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Thread: Rod Length for Kayak

  1. #1

    Default Rod Length for Kayak

    Good morning,

    I have a question for the veteran kayak fly fishers out there.

    How do you deal with landing fish when fishing from your boat, i.e., do you use shorter rods, or have you developed techniques for managing with your standard 9 foot rods? Oh, and if you have developed techniques for a 9 footer, please share.

    Thanks in advance.

    Dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Pasadena, MD
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    3,015

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    Dave,

    I've used a 7.5 ft. fly rod (4 wt.) with no issues in my kayaks but I prefer longer rods 8.5 to 9 feet because I can cast a longer rod better while sitting. I do not stand when fishing in my kayaks. In windy conditions I sometimes find it difficult to keep my back-cast from slapping the water. With a longer rod I can flip the back-cast a little higher to avoid that problem. That's the main reason I like a longer rod.

    I assumed you meant casting, but perhaps you can clarify what you mean by "techniques for managing". Do you mean storing a 9 foot rod in a kayak while you paddle or pedal, line control, landing a fish with a long rod. There are techniques for each of those topics that differ somewhat from using conventional tackle in a kayak.
    Mark

    Slate Hobie Revolution 13
    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12
    Red Native Ultimate 14.5

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com and via PM

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    DC
    Posts
    13

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    Dave, I struggled for a few years with the fly rods out of canoes or basic sit-atop kayaks. I sometimes use a shorter rod, but most in my stable are 9'. Like Mark, I feel they are easier to cast. I found landing fish with a net to be a lot easier with a fly rod. If I do not have a net, I move my hand from the cork to the rod itself (choke up?). I hold the rod with the line loosely between my fingers. This way, if the fish makes a run, I can let line out and mitigate the risk of losing it. I am right handed, so I hold the rod high up and away from the right side of the boat, so I can reach down to net or grab the fish with my left.

    Of course, I now fish from the Jackson Mayfly which is a very stable kayak. This enables me to land a fish much like I would on shore. I can kneel down and pick it up. The boat holds me even with all of my weight favoring one side. There's a good youtube video somewhere of a guy walking all over it to showcase this balance.

    Gregg
    2017 Jackson Kayak Mayfly

    Instagram: @thegreggoutdoors

    Gregg

  4. #4

    Default

    I also use 9’ fly rods. I feel the length is not for getting the line higher off the water but for distance and ease of use. I have had people want longer rods to keep their line off the water but I feel that is a bad casting technique issue not a rod length issue. I feel having a good casting techniques and skills will help with that isssue. I also personally find I can side arm cast better most of the time.

    Just my 2cents.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Pasadena, MD
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    Quote Originally Posted by On the fly View Post
    I also personally find I can side arm cast better most of the time.
    And the longer rod will give you more clearance over the bow in most fishing kayaks when you throw side-armed.
    Mark

    Slate Hobie Revolution 13
    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12
    Red Native Ultimate 14.5

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com and via PM

  6. #6

    Default

    Thank you everyone.

    Mark - I was referring to landing fish. I have found it awkward with my 9 foot rods, so I wanted to see if other people were using shorter rods, or had figured out techniques for using 9 footers out of a kayak.

    Any additional feedback would be appreciated.

    Thanks again,

    Dave

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Pasadena, MD
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    Dave,

    I think Gregg gave you a good answer on that. You have to raise the rod tip so that the fish like a pendulum swings toward the kayak. Then you can net it or grab it with your free hand. Of course, before doing that you have to make sure the fish is played out. So it will likely take a little longer to subdue a sizeable fish on a flexible fly rod than on stouter conventional tackle.

    Here's a photo of me landing a speck in FL on the fly that illustrates what I mean:

    Mark in Tampa 2015 (3).jpg
    Last edited by Mark; 01-19-2018 at 11:08 AM.
    Mark

    Slate Hobie Revolution 13
    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12
    Red Native Ultimate 14.5

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com and via PM

  8. #8

    Default

    Mark,

    Thanks for the additional clarification. It looks like I've been doing what you and Gregg are describing, except that I might need to play fish a little longer (I usually try to land fish quickly to increase survival rate). Maybe, I'll look into getting a net, which would be less expensive than a bunch of new fly rods.

    Thanks,

    Dave

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