Fishing has a lot of niches, ice fishing, kayak, big boat little boat, shore, cliff, surf, lake, fly, river, drone fishing (I think that’s a thing now) and for the last few years one that is sure to raise most eyebrows will be the sight of someone fishing from a Jet Ski kitted out to the nines for a day on the water.
Jet Ski Fishing is increasing in popularity, with more being adapted into PWC fishing craft. A recreational Jet Ski will require some adaptation, including coolers, fish finders and rod holders to become a fishing Jet Ski. it is also possible to buy pre-made models from manufacturers like SeaDoo as well.
We will discuss some of the considerations when Jet ski fishing and offer some tips to make it a more productive day out. If all else fails you can head to the beach and taking out tourists instead!
Is Jetski Fishing Affordable?
The prices used to be fairly eyewatering when compared to fishing kayaks, but with the advances in the kayaking niche the prices have started to move together. They are not quite comparable, for obvious reasons, but they are getting closer. A top of the range fishing kayak, tandam, can cost upwards of 6000 dollars now, and for a watercraft with no engine this is really pushing the limits of price.
A SeaDoo Fish Pro 170 starts at 15999. Yes it is more expensive but it is a motorized PWC that comes with rod holders, a 51 litre cooler, a Garmin fish finder, and an embarkation ladder. Your kayak, and i mean nearly all of them, just don’t. They also don’t have a 170 horse power engine strapped on. It also has a trolling mode to help go after Tuna and Dolphin fish.
Affordability is a very subjective idea, however for a little over the price of two fishing kayaks it is not as eye watering as it initially appears, and if you are up for customizing your own Jetski then they can be picked up new from Sea Doo for 6000 dollars.
Can You Actually Fish From A Jet Ski?
Generally, fishing is done on land or on a boat. Offshore fishing is typically done in larger fishing boats, Jetskis give access to both worlds. They are transportable which sports fishing boats aren’t, so you can lake fish for bass one day and tuna the next. They are fast so you can get to offshore spots quickly and spend more time on the fish, and as a rule they are stable.
This enables you to fish from a jet ski and stand, turn and move around. Casting, bottom fishing trolling and jigging can all be done from a jet ski, the only issue is being able to stay on the same spot. where some sort of anchor or trolling system may be needed.
Advantages of Jet Ski Fishing
- Jet skis are smaller, and this makes it easy to maneuver. This makes your PWC a versatile vessel for all different types of fishing.
- Jet skis are hugely cheaper both in cost and in maintenance and running costs than larger sport fishing boats.
- Preparation for fishing from a jet ski is easier and faster than preparing with a large boat.
- They are multi purpose and if adapted can be used for both fishing and recreation.
- Jet skis are smaller and lighter and more furl efficient than larger boats allowing them to travel a similar distance.
- They are fast, giving the opportunity to both get on fish, and get out of weathers way quicker than a kayak.
What Do You Need To Fish From A Jet Ski
If you don’t want a ready kitted out model it is possible, depending where you live, to find outfitters who can rig cages, Bimini tops ( sun is an issue here) and storage options to give more fishing purpose to your PWC, however these don’t come cheap. Stern cages can be made to fit coolers and rod holders, and its easy enough to fit fish finders in the cockpit.
With the rise in popularity some of these items like rod holders and coolers can be found on sites like Amazon. Though for frames and more permeant items you will still need to have them built on.
How To Fish From A Jet Ski
Although there are parallels between fishing from a Jet Ski and any other watercraft, there are some subtle differences.
- You have the advantage of have a 360 degree casting ability, and if not because of rods on the back, then a very small turning circle!
- However staying in one spot may provide more of a challenge.
- Kayaks with trolling motors, decent ones, may be able to to program it to keep them on the spot, with a jet ski this is more of a challenge.
- storage will be tighter than a boat, but not insurmountable, again with ready made options like SeaDoo it is all there for you.
- A decent wide jet ski will be stable, allowing you to reach down safely to bring in catch ( careful with this as its when something toothier often shows up)
- There should be limited reason to cast long distances, you have the jet ski to get you closer to the action.
- Be aware of your surroundings, and that as big as they are they are not the biggest things out there.
- Check your safety before, we have an offshore kayak fishing safety article here that applies equally as well to Jet skis and PWCs.
What Fishing Gear Is Best For Jet Ski Fishing?
As with all fishing this very much depends on where you are planning to cast that line out. However, generally speaking, Jet Ski fishing can be compared to kayak fishing in terms of gear. You are not going to need 12 ft casting rods to get baits out there. you are just going to drive up and cast.
So with that in mind a short 5-6ft boat rod, as heavy or light as your fishing conditions dictate and a decent bait caster / trolling / spinning reel depend what you have planned for the day. Our recommendation would be to heavy up a little if you are offshore as surprises can happen and to have a couple of different set ups on board so you can switch as an when conditions allow.
With that in mind, and that most of the time a jet ski is going to be used in the sea, we would recommend a reel like the Penn SQL50LW Squall LevelWind and a medium to heavy rod like the Daiwa Heavy Action Trolling Rod. will be a nice addition.
If you don’t have a dedicated fishing PWC then you will need some storage options both for bait, your catch, and your gear. Transporting these can be a challenge. for short trips bungee cording a small tackle box will suffice but for longer you are going to need to look at customizing your Jet Ski.
It really is preference and target species though. As with all over water fishing that isn’t over a large boat deck we wouldn’t buy or bring your most expensive fishing kit. Its a deep deep ocean!
Jet ski fishing is most certainly a niche within a niche. It has a pricey start up, though no where near the cost of a larger fishing boat. It wont appear to all, but those it does appeal to don’t seem to be able to stop smiling as they jump on and power off rods bending, this time in the wind as they head out.
On a personal note the ability to head out with just my thoughts, and maybe a Spotify list in something more robust than a kayak, with a greater range ( or not just dependent on my arms or legs) is a tempting prospect. I am sitting looking at the maritime charts of wrecks about 10 miles off shore from here and thinking what delights might be able to pull up from there if only I could get there.