Kayak Fishing Freedom

There’s never been a better time to get into kayak fishing

Increasingly, anglers are discovering the joys — not to mention the cost-effectiveness — of trading a souped-up bass boat for a stable sit-on-top kayak. 

Whether the focus is lakes, rivers or smaller streams, kayaks provide excellent access to shallow structure and shoreline brush likely to hold feisty fish. Because kayaks are so versatile, they also make excellent craft to pursue deep-water quarry like stripers and crappie on reservoirs.

“Kayaking gives you freedom over the medium of water,” says Michael Banks, a retired dentist from Jacksonville, who landed a 13.6-pound largemouth bass on Purtis Creek a few years ago. “If I can catch a fish like that from a kayak, why do I need a bass boat?”

The growth of the Texas Paddling Trails program and new angler leases on private property are offering more opportunity for freshwater kayak fishing than ever before.

Where to Go
Chase largemouth bass on this no-wake East Texas reservoir with limited motorboat traffic.

Colorado River, Bastrop
Choose between the 14.3-mile Wilbarger Paddling Trail and the 6-mile El Camino Real Paddling Trail. Abundant game fish include Guadalupe bass, sunfish and largemouth bass.

West Fork, Trinity River
The beginner-friendly Bridgeport Falls Paddling Trail is a 5.8-mile up-and-back stretch of river about an hour west of Dallas-Fort Worth offering a chance to cast light tackle for a variety of fish, including bass and crappie.

Upper Sabine River
Try the 12-mile Mineola Bigfoot Paddling Trail; camp overnight at the Mineola Nature Preserve.

Gear Up
·      Boat & paddle: Every kayak manufacturer produces at least one model especially designed for anglers (with pole mounts and ports for fish finders and other electronics). Many have a rudder to help steer. Hobie markets a kayak that uses a foot pedal-drive system so your hands are always free. Most kayaks sold in Texas are sit-on-top, which are stable and don’t overheat you in the summer sun. Before you buy, rent one or attend one of the demo days at retailers.

·      Life jacket

·      Tethers: to protect your gear in case the kayak flips.

·      Small anchor: to hold the boat steady over a hole in a mild current.

·      Fishing gear

Share this post and invite your friends to subscribe to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine to get more tips like this. We have an all access subscription offer.


  1. I wish you had included Fort Parker State Park as a destination. I love to put in at the Confederate Grounds and paddle the river to the state park lake. It is a beautiful stretch of river well shaded by trees.

  2. I wanted to start kayaking but I was a little hesitant because I am definitely a beginner. I appreciate the advice-giving especially the rent Before purchase. I also appreciate the beginner friendly areas to start.

  3. I generally check this kind of article and I found your article which is related to my interest. Genuinely, it is good and instructive information aboutsnook lights Thanks for sharing an amazing article here.