Saturday, June 1, 2024

    Kayak Fishing: The Basics

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    Kayak fishing is an interesting alternative to traditional boat fishing that has become very popular the past few years. If you are thinking about getting into kayak fishing yourself, here are some pros and cons and stuff you should know.

    Why fish with a kayak?

    For many, the decision to use a kayak for fishing may be motivated by cost. A kayak presents a lower barrier to entry for fishing than a boat. A new Jon boat with trailer and motor starts around $3000, while a kayak can be configured for fishing for less than $1000 depending on what features you want it to have. Also, you don’t need to buy gas or register a kayak (unless you put a motor on it).

    The advantages of kayaks over boats are not limited to the expenses. Kayaks are much easier to store, transport, and launch. I can lift my kayak up onto my roof rack, strap it down, and avoid having to pull a trailer as with a traditional boat. In addition, a kayak does not need very deep water to launch and operate. There are some small rivers and streams that you could never navigate with a traditional boat, but a kayak can get through.

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    Finally, kayak fishing is fun. Kayaking in general is fun. You are close to the water, get a great view of the lake, and can operate it by yourself with no motor.

    Why not fish with a kayak?

    If you are not comfortable swimming, kayaking may not be the best choice. You stand a greater chance of ending up in the water at some point with a kayak than with a boat. You might also think twice about kayak fishing if you like to bring lots of gear (coolers, aerators, etc), fish with several people in the same craft, or are not comfortable in a smaller boat with more movement. A kayak is not as steady as an aluminum fishing boat. Even if you equip yours with a motor, you will typically still need to do some paddling while in shallow sections or navigating obstacles.

    If you fish primarily large bodies of water (the Great Lakes or oceans) or if you fish in inclement weather, you will not want to do so in a kayak. People do take kayaks out on the Great Lakes and oceans, but it is inherently riskier than an aluminum boat in more powerful waters.

    Ok, so what do I need to get started?

    Well, a kayak would be a good start. In all seriousness, any kayak could be converted for fishing. I prefer to use sit-on kayaks rather than sit-in models, but people do fish out of those as well.

    This can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it. At its core, it only requires a kayak and a pole. However, you may want a vessel that is modified (or built) in such a way as to allow storage of fishing gear, rod holders, anchors, motor mounts, pedal power…the options are endless.

    There are companies that build fishing-specific models of kayaks with built-in features that anglers like to have. You can pick one of these up for as low as $600, whereas a basic kayak runs about $300 and a spare-no-expense model runs several thousand.

    One of the more enjoyable aspects of kayak fishing is outfitting and personalizing your kayak to fit your fishing style and needs.

    To Sum it Up

    If you are someone who enjoys kayaking already, a DIY type of person, on a limited budget, interested in the sport aspect (kayak fishing tournaments exist!), or just want a relaxing and easy way to fish some new parts of a lake, I recommend looking into kayak fishing.

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