There are numerous myths and assumptions that people make about the sport of kayak fishing, most often totally wrong. Below is a compiled list of 8 common myths that are freely circulated
Yak Fish'n Myth 1: Small boat, small fish!
Busted: This is a common assumption among the unitiated and its easy to imagine why the assumption is made. But you know what they say about assumption! The truth is that in waters where kayaks are equally able to reach as a powerboat, they are thus equally capable of pulling in almost any equal fish. In fact, there's a good chance it will be easier to get boat-side on the yak than the boat. The real challenge for the big-fish kayak fisherman is getting it aboard and then storing it. if everything else fails, you can just tow it back to land, like Paulo did with this 80kg marlin at South West Rocks on the east coast of Australia a few years back.
Busted: It's really only fair to call partially busted on this one because partly for the reasons anyone might assume, there are some advantages in having short rods in some circumstances. This is especially true when fishing under over-hanging foliage and in amongst submerged trees in skinny backwaters, but not so much in open water environments where bigger fish lurk. It's important in such circumstances to be able to reach forward or back enough to extend the rod tip beyond the bow or stern if a large fish is passing from one side of the yak to the other, or if you want to guide it to one side (which I find myself doing a lot). Most yak fishos will tell you a minimum of 6' - 7' best suits their requirements and they'll give you any number of reasons why. The 9:30 minute mark of Yakass Kayak Fishing Show episode 8 provides a terrific example of why:
Busted: For starters, lets first agree that there are picture perfect days out there in which you could get out and fish on almost any boat. It is not always rough at sea. So the truth is that on any given idilic day, almost any kayak is capable of being paddled out to sea and then safely back again. Secondly, not all kayaks are equal. Some are far more sea-worthy than others and these are quite capable of heading out to sea in varying reasonable conditions, albeit depending on user experience and fitness level. As such, yes, most kayaks are capable of handling fishing off shore in some conditions and some kayaks are capable of handling the sea in most conditions.
Busted: On the contrary - its only as hard as you make it. Pick the right day and it'll be as easy as you like. Pick the right place and even on a bad day you'll have a good experience. Perhaps you only need to paddle 300 metres to get to the best fish anyway, or otherwise you could play your cards right and have tidal currents do most of the work for you. For the most part most kayak fishermen are just sitting there fishing, whether that be by drifting, bottom bashing, casting & retrieving or casually trolling. It doesn't have to be (and usually isn't) terribly physically demanding.
Busted: Define 'going very far'... it all depends on what you mean by that. While most kayaks certainly aren't capable of covering distances remotely like that of any reasonable powerboat, at the same time it is surprising (for many) just how far it is possible to push a kayak, and in some cases, how easily. This is especially true of sea kayaks, several pedal-powered models and especially those with sail systems. Be it river, lake, bay or sea, you might be surprised how far some of us can and will go to catch fish. That said, a lot of the time some of the best fish are found in closer to land any way and in most cases there is no need to paddle, pedal or sail terribly far.
Busted: Obviously sharks aren't even present in most waters where you'll usually find kayak fishos (lakes, dams, rivers and some estuaries) but even in open water instances where they are found, encounters are surprisingly rare. Close encounters are rarer still and with larger more dangerous species rarest of all. While there have of course been numerous reported incidents (including several from the author), in modern times at least (at the time of writing) there have been no recorded deaths of kayak fishos from sharks while kayak fishing. And there's thousands of us doing it around the world, every chance we get. Even the odd one out among us who do have encounters typically go on kayak fishing (some of us continue fishing the very same day). So no, generally speaking, sharks are not a problem... though flake-bound smaller specimens (4' or under) can certainly be tricky to land when hooked!
Busted: Again, we'll offer a humble partial bust for this one. It is not uncommon for yak fishos to lose gear overboard, but it's not common for them to maintain the habit. There are numerous means of securing items to the kayak so even in the event of a capsize they won't be lost. Capsizing is a typically rare event, however, most commonly seen with surf re-entry, which is a task most yak fishos don't have to face. Besides, most fishing-worthy kayaks are inherantly stable anyway, so most open water yak fishos find a way to deal with surf eventually, even if their plan involved tipping over if need be. So yes, although it can be a problem for the uninitiated or careless, it's one that tends to go away pretty quickly.
Busted: If kayak fishermen are crazy, then what do you call rock fishos? We're not crazy... just ambitious perhaps and maybe some of us are overly adventurous as well but we have very good reason to be. Crazy about kayak fishing maybe, but crazy, no. If you want to label watersporters crazy, go after divers, surfers or some group you have half a chance of justifying the label to. Kayak fishing is easier than it might look, and more productive than you might think. That said, yes, some of us are crazy.