Kayak Fishing in Pennsylvania
Customer name:Keith Clinton
City/State: Carlisle, PA
Where do you fish/launch? Mostly smallmouth bass streams in the mid-Atlantic area, such as the Susquehanna, Juniata, Delaware, Potomac, Shenandoah, James, Maury and New Rivers, along with other smaller streams.
What kind of fish do you catch or target? Mainly smallmouth bass, but I often catch sunfish, rockfish, and other species.
What kind of lures, jigs or live bait do you use? Over the years I have gotten away from live bait, partly since I don't care to store it, and I usually practice catch and release. I usually fish with a fly rod and spinning gear. While drifting I often use the spinning rod with spinners or tube jigs. The fly rod is fun to use in shallower water, riffles or when casting to the shore line. You can repeat casts very quickly with a fly rod to the shore line and you do not need to wind in all of the line before making the next cast. A sit on top may be more stable and in slower water you can sometimes stand to cast. The fly I use most is probably the Woolly Bugger. In various colors it imitates a lot of different baits.
What kind of kayak do you have? I have two. One is a Mainstream Patriot 12 foot sit inside and the other is an 11 foot Lquid Logic Manta Ray sit on top.
Rigging Tips: For river fishing I would say that my kayaks are lighter equipped than ocean kayaks. I don't feel it necessary to have a depth finder, or a live well for larger baits for example. I only carry three rods. That may still seem like a lot, but ocean kayakers often carry 5 or 6 rods.
If choosing a sit inside I would first choose a kayak with a larger cockpit. This is helpful when you are frequently getting in and out to wade promising spots. A comfortable seat is also important. With the Mainstream I replaced the original seat with one with a higher back and more padding. Poor back support can lead to discomfort, especially when twisting and turning and casting all day.
I have three Scotty Rod Holders mounted on each kayak. Two of them hold spinning rods and one holds a fly rod (specific fly rod mount). One spinning rod is usually tipped with a spinner or crankbait, and the other has a jig for when I need to fish a little deeper. If I pass through riffles I will use the spinner, then switch to the jig in deeper slower water. The fly rod is useful when casting to the shoreline, when fishing riffles, or when wading. I use a Scotty double rod holder in the front of the sit inside kayak. Two spinning rods go here, and the longer fly rod faces towards the rear in the back mount. The sit on top has one forward rod mount and two in the rear.
I tend to prefer the Scotty rod holders or a type of rod holder where the angle of the rod is adjusted, as opposed to the flush mounted tube rod holders. The reason for this is if you place a rod in the hole of a tube mount the rod sticks straight up quite high. When fishing rivers and small streams you often come under overhanging limbs and a rod sticking up in the air is going to break off. If you fish the ocean or lakes this is not much of a concern. Actually, I much prefer to buy a standard kayak and outfit it myself for fishing, than buying one already fitted. By doing so you can meet your own fishing needs better.
Another important item for drift fishign rivers is a drag chain. I often let out some rope when drifting to slow my speed. This helps cover the water better. I use a clam cleat and eye system to run the rope through. The drag chain generally does not anchor the kayak, but allows a slower speed. I use about a 12" section of 3/8" galvonized chain. My personal preference is to place the drag dhain off the stern. Some anglers prefer the bow for an anchor. I prefer the stern because I can quickly pull in the drag anchor when coming to rapids. When floating backwards with the chain at the bow I have had a few close calls (especially when the fishing is good). There is one advantage to placing the anchor at the bow, which is that lure retrieval is easier and perhaps more natural when facing upriver. Whichever end of the kayak you place the anchor, be sure to place it as close to the end of the kayak as possible. Never place an anchor along the side of the kayak or by your seat. In strong rapids this will cause the kayak to swing and easily cause a capsize. I would not recommend using the drift anchor through rapids or strong riffles.
Extra rigging can easily be added. I added some behind the seat of the sit inside to hold my chest pack. Rigging can also hold extra rods. The sit on top kayak has cross laced bungee cord over the bow hatch. This is not difficult to install and will help to minimize the hatch blowing off on the turnpike, or coming off in hard rapids, or surf. By simply lifting the bungee from the center clips the hatch can be accessed.
A paddle leash can be a pain in the butt at times, but it can be useful if you get a quick strike and have to play a fish. I have seen some anglers throw the paddle in the water in mild current to play a fish and retrieve it after.
So far as kayak length on rivers, I prefer kayaks 12 feet and under. It is true that a longer kayak will track better and be easier to paddle long distances, but it can also be more difficult to turn in swift water.
Finally, you can get in to very shallow water with a kayak that you might not with another craft. A kayak can help you to get closer to fish because the low profile can allow you to stay below the fishes cone of vision.
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City/State: Danville, PA
Where do you fish/launch? Susquehanna River, Central PA Lakes, Pine Creek.
What kind of fish do you catch or target? Smallmouth, Crappie, Catfish, Walleye, Pike.
What kind of lures, jigs or live bait do you use? Magic Sticks, Floating Rapalas, Live Bait.
What kind of kayak do you have? Native Ultimate 12
Rigging Tips: Before mounting that rod holder, make sure you have full movement of your paddle where you'd like it to be mounted.
Comments: Wish I had someone to kayak fish with.
Customer name: Tim King
City/State: Limerick, PA
Where do you fish/launch? I fish in lakes and rivers in the Philadelphia area suburbs.
What kind of fish do you catch or target? Smallmount Bass, Largemouth Bass, Crappie, Rock Bass and Sunnies.
What kind of lures, jigs or live bait do you use? I use flies including clouser minnows, wooly buggers, gartside gurglers, sneaky petes, panfish poppers.
What kind of kayak do you have? Wilderness System Tarpon 120
Comments: Best rigging so far is mounting a Ram Rod Holder that holds my fly rod. I just started kayak fishing and so far I'm loving it. I like the freedom of being able to cover more water. I also like the added exercise and being to fish longer. Also, the paddle leash looks perfect.
Customer name: Robert England
City/State: Gouldsboro, PA
Where do you fish/launch? Northeast PA in a private lake.
What kind of fish do you catch or target? Bass, Crappie, Trout, Pickerel, Perch, Bluegill
What kind of lures, jigs or live bait do you use? Mostly topwater lures and plastic tubes.
What kind of kayak do you have? 9'6"; Perception Sparky
Comments: I am looking forward to trying kayak fishing for the first time!
Customer name: John McDermott
City/State: Apollo, PA
Where do you fish/launch? Small Rivers, Waters Edge, Clarion Rivers, Yough, Kiski
What kind of fish do you catch or target? Small mouth Bass
What kind of lures, jigs or live bait do you use? Plastic tubes
What kind of kayak do you have? Old Town
Customer name: Rick Sechrist
City/State: York, PA
Where do you fish/launch? East Coast - Maine to Florida, primarily mid-Atlantic.
What kind of fish do you catch or target? Blue Fish, Stripers, Bonefish (FL)
What kind of lures, jigs or live bait do you use? Baitfish, Squid, Shrimp.
What kind of kayak do you have? Wilderness Systems: The Ride, Tarpon 120.
Customer name: A. Negri
City/State: Harrisburg, PA
Where do you fish/launch? Pinchot Lake, Susquehanna River PA
What kind of fish do you catch or target? Bass, Panfish, Muskie
What kind of lures, jigs or live bait do you use? Flatfish, Jigs.
What kind of kayak do you have? Ocean Kayak
Do you have any good tips for rigging a kayak for fishing? What ever works for you.
Comments: Some people say fishing from a kayak is crazy! I say its crazy till ya try!
Customer name: Doug McWilliams
City/State: Red Lion, PA
Where do you fish/launch? Muddy Creek, Susequanna River, Salmon River, Lake Williams.
What kind of fish do you catch or target? Bass, Trout, Salmon.
What kind of lures, jigs or live bait do you use? Flies and rubber worms.
What kind of kayak do you have? Wilderness Systems Pamlico 120
Do you have any good tips for rigging a kayak for fishing? Teflon cutting board cut to shape of front of cockpit held in place by deck shock cord. Great place to mount a rod holder.
Comments: Good website and store. Keep up the good work and keep expanding the on-line store.
Customer name: Name not given.
Where do you fish/launch? Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey.
What kind of fish do you catch or target? Stripped Bass, Flounder, Weak fish, Blue fish.
What kind of lures, jigs or live bait do you use? Flys.
What kind of kayak do you have? Wilderness Systems, Pungo Angler.
Comments: Good website, very informative.
Customer name: Dave Rotigel
City/State: New Cumberland, PA
Where do you fish/launch? Susquehanna River, New Cumberland, Dauphin, Duncannon and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
What kind of fish do you catch or target? Smallmouth Bass, Trout
What kind of lures, jigs or live bait do you use? Rapala Plugs. 99% of the time I fly fish with poppers for smallmouth bass.
What kind of kayak do you have? Clearwater Design.
Customer name: Tim Sweitzer
City/State: Sheppton, PA
Where do you fish/launch? Public lakes, dams and rivers.
What kind of fish do you catch or target? Bass, small mouth and large mouth.
What kind of lures, jigs or live bait do you use? Artificial – favorite is top water lures.
What kind of kayak do you have? Aquaterra – Chinook Model
Do you have any good tips for rigging a kayak for fishing? The rod holders from Hook 1 are a must!!
Comments: I love to take my kayak into large weed beds and lily pads where the larger bass boats can’t get into (they get stuck) and run a small rubber mouse over the top of the pads or weeds – lots of fun and excitement!