Essential kayak gear for saltwater angling

Kayak angling on saltwater requires its own specific gear. We breakdown some of the most important and essential kayak angling gear for when you decide to set your sites on saltwater.

Share this article

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Twitter

Essential kayak gear for saltwater angling

Kayak fishing is one of the best options in granting access to fishing waters unobtainable to shore anglers. Your kayak not only offers you the freedom to fish where you’d like, but at a fraction of the cost associated with most  motored fishing boats. 

The only consideration you need to make with your kayak fishing setup is whether to outfit it for fresh, or salt water.

The basics of outfitting a fishing kayak are rather simple. Paddles, rod holders, personal floatation and dry bags are universal for kayak anglers. The fundamental differences come when deciding if you are focusing on bays and open sea, or the cattails in lake shores.

Saltwater boating requires different gear and expertise and your kayak is no different.

Check out below as we highlight just some of the salt-specific gear needed for freshwater kayak anglers looking to expand their fishing to the sea. 

Safety First

Safety gets more complicated when venturing in the sea. A personal flotation device is an absolute must, but is no longer enough to keep you safe. 

Squalls, rogue waves, lightning storms and other natural occurrences can leave you stranded, or capsized. 

Offshore anglers need to be prepared for the worst case scenario. Signaling devices are important for these scenarios, as well as cutting tools, first aid, a paddle leash/backup paddle and other gear could mean the difference between disaster and setting foot on land again.

The Gear (not limited to)

  • PFD 

    • Some states require it by law, but even if they don't you should always wear yours. A PFD like those from Mustang Survival are low profile, but will make the difference of making it back to terra firma again.

  • Knife (attached to PFD)

    • Necessary for cutting lines, or discarded nets that can entangle you, or your boat.

  • Flares

    • Necessary for signaling if you are stranded, struggling, or injured.

  • Whistle (attached to PFD)

    • Another important signaling tool, for letting others know your whereabouts. A whistle sounds off farther than your voice and will prevent your voice from going hoarse.

  • Paddle leash/extra paddle

    • Losing your paddle is a serious problem. Without the ability to propel your boat, you are completely at the mercy of the ocean.

  • UV protection

    • Sunburn is a serious concern on the sea. You need to protect yourself not only from the direct rays of the sun, but the reflection of those rays off the water’s surface as well. Always wear long sleeve UV gear with some sort of hat and sunglasses. Long pants are also recommended, or shorts and sunscreen.

Long Hook Remover

There is no comparison to ocean fish and freshwater species. A ten pound redfish, or snook, will bend your rod unlike most any freshwater species of the same size. Larger species, like tarpon, sailfish, mahi, or wahoo will push your kayak and your skill to the limit. Getting one of these amazing fish to the side of your boat is a feat unto itself, but removing your hook and releasing the fish is another challenge of its own. You are not bringing most large fish aboard your kayak as with larger species comes the risk of injury, or capsizing your boat. 

To successfully release Moby Dick after you reel him in, you will need a long hook remover. The remover lets you remove the hook to release the fish without needing to get a large fish too close to your boat, or with you having to lean over your boat precariously.

Anchor System

Kayak anglers on large lakes may utilize an anchor to prevent drifting in the wind, but on the salt, it is an absolute must. Tides, wind and ocean currents are all going to cause you to drift off course. When you find a school of fish, or the perfect reef, you can’t worry about constantly maneuvering your boat back into casting position.

Your anchor will also come to play when fighting larger fish that run out to sea. A traditional anchor, or a drift anchor will help keep you in one place, or provide that much more resistance to a running fish.

A drift anchor will drag through the water slowing you down, but is not a weight that sinks to the bottom of the water column. These can be ideal for kayaks because of how lightweight and compact they are. Drift anchors will not keep you in one place, however, but merely slow your drift giving you more time in one place, or provide resistance to a running fish.

Rain Gear

You will inevitably run into a storm while on salt water. No matter how great of a paddler you are, without a motor, you are not outrunning a storm. Pull on your rain gear, because you have no choice but to hunker down and deal with the inevitable downpour. 

As you sit in the middle of the deluge, contemplating all the mistakes you made in life, at least you will stay (mostly) dry making for a much more bearable paddle back to shore. You can contemplate those poor life choices again when you are on dry land, but with the proper rain gear, hopefully kayak angling won't be one of them.

Saltwater kayak angling is a thrill that every angler should experience. The sea breeze, the saltwater and diversity of fish species will get into your blood and leave the seascape constantly on your mind.

The sea will beckon you back, but will punish all those unprepared on the same day. Your gear must be equipped and up to the job. Don't get caught unprepared in this unforgiving landscape by always checking and double checking your gear.




Open in the Fishbrain App

Get app

Improve your fishing with Fishbrain Pro

Make your fishing dreams come true today and tomorrow

Learn more about Pro