How to Fish on a Jet Ski

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One of the oldest and most common aquatic pastimes is fishing. Whether you’re fishing on the nearshore or farther out to sea, reeling in a big catch can be the pinnacle of exciting recreation. This is particularly true when you try fishing on a jet ski. Here is how to fish on a jet ski.

How to Fish on a Jet Ski

Fishing has been a much-enjoyed recreational activity over the years and has traditionally been done near shore, either from land, a dock, or a pier. Fishing boats are used for offshore fishing, which can be done in deep water or in shallower waters.

However, there appears to be a growing trend of anglers using personal watercraft (PWC) for fishing. One of the most recent developments in the aquatic recreation industry is the sport of jet ski fishing. Both seasoned fishermen and first-timers on the water can benefit from and enjoy this thrilling and dynamic pastime.

Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about fishing on this vessel.

A yellow and white jet ski is on the shore near a white jet ski overlooking the sunset and the calm sea

Fishing on a Ski

Contrary to popular belief, fishing from this vessel is actually rather simple. It is a fun activity that can be enjoyed by just about anyone with some familiarity with watercraft and a bit of experience fishing. Improvements in the size and design of this personal watercraft have contributed to the sport’s meteoric rise in popularity in recent years.

For individuals who are experienced with conventional fishing techniques, the practical tasks involved in fishing in a personal watercraft are basic and straightforward. Firstly, you need to install a fishing rig on your ski. You should also be confident in your ability to drive out into open water and steer around while you’re fishing.

Fishing from a properly equipped and stable personal watercraft is quite similar to fishing from a larger boat, a dock, or the land. From your vessel, you can fish just like you would from the shore, with the same fundamental techniques and safety precautions.

Rigs for Fishing on a Jet Ski

One of the first things you have to do before heading out on your first fishing trip is to fine-tune your watercraft. You need a fishing rig to allow you to fish from it. There are four primary fishing rigs.

  • Pontoons
  • PWC bracket system
  • Rear basket system
  • Chrome tubes

Here is a quick rundown of what each one entails:

Pontoons

One fishing rig you can fit onto your vessel to allow for fishing is the Pontoon. Pontoons are stabilizers that may be added to your watercraft to boost its buoyancy and its storage capacity. They are normally made out of fiberglass. The added benefit is that it makes your ski nearly unsinkable.

PWC Bracket System

The PWC bracket system is one of the most popular choices due to its reputation for being one of the safest, easiest, and most cost-effective fishing rigs for PWCs. It is simple to set up and affordable, making it a good choice for beginners.

Installing a bracket system requires two locations on the ski:

  • The steering column
  • The rear

Although you will not be able to take a ton of gear with you, this is a great low-cost option.

Rear Basket System

One of the easiest and least intrusive methods of fishing rigging for a PWC is the rear basket system. From its name, the rigging system is set up by securing a basket to the rear of the personal watercraft with the use of:

  • Bungee cords
  • Straps
  • Clamps

The vessel does not experience any damage as it does not undergo any physical alterations. The tray system also allows you to carry rod holders, coolers, and other gear.

Chrome Tubes

The most sophisticated and long-lasting fishing rigs for a jet ski are chrome tubes. To set up this fishing rig, the vessel is drilled at various points, and chrome tubes, which act like pontoons, are attached.

Two men wearing a black life vest and black shades rides a jet ski near a brown sea wall with graffiti

While chrome tubes can be quite efficient, they also come with certain drawbacks, including high costs and possible damage. Therefore, it is best for beginners to steer clear of this rigging style.

How to Make a Jet Ski Fishing Rack

One of the most crucial necessities for ski fishing is a fishing rack. They facilitate and improve the experience of fishing from this PWC. Ski fishing racks are metal structures with anywhere from two to six rod holders. It will fit nicely on the rear deck of the PWC.

In this manner, you can quickly access the equipment you require. There is no shortage of jet ski rack systems on the market. However, not all of them are durable, and some are costly. Making your own fishing rack is an option if you do not want to spend too much money on one.

You just need to get the following supplies:

  • PVC pipes
  • Cross Joints
  • T Joints
  • L Joints
  • A few couplings
  • Heavy Duty PVC Cement

All you have to do is cut the PVC pipes into the required sizes and join them using the various joints. Apply the PVC cement in the necessary locations, and be sure to paint your rack when you are done to give it a layer of protection from the elements.

Advantages of Jet Ski Fishing

Fishing from this personal watercraft offers quite some unique advantages that separate it from other forms of traditional fishing, both on-shore and off-shore. Here are some of the advantages you can enjoy from fishing on a jet:

Cost, Operation, and Storage

In comparison to fishing from the shore or a public dock, which are both more traditional options, this version of fishing is undeniably more expensive. However, skis are more affordable than large boats, both in terms of initial cost and the cost of running and maintaining them.

They are a lot easier and cheaper to run than a full-sized boat. The time you spend on launching, cleaning, and maintaining your vessel because it is a lot smaller than boats and not as mechanically complex. They are also easier to drive and can move faster.

Versatility

The possibilities for a ski are vast due to the wide variety of fishing rigs and fishing equipment available, as well as the diverse personal watercraft designs. This gives the owner a great deal of leeway and adaptability in customizing the PWC to their particular tastes and requirements.

Disadvantages of Jet Ski Fishing

Despite its numerous benefits over fishing from a full-size boat, fishing with this ski equally comes with a number of downsides. Here are some of the downsides to this version of fishing:

A red and white jet ski near a white jet ski is on the shore with white sand and blue sea

Insufficient Space

These skis are generally not as spacious as boats. Most skis can accommodate anywhere from one to four riders, compared to boats that can comfortably hold eight or more persons on average. As a result, anglers who prefer leisurely outings with huge groups of friends might not get the most out of fishing from their personal watercraft. 

The space constraints on this PWC also mean that it has less space for storage, especially when compared to a full-sized boat. Even though skis can be outfitted with various accessories to increase their storage space, they can rarely match the storage capacity of a boat.

Reduced Comfort and Protection

These skis and other PWCs were not originally designed for fishing or any activity other than riding. This vessel rarely offers full seats with backrests or additional conveniences like adjustable chairs and footrests. Comfort may not be a top issue for many anglers. However, it might affect your long-term enjoyment of the sport.

While this personal watercraft may have accessories like canopies and umbrellas, it does not offer the same level of weather protection as a boat. Many boats feature entire interiors, making it easier to avoid rain or sun. Even with a canopy, a ski cannot completely shield you from the elements, including rain.

Is Ski Fishing Safe?

Generally, jet ski fishing is safe. However, it is still important to take all necessary precautions when fishing on a ski, just as you would with any other boating activity. Here are a few safety tips you should follow:

  • Ensure your jet ski is equipped with basic safety items like rescue boards and life vests
  • Be sure to have working communication devices and flares on board in case of an emergency
  • You should also have basic survival items and gear on board, such as sunscreen, a hat, drinking water, and a multi-tool

Regulations

In much of the United States, you need a license to operate a jet ski or other PWC. Consult local municipal rules to understand boating regulations and restrictions in your area. You should also check for fishing locations where fishing in this PWC is legal. For the most up-to-date information on fishing legality and the best fishing spots, check with local regulations.

How to Set Up Your Jet Ski for Fishing

Once you have your fishing rack installed on your ski, all that is left to do is to load up on all your essential fishing gear, including:

  • Fishing rod holder
  • Cooler
  • Anchor

You could also take along other non-essential useful items along with you, such as:

  • GPS
  • Watertight storage bag
  • Fish finder
  • Extra gas

With these packed up and your ski equipped with all the essential gear and accessories, you are set to go fishing. Be sure to test drive your ski close to the shore before going on an actual fishing trip.

Conclusion

The allure of fishing on this ski is rooted in the traditional allure of fishing: being out on the water, casting a line, and hoping to reel in a catch. It is only natural to feel like you are at the end of the line when reeling in a big catch.