A kayak is one of the stealthiest fishing platforms I've used. While boat design aids one's on-the-water stealthness, just how quiet things end up being is up to the individual. Here are three easy ways to keep kayak fishing covert.
1. Use Padding to Dampen Sound
A customization trick I've seen in a few kayaks is lining some of the cockpit's floor with foam padding. The premise is simple: The mat dampens sound in the event that something, such as a tool or water bottle, accidentally gets dropped. Non-skid mats are the handiest, as they prevent objects from sliding around, too. If you stand in your kayak to fish, sticking on some non-slip pads in the footwells will dampen noise, and also increase traction and boost comfort.
3. Stop Paddle Slap
Resting a paddle across a kayak is common when fishing, but this can work against you. Boat movement can cause the paddle to rock, hit the kayak, and spook fish. Instead, try these options: rest the paddle on your thighs, stow the paddle lengthwise, put padding on the sides to dampen sound, mount a paddle clip for storage, or float the paddle while keeping it within reach with a leash.
3. Stay Back
While it's fun to get close and sight-fish from a kayak, don't cramp your quarry's space. Active fish may not mind being crowded, but inactive ones are sure to spook. As with a powerboat, position the kayak a cast away from the area and volley accurate lure tosses to the hotspot. If you happen to inadvertently get over a prime area, stay as quiet as possible to avoid startling fish. If stealthy, odds are good that you'll be able to paddle back and catch fish after giving the area a little while to settle down.