From small ponds to open ocean waters, a fishing kayak provides unique access to all the best fishing spots. Unlike boats, fishing kayaks are easily portable, quiet, and aren’t bothered by weeds or shallow water. As a bonus, all of them can be used for recreational paddling too.
Since every angler has their own preference when it comes to gear and setup, fishing kayaks offer a wide array of designs and available features. In this article, you’re going to learn about everything the best fishing kayak can give you and hopefully find a model that you’ll love taking out on the water.
How To Choose A Fishing Kayak – Buying Guide
One of the best things about getting a fishing kayak is that it comes with certain kayak fishing accessories that allow you to hit the water and cast the bait straight away. However, the amount of extra equipment you get varies significantly from one model to the other.
Most models come with Fishing rod holders, usually a pair of flush mounts behind the seat. Many higher-end models have more than two, and often also come with a swivel rod holder on the side.
If you’re not satisfied with what is provided, be sure to look for a kayak with plenty of gear tracks. Ranging from two to over six, these tracks allow you to mount not just high-quality rod holders from Scotty or YakAttack, but also custom mounts for electronic devices.
On the other hand, instead of buying custom mounts, some fishing kayaks have central consoles that have mounting points for various GPS units and fish finders. Lastly, a few kayaks like Hobie Mirage and Pescador Pilot come with pedal systems for keeping your hands free, while the Wilderness Systems ATAK sit-on-top kayak even allows installing a small trolling motor in the middle.
A successful day on the water/river often requires bringing a lot of different kayaking fishing gear so you can adapt to the conditions. Because of this, the kayak you choose needs to have enough organized storage.
Most top-rated fishing kayaks have a bungee-corded tank well behind the seat that allows you to store dry bags, milk crates, and larger tackle boxes. It’s a bonus if a kayak has an additional bungee area for smaller items you need close to hand.
As for dry storage, that is always a big plus. While not all fishing kayaks offer this, you’ll find that it’s a very useful addition. A dry storage hatch not only protects your valuables from water but also allows you to safely store rods inside the hull when you don’t need them.
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Since you’ll probably spend several hours at a time in your fishing kayak, comfort is very high on the list of considerations when buying. This mostly depends on the seat, so we advise that you take a look at its design and adjustability.
The best kayak seat is ergonomic and gives you proper back support so you don’t get sore while sitting. Also, it’s a big advantage if it’s padded in specific areas so it feels softer to sit on. However, this shouldn’t compromise breathability, and having a little mesh will prevent you from sweating in the seat.
Furthermore, the seat needs to be adjustable. Most models allow you to change the backrest angle, but the premium seats can move in every direction to find the optimal position.
In addition to the chair, comfort also depends on the deck design. Generally speaking, it should be spacious, with adjustable footrests and enough space for stretching your legs.
Hull Design And Stability
For fishing kayaks, stability is a very important aspect. They shouldn’t rock too much while casting or reeling, and it’s ideal if they are stable enough to stand on. For this to be possible, the kayak needs to have a wide and flat hull.
While this sounds really nice, there is a trade-off – speed. A shorter and wider fishing kayak is going to be much slower on the rough water than a longer and narrower one. Getting both speed and stability isn’t easy, and you’ll usually have to choose between the two.
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The closest thing to a compromise is a flat hull kayak with a sharp blow, like the Mirage Compass or the Tamarack Angler. We would advise that you choose stability over speed, as this will make a much larger difference when fishing on a kayak.
Benefits Of Kayak Fishing
Compared to fishing boats and other vessels, the best fishing kayaks have several advantages when it comes to catching fish. Some of these include:
- Portability – Doesn’t require a trailer (you can carry or drag it to the water)
- Noise Elimination – Allows you to relax in peace and quiet without scaring the fish
- Cost Reduction – No batteries or gas required, making them more affordable
- Wider Access Area – Able to reach remote areas that are unavailable to larger boats.
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Getting a fishing kayak is probably the best way to take your fishing adventures to a higher level. They provide quick and convenient access to your favorite fishing spot and allow you to arrange your fishing gear exactly how you like it. We hope our reviews helped you find an ideal model that will increase your catch on weakfishes too and put a smile on your face when fishing in a kayak.
More Fishing Kayak Reviews:
- Best Kayak Knives
- Kayak Fishing Nets
- Kayak Paddles For Fishing
- Tandem Fishing Kayak
- Ocean Fshing Kayak
New to kayaking or have a kayak on our list? Let us know how you like it in the comment section below.