- 1 Key Factors to Consider in Picking the Right Kayak
- 2 Best Fishing Kayaks
- 2.1 1. Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak Review
- 2.2 2. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak Review
- 2.3 3. Sun Dolphin Journey 12-Foot Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak Review
- 2.4 4. Ocean Kayak Frenzy 1-Person Sit-On-Top Kayak Review
- 2.5 5. Sun Dolphin Journey SS Fishing Kayak Review
- 2.6 5. Lifetime 10-foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak Review
- 2.7 6. Sun Dolphin Excursion Sit-In Fishing Kayak Review
- 3 More on Fishing Kayaks
- 4 How to Choose a Fishing Kayak
- 5 Types of Fishing Kayaks
- 5.1 Single Layer Linear Polyethylene
- 5.2 Three-layer Polyethylene
- 5.3 Fiberglass
- 5.4 Kevlar-Carbon
- 5.5 Sit-On-Top or Open Kayaks
- 5.6 Sit-In or Closed kayaks
- 5.7 Inflatable Kayaks
- 5.8 Paddling Kayaks
- 5.9 Peddling Kayaks
- 5.10 Motorized Kayaks
- 5.11 Tandem Kayaks
- 5.12 Ocean Kayak vs. River Kayak
- 5.13 Sit-In or Sit-on-Top Kayaks
- 6 Where to Buy Fishing Kayaks
- 7 What is the Difference Between a Canoe and a Kayak?
- 8 How to Fish From a Kayak
- 9 How to Get in and out of a Kayak
- 10 How to Paddle a Kayak
- 11 How To Choose a Kayak Paddle – Short Digression
- 12 How to Anchor a Kayak
- 13 What to Wear When Kayaking/Kayak Fishing
- 14 How to Transport a Kayak
- 15 FAQ
On this page we will not only provide you with a best of list and lots of reviews for great fishing kayaks in different price segments for you to choose from, we will also teach you what features a good fishing kayak has to have and what the best fishing kayaks have in common.
Key Factors to Consider in Picking the Right Kayak
Listed below are the most important key factors you need to consider, in order to make sure that you pick the right fishing kayak, which is not only reliable, but also fits your needs.
We created the list to support you in your buying decision and prevent you from purchasing a kayak that cannot meet your expectations and is not up to standards.
Different materials are used to manufacture kayaks. The materials used will vary depending on the cost, design and intended use of the fishing kayak.
Expensive high-end models are often made out of fiberglass or Kevlar carbon. An ordinary kayak for river or open water fishing is likely to be made from 3-layer or single layer polyethylene. These two materials are often preferred for their strength and affordability.
You can get a peddling, paddling or motorized kayak. Paddling kayaks require the use of a paddle or two to steer it. Their main advantage is silence. You can slip into a fishing zone very silently without disturbing the fish. A peddling or pedal kayak is fitted with pedals which are operated using your legs. This provides much more speed and control compared to paddles. It also allows you to focus on fishing since your hands are free.
Motorized kayaks tend to more or less have the same speed as pedal ones with a disadvantage of noise. With such a kayak, you risk scaring the fish away. So, which propulsion fits your needs most?
3. Size and Shape
What size of kayak do I get; wide and short or long and narrow? Remember one rule when comparing among different kayak lengths. The longer and narrower the kayak is, the faster and less stable it becomes. This means that a short and wide kayak is slower but more stable, making it ideal for beginners and for use on rivers.
On the other hand, long and narrow gets you speed but you have to be a master at controlling such a kayak. A long and narrow model is ideal for open water fishing.
4. Storage Space
How much gear are you planning on carrying with you? If you are doing a lot of fishing, consider getting a kayak with a big enough space to hold your catch. A large storage area is also handy when you are carrying lots of gear with you. Remember that the bigger the storage the more expensive the kayak will be. So if you are sure you can do with less storage, you can save some money.
5. Type of Fishing
If you will be focusing mostly on river fishing, find the appropriate kayak that will be easy to maneuver around the rapids. The same goes for open water fishing; find a kayak that can tackle waves and move quickly across open water.
If you are planning on more specific types of fishing, such as trawling or spearfishing, you may need a specialized kayak with the features and tools you need. For instance, an angler kayak comes with specialized rod holders.
How much does a fishing kayak cost? This is the top concern for fishing enthusiasts planning on buying a kayak. Luckily, there are numerous types of kayaks to fit different budgets. If you have the money to spend, consider splurging on a good $1,000 plus model. Fishing kayaks in this price range will often feature high-end materials such as Kevlar carbon. Some feature a glass-like Polycobonate material that allows you to see everything happening underneath you. It is here that you will also find motorized kayaks.
Mid-range ($400-$900) kayaks often provided the greatest value for money. Here you can find all sorts of fishing kayaks in different shapes and sizes. If you are looking for something cheap, you can get some small and inflatable fishing kayaks for just over $100 and sometimes even less.
Best Fishing Kayaks
1. Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak Review
The Ocean Kayak Malibu Tandem Sit-On-Top recreational kayak is one of the best multipurpose kayaks on the market as it can be paddled solo or tandem and can be used to go fishing. Its length measures 12′ 0″ (WIDTH 34″) and the weight capacity is 375 lbs, which should be sufficient for two adults with average weight.
With this sit-on-top you can choose between 3 different seating positions in bow, stern and middle (if going solo). 2 of these molded-in seat wells are Comfort Plus seats.
The Malibu features overlapping foot wells, bow and stern molded-in carry handles as well as gear straps and a skid plate. High-quality seatbacks are included in the package, too.
Due to its great stability, this kayak does not only do well on lakes with large boat waves, it handles the ocean just fine. Furthermore it is ease to paddle and self-draining.
Probably one of the biggest advantages is the free Amazon Prime freight shipping! Usually shipping costs add another $150 to your order.
What We Don’t Like
Unfortunately, there are no storage compartments to store your fishing accessories in. Instead you can use the straps to tie everything you need onto the kayak. Above that, paddles are not part of the scope of delivery.
If you’re looking for a compact tandem, this is it! The Malibu Tandem Sit-On-Top recreational kayak is significantly lighter than most other tandem kayaks. It is a premium product for sure and outdoes most of the other tandems out there. It is also called “The Swiss Army Knife of Kayaks” as you can use it for almost any purpose.
2. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak Review
The Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak is manufactured by Sevylor, best known for its expertise in designing great (inflatable) fishing kayaks. And first things first, what we really like about it is the fact that it comes at an affordable price and above that is often on discount.
The kayak is made of 18-gauge air-tight PVC material most suitable for fishing on a lake, solo or tandem style, with a maximum weight capacity of 470 lbs.
Due to the fact that it is an inflatable, it is lightweight and therefore easy to transport, which is perfect, if you are planning to visit many different places. For that, a carry bag is part of the scope of delivery.
Additional accessories are adjustable Berkley rod holders for fishing enthusiasts, mesh storage pockets and a pressure gauge.
Multiple air chambers add extra safety and will keep you from sinking in case that one of the chambers is punctured, which is unlikely due to the kayaks tarpaulin bottom and nylon cover.
What We Don’t Like
The Coleman Colorado is suited for fishing in calm waters, but is not a touring kayak, so if you are planning to do long tours, you better opt for a hard-shell kayak. Unfortunately, and air pump and paddle(s) are not included in the package.
For less than $500 you can do so many great and unforgettable fishing trips with your buddies with the Coleman Colorado™ 2-Person Kayak. And except for the paddles, with the package you get all the necessary accessories you need to do just that.
3. Sun Dolphin Journey 12-Foot Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak Review
Sun Dolphin is one of the best kayak brands on the market for people on a budget. The Sun Dolphin Journey 12-Foot Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak is the perfect fit for beginners. It is great for lakes and calm rivers, but not suited for the sea, due to a lack of stability when the waves get a little bigger.
Its hull is made from rugged UV-stabilized high-density PE and consists of two pieces that are bonded together towards the top.
The kayak features 2 flush mount rod holders and an additional swivel rod holder as well as seats with a seat cushion, thigh pads and an adjustable backrest.
A dry storage compartment is the perfect place to stow your valuables and the shock cord deck rigging can be used to strap your fishing gear onto the kayak. Additionally, the P.A.C. can be used as a tow-behind or extra storage compartment.
The 12-feet kayak has a weight capacity of 395 lbs, weighs about 45 lbs and tracks well with good stability and easy paddling. Moreover, it is lightweight and thanks to the retractable handles easy to carry and transport.
What We Don’t Like
The only thing that is worth criticizing is the seat that could be a little more comfortable. One way to solve this problem is to cut some memory foam and use it as extra cushion.
Considering the price, the Sun Dolphin Journey 12-Foot Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak is one of the best ones out there. Rod holders are great, stability is great and it rides with little to no effort.
4. Ocean Kayak Frenzy 1-Person Sit-On-Top Kayak Review
The compact Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak manufactured by Ocean Kayak measures 9′ 0″ in length, and weighs only 43 lbs making it a lightweight that is not only easy to lift and transport, but easy to carry to and from the water, too. Bow and stern carry handles and molded side handles are very helpful here.
It has a maximum weight capacity of 325 pounds, which is absolutely sufficient for a single kayak even if you take a lot of fishing accessories with you.
Furthermore it is easy to maneuver, stable and behaves well on calm water and therefore a great kayak even for beginners and children. The tracking is great and you can go fast with little to no effort, if you want to.
Additional features are the molded-in cup holder and a replaceable rear skid plate for added durability.
Is this kayak suited for long fishing trips? Yes, thanks to the adjustable and padded Comfort Plus backrest which supports your back.
What We Don’t Like
One negative aspect about the Frenzy Sit-On-Top is that there is no dry storage available. There are straps at the front and the rear of the kayak for your cargo and dry bags, though.
If you are new to kayaking and looking for a compact kayak with great stability, the Ocean Kayak Frenzy might be just the right choice for you. You can use it to go fishing on rivers, lakes and the ocean when it’s calm, making it the best sit-on-top kayak for beginners.
5. Sun Dolphin Journey SS Fishing Kayak Review
This kayak is clearly suited for beginners. It weighs about 40 lbs only and is therefore easy to carry to and from the water. Maneuverability on the water is great, when used on calm lakes or rivers. Due to the slim shape, you can move between different fishing spots quickly.
The Sun Dolphin Journey SS kayak features 2 flush mount rod holders and an additional swivel rod holder. You also have the choice between 2 different sizes and 3 different colors; so everybody should be able to find his or her favorite constellation.
An open cockpit makes getting in and out of the fishing kayak a piece of cake. Adjustable foot braces fit paddlers of different sizes and improve comfort.
Last but not least, a dry storage compartment comes in handy, if you are looking for a place to put your valuables.
What We Don’t Like
As soon as the water becomes a little rough, the Sun Dolphin SS kayak lacks stability and tracking declines, too. Additionally, the kayak’s weight capacity is 250 lbs max, which means that if you are really tall and heavy, you might want to look for a different yak.
The Sun Dolphin Journey SS is a solid product. There is a 10′ and a 12′ version available that are both lightweight and easy to maneuver. Keep in mind though, the purpose of this kayak is fishing, not touring.
5. Lifetime 10-foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak Review
The 10-feet long Lifetime Sport Fisher kayak weighs 65 lbs and is capable of holding up to 500 lbs in weight, which means that 2 people can sit in the ergonomic seats equipped with soft backrests and fish at the same time.
The kayak’s high-density PE chassis is not only UV-rays protected, but shaped in a way to keep it more steady with superb tracking.
To improve your fishing experience, the kayak comes with 4 fishing pole holders, ditty trays and shock-cord straps to secure loose items. Scupper holes drain the cockpit area and a rear storage hatch provides space to store your catch.
Sitting in a kayak all day can become quite uncomfortable. Luckily, the Lifetime Sport Fisher kayak allows you to change the placing of your feet due to the various footrest positions. Above that, the kayak’s stable hull allows you to stand up or sit sidesaddle for improved comfort.
2-piece sport paddles are part of the scope of delivery, as well.
What We Don’t Like
One fact that we don’t like is that there were costumers complaining about receiving damaged kayaks. Moreover, this kayak is meant for fishing. Therefore, it moves rather slowly in the water. Last but not least, water might run into the storage.
The Lifetime Sport Fisher is a great choice for anyone who is planning to go on long fishing trips and does not care about touring at high speeds. It provides everything you need to go fishing on your own or with a buddy of yours and have lots of fun!
6. Sun Dolphin Excursion Sit-In Fishing Kayak Review
In terms of dimensions, the Sun Dolphin Excursion Sit-In fishing kayak is similar to the previous Sun Dolphin SS Sit-On-Top. 12-feet length, 40 lbs of weight and 2 carrying handles make the kayak easy to carry to and from the water.
The seat is adjustable for more comfort. Additionally, the kayak features adjustable foot braces and thigh pads.
Its hull is well balanced and made of durable high-density UV-rays protective PE. Tracking and maneuverability are best suited for calm waters, such as lakes and calm rivers.
The package includes: 2 flush mount rod holders + 1 swivel rod holder and shock cord deck rigging. In the storage compartment you can place all the accessories that you need for your trip.
What We Don’t Like
The Sun Dolphin Excursion has a maximum weight capacity of 250 lbs, which means that if you are really tall and heavy, this kayak might not be suited for you. In addition to that, if you are planning to spend long hours on the water, do yourself a favor and take extra cushions for the seat, since the ones provided with the kayak are not of the best quality.
Last but not least, customers complained that the carrying handles and foot braces might break easily.
Is this the No. 1 kayak out there on the market? No! But it’s still good value for the money and best suited for fishing enthusiasts who would like to go on a fishing trip every once in a while. Keep in mind: You won’t be too overwhelmed by the quality of this kayak.
More on Fishing Kayaks
Finding a great fishing kayak is all about understanding your needs and matching them up with the best model you can find. A kayak for the open water may not work well if you want to go fishing in a river or prowl around in a small freshwater pond. For one fishing enthusiast, storage is an essential while for another speed is better. Then there is the touchy issue of budget. How much are you willing and able to spend on a good kayak?
When you are spending a sizable chunk of your hard-earned money, you want to be completely sure of the kind of investment you are making. Take your time to research all options available in the market and find the one that fits your needs. Our comprehensive guide below is a great place to start.
How to Choose a Fishing Kayak
The very first question to ask yourself is this: What do I need my kayak for? Is it for fishing in the seas? Is it for fishing as well as recreation? Is it for professional fishing? Understanding your needs is the most important step in choosing the best Kayak. From there, the next step is to thoroughly research the market for available options at different price points.
Here are other essential questions and things to consider to pick the right.
1. Where Will You Use It?
An open sea fishing kayak needs to have the best in performance and stability. Factors like size and balance matter a lot. For pond fishing, you can do with a smaller kayak that maneuvers more easily in a limited body of water. If you are going to fish in a river with rapids, the design of the kayak matters greatly in achieving safety and stability.
When shopping, you will find different types of kayak labeled as being for use in specific environments such as open sea, lake or river. If you are not sure where you are going to use the kayak or if you expect your fishing ground to change in the near future, you can buy a model designed for use in all kinds of waters.
2. How much Are You Planning to Spend?
There is something for every budget from as low as $100 for inflatables to as high as $5,000 for motorized kayaks.
3. How much Experience Do You Have?
Some fishing kayaks are designed for use with pros that can steer it perfectly even in stormy waters. Others are ideal for beginners for use in calmer waters. If you are just starting out, you may want to consider low-cost kayaks to give you hands-on training before graduating to more advanced ones.
4. How much Storage Do You Need?
The answer to this will vary depending on your individual needs. If you are doing some serious fishing, look for a kayak with plenty of storage for your catches and gear. If your fishing is more recreational, smaller storage can do. But you might still need bigger storage if you want to carry a lot of gear with you for activities like diving.
5. How Do You Want to Move?
Propulsion is another major issue we will look at in more detail shortly. There are several options when it comes to powering up your kayak; paddling, pedaling and electric motor. Each option has its pros and cons.
Types of Fishing Kayaks
We can categorize fishing kayaks based on three factors; materials of construction, method of use and location of use.
Single Layer Linear Polyethylene
One of the most commonly used kayak construction materials. It is loved for its resistance to the elements and durability.
Consists of three layers; a top glossy layer, a thick foam middle layer for buoyancy and insulation and an inner linear layer. Though lighter than a single layer kayak, it does not last as long.
Fiberglass kayaks are much lighter than any of the above polyethylene types though with the drawback of being more fragile against impact. They are also more expensive.
This is the lightest type of kayak, lighter than even fiberglass. However, expect to dig deep into your pocket to own one of these.
Method of Use and Propulsion
Sit-On-Top or Open Kayaks
These feature a seat above the hull rather than inside as is common with traditional kayaks. They are ideal for beginners who have yet to perfect maneuvering and control.
Sit-In or Closed kayaks
these are much older designs that go back several centuries. The user sits inside the hull surrounded by a waterproof skirt to prevent water from getting into the cockpit.
made from rubberized fabric. They are often cheaper and lighter than the other types. They are designed for leisure fishing in smaller bodies of water rather than the open sea. Please note: We also provide best inflatable kayak reviews.
these are propelled using paddles. Different types of paddles can be used depending on preferences and needs.
these are propelled through feet-operated peddles. This leaves the user’s hands-free to fish.
these come with a motorized propeller and battery attached. It eliminates the need for manual propulsion and leaves the user free to focus on fishing.
these can either be sit-in or sit-on-top. They are designed for use with two people making them ideal for those who need to ride along with an instructor or those who want to fish with a friend or family member.
Location of Use
There are three types of kayaks when considering location of use. Flat or open water kayaks are designed to be used in ponds, lakes or the open sea. Moving water kayaks are designed for use in rivers, either slow moving or fast with rapids. There are also hybrid kayaks that can be used either on open water or moving water.
Ocean Kayak vs. River Kayak
One of the main differences between river and ocean or sea kayaks is the hull design. River kayaks tend to have a shorter and rounder hull to enable quick turns and maneuvers in rapidly moving water. Open water kayaks are known for their long and slim profile. This allows easier paddling for longer distances. However, turning takes more work.
There are additional design differences that allow the kayak to work well in a specific environment. For instance many open kayaks have an enhanced rocker. The front and rear ends of the hull are curved upwards away from the water. This provides added stability in waves. Make sure to check out our reviews in order to find the best river fishing kayak.
Sit-In or Sit-on-Top Kayaks
When buying a kayak for the first time, one of the biggest choices you have to make is between sit-in and sit-on-tops. We have already defined both types above. The sit-on-top varieties are the most popular because of added space and easier maneuverability especially for beginners. Go for a sit-in kayak if you already have some maneuvering experience.
Where to Buy Fishing Kayaks
Check out whether there is a fishing or sporting goods store in your area. They will most likely stock several varieties of fishing kayaks that you can choose from. However, you may find that online stores have a much broader variety available and may even cost less than in a local store. The first stop you should make is Amazon.com.
Amazon has the largest listing of fishing kayaks of every type and budget. If you do not find what you are looking for there, there are plenty of other online fishing and sports stores you can check out.
When buying, remember to do your homework first. Know what you should look for and the factors to consider (read our guide above). Also make sure you have a budget prepared. When you begin the actual shopping, try to narrow down your options to at least five that closely fit your needs and budget. Then compare among these to settle on the best choice.
What is the Difference Between a Canoe and a Kayak?
For those who are just new in the field of fishing and watersports, knowing the difference between a canoe and a kayak can be a little bit confusing. Both are types of small and lightweight boats but there are several stark differences between the two.
An easy way to tell whether a boat is a canoe or a kayak is to look at its classifications. Canoes are classified using the letter C while kayaks use the letter K. A C1 is a solo canoe meaning it has a single paddler. A C2 is a tandem canoe, meaning two paddlers. The classification OC1 can also be used to signify an open solo canoe.
On the other hand, K1 is a solo kayak, K2 is a tandem, K4 is a 4-crew kayak and so on.
Typically, a canoe features an open deck where the inside is exposed to the elements. A kayak, however, often has a closed deck that is protected from the elements. The user may sit right on top of the deck (sit-on-top) or in a hollow space within the closed deck (sit-in).
A kayak is often compared to a sports car; more expensive, more challenging to handle and fast. A canoe is your ordinary car that serves well for leisure water activities, is easy to handle and is also practical. If you are looking for a boat to take your family out on the lake or do some lazy fishing on a hot afternoon, a canoe is better for you.
If on the other hand, you want a boat for serious fishing in a river or open water, try a kayak. It is also great if you want a sporting boat.
Another notable difference is in the paddle design. A canoe will usually require a single blade canoe for propulsion. But a Kayak is hard to control with a single-blade paddle mainly because the rider is seating very low close to the waterline. A double-blade paddle provides more power, speed and efficiency. It also helps in maneuvering around tough spots such as rapids or waves.
Canoe vs. Kayak for Fishing
Now comes the big decision: do you buy a kayak or a canoe? For most people the best answer is a kayak. Kayaks, especially the sit-on-top types, are easier to navigate and are good for a beginner. Because of its longer length, a kayak will be faster, allowing you to cover more distance especially in open water.
You may consider a canoe if you are planning on recreational fishing. This means plenty of calm fishing spots, slow propulsion and a friend or a family member to keep you company. A canoe is also advantageous when you need more space to move around (though a sit-on-top canoe has that advantage too) and store your things.
How to Fish From a Kayak
Before you even get to the fishing part, make sure you have the right kayak and gear with you. If, like most people, you want to focus on angling, get a specialized angler kayak with all necessary features outfitted.
- With the right gear, the next step is finding the right place to fish. One advantage of kayaks is that they are very versatile. While a canoe works best in lakes and rivers, a kayak can be used in virtually any large body of water including the sea, lake and river. The right location also depends on the type of fish you are targeting.
- If you want to catch salmon, striped bass, Bluefish or halibut, you have to go out into the sea for some saltwater fishing. For largemouth bass, bluegill, white bass or catfish, head over to fresh waters such as lakes. In the rivers, you will find a large variety of freshwater fish including smallmouth bass, rock bass and common carp.
- Note that different geographical areas may have specific types of fish. You may have to go to a specific place to get the type of fish you are looking for.
- There are plenty of apps and online platforms that can help you choose the right location. They will tell you what water bodies are near you, what type of fish they harbor and even the current weather.
Setting Up a Kayak for Fishing
- Once you know where you are going, time to set up your kayak. Start by putting together all the gear you need including tackle, pliers, poles, lines, anchor and whatever else you need to catch fish. Do not forget to pack food and water for yourself as well as a life jacket.
- Mount all your luggage properly, making sure that everything is tightly secured before taking off. If you have rod holders, set them up where they are easy to reach but not too close that they interfere with your paddling and fishing.
- A few other things you might want to carry along include a GPS unit, a fish finder, a waterproof portable radio and lighting. Another must-have is a first aid kit. Keep it somewhere safe and within reach and make sure it is well stocked at all times.
In the following YouTube-video by Palm Beach Pete you will get much more detailed information on how to set up your kayak for fishing the first time the kayak touches the water…
How to Get in and out of a Kayak
There are plenty of fail videos online where people keep falling over as they attempt to get into or out of a kayak. As a beginner, boarding and disembarking a kayak it will feel a bit wobbly and will require some getting used to.
On a Beach
A beach is one of the best places to launch your kayak. Place the kayak perpendicular to the water with one half resting on the sand and the other on the water. This way, you can get in without falling over and easily push away from the shore.
Getting out requires the same positioning. Come in with the boat perpendicular to the beach and paddle until most of it is resting on the sand. Bring out one foot at a time such that you are straddling the boat then stand up when you gain your balance. For some people, especially women, you may need a few more tries than usual to get it right.
If you are at a dock, ask a friend to hold the kayak for you to get in. If you are solo, place the kayak parallel to the dock. Lower your feet first into the kayak and then quickly sit down making sure to keep a tight hold onto the dock. To get out, again pull in parallel to the dock and then hold onto it as you pull yourself slowly out of the kayak.
Before you go out into the open water, it is essential to master deep water re-entry. Practice close to the shore but far enough that water goes over your head. First, put the kayak in an upright position. Use knee straps or the hull to right it.
Hold the far side of the boat with one hand and the closest side with the other and let the boat tip towards you. Lift yourself up and over the boat, using water buoyancy to push you up. Once your belly is lying on the boat, turn and slide into the seat. Lift your feet into the cockpit, grab your paddle (make sure it is leashed) and get going.
Practice several times until you get it right. It is an important safety maneuver that can help you when out in the sea.
How to Paddle a Kayak
Unless you bought a peddle or motorized kayak, you are going to be doing a lot of paddling. It is therefore important to learn the right paddling technique.
First, a primer on the basic parts of a paddle. There are blades, one on each end. The front or power face of the paddle is the concave or spoon while the back is the convex. The very end of the blade is the tip. The main part where you hold with your hands is the shaft and where the shaft meets each of the blades is the throat.
How to Hold a Kayak Paddle
Hold the shaft lightly in your hands. A light but firm grip prevents fatigue and soreness in your wrists. Check that your knuckles line up with the edge of the blade. Space your arms such that if you placed the center of the shaft on your head, the arms are at a right angle, not slanting outwards or inwards. This provides the perfect balance of power and reach.
How to Paddle
A Sit-on-top Kayak
Once you have the right hold on the paddle, it is all about adopting the right movement. Make sure you mass is well centered in the kayak and you are facing straight ahead in the direction you want to go. When you rotate your shoulders to launch a forward stroke, you will be using your upper body strength to pull the paddle in rather than your arms. Your foot also pushes against the boat on the same side as the current stroke.
A Tandem Kayak
When you are two in the kayak, coordination and understanding is essential. The stronger paddler should sit at the rear. This allows him or her to make important adjustments and corrections. They can also take over paddling on their own when the front passenger wants a rest.
When paddling, try to stay in rhythm so as to travel faster and avoid clashing your paddles. Turning in a tandem kayak is really easy. The front passenger does a reverse paddle while the back passenger keeps paddling forward. This allows the kayak to quickly rotate.
A Kayak without Getting Wet
It is virtually impossible to avoid getting wet when kayaking. Remember it is a water sport. The biggest problem results from water dripping down the shaft from the blades. You can use rings or rubber stoppers though that does not guarantee some water will not find its way inside the kayak. You can also get a kayak with a skirt to prevent water from spraying into it.
How To Choose a Kayak Paddle – Short Digression
If you buy a paddling kayak, choosing the right paddles is just as important as buying the right kayak. Having the right paddle gives you more control over your maneuvers and can give you more speed. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when buying a kayak paddle.
What Size of Kayak Paddle Do I Need?
What size of paddle you need will largely depend on your height. You need to get a paddle that corresponds to your height. This ensures that you are comfortable handling it and can achieve an ideal level of control and speed with ease.
How to Size a Kayak Paddle
If you are short (5 feet and 5 inches or shorter), the right paddle length is around 200cm to 230cm. If you are more mid-range in height (5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet) get a paddle around 210cm to 250cm in length. If you are above 6 feet, you should find your sweet spot between 220cm to 250cm of paddle length.
The best advice on how to size a kayak paddle is to try it yourself if you are buying from a local store. Also consider the size of your kayak. You do not want a paddle that is too long for your narrow or too short for your wide kayak.
Low Angle vs. High Angle
If you look at the end part of the paddle that goes into the water, you’ll notice different designs. Some paddles have thicker and shorter blades (high angle) while others have longer and narrower blades (low angle).
The high angle paddles are designed for quick aggressive propulsion over a short distance. They are ideal for a river. Low angle paddles are designed for comfort and ease of paddling over long distances such as in open water.
Some paddle blades may also feature additional design characteristics. Examples include feathered and non-feathered paddles, wing paddles, touring paddles asymmetric paddles and square ended paddles. Different designs are crafted to achieve different purposes when paddling.
The right kayak paddle should be light enough without compromising its strength and durability. Materials such as aluminum, fiberglass and carbon fiber are great materials for this balance between lightweight and strength. Plastic is cheap but it can be a bit heavy and wears out quickly. Wood is also common though weight is a major drawback.
Best Kayak Paddle for Fishing
So the best Kayak paddle is one that is proportional to your height, feels light and strong in your hands and has the right design to suit your fishing needs. So whatever brand or model you go for, remember to keep these three factors in mind.
How to Anchor a Kayak
Sometimes, when fishing, you want your boat to stay still. Wind can cause havoc just as you are about to make your big catch. An anchor prevents the wind or currents from moving your kayak. A 1.5 or 3 pound folding anchor is commonly used. It need to be connected to a sufficiently long line so that it can dig into the bottom and keep you in one position. Make sure you drop the anchor from the bow or stern, not the side.
Some other forms of anchors include stake out poles that dig into the bottom and keep the boat in position and drift chutes that act as mini parachutes to slow down a kayak.
Whatever type of anchor you buy, make sure you know how to use it properly for safety purposes and to prevent damage to your kayak.
What to Wear When Kayaking/Kayak Fishing
What you wear will depend on the weather, the season and safety.
What Shoes to Wear
Wear shoes that will still function well even after getting wet. Sandals are preferred by many people especially when it is warm. When the weather is colder, neoprene booties are ideal. If you plan on fishing near a rocky shore, wear hard sole boots. If your sit-in canoe space is small, soft soled boots may be the only ones that fit inside.
There are manufacturers who produce shoes specifically for kayaking and kayak fishing. It can’t hurt to check out a few.
In Summer, Spring or Fall
When it is hot, you need to stay cool as well as protect your skin from the sun. Wear a hat and sunglasses. A long-sleeved shirt will cover your arms while a light pair of pants or shorts will keep your legs cool. Remember to stay well hydrated.
As the weather gets progressively cooler towards spring and fall, start layering up to keep the cold out and prevent hypothermia. Look for synthetic fabric such as neoprene and fleece. You can also wear wool through you should avoid getting it wet as it dries slowly. Avoid cotton; it will take heat away from you when it gets wet.
In Cool or Cold Weather
When the weather gets really cold, consider a dry suit. It is especially effective in cold water since it keeps water from getting in contact with your skin. If you cannot get a dry suit, consider layering up a bit more to stay warm. A pair of gloves would also come in handy.
Do I Have to Wear a Life Jacket when Kayaking?
You may think you are a pro but a life jacket is a must. Even in calm water, things can suddenly go wrong and you find yourself in water. Additionally, weather can change rapidly, transforming a calm ocean into rough waves. Keep your life jacket on every time you are on the water.
How to Transport a Kayak
Travelling with your kayak is not so hard if you have the right tools and know how to secure it safely to your car.
How to Tie Down a Kayak
With a Roof Rack
- There are different types of roof racks, each requiring its own lifting and securing technique. Some racks will even come with a lifting system that does all the lifting work for you. Some roof racks will require additional accessories such as cross bars and towers to secure the kayak. If your car doesn’t already have a roof rack, you can buy one that is specially made for carrying kayaks.
- If you do not have a friend to help you lift, make sure you can do the lifting on your own without hurting yourself. Start by lifting the kayak onto your thighs and then lift it over your head and onto the rack. Tie it down, make sure it is tightly in place and you are good to go.
Without a Roof Rack
- If you do not have a roof rack, the alternative is to tie it down on top of your car. Get some foam blocks or pool noodles and place them on the roof rack. Lift the kayak and place it on them and then strap it down. Be careful not to tie it down too tight to avoid damaging the kayak or denting your roof. But make sure the straps are taut enough to keep the kayak in place during the ride.
On a Pickup Truck
- Your kayak is probably longer than the bed of your truck. You can place it on the bed and then strap it down to prevent it from sliding out. Alternatively, attach an extendable hitch though you still need to strap the kayak down. You can also buy a specialized kayak mount for pickup trucks.
How to Use a Kayak Cart
If where you are going is too far to walk but too close to drive, a kayak cart is perfect. For example, you can use it to transport the kayak to and from the beach. Your cart will come with instructions on how to use it, so start with those. But generally, you just need to place the kayak on top and then strap it down as directed.
How to Hang/Store a Kayak
In a Garage
First wash the kayak with water and remove the seat and any other attached accessories. If you are going to store it on the ground, flip it on its side and let it lean against the wall at an angle. You can also lean it vertically against the wall with the cockpit facing outwards and the stern touching the ground. Another common technique is to hang it from the ceiling, though this requires significantly more work and skill.
On a Wall
Here you have several options. You can buy a mounting system and attach it to your wall. You can also come up with a rope system where you hang your kayak from ropes secured to the wall. Alternatively buy a bracket system and place it on the wall-mounted brackets.
When you hang a kayak on a wall, make sure the cockpit is always facing outwards. Any ropes or straps should be tied around the cockpit, the strongest part of the kayak.
Is a kayak considered a boat?
A boat is a general term used to refer to small water vessels such as canoes, yachts, rafts and kayaks. So yes, a kayak is considered a boat albeit a small one.
Do you have to register a fishing kayak?
The rules vary by state. Some states require registration of all boats exceeding a certain length while others like Florida require registration of all motorized boats including motor-powered kayaks. Some states require no registration at all.
How much does a fishing kayak weigh?
Inflatable kayaks are the lightest, weighing between 20 and 30 pounds. Full on kayaks can weight anywhere from 40 pounds to over a 100 pounds for motorized kayaks. Most, however, range between 50 and 70 pounds.
How to launch a fishing kayak?
How you launch will depend on the location you a launching from. It could be a river bank, beach, dock or pier. In many cases, first making sure the kayak is floating on the water is the best way to start. Once you sit inside, you can easily use your paddle to start moving.
How to make a fishing kayak more stable?
It is normal to be a bit wobbly in the beginning. This could be because of your inexperience or the type of kayak you have. Start with shorter and wider kayaks as they tend to have more stability. You can also add outriggers to your kayak to improve on stability. But in most cases, it is a matter of practice to learn how to stay stable and maneuver the kayak perfectly.
Can one person use a two person (tandem) kayak?
Yes, but it will not be at its best. You just need to reposition the seat for better balance. But because of the kayak’s weight and design, it may not move as easily and fast as when there are two people using it.
What are kayaks made of?
They can be made out of wood, Kevlar carbon, rubber, plastic or fiberglass. See more details on different materials under the Buying Guide section.
The weight limit for a (tandem) fishing kayak?
This will depend on the material, size and cost of a kayak. The average weight limit for a tandem kayak is 600 pounds. Expensive kayaks costing over $1,000 may have a higher weight limit.
Is kayaking good exercise?
Absolutely yes. Paddling and peddling kayaks will help you burn calories as well as build muscle. The best thing about kayaking is that it can also be done by older fishing enthusiasts. It is actually a good form of low-impact exercise for older people.
How many calories are burned kayak fishing/kayaking?
The heavier you are, the more calories you will burn. The average number of calories burned per hour is 283 if you are 125 pounds, 340 if you are 150 pounds, 175 if you are 200 pounds and 454 if you are 200 pounds.