Fly Fishing From A Kayak: Fly Line Tips & Tricks [VIDEO]

By: Joseph Simonds on March 28, 2017
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fly fishing from kayak

There’s nothing worse than getting tangles and snags when fly fishing (besides losing a fish to a tangle or snag)…

Unfortunately, tangles and snags in your fly line tend to happen even more while fly fishing from a kayak.

If you’ve ever tried it, fly fishing from a yak isn’t like fly fishing from a skiff.

Your room is very limited in the kayak and there are tons of things for your line to get snagged on.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

After many frustrating outings of fly fishing from his kayak, Tony Acevedo finally made some really cool homemade items to help manage his fly line.

Check it out.

Fly Fishing From Your Kayak

fly fishing from a kayak

by Tony Acevedo

Fly fishing from a kayak or paddle board can be an awesome way to catch fish of all varieties from lakes, inshore waters, and even offshore.

The stealth nature of a kayak and the ability to get into some very shallow water can make kayaks and paddleboards prime vessels to fly fish from.

Of course, the bad news is that there is not much room to fish from, and your fly line seems to find any and everything to get snagged on…

I almost put the fly rod away for good due to the amount of frustration I was having with managing my fly line on my kayak. It was getting snagged on everything from rod holders to the zipper on my wading boots.

As with most problems, there is always a solution.

I considered possibly getting a stripping basket that I could wear around my waist, but I stand up and sit back down too often and it would also get in the way of my paddling.

There is always the option of just having your extra line lay in the water instead of in the kayak, but that just caused to much drag on the line resulting in poor casts. Most of the time my kayak would also drift over my line, which caused even more headaches.

Finally, I came up with 2 very effective and simple ways of managing your fly line when fishing from your kayak (or paddle board)

The Home Made Fly Line Basket

fly fishing from a kayak

Here’s the homemade basket I use on my kayak currently. Works great!

Due to being on a kayak, I like to keep things as simple as possible.

There isn’t much room to keep any extra equipment (such as a large laundry basket or stripping basket), so I was on the lookout for something small.

Ironically, I was at a local Home Depot looking for something non-fishing related and I walked by a stack of milk crates.

As soon as I passed them it clicked. The milk crate wasn’t too bulky, it wasn’t too tall, and it could easily be strapped down or stowed out of the way in the rear tankwell when not in use.

I brought it home, attached some zip ties to the bottom to serve as the line coilers or “detanglers” and it was pretty much good to go from there.

I used it on dry land first to simulate using it from the kayak and it worked great. The next test was actually using it out on the water.

It performed like a champ!

The Towel

fly fishing from a kayak

This was the very first method I used to keep my fly line from tangling on everything. It’s simple and cost effective (because everyone owns a towel).

All you need is a towel big enough to cover up anything in the area in front of you where your fly line is stripped onto.

The towel also serves as a flat, snag-free surface for your fly line to lay on. 

The only real issue I had when using this method on my kayak was that the extra line would sometimes fall off into the water and drag the rest of my stripped line in with it. This towel method is still a very easy fix if you are having issues with getting tangled or snagged on things in your kayak.

In the following video, you will see how the crate works, and you will also see how the towel works in helping with managing your fly line when fishing from a kayak.

Tips On Managing Your Fly Line From A Kayak [VIDEO]

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With a homemade (DIY) fly fishing stripping basket, fly fishing from a kayak can go from frustrating to awesome really quick.

As Tony shows in the video, his stripping basket is nothing more than a milk crate, and it works awesome.

You can even use a towel if you are really into saving money.

Hope you kayak anglers got something from this video.

Any other questions about fly fishing from a kayak?

Any other specific fishing tips you want us to cover next?

Let us know in the comments.

We’d love to hear from you.

Related Post: “Inshore Fishing 101: The Ultimate Inshore Fishing Resource” (see it here now)

inshore kayak fishing survey

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Tight Lines!

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AnonymousTony AcevedoRobert Orlando Recent comment authors
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I have never been fly fishing but I really want to but everyone tells me it doesn’t work

Robert Orlando

Great video with great advice…. The “loose” fly line frustrates all fly fisherman… I found a product which works wonderful at Orvis … cabelas copied and made their own version – a fly basket which really works …
You can get the cabella one at
for $59

or you can get the orvis version (the version I use) at

Once you use this basket you will never fly fish without it

Tony Acevedo

Awesome thanks for the tip Robert!