River Fishing: Unlocking the Secrets of Kayak Fishing

Imagine gliding through the tranquil waters of a shallow river, stealthily maneuvering your kayak to find those elusive bass that thrive in the shallows. While many anglers venture deep into the water during summer in search of bass, I have discovered a different approach. Utilizing my kayak, I rarely venture beyond 8 feet deep, and astonishingly, 80 percent of my catches occur in the range of 6 inches to 4 feet deep. It’s all about finding those shallow bays, quietly approaching the fish, and reaping the rewards of an incredible fishing experience.

Make Your Kayak a Stealthy Oasis

To optimize your kayak for shallow water excursions, two key investments will take your fishing game to the next level. Firstly, consider rubber insulation for your feet, rods, paddle, and tackle. Although kayaks are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, which already provides a relatively quiet ride, preventing hard objects from striking the boat will enhance its stealthiness. Particularly, when you set your paddle down on an insulated surface, the difference in noise reduction will astound you.

Additionally, deck padding can significantly improve your stealth capabilities. While some kayaks, like the Coosa HD by Jackson Kayak, come with built-in deck padding, you can easily enhance the stealth factor of any kayak by purchasing deck padding from fishing kayak shops or online retailers.

For those seeking ultimate security and convenience, the Power-Pole Micro or Stakeout Pole is a game-changer. Drifting into the target zone is a common challenge, but by utilizing a non-electronic stakeout pole or the Power-Pole Micro Anchor, you can effortlessly anchor your kayak without disturbing the surroundings. With the anchor’s remote at your fingertips, you’ll have complete control of your position.

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Techniques to Master

Now that you’ve transformed your kayak into a stealthy vessel, it’s time to explore the techniques that will ensure success in shallow water fishing.

Technique 1: Fishing the Edges of Grass

  1. Begin by anchoring your boat away from the target zone in shallow water.
  2. Once you have thoroughly fished the area, move your kayak into the target zone, enabling you to cast parallel to the edge of the weeds and cover a wider, more productive area.
  3. After a few casts, change your direction and move about half the distance of a full cast. This way, you can explore new territory while still covering some familiar ground.


Technique 2: Fishing High Spots and Offshore Areas

  1. Start by fishing the edge of the target area meticulously, dedicating three or four casts to this spot.
  2. Once you finish fishing the edge, position your kayak in the already-fished area, giving yourself a 360-degree casting zone of shallow water with ample cover. If there’s wind or current, secure your kayak with the anchor.
  3. Begin by targeting the best-looking cover and work your way around the kayak. Long casts are often more effective in this scenario.
  4. Experiment with different lures and retrieve speeds during each rotation to determine the most successful approach.
  5. Start near the surface with enticing options like a Swinging Sugar Buzzbait or a Texas rigged frog. Move to the middle with a Strike King Naked Rage Blade or swim jig, varying the color until you find a winning combination.
  6. Finally, slow things down with a Senko or a weightless, slow-moving Sexy Shad to entice those shy, elusive fish.
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Technique 3: Pole Position

Unlike bass boats equipped with trolling motors, kayak fishing heavily relies on wind positioning. Take advantage of the wind to move effortlessly in the right direction rather than fighting against it.

  1. Choose your starting point upwind of your desired destination.
  2. Plan to cast downwind 90 percent of the time.
  3. Keep your Power-Pole Micro or Stakeout Pole on hand for easy anchoring.
  4. Anchor your kayak at a distance from your first downwind target and thoroughly fish the area.
  5. Lift your anchor, allow the kayak to drift, and anchor it again once you reach the next casting area.
  6. Continue working your way downwind, exploring viable shallow-water fishing targets.
  7. When it’s time to switch spots, move laterally to your next destination or find a new bay or weed bed.


Remember that fishing downwind in a kayak can be incredibly rewarding. However, without an anchor, a strong wind may cause you to move too quickly, potentially spooking the fish you’re targeting. Balance your speed and positioning to optimize your chances of a successful catch.

Unlocking the Shallow Wonders

While specific targets such as heavy cover or laydowns can yield fruitful results, don’t overlook seemingly vague areas of cover. Often, underwater structures and hidden covers lie beneath the surface, attracting bass. By casting widely and exploring various areas, you may stumble upon hidden gems that others overlook.

Embrace the joy of discovering shallow water sanctuaries that only a kayak can grant you access to. Enjoy the thrill of topwater strikes and the countless hours of excitement that await. Kayak fishing allows you to create unforgettable memories while connecting intimately with nature.

Further reading:  Ocean Kayak Drifter: Redefining the Art of Fishing

So embark on your river fishing adventure and dive into the world of kayak fishing. Uncover the secrets of the shallows, armed with a stealthy kayak, a repertoire of techniques, and an unwavering determination to catch those elusive bass.