Kayak FishingBEGINNER’S GUIDE TOKAYAK FISHINGPART VII – ROD SELECTIONRod choice is always a challenge when it comes to kayak fishing. Each size and style have their own unique advantages – and disadvantages. Rob Fort continues his beginner’s guide to kayak fishing by answering some key questions around rod selection.Nothing beats a decent fish on the line, especially when it’s causing the reel’s drag system to work overtime. Some anglers consider the reel as the main contributor to a fish’s demise and in Part Six of this series, we looked at suitable versions for the job. Yet a reel cannot handle the fish on its own and can only realise its full potential when matched to a suitable rod. its full potential when matched to a suitable rod.
The kayak fishing scenario presents a whole set of different challenges compared to other types of small watercraft. Always being solo is a big part of the challenge as it requires the angler to be self-sufficient. Often you will need to handle multiple tasks while keeping your wits about you, predicting any likely scenarios that could jeopardise your safety or the likelihood of landing the fish. This places quite a bit of stress on the rods you use and if care is not taken, the chance of them failing is high. Modern rods that suit light tackle and techniques like soft-baiting require care when playing a fishing on the line. A lift of the rod tip above 45 degrees when under load can cause it to break. Even durable rods with strong tip sections are at risk on a kayak.
First consideration The first thing to consider is the rod dynamics required when sitting in the kayak. If the fish runs around, moving from one side of the kayak to the other, you will need to be able to the lift the line clear of the kayak’s nose. Once the fight is over and the fish is kayak side, you will need to gain access to it so you can bring it aboard. Each scenario is best suited to a different rod length. A rod that is longer will be useful for moving line over the kayak’s nose, yet will make reaching the fish difficult when it’s kayak side. This means making compromises with the rod’s overall length and using techniques to overcome the challenges that your chosen rod length presents.
Avoiding high sticking Any rod over seven foot is at risk of high sticking (lifting over 45 degrees) when handling fish kayak side. This is because it can be necessary to lift the rod up to bring the fish closer. The rods typically associated with kayak fishing range from five foot three to seven foot in length, but the more recent style of topwater lure fishing has seen this extend up to seven foot six inches. No matter what the length, however, the most important factor when looking at suitable rods is the parabolic action. This is the shape that the rod bends when under load. A stiffer lower section from the reel seat area that folds away at around two thirds up the length of the rod is ideal. This distributes the weight over the entire area of the rod, giving the angler more control in the fight. The tip section is slightly more supple to not only absorb the sudden impact of strikes, runs and head nods, but also to place the load further back down the rod’s lower section. On the kayak this can be useful as it places the load above