Have you ever been waiting in line at the boat ramp and spotted someone pulling their kayak down to the bank and shoving off? It is happening more and more these days as anglers are leaving their powerboats back at the house and fishing out of kayaks instead.
Kayak fishing is gaining momentum for many reasons. One is the kayak’s ability to get to many places that powerboats cannot. They only need a few inches of water, and you don’t need a ramp. At the worst, you might have to pull it through some shoreline weeds or climb over a few rocks before you can paddle out and start fishing.
Kayaks work especially well on small ponds. Shoreline vegetation often makes it difficult to fish ponds well from shore. Launch your kayak, however, and you’ve got open and stealthy access to the entire shoreline.
Another big advantage is that the only fuel you burn when out fishing is calories.
Kayak manufacturers are catering to the specific needs of anglers. The two main styles of kayaks are sit-insides and sit-on-tops. A sitinside (or SINK) is a kayak that has the traditional kayak look but typically offers a larger, more open cockpit. They generally have hatches that seal, providing both dry areas for your gear and extra flotation.
The sit-on-top (or SOT) style is popular for fishing. SOTs offer freedom of movement and usually have a rear tank well to store your fishing gear. Anglers often place a milk crate in the rear well to store their tackle. They then attach PVC pipe to the crate to make rod holders.
Another great feature of a SOT is that it gives you the ability to fish sideways with both feet over one side and hanging in the water. This can help cool you in the middle of the summer. And when you make your backcast, you aren’t likely to hook the gear that’s behind you.
Manufacturers have developed means of steering and propulsion to prevent kayakers from having to constantly wield a paddle. Rudders help control the direction of the kayak, and bicycle-style drive systems that spin a propeller or fins or specially developed trolling motors keep the kayak moving.
Outfitting a Kayak
It’s fun to outfit your craft to fit your needs. Anglers have equipped their kayaks with such items as fish finders, rod holders and, of course, various safety items. Before experimenting with outfitting a