Positioning Kayak


Nothing teaches you how to position your kayak like having a shark take your catch. A few years ago, I was fishing off the coast of Bundaberg in my kayak. I was pulling in a small Trevally when a Tiger Shark came out of nowhere and chomped my catch down. I didn’t have my line-cutting tool to hand and quickly found myself at the mercy of the beast, fighting to keep from being thrown into the water myself. I realised then that I wasn’t ready to fight the bigger game species. I needed to educate myself on how to position my kayak to safely take on bigger species. So I did.


In deeper water with a hard bottom, I use a grappling anchor with prongs to grip the sea floor. I also use an anchor buoy. I find it helpful for when I hook something with a bit of power that takes off as soon as it takes the bait. I simply release the anchor from the kayak and chase it down for the fight. Once it’s all over, I can return to the anchor and can keep fishing the same spot.


While a fish is fighting at the surface, keep it away from the kayak. I have pulled in a 90lb Yellowfin Tuna from my kayak but wouldn’t bring it bow side until I knew it had no more fight left in it. These things can jump right on top of you in their panic, this would cause me some serious panic too. I keep them away until I can hook them safely and bring it in without any more fight.


If you are fishing near structures or rocks that the fish might try to escape to, keep your kayak pointed away from it. Otherwise, the beast might just pull you into it and drag you into a mess you can’t get out of. Tighter drag and bigger fish will have no problem pulling you wherever they want. I use a rudder kit while I am fishing and keep the rudder pointed out to the open water. It means I have to fight the fish sideways, but it also gives me an easy exit route before I can be pulled into any structure.


Most saltwater fishing kayaks are built to stay upright. The only time I struggle is launching into the waves. Keep an eye on currents, sandbars, and rip tides before you launch. Find the safest place to launch, and take the waves straight on, paddling at a high intensity. When coming back to shore, I actually keep the kayak facing open water and paddle backwards to maintain stability. It looks a bit mental but keeps me upright.

Staying aware of your surroundings and the position of your kayak at all times will minimise the chances of capsizing or being dragged into trouble. Better kayak positioning makes for better fishing and bigger catches.


What tips do you have for bringing in bigger fish on a kayak? Please share below.

Jackson Williams

Jackson Williams has been fishing around Australia for 20 years and loves his home region of far north Queensland.