Best Fishing Kayak

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If you love water, then it would be an easy guess that fishing is your thing as well. You might be a shore fisherman just hanging around the sea shore or the river bank hoping to catch your prey. But sailing to the middle of those far off spots considered more suitable for fishing would be just a plus for you. Using a kayak for fishing is the new trend prevailing most exclusively among the professional as well as recreational fishermen off late. It not only gives you the fun of treading your own kayak on the waters where you never imagined before, but it also gives a more handy approach to the remote fishing zones where you are likely to get a better catch than from the shore.

best fishing kayak buying guide: all you need to know and reviews

Now if you have given a good thought then you might already be agreeing to take a kayak, next time you go fishing. Renting a kayak might sound fancy initially, but if you are a regular angler or if you are hoping to be surrounded by waters a little more often, then buying a kayak for yourself is surely a better choice. After frequent usage it might be realized that owning one angling kayak for self, instead of renting one each time, is more of a necessity than a matter of choice for most of the anglers. Owning an angling kayak is more or less like owning a car, the only difference being that one runs on roads while the other treads the water.

How to go about buying a best fishing kayak 2015 – 2016?

Like said above, the decision about choosing a fishing kayak to buy is just as crucial as choosing a new car to buy. It is more about the comfort, usability and application of the features specific to the kayak you might prefer to ride, and all these factors play an important role while you decide which kayak to purchase eventually. Some of the factors are detailed out below for better understanding.

  1. Your pocket size

No matter how much you fancy the fun of fishing on a kayak, I am still sure that you will not consider spending a fortune on buying your angler kayak. So the first and foremost thing you must look up for is your budget. Decide about how much you wish to spend on your fun and recreational aspects and then consider your options about the same.

Not only the kayak, but even the fishing gear you hope to carry with you is going to cost a part of that budget. So I suggest you to do a good research about what is useful for you and how you want to spend your money over buying your new angling kayak and fishing gear.

  1. Your fishing destination

It is understandable that you might not want to take your fishing gear to the same spot each time. But there definitely must be some favored spots you might pick more often. Define your choices and decide if the kayak would more frequently be used for flat water fishing or rapid water. Will you be taking this kayak to hunt fishes in the open sea or down in the coastal creeks. The design and making of the kayak you would purchase will depend a lot on this factor.

  1. Your level of expertise

For a newbie, it is always tough to decide which kayak would help you better in your fishing activity. You definitely need a lot of guidance before you make a choice and that is why I am here to help you. Depending on your skills, your expectations and requirements from your kayak will differ from time to time. Also, choosing the right kayak that fit your needs will only help you grow your skills and improve your proficiency for fishing with a kayak.

For a new kayaker, it is important to first learn to get a good initial stability to stay upright and more balanced on the water. So a wider kayak is more preferred for novice kayakers. While, at the same time an expert kayaker might look forward to test the learned skills of maneuverability with the stability of the kayak. As an experienced kayaker, you might appreciate secondary stability as more a more important factor in the kayak design and a narrow kayak is a better option in such a case.

  1. Your company for fishing

Now another thing to remember while making the decision about the kayak is to see if you will be going alone for fishing or you would be having a partner most of the times. This will decide your option to choose among the single kayak or the tandem kayak. Remember that buying a tandem kayak might also sound like fun initially, but it is important that the fishing preferences and the skills of the two people must match or at least complement each other.

Major Key points to consider 

Comparing the need for Initial Vs Secondary Stability

Initial Stability for a kayak is the feature that determines the extent to which the kayak maintains a straight position on water and how stable it remains without tipping or leaning on any side. Kayaks that have a broader hull, i.e. the wider kayaks show better initial stability. On flat or slow moving waters, the kayakers would need the kayak to stay more stable and so prefer wider kayaks for achieving initial stability.

The Secondary Stability is the feature that measures the extent up to which a kayak can maintain its stability on the water while it is tipping or leaning on to any side. It is more exhibited in narrower kayaks and is more useful for rapid water or surf water kayaking, where taking swifter turns tend to tip the kayaks more often.

Comparing the need of Maneuverability and Tracking

Maneuverability is all about how the kayaker is able to handle the stability of the kayak on the water; whereas tracking is about the way the kayak stays on a straight line while moving on the water without drifting with the water currents.

The rocker of the kayak is the part that plays a chief role in determining the excellence of the kayak in these two aspects of kayaking. It is basically the measure of the degree by how much the lower part of the hull of the kayak curves up from the center portion to the end of the side of the hull along the keel of the kayak.

As you can understand here, that if the curvature of the hull from center to the end is less, then the kayak will be said to have a lower degree rocker. Such kayaks will resultantly have a straighter hull along the keel and can track their path better on the water; however such kayaks do not turn themselves well and have a slower speed. While on the other side, the kayaks with a higher degree of rocker are the ones in which the curvature of the hull from the center to the end is more. These kayaks can turn and maneuver better on water with a much higher speed, but they do not track well and lose the straight line path.

Comparing the need of Length Vs Width

As I proceed further, I would like to throw some light on how the importance of the dimensions of your kayak will decide a lot about which kayak you must buy. For fishing in sea and open lakes where water is flat and steady and you might need a longer, narrower kayak. It will help you in going longer distances in lesser time and you can get good speed for switching spots frequently. At the same time, if you are hoping to go fishing on a speedy river or creeks, then a shorter and wider kayak is your real requirement. Such kayaks have a more balanced rocker that can make it easier for you to make swifter and quicker turns around the rocks and prevent your kayak from flipping against the stronger water currents.

Importance of the weight of your kayak

Considering this factor is important while you calculate the distance you would be carrying your kayak from your garage gate till you land your kayak actually down on the water. Definitely, if you have a longer distance to travel, then you require a lighter kayak even if you are carrying it on top of your car or on a kayak cart. This is because you would require to lift the kayak up on your shoulder or head at least to put it over or down from the car rack or the cart. At the same time, a heavier kayak gives better stability on water while a lighter weighing kayak will sway more easily with stronger winds on the water.

 Sit-On-Top Vs Sit-In (cockpit) or Sstand-On kayak

An angling kayak might be designed in various ways changing the way you would be settling yourself on it. One such design is the “sit-in” type which has a cockpit to let you sit inside the hull space of the kayak. Now this type has its own good points and bad points. The good about the cockpit kayak is that it gives you so much space inside the hull to secure your legs as well as some extra gear along with you on your fishing tour. Not only that, if you are facing cool sea breeze hitting your body or if the cold water splashing on your face is unfriendly enough; you might suddenly feel glad that you have the lower half of your body warm and securely dry inside the hull of that cockpit beneath that spray skirt. Now what’s wrong with this type of kayak? Practically, I feel that these kayaks having a hull below the sea level tends to limit and reduce the freedom of movement to a certain level for the angler. While fishing, it is of extreme importance that you are able to move your hands and legs freely, sometimes to paddle faster following your catch and other times to reel in the fishing rod. The discomfort caused by the presence of the spray skirt around the torso and the limitation of movement of the lower body inside the hull mostly is considered as a kind of disadvantage for angling kayakers.

Next is the “sit-on-top” variant. Here, you will not find a seat inside the kayak, but the seat would instead be attached over the top of the board of the kayak board. This kayak puts you above the sea level and over the top of the kayak, thus allowing an extensive freedom for you to be able to move your arms and legs as required for your fishing activities. This feature is a definite plus while fishing and makes it a better choice for most angling kayakers. But before you register this fact in your mind, let me help you see where the catch is. Unlike the cockpit style kayak that seems so protective, this “sit-on-top” kayak instead is going to leave you open and uncovered out on the water front. So, when you have nothing to guard yourself against the harsh cold winds and waters, you might find the cockpit style kayaks more useful and preferable than these sit-on-top kayaks.

Lastly, coming on to the stand-on kayak, these have so far been the most useful type for most fishing kayakers all over. Just as far as the fishing is considered, this kayak provides a wide standing board for you to make all the moves and stunts you might need to do for catching the fish you were longing for. This method of kayaking gives complete freedom to move and work in all directions and is practically felt to be most useful for fishing. However, standing out in the open you might struggle with the cold wind and water blows, but except for situations like ice-cold water or extreme low temperatures, this kayak type is a good choice for angling.

Using the kayak for other purposes than fishing

We have, so far, talked about a fishing kayak and if your interest for buying this kayak exclusively limits itself only for the purpose of fishing, then there are definitely two things you would need to make sure. First, you might prefer getting your kayak rigged with a fishing rod. And second is to look for enough space.

Let the installed fishing rod feed the bait to the fishes while you can relax your hands and paddle freely in the water. Also you would require enough space to store the bait, the freezer and other essential fishing gear on the kayak. So whether you need this kayak for any other use or not, if you plan to fish frequently, then do ensure proper space in the kayak.

On the other hand, if this kayak you are buying is not meant only for fishing, then have a rig installed would not make much sense. The area of the kayak blocked by the rig installation can bring down the usability the kayak for any other purpose and will use unnecessary space.

Next, your purpose for using this kayak will also be a factor in deciding how you want this kayak to physically move on the water. Here I would bring it in to your notice that there are basically three ways to move the kayak. One is the use of the hand held paddles. It is a rather slower way to move that kayak and it also has a disadvantage of engaging your hands in paddling rather than handling the fishing rod. If you want to use this kayak for recreational purpose equally then kayak using paddles is the option your must go with, second is using the foot pedals to move the kayak. It is relatively an easier way to use the foot as you can move the kayak with better speed while keeping your hands absolutely free for maneuvering the fishing rods. At last, the fastest and most convenient method is using a motorized kayak. Keeping your hands free for fishing and having a good speed to move around to various fishing spots is one favorable manner to fish using a kayak.

Ponder the option for inflatable fishing kayak

If you ask me, then most of the major disadvantages of the above-mentioned various sorts of kayaks can be overcome by choosing an inflatable kayak. Before you start wondering how that is even possible, then let me enlighten you a little more over the benefits of an inflatable kayak.

An inflatable kayak is the one that comes in a deflated condition, wrapped and folded in a carry bag mostly. You inflate air in it with the help of an air pump and once sufficiently inflated, this kayak suits most of the kayaking conditions as well as the other hard kayaks. Let me list the plus points for using the inflatable kayaks for your ease.

  • It takes very less space, as the largest of the sizes can be deflated and folded in a small suitcase size and stored in any corner of the garage
  • It is extremely handy and portable, as it is relatively very lighter than the hard kayaks and the carry bag makes it a lot easier to carry it
  • Most of these kayaks have skegs at the bottom to maintain their way in a straight line on the water.
  • The I-beam structure of the kayaks gives it a stability comparable to most hard kayaks and prevent the tipping or flipping
  • These kayaks offer equally large space to carry the fishing gear and are useful for recreational as well as professional fishermen

Apart from these, there are few points that work against the inflatable kayaks. One is that these can neither be motorized or rigged with a fishing rod. Second is that the inflatable kayaks require some time and effort for inflation and assembly of the separate parts of the kayak. However, considerably this effort is nothing compared to the effort of transporting the hard body kayaks. Lastly, the soft body of the inflatable kayaks are always at a higher risk of damage while scrubbing over the pebbled shore or against the rocks or unluckily any oyster bed. But an easily available repair kit for most materials can make it right for such damages to the body and are good enough to make the kayak work as fine as new.

Where to buy the best fishing kayak?

Going to the local kayak store is definitely an option you can look about. But the shopkeepers are usually more dedicated towards marketing and selling their product to you rather than helping you match their product with your actual requirements. So I would suggest taking this option only after making sure what exactly you are looking for and what options you are willing to ponder, rather than completely relying on an advice from any shopkeeper or salesperson.

Then, you may find any kayaking expert or instructor in the neighborhood and ask for their help in finding the way and place to buy the most suitable fishing kayak for you. Although, it is fairly possible that you might not even find any expert around which will only delay and confuse your decisive senses even more to an irretrievable position maybe.

Lastly, the internet will be there always to save the day for one and all. There are various ways you can use online websites to help you decide. Amazon is one such online website that you can utilize to not only make the final purchase, but also to help you weigh the points important to you and then compare your best options before you decide your kayak. No other actual shop or any virtual store can provide as much benefit in terms of credible user reviews, best price, product feedback, return facility and user friendly interface as you may get with Amazon. I would certainly recommend using Amazon to make your purchase to make it as smooth and easy as it can ever be.

Assembling the fishing gear

The various equipments that you require on or attached to your fishing kayak are enlisted here:

  • Fishing rod with handle and rack
  • Fishing reel
  • Bait
  • Lures
  • Cooler
  • Paddle park
  • Kayak anchors
  • Casting net
  • Compass or GPS device

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I start with kayak fishing? First of all, take a paddling lesson. You might not catch a fish, but at least you will not drown yourself.
  2. What do I need in my kayak for fishing? A PFD, a spray skirt and a paddle are required for kayaking, Apart from that, a fishing rod and reel, bait, knife and a cooler. These are the most basic essential parts of the gear.
  3. What if I tip over my kayak? It is likely that you might misbalance yourself and tip over the kayak. Stay calm and try to climb back on the kayak holding the sides. Essentially, if you capsize, you must be aware about the rolling and self rescue exercise from your paddling classes.
  4. Does my kayak require any maintenance? Yes, after each use, you need to wash your kayak inside out to keep the metal parts safe form corroding by the effect of salt water. Also polishing of certain parts might also do well for the health of the kayak.

Words of wisdom

  • Always carry a compass with you, and you will never get lost.
  • Fish finder or Sonar is a handy tool to find out your fish underwater
  • Never compromise with the safety measures and learn self rescue techniques well
  • Stabilize yourself well on the kayak while pulling a large catch up from the water
  • Locate the best fishing spots and note the location on your GPS device for your return visit

Fishing and kayaking, together they combine to form an excellent combination of physical and mental well being. Choosing the best fishing kayak that fits your requirement is a definite key to find a successful way in this. Make this decision wisely and get the most out of fishing on your kayak.