March 5, 2014 Last Updated 11:56 am

* Club focus – Irish Kayak Angling

Kayak angling features would be nothing without IKA! - Irish Kayak Angling are a vibrant angling club. Their members are some of the best and innovative Kayak anglers around - John Griffin introduces....


A  typical IKA meet!

A typical IKA meet!

In reality, kayak fishing is in its infancy in Ireland but it is growing fast, it is an exciting new way to fish and once tried the chances are that you’ll never look back. Kayak angling it is one of the greatest innovations in angling in the last 30 years.

The Irish Kayak Angling Club was formed in September 2010 by a group of likeminded  anglers that met on an internet angling forum. It is an online club in so far as most communication is through the internet. The club is open to all to enjoy, it is free to all and welcomes both the experienced and newcomers to the sport. The forum is the club room and meeting place that you access from the comfort of your own living room or where ever you happen to have internet access. It is stuffed with great info on every aspect of the sport. Our membership exceeds 900 members. We have members in all 32 counties of Ireland and plenty of members from The UK and mainland Europe.

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Our overall objective is to promote safety on the water. We try to learn from each other’s mistakes and pool our knowledge. Our aim is to get everybody back on shore safely each time they use theor boat. We use sit on top kayaks. Before the advent of sit on tops, many people imagined kayaking to be a dangerous sport, only possible if one was willing to be inside a kayak and risk flipping over and being “trapped”. Fishing from a kayak was a pursuit only mastered by very experienced kayakers. Sit on tops, however, changed all that. They allow the best of kayaking without the scary downsides. Kayakers can fall or jump off a sit on top boat and can climb back on easily. Sit on tops can be quickly flipped upright and paddlers can be back on track with little effort. When someone new to kayak fishing uses a sit on top for their first outing, there is a great chance of both enjoyment and success. These early positive experiences will keep people coming back to the sport and encourage them to introduce others to it as well.

The kayaks (or yaks) we use are extremely stable. Some anglers even fish standing from theirs! With experience gained and good location selection you can fish in conditions fit for any small boat. It is far easier get back on your kayak than a small boat and people in kayaks are generally better equipped to deal with falling in than those on a boat because they are closer to the water and more likely to get wet. We recommend that anybody using a kayak should invest in a drysuit and an insulating layer for underneath. It will keep you dry and warm on your kayak or in the water and will help prevent hypothermia which is the greatest killer of all on the water. The next greatest danger is drowning obviously, so we insist that everybody wear a personal flotation device (PFD), not a self-inflating lifejacket as it very difficult to get back on the kayak with one of these inflated. There are many kayak PFD’s designed for fishing. These have loads of pockets like your normal fishing waistcoat. Fit a strobe light to the shoulder of the PFD along with a whistle and a safety knife. In the pockets carry a pack of pen flares, a smoke flare a waterproof handheld VHF radio and a waterproofed mobile phone – belt and braces safety is important.

As close to the fish as you can get without swimming!

As close to the fish as you can get without swimming!

IKA have a “fishing meets” section in the forum. This is a great feature of the club and the website. Kayak fishing is best done in groups of 3 or more for safety purposes. In our meets section members announce their intention to go fishing and organise a meet between them.  These meets can grow legs and turn into lads heading away for weekends camping and some even bringing the family. For example, we have the Cork annual meet which is held on the first weekend after the bass season reopens in June. It is a 2 day event held around Cork harbour. The sheltered waters around Cork Harbour are fishable in almost any weather conditions. We have a social evening on the Saturday evening with a BBQ and a drink or two. This year was our fourth year running the Cork meet and we had up to 40 kayaks on the water over the 2 days! This is a weekend not to be missed. We let people try out our kayaks at meets as well. It is important that novices buy a yak that suits them and we usually have enough spare gear to get people out for a day before they commit to anything.


A cracking pollack from an inshore reef

A cracking pollack from an inshore reef

We fish for all species from the kayaks, no fish is too big or too small, freshwater and saltwater. From trout to tope, salmon to skate . The message of conservation is very strong within the club and we have teamed up with conservation group Ocean 2012 and have run events in conjunction with them for the last 3 years. Last year we ran an event for European Fish Week with Bray Sea life Centre on Bray beach. For the last few years we have had a stand at the Irish Angling Expo. We use this opportunity to promote kayak angling, safety and conservation. It also gives the land lubbers and curious anglers a chance to see our gear and to chat about our sport.

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We have monthly competitions for best fish of the month and best catch report of the month with great prizes from our sponsers. And then theres the annual competitions such as the Species Hunt competition the Darwin Awareness award and many more.

The social aspect of joining the club should not be underestimated, it’s made up of a bunch of sound lads, who all arrive with the same goal, to catch fish from a kayak, to catch more than ever before, to kit their craft out to the max and have the craic along the way. Friendships have been made that will no doubt last a lifetime and there is a great atmosphere within the club that is very welcoming. The club is free to join. We do have members merchandise packs which include club stickers for the car and kayak and embroidered badges for jackets and hats. We also do mugs and other bits ‘n bobs occasionally. This helps keep the club afloat along with contributions from members and sponsors.

Fishing at sea from a kayak is an amazing experience, you are free to launch where ever you feel like launching. There is no limit to what you can fish for but the great advantage of the kayak is the ability to go where no shore angler can go and where boats won’t go for fear of getting damaged or simply because they scare the fish away in shallow waters. Pollock, bass, mackerel and cod would be the main targets, kayaks offer great advantages in fishing for these species. These are the inshore species that are often outside the range of the shore anglers. These fish can be found on  relatively shallow reefs in 20-40ft range and our coasts are a heaven for them. Kayaks are silent and these fish are not disturbed as they would be by bigger boats in these shallow waters. Most of us are using modern light lure rods, braid filled reels and modern soft and hard plastic lures to target our fish and the sport can be absolutely hectic. The kayaks can be kitted out to your heart’s desire. Companies are making all sorts of equipment for kayak anglers from rod holders and fishfinders to tackle boxes and even electric motors that propel the kayak allowing the angler to move silently at whatever speed desired while steering with foot pedals he keeps his hands free to fish.

The larger fish are caught too. Many tope, spurdog, smooth hound and rays are targeted and caught by our members. Our kayaks are rigged with anchor and drogue systems which are very easy to use and will keep you in place to fish a particular mark especially with bait.

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A decent Kayak caught Tope for Gary Robinson!

The versatility of the kayak is its greatest appeal. This is really evident when you take it to the freshwater. You can launch almost anywhere you have permission and on any kind of water. Again you can put yourself in places nobody else can get to. You can fly fish for trout on the big lakes, silently troll for pike, trout and salmon. Dropshot for perch or float fish for tench and bream on a small County Clare lake that you’ve prebaited out of range of the shore anglers.

To find out more about this sport and all that goes with it, come join us on the water or on the club website and forum at You’ll also find us on facebook and on youtube where we have loads of entertaining videos from previous meets.




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