Go-To Snacks for Kayak Fishing – What are You Munching?!

When you go kayak fishing, how many hours do you spend on the water?

If you’re anything like us here at Bonfire Bob, you’ll want to stay out as long as you possibly can!

And if you’re doing just that, it’s important to keep your energy up.

In this article, we take a look at our favorite go-to snacks for kayak fishing, and offer up some of the best advice for what to take in your lunch box.

Ready? Let’s eat!

Snacks for Kayak Fishing – At-a-Glance

For anyone in a rush to get out onto the water, here’s a brief summary of the best items you can take with you for sustenance:

  • Fruit.
  • Trail mix.
  • Energy bars.
  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Boiled eggs.
  • Cured meats.
  • Jerky.
  • Pretzels.
  • Rice cakes.
  • Chocolate.

For bigger bites, such as lunch and dinner, you can add the following:

  • Pre-made sandwiches or wraps.
  • Soup in a flask.
  • Dehydrated meals.
  • Baked potatoes.
  • A tub of pasta.
  • Anything you catch!

Keep reading for a more in-depth look at the above suggestions, as well as some great tips and tricks for snacking on your fishing kayak, including the single most important kayak fishing food tip there is.

Stay tuned.

Table of Contents

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Kayaking, Calories, and Energy

Before we tempt you with tasty treats, let’s take a look at the science.

Whenever you’re doing any physical activity, you need to make sure your body has enough energy to sustain you safely throughout.

And considering you’re engaging up to 12 major muscle groups when paddling, pedaling (if you’re using a pedal fishing kayak like these), and fishing – you’re going to be burning off calories at a significantly higher rate than normal.

The amount of calories you burn and the energy your body absorbs will depend on your own metabolism, which in turn is affected by your weight, the distance traveled, and the speed at which you’re traveling.

But on average, a person weighing around 125 lbs will burn 280–300 calories per hour.

So, a hearty breakfast might be a great way to start off, but if you’re out there for several hours, you need something to help keep the fire lit.

Kayak Fishing Safety

Staying well-fed and watered while you’re kayak fishing is just as important as wearing a good quality fishing PFD, and will help you stay focused and energized when you’re out there.

For more information, check out our complete guide to kayak fishing safety, which contains everything you need to know about staying safe while paddling.

Can You Cook in a Fishing Kayak?

That’s a great question – and the answer depends upon a few, key factors.

First, you should be a competent paddler, with some solid kayaking experience under your belt. Please don’t attempt cooking on a kayak if you’re a complete beginner.

The kayak should be as stable as possible, so I’d recommend using one that is suitable for standing casts and reels. This article on the best stand-up fishing kayaks should be a good start.

You’ll also need the right kind of stove, and I would suggest a compact backpacking version with a low center of gravity. You want something that’s not going to fall over easily.

Don’t try to cook your catch on board if the conditions aren’t optimum. Choppy waters, wind, and rain can play havoc with your efforts.

But you can check out the video below for full proof that it can be done successfully!

Kayak Fishing Snacks

Here’s a great selection of snacks you can take on board to help you get the most out of your day on the water.


Arguably the best source of food to bring, the health benefits of fruit are well documented, and you should be looking to get at least some of your “five-a-day” while you’re on your kayak.

Bananas are your best bet, as not only are they full of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, but they are probably the best snack for fast energy to keep you going.

Apples are not the most nutritious option, but they’re tasty, and easy to stash in a bag. And don’t overlook dried fruit – which is also easy to pack and will keep for longer.

Trail Mix

Everyone has their favorite trail mix recipes, and it’s a first-rate food choice for kayakers, climbers, hikers, and just about anyone doing anything in the great outdoors.

The best part is that a bag can be tailor-made to your own preferences, so if you don’t like cashews, use almonds, or if you loathe sultanas you can use dried mango.

My current concoction includes peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, yogurt covered raisins, chocolate chips, and – for a little extra decadence – a handful of M&Ms!

Energy/Granola Bars

Great for throwing in your bag or a jacket pocket, the range of energy/granola bars on the market these days is pretty much limitless.

As, it seems, are the prices of such things. Some high-protein bars (developed by the likes of NASA boffins) can cost an arm and a leg, but for a quick, guaranteed boost in a tiny packet – it doesn’t get much better than this.

Nuts and Seeds

A good course of proteins, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats, nuts and seeds are an obvious choice for your kayak cuisine.

For nuts, you can go for your life! Brazils, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts…just make sure they’re not overly salted. Go to the baking section at the supermarket, rather than the snack aisle.

Sunflower seeds have numerous health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and supporting your immune system.

Chia, pumpkin, and quinoa also fall under the “super seeds” label – and you should give them a try.

Boiled Eggs

Super easy, packed with protein, and delicious. Boil up some eggs the night before, and take as many as you want to snack on throughout the day.

Loaded with health benefits, eggs also help to kick-start your brain, and they help your muscles recover after exercise. Truly one of nature’s superfoods.

Cured Meats and Cheese

I sometimes like to put together a little smorgasbord of cured meats and cheeses, wrap them in some tin foil, and stash them in my cooler.

You can just as easily have a posh picnic on a kayak as you can on a beach!


Packed with high protein, jerky is a great foodstuff for a yak snack. It keeps for a long time, is easy to pack, and it boasts a lot of flavor when it comes to the taste stakes.

A word of caution, however. The jerky you find in the stores and gas stations is absolutely riddled with sodium and additives, and consuming large amounts is going to seriously dehydrate you.

As an alternative, you should consider making your own (there are plenty of good recipes on the internet), and only bring a small amount with you to keep your snacks varied.


Easy to pack, tasty, and a simple carbohydrate, pretzels are great for a quick burst of energy that’s going to be broken down by your body fast.

Choose low sodium versions, though – and don’t go too hard. They’ll still dry you out if you overdo it.

Rice Cakes

I’d happily snack on rice cakes even if the cupboard was full of other options – but maybe that’s just me!

Rice cakes make a great alternative to bread and crackers, and considering they contain no animal products, they’re ideal for any anglers who might be vegan or vegetation.

And they make an ideal base for cheese, fruit, or spreads to give your snacks a boost.


Small quantities of dark chocolate can give you quick bursts of energy and boost your endorphins – but the main advantage is that it’s absolutely delicious.

Don’t rely on it too heavily, though, as not only can it melt, leaving a gooey mess in your pocket, but excessive amounts can raise the caffeine in your blood, and leave you feeling dehydrated and nauseous.

red kayak with orange and green water bottle

Kayak Fishing Meals

If you’re looking for something a bit more substantial, perhaps you’d like to try the following suggestions for lunch and dinner options while on-the-go?


Easy to rustle up the night before, the sky’s the limit when it comes to your choice of sandwich toppings and/or wrap fillings.


Likewise, there’s a plethora of soup flavors available, and you can go the tinned route, or take the time to make your own concoction.

Get yourself a good thermal flask, and your soup will stay surprisingly hot throughout the day – perfect for cold weather or winter kayak fishing.

Dehydrated Meals

My wife likes to do long through-hikes, and she swears by dehydrated meals when she’s camping. Some of them can be almost as good as a meal prepared at home!

Yes, they can be a little pricey, but when you’re on the go they are remarkably tasty alternatives to bland and boring fare, and heating one through on a river bank as you take a break is a wonderful experience.

Baked Potatoes

If you don’t mind your baked potatoes cold, you can cook a few up the night before and pack them with some tasty fillings for your fishing trip.

Tub of Pasta

Like me, do you have one drawer in the kitchen that’s absolutely rammed with Tupperware?

Why not make use of it, and fill a tub with a quick-and-easy pasta dish?

You don’t have to be a Michelin-starred chef to throw this together, nor do you need to be snobby about what you put in it!

Your Catch!

Let’s not forget about the potential feast you can conjure up yourself when you’re out there!

Many kayak anglers catch, clean, and cook the fish they land – right there in the field (or on the water, in this case).

If that sounds like something you want to try, then you’ll need a camping stove or grill, and a good quality fishing knife to fillet the fish.

And don’t forget, you’ll need a good kayak fishing net to help land it in the first place. It can be tricky in a kayak, so check out that link for some great options specifically designed for this purpose.

Finally, if you don’t have a removable lawn-chair seat on your kayak, you can always try one of these fishing chairs or stools, so you can eat your feast in style when you’re done.

recreation kayak fishing at a beautiful lake

Kayak Fishing Drinks

So, now you know what to eat when you’re kayak fishing, what are the best tasty beverages to wash it down with?


It almost goes without saying, but the best way to stay hydrated when kayaking is to drink plenty of water.

Flavored, sparkling, from the tap – whatever you like – but plain old H2O is essential when kayaking – especially for those long, hot summer days.

Get yourself a good water bottle to fit in your kayak’s water bottle holder.

And if the sun is blazing down, you’ll also need a good fishing hat and a pair of sunglasses while you’re at it.

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are both a blessing and a curse.

Long distance drivers will tell you they can’t live without them, and while they can certainly give you a superfast energy boost, they’re not exactly good for you.

If you are going down this route, choose an isotonic sports drink, rather than anything that’s packed with caffeine, too many numbers, and other weird stuff.


A flask of tea or coffee is a good way to start the day, but again, don’t get yourself too hopped up on caffeine, as it can do more harm than good when you’re trying to keep your wits about you.

The same can most certainly be said for booze – but you’ll find more on that in the next section.

kayaker with paddle on lake

Kayaking Foods to Avoid

It might be sorely tempting, but you should try to stay away from highly processed foods when you’re kayaking.

I am, of course, specifically talking about junk food, so save it for a special occasion.

The same can be said for anything that’s high in sodium, or is highly salted. Salted foods will dehydrate you fast, and that can lead to all sorts of problems if you run out of water.

And speaking of dehydration, alcohol should be avoided when you’re paddling – at least in large quantities.

Sure, it’s perfectly fine to kick back with a beer or two (particularly if it has a low ABV), but don’t overdo it. You’re still in charge of a vehicle on water, and even a moderate impairment of your wits, awareness, and reaction time can have seriously undesirable effects.

How to Store Kayak Fishing Food and Snacks

So, you’ve cooked yourself up a storm, and packed all the essentials you need to keep your energy up for your fishing adventure.

But where do you store all this food?

A good fishing cooler is the perfect place to store your snacks and lunch. Just be sure to have a separate one for live bait and anything you catch!

And if you’re short on space, this article covers kayak fishing coolers that are specially designed for using in a kayak, or more compact to fit into that prime real estate.

Failing that, some kayaks – like the awesome Vibe Sea Ghost – feature dry storage hatches you can fill with ice, or just put your snacks in directly.

Tackle trays, center consoles, and storage drawers can also double as good places to house your grub.

And you can always wear a pair of good kayak fishing pants with extra pockets, and keep bags of snacks close to hand.

angler fishing on a kayak in the fog

One Final Top Tip

When it comes to snacking and eating while kayak fishing, this is perhaps the single most important piece of advice I’m going to pass on to you today:

Wash your hands!

Don’t, whatever you do, touch anything you’re going to eat after touching raw fish, bait, or anything else that’s slimy, gunky, dead, and/or not fit for human consumption.

Pack a small bottle of a good hand cleaner – you can buy ones that are designed for fishing – and keep a bottle of hand sanitizer around just for good measure.

Don’t find this out the hard way.

You have been warned!


I hope this exploration of go-to snacks for kayak fishing has given you some food for thought, and you know what to take on your next paddling adventure.

Let us know if you have any great culinary ideas or recipes for kayaking, and share your tips with the community.

Stay safe out there, tight lines, happy kayaking, and bon appétit!

Stuart Jameson

Stuart is passionate about travel, kayaking, camping and the great outdoors in general. He's not quite as enthusiastic about angling as his father was, but out of the two of them, he's yet to hook his ear lobe while fly-fishing, which he sees as an absolute win.

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