By Thomas P Fouts

There are many different kinds of kayaks on the market today. So many, that it can be a daunting task to find the “perfect” model for your specific needs. So here are 10 areas of thought when considering buying a kayak for fishing.

  1. Your physical being, your physical condition, and your attitude – First of all, you need to be able to fit comfortably in the kayak seating both in width and legroom. Then consider your weight. Because how you are built, and what physical shape you are in, can determine whether you buy a kayak with a motor, pedals, or just a paddle for propelling your kayak. How do you want to get from one fishing spot and back again?
  2. Sit-On-Top, (SOT) or Sit-In-Kayak, (SIK)? – This is a personal choice. The traditional kayak is a “sit in” kayak. This is where you sit inside the kayak. A sit on top kayak is where you sit on what is like a formed tube that lets water drain through holes called scuppers. The SOT is what, in my opinion, works best for kayak fishing. Look at both, and talk to experts, do the research; find out what is comfortable for you.
  3. Stability – There are two kinds of stability. One is the initial stability, which is how “wobbly” it is on the water. The second factor of stability (and this is the important one) is how far a kayak can lean or tip before it sends you overboard. It is all in the design of the hull.
  4. Maneuverability – You need a kayak that responds and handles well. The rocker (or camber) which is the “curve” from the front to the back of the hull will determine how easily it handles, along with the length and width of the boat. The shorter the kayak and the more rocker, the quicker it responds, but may also sacrifice stability. The longer and “less” rocker of the hull, the more speed and sea-worthiness of the boat.
  5. Weight – If the kayak is too heavy to lug around, and getting it off and on your vehicle, you probably won’t use it as much. Plus, if you have to portage around obstacles it can be a real energy drain.
  6. Maximum Weight Capacity – You also want to take into consideration your weight and the weight of your gear. The maker of the kayak will have maximum weight capacities listed. Stay well below them or you can become a barge.
  7. Speed of Kayak – This is a personal choice. A stable, shorter, wide kayak will be slower and a longer and narrower kayak will be faster. A wider kayak can take a lot more energy and time to get to a fishing spot, and when paddling against a strong wind can be difficult. Where a longer narrow kayak slices through the water and wind easier, it can be a real trick to fish comfortably from. So a balance between the two styles seems to be an all-around safe choice.
  8. Length – As mentioned above, the longer the kayak, the faster and more sea worthy it is. So you need to decide what types of water conditions you will be paddling in. Short kayaks (under 11′) are great for protected waters, or rivers, and longer kayaks, (13′-more than 14′) are probably better in lakes bays and oceans.
  9. Seating/Comfort – This is a biggie. If you are not comfortable you won’t stay out long. You will most likely be sitting for long lengths of time, so choose your seat wisely. Spend the extra bucks to get this right, as it can be the difference in a great time or not. Also consider how it supports your legs and whether or not it has drainage holes.
  10. Accessories – Not all kayaks are built to accessorize conveniently. Think about what you want to outfit your boat with and see if modifications can be made. One thing is storage for your fishing gear. Can you outfit storage areas that can be easily accessible from the seat? Do you need to haul a cart? Storage is a question you should try to answer when picking your kayak.

All kayaks need to be stored somewhere when you are not using them. So consider how big your storage area is as well as the length of your boat. You will also need a way to secure your kayak to the vehicle for transporting it to the water. Racks, trailer, or just throwing it in the back of a pickup, it still needs to be secured for safe travel.

So there you have my 10 things to consider when buying a kayak for fishing. Not everything is covered here, but it will give you a place to start. Talk to the experts. See what others are using with success and what the fishermen say could be improved.

Use good judgment on the water, be safe, and have a great time kayak fishing!

My two favorite sports combined! What could be better? I have been kayaking since 1978 when I bought a 13 year old Klepper kayak. I kayaked 43 different rivers, in 5 different states, and in Canada that first year!

Then when you combine fishing with kayaking, it is so peaceful and invigorating at the same time. I have had several different kayaks and have introduced dozens of people to the sport since that first year.

Thomas Fouts

Author of “The BetesBuster Plan”

A Step-by Step Guide to Preventing, Controlling, or Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

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