The sport of kayak fishing has become one of the largest growing sports in the United States. With that being said, the kayaks which we use to fish from have help revolutionize the way we fish. Unlike kayaks of yore, today’s vessels have transformed tremendously. From long and skinny kayaks for covering many miles of water efficiently to more wider beamed kayaks offering the stability to stand and fish, kayaks have never been more versatile. But with so many options readily available on the market, what features does a fisherman or woman look for when wanting to take their skills to a kayak? Let’s run over some of the key features you’ll want to see from a fishing kayak.
Fishing Kayak Features
Let’s begin with an obvious feature; rod holders. Without rod holders, it would be hard to claim a kayak as ‘fishing specific’, right? Typical stock rod holders usually include a couple flush mounts right behind the seating area. This allows quick access to the paddler for trolling purposes or just a place for them during transport. Of course additional rod holders are usually added after purchase, but these rear mounted holders are great to get you going and out on the water.
Making the switch? Switching from a powerboat to a kayak for fishing is quite the down size. Space is now limited, but with proper planning, all the available space can be utilized.
Look for features like a center console. This is a great addition that allows for an area that normally gets unused to become a great space for tackle, bait, water, snacks, cameras, etc. The list goes on. Even the lid to the console becomes a very useful tool by offering attachment points for an array of rigging options.
Besides the center console, a large rear tank well is also a very handy storage area. You’ll find this space suitable for your cooler, milk crate or dry bags.
Inside hull dry storage is also a nice feature to have, while most sit-on-top kayaks offer in-hull storage, how this area is accessed is what sets some apart. A large hatch situated in the bow area offers the ability to stuff large items into the hull. This is great for overnight fishing trips, extra rod n reels, paddle, etc. Another smaller hatch is usually located near the stern, but I actually prefer one between my legs that I can access easily while seated. Pair it with a small catch bag and you have a great spot for your phone, camera, snacks, fishing license, etc. that stays dry and easily reached.
Add some bungees to the deck of the kayak and you’re in no shortage of storage space!
Fishing is a hands-on sport, therefore anytime you can free your hands from a paddle, the more time you have to cast. That’s where a rudder comes into play. Having a rudder helps in wind and/or current. Adjust the rudder accordingly and you can maintain a specific drift for fishing that oyster bar, structure or shoreline. Find a kayak that comes standard with a rudder for the ultimate package.
Stability is a fisherman’s best friend. Being comfortable in a kayak and having the option to stand and fish is a huge advantage. Most sit-on-top kayaks nowadays are gearing toward the wide side of things, but don’t go too wide or it’s going to feel like you’re paddling a bathtub. Kayaks that come within the 30” to 33” mark on width usually provide a good balance between speed and stability.
So with all that being said, there are a few kayaks out there that meet all these requirements. Look at Eddy-Gear’s Stingray XL Fishing Kayak. This kayak meets all the requirements above plus some; and at a very nice price point! It’s a lot of kayak for $749 (shipped free) and sure to meet all your fishing needs. Don’t take my word for it, read the reviews, seems as if everyone else can agree.