of your angle, crappie are fun to catch and delicious to eat. The fact that you can do it from a kayak is even better.
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