How to Pick a Fishing Kayak

How to Pick a Fishing Kayak

Kayak fishing may sound new to some of us, but it dates back to our ancestors. Think about how beneficial it is to fish with something that does not require batteries or gas! It is also handy due to its relative lightweight when compared to boats. Moreover, it is really quiet, so you can easily sneak up on fish and catch them stealthily. 

However, to be able to take full advantage of your fishing kayak, you have to know the things that you must consider before buying one. In this guide, we will give you almost all the information that you need to study thoroughly before heading to the store or clicking that online-shopping link. 

The 7 Things You Should Consider Before Picking a Fishing Kayak:

1. Type

The first and most important thing you must consider before buying a river fishing kayak is its type. There are two main types that we are going to discuss, and they are the sit-on-top kayak and the sit-in-kayak; however, the sit-on-top kayaks are the better choice for fishing. Also, there is the inflatable kayak that suits those who are short on storage space. 

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Sit-On-Top Kayak 

The sit-on-top kayak is precisely as its name suggests. It is the better choice for fishing because it is easier to get in and out of, and there are various seating options for your comfort. Moreover, the thing I love the most about these kayaks is that when the water gets in, it does not stay. 

In other words, you won’t get soaked in water, and you won’t need to make an effort to empty the kayak from the water. Furthermore, they offer more storage space, which is essential because you will need a place for your gear. 


On the other hand, the sit-in-kayak welcomes water and lets it stay in, which is something no fisher appreciates. It is also more challenging to get in or out of, and you won’t feel in control when you are sitting below the surface of the water. However, they are cheaper than the former type, but if I were you, I would pay the extra bucks and get a sit-on-top kayak. 

Inflatable Kayak 

This is the kind of fishing kayak you should go for if you don’t have a place to store the hard shell ones. It is also easier to lift and transport than the other types as it gets deflated. 

However, I do not recommend such a type at all. They are more prone to flip over, and they are not as stable as the other two types. 

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2. Paddle Vs. Pedal

Some kayaks require paddling, while others require pedaling. 

Paddling is when you paddle with your hands to keep the kayak moving. However, some kayaks allow you to keep your hands free and use your legs instead. How? Through pedaling. 

Paddling is especially great for people who suffer from arm or shoulder pain, so it is nice having this option. However, such kayaks are way more expensive, heavier, and not suitable for fishing in shallow waters. 

3. Stability 

When you are fishing, you will probably need to stand and sit a lot, so you must get a kayak that does not flip over. If you think that having your kayak flip when you are fishing is going to add fun, I am sorry to tell you that you will highly regret thinking so. 

Generally, avoid kayaks with a V-shaped hull and get one with a tunnel or flat-bottom hull. Also, you must know that the shorter the kayak, the more prone it is to be sluggish. Go for longer kayaks (not shorter than 10 feet) because they can stand up to waves, and they cut more smoothly through the water. 

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4. Portability 

Yes, the longer the kayak, the better, but make sure you can still transport it. Besides its length, you must check its weight. Will you be able to lift it and put it over the top of your car? Will it fit there? Can it get in the back of your car, or will you need to buy an accessory for that? 

In the end, your safety must be your priority. 

5. Fishing Area 

The place you will go fishing plays a role in choosing a fishing kayak. For example, if you will fish in small lakes or ponds, a short kayak might be a suitable choice. However, make sure that it is stable. In case you will go fishing in rivers or streams, you can also get a short kayak, but make sure that it is easily maneuverable in tight spaces and turns because you will face this a lot. 

As for open-water fishing, you better get a longer sit-on-top kayak. As we have mentioned before, longer kayaks cut through the water more smoothly and move faster over long distances.

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You will most likely stay in your kayak for hours and hours, so you must make sure that you will be comfortable. Try to get into several kayaks before purchasing one. Why? Because this is the surest way through which you could know which type and what brand is the best for you. 

For example, you have to check if there is enough room for your legs and if your back is comfortable or hurting. Also, check if the seat is adjustable so that it allows you to paddle your way while slightly bending your knees or not. 

The perfect kayak will also offer an elevated seat so that you don’t get wet at all whenever some water gets in the kayak. 

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7. Used Kayak

If you are a beginner and this is the first kayak that you will ever buy, I advise you to get a used one. This is mainly because you won’t like it if you invest a lot of money in a fishing kayak, only to find that you don’t really like this kind of hobby/profession. You may also find that fishing in a kayak is just not your thing. 

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Moreover, in case you don’t know a place where you can try out various kayaks before you get one, buying a used kayak will help you figure this out with the least amount of money paid. You will know the features you like and the features you don’t want on your kayak, and move on from there.

Final Thoughts

By now, I hope that you have understood the main points you have to check before buying a fishing kayak.

Like I have mentioned, you must consider the type that suits you and your needs the most. Then, you must check if its weight and length are compatible with your storage space. Moreover, check if you can easily transport it or not. If you live right by the sea, then this won’t be an issue, but if you live in a city, then this is a crucial aspect you must consider. 

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Another important factor is your body type. Make sure to get a kayak that suits your body type and the length of your legs, etc. 

If you have arm or shoulder issues, you should go for a pedal kind of kayak, but be ready to pay a lot more in return. Also, I have to tell you again that it is heavier and not shallow-water friendly. 

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