How To Stand In A Kayak

Spencer Jones casting for largemouth bass on Lake Monona.
     For alot of kayak anglers learning to stand up and fish is the ultimate hurdle.  Standing up offers many advantages from improved casting, to better sight fishing, or even just the ability to stretch out sore and tired muscles.  Standing up is a game changer when out on the water.  Here's a few tips to help you get on your feet, when out on the water.
Sight fishing beds during the spawn.
     1. Use a Stable Platform- Make sure the kayak or SUP your using is big enough for you to stand comfortably.  This is more about the size of the angler than it is the size of kayak.  Take me and my Slayer as an example.  I'm a solid flabby 250 pounds.  It takes a much bigger kayak for me to feel comfortable standing than it does my 12 year old son.  He's a sprite 133 pounds and he can easily stand in the 10 foot sit on top that I started with a number of years ago.  I couldn't even kneel in that thing without flipping over, let alone stand in it.  So tip number is start with a stable kayak.
     2. Get Some Assistance- There is no shame in needing a little help to get on your feet.  The first time I stood in a paddle driven vessel was in a hand me down canoe.  It was very easy to stand up in that canoe when I was out on the water.  It's not much bigger than my kayak so I figured standing in the Slayer would also be easy, I was wrong.  The kayak was missing the thwart.  I used the thwart (bar between the gunnels) to pull myself up.  Many kayaks don't come with a stand up bar, but most can have one installed.  Jackson, Harmony, NuCanoe, and even the Hobies have stand up bars that can be attached to the kayak.  All you have to do is pull on the bar with your feet facing forward and suddenly, you're standing.  They are one of those accessories that I believe are worth the investment.  Not looking to spend a bunch of extra money for the ability to stand?  Look into buying yourself a pull up strap.  I use the one from Native Watercraft, but any strap will work.  They are inexpensive and make a world of difference when getting on your feet from a seated position.
Notice the stance, feet apart and head centered...stable.
     3. Keep Your Feet Apart and Your Head Centered- One of the greatest lessons I learned from my years as a stilt walker and juggler was that your balance is best when your head is at rest.  It might seem like a no brainer (haha), but balance starts at the top.  Keep your head inline with the kayak all the time.  Regardless of what the rest of your body is doing if you keep your head in the middle in the boat you won't tip while standing.
So easy even a child can do it. 
     4. Practice- The best advice I can give you is to constantly practice standing in your kayak.  Put on your PFD, find some deeper water, and go have fun!  For many anglers the inability to stand is all in their mind.  You'll probably find that learning to stand in your kayak is much easier than you thought.  For me learning to stand up in a kayak has made the whole fishing experience better.  I can make more accurate casts, stretch out my back, and sight fish much easier than I ever could from a seated position.  Do you have any tips to help other paddlers stand on their own two feet?  Leave them in the comments below.
     Tight Lines.

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