You’ve decided that you want to start fishing off the shore and venture deeper into the waters, but what are the considerations that you should look at when choosing your “ride”? We’ll cover some aspects of fishing kayaks that you would want to consider when choosing your fishing kayak.
Speed and stability
In a touring kayak, you’ll see it being narrower, thus moves faster through the water. Having a fast-moving kayak is probably what you won’t need as you won’t be “chasing” after fishes to a race, you would also not be moving around too much on the water while you’re fishing. While fishing, you’ll want to be on a more stable craft that lets you focus on fighting the fish rather than focus on maintaining your balance.
In a typical touring kayak, it does offer much storage on board the kayak, but they’re less accessible compared to fishing kayaks. The storage option for touring kayaks are meant to be accessed before and after the water activity instead of it being accessible DURING the on-water activity. Fishing kayaks allows you to put equipment on top of the kayak which makes them easily assessable for you. Having sufficient accessible storage on a fishing kayak will allow you to change your setup easily while you’re out in the water. The additional stability that we mentioned above also helps. It’ll be unfortunate to capsize when changing your rig.
Fishing kayaks have specific areas that allow you to include mountings for your rods and still allow you to operate your kayak safely and effectively without hindering you while paddling. Touring kayaks on the other hand, would not have such features inbuilt for their designs. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have mounts on your touring kayak, but they’ll probably hinder your paddling movements and annoy you.
Ease of use
Touring kayaks, through allows you to move faster, require more skill to manoeuver around. The less stable nature of the touring kayak will distract you on what you really want to do while out in the water: fishing. Fishing kayaks on the other hand, will be easier for anglers; just sit and go!
The kayak that suits you will also need to suit the type of water body that it’s going to be operating in. Different water bodies will place a premium over certain characteristics of the kayak over others. Will you be fishing in a lake, fast flowing river, or even the open sea? Decide which is the type of water body that you’ll most likely be fishing in, then move to the next few points to decide which types of fishing kayak works for you.
The dimensions of the kayak can help you achieve different goals; they can be as practical as asking yourself “how am I going to store the kayak at home?” to performance related goals focusing on the kayak’s maneuverability, or even the size of fish that you’re trying to target. Length and speed – We’ve covered this earlier, the longer and narrower kayaks are easier to travel straight and thus cover longer distances, but sacrifice on the stability of the craft (and you) and the ease of maneuverability in the water. If you’re interested in covering long distances to reach your fishing spot, or need to cut through waves, longer and narrower kayaks would be suitable for you. Shorter kayaks are great for maneuverability and provides you superior control over your kayak especially when you’re fishing in rivers or a water body which has more obstacles. Wider kayaks are more stable and thus allow you to focus on enjoying the adrenaline rush that presents itself when you’ve hooked up a big fish instead of focusing on keeping yourself balanced on the kayak. Wider kayaks can also carry a heavier payload due to its ability to have a larger displacement.
Sit-In or Sit-On-Top Kayak?
Sit-in kayaks have an enclosed deck that allows you to install a skirting to keep your lower body relatively dry while you negotiate faster waters or waves. Most fishermen prefer sit-on-top kayaks due to their stability from the wider body. They are inherently safer for the inexperienced paddler as the paddler can just hop off the kayak in case of a capsize; sit-in kayaks require more skill by the paddler to escape due to its enclosed nature. Recovering and getting back of sit-on-top kayak after a capsize is easier as they do not collect water within the kayak; sit-in kayaks can collect substantially more water in the kayak because they are enclosed and water can only be emptied out of the kayak through its cockpit. And since we’re more interested in fishing compared to kayaking as a sport, we’ll recommend the sit-on-top kayaks more often!
Weight and Transportability
If you live just by the water body with your own kayak “parking lot”, this section or consideration is not relevant to you. But if you’re like most of us who need to travel to the water body just to enjoy fishing, this will be an important consideration. A heavy kayak will inherently be more difficult to transport; especially so if you intend to transport your kayak on top of your car or SUV on a rack. Hauling a heavy kayak onto the rack can be damaging to your back (or your car if you accidentally hit your car with the kayak) if not done properly. You might consider having trailers to transport heavier kayaks or if you have more kayaks to transport when you go fishing.
If you’ll prefer to lounge in your kayak once you’ve reached your fishing spot, a comfortable seat or a kayak that lets you customize your kayak seat will be something that you should consider placing more emphasis on.