November 21, 2021

How to Choose a Fishing Kayak

by Bernice

Table of Contents

Nothing beats a fishing expedition; whether it’s for sport or leisure being out on the water presents calmness and a sense of freedom that is boundless. Choosing a suitable vessel can be the difference between the success and failure of your fishing expedition.

A kayak opens up a world of possibilities to stalk fish in waters that aren’t easily accessible when using motorized or large boats. With the broad scope of different kayaks, it becomes difficult to choose the best fit for you.

Today we will provide you with a detailed guide on how to choose a fishing kayak. But before we dive into the topic of discussion, let’s find out why you should choose a kayak for fishing.

Is It Worth Buying a Fishing Kayak?

Is it Worth Buying a Fishing Kayak

Fishing kayaks are gaining popularity by the day; even online platforms are filled with images of fishing kayaks. The reasons provided below is full proof evidence of why they are popular and why you should get one too:

  • Versatile use: Using a kayak allows you to navigate in almost all kinds of waters. This will enable you to catch all types of sea creatures, even narrow rivers that big boats find hard to navigate. Whether you prefer to fish in a lake, ocean, pool, river, or pond, you are bound to catch your prey.
  • Portability: It’s frustrating moving a heavy, bulky object from one point to another, but Kayaks have a portable design that makes it easy to move around. You can move across or along the waters to locate an excellent spot for angling.
  • Easy access to deep waters: Kayaks allow for easier access to deep waters and waterways. This is among the significant feature that defines the Worth of a Kayak. Access to deep waters will enable anglers to catch bigger fish. On the other hand, access to the shores allows you to catch smaller fish.
  • Stealthiest: Kayaks have a slimmer body design that combines the silence of paddling low on water and a more petite frame that does not scare away the fish.
  • Health benefits: If you thought the benefits were only for fishing purposes, then you couldn’t be more wrong. The benefits extend to improving the health and cardio of the user. Paddling is an excellent way of getting in a workout while achieving the primary goal; fishing. It’s a true definition of killing two birds with one stone.

These reasons are but a taste of the benefits you can enjoy from a fishing kayak. Choosing a kayak is not like going to the store to shop for groceries; there are a few critical decisions you need to consider:

Do you prefer fishing while standing?

While you are on the water, stability is crucial. A kayak with a broader hull offers more stability, allowing you to cast with more confidence while standing. The drawback of wider hulls is it makes the Kayak potentially slower.

Types of Kayaks 

How much weight do you intend to haul?

You will have to take into consideration the weight capacity it can hold in addition to your weight. If you are a minimalist smaller kayak is preferable and vice versa.

Do you prefer paddling or peddling?

Some people prefer the more common method, paddling, to peddling. However, peddling leaves your hands free for fishing.

How will you transport the kayak?

The portability aspect is a significant decision that will sway most people into choosing kayaks over other boats. Learn the ways to transport your kayak for safety and convenience reasons.

Types of Kayaks 

There are two types of kayaks, which are: inflatable kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks. These two types of kayaks present different qualities that can benefit the user depending on the needs.

Sit-on-top Kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks are more famous for fishing because they present ease of getting in and out of them.

  • Overall, they are more stable, and they can allow users to stand on them, which is an excellent feature if you can cast or reel in large fish.
  • They have scupper holes that allow out water, so you don’t need to pump out water.
  • Users have a better view since they sit higher in water than in sit-in kayaks. This feature helps users when they are sight fishing.
  • Water splashes in and on the user; therefore, it makes it uncomfortable during cold seasons unless you have the appropriate attire.
  • There are heavier compared to sit-in kayaks. 
  • Sit-on-top kayaks are comfortable and have easy access to gear, other parts of the kayak, or rear hatches since there is room to turn your body or dangle your legs if you feel like it.

Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable Kayaks

Because they are inflatable, it makes them portable and very convenient for transport. When you need them, you inflate them with air. Otherwise, you can let the air out and fold them to comfortably fit in the boot or back seat of your car. Apart from that, they also present the following benefits and drawbacks:

  • When inflated, they become lightweight and easy to carry around.
  • Since they can be deflated, they are very portable.
  • The most modern models have the capability of allowing users to stand in them.
  • Some inflatable kayaks cannot paddle as fast or as well as standard kayaks. 

Pedal vs. Paddle Kayaks for Fishing

Sit-on-top Kayak with Pedals

Traditional kayaks have bike-like pedals that can turn on a push or prop pedal. Changing the direction can be done by using hand control. Pedaling technology is more expensive compared to other types, and it needs better maintenance compared to paddling.

The pedal unit also hangs deeper in water, limiting access to extremely shallow waters. However, pedaling technology has its benefits, like getting a natural troll since users can manage a consistent speed.

Paddle kayaks are much cheaper, simpler, and easier to use because of their design. Paddle kayaks are portable, making them easier to carry. Some anglers who pursue kayak fishing enjoy the simplicity and exercise that comes with traditional paddle kayaks.

More Things to Consider on How to Choose a Fishing Kayak

Where do you plan to fish? The location or waters you plan to take on can significantly determine the type of Kayak you buy? Do you prefer still or moving waters? How much time will you spend on the water?

The presence of waves, winds, tides, and currents is something to consider; a kayak with a rudder system is easier to navigate. Here are some things to consider:

Smaller Lakes and Ponds 

Speed is not necessary for calm waters like ponds; therefore, a shorter sit-on-top kayak with stability is an excellent choice to consider. It’s also more subdued stealthier allowing you to sneak up on the fish.

Open Waters

When you are in large water, i.e., lakes or offshore, you will require a kayak that tracts better and moves quickly over longer distances. The perfect choice for this type of water is narrower, longer sit-on-top kayaks.

Rivers and Streams

Rivers and streams present a tougher challenge since they have the right corners and spaces. This means you will need a kayak that can match the challenge. Shorter kayaks are easier to maneuver and navigate; they allow for rapid turns.

Kayak Features

People who fish from their Kayaks using extra fishing poles and other fishing gear attached to the kayaks need to consider kayaks with room or design meant to hold all their gear.

Most kayaks have a range of features to fit various fishing needs, from mounts to rod holders that enable users to customize their kayaks with their favorite accessories.

  • Rod holders: Most kayaks have a molded-in rod holder, a mounted rod holder, or grooves on the sides that allow rods to be placed horizontally. People can also quickly and easily install a rod holder in a way that suits them.
  • Seats: Comfort is a crucial concern when choosing a kayak. It can be very frustrating sitting for hours in an uncomfortable boat. Getting a comfortable sitting is the same as finding a shoe that fits. Try out different seats and check if they offer comfortable seat cushions, back support, and how it hits at the back of your foot. Some kayaks have detachable seats or movable seats to allow space for people to stand.
  • Storage options: You have to determine if you are a minimalist or an angler who requires lots of fishing gear to feel comfortable? If your answer is yes, then you need a kayak that can handle your load. The storage options of kayaks include enclosed hatches on the bow, a midship for placing dry storage, and some mesh pockets.

Mesh pockets contain a large tank to store milk crates or any other storage containers. You can also place bungee cords for securing bags. 

Determine if you require internal storage to place your dry bags and rods that Lulu won’t want to get wet. Another advantage of sit-on-top kayaks is that the user has more accessible access to most gear, especially ones mounted on the sides.

  • Hear tracts: these tracts allow users to place accessories like phones or fish finders to their Kayak without the need for drilling holes. For those that don’t have gear tracts, it’s not an issue of concern since you can install them.
  • Motor drive: If you don’t want tired legs or arms, you can consider kayak brands with motors. The motor units allow you to switch between motor or pedal propulsion. The only drawback is the noise might scare away the fish.

This article has provided a detailed guideline on how to choose a fishing kayak. The next time you are in the market for a fishing kayak, review this article to ensure you get the right type of kayak that fits your needs.

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About the author 


Bernice often jokes that she is better at climbing than walking. With avid parents of climbing, her first encounter with the high vertical rock walls was at the age of one. Her favorite style of climbing is bouldering.

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