Buy a Fishing Kayak

Why You Should Buy a Fishing Kayak Instead of Using Your Recreational Kayak

Today, you can find inexpensive kayaks for sale about everywhere you go.

It seems that I woke up one day, and they were in all sporting goods stores, hardware stores, and even tractor supply stores.

I keep waiting to see them at grocery stores or pharmacies that are not owned by the Walton family.  

They are for sale on Ebay, Facebook, Craig’s List and on the side of the road.  In my twenties, I would have been in heaven to have had all the inexpensive choices.

Many of these recreation boats are a great way to discover if you want to go deeper into kayaking, or for the occasional kayaker to float shallow creeks during the summer months.  They can also be nice to use on small ponds and lakes, or even to paddle distances for exercise. They can also be used as an opportunity to introduce kids to the water.  

Fishing kayak bass tournaments is another thing entirely.  Once you sign up to fish a tournament (often weeks in advance of a date) — and travel across many states — you have committed to rain, sleet, snow, hail, wind, or storms.  Many of the recreational kayaks are not set up for long days of tournament kayak fishing or for large, open bodies of water in less than calm weather conditions.

I’m Not a Brand Basher When Giving Tips To Help You Buy a Fishing Kayak

Now before some of y’all get started, I am not a brand basher and have seen people out in the middle of Kentucky Lake in a small kayak (without life jacketswear a life jacket!). 

I have fished against folks in 10-foot sit-in kayaks who have out fished me, and I know many people who started that way.  There is nothing that says you cannot.

And nothing says you should not fish from them.

But if you are going to fish tournaments more than locally, I suggest you upgrade from those smaller, narrow kayaks to something designed for the more serious kayak tournament angler.

Buy a Fishing Kayak: The Pros and Cons 

Kayaks designed for fishing usually have higher weight ratings that allow you to carry yourself and gear.  They offer storage, mounting locations with options and have seats designed for comfort on the long days. Many now offer pedal options to help you cover water and to better manage weather conditions; all while offering greatly increased stability.  These boats also offer the capability to mount motors.

The down side can be cost.

You are not going to get a Hobie for the price of a Pelican, or a Jackson for the cost of a Sun Dolphin; but you are going to be making a good down payment on a competitive advantage and increased safety on big water.  Most kayak outfitters will work with you to find affordable options to get you in the right boat for the right water, so don’t overlook a local kayak dealer in favor of the big box options.

A Pro Tip To Help You Buy a Fishing Kayak

There are all shapes and sizes when it comes to kayaks, each having an intended purpose.  I will tell anyone who is buying one to demo many different kinds, then demo a few more. Look for a local outfitter, or check out Facebook to find a local kayak group; they will find you someone with the kayak you want to try. 

Buy a Fishing Kayak(1)

Search for demo days like Caney Fork’s Waterpalooza!  

Also, really think through your intended use with each demo. Consider the limitations of the kayak you are sitting in or on during that demo.  And if you plan to spend forty or fifty weekends in one, make the upgrade with your first purchase.

This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert

Become an ANGLR Expert and apply here.

Mike Cheatham


May 2016, sat in my first kayak. October 2016, skunked in my first tournament. Spring of 2017, placed 11th in the KBF Open and have chased the addiction since. Fishing is the one place my mind gets quiet, the place I have always found peace. To do it competitively with a great bunch of folks is just a bonus. To have an opportunity to combine my love for fishing with writing...I feel like I have finally found a place in this world! I do have the support of a wonderful woman who understands my need to be on the water; she supports my dreams is truly good.

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