How to Choose a Fishing Kayak – 3 Steps to Follow

Many people wonder why some anglers prefer fishing from a kayak as opposed to a motorboat. The answer to that question is usually broad. However, there are three main reasons for this; challenge, stealth, and expenses. We’ve explained here how to choose a fishing kayak, lets go for details.

To start with, the kayak has very little expenses compared to a motorboat. The purchasing price, transportation costs, storage costs, and the maintenance costs of a kayak are nowhere near that of a motorboat. Kayaks also offer an angler with great stealth when working their way towards a wary school of fish. Finally, the thrill of catching large species of freshwater and saltwater monsters is unbelievable hence the challenge.

If you are that type of an angler who prefers a good fight, then owning a kayak should be at the top of your list.
How does one go about choosing the best fishing kayak? There are three major steps to ensure you get the best fishing kayak from the market.

Step 1: How to Choose a Fishing Kayak: Know The Type Of Kayaking Fishing

Before you decide on which kayak you want, you need to know the type of kayaking fishing that you might pursue as each kayak is designed differently. To help with this process, you need to become aware that kayak fishing is divided into two categories consisting of fishing in saltwater as well as fishing in freshwater. These categories are also subdivided into two more categories. The freshwater fishing is split into fishing on moving water and fishing on the still water. The saltwater fishing is categorized into offshore fishing and inshore fishing.
For the sake of this article, we will look at all the above classifications to help you chose the best fishing kayak.

Kayak Fishing at Freshwater:

Stillwater Fishing:
Stillwater fishing can comprise any body of water from a small pond to a huge lake. Smaller bodies of water require short, lightweight kayaks that contain a moderate degree of rocker and a high degree of initial stability. Both sit-on-tops and recreational kayaks would fit perfectly for this task.

If you are planning to fish on large bodies of still water, then a long, fast, and a slim sit-in kayak with a low degree of rocker and a lower degree of initial stability would do the trick. The main reason for this is because fishing in large bodies of water requires speed.

Moving Water Fishing:
This type of fishing can take place anywhere the water is flowing like a river with rapids. As there are certain types of fishing kayaks designed for this purpose, one universal constant should be observed when making a choice. You need to keep in mind that when fishing in this territory, the current will be propelling your canoe. Therefore, you need a wide, short, sit-in kayak for this task. The kayak should have soft chines, with a high degree of rocker and a high degree of secondary stability.

Kayak Fishing at Saltwater:

Inshore Waters:
If you are planning to fish on bays, inlets, estuaries, sounds, creeks, and flats, choosing a slim and long kayak that consists of a moderate degree of the rocker can help you accomplish this task.
Offshore Waters:
These are types of water with over 70 feet of depth. Factoring many challenges such as strong winds and occasional wave attacks, having a long, slim kayak could do the trick. The kayak, however, has to have a moderate degree of rocker. Many fishermen prefer to use sit-on-top kayaks for saltwater fishing as they are known to be unsinkable.

Step 2: Determining the Type of Kayak that Suits the Type of Water you will be Fishing

There are many types of Kayaks in the market, each designed for its unique purpose. The following are the common types of kayaks available:

Sit-on-top Kayaks:
The difference between the sit-on-top kayaks and sit-in kayaks is that the sit-on-top kayaks weren’t designed with an enclosed cockpit. The sit-on-top kayaks also have tiny holes in the bulge that are used to drain any water that might enter the cockpit. Sit-on-top kayaks are also unsinkable due to their double hull construction whereby the enclosed airspace fond between the outer and the inner hulls helps to trap air inside. These kayaks are made from “rationally-molded” polyethylene plastic making them tough though heavy to carry. They usually have a length of 10 to 16 feet with relatively wide beam giving them a high degree of initial stability. However, due to their poor secondary stability and lack of skeg or a rudder that helps to maintain course, they are best suited for calm water fishing.
Day-Touring Kayaks:
Day touring kayaks are designed to be longer and slimmer and have an efficient hull design compared to other Kayaks. Their design gives the paddler more speed and requires less effort compared to the rest. They are ideal for still water fishing as well as onshore and offshore kayak fishing.

Step 3: Selecting the Best Kayak that Coincides with your Needs:

Kayaks are made to perform in different locations. Selecting a Kayak that fits your needs would help you enjoy fishing. The following should be considered when choosing a fishing Kayak;

Initial Stability vs. Secondary Stability:
A kayak is said to have initial stability depending on how it feels when sitting upright on its keel. Wide kayaks are known to have a high degree of initial stability compared to narrow kayaks. Hard-chined kayaks are known to have a low degree of stability whereas soft-chined kayaks are known to have a high degree of initial stability.

A measure of secondary stability is determined by how stable a kayak is when leaning on its side. This being said, a wide kayak has a low degree of secondary stability whereas the narrow kayak has a high degree of secondary stability. Hard-chined kayaks have a high degree of secondary stability, and soft-chined kayaks have a low degree of secondary stability.

Length vs. Width:
Length and width play a crucial role in the speed and maneuverability of the kayak. Kayaks with long hulls are fast than those with a short kayak hulls with the same width. This is because the long kayaks have a longer waterline. Long kayaks, however, are less maneuverable compared to short kayak hulls.

Narrow kayaks are fast than wide kayaks but have a less initial stability compared to the wide kayaks. Narrow kayaks, however, have a greater secondary stability than their wide kayaks counterparts.

Kayaks with a great initial stability are the best on flat waters but are highly unstable in rough waters. Consequently, kayaks with a great secondary stability are more stable on rough seas but are not the best on flat waters.

Maneuverability vs. Tracking:
In a kayak, a rocker is simply a measure of how much the hull curves along the keel from the center to the end of the hull. This being said, you will find that hulls that have a high degree of rocker will appear to be highly curved as those with a low degree of rocker will be straight along the keel.

Kayak hulls with a high level of rocker don’t track well but are an easy to turn whereas kayak hulls with a low degree of rocker track well but are a challenge to turn. Kayak hulls with a high degree of rocker are very fast but require a rudder or a skag to keep them on course, whereas kayak hulls with a low degree of rocker are slower.

Choosing the right kayak will greatly depend on the place you are going to use it. A clear knowledge of how to operate a kayak could come in handy especially in an emergency case. We understand that each kayak has its strengths and weaknesses. The following list of features of a good kayak will lead you on the right path when choosing one.

Skill level: Your experience using a kayak plays a crucial role in the type of a kayak that you might choose. If you are just starting out or you have little skills, getting a short and wide kayak would be the safest decision. You should also start on still waters.

Sit-in kayaks vs. Sit-on-top kayaks:
Many people prefer the sit-on-top kayaks as they have wide open cockpits, unsinkable hulls, and a high degree of initial stability hence making people feel safer when battling with a big fish. They are also easy to reenter in case they capsize, or the paddler accidentally falls into the water.

Sit-in kayaks are faster, are the best for rough waters, and offer protection from other elements.

Your budget will determine the type of a kayak that you will get. Polythene kayaks are the cheapest in the market whereas composite kayaks are the most expensive. With a good budget, you can get a good kayak that will serve you well.

Fishing is an exciting experience especially when you are fully prepared. When you consider all the above, I’m sure you will be able to narrow down on the type of kayak that will suit you depending on where you intend to use it.

Happy Kayaking…

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