Bass anglers looking for a more pleasant way to move around hard-to-reach backwaters this summer will find kayaks are a great option. Easily transportable, reasonably lightweight and lacking a noisy motor, kayaks are the optimal bass fishing choice for shallow waters. 

Earlier this year we brought you 3 Saltwater Kayak Fishing Setups and the story of a fisherman who pulled a 552-pound goliath grouper from a kayak. So don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s not possible. Here are some tips for bass fishing from a kayak.

Gear Up, But Don’t Overdo It

While you won’t need—much less be able to fit—five or six rod and reel combos, you should at least have two on hand and within reach. I like to keep on setup rigged with a soft plastic like a Texas rigged worm, and the other combo rigged with a shallow search lure, like a Rapala minnow or a small spinnerbait, like Booyah’s Pond Magic series. Use the faster bait to find the fish and then if you find that you’re getting hits, try to toss your plastic and slow things down. I’ll also keep a small, clear tackle storage box in the kayak, filled with a few lures, hooks, and a small pair of pliers.

Find the Shady Shallow Water

This time of year bass tend to stay very shallow in the morning and evening, and then move to deeper, cooler water when the sun is high. In your kayak you can silently creep into previously unreachable coves, where you’re likely to discover a lush, cool feeding ground rich with bass and all the things they like to eat. If possible in these areas, cast onto the bank and drag your lure into the water. This tactic makes for a more stealthy approach and offers a more natural presentation, since you won’t make as much of a splash.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Ashore

One very cool thing about reaching secluded waters in your kayak is being able to explore those areas further by stepping onto the shore. It’s okay to occasionally land your kayak, walk around, and fish newfound shorelines for a while. Bonus: Doing so gives you a chance to stretch your legs for a bit.

If You Have the Room…

Aside from your fishing tackle, a lifejacket, and perhaps some food, other items that are smart to keep on hand include a sponge for bailing out excess water, paracord for tethering gear to keep it stable in rough waters, polarized glasses to help you see through the shallow waters and know right where to put your lure, and protection from the sun, like sunscreen or a wide-brim hat. Here’s what your kayak could look like outfitted with the right gear.