How to Select the Best Fishing Kayak
The advent of sit-atop fishing kayaks has introduced a new way for saltwater anglers to enjoy fishing inshore, and even offshore, from a stable and reliable platform while pursuing their favorite target species. Relatively inexpensive when compared to the price of a small motorized skiff, they provide the advantage of getting you into many places that are otherwise inaccessible by larger boats, as well as to productive inshore spots that are well beyond the range of those casting from shore.
A fishing kayak also allows you to sneak up on feeding fish while remaining virtually undetected. Of course, one of their most convenient features is the fact that these easily stored craft do not require the use of a trailer to transport them to a launching area.
Nonetheless, purchasing a quality fishing kayak still requires the substantial investment of between $1,000 and $2,500. There are now a number of well-made products on the market that are being offered by a growing number of kayak manufacturers My personal favorites are Hobie and Ocean Kayak. Before actually buying one, however, there are a few things that you might want to take into consideration according to the reviewers at kayakcritic.net.
Length versus width, speed versus stability: These are choices you have to make depending on your needs. Shorter kayaks are usually slower than longer ones while wider ones offer more stability than the narrower types. Some kayaks are equipped with an up-swept bow (rocker) which increases their performance in waves and strong current but not on flat water.
Sit-on-top or Sit-in: Sit-on top fishing kayaks are preferred by most kayak anglers because it is easier to get out and wade as well as add accessories. However, the ride can be very wet at time, and may not be ideal for fishing in extremely cold water, strong waves and current. On the other hand, there are the sit-in or “cockpit-style” kayaks. These are great for fishing in cold water, windy conditions and strong waves. Since you are basically sitting inside the kayak, the center of gravity is much lower thereby increasing the kayak’s stability. An added bonus of selecting a sit-in kayak is that there is a storage compartment in the middle for storing your gear. However, it takes time to get out of the boat and wade when need arises. Sitting low also limits your view.
Rigged versus unrigged:
When it comes down to the basics, the only difference between a fishing kayak and a kayak is the built-in rod holder for your precious fishing rods. As a general rule stock kayaks are cheaper than rigged units. If you are an experienced kayak angler, you can save money by purchasing a stock kayak and rigging it yourself, in the process adding a personal touch to the boat. However, getting the right balance required a lot of skill and most kayak fishermen would be better off investing in a factory rigged unit.
Motor versus Paddle:
For a fishing kayak, it would be best to use a paddle. There are trolling motors you can install on the kayak but that defeats the advantage of using a kayak for fishing in the first place. There are many options on the market but it is generally advisable to go for the lightest paddle you can find.