Handlining From A Kayak

Handlining is a very old and simple method of fishing. It is also one of my favourite ways to fish, read on to see why.

handlining fishing

Handlining is uber simple. Basically you have a thick fishing line, something around 50lb or above, something to wrap it around (instead of a reel), some terminal tackle like feathers or baited hooks on the end and finally a weight.

What I love about it so much is how natural and close to the fish you feel. Your finger tips are right on the line, you can feel every twitch and kick, it’s fantastic. Real hunter-gatherer stuff.

I use my handline all the time from my kayak. Here is my technique.

  1. Find a spot you’d like to fish. Your main target is mackerel so choose a spot good for them.
  2. Determine which way the wind and tide are coming from.
  3. Lower your weighted line on the side of your kayak that the wind/tide is coming from.
  4. The line should being going away from the kayak, not under it.
  5. Slowly lower your line down into the water. Jerking, raising and lowering as you go.
  6. You should be able to feel when the weight hits the bottom, this is your que to start pulling the line back up.
  7. Keep jerking, raising and lowering the line until you are back at the surface.
  8. Repeat.

Here are some tips

  • I find that I catch way more fish on the way up than the way down, so I put more effort and time into the “ups” than the “downs”.
  • You can use a heavy perk on the end of the line instead of a weight. I sometimes catch Gurnard this way.
  • I use the Hokkai Shrimp type of feather without bait and this has good results for me.
  • A 2-4 oz weight are good for me in light wind and tide.
  • If you’re not having much success trying varying how you twitch and move the line. Lift it high, fast, slow, small movements etc.
  • I keep my handline in an ASDA lunchbox/tupperware thing. It was only a quid and it stops all the hooks getting caught up on my gear.

fishing handlining


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