Choosing the Perfect Fishing Kayak
Everything from the stability of your kayak to the design, storage, and size are going to be things you should factor into your decision when purchasing a fishing kayak. There are going to be features that matter a lot to you that might not to the next person, so having an idea of your needs is a must. We looked at many of these things when compiling our list and we want to share some insight to help you ensure you get the right boat for the fishing you want to be doing.
On any vehicle that is on the water, you want a large amount of stability. It makes casting, moving around, bringing in your fish, accessing your gear, and casting nets much easier. In most cases, the best stability comes from a sit-on top model of kayak. It usually has a wider hull than one that you need to climb up and into. However, the degree that stability matters also varies based on skill and where you fish. If you’re going to be out on the ocean, you want a high level of stability to ensure you don’t capsize just by reaching for some gear.
The Proper Amount of Storage
Everyone needs room for their gear when going out fishing. However, those who are going far away from shore may need more space than others. Some boats now offer modular options where you can play your storage where you like. Beyond having the right amount of space, you also want to have the means to get to it easily. Crawling around to get to your bait is going to get frustrating after a while. Consider both how much storage is available and how accessible it is for the best result.
Length & Width of Your Kayak
When it comes to the length of the kayak, you can expect the longer options to be both straighter and faster when you are traveling. However, what you give up with a longer kayak is the high degree of maneuverability. Most of the longer boats are also heavier than the alternative and can be challenging to lift in your rack or cart to the water.
Looking at width, you will find that most wide kayaks have a better level of stability than a narrower one. However, that isn’t the only factor that determines stability. Another factor that width weighs into is the size of the cockpit. If you choose a wider kayak, it will offer more room to stow your gear and to walk around on your trip.
Weight’s Effect on the Kayak
Once your chosen kayak is in the water, it doesn’t particularly matter how much it weighs. However, it would be a mistake to believe that means it doesn’t matter at all. You are going to need to move your boat to and from your vehicle at some point. You’ll also need to manage to get it to the water from your vehicle. You should consider that when selecting a kayak, but keep in mind that the average kayak will weight around 60 pounds or so.
Another factor in terms of weight is any accessories and gear you are lugging with you onto the boat. All of these things can be heavy and while they can also be useful, some may or may not be worth the trouble in the end. It’s up to you to decide on that. This mainly applies to expensive and heavy accessories that may or may not be a benefit to your fishing style.
Thinking About Your Budget
There are kayaks of all shapes and sizes and you can find a kayak at nearly any price point. However, that doesn’t mean that every kayak is the same. The amount you choose to pay should be based on what you can afford, how often you will use it, what your skill level is, and what you actually need. You can expect that the more specialized models will often cost more. You will also find that in most cases, the price does reflect the quality of the kayak itself. There are exceptions but as a general rule, a more expensive boat is going to be better.
That said, if you are a beginner to fishing on a kayak, there is no reason to choose a model that is expensive. There’s nothing wrong with selecting a budget option and upgrading later if you keep up with the sport. However, be aware that by choosing an inexpensive model, you may not get all the extra features that the top quality kayaks provide you with.
Potential for Accessories
Nobody wants to buy a cool new device for their kayak only to realize that there is nowhere to mount it. The good news is that many brands come with a space for attaching extras or a modular design that will hold almost anything you can imagine. The best option is a kayak that has universal acceptance of accessories, which means you can use any brand you like. Make sure you check on that because if only proprietary attachments can be used, that will limit your options.
Considering Your Skill Level
Learning to kayak fish is a skill and it takes time to get good at it, just like any other skill. If you are a beginner, you may have very different needs from an expert. You’ll be learning to keep your craft upright, how to paddle properly, how to get in and out of the boat, and how to keep stable. As such, you should be aware that a sit-in model is going to fill up with water if you turn over. A stand-up model may be better for a beginner because you will have less to worry about. It’s also a lot simpler to get into and out of this type of kayak and they are often considered to be more stable than the alternative.
If you are planning to take your fishing kayak out onto the sea, you want to be rather particular about the boat you choose. One of the things that can be helpful is a flared bow, which helps you move over the waves instead of moving through them. This takes some of the pressure off of you in terms of keeping going forward and staying upright when the water isn’t calm. Stability is also quite important in the ocean, as is having a reasonable amount of storage. You want room to store your gear as you move farther from shore, as well as additional space to store your catch from the day.
It doesn’t matter if you are entirely new to fishing in a kayak or you are experienced and just looking for a new kayak. There is a great kayak out there for you and this list of ten is a fantastic place to start. We’ve included boats that work well for beginners, those that are better for experts, and some that are perfect for those somewhere in between those two stages. We’ve also included boats of all different prices, so you can find the right boat for your needs. We’ve even thrown in a few helpful kayak fishing tips.
In the end, a lot of these things boil down to preference. What’s most important is that your kayak is comfortable and useful for you, not the next person. This list is a look at a few kayaks that are largely considered the best out there. You can easily find one that fits your preferences and then head off to the river, lake, or ocean to catch some fish over the weekend. Good luck out there!