So you fancy fishing and you are wondering how to reach that best spot down the river. Well here is the good news for you. Use of kayaks for fishing is gaining its due consideration among the users and down below you will find everything that you need to know about it. Apart from recreational kayak touring and rapid water kayak sporting, kayaks have also been extensively used by anglers to reach good fishing spots since ages. Lucky enough, the specialization of utility features and characterization of the design in modern kayaks have made kayak fishing equally enjoyable for recreational as well as for professional purposes. However, it is also thus important to understand your expectation and requirements from the kayak you decide to use, before you buy your fishing kayak for real.
There are so many options and different designs out there it can also be a really confusing one. The common question is “what is best fishing kayak?” Therefore, I’ve created this all-inclusive, definitive guide, do some research on the types of features that are available and write down this fishing kayak review that help you to answer all the questions you have and make buying your first fishing kayak a smooth and fun process. When you read my reviews, the task of finding a fishing kayak will be much easier since you have the benefit of one expert recommendations.
First things to know about Fishing Kayaks
Although kayaking is a fun sport with enough muscle work for one and all, however fishing kayaking is not exactly the same. Using a kayak for fishing includes a lot of factors that demand consideration before you purchase your kayak.
The factors being talked about are entirely meant to make this fishing expedition a memorable experience for you. These factor are important as they will help you learn about what you want to do on your time with this kayak (other than fishing of course!!) and how you want this kayak to come up to fulfilling your expectations. So, here are the main deciding points you should not forget to consider while before you spend your hard-earned money.
Choose the destination wisely
The spot you choose for fishing is of utmost importance to you, both as an angler as well as a kayaker. The dimensions, material of make, paddles or propulsion method to be used and the design of the kayak; all these points basically depend on the place where you wish to head for.
Get to know the making
Fishing in sea water is not as same as it is done in a river or a lake. To get in the middle of nowhere in the sea for fishing, you need to go against the notorious surf water and make your way through the harsh tidal winds. You would definitely want your kayak to be able to take the abuse and get you back safe on the shore. So obviously your kayak must be made of a stronger material, like single layer or triple layered Polyethylene.
In a likewise manner, if you wish to put your bait down in rapid river waters, you must anticipate the lower part of the hull of your kayak being exposed to a lot of wear and tear. This time it is going to be the rocks and gravel near the river banks attacking your kayak. On the other hand, in case of soothing lake fishing spots, you may choose a Fiberglass made kayak. You do not need a sturdier kayak there, but a light weighing one to help you transport yourself to various locations sooner, hoping for a better catch.
Got a friends to come!!
Well, you may be looking for your first angling kayak for sure. But have you given a thought about what else you might use it for? You need to make your mind if you might feel like inviting your friends or family to tag along someday for recreational or refreshing weekend afternoon. Or are you sure you want to keep your kayaking fun just to yourself?? This is important factor to mind right now, as you might opt for a single seat kayak or a tandem kayak accordingly.
Is it just for fishing??
Surely you must keep a note if you are thinking about using this angling kayak for any other purpose, like touring or camping. Your choice of kayak may even differ keeping this factor in mind, depending on the capacity and storage of the kayak.
Also, if you intend to use this angling kayak for the sole purpose, then you may even consider the “rigged” models. These kayaks are exclusively meant for anglers and support a pre-fitted fishing rod. If you rather feel uncomfortable with the pre-installed tools, then you may even choose the stocked models where you have the freedom of drilling holes for the installation, wherever you want. But for this, you need to be very confident about your approach and must know which installation is suiting best to your style and requirements of fishing.
Look out for the seat
Now one more important task for you is to watch out for the seat style, no matter how adjustable and comfortable is your seat. Your angling kayak may offer you a seat inside the cockpit, the Sit-In type. Or you may even enjoy the ride sitting above the water level, in the SOT or Sit-On-Top type. So does it really make any difference?
Yes it does!! The SOT angling kayak is going to offer immense space for you to move around and reel in the fishing rod. But do not forget the water splashing your face every few seconds, especially in sea water or a fast moving river. It is really going to be a wet ride for you. In summers or in warm waters, it might be a joy ride and the water bursts will just feel great. But how would you think about winters; and that too in cold weather??
On cold windy evenings, you definitely will not fancy SOT angling kayaks. The cockpit style fishing kayaks will keep you warm and dry in the midst of cold water. The backdrop would be the limited space to move and handle the rod. Just in case you are forgetting, then here is a reminder for you to take along your spray skirt without fail.
Nevertheless, the most popular and practically usable form will be to use the Stand-On angling kayak. These essentially have a wider board for the angler to stand and balance while reeling in the fishing rod.
Measure your kayak
The various measurements and dimensions of the kayak are the indispensable factors to consider. They include the length and the width of the kayak, the body shape or the kayak and lastly, the weight of the kayak.
A longer and narrower kayak is best fitted for open water locations. Such kayaks can achieve relatively better speed, but are little less stable on water. These are useful in cases where you need to reach your fishing spot in less time, or if it is getting difficult to catch up with the speed of your prey in a fast moving river. With enough experience, such kayaks can be of better use for you for fishing.
Instead, a wider and shorter kayak suits best in water locations where you need good stability on water. The design of the kayak is usually “rocker” shaped from below which helps the kayak achieve this stability and do better in rapid wavy waters. No wonder, the laws of physics make it a slow mover on flat waters.
Heavy kayaks, often made of Polyethylene, are sturdier and stronger. But these will prove to be big pain when it comes to transporting them from garage to the water. The lighter angling kayaks made of Fiberglass usually are expensive, but they offer the ease in transportation and move smoothly on swift turns of rapid waters.
Moving on the water
The kayak angler has a definite advantage of being able to reach the remotest locations for fishing. But to reach there, you need to first select the means to move the kayak. The first option is to use the cheap and conventional handheld paddles. These are good to go when you do not plan to move a lot on water and have fishing spots nearby. But for reaching distant places, you risk tiring your hands more with paddling than what you would need for fishing. In such scenario you might want to consider the motorized options. These motor fitted angler kayaks give you the faster mode of transportation on water. However, they tend to make the kayaks heavier due to the machinery fittings and definitely the tech-dependent kayaks are more prone to failure than non-motorized options.
The easier, considerable option for fishing kayaker is to use foot pedals. These are fitted with flippers which aim at keeping the hands of the fishermen free to concentrate only on fishing. The feet of the fishermen can keep busy in moving the kayak while the angler can plan and play the fishing scheme.
Taking it out in water
So, on the final steps you have set those couple of kayaks, one of which is going to be yours soon enough. But one more unavoidable consideration is to see how heavy and large the kayak is, in comparison to the transportation facility you will use to take it out from and back in to the garage. The roof racks, carts, trailer or a truck; all these options need to be well considered before you finalize your angling kayak and actually purchase the one you want most.
What you got in store?
Here is a checklist for the items you need on your angling trip and a guideline to make sure you have the space to accommodate this list with you on the kayak.
It seems obvious that this angling kayak you are about to own will need more space than the regular kayak. Your gear for the angling trip will need fishing equipments as well apart from the traditional safety gear.
You need the space to fit your fishing rod (if not already installed) and the bait. Also you need to house in a cooler to keep the fishes you happen to bait in. Surely you would not want these falling overboard as your kayak stumbles a little so you should look for a kayak tackle bag in the space provided. You also need the safety gear, including the PFD and the accessories like compass and whistle. The one option to fit in maximum fishing gear is to look out for a double hull angling kayak which provides storing space even below the deck. It will be a good practice to carry fishing net for times that get lucky.
Benefits of fishing kayaks
If you’re an angler who would like to get off your motor boat and want to take a new kind of challenge, then choosing to buy a fishing kayak should be in your thoughts. Kayaks are different from motor boats in many different ways, but there are a couple of points that stands out the most.
- Fishing kayaks are much cheaper than motor boats and requires lesser maintenance.
- It’s easier to transport around different fishing areas and provides more stealth for an angler.
- Fishing in kayaks gives more challenge for anglers.
Choosing the best fishing kayak might be a little tricky, especially if it’s your first time buying one. That’s why we have collected all the important information that you would need in order for you to choose the one that most fit you.
As we mentioned above, there are many different ways why fishing kayaks are sometimes better than motor boats. And the three points that were mentioned are just some of the reasons why anglers now choose to use fishing kayaks.
But to further convince you, here are 6 reasons why you should consider buying and using a kayak:
- It’s more affordable than a motor boat. Kayaks are priced from $1,500 to $3,000. You can also save more because you don’t need to use any fuel, launch fees, maintenance and insurance. For anglers who want to save up their budget, kayaks are more appealing and are excellent when it comes to fishing. Of course, if you want to add more accessories and electronics to your kayak, you would need to spend more.
- Versatility in fishing. Fishing in kayaks gives you more versatility because you can also stand up on it. Whether you’re trying to catch small fishes or hooking the large ones, you can easily position yourself more comfortably.
- Access to different types of water bodies. Anglers are much more interested in using kayaks for fishing because they can easily access narrow, plane or deep water bodies. Using more boats requires you to have a launch ramp, and these kinds of things can’t be found in some areas. Plus, kayaks allow you to enter skinny waters without the worry of scratching your metallic gelcoat or clogging up your engine.
- Travel wise. If you’re one of those anglers who would like to explore different areas in the world, but is worried about the expense of travelling your motor boat or costs of renting one, then fishing on kayaks can really help you with your problems. Kayak rentals are cheaper than renting a motor boat and there are already a lot of stores that lets you rent one in their area.
- Carrying a kayak around your car is much easier than carrying a motor boat. It has much lighter weight and you won’t need to have any equipment or more muscles to carry it around.
- Gives you more perspective. Fishing on a kayak gives you more perspective compared to bank fishing or using a motor boat. Here are some examples for you:
- Relaxation – Paddling around silent water are comforting compared to using noisy motor boats.
- Low angles – Being closer to the water is much better because it’ll be easier for you to get your bait back or let it go in between docks, limbs or timber.
- Better health – Paddling in a kayak gives you more time to work out your body and relax your mind.
What to consider before buying a fishing kayak
When looking to buy your first kayak, there are certain factors that you need to think about. These factors will impact what type of fishing kayakwould fit you the most and how much money you would spend. Here are the things that you need to consider:
- Your skill level as a paddler. There are three main types of paddlers; novice, proficient and expert.
- Novice paddlers should first start in kayaks that are wide and short. This will allow you to have higher chance of maneuvering yourself and the kayak. It also gives you stability when practicing your balance.
- Proficient paddlers should use kayaks that are slimmer and longer. This type of kayaks offer lesser maneuverability and stability, but it gives the angler greater speed and go to farther fishing locations.
- Expert paddlers have the chance to use any kind of kayaks even with more equipment and accessories.
- Sit-in or sit-on-top kayaks. For these two types of kayaks, there is no skill level appropriate for one of them. It’s more on the anglers’ preference of fishing.
- Sit-in kayaks are faster, it gives you better chance to handle rough and strong water, it provides the angler better chances to control the kayak and gives you more protection against natural elements.
- Sit-on-top kayaks are more popular because it allows anglers to have wider open cockpits, highest degree of stability and unsinkable hulls. It gives the angler more balance when you stand up to catch your fish or throw your bait.
- Speed vs. Stability. If you’re a novice paddler, then it is suggested that you choose a kayak that’s shorter which gives you more stability so that you can practice your balance and throwing skills. But if you’re a proficient paddler, you can choose a longer kayak that gives you more speed so that you can go to skinnier water bodies.
- Type of construction. For this factor, there are three types of construction of a kayak: polyethylene, wood and composite.
- Polyethylene kayaks are the heaviest among the three, but it’s chosen by anglers who prefer rocky shorelines and oyster beds. Because of its weight, it requires the angler to put more effort when it comes to paddling.
- Wood kayaks are lighter compared to polyethylene and much faster. It has higher chance of stability and is less expensive.
- Composite kayaks have the most efficient hull because it can be molded in the design that you want. It’s heavier than wood kayaks, but lighter than polyethylene. It’s the most expensive among the three kayaks.
- Intended use. You should also think about what type of water body you like to go fishing. Moving water is best used with recreational kayaks. While protected inshore and still water can be used by the three kayaks of construction that was mentioned above.
- Weight. Always choose a kayak that is not made with “ultra-lite” materials, but choose the ones that has the weight of 130 pounds or less. It’ll make you maneuver your bike easier and carry it around when you’re not riding it.
- Warranty. The warranties of kayaks usually depend on the manufacturer, but always make sure you choose one that has a guaranteed warranty.
MY PICK: TOP 4 BEST FISHING KAYAKS 2016
|1.||Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak|
|2.||Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak|
|3.||Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak|
|4.||Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak|
TOP 4 BEST FISHING KAYAKS
1. Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
I have taken this inflatable fishing kayak out a few times already and it has exceeded my expectations. Aside from being easy to inflate and deflate, it is made with high quality materials, and is stable when out on the water.
- Since it is easy to inflate and deflate, you can be on the water and on the way home in a matter of minutes.
- It provides good value for money since it has a high level of craftsmanship comparable to kayaks used by professionals, but at an affordable price.
- Superior Material of construction with 18-gauge PVC construction is rugged for lake use
- Double-threaded Boston Valve that lets you quickly and easy inflate and deflate it.
- 1000D tarpaulin bottom and 840D nylon cover provide durable protection from punctures
- Berkley® Quick Set Rod Holders are adjustable for enhanced hands-free fishingIncludes carry bag and pressure gauge
- Sevylor® trolling motor fittings expand your fishing capabilities
- NMMA® certified to carry people and things up to 470 lbs.
- Adjustable seats move to fit you
- Airtight® System is guaranteed not to leak
- Paddle holders secure your paddles out of the way
- Mesh storage pockets keep gear and snacks close at hand
- D-Rings are an easy way to attach other equipment
- Multiple air chambers for reliability, allow another chamber to stay inflated if one is punctured
- Carry handles make it easy to carry in and out of the water
- Easy and quick setup and pack-up
- The Coleman Colorado is a good choice for fishermen who need a fishing kayak that can accommodate up to two people. While it is priced higher than the comparable Sun Dolphin Journey, it makes up for it with convenience features such as easy inflation/deflation, as well as increased durability and safety. In addition, it does not have comfort features such as the padded backrests and multiple footrests of the Lifetime.
- What it does provide, compared to the other kayaks reviewed, is good value for money. You get a great range of features that will greatly enhance your fishing experience. For example, mesh storage pockets easily allow you to keep snacks and fishing gear readily accessible, while D-rings let you attach other equipment that you need to the boat. Thus, it is a good choice for those looking for an affordable fishing kayak that still has a lot of great features.
- Some people have complained that the rod holders stick out the sides of the boat and get in the way as they paddle. Otherwise, however, this is a minor complaint and even those who mentioned it still gave the Coleman Colorado five-star reviews.
This product has earned mainly five-star and four-star ratings from Amazon customers, which means that it has a very high satisfaction rating. My experience with the Coleman Colorado is that, while it is not perfect, it is very good and I would recommend it to other readers who are looking for a fishing kayak. It is lightweight but feels very durable and seats two people comfortably. And since it is made with durable materials, I can probably use it for years before I have to replace it, although it still remains to be seen. Otherwise, I am happy with it.
2. Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak
This is an effective fishing kayak for those who need a three-seater and have some experience as a fisherman. It allows you to fish standing up as well as sitting down.
- In contrast with the typical two-seater kayak, you can go fishing with up to two other people.
- You will be more successful fishing since you can either sit down or stand up, providing you with greater flexibility.
- Comes with fishing pole holders, storage compartment and carry handles.
- It is ideal for that perfect fishing trip
- Tunnel hull design. This design makes the kayak very stable so that you can fish even while standing up on the boat.
- Wide-bodied. The Lifetime can seat up to 3 people and can accommodate up to 500 pounds.
- Durable High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Construction.
- Fishing Pole Holders
- Comfortable Ergonomic Seating
- Multiple Footrest Positions for Different Size Riders
- Scupper Holes Drain Cockpit Area
- Molded Front and Rear Carry Handles
- 10′ Compact Length for Easy Transport and Storage
- “High and Dry” Seating Keeps Riders off the Floor of the Kayak
- Ditty Trays and Shock Cord Straps to Secure Loose Items
- Rear Storage Hatch
- Front and Rear Molded Paddle Cradle, Paddle Clips on Both Sides
- UV-Protected – Will Not Fade, Crack, or Peel
- Accessory Mount for Optional Rudder or Electric Power Motor
- The Lifetime is a good choice compared with the other kayaks reviewed if you have a family. You can bring your two kids along on your fishing trip or your wife and one child. It is also good for larger-sized fishermen since it has a big weight capacity. Its stability is a feature that the other kayaks don’t have, allowing you to have more flexibility in your fishing technique. If it is too difficult to land a fish while seated, you can stand up and pull it in.
- There are other features that make it a good value in its price range. It has two padded backrests as well as adjustable footrests that can accommodate users of different sizes. Thus, it is a good choice for people who want a kayak that can seat more than the usual or serious fishermen who want one that lets them change positions while fishing.
- The Lifetime is wider than other kayaks, meaning that it might be more difficult to carry around using the side carry handle. Otherwise, it still has mostly positive fishing kayak reviews from those who bought it.
While personally it is not the type of fishing kayak I am looking for, I would still recommend the Lifetime for larger fishermen or those who go fishing with their families. It has a unique design that allows you to stand up or sit down on it without the risk of capsizing the boat, which the other kayaks we reviewed don’t have. Of course, it has a higher price point, but the extra features make it more than worth it. The Lifetime has earned high ratings from Amazon customers with almost five-star and four-star ratings.
3. Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak
The Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 is the one of the most popular angler kayaks on the market, it combines performance with features. This is a high-end kayak for serious fishermen who want one that provides superior performance as well as plenty of storage space to store fishing gear.
- Since it is designed specifically for fishing, serious fishermen will find features that meet their needs.
- It provides superior performance that combines speed with stability, and can even be used in a variety of water conditions from rough to smooth.
- You not only can store your gear but also cooler, SCUBA tanks and everything you need for an exceptional fishing experience.
- Comfort plus seats back
- 6″ Cam Lock Hatch with storage bucket
- Molded-in seat well
- Click Seal bow hatch
- Oversized tank well with bungee
- Deck bungee
- Side mounted carrying handles
- Skid PlatePaddle keepers
- Two flush mounted rod holders
- Transducer compatible scupper
- Angler graphics
- Unlike the other fishing kayaks we featured in this review, this is specifically designed for fishing and thus, it suitable for the majority of fishermen looking for a kayak on Amazon. One feature that it has that they will appreciate is the oversized rear tank. If you are planning to spend the whole day out on the water, you can fill it with snacks and coolers with cold drinks, as well as your tackle and other gear or anything else you need. There is also a big front hatch where you can securely store your expensive fishing rods below deck.
- Of course, it is the most expensive of the kayaks we looked at since it is a high-end model with superior features. However, if you are looking for one that provides you with high performance and features that can greatly enhance your fishing experience, this is the one you should choose.
- This is a high end fishing kayak that is not designed for the casual fisherman. However, if you are serious about your fishing activities and can invest on a kayak with a higher price, the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler is highly recommended.
Since the Ocean Prowler 13 Angler has a prohibitive price, it should not be surprising that it only has not so many customers who have so far left fishing kayak reviews on Amazon; but more than 80% of them gave it five-star ratings, and the rest, four-stars. Since these reviewers are presumably the most discriminating, this is an indicator that the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler is one of the highest quality fishing kayaks you can find on Amazon. While this fishing kayak is surely not for everybody because of its specialized design and features, as well as high price point, if you are a dedicated fisherman, the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak is the one you should choose.
4. Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak
This is the most affordable of the fishing kayaks that we are reviewing, but this does not mean it is not as good as they are. It will still provide you with a satisfactory fishing experience.
- It is sold at a very affordable price but still has a good range of features.
- Since it is easy to use, many people buy this kayak just for going out on the lake for some peace and quiet.
- Lightweight. The Sun Dolphin is very easy for a single person to carry to the docks and transport on their vehicle.
- Lots of storage space. Aside from having a large dry storage compartment, the kayak also has a removable Portable Accessory Carrier for extra storage.
- Compared to the other models we are reviewing, the Sun Dolphin has a small feature set. But this can be a selling point since if you are just learning to fish or use a kayak, this is a very affordable model to buy. You can easily learn how to maneuver it since it is very lightweight, and you can even carry it by yourself if you are going fishing alone; but it has a comparable amount of storage space.
- The Sun Dolphin also does not support as much weight as the other kayaks we reviewed. It can support up to 250 pounds, while the next most expensive kayak, the Coleman Colorado, can hold up to 470 pounds and the Lifetime up to 500 lbs. Overall, it still provides the best value for money, and you can even afford to buy a second kayak or give one as a gift.
- It is essentially a very basic kayak so there is a risk that you can easily outgrow it. Otherwise, the Sun Dolphin is a great choice for those who want a very affordable model.
The Sun Dolphin has earned mostly positive reviews from Amazon customers who bought it, with 70% of them giving it five-star and four-star reviews. For the price, it is a high-quality fishing kayak that is a suitable one to learn how to fish on. Of course, you should not expect it to be outstanding or made with very durable materials, but as a reviewer put it, you can still catch as much fish on it as with more expensive kayaks. If you are on a budget or just want a beginner kayak, this provides you with good value for the price.
Type of Fishing Kayak
There are no kayak model that fits all your needs. Each type has been designed for a specific type of use. Ponders the use you will give your kayak (recreational, cruise, competition, fishing, whitewater, etc.) and choose the model of kayak that suits you – that will be the best for you.
To learn how to choose a kayak fishing ideal for us, we must study well the market, both new and second-hand and choose the right according to our tastes and needs.
There are many types of kayaks in the world. The kayaks have their own specialties in different water bodies. To know what type of kayak and types of water bodies used with those kayaks will serve you best, here is the list of kayaks in the market:
- Recreational Kayaks – It usually has a small storage and offers initial stability. It’s best used in calm waters like lakes, ponds and placid rivers. Novices, casual paddlers, anglers and photographers prefer this type of kayak because it’s easy to use.
- Touring Kayaks – This has a bigger storage space and is more expensive compared to recreational kayaks. It can be used in rough water as well as open water. The cockpit is usually built to have effective paddling.
- Modular Kayaks – It can be folded 2-3 times for easy transportation and storage. Its performance come hand-in-hand with hard-shell boats.
- Sit-on-top Kayaks – As mentioned above, these kayaks gives stability and balance to its users. It’s more popular in warm climates.
- Inflatable Kayaks – It’s surprisingly versatile and sturdy even if it can be inflated using foot pump, hand and electric pump. When deflated, the kayak will be a size of carrying bag. It’s particularly slower than the traditional kayak and requires more effort in paddling. It can turn on a small radius for easy maneuvering.
- Folding Kayaks – When it’s disassembled, it can easily fit a backpack. It has more storage space compared to inflatable kayaks and has a ridged framework.
Types of water bodies used with kayaks
Knowing what type of kayak fishing you would like to pursue is another factor that you need to consider. This is very important because not all kayaks are the same. They differ in length, width and overall size which make it appropriate for different kinds of water bodies.
Here are the different water bodies where you can do fishing and what type of kayaks you can use:
- Still water – If you’re fishing in this type of body water, you can choose to buy a sit-in kayak that’s slim and long where you can have speed over stability. In this case, you’ll have to paddle in a long distance before going to the right fishing spot and you’ll have a large area to fish around. Inflatable kayaks are fun to use in this kind of water because you can enjoy the scenery and paddling in a relaxing mode.
- Moving water – The most popular kayak that’s used in this type of water body are sit-in kayaks that are wide and short in order for you to easily maneuver it and have more stability. When fishing on a moving water, you will experience rush and obstacles, so having a short boat can really do the trick for you.
- Inshore water – This type of water is usually confused because they can be calm and aggressive at the same time. You can either choose sit-in or sit-on-top kayak. Sit-in kayaks require lesser paddle effort and have secondary stability which will help you face aggressive water. While sit-on-top kayaks are most preferred by anglers because it’s unsinkable and can easily help you re-enter you kayak when you’re capsized.
- Offshore water – Sit-in kayaks are preferred this time because it requires the paddler lesser effort for paddling and is generally long which makes the angler feel safer.
Materials of kayaks for fishing
Rotomolded linear polyethylene: they are very tough but also relatively heavy
Three Layer Sandwich Polyethylene Plastic: that allows to produce a triple structure (PE, blowing agent, PE) that guarantees an important weight reduction and a relevant stiffness increase. In my opinion the rotomolded polyethylene kayak are much more robust than tri-layers, heavier and perhaps less slippage due to its rough finish.
Other materials used for manufacture of a kayak are:
Fiberglass: In favor, very light material, weighs less than a polyethylene kayak, weakness against impacts and scratches, more expensive than polyethylene. This material is usually used for sit-in kayak models.
Carbon Kevlar: They are extremely light, lighter than fiber and more resilient. Against its high price and it’s easy to break even repair easily. It is used for sit-in kayaks
Fishing Kayak Models
These are some models of fishing kayaks to consider
Sit-on-top fishing kayaks:
- Most popular kayaks
- Polyethylene properties
- Affordable price
- Easy to attach many accessories
- Insurance and mostly stable
Sit-inside fishing kayaks
- Higher price than sit-on-top kayak
- The biggest jump in weight (and price) won’t be seen until you look at fiberglass, Kevlar or carbon fiber kayaks.
- Less space for attaching accessories.
- Need prior training: paddling technique, buoyancy and Eskimo roll (an Eskimo roll is when a person in a kayak corrects a kayak that is upside down by reaching out to grab the water by keeping it in the air)
- Protect from the cold to maintain a sheltered part of our body.
- They are faster
- Generally lighter than sit-on-top kayak
Fishing kayak with pedals
- Polyethylene material
- Very high price with new ones, looking for second hand you can find good deals.
- Put it easy multitude of accessories, thanks to its space on board.
- Very heavy, difficult to handle, necessary to use transport trolley for embarking and disembarking.
Inflatable fishing kayaks
Do not consider them suitable for sea fishing, unless, that we fish near the coast in very sheltered areas of wind and waves. These kayaks are suitable for calm waters, ponds, marshes, reservoirs … etc.
- Easy storage and handling because of its volume and weight.
- They are very slow and very stable.
More things to keep in mind on how to choose a fishing kayak.
- The length of the kayak
A kayak with good length in principle be a quick kayak, although with some people, a long kayak finds it somewhat uncomfortable when moved or rotated in short spaces.
- The sleeve
The sleeve is the width of the kayak. As a general rule, the more stable sleeve will be. Both the length and the sleeve should be taken into account when storing and transporting the kayak on the roof of the car.
- Stability versus speed
We will play with these two variables. The stability of the kayak is given by two factors: the sleeve kayak and type of hull. A V-shaped hull will be more unstable than a U-shaped hull. The speed will be determined by the length of the kayak, a narrow sleeve and a outline hull.
- Weight and maximum load
Your weight is important when handling it, like knowing its maximum load and not exceed it. A transport carriage for heavier kayaks provide us with the task to reach the shore.
Generally kayaks are more wide usually the most comfortable, but, for example, improper placement of accessories can hinder the fishing action, so I stress test kayak before buying.
- Accessories include in your kayak fishing
There is a wide variety of kayaks on sale a few more prepared for fishing than others in the market. We will assess all the details, such as the pre-installations rudder, rail installation guide for more accessories, mount a transducer and location of the probe, installed lockers, seats … etc. So you have to take into account first-hand kayaks, accessories ranging included with sale.
How to go about buying the best fishing kayak?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Paddle park
- Kayak anchors
- Casting net
- Compass or GPS device
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a fishing kayak?
Kayaks are boats that are designed with seats that have blades-on-paddler in order to allow them to paddle across the water. They are ideal boats for fishing since they are quiet and make little disturbance when moving, meaning that they will not scare and disturb fish. The history of kayaks is more than 4000 years old, but the fishing kayaks of today have advanced technologies that greatly help fishermen to become more effective. Many of them are even stable enough that you can stand up while fishing without the risk of capsizing the kayak.
Why is it important to buy a fishing kayak?
If you are serious about your fishing activities, a fishing kayak can greatly help you become more effective. In addition to their designs that are specific for fishing, these kayaks also come with advanced technologies. Many of them even have computers to help you. At the same time, however, fishing kayaks still require you to have a certain level of skill. Thus, fishing becomes a challenging sport instead of one in which you simply rely on all the technology in the boat to help you succeed.
Why is Amazon the best place to buy fishing kayaks?
You can find the widest range of fishing kayaks on the Amazon site, at whatever price you can afford. In addition, you can compare similar fishing kayaks based on basic features and price, so that you can find the one that suits you the best. Likewise, fishing kayaks on Amazon are even more affordable since many of them are marked down from their regular prices, and the competition between sellers helps to drive down the price even more.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Overall, I think the best fishing kayak is the Coleman Colorado, since it provides you with the best combination of features and affordable price. In addition, it is made with rugged and tough materials, thus ensuring that it will hold up to repeated use and withstand wear and tear, so that you can use it for years to come. It is ideal for both beginner and advanced fishermen since it is easy to use, with convenience features like the Boston Valve that allows it to be easily inflated and deflated.