Do you like to fish and kayak? How about combine the two? We asked an expert for some specialist angling and kayaking advice. Here are his tips for buying a fishing kayak.
In the angling industry, fishing kayaks are the latest craze. From north to south and fresh to salt you’ve probably seen fishing kayaks out on the water. Of the different types of kayaking, fishing is currently the fastest growing!
Even away from the wet stuff you can’t enter an online forum, sporting goods store, or tackle shop without seeing kayak fishing. There is something about catching small finned creatures from a self propelled kayak that appeals to fishman. You could say it floats out boat…
Angling and kayaking advice
The sudden increase in popularity of kayak fishing makes a lot of sense. Kayaks are stable, much more stable than canoes, and much less expensive than traditionally powered fishing boats.
Kayaks are very “small-water” friendly which allows many more access points for anglers. From small lakes and rivers to urban areas and shallow water a kayak can go places a normal boat can’t.
With many people buying a fishing kayak this aspect of the angling and kayaking industry has exploded. There are now many manufacturers producing high-quality, fishing-specific kayaks.
There are a vast range of crafts that designed for everything from the smallest creek to the open ocean. Quality is increasingly affordable too, take a look at the best fishing kayaks under $1000.
Although competition is great for the consumer, it can also confuse. So, how do you go about deciding which fishing kayak to buy?
Tips for buying a fishing kayak
Fortunately we have plenty of angling and kayaking advice to share! The first step is to identify what your needs are. Follow the below tips when buying a kayak for fishing.
Fishing kayaks: Length is key
The length of a fishing kayak plays a vital role in how it functions on the water. Considering the type of water you’ll use the kayak on is the first step to identifying what length you need.
As a general rule, relatively shorter kayaks (less than 11 feet) are much more manoeuvrable. While longer kayaks (more than 12 feet) are much faster.
If your local kayak fishing spots are mainly backwaters, creeks, and small ponds, then choose manoeuvrability over speed. When you are fishing larger rivers, lakes, or ocean, opt for a longer model instead.
It is also crucial to factor your body size into this equation. The larger you are the bigger kayak you will need. This is usually worked out on a volume to weight ratio – so any kayak will say what weight range they are suitable for.
Stability matters for kayaks
Most of the kayaks of yesteryear were generally tippy and unstable. But many of today’s fishing machines are stable enough to enable standing, which is a thing previously unheard of.
As critical as stability is when it comes to fishing, too much results in kayaks being less maneuverable and more challenging to paddle efficiently. If you aren’t going to be kayaking too far, go for a wider, more stable model and stand up while fishing.
Narrower and less stable models make paddling easier, you can travel faster and further with less effort. These are an excellent option for trolling fishing. They are also ideal for anglers who cover lots of water.
Keel or no keel?
One of the top tips for buying a fishing kayak is to consider the keel question. Basically, a keel is a piece of plastic that’s “fin” shaped and sticks down from the hull of a kayak and enhances tracking and speed.
Some kayaks consist of integrated keels, some have retractable keels, while others have none. Go for a keeled model when you are fishing open water, trolling, or plan to remain in fairly deep water since it will turn you into a more efficient paddler.
If you are fishing in close quarters, floating shallow rocky rivers, or prefer to fish standing up, go without a keel.
Maximize the storage
Fishermen, have cornered the market on having too much gear. As a result, it’s crucial to find a fishing kayak that has sufficient room for all the valuables.
Some kayaks have integrated storage and also live wells. While other models have places molded for external storage such as coolers and milk crates.
Sit on kayaks usually feature internal hatches, while sit-in models consist of more open space in the yak’s hull for storing gear. You should create a list of everything you are likely to bring and an angling and kayaking trip. Then figure out where you’ll put everything before you buy.
Room for electronics?
When buying a fishing kayak some models are designed to accommodate modern electronics. If you fish on the ocean or large lakes, this might be something you need to consider. When you’re floating shallow rivers, you can do without.
Portability of the fishing kayak
One of the most important bits of angling and kayaking advice is to consider portability. The downside of all the advances in storage, stability, and fishability is that today’s kayaks are heavier than ever.
When buying a fishing kayak, you need to consider how you are going to transport it and get it in and out of the water. Typically sit on top kayaks are heavier than traditional sit-in versions.
Planning to regularly portage your kayak into unknown (and/or un-fished) water? You’ll want something that’s light and pretty simple to drag down a dusty path to the lake. When you’re going directly from your vehicle to water weight is less of an issue.
Should you go tandem?
Some kayaks have the adaptability to fit two anglers. So have a think if you’ll be fishing on your own or are likely to be taking friends or family with you.
Anchor vs drift
Using a conventional anchor or electronic anchoring system, such as the PowerPole Micro, can be a significant benefit when you fish. While anchoring matters to some it can be unnecessary for anglers that prefer to drift with the current.
Do some research as there are many anchoring techniques in the market. There are options to fit all budgets, but you need to make sure your kayak suits the anchor system you intend to use.
We hope you found this angling and kayaking advice and tips for buying a fishing kayak useful. Be sure to check out our kayaking discounts as you could save a fortune on your next trip.