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There’s a new fishing rig in town. And this one doesn’t have a motor.
Kayak fishing has taken the country by storm in recent years. Kayaks appeal to anglers for a variety of reasons. They’re much more reasonably priced than motorized fishing boats. They take up less space. They can be hauled without a trailer. They are pretty much maintenance free. And you can get exercise while you fish. Plus, fishing in them is always an adventure.
Some who fish from kayaks are just casual anglers, but some outfit their boats with a full line of fishing equipment, including rod holders, net holders, tackle boxes and even electronics, making them bona fide fishing machines.
Getting Started - Choosing the Right Model
The best place to start when picking a new kayak is to go to your local paddle shop and try out a few different boats. Your pro shop can explain a lot of variables you might not have considered in a kayak. Do you want a sit-on-top kayak or one with an enclosed cockpit? Sit-on-top models allow more freedom of movement and won’t fill with water if you tip over. However, cockpit models have a lower center of gravity and keep you dryer. Plus you’re less apt to lose your gear if you tip. What about length and width? Wider models are more stable, but skinnier models slice through the water better and are easier to paddle. Long boats are built for paddling long distances and riding waves while shorter ones are good for quick maneuvers.
Paddles and Pedals
Traditionally, kayakers use a paddle to propel themselves, and if you go this route, definitely get a leash for your paddle, because it’s easy to lose it when you reach for your rod to battle a fish. Some kayaks are equipped with pedals, which keep your hands free and make it easier to fish. It’s a good option for those who like to troll from their kayaks.
Some kayaks also have stand-up fishing capability. These models are very stable and suit anglers who are more comfortable standing while they fish. Seats are another consideration. A good, high-backed seat is a nice feature to help you fish in comfort.
Many kayak models are now designed specifically for fishing, with features like built-in rod holders and tackle pouches. However, you needn’t buy something like this specifically. You can outfit your kayak any way you want with clamp-on rod holders, and most kayaks will have some type of storage system. You can customize your own craft any way you want.
Beyond the Basics - Cool Extras to Personalize Your Kayak
There are tons of accessories for kayak anglers. You can get removable pouches that are great for holding tackle and other gear. Those rod holders can double as net holders as well. Folding, collapsible nets make transportation of this necessary item easy. Cargo holds can hold everything you need for a day on the water: sunscreen, bug spray, your lunch, extra clothing … heck, they can even be used to store your catch!
With some alterations you can really customize your kayak to your exact specifications. Suction-cup transducers are perfect for kayaks and you can mount your fish-finder screen in front of you where it’s easy to read. Some anglers even mount bow and stern lights for fishing in low-light conditions and for safety. An orange flag is another good safety add-on, especially when fishing where power boats are present. Lightweight anchors can be added, or for even less weight, you can get an anchor bag. When you reach your lake, simply fill the bag with rocks and you have an instant, portable anchor.
When it’s time to fish, you have some options. You can either paddle to a specific fishing spot and anchor or drift, or you can even troll. Trolling can be a great way to get a workout while you fish.
Versatile Fishing Crafts
And kayaks aren’t just for novice anglers after panfish. Saltwater anglers are venturing out miles from shore, chasing big game in deep water.
Whether you’re looking to soak some worms for sunnies in a quiet pond or trolling for salmon on the Great Lakes, a kayak can deliver.
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