Your Local Kayak Shop Is An Important Part Of Your Kayak Fishing Story, Here’s Why:
So you are ready to buy your first fishing kayak? Well then, you are going to need to know what to look for at the kayak shop. Should you buy online? Is it better to go into an actual kayak shop? These are all questions we will answer for you in this article.
Which fishing kayak is right for you?
If you’ve never used a kayak before you may not be sure which one you will need. With so many models available on the market it is very confusing to make a decision on what to get. More often, ‘whom’ you purchase from is more important than what product you purchase. Make sure the kayak you purchase is manufactured by a reputable dealer that can assist with after sale service and advice. This is why buying from your local kayak shop can be very beneficial. You have met the sales person, you can go back to them with any issues and of course you can go back to the kayak shop for any more add on products. See a full list of our distributors.
There are basically two types of kayaks. They are sit-on-tops and sit-in kayaks. Each type has models that paddle well. For our purpose, we will concentrate on the sit-on-tops, as they are generally more popular because of their ease of use and safety factors.
What makes a kayak a good fishing kayak?
Fishermen often have needs that may be different than someone who is out strictly to paddle. Some of the basic features fisherman prefer in a kayak are stability, storage, and enough flat surfaces to bolt on fishing extras such as rod holders and fish finders.
Performance and maneuverability, while important to many, may not be the primary factors in choosing your first fishing kayak. Start your decision process by answering some basic questions which will help you narrow down the kayak models that are most appropriate for you:
Choose the right fishing kayak for you
What’s your height, weight, width seated and general fitness? If you’re a big or very tall person, there are certain kayaks that will suit you better. In fact, this will make your decision easier because finding the right kayak will be more a matter of finding one that handles your size and weight more than anything else. Look for kayaks with lots of leg-room and a weight capacity that will handle you and your gear. Going into a kayak store and actually sitting in the different models is a great idea, even if you order online later.
If you’re a small to an average sized person getting a kayak that’s big, heavy, and has a 200kg capacity probably isn’t your best choice. But if you’re going to fish in the ocean, a very small kayak wouldn’t be the best choice either. As you’ll see, choosing a kayak can be a compromise of sorts. As you read on, consider the different factors and consider them while making your choice.
Where will you use your fishing kayak?
Is it strictly going to be used in freshwater? If so where? Lakes, dams, small rivers, and streams? Will you be fishing large, open bodies of water? Do you plan on using it only in saltwater? Do you plan on fishing in the ocean and launching through the surf? Will you be the only one using the kayak or will the family, with different body shapes and weights use it? How are you planning on getting the kayak to the water?
Can you simply drive it to the water and launch or do you plan on going into more remote areas where you can’t use a vehicle for the final leg? All these factors are important when choosing your kayak. The sales person at the kayak shop will be able to answer many of these questions for you, while shopping at an online kayak shop, you can chat to the online team for assistance. We highly recommend doing this before you purchase.
What type of kayak fishing will you be doing?
Do you only use one style? Do you use artificial lures, fish with bait and live bait or both? Do you need room for a live-well? Do you plan on anchoring and chumming? Do you fly fish? Do you drop-shot? Do you troll? The type of gear you plan on attaching and taking along is going to affect your decision. The way you fish can affect which kayaks are going to better suit your needs. If you are at a kayak shop that specialises in kayak fishing, you will be able to get solid advice on all these factors. If you are very new to fishing, you should not only chat to the kayak shop but the local fishing store too.
How are you going to transport your fishing kayak?
If you’re using the back of a pickup truck, a bigger, heavier kayak isn’t a problem. If you have a large SUV, like a 4X4 station wagon, you should be conscious of the kayak’s weight because it will take some extra effort to get the kayak on and off of the roof of such a vehicle. The bottom line is that if your kayak is easy for you to load and unload you will use it more often. This is another area where going to the kayak shop will benefit you as you can actually check how easy or hard each model is to load.
What type of kayak fisherman are you?
Are you strictly a catch and release fisherman, do you like to take the occasional meal home, or are you regularly taking fish home? Where are you going to store your catch? Are you really going to catch five huge fish, every time you launch? Is there sufficient room and storage in the fishing kayak you have selected?
How much stability do you need?
Fishermen do something in a kayak that most people don’t – they fish. Therefore having a stable platform can be very important, especially to a person who is new to the sport and new to kayaks. When kayakers discuss stability they talk about two types. Initial and secondary stability. Initial stability is the side-to-side wobble that you feel when you sit in a kayak. Secondary stability is when the kayak is nearing its point of tipping and how much forgiveness it has before you actually tip.
Many recreational kayaks that are used for fishing have tremendous initial stability but have a very abrupt secondary. When they reach their secondary limit you’re literally dumped. Conversely, there are kayaks that wobble like mad but are very forgiving when they come to the tipping point. Most recreational fishing kayaks have a good compromise of both initial and secondary stability.
Since you sit on or near the floor of a sit inside kayak they tend to seem more stable. In sit-on-top’s you sit on the kayak and since it has a double hull you also sit higher. This higher sitting position can initially make a sit-on-top seem less stable. If you have a sit-on-top and a sit inside kayak that are the same length and width the sit inside will probably be more stable.
Because of this sit-on-top kayaks designers tend to make their kayaks wider. So no matter which style you choose there will be a model that you will feel comfortable in. Some kayak stores will allow you to demo a few models before you purchase. This will help a lot in finding the model that suits your skill level.
Initially, stability can seem more important to beginners and secondary stability more important to seasoned kayakers. It makes sense. The beginner hasn’t developed a sense of balance yet. It’s a lot like learning how to ride a bicycle. When you start out it’s new so you think about it more. After a short while, it becomes second nature and you don’t think about it at all. If you are a novice, ask the kayak store if anyone locally does lessons. This will be the fastest way to learn.
How important is speed?
Generally, the longer and narrower a kayak the faster it is. -Sit-insides’ are usually faster, however, there are fast ‘sit-on-tops’ too. Speed is only important if you need it. If the majority of your fishing is close to shore behind the backline or in small, protected areas, then you probably won’t need a long fast kayak. However, if you’re fishing a big lake or in the open ocean, the ability to cover long distances faster may be very important to you.
How manoeuvrable does your fishing kayak need to be?
If you’re going to fish in small rivers or narrow streams, you’ll probably want a kayak that is easy to maneuver. A long fast touring kayak will be more difficult to use in these situations and might take away from your overall fishing experience. A shorter sit-on-top will suit you better in these types of environments. On big waters making a sharp turn usually isn’t crucial so a longer kayak is not a problem. Again, chat to the kayak shop about your needs and where you will be doing the majority of your fishing, before you make a decision on your new fishing kayak.
You will need storage!
Fishermen tend to take a lot of gear with them. Organising this gear requires that the kayak you have chosen has adequate storage. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but it’s nice to have a few different places to put your stuff. sit-on-top kayaks have a double hull which means there is a lot of potential storage below the deck. Depending on your needs this may be very important to you. Maybe you plan on camping or making long journeys in your kayak. This large relatively dry storage area may appeal to you. If you plan on launching your kayak through the surf this space will allow you to stow rods bellow deck which will keep them safe while you pass through the surf zone. Milk crates and other plastic containers can also be used for external storage. They fit into the rear tank-wells of many kayaks. Our Black Bass model has all the storage areas you will need, as it is designed for fishing.
What accessories will you be using on your fishing kayak?
One of the best things about kayak fishing is converting a simple recreational kayak into a very effective and compact fishing vessel. This is done by adding fishing accessories. How much you add depends largely on your fishing style and your philosophy on gear. Some fishermen just take a rod and a few lures along and others like to bring lots of gear along. No matter what your preference, simply adding one rod holder will greatly increase the ability of your kayak. Lots of flat surfaces are nice for mounting accessories. Fitting accessories and drilling holes in plastic is easily done without compromising the warranty of the product. The kayak store will have all the accessories you need, or you can easily order from many online stores. Remember our specialised Black Bass, fishing kayak comes fully equipped with everything you need.
Paddling your fishing kayak and logistics.
Kayak fishing takes place in many different environments, from large dams, bays, harbors, and the open ocean, but many of us fish some very small waters too. A small shallow river can be very easily fished with a short, lightweight kayak. Such a kayak will be easier to negotiate around obstacles such as logs, log jams, rocks, waterfalls and spillways, fast water, and rocky shallows. There will be times when you need to carry or drag your kayak around, over, or through these places. In these types of situations, a smaller and lighter plastic kayak is the better choice. However, too small a kayak will limit you to smaller bodies of water. If you want to fish on the big water and hunt game fish, you will need a fully kitted, large fishing kayak.
So now you have all the questions you need to answer before you buy your own fishing kayak. The kayak shop is an important part of this process, even if you end up not buying from them the first time. It is beneficial to know your local kayak shop and to be able to go and chat with them about gear and of course places to fish. Your local kayak shop will have all this information and will be happy to assist their clients. Your kayak shop may even have a local fishing club set up, which will allow you to meet other kayak fisherman, who share your passion.