Home ReviewsArticlesKayak Fishing ForumsTidesWeatherGuidesBait&TackleOnline StoreLinksKayak Fishing SpotsEventsPhoto Gallery

How To Choose A Fishing Kayak

By Mike Kogan

One of the most common and first questions asked by most people getting into kayak fishing is "how do I choose a fishing kayak?". In this article we will discuss the relevant features and things to look for, but the best answer is to figure which fishing kayak is the best one for YOU. Kayaks are like cars, and everyone has different styles, sizes, types of fishing, and waters they frequent, so while there is no single kayak that is best for everyone there most certainly is a kayak that is right for you.

The first thing to consider is how and where you will use your kayak most of the time. Like any other purchase you want to pick a kayak whose features are what you will need on 95-99% of your trips, not the 5% rare occasions when you do something else. Besides, if your needs change you can always get another kayak or sell yours and upgrade to a different model.

If you will be spending most of your time kayak fishing offshore where you are launching and recovering through surf zones, you will need a boat with plenty of interior storage and the stability and size to handle big water. While you can find a kayak that can handle both the surf and inshore estuaries, there will be compromises. For example a more stable kayak with lots of storage features will likely be a bit slower and perhaps less maneuverable than a speedy narrow model that is designed to cover more water or is designed to have a more stealthy hull.

Consider your body size and weight as well. If you are in the big and/or tall club you will likely need a bit more boat to be comfortable and dry. And speaking of being dry, that's something that varies greatly among models. Having a wet butt or a footwell that is constantly filled with water in a sit-on-top design is not my idea of comfortable. So when looking at how much a kayak can hold from a capacity standpoint, you need to figure out whether it will be dry with you and all your gear in it, and whether it is dry enough for you.

Everyone's needs and desires are different so figuring out what you want is half the battle -- matching a kayak to your needs is the second half. After you have considered these general criteria then it's time to do more specific research getting opinions from other kayak anglers, researching the specs and options on various boats, and most importantly going to kayak dealers and test paddling the units you are interested in.

Going to your local kayak fishing retailer is probably the most important thing you can do. Your local dealer will be able to help you understand the options available, rig the kayak to your preference, and perform any service or warrantee work if necessary. And speaking of rigging, remember your seat and paddle are probably the most important items you will select when you initially equip your kayak. The seat is key because you will be in it for hours on end, so get a comfortable seat with plenty of back support and cushioning. The paddle is just as important because it is the prop (you are the motor). A nice carbon fibre paddle will cost an extra $100-150 but is worth every penny.

Over time many kayak fisherman have figured out that it is better to start light and to add the things you need over time, rather than to overequip and take the kitchen sink with you. After a seat and paddle a few simple rod holders, a paddle leash, a personal flotation device with whistle, milk crate, and a dry bag are sufficient for your first excursion. Electronics like GPS and fish finders, anchoring tackle, more rod holders, and other features can be added later as you dial in your configurations to your fishing trip types. A couple of rods appropriate to the fish you are targeting and a simple tackle flat will complete your kit to get started kayak fishing.

Contact Us SiteMap Copyright © 2004-2012 JaxKayakFishing LLC, All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use/Privacy Policy