The waters in the UK are not always suitable for lure fishing on the move, the water clarity around our coast and often the lack of predatory fish make bait fishing an essential tool in the kayak anglers armoury.
This is fortunate as bait fishing is my favourite method. One of the questions I am regularly asked is how I position the rods, or adapt the kayak to suit this method of fishing ?
On the Kraken and Cuda there are three basic options for rod positions whilst bait fishing, either at anchor or on the drift. Two of them require no modifications of the kayak, whilst the third requires only slight alteration.
The first method would be to use the existing rocket launcher mounts, simply angling them forward to 45 degrees so they sit either side of the angler. The rods are positioned in the tubes with the tips to the front of the angler. This was the most popular method for many years and is still a common sight around the British coastline.
It is a method that doesn’t work for me. I find having the rods alongside me restricting, and when fishing two rods can’t get both rod tips in my sight line at the same time. I also find it slightly cumbersome removing the rod from the tube each time I get an indication. That said this system works for a lot of people, although it is essential that you use a rod leash if fishing this way, the opportunity for a rod to be knocked from the holder is always present.
The second method and the one I use most frequently is to construct a rod rest to the front of you. Since I set my Cuda up this way I have received dozens of messages asking which parts are used, and now this set up is a common sight on kayaks in the U.K., with slight variations to suit the angler. My setup is simple. I use the existing rod holder on the Yak Attack tracking, simply because it is so easy to attach and remove.
To construct the rest I use a Preston Innovations Dutch Feeder Arm, the larger size being the perfect width for the kayak. This is attached to a cut down bank stick which is flattened at one end. A hole drilled through and then attached to the Ram Rod Holder using the existing bolt. A small cable tie keeps it in place.
I find this rod rest perfect for my style of fishing. Both rods are immediately in front of me with both tips in my sight line. More importantly at the slightest indication I can lift the rod and feel for the bite without having to move it more than a few inches. This method has the added advantage that you can attach your camera to the rod rest and it is a great angle for frontal shots of you holding your trophy fish.
The third and by far the best position for your rod when bait fishing is the last, holding it. If I am only fishing one rod, or fishing on the drift this is by far the most pleasurable and most effective way of fishing. When you feel the initial bites it is like electric travelling up the line and passing through your body. With braid especially you get a feel for exactly what is happening under the water and the hook up rate if far better than having the rod to the side or front. You can react instantly to bites if needed or allow them to develop as you see fit.
There you have the three most common ways to position your rods when bait fishing. Everyone will find that a different option suits them, but the joy of the Jackson Kraken, or the Cuda 14 is that you can experiment and find your perfect set up without having to make any major alterations, or drilling into the kayak thanks to the thought and foresight of the designers and the vast amount of tracking that the kayaks come with. Whichever method you choose get out there and enjoy your fishing.