Are Kayaks Good for Fishing?


Kayak Fishing Guide - Informative tips, articles and product reviews for the kayak angler.

Kayak fishing is one of the hottest trends in the fishing industry at the moment. It’s almost impossible to visit a sporting goods store, tackle shop, or an online fishing forum without coming across something about chasing down finned creatures from a kayak. And sure enough, there’s some sense behind this trend!

Kayaks are good for fishing because they are more economical, stealthier, customizable, and more comfortable than traditional motorized fishing boats. They also provide better casting angles so anglers can adjust to unique fishing situations and go where powerboats can’t.

This article will explain in detail why kayaks are good for fishing and discuss the most important factors to consider when selecting one. Let’s dive right in.

Why Kayaks Are Good for Fishing

Whether fishing for fun or commercial reasons, using a kayak can enhance your fishing experience in the following ways:

Kayaks Are Highly Customizable

It used to be fishing was a simple task of baiting a hook and casting it into the water. Nowadays, you can add electronic fish finders and GPS units to lock in your fishing locations and hot spots! Kayaks lend themselves well to personalization.

Regardless of the kayak type, there is always room for customization. You can add accessories such as lip grips, leashes, flags, lights, and personal floatation devices. While this level of customization doesn’t guarantee you a bountiful catch, fishing accessories will certainly tip the odds in your favor and improve safety.

PFD’s and Flags are essential safety items! See my best picks at Best Kayak Fishing Gear: My battle-tested picks here on my site!

Kayaks Are Stealthy

The silent operation of a kayak is your significant advantage over larger and noisier motorized boats. Being stealthy allows you to quietly move within close casting distance to your target fish without spooking them. This fact alone gives you more opportunities to land trophy fish!

Plus, you can make yours even more silent by adding stealth rubber to the parts of your kayak or deck where you lay your tackle box, rod, paddle, and other fishing gear.

Kayaks Are Economical

Kayaks are more pocket-friendly than traditional powered boats because:

  • They’re cheaper to purchase compared to powered boats.
  • They don’t require fueling because they rely on paddling for propulsion.
  • They take up less storage space compared to powerboats. You can easily deflate and store an inflatable kayak in a small space such as a closet, or simply hang a hard shell one on the ceiling of your garage without breaking it since kayaks are typically lightweight.
  • It’s easier and cheaper to repair a kayak than a motorboat in case of an accident in the waters or transportation-related damage.
  • They don’t require insurance or registration, unlike larger boats (unless they are motorized).
  • They’re not subject to launch fees since you can launch a kayak from just about anywhere on the shore.

Kayaks Go Where Powerboats Can’t

Thanks to their small and lightweight construction, kayaks allow anglers to fish in small and shallow waters such as ponds and streams where a boat would be impossible to fit. They’re also better suited to fishing in a marsh, where grasses and other types of vegetation might cause mechanical issues in powered boats.

Kayaks Offer Better Casting Angles

A kayak’s maneuverability allows you to adjust to the unique casting situations you might find yourself in. When using a motorboat, for instance, you’ll often be restricted to casting perpendicular to the bank and then luring swims from shallow to deep water. 

With a kayak, however, you can set your vessel right on the bank. From this position, you cast and retrieve along the bank, which helps keep your lure in the “strike zone” far longer than when using a motorboat to cast at the bank perpendicularly.

Additionally, a kayak allows you to cast underneath docks and overhanging vegetation where fish tend to hide when spooked. Such casts can significantly boost your catch and are next to impossible to make with a large boat.

Kayaks Are Comfortable

If you always come home fatigued from standing for hours in a boat or on the bank, you might want to switch to kayak fishing because kayaks allow you to fish comfortably from a seated position. Better yet, many modern options come with adjustable seats so you can experiment with different sitting positions to find the sweet spot for the ultimate all-day comfort.

How to Choose the Right Fishing Kayak

Kayaks come in different types, sizes, and brands, and choosing the right fit for your unique fishing conditions can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for.

To help you out, here are the most important factors to keep in mind when shopping.

Cost

While it’s always advisable to shop within your budget, you’ll be better off with a mid-priced kayak. That’s because the cheapest kayaks will often be unstable, which can compromise an otherwise enjoyable fishing experience.

It also helps to consider how long you intend to use your kayak. Polythene sit-on-top kayaks are generally inexpensive but don’t last long. Composite kayaks, on the other hand, are built with durability in mind but will likely come at a premium.

Stability and Speed

The stability and speed of a kayak are highly dependent on the beam width. Generally, wide-beam kayaks are more stable than their narrow-beamed counterparts. On the other hand, kayaks with a narrow beam are faster than those with a wide beam.

If you intend to fish on still waters, you’ll want to go with the slower wide-beamed kayaks. When stationary, these are very stable, meaning they’ll allow you to fish comfortably in stagnant water without worrying about the vessel tipping over. 

But if you are a fan of fishing in moving waters, you’ll be better off with a narrow-beamed kayak. Even though these might seem unstable when stationary, they’re more stable than their wide-beamed counterparts when cruising at high speeds in moving water.

Skill Level

It’s also important to consider your paddling skills when choosing a fishing kayak. If you are a beginner, go for a wide and short kayak. Such kayaks have high initial stability, which comes in handy for novice paddlers who’re still learning how to balance and control a kayak.

For those with some paddling experience, a narrow-beamed kayak may be more ideal. Kayaks of this type are more stable at high speeds, making them great for experienced paddlers who can handle controlling and balancing a kayak at such speeds.

Portability

If you often kayak solo, you’ll want to consider the portability of a kayak when shopping because these vessels come in three types (recreational, fishing, and touring), and each is different in terms of portability.

Recreational kayaks typically weigh less than 40 pounds, meaning you can easily carry them by yourself if necessary. However, touring kayaks can be a bit awkward to carry solo because they’re typically long. The same goes for fishing kayaks, but not due to the length. Instead, it’s because they weigh between 70 and 100 pounds, which is difficult to carry around.

Conclusion

Indeed, the recent surge in kayak fishing isn’t one of those baseless trends. Kayaks are good for fishing because they’re more economical, customizable, and comfortable than conventional powered boats. They also provide better casting angles and allow anglers to access waters that powerboats can’t. 

If you’re considering buying a kayak to enjoy these benefits, you’ll want to choose the best fit for your unique fishing needs and conditions based on cost, portability, skill level, stability, and speed.

Do you need additional information on fishing kayaks? Check out these three articles on the site!

Thanks for stopping in and stay safe out there!

Mike Rodman

Mike enjoys fishing all year round, from fly fishing small streams in Wyoming's higher mountains to kayak fishing the lower altitude lakes and reservoirs. Mike also has a passion for ice fishing. When he has spare time, he'll be found at his rod bench building custom fishing rods.

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