Kayak Catfishing Tips And Tricks With Best Destinations

When catfishing from a Kayak, there are several things to consider. Live bait is best, so you’ll want to use it. Lures with more resistance will also work well. And, of course, controlling the motion of the kayak is a key factor. 

Fishing for catfish in a kayak is different than fishing for other species. While the kayak is small compared to other boats, the weight and stability requirements are different. 

Whether you’re fishing for blue, channel, or largemouth bass, you’ll need different gear and tactics.

Why Do Kayaks Work Well For Catfishing?

If you’re new to fishing from a kayak, you might wonder how they work. A kayak is similar to a traditional boat but with a few important modifications. 

First of all, kayaks are easier to own than boats. Many novice fishermen do not realize how much time it takes to maintain a motor or electrical system, and this difficulty only increases when fishing in saltwater

Additionally, fish are extremely sensitive to noise, water pressure, and other aspects of their environment. The presence of a boat can alert them to danger, so it’s important to use a kayak that doesn’t create a lot of noise or vibration.

Lastly, kayaks are very versatile and can be used for fishing in areas that aren’t accessible by traditional fishing boats. They are also portable, allowing you to easily reach remote areas that traditional fishing boats cannot access. 

Kayak fishing is a fun activity that can help you learn how to handle fish and become proficient in catching them. It’s important to know about the different types of fish in your area before you get started.

Kayak Catfishing Tips And Tricks

Kayaking is a great way to catch some of the best catfish in the world, but it can also be tough to come by decent catches. Luckily, there are a few tricks that can help you land some fish.

First of all, when scouting your spot, always look for areas with good structure. Kayaks are fast and maneuverable, so you can quickly move around an area looking for spots with fish.

Learn To Attract Large Catfish

One of the best ways to attract large catfish is to position your kayak up-current of a deep hole or trough. Catfish are attracted to scents and will follow the current if you position your kayak up-current. Positioning your kayak up-current of a catfish target zone is essential for successful fishing. It is essential that you stay above the current within your target zone to maximize the chances of landing a large catfish.

Tackle Size And Line

The right line and tackle size for catfishing from oar-driven kayaks will depend on the species of fish and the location you are fishing. In most channels, a fishing line weighing up to 17 pounds is appropriate. 

In rivers like the Red River, catfish can weigh as much as 30 pounds. Larger fish, such as giant blue and flathead catfish, require lines weighing 50 to 80 pounds.

For channel cats, you will need a medium-heavy action fishing rod with a heavy-duty monofilament or braid line. Medium-heavy-action rods are best for fighting five to fifteen-pound-plus channel cats. 

Heavy-duty weights will be necessary when drifting or anchoring the boat. Alternatively, you can use 2-ounce lead weights if you are anchoring.

The Right Line Kayak Catfishing

When selecting the right line for your catfishing adventure, you’ll need to consider its weight and length. The Mono line is thicker than the braided line and causes more drag in the water. It is also difficult to reel in a fish if you don’t want it to stretch out. Mono line is also known to have a memory, which is an advantage when you’re fishing for catfish.

Live Bait Is The Best Way To Go

One of the most exciting aspects of kayak catfishing is catching live bait. These grubs can be trolled at a slow pace or drifted slowly. If you’re inexperienced with fishing, try cedar plugs or large trolling lures to get a taste of the thrills. 

Live baits will attract more fish and make for an exciting kayak fishing experience.

Choose Baits That Offer Resistance

Using baits with resistance will allow you to steer your kayak. Crankbait, spinnerbait, and chatter bait fishermen quickly discover that reeling in the bait will pull them and their boats in the direction they are casting. 

This resistance is useful for anglers fishing from lightweight kayaks since it helps turn them when you want to fish. Whether you plan on fishing in calm waters or windy conditions, you should choose baits that offer resistance.

Frog As The Bait

While fishing from a kayak, you can also use a large frog as bait. Frogs are popular baits locally and can be hooked through the nose or one leg. To make it more compact, some anglers cut off the lower leg. 

Dead frogs are also effective. Cutting or crushing a frog will allow the bait’s amino acids to flow toward the catfish’s taste organs. 

In addition, frogs have extra teeth and spines, so you should make sure to clean them well. Also, use a rag or other material to cover the fish’s head.

Artificial Lures Vs. Live Bait For Catfishing

While fishing with artificial lures can be more convenient, live bait has its advantages. Live shrimp stay in marshes in the interior and remain readily available through March. 

This is great news for kayakers because the shrimp feed trout and redfish. However, live shrimp are not easy to pack in a kayak. You will need to plan your trip to avoid overloading your kayak with live bait.

If you plan to fish in salt marshes, you can use artificial bait. Frozen shrimp can be a good choice. These are easy to transport and can be tipped on hooks without risking the fish’s life. 

If you prefer to use live bait, you can also use a cooler that holds fresh bait. The sinker should be placed near the live bait, so it can roll with the currents and not get stuck on the bottom.

Learn To Store Your Bait

A minnow bucket or bait tube are two of the most popular choices for storing your bait on a kayak trip. While artificial lures are sometimes successful, live bait is the best choice for kayak catfishing. However, you must catch your bait before you leave on your kayak catfishing trip.

In order to keep live bait alive, keep it in a Ziploc bag and on ice in a small cooler.

Anchoring A Kayak

There are many options for anchoring a kayak for catfishing, and they all need to be used with a level of caution. Here are some tips for anchoring a kayak. The easiest method to use is the anchor haul. 

The weight of the anchor will affect how easy it is to handle, so always choose one with a weight that isn’t too heavy. A weight of over a kilogram should be anchored at least three times the width of the kayak’s hull.

You can also use an anchor pole. These are easy to install and only require a few simple steps. Simply insert the pole into the bottom of the water and tie it to an anchor cleat.

To make things even simpler, you can also stick the anchor pole through the scupper hole. Depending on the current, you can anchor your kayak in two different places – on the side or at the bottom. 

In either case, you should consider your fishing location when choosing an anchoring system.

Best Time Of Year For Kayak Catfishing

There are many different factors to consider when planning your kayak catfishing trip. Regardless of your preferences, you should be aware of the weather. 

Colder months require more caution when it comes to weather. When the temperature drops below 50 degrees F, you may want to scale down your wind speed. 

Using the “120-degree rule,” you should plan a trip when the combined temperature of the air and water is 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less.

Catfishing during the summer months is generally considered the best time to be fishing for kayak cats. This is because the water temperature is higher, which makes these fish more active and easier to catch. 

Additionally, there are fewer people fishing kayak cats in the summertime, which means they are less likely to be disturbed.

Kayak Catfishing Setup

Setting up a kayak for catfishing is very easy. Just like when you go fishing in a boat, you need to make sure that the kayak is stable and doesn’t move around.

To set up a kayak for catfishing, you need to be aware of the different types of fishing gear that are available, as well as the different types of kayaks.

Some kayaks have a fishing platform built into them, which is perfect for catching fish from a kayak. If you don’t have a fishing platform, you can buy one separately. 

Another option is to use a baitcasting rod and reel.

After you find a place to put the kayak, you need to get into it. Then, you need to get your fishing gear ready.

Once you are in the kayak, you will want to sit in the middle and hold onto the fishing line so that you don’t drift away from your spot.

Rod-Holder Configurations

One of the first decisions that you should make when buying a rod holder for your kayak is which type will work best for your needs. 

A traditional clamp-on rod holder works best for Jon-boats and canoes, but some kayaks are now equipped with Sit Inside rod holders, making them a viable option. 

The swivel pivot design allows for quick push-off from the shore and allows for a natural stow of sipping reels.

There Are Three Basic Types Of Kayak Rod Holders

Tracked-mount, recessed-mount, and outrigger arms. Track-mounted rod holders bolt directly to the fishing crate, while recessed-mount holders are strapped or zip-tied to the kayak’s hull. 

The right type of rod holder for your kayak depends on the size and the number of rods you’ll be carrying, but there are plenty of options.

Side-mounted rod holders are another popular option. A side-mounted rod holder is the cheapest option and can be installed in as little as a half-hour. 

Rod holders mounted on the sides of the kayak can fit eight rods. Make sure that there’s ample space between each reel. For a more stable setup, consider getting a rod tube rack. It’s simple and inexpensive and is very secure.

Most kayak rod holders feature a flush mounting plate. These holders are located behind the paddler on either the port or starboard side. 

You can also install your own rod extensions, which will allow you to reach the rods comfortably. If you’re going with a smaller kayak, you can use a rod holder that fits under the paddler’s seat. For larger rods, you can buy a trailblazer rod holder.

Choosing The Right Kayak For Catfishing

Choosing the right kayak is the first step to ensuring a safe fishing experience. Next, select your safety equipment and gear. This equipment will determine the safety of your trip

There are some safety measures that you should never miss and others that you can change depending on your preferences. Always wear a PFD while kayak fishing to increase your visibility on the water. 

If you are planning on kayak catfishing, make sure to take the proper precautions to ensure your safety and that of others.

For the best catfishing from a kayak experience, be sure to prepare by choosing a fishing kayak with stability. Fishing kayaks usually have wide decks and standing platforms, making casting and retrieval easier. 

You can even select a pedal fishing kayak if you need extra power to get to the best fishing holes and trolling in the current. 

Choosing a kayak with pedals will allow you to enjoy the ride, and it can also give you a steady speed while trolling.

Pedal Kayaks Are Better For Catfishing

Pedal kayaks tend to be heavier and can be difficult to maneuver, especially in shallow water. If you’re planning on fishing from a kayak, choose one that has pedals, although you’ll still need to use foot peddles to control the kayak’s motion. 

Paddle-powered kayaks, however, are better for making sharp turns and maneuvering in choppy waters. Pedal kayaks are also heavier and can’t be loaded on a roof rack.

Traditional Boat Vs. Kayak For Catfishing

If you’re interested in catfishing from a kayak, the main difference between a traditional boat and a kayak is how you fish them. In a traditional boat, a fisherman uses live or dead bait. 

Kayaks, on the other hand, are great for catching catfish on artificial lures. Most of the time, you’ll use dead or live baits, but they can also be caught with artificial lures as well.

Remember To Carry The Essentials

Regardless of the weather conditions, kayaking for catfish can be a rewarding experience! 

However, you must remember to have the proper gear, including a good kayak and rod and reel. Kayaking for catfish is becoming increasingly popular as a recreational activity, and many anglers buy kayaks for warm weather fishing. 

You’ll need a variety of tools, from a fishing net to rubber gloves. Nets are essential tools for fishing, but they can be cumbersome and difficult to handle when fishing from a kayak. 

Fish-gripping devices and foldable nets can help you avoid these problems. And remember to wear rubber gloves when landing your fish. 

Besides, it is important to dress as though the kayak will tip over because the water is cold, and you could end up getting a hooked fish.

Just remember that catfish are tough fish, and kayaking requires practice and experience!

A fishing kayak needs a bilge pump, bailer, whistle, and other safety equipment. Kayaks should also have a buoyant heaving line and a bailer for emergency purposes. 

Safety when kayak catfishing also requires the right clothing and gear. Wetsuits and neoprene clothing are excellent for protecting against the cold. 

Guidelines 101 For Catfishing From A Kayak

If you’re looking for some tips and tricks for catfishing from your kayak, you’ve come to the right place. These guidelines will help you prepare for fishing, as well as determine the correct gear. 

These tips cover a range of topics, including the right size and type of line and tackle, launching and take-out, and rod-holder configuration. In addition, they’ll give you some tips for maximizing your catfishing experience.

Be Prepared To Self-Rescue

Before you start your kayak fishing trip, you must first consider the safety of yourself and your equipment. The water is a hostile environment, and it is important to be prepared to self-rescue if an accident occurs. The same goes for your fishing guide. 

You should also check the local regulations to ensure you are operating safely. Once you have mastered the basics of kayak fishing, you can move on to the fun part – the catching!

Learn The Different Strokes

The key to successfully fishing from a kayak is to learn the different strokes. The forward stroke is the most important one, but you can also control the backstroke by paddling backward to untangle your fishing lines. 

A kayak’s blade needs to remain vertical in the water throughout this entire process. This way, you can avoid tangles and snags. A kayak can also be unstable when you encounter large waves.

Offshore Catfishing

If you’re going offshore, you’ll want to check the tide and weather conditions before launching your kayak. Strong currents can be difficult to navigate, even for experienced kayakers. 

While catfishing from a kayak, remember to put on your PFD and wear an appropriate fishing vest to avoid injury or burns. You’ll be thankful you did because dolphins are often on the lookout for food, so make sure you’re protected when you’re kayaking.

Controlling The Motion Of Your Kayak

If you’re thinking about purchasing a kayak to go catfishing, there are several things you should consider. For example, many of them offer rudders. These can help you control drift and adjust course. Others have propellers and are powered by pedals. 

Either way, a good kayak should be stable and easy to steer. Some models have a manual steering system, but paddles that are powered by motors will usually be more stable.

If you’re unsure about whether you’ll need to anchor in windy or flat areas, use an anchor that weighs between two to four pounds. This weight is adequate for most kayaks, but if you plan to anchor in offshore waters, be sure to use a strong, reliable 2-4-pound claw anchor. 

If you’re fishing in a river, use a quick-release clevis on your anchor, as currents can be strong.


If you’ve been thinking about trying out kayak catfishing, you’ve probably thought about the various places to launch it. In addition to kayak fishing in the ocean, there are many other locations for fishing on the water. 

You can choose the location based on tide and weather reports. If you plan on fishing in the east or west, try to find a put-in location where the waves are small, and pauses are long. Besides knowing your limits, you also need to know your kayak’s best features.

If you’re planning to fish in the MRGO and spoil marsh, you may want to launch from Hopedale Marina. This facility has a special floating kayak dock. If you plan to fish in the Hopedale Lagoon, you can launch your kayak at the old Pip’s Place, which is located on the right side of Hopedale Highway. 

Both of these places have a concrete ramp and honor boxes, but they have a $5 fee.

The 10 Best Kayak Catfishing Spots In The United States

Here are some of the best places to try kayak catfishing. You can choose from the Huzzah Creek, Big River, and Lake Kapowsin. All these places are worth trying out. 

Read on to find out more! Listed below are the 10 best spots in the U.S. for catfishing. If you’re in the area, take advantage of these amazing places!

Lake Kapowsin

Lake Kapowsin is a relatively large freshwater lake in Pierce County, Washington. It is home to many species of fish. Anglers can choose from rainbow trout, black crappie, yellow perch, rock bass, bluegill, pumpkin seed sunfish, bullhead catfish, and more. 

In addition to catfish, this lake is also open to hunting and is designated an eighth aquatic reserve by the state.

If you are new to kayaking and catfishing, you should try some of the lake’s best spots. If you live in Eatonville, you’ll find many nearby lakes with similar fishing opportunities.

This lake includes Clear Lake, Ohop Lake, Rapjohn Lake, Silver, and Tanwax Lake.

Lake Kapowsin is also a good place to practice electronics and favorite angling tactics. In particular, jigs and soft plastics are effective baits. In summer, crankbaits provide excellent action. 

However, keep in mind that partially submerged stumps may pose a safety concern to anglers. As a rule, it’s best to avoid fast boats as the lake is not suitable for large craft. 

A single-lane boat launch is available on the north end of the lake. Although Lake Kapowsin has very few visitors, there are few anglers who visit this lake.

Huzzah Creek

Suppose you are looking for an area where you can catch catfish from your kayak, consider the Huzzah Creek. This small creek in Missouri features lots of twists and turns, offering beautiful vistas around every bend. 

Because the river is so clear and cool, you will often see many birds on the banks of the river. You can also choose between paddling down the creek and continuing downstream.

You will be able to enjoy the beauty of the Missouri River, from its 18,000-acre reservoir to its pristine tributaries.

This river is one of the most popular float trips in the Midwest and is ideal for both beginners and experienced kayakers. 

This river is a great place for families to go kayaking with kids and adults, and there are plenty of hiking and picnic spots available in the area.

You will find a variety of fish in this river, and many of them are smallmouth bass. Those who prefer to use flies to target these fish might find a challenge fishing in the upper Missouri River. 

In fact, traditional Western fly patterns often get outfished by those fishing with Glo-bugs and white mini-jigs. Mohair leeches and Zug Bugs are also common.

Gasconade River

The Gasconade River is a big, powerful river that offers excellent smallmouth fishing. The river starts in the Ozarks and flows through a number of towns before emptying into the Missouri River. 

You’ll be fishing in a big body of water, so make sure to use big-water tactics and cover a lot of water. 

The lower Gasconade is also popular for big-mouth fishing, and there is plenty of trophy-sized fish to be caught here.

The upper Gasconade is a great place to launch a kayak. This river has several springs and is generally shallow during the summer months, but deep holes are abundant in the lower section. 

This river is perfect for beginners and families. There are a variety of different spots to launch your kayak, and you can plan a trip that’s both fun and educational.

This pristine river is known as a photographer’s paradise. It’s stunning all year round and has plenty of space for nature photography. If you’re new to kayaking, the Gasconade River’s flat, lazy sections are ideal for both novices and experts alike. 

The river has many opportunities for kayak fishing, so you’ll have a great time. You can launch your kayak from anywhere along the river, or you can rent one from a gasconade resort.

Big River

The Colorado River is the nation’s longest river, winding through Arizona, Utah, and West Virginia. The waters of this legendary river are famous for their fierceness, as well as their spectacular scenery. 

Here you can enjoy the beauty of the river and the many activities it offers. Fishing from a kayak is a great way to explore the beautiful river ecosystem. The Colorado River has great places for kayak camping and fishing.

Whitefish Mountain

Whitefish Mountain is a popular kayaking destination that offers fishing and kayaking opportunities. This area offers a wide variety of fish and has guided kayak tours available for fishing enthusiasts. 

While there are numerous options for fishing, this location is the most popular for beginners.

In addition to its diverse aquatic life, this park also allows people to enjoy kayaking in a peaceful setting.

During the summer, it is usually packed with people.

Chesapeake Bay

If you’re a beginner, you can start your kayak fishing trip on the Chesapeake Bay. This beautiful bay is perfect for novice paddlers, as it has several launch points. 

You can also enjoy the excellent natural scenery, wildlife, and beautiful sunsets over the bay. There is no shortage of fishing opportunities in the U.S. 

With so many incredible kayak fishing spots, the U.S. has an abundance of these recreational opportunities.

Alton Baker Canal

The Alton Baker Canal is a two-mile side channel of the Willamette River, Oregon. It brings cool mountain water into the Willamette Valley, making it a great place to fish for trout. The canal is regularly stocked with rainbow trout. 

The water is mostly flat and has no depth of more than four feet. You can find catfish in the canal, but you’re likely to hook more bass and trout in smaller, slower sections of water.

ODFW often stocks the canal during the springtime, so you’ll have a better chance of hooking up.

There are several good access points along the canal. Fish will wander the length of the canal, so be prepared to get wet. 

Fishing in the canal is especially popular during mid-spring when ODFW dumps an extra load of fish into the water. This is a great place for novice anglers to practice their technique.

Located east of the Ferry Street Bridge, West Alton Baker Park straddles the Willamette River on the north bank. 

This park has a long history of development, falling first under the jurisdiction of the Lane County Parks Department, and then under the Eugene Parks and Open Space Division. 

Initially, a 20-acre parcel was purchased by Lane County in 1881. Most of the park’s land was acquired between 1959 and 1964.

Quileute River

The Quileute River is located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, USA. The river is a confluence of several smaller streams and empties into the Pacific Ocean near La Push. 

Despite the rocky terrain and cold waters, the Quileute is one of the top kayak catfishing spots in the United States.

The river has shallow waters and offers an excellent opportunity to catch salmon, flounder, and other species. 

It is also an excellent place to watch Grey Whales, which may occasionally be spotted in the spring and fall.

There are many places to fish in this region. In Washington, kayaks are perfect for catching fish. The Quileute River has large populations of winter steelhead and rainbow trout. 

Several locations along the river are stocked with hatchery fish to make it easy to catch them. The Sol Duc, on the other hand, has several species of catfish, including giant winter steelhead.

La Push

La Push is located in the Olympic Peninsula, near the Canadian border. This is an undiscovered jewel of the Olympic Peninsula wilderness.

Located 12 miles from Forks, Washington, La Push is part of the Olympic National Parks Rainforest. La Push gets its name from a French word meaning ‘la bouche.’

The town sits at the mouth of the Quillayute River, making it one of the most scenic and unspoiled locations for kayak catfishing.

In conclusion, kayak catfishing can be a great way to get close to some big fish. It is a very accessible and affordable way to go fishing, and it can be enjoyed by everyone, from beginner fishermen to the most experienced angler. Make sure to check out your local kayak fishing spots, and don’t forget your tackle box!