Ultimate Fishing Kayak Guide for Beginners

I’m just another weekend angler like you  – I enjoy grabbing a six pack on the way to the lake and spending some quality time out there with my dad or my dog (and sometimes both!). I don’t claim to be an expert, I just take my awesome inflatable kayak out fishing regularly. And I’ve been spending my weekends fishing for as long as I can remember (and it drives my girlfriend crazy!).

A lot of my buddies go fishing as well, but none of them seem to spend as much time out there as I do. My girlfriend keeps urging me to pick up some other hobbies, but I just love this too much. That is why I wanted to create this site. You see, for me, it is always fishing time!

kayak fishing time

Honestly, I am a big fan of using a kayak instead of a boat for your fishing. Not only is a kayak just more fun, but you’ll find that they are also cheaper than getting a boat. So, put that dream of getting a tricked out bass boat on the back burner and come over to the fishing kayak side of things with me. I guarantee that you won’t regret it – not even for a minute!

If you are considering shopping for your very first inflatable fishing kayak, then I hope that my reviews on this site will  help you decide on which one is the best for you.

Click Here for My Top 10 Fishing Kayaks Picks

Choosing The Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak

kayak fishing guideBefore you just jump right in and buy yourself the first cheap fishing kayak that you come across, let me first share with you a few things about these things. You might not know it, but there are different types of kayaks and they have different features that you may or may not need. By knowing what you’re shopping before in advance, it is easier for you to find one of these kayaks that is the best one for you. Remember – we all have different preferences and my favorite model kayak might not work for you and I might not like the one that you like the best! I tend to prefer the inflatable kayaks over the hard-shell ones, but I share views of both types here.

Sit-on-top vs. Sit-in

When you look at the fishing kayaks on the market, you will notice that some of them have a seat for you on top of the vessel and others have a seat that is inside of it. Personally, I prefer to use a kayak that is sit-to-top because getting in and out of it is easier (for those time when I need to do some wading). I also like that it is easier for me to reach all my gear.

Of course, you are more likely to get wet with a sit-on-top model. For me, that’s not really a problem unless the water is really cold. Then it’s just not safe and I switch to one of my sit-in kayaks.

Sit-in kayaks are also pretty good for fishing if you don’t need to do any wading (cause it’s harder to get in and out of them). But if you have a sit-in model with a large cockpit, then you have lots of space for all your gear and fishing equipment.

sit-in vs sit on top kayak

Pedal vs Paddle

Yeah, this one is exactly like it sounds – do  you wanna power that kayak by pedaling or paddling? If you plan on covering a lot of space out there on the water, then going with a pedal-style kayak will likely result in less fatigue than paddling a long distance. Probably the biggest strike against a pedal-powered kayak is that they usually are more expensive than just a regular paddle-powered kayak.

Regardless of which of these two power types you decide on, it is always a good idea to go out on the water with an extra paddle. If the pedal power system fails, then you’ll have to paddle back. And if something happens to your primary paddle, then the back-up will come into good use out there.

Consider Your Average Water Conditions

Before shopping, take a minute to think about where you will be using your new fishing kayak. Will you be mostly in still lakes or slow moving rivers? Or will you be in faster moving water, such as in the ocean? Different types of kayaks are better for different types of water conditions. And you need to buy one that works for your most common water condition.

Let’s say that you plan on doing most of your fishing out in the ocean cause you’re one lucky duck who lives near the beach. In such a case, you’d want to go with a kayak that has a more upswept bow and stern for better results in the waves. But avoid this type of kayak if you’re primarily going to be in flat water cause it doesn’t track well.

Want to be able to track through the water faster? Then go with a longer kayak. Want the most stable kayak so that you don’t end up in the water? The wider the kayak, the most stability it offers. That being said – wide kayaks also move VERY slowly through the water. I also want to point out that the more you use your kayak, the more comfortable you will get with it and the more stable it will be for you.

best fishing kayak reviews

Rigged vs Non-Rigged

When you start shopping you will notice one thing about the kayak almost immediately. Some are called “angler kayaks” (or just fishing kayaks) while others are just plain ole kayaks. I want to let you in on a little secret here that just might save you a few hundred bucks on your kayak purchase.

The only difference between a fishing kayak and a regular kayak is the rigging.

That’s right – the angler or fishing models are only called that because they are already all rigged out for fishing. The rigging that I’m talking about here is the rod holder and other fishing related rigging. If you don’t mind outfitting your own kayak, then you can get one of the cheaper stock models and do the rigging yourself. And, it will save you money! However, buying a rigged kayak is convenient for those of us who are lazy!

To give you an idea of what you might need to buy if you want to rig your own kayak, I suggest the following:

  • rod holders
  • leash for your paddle
  • a dry bag for your cell phone, fish finder, etc.
  • safety whistle
  • personal flotation device (PFD)

You can add more stuff if you like, but these are the basics that I suggest for anyone just starting out with their new fishing kayak.

For more help on choosing the best fishing kayak, take a look at the video below that I found on YouTube.

If you’re ready to start shopping for a new fishing kayak, check out my reviews so that you can get yourself the best inflatable kayak for the money. My reviews will be updated as I get a chance to familiarize myself with new kayaks on the market. Until then, keep ‘yaking!

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