Kayak fishing has become a major pastime. The surge in kayak fishing has been met by kayak manufacturers with more and more styles of kayaks designed exclusively for fishing. Generally these feature fishing accessories such as rod holders and are more stable to allow for movement without overturning as easily.
There are so many kayaks on the market- and specifically fishing kayaks- now that the choice at first can seem daunting. Kayaks come in a variety of lengths, shapes and materials- each designed for a specific purpose. It is best to select from those kayaks that are specifically designed for fishing. Even when you limit your search to fishing kayaks, there are hundreds of models to choose from. The sport however is dominated by a couple dozen models which are often the favorites among kayak fishermen. Often it is best to stick to a tried and true favorite. There are a number of considerations in selecting the kayak that is right for you and your intended use.
The first, most basic consideration in kayak selection is the type of kayak. There are essentially two types of kayaks- the sit in kayak and the sit on top kayak. There are other vessel options such as the inflatable kayak and pontoon boats and other small fishing craft.
A SIK is the traditional type of kayak that one thinks of when they envision a kayak. You sit in a cockpit inside the kayak. Any water that comes over the side must be physically removed by bailing or with a pump. Water can be invented from entering the kayak with the use of a "skirt" which is a membrane that goes over the opening of the kayak that has an opening for your torso. It is a required accessory for white water kayaking and kayaking a rough ocean. One advantage of the sit in kayak is that it can keep you dryer – especially when fitted with the skirt. Often greater stability and maneuverability can be achieved with a sit in kayak as your knees grip the inner walls of the kayak which is what makes this model the favorite among those who kayak for the sake of kayaking. The sit in kayak can however be more difficult to get in or to bail if they overturn, and in one you will have more limited mobility. Among sit in kayaks, the Old Town Dirigo 120 Angler Recreational Fishing Kayak is a favorite for its stability and versatility.
The sit on top kayak is the more popular fishing kayak as they let you fish from a variety of positions and they have greater storage. SOTs are molded tubes that you sit on rather than in. Any water that ends up on the kayak drains through holes that run from the top to below the water line. These holes are called scuppers and they eliminate the need to remove the water as the properties of the designs does this. This means however that you will get wet so dress appropriately as you are exposed to the elements. The sit on top allows you to get on and of with greater ease and is easier to regain if you overturn. The sit on top is a great choice if you will be standing, getting off or on, or if you want to be in contact with the water or sit side while while fishing. Models such as the Perception Sport Pescador 12 angler kayak are a favorite for their storage, maneuverability and style.
Inflatable kayaks are another option. They have some advantages on their own over both the sit in kayak and the sit on top kayak- namely that they can be deflated and easily stored and transported. This might be necessary if storage is limited or if you would like to hike in to a remote fishing spot. These are essentially a bit of a hybrid between the sit on top and the sit in kayak as they are often open to the elements but have side panels that surround you. They have great stability but generally do not track quite as well as the SOT or the SIK. These can have the tendency to collect water and a baking pump or one with a drainage system is best for this reason. Bic Yakkair Fishing 2Hp Inflatable Kayak is a favorite for its light weight, carrying pack and built in water run offs.
Pontoon boats are another option for a small fishing vessel. If you like to fish on generally calm waters and like to be in a seat which allows you rotation and maneuverability, then this can be an excellent choice. There is plenty of storage space and increased movement while fishing. These can be extremely stable and, while they are open and one is exposed to the elements, the elevation of the seat keeps you from coming in contact with the water. These also can be fitted with a motor so this kind of boat is a good option for those who do not desire to paddle. Pontoon boats can also allow for increased mobility and excellent storage as some models collapse easily. If you fly fish the ability to stand and sight fish makes this a good option. The Sea Eagle FoldCat Inflatable Boat is a favorite for its easy of assembly and its versatility.