THE POPULARITY OF KAYAK fishing continues to grow by leaps and bounds. It’s no wonder. Fishing from a kayak is great fun, great exercise, and an extremely effective way to hook into those fish.
Thanks to this popularity, however, there’s also a flood of new fishing ’yaks hitting the market. How do you know which one to pick, especially if you’re choosing one as a gift for a young angler?
As you peruse the marketplace, here are a few things to consider:
• The seat is one of the most important parts of a fishing kayak. A good seat can mean the difference between quitting after an hour or two of fishing, or casting in comfort all day long. Look for seats that are adjustable, have tall backrests, and padding where appropriate. Simple molded plastic seats are the pits and will wear out an angler’s butt and back in no time.
• Consider both transportation and angler size when choosing kayak size. Remember that smaller, lighter kayaks are easier to handle (especially if car-topping will be necessary), and they’re also easier to store.
However, large people may need larger kayaks. If you want to be able to stand up now and again, wider beams are a must. Generally speaking, a 30-inch beam is minimal for safe standing.
• Does the angler hope to paddle, or pedal? Pedal kayaks have the obvious advantage of letting you maintain propulsion while a fishing rod is in your hands. However, they’re also usually much more expensive.
Most beginners start off with the paddle variety. Many find the use of a paddle really doesn’t impact their fishing success too terribly much. One exception: anglers who like to troll do tend to gravitate towards pedaling, for sure.
• Focus more on getting a high-quality platform, and less on choosing one with lots of bells and whistles. All the extras are great but different anglers like different accessories and fishing kayaks are highly customizable.
Accessories from rodholders to fishfinders can be added to a basic kayak over time. Buying a top-notch model allows a kayak angler to start fishing, then rig up the boat to their own personal liking as time goes on.
Whichever make and model you may eventually pick out, we can guarantee you one thing: any young angler who gets a fishing kayak for Christmas is going to be one happy camper. So after you pick out that ’yak don’t forget to buy lots of wrapping paper—lots and lots of wrapping paper.
Straddling the Texas-Louisiana border, swampy Caddo Lake in Northeast Texas has an enduring air of mystery. And the paddling trails are the ideal way to explore this fascinating lake.
—story by Texas Fish & Game Staff Report