Things to Consider while Landing a Big Fish from a Kayak

Blog Image

Yak Gear Brand Ambassador Barrett F reeling in a big fish from his kayak.

So you’ve read the rigging articles and you know the hot spots! Now it’s time to yell “Fish On!” and battle that big one into the boat! Uh oh…what’s next?

All of a sudden, you’re stuck boating a 3,4,5 foot fish that is making the 3 pound bass you caught last week seem like a cake walk. Here are some tips we’ve compiled to help you out next time you hook a big one.

Safety First

Wearing a Personal Flotation Device that’s rated for your weight and correctly fitted before making your initial launch should go without saying. Flipping over with your fishing gear can be hectic and dangerous. Being properly fitted with safety gear before launching is an essential part of kayak fishing because you just never know what to expect.

Make Sure Your Gear is Secure

Before  you even begin fishing, make sure all paddles and fishing rods are securely leashed to your kayak with paddle leashes or fishing pole leashes. These leashes come in many different forms, including different lengths of bungee, coil cord, and webbing. Bigger fish require more hands-on control and, well, the more hands you have on the fish, the less hands you have on your expensive rod and reel or your lifesaving paddle. Making sure these essentials are secured to the kayak will give you peace of mind that you will return home safely and with all your gear throughout the rest of the process. Click here to view our leashes.

Landing Your Fish

Have your fish grips available in a conveniently located position. As soon as you put down your paddle and rear back your pole for the final hook, you will need to be ready for a lip grip. This will give you a steady hold on the fish while keeping your fingers a safe distance away from its sharp teeth. Once you have the fish’s lip secured, you can grab the body for bringing it into the kayak.

*Note- While it is slightly less intuitive, most grips have access points for leashing as well with a customizable coil leash or boga leash. You know the saying, “leash it or lose it!” Click here to view our fish grips and other fishing gear.

Keep Your Center of Gravity

Keeping your center of gravity to prevent spills is an important part of the process that is always overlooked. After fighting the fish for an extended period of time, you are tired and just want to land the darn thing! Try not to lean your exhausted body over the kayak. Instead, try utilizing the leg sweep that most anglers use to land these monster fish. It’s quite easy to perform. With the fish broadside of your kayak, you will utilize your leg to get under the fish and lift and land the fish in the center of your cockpit. If balance is an issue deterring you from going after larger fish, outriggers are also an excellent solution to the problem. Click here to view our outriggers.

Layers are your Friend

Gloves and towels are two less glamorous ways that experienced kayak anglers take the sting out of landing these big fish. Having gloves on your hands and a towel on your lap can very easily increase your comfort level while landing the big one.

Capturing a Picture Perfect Moment

Have the camera ready! You’ve done all the hard work and now it is time to celebrate! Use a combination of Camera Mounts and Platforms to get the point and shoot cameras ready for your big fish and your big smile!

We want to know what you think about these tips! What are some other useful tips for beginners getting into kayakfishing? Tell us what you think! Comment below, reach out to us at, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the #YakGear hashtag!