Pre-Season Kayak Preparation

Back Bay Kayak Trolling

April is a great time to go through your pre-season checklist to make sure that your gear is ready for the coming season.

April is a transformational month in New England. The warming water brings the fish into feeding mode and the weather is finally warm enough to fish comfortably. Last year, April was a little less than friendly; the heavy snowfall left a thick ice covering on most ponds that didn’t dissipate until April or May, and the cold weather slowed the striper migration.

This year, however, it looks like we have prime conditions for April fishing. Not only does the warmer weather make for better freshwater fishing, but it also makes better conditions for an early return of the stripers.

As a kayaker, I’m much more wary of weather conditions that when I fish from shore or a boat. I’m immersed in the water, and harsh conditions can make fishing difficult or dangerous. The beginning of April usually means full dry gear and extra safety precautions, while the end of the month can be balmy with considerably warmer water. Many kayakers use the “50/50” rule, meaning that unless both the water and air temperatures are above 50 degrees, they won’t go out.

April is a good time to go through your pre-season checklist to make sure that your gear is ready for the coming season. If you’re like me, you set aside a pile of reels to clean over the winter and only finished half of them because you kept fishing. It’s always a challenge to make sure that I have enough working reels to make it through the season!

Hobie H-Crate
A nice crate, like this H-Crate from Hobie, makes it easier to rig the boat for each trip and makes my gear more accessible.

Rods and reels aren’t the only gear to get ready–usually the biggest project is getting the kayak ready. The start of the season is a good time to figure out what improvements to make for the upcoming season. Installing new rod holders, a milk crate, or fishfinder is best done when you aren’t rushing to get out and fish. Instead of rigging the night before a trip, taking the time to fix up your kayak before the season begins will help you put together a better platform. Early April is a good time to take the kayak out on a warm day and figure out where you want to install items while making sure they won’t get in the way when you are paddling or fishing.

It is also a good time to evaluate whether you need to buy…

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