8 Must-Haves for Any Kayak Angler
After weeks of searching around, I recently purchased my first kayak from Academy Sports. While most anglers prefer a sit-on-top for their added ease when it comes to fishing, I decided on a sit-in-style. They are cheaper than most sit-on-top models and allowed me to still use it for other recreational activities.
The particular model I chose was a ten-foot Pelican Argo 100. It received very good reviews and is a great beginner kayak for only $199.99.
While it may not look like much of a fishing kayak when you get it, purchasing a few items for around $150 or less easily changes that.
- Milk Crate– The good ol’ milk crate is an absolute must-have in any kayak. It easily allows you to store and organize extra gear, lures, and more. I purchased the crate kit from Yak-Gear for $29.99, It also includes two-rod holders and a pouch, along with the hardware to mount them.
- Flush Mount Pole Holders– These flush pole holders are great for taking along extra poles or for keeping other gear. Slide your net or anchor into one to keep things organized and easily accessible. Installing them is simple and they are relatively cheap at only $6.99 each.
- Foldable Anchor– You will quickly find the most annoying part of kayak fishing is staying in place in the wind or current. A light anchor and some paracord is all that is needed to remedy this. While there are many types of anchors, a foldable one is fantastic for saving valuable space in your kayak. A 1.5lb anchor is all you really need and can be purchased for around $9.99.
- Anchor Trolley System– While you may think that just dropping anchor when fishing will keep you in position, you may want to think again. You will find the wind or current will end up spinning you away in every direction but the way you want to face. Standing up and tying your anchor to the front or rear of your kayak isn’t an option unless you want to go swimming. An anchor trolly remedies this by allowing you to clip your anchor to it and using a pulley system move the anchor to whatever point you need it based on the conditions. I purchased the deluxe system from Yak-Gear for $29.99.
- Drift Sock– A good breeze or current at your back pushing you along the bank is like having a natural trolling motor in a kayak. It can at times move you along a little faster than you wish. Dropping a drift sock behind you slows you down, giving you time to make a few more casts before you are on to the next area. Don’t waste your money on the smaller ones “designed” for kayaks. They don’t have enough mass to do much, instead pick up one at least 21” wide. Academy Sports sells them for around $12.99
- Interchangeable Base w/ Adjustable Pole Holder– Adding a multi-use mount base allows you to change up what you want with just a simple click and switch. Most bases are interchangeable from rod holders to camera mounts with many different brands. These add a lot of versatility when out on the water. One base and pole holder combo is a deal at $19.99.
- Extra Pad Eyes– You can never have to many eyes to clip rod leashes or anything else you need to keep from sinking in the water. Add as many as you need, where ever you need them. You can purchase them in packs of 5 with hardware for $11.99.
- Rod Leashes– Rod leashes are designed to attach to your fishing poles or paddle so you can clip them onto pad eyes. Basically, if you drop it or flip your kayak it keeps them from sinking or floating away. These are pretty expensive at $9.99 for basically a piece of rope with a clip, but you can easily make your own.
The above items are at least what I would pick up to get the most enjoyment out of fishing from your kayak. However, if you really just want to get out there, grab a milk crate and throw a few pole holders on it. This will at least keep your stuff organized and out of the way until you can add other things along the way.
Putting the Kayak Modifications All Together
Once you’ve purchased your kayak and gather all the above items you are ready to assemble your build. This doesn’t take more than a few hours, minimal tools, and a little silicone. However, plan where you want to put each item before you start drilling holes into your kayak. Once you drill a hole there is no going back.
Get yourself a sharpie and mark everything out. Sit inside your kayak and make sure your paddle isn’t going to bump anything when you’re out on the water, and that everything is easily accessible.
With this setup, you will be able to go after just about any type of fish you want from panfish to catfish, and fish any way you want from traditional casting to trolling. You just can’t beat that for $350 or less.
If you are wanting to get into kayak fishing don’t hesitate, you will love it. I have put in a lot of hours already with my own in the short amount of time I have owned it. I couldn’t be happier with the choices I made, the places it allows me to go, and the fish it has helped me bring in.
Check out Professional Bass Angler Dave Lefebre’s Custom Bonafide Kayak here!