Kayak fishing has been growing by leaps and bounds, and there’s now a huge number of kayaks specifically designed for the sport. Just check out a few of our past blogs, like Freshwater Kayak Fishing, 34″ Trout Landed on Kayak, or Fishing Kayaks: Should a Yak be your Next Boat? and it quickly becomes apparent just how hot this topic is. But if you’re new to the sport, how will you know which kayak to pick?
Setting aside cost, which is an obvious barrier to some kayak purchases, here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind:
- Weight versus size. Bigger may be better on the water, but it’s also tougher to paddle, tougher to load into the pick-up, and tougher to carry through the woods. So think carefully – and check the kayak’s weight – before making a final choice.
- Seat design. This is one of the most important aspects of a kayak. A simple roto-molded seat is tough on the back, and for many people, will limit fishing trips to an hour or two. Adjustable seats with cushions are a lot more comfortable, and can be used all day without leading to back pain.
- Paddle or pedal. Purists may feel a paddle is the way to go, but it’s tough to maneuver when there’s a fish on the line. Kayaks that can be propelled with pedal-power are much easier to fish from. And don’t worry, you’ll still get a thorough work-out. Note: if you go the pedal route, you’ll be a lot happier if you also get a model with a rudder. Without one, maneuvering paddle-free is essentially impossible.
- Fishing accessories. These days, rod holders, livewells, fishfinders, tackleboxes, and coolers are commonly found on kayaks. Make a list of what’s important to you, before you start shopping.
- Anchor trolly. Anchoring systems are a vastly under-rated accessory. Without one, anchoring can be very difficult. Yet in many fishing situations you’ll want to stay put. Using a Power Pole Micro is another excellent option, for this purpose.
Okay: ready to go shopping? One final word: a heavy-duty hard-core fishing kayak can run you thousands of dollars. So be forewarned, sticker-shock is a distinct possibility. Once you get that yak, however, we’d doubt you’ll regret it for one single second.