Written By: Steve Hrynewycz, Fluid Fun Staff & Jackson Kayak Regional Fishing Team Member
Boat control, like a perfectly placed cast, will help you catch more fish. You want to get in position with a stealthy approach and maintain that position. In some situations on a body of water that means getting there with my kayak, parking it and wading to get to the fish. In deeper water I will fish from my kayak and have some form of anchor. Other times I am drifting with the wind but, when the wind is anything but light and breezy I may blow right by fish. The same goes with drifting down a river. If it’s a gentle stream no problem but if the current is much faster than I can walk how do I slow down my drift? I have always considered boat control as important to me as having the right bait to catch fish, leave home without it and it may become a fishless day. In the last year I even got a Coosa FD for the pedal drive to have more boat control. So how do we accomplish this task of controlling your kayak and perhaps your destiny with a fish of a lifetime?
For my fishing needs I break it down in three parts: Anchoring, drifting, and pedal power.
- When anchoring on the lake or in the river it can be as simple as beaching your kayak on the shoreline.
In deeper water, putting down some type of anchor to keep your kayak in place. There are plenty of anchor types and I won’t get into a debate here on which is best. For water less than 6 feet what I do, is use a stake out pole. (https://www.yakattack.us/PNP8_p/pnp8.htm) I haven’t sprung for the Power pole Micro Anchor yet. (http://www.power-pole.com/micro). In water deeper than 6 feet in lakes or rivers I use about 36” of 3/8 log chain as an anchor. To hold my anchor I upgraded my attach point to my kayak from an anchor cleat to the Anchor Wizard (http://www.anchorwizard.com/kayak-anchoring-winch-system/), great upgrade.For controlling my drift on the lakes I use a drift anchor. https://www.cabelas.com/product/CABELAS-ADVANCED-ANGLER-PRO-SERIES-DRIFT-SOCK/1801756.uts?productVariantId=3708610&WT.tsrc=PPC&WT.mc_id=BingPLA&WT.z_mc_id1=03792228&rid=20&msclkid=5faa756e7fb51e22e18a2e912105f3b1&ds_rl=1252079&gclid=CPG88ZTW-N4CFfOHxQIdLzsDdQ&gclsrc=ds.They come in various sizes. I got one that has a 30 inch front opening and it works great for my 3 Jackson kayaks, the Big Rig, the Cuda HD or my Coosa FD. I just attach the drift anchor to the upwind side of my kayak handle and get the slower drift I need to stay on fish. Be careful though if you use it on a pedal drive, it can get tangled in your prop if you drift over it when fighting a fish. Been there done that. Good thing the Coosa FD has that easy access cover to get to the prop!
For controlling my drift on the river however, I use the log chain and put out just enough anchor line to slow my speed down without stopping. On the Coosa FD I have the anchor off the bow of the kayak. I find it easier to up anchor and engage my pedal power upstream than anchoring off the stern and trying to pedal upstream in reverse. On the Cuda HD or Big Rig I have anchored off the bow or stern and have had no issues either way. It boils down to what fishing technique I will be using on that trip.Finally, there’s pedal power. I compare pedal power control to the trolling motor control I use on my big boat. They are both efficient in boat speed and directional control. It allows me to keep my position in wind and current and is stealthy. I have used my Coosa FD to troll for fish with great results.