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Kayak Fishing with the Kids

One of a parent’s great pleasures in life is going fishing with a child. Watching a child hook up with a good-size fish and experiencing the thrill of a real fish fight is one of those moments that you forever treasure (and which perhaps only you remember when they’re in graduate school). Kayak fishing provides those same exciting memories. My daughter loved to go fishing with me in our kayak, and I loved watching her fish.
Few activities compare with kayak fishing in terms of putting a family in the fish’s immediate environment. With the popularity of kayak fishing increasing as steadily as gas prices, kayak fishing is an alternative form of local fishing to which increasing numbers of anglers are turning for a sublime day on the water.
There are, of course, several things to consider before venturing out for a day’s fishing around North Texas with a child in a kayak. Proper equipment and planning will help ensure a wonderful time on the water for you and your family.
What Is Kayak Fishing?
Quite simply, kayak fishing is fishing from a kayak. The activity is attracting kayakers who may never have fished and anglers who may never have paddled a kayak, thereby adding enthusiasts to both pursuits.
Today’s kayak anglers have taken advantage of sophisticated fishing equipment to add a new dimension to both activities. The inclusion of rod holders, electronic fish-finders and other state-of-the-art equipment has placed kayaks in almost the same league as their much larger fishing boat siblings.
Why Kayak Fishing?
Many anglers are discovering that fishing from a kayak is more effective than fishing from a motorized boat in places where fish have become all too accustomed to the buzz of an outboard motor over them. A kayak also provides easy access to a greater variety of fish species. Other benefits include:

  • Cost: A kayak costs less than a new skiff, and rental kayaks are relatively inexpensive. Plus, you can use the fishing gear you already have in an angler kayak.
  • Accessibility: Kayaks are equally at home on a lake or river, so there is virtually an unlimited number of places around North Texas from which to launch a kayak.
  • Fitness: Fishing from a kayak doubles as a form of exercise the whole family can engage in together.

Purchasing an Angler Kayak
All of the major kayak manufacturers have jumped on the fishing bandwagon, adding angler models to their boat lines. Fishing kayaks have rod holders; storage kits for tackle, water and snacks; and flat areas to mount other gear such as electronics.
The most popular kayaks for fishing purposes are molded from polyethylene, due to their durability and lower cost.
The twinhull (catamaran) kayaks that have recently come on the market are stable enough to allow both paddling and fishing in a standing position. This technological development also addresses some ergonomic problems that are associated with sitting for long hours without being able to change positions (especially troublesome for children), and frees kayakers from the need to sacrifice speed for stability.
Kayaks should be suitable not only as fishing and paddling platforms for adult anglers, but for children as well. When purchasing a kayak for family fishing fun, consider three things:

  • Stability: Although children are smaller than most adults and therefore less prone to destabilizing a kayak, they are also more careless and forgetful and can quickly become overexcited by all the fishing fun. In order to be considered fit for children, an angler kayak needs to be very stable.
  • Comfort: Children should feel comfortable sitting and standing up in a fishing kayak. Even children as young as five should feel at ease in a properly-designed kayak.
  • Ease of use: Children are oftentimes less skilled than adults when it comes to paddling, and it is important that a fishing kayak be easy for children to launch and bring to shore without an adult’s help. It should also be easy for children to turn a kayak without having to use a rudder.

Renting an Angler Kayak
If you don’t want to invest in an angler kayak yet, then try renting a kayak for a fun day on the water with your family. Renting can also be a great way to figure out what kind of design will work best for your family if you do decide to buy an angler kayak. Fort Worth Kayak Adventures (facebook.com/fortworthkayaks) has angler kayaks to rent for use at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Lake Worth (other locations subject to delivery fees). White Rock Paddle Co. (whiterockpaddle.com) also has angler kayaks to rent for use at White Rock Lake.
Where to Go Kayak Fishing
There are multiple kayak-friendly lakes and outdoor centers in the North Texas area, including:

  • Benbrook Lake
  • Lake Worth
  • Grapevine Lake
  • The Fort Worth Nature Center
  • Lake Lewisville Environmental Learning Area
  • Ray Roberts Lake State Park
  • White Rock Lake
  • Cedar Hill State Park

Some of these locations have kayak rentals on-site. Make sure you find out where the current access points are for each area.
One Parting Tip: For live-bait fishing, try suspending minnows under corks along the shoreline cover.
Originally from Dallas, Joe Zentner has gone kayak fishing with his children in many places around the country.