Alan Bergman – You absolutely love kayaking and you’re also a fishing fanatic. Combine those interests and join the multitudes of paddlers who are discovering just how exciting and gratifying kayak fishing is.
By leaving the shore or dock behind and casting from your kayak instead, you are achieving two major benefits:
1) you will quickly find that you’re accessing areas of the water that were previously unreachable;
2) and, you are getting exercise and burning calories traveling to and from your favorite fishing spots.
Can life get much better? Let’s explore these benefits further.
THE STEALTH FACTOR
As anglers will attest, fish have their favorite spots for hanging out . . . possibly where they can find food or between the lily pads or in a shaded area where the water temperature may be cooler. These spots often are not reachable when casting from shore, or are too shallow to be accessed by motorboat. It can be awfully frustrating.
This is the beauty of kayak fishing! The kayak can bring you right to the fish, creating an intimate setting for you and your finned friends. After some research and patience, you’ll figure out the most productive spots to paddle to and stealthily sneak into their ‘hoods.
The kayak is also transportable. Toss it in the back of your SUV or truck, or on a set of roof racks, or even check out these kayak trailer reviews – https://bestkayaks.reviews/ so you can find a suitable trailer, and you can kayak fish on a variety of waterways, from lakes to inlets to bays to reservoirs to tributaries.
THE EXERCISE FACTOR
Kayak fishing provides a low-impact workout, which will benefit anglers in all age groups.
If you’re propelling yourself to and from your favorite fishing hole with a paddle, then you’re achieving a cardio and aerobic workout. With proper technique and motion, you’ll be working your torso, leg and back muscles while paddling. You’re burning calories as an added bonus.
If you’re using a kayak with a foot pedal drive for propelling yourself, the workout shifts to lower-body. Pedaling builds muscles in the legs, calves, and thighs and still serves as an aerobic workout, as well.
While sit-in kayaks can be used for fishing, sit-on-tops seem to be increasingly viewed as more fishing-friendly. Probably the biggest advantage to fishing from a sit-in is that it offers more protection from any unwelcome weather conditions.
The sit-on-tops are more stable and provide far greater storage space than sit-in kayaks. They also allow easier maneuvering around in the boat, either while setting up your line, casting into the water or dealing with a fish on a hook.
Not unlike deciding which options you want when buying a new car, the sit-on-top fishing kayaks have many features to choose from. Some can be purchased with rod holders and equipment storage pouches. Others may have anchor systems (manual or electric) to hold the kayak in place, and high-backed, cushioned elevated seats.
HANDS VS. FEET
A key decision when purchasing a fishing kayak is paddle-drive versus pedal-drive.
Pedal-driven propulsion on fishing kayaks are currently soaring in popularity, and an increasingly larger percentage of them are being manufactured equipped with pedal systems.
Many kayak anglers believe that using your legs to travel is less tiring than using your arms paddling. Another huge advantage to a pedal system is being able to move the kayak hands-free while casting or trolling. Eliminating the paddle means one less item to store on board while fishing, as well. However, the pedal system will add to the overall weight of the boat.
For those anglers who still prefer having a paddle in hand, it is prudent to have the paddle attached to the kayak via a paddle leash. In case of a sudden capsize, the paddle leash is “insurance” that your paddle won’t be lost with other gear that’s not tied down.
Lighter paddles, especially those made from carbon, are easier on the shoulders, arms, and wrists, but harder on the wallets.
SIZE, WIDTH AND LENGTH MATTER
Most fishing kayaks fall within a 10-13 foot length range, and have a weight capacity anywhere from 350-500 lbs.
While wider kayaks will typically support more capacity and are more stable in the water, longer kayaks will track better, that is move in a straight line. The longer kayaks will travel faster, too.
Are you expecting to stand in the kayak? If so, then stability is of prime importance. Are you expecting to travel long distances to your fishing spot, then tracking ability becomes an important consideration.
When shopping for a fishing kayak, try to envision how much storage space you’ll require. Are you just bringing a few rods and a tackle box; or, in addition, plan on being on the water with a cooler, change-of-clothes, tent and other gear?
The overall weight of the boat needs to be considered too since you’ll be transporting it to and from the water.
RULES OF THE ROAD
Some of the following safety tips are relevant to kayak fishing only while others are relevant to all types of kayaking.
- Always check the weather forecast before launching your kayak
- Have plenty of water with you
- Dress for immersion, that is water temperature, not air temperature
- Apply sunscreen and take additional lotion on board
- Always wear a PFD (life preserver)
- Tie down and tether as much of your equipment as possible
- Have a straight blade with you to cut a tangled fishing line, etc.
- Bring a map or GPS device with you.
- Be aware of current speed and strength
- Carry electronics in a waterproof dry bag
LISTEN AND TRY
Discussion with a knowledgeable sales rep can go a long way in purchasing a fishing kayak. He or she will know exactly which questions need to be answered to make a prudent purchase . . . from the type of water you anticipate fishing in to the amount of gear you expect to bring along to how you plan to transport the kayak. Do not underestimate how helpful a store employee can be in making the “right” boat choice.
If possible, try before you buy. Inquire whether it’s possible to take one or two kayaks out for a test-drive to determine which is the best fit, both literally and figuratively.
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