The Essential Pre-Trip Checklist for Kayak Fishing

It’s that time of year, we here in New England are chomping at the bit ready to dig out from under the snow and put the kayak on the roof chasing stripers.

Take some time and plan out the trip, get everything ready and working.

The fishing kayak sat in the garage, shed or under a tarp all winter. Go over it and make sure it’s ready and safe.

If you have flush mount rod holders in a Sit-On-Top (SOT) or Sit-Inside-Kayak (SIK) you should make sure the end caps are still in place.

Any amount of water in the rod holder freezes over the winter if the kayak is in clod storage.

Water expands and may pop the end cap off the rod holder and leave your kayak open to the elements.

With a loaded kayak on a choppy day there are a lot of water running over the top of your kayak and it only takes a few gallons to lower your free board enough that water will pour in through the openings in your flush mount rod holder.

Check how the cables if you have a kayak with a rudder, are they rusty, do they move freely through the plastic tubing.

How are the foot pegs or pedals and will the rudder itself rotate freely when lowering and raising it.

You can use some WD-40 if the cables feel a little stiff or sticky the the foot pedals are moved to turn the rudder.

I lift the front end of the kayak up 3 to 4 feet and spray WD-40 down the plastic tubing.

With the nose of the kayak up like that oil will run the length of the cable and come out the back.

Put something on the ground to trap the oil since it will stain floors and ruin your carpet if you are in the living room.

Then again, if you have your kayak in the living room there should be no rust…

I use short squirts with the “straw” in place on the WD-40 can.

You can move the foot pedals back and forth if the oil have a hard time getting through the tube.

Servicing the rudder itself differs from rudder to rudder so take pictures before you take it apart and keep the parts in order.

That way you’ll be able to put it back together after cleaning and servicing it.

I only take the rudder apart if I have sand or salt in the parts, they will make it very hard lowering and raising the rudder.

Try hosing the rudder off before you take it apart since a stream of freshwater will remove most of the debris.

Loosening the nut that keeps the rudder to the bracket will give you more leeway to flush out any sand.

I take the drain plug out of the kayak when I put it away for the winter, now is a good time to put it back in.

I have forgotten the plug at more than one occasion so now it’s part of my check list… “duh”.

I use a little candle wax or ski wax on the treads, it helps screwing the plug in and out.

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