How Do You Bottom Fish In A Kayak?

Many beginner-level and advanced anglers choose the bottom fishing method since it is simple and effective. However, this method can be tricky when you want to do it from your kayak. Maintaining balance is your biggest challenge when bottom fishing in a kayak.

To bottom fish in a kayak, you should follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Research the maps and area
  • Step 2: Prepare your kayak for the trip
  • Step 3: Use the correct bait
  • Step 4: Make sure both your rig and rod are appropriate
  • Step 5: Prepare the bait
  • Step 6: Go as deep as you can

Bottom fishing can let you experience a different side to your fishing trip, and adding a kayak to the mix can become even more exhilarating and challenging. However, preparing for a wet trip would be best since the chances of falling in or getting splashed are high.

a man kayak fishing in a river

Step 1: Research The Maps And Area

Before preparing for your fishing trip, you should research the area and look at the maps to determine where the rocky areas and ledges are. Snappers and groupers usually hang around these areas, and you can mark the site when you find it.

Not only is it essential to research the area for the location of fish, but you should also know where rocks and grassy areas are so you don’t get caught or damage your kayak. You could get stuck in the river, or you can sink, which is a significant risk.

Step 2: Prepare Your Kayak For The Trip

To bottom fish, your kayak should stay in position over the reef, which means your kayak will need specific equipment. For example, you will need a collapsable anchor and a sufficient length of rope. Your kayak will also need to be short and wide since they are the easiest to control but also keep in mind your height and weight.

Your kayak will also need an anchor trolley. If you don’t already have one, most fishing sites sell them for great prices and are good quality. Last but not least, you will need a depth finder to mark structures and fish so you can find them easily.

If you are unsure about your kayak, you can take it to a sporting goods store. They can help you determine if your kayak is up to the task of bottom fishing or if you might need additional equipment. It will be worth spending some extra money on the correct equipment. You can also buy a fully rigged kayak from any sporting goods store if you don’t already have an adequate one.

two fishing kayaks moored on a beach

Step 3: Use The Correct Bait

The correct bait will depend on the type of fish you want to catch and how long you will be fishing. Usually, two blocks of chum will be appropriate for a day. Chum is essential to attract fish to your location, making them go into a feeding frenzy.

a man baiting a hook with a maggot

Step 4: Make Sure Both Your Rig And Rod Are Appropriate

A proper rig is one of the most important parts of fishing. You can hold your rig by hand or fishing rod or attach it to your boat. You can use many types of rigs depending on the depth, current and targeted species. Spinning and conventional rods are the best options for bottom fishing since they are cheap. Spinning rods are better for shoreline and surf fishing, and traditional rods for boat and pier fishing.

spinning rod and a lure lying on concrete path

Step 5: Prepare The Bait

It would be best to prepare your bait before you get to the fishing spot because you will want to start fishing once you get there. Your bait will depend on the type of fish you wish to attract. While some bait will require cutting, others you can drop in the water since they might be a paste or chunks. You can also attach a weight to the bait if you want it to sink to the bottom faster.

Step 6: Go As Deep As You Can

When bottom fishing, you take your kayak as far out as possible and drop your bait as deep as possible. When your kayak is at the desired spot, put the reel in gear, lower the bait to the bottom, then grip the rod with both hands while pinching the line. You should avoid getting your bait snagged by keeping it near the bottom and bouncing it occasionally.

a happy kayak fishermen holding his catch

Why Do People Bottom Fish?

Bottom fishing is a popular method among many fishermen. There are quite a few reasons it’s so popular, but it depends on how adventurous the angler is and how far you are willing to go. Here are some of the reasons why angels choose to bottom fish:

  • More variety – Regular fishing can catch Bass, Northern, and Catfish, but bottom fishing can catch fish like triggerfish, tuna, sea bass, or even Tarpon. You can snatch a wider variety of fish with bottom fishing
  • Deep sea fishing – Bottom fishing is excellent for deep sea fishing on a boat with live bait. It also makes a fantastic adventure for those anglers who seek a thrill in their fishing trip
  • It keeps you surprised – Depending on their level of expertise, most fishermen can identify the species of fish swimming in the water. However, no one can tell you what kinds of fish you’ll find in the depths of the water
  • Requires skill and patience – There is more to it than meets the eye while bottom fishing. You will spend a lot of time in the boat before catching anything. Because you can’t predict where the fish will be, success depends on a combination of luck, experience, and skill. Pick the perfect area, be selective with your live baits, and be patient
  • Challenging – Bottom fishing is a great challenge, which is not always bad. It can become a competition between friends, and you can also win prizes when competing in tournaments


When you bottom fish from a kayak, the first step is to make sure you know the area and waters, next you prepare the kayak and all your equipment. The third step is to decide on your desired fish species and prepare the bait accordingly. Fourth, you must prepare your rod and rig, then prepare the bait, and last but not least, go as deep as you can in the water and release your line.

Tommy Bull
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