Stability of a kayak and/or the ability to stand up in one is more important to some anglers than others, for me, it is an absolute necessity. There are many reasons for this including casting accuracy, casting distance, comfort, technique being used and maybe most importantly the ability to see into the water much better. That really comes into play on the clear water Ozark lakes and rivers that surround me. Long, accurate casts to cover just below the water are a must. The only way to spot these hidden hideaways is to stand up and search for them. Even when it is muddy in the spring, pitching to flooded brush or other cover is easier from a standing position.
There are a multitude of options out right now that allow anglers to stand and fish, I choose the Predator PDL by Old Town. The Predator offers outstanding stability even for my 6’3” 200 lb plus frame, without sacrificing speed. It also sheds wind very well, which is essential in this region. Outside of just the stable hull, the Predator comes standard with several stand up essentials including: A high position seat,a flat/open deck, and a non-slip deck.
Even with a stable boat and all the accessories some anglers just do not feel comfortable standing in a kayak. The only way to overcome that is to just go do it. Take a afternoon, preferably with nice weather, and take just the kayak out to the lake. No rods or tackle, just you and the boat. Stand up, sit down, jump out and climb back in, stand up and paddle around. Basically do everything you can to test the stability limits of the boat while it is empty so you feel comfortable standing when it’s not.
One of my favorite techniques is flipping and pitching a creature bait at cover, standing to fish makes this much easier. In the spring this target fishing mentality helps accurately cast to bedding bass with similar baits. This strategy came into play when I competed in the Beavers Bend Classic on beautiful Broken Bow Lake in Oklahoma this spring. The lake is a deep, clear, rocky impoundment very similar to lakes in my area. During pre-fishing I used my kayak like a SUP and cruised around several shallow spawning pockets looking for big females on the bed. I marked two solid keepers along with several others I would come back for on tournament day.
When tournament day arrived I was on the water early and went straight to one of those beds for my 1st cast of the day. I flipped my offering into the bed and immediately hooked up, got the fish to the boat and was off and running. After getting the photo, I went to the next bed which was not far away. I flipped and flipped and flipped at that fish. I left and came back several times, and even though I ended up with a limit, I never caught that one. As it turns out that would have most likely put me in the money. Moral of the story, just because you can see them does not mean you can catch them J.
Sight Fishing Tips:
- Invest in Good Sunglasses – without a doubt a high end pair of polarized sunglasses is going to help you see more of what is going on under the water. I prefer amber lenses when sight fishing but use what suits you best.
- Approach Slowly – Stand up and paddle around the area slowly, if you are looking for hidden cover or bedding bass it is best to spot your target before you are right on top of it.
- Be Patient – This really is more for bed fishing than anything, but anglers can lock in on a bedding bass and pitch a lure at it for an hour before it decides to cooperate.
- Have a couple lures handy – Whether throwing at a piece of cover or a bedding bass, have a few offerings ready. If you spend the time to find your target, pick it apart with several lures before moving on.
Stand Up Essentials:
- Assist Strap – This enables the angler to get a boost up and have a little resistance going back down to the seat for balance. If your boat doesn’t come with one a dog leash or tie down strap attached to the front handle of the kayak and placed within your reach can give you the assist you need.
- Non Slip Surface – Sea Dek and Conseal both make easy to install kits that fit most kayak models or can be cut to fit the standing area of your kayaks deck.
- Stand Up Bar – I don’t like this option because I feel like it is in the way, but several companies including Yak Gear and Yak Attack are offering stand up bars that anglers can hold onto while in the standing position.
- Stable Boat – This seems like the obvious one, but what is stable to one person may not be to the next. Get out and demo as many as you can, wear swimming trunks and push the stability to the limit.