How to choose the right fishing kayak ?

Kayak fishing season is just around the corner. But many still wonder why one would choose to fish from a kayak rather than a motorboat. The answer to that can be summed up in three terms – stealth, cost, and challenge. A fishing kayak and the equipment required are collectively far more economical than the expense of a motorboat. Also, a kayak boat is easier to maintain and to transport. It offers the angler a much stealthier approach, which is a must when fishing. Lastly, kayak fishing is more challenging, which makes it a personal competitive experience.

How to Choose the Right Fishing Kayak Pic1

If you are getting into kayak fishing, you have to look into many things. The fishing kayak come in many different sizes and shapes and it is very important to choose the right one for you. For that, you need to answer tough questions and make your decision accordingly.

  • What kind of angler you are?
  • What type of water do you choose for fishing?
  • Will you stand up in the fishing kayak?
  • How do you transport your fishing kayak?
  • What’s your preferred seating options?
  • How much capacity do I need?
  • How fast do you want to go?

Not to worry. We are here to help you make the right choice!

What type of water do you choose for fishing?

Fishing kayakAll kayak boats are not equally designed. The basic classification is on the type of water you want to go kayaking in. There are two types of water – freshwater and saltwater, which are further divided into two subcategories each. Different water presents the angler with different paddling conditions, and thus it requires different types of kayak boat.

Freshwater is divided into still water and moving water. Still water can be any water body of any size, be it a small pond or a large lake. And if you’re fishing in a large lake, speed becomes a priority. Slim and lightweight kayaks with a good degree of stability work best here.

Moving water can be a river or a stream swiftly flowing. Here you have to manage the water current propelling your boat, which makes maneuverability a priority. Short and wide kayak boats with a high degree of stability work best here.

Saltwater has two subdivisions namely inshore and offshore waters. Inshore waters are those which are beside the shoreline with a depth of 70 feet only. You will need to paddle some distance into the water body and encounter winds or steep waves. Thus, long and slim kayak with an efficient hull design is the best choice here. Offshore waters are more than 70 feet in depth, which means long and slim kayaks with a moderate degree of rocker work best in this situation. They cut through the water better and give you speed which is a necessity.

Will you stand up in the fishing kayak?

The stability of the kayak is crucial given that it needs to twist and turn with the waves. If you wish to stand while kayaking, avoid choosing a V-shaped hull as it tends to tip over easily. Select a tunnel or a flat bottom hull. The minimum width of a fishing kayak is 76 centimeters; but the more width it has, the better for its stability – only up to a certain extent. A boat which is too broad and comparatively short is more likely to get tossed easily by the current. A long boat cuts through the water and navigates smoothly. Thus, to pick the right width and the hull type of the kayak for stability while you fish.

How do you transport your fishing kayak?

how to transport fishing kayak

Your kayak boat needs to be stored and transported safely, so this question is of utmost importance. How do you plan on moving your kayak? Will you carry it over the roof of your car? Or will it be transported in the bed of your truck? Do you need to buy a special trailer for it? Bear in mind that the more features your kayak boat has, the heavier it becomes. So plan accordingly, and never compromise with your safety.

What’s your preferred seating options?

There are two basic seating types – sit inside or sit on the top. The inside seating kayak is not a good choice when it comes to fishing. Water gets collected in it until pumped out, regaining balance is difficult if it tips over, and it has a very limited storage space for keeping the fish you caught. The recommended choice here is ‘sit on the top’ kayak. The open design of the boat leaves a lot of space for storing fish and adding fishing accessories. The scupper holes at the bottom drain the water from the boat. Also, a child or a friend can accompany you on your fishing expedition, if you have a tandem model. Configurations are possible for both one and two-person seating.

How much capacity do I need?

kayak fishing options

Since fishing needs a lot of patience, you will need to spend hours and hours in your boat. Thus, you need your kayak to be comfortable, at least with sufficient legroom. Is your seating space adjustable enough that it allows you to paddle the boat with a little bend in your knees? Also, your seat should be raised enough so that you remain dry even if water splashes into the boat. Additionally, there must also be some space to store the fish you catch.

How fast do you want to go?

For your kayak to move fast, you need a long and slim boat the will ride through the currents. This is a good choice if you are on a river on any other moving water body. Wider kayaks provide better stability, which is an ideal choice for lakes and other still water bodies.

What are the best kayaks we recommend under $500?

With the increase in popularity of kayak fishing, there are many models available at an affordable range. We are listing our top 3 below.

  • Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-on-top Kayak
    Weight – 40.8 pounds; Load Capacity – 280 lbs
    Price Starting @ $320.74 + Shipping Charge available on Amazon
  • Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak
    Weight – 39 pounds
    Price Starting @ $327.06 + Shipping Charge available on Amazon
  • Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
    18-gauge PVC construction is rugged for lake use, NMMA certified
    Price Starting @ $257.00 + Shipping Charge available on Amazon
Pro tip: Your first kayak should be a used kayak. Since you are just starting out, buy a used fishing kayak to test the waters and identify what you would like. Decide what you want after completing one fishing season. Keep the old or buy a new, your choice. To get more kayak fishing tips, subscribe to Steve’s Youtube Channel.


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