How to Choose the Right Fishing Kayak

How to Choose the Right Fishing Kayak

Kayaking is one of those recreational activities that people are doing more and more these days. There are many kayak activities that can be done. If you have the fishing kayak, you can fish easily without much cost involved.

Choosing the fishing kayak is an overwhelming experience because there are so many designs and sizes. There are a few features that you must keep in mind before you buy a fishing kayak for recreation or sport. 

Which Kayak Type is the Best?

Instead of getting a powerboat, you can get a kayak for fishing since it is very cheap and you can easily invest in it. The fishing kayak will make the experience very enjoyable for you. There are two main types of kayaks to choose from:

  • Sit on top kayak
  • Sit inside kayak

Now, you have to decide which one you want. Most experts easy that sit inside kayaks are not the best choice since the water comes inside. If they flip over, recovery is very hard.

Also, there is not much storage space in this kind of kaya. So, in this case, a sit on top kayak is a good choice as the water drains quickly from this time. Since there is an open design, the cargo can be easily accessed.

Also, you can put other things like utility tracks on the kayak. The best fishing kayak for you, if you want to fish with a friend, is sitting on top kayak. 

Consider the Stability

Of course, the most important feature of any kayak is the stability that it provides. When you are in the water, focusing on fishing, you would not want an unstable kayak.

If you are comfortable out there, the experience of fishing will be very enjoyable. A stable kayak allows you to stand and look around you and to maneuver the kayak in the water. 

To determine the stability of a kayak, width is taken into consideration. A kayak with more width is more stable. However, with more width, there are some issues with speed and performance. 

  • A wider kayak is not easy to track.
  • A wider kayak is slower than a narrower one. 

If you have a big body and you do not have to cover a lot of water, you should invest in a wider kayak. However, if you want to cover a lot of water in a day, narrower kayaks are ideal for you. They are less stable, but they are easy to paddle. 

If you are going to stand while fishing, then it is better not to get a V-shaped kayak model since they can easily tip and you will lose your balance. For you, a flat bottom hull will be the best model.

For further stability, longer kayak boats are good since they cut throw the water easily and they are not tossed around by waves. On the other hand, smaller and broader kayaks are easily tossed by waves. So, choose the best width for your activity and go for longer models. 

Which is Better: Pedal or Paddle?

There is a debate regarding this as some people like to pedal while others like to paddle. If you go for a kayak that is to be pedaled, it has many pros. First of all, it is efficient and speedy. Anglers do not consider it speed a factor in fishing.

However, if you want to cut through larger water bodies, you will need a pedaling device. Another benefit of the pedaling kayak is that you do not have to manage the position of your kayak.If there is a pedal, you can control the kayak with your legs and fish easily. The cons of pedaling kayak are as follows:

  • Pedaling kayaks need additional maintenance
  • It also requires underwater clearance
  • There is lesser cargo space 
  • You will have to spend more on this kind of kayak 

If you buy a kayak that you are going to paddle, it will also have many pros. One of the pros of this kind is that it is simple to use. There are not many steps involved in getting into the water. The maintenance is quite minimal, and you will easily get the hang of it.Another benefit of this kind of kayak is that it costs less. These are traditional, so they are not as expensive. You can even get one for $500, which is quite a steal as compared to the pedal kayak that will cost you up to $2000. 

Another benefit of paddle kayak is that they are less disruptive. It will not cause a lot of commotion in the water, and you will be able to manage the kayak easily since you will know if you are disturbing any underwater debris or branches. The cons of Paddle kayaks are as follows:

  • You have to control the paddle along with the fishing gear
  • There is less kayak control since you have to hold the fishing rod too 
  • Your arms and legs will get tired quickly as you have to balance two things 

Which Features are Important for a Fishing Kayak?

If you want to buy the fishing kayak, it must have all the features that you will need during fishing. There are some kayaks that come with features, while others allow you to customize them according to your specific needs. When you are going to buy a kayak, here are a few things that you must look for:

  • Skeg
  • Mounting tracks
  • Paddle Leash
  • Rod holders

A Skeg is needed in a kayak to keep the kayak on the straight track when you are paddling. When you are dealing with crosswinds, the kayak will turn into them, and the Skeg helps to keep it straight. A rod holder is almost essential in a fishing kayak.

You can just keep your fishing rod in the rod holder so that you do not lose it into the winds. A paddle leash keeps the paddles strapped to the kayak so that you do not lose them along with the rods.

Storage Is Important

Yes, storage is important in a fishing kayak because you will have the gear to take along, into the water. The fishing kayak you choose must have enough space for all your gear.

There are some kayaks that come with integrated storage for a while others have areas for external storage such as coolers. 

I sit on the top models; you will find internal hatches while the sit in kayaks have more storage in the hull. Before you buy a fishing kayak, make sure that you make a list of all the things that you want to take along with you on the fishing trip and visualize where all of them will fit in your kayak.

There should be adequate space in your kayak for all your accessories such as cameras, cups, and fish finders. This will make the whole experience more enjoyable, and you will not have to leave things behind. 

Other Considerations

While these are the main things that you should consider when buying a fishing kayak, there are some other features that you can also look for. 


A keel is a fin-shaped plastic piece that comes with some kayaks. It helps in tracking the kayak and also improves its speed. The purpose of a keel is to make sure that the kayak does not move from side to side and just goes forward. There are different kinds of kayaks:

  • Some come with a keel
  • Some come with retractable keels
  • Others do not have a keel 

If you are going to fish in open waters, then you should buy a kayak that has a keel. In deep waters, you will need a keep for more efficient paddling. If you are going to be fishing in shallow waters and standing up, then you can choose a kayak that does not have a keel. 


Having electronics on a fishing kayak is not a necessity, but it does increase your chance of being successful at catching fish. There are many electronics that you can keep on your kayak:


If you are not a pro, you will have a hard time looking for the perfect spot to fish. With the fish finder, you can easily find where the fish are. They also come with GPS.

Solar Panel

You can also make solar panels on the fishing kayak. If you are planning to be out in the water for a long time, you will need to charge the batteries, phone, and other electronics.

Instead of carrying spare batteries, you can take the solar panel along. They are quite efficient for charging smaller batteries, cameras, and mobile phones. 

Wind Speed Indicator

This is another important electronic that you can take along with you on a fish kayak. It lets you see the wind speed so that you can steer your kayak according. Some of them can even let you know the temperature and how chilly the wind will be. 

These electronics are not essential, but they make the experience easier and much more enjoyable. So, if you want to take them along, you must make sure that you buy a fishing kayak that has space to store these things. 

Consider the Portability

When you increase the features on a fishing kayak, you are also increasing its weight. This means you will have trouble transporting it to the fishing site.

If you are a frequent fisherman, then you must go for a lighter model that is easier to carry around. Otherwise, you can get the heavier models too since you will not be carrying them around every weekend. 

  • As a rule of thumb, sit in models are lighter than sit on the top models. 
  • Consider where you are going to keep the kayak.
  • You can keep it in the truck bed, on top of your card or get a trailer for transporting it. 

At the end of the day, it is totally up to you which kayak you want to buy. You can always get help from the shop keeper as he or she will ask about your preferences and select the best model for you. For your personal satisfaction, do your research before investing in a kayak. 

The more features you add, the more expensive a fishing kayak will be. So, the budget is also an important consideration.

If you are buying a kayak for the first time, go for a used one as they are cheaper and they let you see which features you like or hate. After you have tried it out for one season, you can invest in a new one. 

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