Get Out the PlasticGet Out the Plastic
Effective and simple, kayaks get anglers on the water without breaking the bank.
By Jerry McBride
Unlimited fishing potential. Minimal startup investment. Outstanding exercise benefits. No maintenance fees.
Too good to be true?
Kayak fishing is a lot like powerboat fishing, minus the repairs, storage fees, fuel, insurance and weekend launch ramp chaos. Kayaks offer an inexpensive entry to anglers getting on the water for the first time, as well as the perfect exit strategy for boaters trying to downsize. Solitude, self-reliance and a good workout come at no extra charge.
While some people might view the kayak’s limited speed as a fishing liability, that isn’t necessarily the case. The slower pace of kayaking can actually improve angling skills because it emphasizes the mental aspects of fishing in order to be consistently successful. Kayakers don’t have the option of firing up the outboard and blasting off to a new spot in search of fish, so they invest more thought in selecting a target area and how to fish it properly. The kayak’s stealth more than offsets its lack of range, and fish-holding structure is easier to spot at four knots than it is at forty.
Anglers contemplating a kayak purchase today can test-drive infinitely more models than I had to choose from. There are sizes, styles and colors that accommodate virtually everyone—most of my fanatic fishing partners are actually women. The sit-on-top kayak (SOT, versus the traditional Inuit-style sit-inside model) has especially evolved as the fishing flagship of the plastic navy. Versatile SOT’s are far less cumbersome to get in and out of, and offer greater, more accessible dry storage space for gear, along with easier accessory installation. The biggest models, such as Hobie’s Pro Angler series, support between 500 and 600 pounds of weight, and provide stand-up stability for sight-fishing, along with built-in space for eight fishing rods, camping gear and the family Labrador.
Fortunately, kayak fishing doesn’t require jamming the boat with stuff in order to catch fish. My basic necessity checklist: seat, paddle, anchor, life jacket. My basic philosophy of kayak fishing is to keep things simple, making it easy and inexpensive to get started. If you insist on toys, an entire industry of kayak-specific fishing accessories few people could have envisioned a decade ago—camera mounts, lights, rodholders, electronics, fancy seats, fish coolers—is largely targeted toward the SOT market. Perhaps most importantly, SOT kayaks give anglers the choice between traditional paddling and hands-free foot-drive propulsion that can double the number of casts in a day.
Hobie’s pedal-driven models are my personal preference as versatile fishing kayaks, but check the many options at a knowledgeable retailer near you.
Grow your fishing skills and improve your angling effectiveness.
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