Tips for Buying Your First Fishing Kayak

Thanks to the growing popularity of the kayak fishing sport, you now have so many choices of fishing kayaks. But before you go out shopping, be clear on a few essential considerations.

Where You Want to Kayak

If you’re planning on lakes, rivers and other protected water, length and storage won’t be a problem since current will typically be calm and you will have waterside or boat ramp access where you fish.

Definitely, it will be different if you have your sights on bays, inlets and other types of open water. For starters, you will need something with specific features that work best for the open environment, such as a lower center of gravity seat position for greater stability or hulls designed to push forward into winds and swells more efficiently.

Length and Width

A longer and narrower kayak hull will have greater water length and less drag, which translates to faster hull speeds and greater efficiency overall. A shorter and wider kayak hull, on the other hand, provides greater maneuverability and stability. In short, manipulating it will be easier in difficult situations, and it will be safer for higher seat positions and heavier loads.

Sit-On versus Sit-In

Sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks are more popular mainly because they offer more customizability to suit various needs. As well, they have self-draining scupper holes, and are less restrictive with fishing and easier to get on and off.

Sit-in-kayaks (SIT) come with more spacious cockpits, canoe fashion, which are great for fishing too. They are usually preferred for three main reasons – excellent stability (seat is below the water), limited exposure to the elements, and a good old-fashioned paddling/angling feel to fishing.

Pedal vs. Paddle

With a pedal fishing kayak’s broader and flatter cockpit, standing and sighting cast will be a breeze, plus you can steer using a single hand. Moreover, the deck is particularly designed to let you add key accessories with ease.

On the other hand, paddle fishing kayaks cost less, and because they weight lighter, they are easier to transport. They are great for shallower water and especially open water. Additionally, they have fewer working parts, a lower center of gravity, and more room for storage, and can be quiet when needed.

Safety with Colors

Finally, even as brighter colors are always more noticeable in almost any condition, they are no safety guarantees. When lighting is slow and/or a big swell comes up, kayaks are always hard to see. So always assume that the skipper of an oncoming vehicle couldn’t see you, and do everything you can to increase your visibility.

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