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Struggling to stay in one spot on a kayak


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Well this'll be my first post here, and I thought what better to talk about than a bad day on the lake. Specifically the wind and drifting in a kayak. I'm relatively new to bass fishing in the sense I only started taking it seriously a 1-1 1/2 years ago, and I haven't fished out on the water much whether it be boat or kayak. However, a buddy of mine bought me a kayak [Pelican Challenger 100] a few months ago and on the 2-3 times I've taken it out, I've had a recurring problem with drifting. I typically can only make one or two casts before having to drop what I'm doing and re-adjust with my paddle completely. Now maybe it boils down to the kayak itself, since it's nothing fancy and is a simple fishing kayak I just paddle. I've been on two bodies so far; one being an oxbow lake off the Red and the other being Caddo Lake. The lake was much better since I could hide in the cypress forests and block the wind, but even then it was still unbearable. Ultimately what I'm wondering is if this is a general lack of experience/skill, or an equipment problem that is unavoidable without proper gear on a kayak? No matter the case, it really degrades a trip. If anyone with more experience could give me some tips or any help here I'd greatly appreciate it!

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Wind in a paddle kayak is a huge challenge for everyone.   Certainly, some kayaks will perform better in windy conditions, but with more time on the water, the experience will improve gradually.  When it is blowing good, you may just have to forego some targets and let the wind dictate where and when you fish to a large degree.  An anchor system can help, but it does add a level of complexity.  If you consider an anchor, I highly recommend you install an anchor trolley, which isn't expensive or hard.  It will allow you to deploy anchor from bow or stern. 

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Depending on what depth and cover you’re fishing, you can use an anchor or a stake-out pole to hold on the bottom, or tie off or clamp to brush above water. You can also use a drift anchor to slow your wind drift. It’s like a fabric bucket that opens under water, providing drag. A five gallon bucket does the same thing decently effectively in a small kayak. If you fight the wind in a small kayak, you will lose and get a lot of exercise. Do your best to work with the wind to use it to drift through productive water.

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I agree with @Choporoz .  I installed trolley systems on both sides of my kayak.  They are a bit of a nuisance to use.  I’ve found that if I go out to an area where I won’t be fishing and set them up before I start casting, I can get them in position so my kayak angle is good for casting.  Takes a little fussing, but when I start casting I can drop anchor, fish an area, then pull up the anchor, and either paddle or let the wind blow me to the next spot.  Prevailing winds may or may not blow me in the right direction, but at least when I get to a desirable location, I will be facing the direction I want so I can anchor without making excessive noise.  Anchor trolleys are my friend. 

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I have a five pound claw anchor and Yak Attack anchor trolleys on both sides of my kayaks.  Trolleys on each side let me best position my kayak depending on the shore line and wind direction.  

 

I also use a drift sock for times when I want to drift down a shoreline.

 

Be patient, fishing from a kayak is 100X better than being stuck on shore.

 

 

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I have been using a paddle kayak the past few years. Wind and current can be a bit of a challenge. What I did was I run an anchor trolley on the side of my kayak and run an anchor wizard through that. My anchor of choice is a 5 lb mushroom anchor. By positioning the anchor trolley right, I can generally keep myself pointing at a general direction plus or minus about 30 degrees to each side, so if the middle of the spot I am turning is pointing at my target, I can generally cast at it. There are of course exceptions - heavy wind or if I am sitting on a spot where dual currents meet.

 

Next year I will be in a pedal kayak. Pedals and motors will allow for hands free operation and you can jog yourself in place or use spot lock so for the most part drifting won't be an issue.

 

Steak out poles or power poles work great in shallow water. I didn't bother because I find myself in water over 6 ft frequently.

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A short piece of heavy chain works good as a drag anchor. I've used a 8# dumb bell as a anchor for years.  Be careful out there, tugging on a stuck anchor line is a very easy way to flip your kayak.

FM

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Another vote for a pair of anchor trolleys and an anchor.  It's a pain to have to deal with, and it takes some experience and skill to get it right.  But once you get it down, it's not too bad.  The exceptions are the inside of a cove just off the main lake where the wind funnels and whips around and is constantly changing direction.  There's not much you can do there.  

 

If the wind is strong, which is typically is around here, I plan my launch points according to the direction of the wind.  Sometimes it's just not worth the hassle, so I'll try to find areas where the wind is either lessened or out of a more favorable direction.  Sometimes I'll try to use it to my advantage to drift, since kayaks want to drift sideways in the wind, and just drift parallel to a bank with minimal adjustments here and there.  Often times you can use the angle of your rod on the retrieve to help control your kayak, or just use the rod tip as a paddle if you just need to make a micro adjustment.  Also, sometimes a drift chute on the opposite side of the anchor can help to keep you tighter in one spot.  Or using two anchors at once.  Though I don't find the need to pick apart a single spot for that long too often to be worth the time to set that up. 

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This issue is ultimately exactly why I sold my kayak and got a v hull boat with trolling motor. 
 

With that said, you can put a trolling motor on your kayak or use an anchor. Anchor is really the answer, but it’s deeply frustrating if you’re an angler that likes to move around a lot. 

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I have 40 feet of rope with a large magnet I salvaged from the bottom of a lake tied to it. It is heavy enough to keep my kayak in place when windy or high current

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My canoe anchor was a railroad plate that the spikes go through . It already has holes  and it lays flat. Just walk down some tracks and you will find one.

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On 1/2/2024 at 5:11 AM, Choporoz said:

Wind in a paddle kayak is a huge challenge for everyone.   Certainly, some kayaks will perform better in windy conditions, but with more time on the water, the experience will improve gradually.  When it is blowing good, you may just have to forego some targets and let the wind dictate where and when you fish to a large degree.  An anchor system can help, but it does add a level of complexity.  If you consider an anchor, I highly recommend you install an anchor trolley, which isn't expensive or hard.  It will allow you to deploy anchor from bow or stern. 

It definitely seems like a trolley anchor system is the move here. I hadn't even heard of them until now, but I think the next chance I get I'm for sure gonna install one after everything I've heard here!

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I honestly don't see how the paddle guys do it day in and day out. Kudos!

 

I tried fishing from a paddle kayak a few times (rental( and spent more time positioning the boat than actually fishing. But I did end up buying a pedal kayak and enjoyed that for a few years.

 

Positioning with the pedal kayak became intuitive and it was easy to bump the rudder and jog the pedals to get in and maintain position. But for me it became a chore as I spent a lot of time pedaling in the hot sun and covering a lot of distance. That got tiring.

 

So late in 2023 I bought an Old Town Autopilot. Because of the weather I haven't used it a lot. But having the trolling motor and spot lock is a game changer for me.

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1 hour ago, Koz said:

I honestly don't see how the paddle guys do it day in and day out. Kudos!

 

I tried fishing from a paddle kayak a few times (rental( and spent more time positioning the boat than actually fishing. But I did end up buying a pedal kayak and enjoyed that for a few years.

 

Positioning with the pedal kayak became intuitive and it was easy to bump the rudder and jog the pedals to get in and maintain position. But for me it became a chore as I spent a lot of time pedaling in the hot sun and covering a lot of distance. That got tiring.

 

So late in 2023 I bought an Old Town Autopilot. Because of the weather I haven't used it a lot. But having the trolling motor and spot lock is a game changer for me.

Yea I feel like if I wanted to upgrade to a better kayak I'd honestly look cheap fixer upper jon-boats first. I definitely enjoy kayaks and think they are a perfectly fine way to fish and get on the water, but I can't see myself jumping to pedals or a motor. As much as it sucks I think once I get more time on it and get a trolley motor installed (Hopefully), it will be more tolerable.

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1 hour ago, sllymz said:

Yea I feel like if I wanted to upgrade to a better kayak I'd honestly look cheap fixer upper jon-boats first. I definitely enjoy kayaks and think they are a perfectly fine way to fish and get on the water, but I can't see myself jumping to pedals or a motor. As much as it sucks I think once I get more time on it and get a trolley motor installed (Hopefully), it will be more tolerable.

 

Just remember that there's more to properly installing a trolling motor on a kayak than most people think. The two things you need to do first are contact the manufacturer of the kayak for any tips or information and look to see if another company has already designed a motor mount specific for your kayak.

 

For example, depending upon the type of plastic of your kayak, the mount placement, and the weight and thrust of your motor the shearing forces may damage the kayak where it is mounted.

 

Also, the weight of the motor itself could cause the kayak to bend or twist.

 

When I bought my pedal kayak, I did put a lot of research into what I wanted out of a pedal kayak. But what I failed to research is the cost and the ability of an upgrade path as I got more and more into kayak fishing.

 

If I had done that I probably would have invested in the Old Town Autopilot in the first place.

 

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23 minutes ago, Koz said:

 

Just remember that there's more to properly installing a trolling motor on a kayak than most people think. The two things you need to do first are contact the manufacturer of the kayak for any tips or information and look to see if another company has already designed a motor mount specific for your kayak.

 

For example, depending upon the type of plastic of your kayak, the mount placement, and the weight and thrust of your motor the shearing forces may damage the kayak where it is mounted.

 

Also, the weight of the motor itself could cause the kayak to bend or twist.

 

When I bought my pedal kayak, I did put a lot of research into what I wanted out of a pedal kayak. But what I failed to research is the cost and the ability of an upgrade path as I got more and more into kayak fishing.

 

If I had done that I probably would have invested in the Old Town Autopilot in the first place.

 

Oh my bad man, I meant a trolley anchor system. Slipped up on my words there. But yea I completely agree, I don't ever intend on putting a motor on a kayak. Just don't think its worth it in the long run compared to just using pedals in my unprofessional opinion.

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On 1/2/2024 at 10:08 AM, Fishingmickey said:

A short piece of heavy chain works good as a drag anchor. I've used a 8# dumb bell as a anchor for years.  Be careful out there, tugging on a stuck anchor line is a very easy way to flip your kayak.

FM

A tip for this....if you get a grapnel style anchor. Tie the rope to the "head" of the anchor, not the shank, then zip tie the rope to the shank. If it gets snagged you can break the zip tie and then you'll be pulling the anchor out of the snag backwards. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Regardless if you use a trolley system or not, make sure wherever you terminate your anchor line in the yak, make sure it can be released quickly in the event of an emergency. I use a zig zag cleat and it works well. In addition, tie in a float on your anchor line so you can retrieve it. I used this once when one of my fishing buddies turtled on the opposite side of the pond we were fishing, I heard him take the plunge and released the anchor line  and was able to retrieve it later after I towed him back to shore. I also have a dive knife lashed to my pfd shoulder strap in the event that a quick release goes sideways.

Float & anchor rigging....IMG_5236.JPG.7cafb4ab1e187fb8d471b56a8f18c671.JPGIMG_5237.JPG.b579e4d9ea485e416464625569948d81.JPG

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On 1/3/2024 at 4:18 PM, Koz said:

So late in 2023 I bought an Old Town Autopilot... But having the trolling motor and spot lock is a game changer for me.

Probably not the answer the OP wants to hear because it's expensive - but 100% of the reason I bought an Autopilot kayak.  Without the electric motor and spot-lock... nope - you spend as much time positioning as casting and I'm there to fish..

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On windy days I fish the Lilly pads.  I just position on top of the pads which hold me still and fish in them with texas rigs or jigs.  It works.

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For you guys who are using anchors, what weights are you able to get away with?  I see 5 lb mentioned above.  Can you get away with less?  I have an autopilot so don't need it most of the time, but I have one spot that I want to get shallow and fish uphill for some spooky fish.  I'll be sitting right about the limit for the trolling motor depthwise so I was thinking to drop an anchor on my approach in and sit silently while working some edges.  The wind is consistent so not worried about a trolley setup.  I was thinking a 2' chain might be enough at about 3#.

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In my canoe I use lengths of 1 1/2” pvc filled with birdshot. I use a 3.5 lb on light breeze days and go to a 7 lb for stronger, and occasionally both. These drag thru the weeds and stumps so if you go with a mushroom or something like Crow Horse posted you’ll have more holding power. I gave up on them after losing several in the stumps.

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