Which fishing kayak is best for you?
Kayak fishing has evolved incredibly over time. There really is no better time than now to invest in one. While most of these kayaks can handle all water conditions, some specialize in certain conditions. All these kayaks are generally easy to transport. No matter where you live or what you drive, there is a fishing kayak made for you. Each can be accessorized to fit your individual needs. There is so much you can fit on one of these little vessels to create your perfect boat. You can add anything from power banks, to electronics, to coolers and bait tanks, rod holders, specialized tackle organizers, even motors. If you are a beginning angler or a professional, these are some of the best fishing kayaks and great fish-catching tools for any skill level.
Depending on what you want or need, the prices vary. Fishing kayaks are not inexpensive so it’s important to choose what suits you now and in the future of kayak angling. It is an investment that can last you a lifetime. It is also a great portable fishing vessel that can get you into waters bigger boats cannot get to or are not allowed; for instance, “no motor zones.” And last but most important, all these kayaks can be pedaled leaving your hands free for fishing.
Every kayak manufacturer has an assortment of fishing models, anything from different lengths and widths to water conditions. Some specialize in rough ocean conditions down to flat pond waters and everything in-between. Moral of the story: Every fishing kayak has its strengths and weaknesses. It is up to you to decide what fits your needs best.
Old Town Fishing Kayak
When it comes to the grass roots of kayaking, no roots run deeper than Old Town. This company has been making kayaks before any of us were born. When you hear “Old Town,” think of legacy, quality, heritage, and innovation. These kayaks are also very durable boasting a lifetime warranty on its PDL Drive hulls. They are versatile, stable “fishing beasts.” On the cutting edge of innovation and technology, Old Town offers kayaks that not only can be pedaled but powered. There is an electric Minn Kota trolling motor that you guide yourself or an auto pilot Minn Kota trolling motor taking hands-free fishing to a whole other level. This auto pilot kayak model is the “luxury liner” of all kayaks. No pedaling, no paddling, just push the button and you’re fishing. oldtownwatercraft.johnsonoutdoors.com
BOTE Fishing Inflatable Kayaks
Let’s face it, not everyone has a vehicle or place of residence that can handle the average fishing kayak. That’s where these “blow-up” beauties come into play. They do what traditional kayaks do but more. You can put these in a backpack that comes with the kayaks which obviously opens new doors to storage and transportation options. The higher-tier kayaks also include a few accessories like a magnetic cupholder with a supplied cup, a five-piece adjustable paddle, and a sand spear shallow-water anchor stake-out pole. It also has its own proprietary slide in Aero RAC receivers, which gives you rod holder options from the manufacturer. More important is the APEX Pedal Drive/rudder system as well as an electric pump to save your arms for fighting fish, but a hand pump is included. boteboard.com/collections/fishing-kayaks
NATIVE Watercraft Fishing Kayaks
The versatile pedal kayaks from NATIVE watercraft are a popular choice among kayak fishermen and freshwater tournament anglers. Why? Well, they sort of check all the boxes when it comes to a fishing kayak. They are fast, stable, track very well, and have a wide range of electronic plates which are areas to mount electronic accessories without drilling holes in your kayak. They also have several seat storage holes on board and an under-the-seat storage tray for terminal tackle or however you choose to use it. There is a ton of dry storage space as well as external storage space including a cupholder and compartments for pliers, scissors, etc. A unique design to NATIVE is the rudder system. It’s as if it is molded into the hull even though it is not. It is under the back, not off the back like other kayaks. You can operate it in the up/down position. This gives you the ability to control the rudder in shallow or deep water. nativewatercraft.com
HOBIE Fishing Kayak
Another grass roots company with tons of history is Hobie. The premier kayak manufacturer takes innovation to the highest level. What makes this such a stellar kayak? The design. With so many models to choose from, there’s one for you and for any condition. When it comes to open water kayaks, they are probably the most sought-after among ocean tournament anglers and freshwater anglers. They offer every kayak fishing amenity depending on the model you choose. Let’s talk about the “Mirage Drive 360,” a pedal system that not only goes forward but in reverse too. The pedal drive fins kick up if you hit an underwater structure, and you can pedal in any direction you want. It’s like having a bow and stern thruster in a boat. Hobie also has a ton of accessories that you can buy separately—anything from bait wells to “Hobie H-Rail” accessories to Hobie’s transportation wheel systems. The list goes on and on. hobie.com
-by Chris Stephan