Fishing from a kayak presents a more approachable and affordable way to get out on the water. With the sport growing in popularity, so too is the selection of kayaks. Below are some key considerations to keep in mind when selecting your first kayak and how you can rig it.
Fishing From a Kayak for Beginners: Selecting the Right Kayak
When purchasing a kayak, like many other things, you get what you pay for. Kayaks can range in price from a couple hundred dollars to well up into the thousands. The price of some kayak models may seem on the higher side but it’s often cheaper to buy the kayak you want to start with, rather than upgrading later on.
The price of a kayak is typically based on the quality of construction and the features included.
Take some time to review kayaks from different companies and start to get a feel for what features you think you’ll want. While there’s no shortage of thoughts and opinions online, it’s best to take the time to visit a local outfitter and try a few kayaks before you make a final decision. Often times, people select a kayak that they weren’t even considering before and who knows, there may even be a sale going on.
The days of having to paddle your kayak are in the past.
Some anglers prefer to paddle when kayak fishing, but if you’re looking for an alternative, there are plenty of pedal and motor options available. When considering which is best for you, consider the type of water you’ll primarily be fishing. If you mainly fish rivers or moving water, you’ll probably want a kayak that turns quickly and tracks well. With current and hazards hidden in rivers, it can be a good idea to stick with a paddle-powered kayak so that you can minimize the amount of equipment in the water and prevent getting caught up. If you fish lakes and larger bodies of water, pedal-drive kayaks can be a great way to cover a lot of water while saving your arms. Pedal-drive kayaks also allow an angler to keep a fishing rod in their hands longer while staying on their spot more easily.
Fishing From a Kayak for Beginners: Rigging and Accessories
Nowadays, the rigging options for kayaks are endless. Most kayaks come with gear tracks or other methods to mount accessories like fish finders or rod holders without having to drill into your hull.
When making rigging choices, keep in mind how you fish so that you don’t add something that interferes with hooksets or paddling.
Most fishing kayaks on the market are designed for accessories, but be careful that you aren’t adding too much weight to your boat. If you overload your kayak, you’ll have difficulties moving, turning, or worse, you’ll sink it. Check out companies like YakAttack and Railblaza for some great options.
Fishing From a Kayak for Beginners: Safety
Every year there’s always a few tragic stories of kayakers going missing because they underestimated the body of water they were on or the weather conditions. To be prepared for a day on the water and ensure that you return safe, there are a few simple safety items to keep in mind.
First and foremost, a Personal Floatation Device (PFD).
Many kayak anglers decide not to wear a PFD because it’s uncomfortable or they think they’ll be fine if they were somehow to fall into the water. When an incident occurs that sends an angler into the water it’s rarely expected. You’d be surprised to hear how some of the most seasoned anglers have panicked when they’ve ended up in the water. There are so many options to choose from when it comes to PFDs, take the time to find the one that’s right for you.
Another vital piece of safety equipment is a visibility flag. Kayaks come in all sizes and colors but trust me when I tell you that no matter how bright of a color you choose, boats still won’t see you every time. There are many companies that make flags with built in LED lights for those early mornings or late night fishing trips. When fishing popular bodies of water, it’s essential to do everything within your power to make yourself visible to other boaters and avoid an accident.
Once the weather and water warms up, it’s always a good idea to take your kayak out with your PFD but leave the rest of your gear at home. Paddle or pedal around to get a feel for how the kayak handles. Take your time to get comfortable with it and even make a few leans to figure out how much stability you have in each direction. Don’t be afraid to tip, worst case, you’ll get to test your PFD. Knowing the limits of your kayak will help you gain confidence in what you can and cannot handle.
This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert
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