If you want the ultimate water adventure craft, for fishing, or just exploring, nothing beats a kayak. A kayak will give you the most bang for your buck over any other kind of water craft. They are much lighter and faster than canoes, and virtually unsinkable. You have to almost destroy one completely to sink it, even an inflatable. They are swift and silent, allowing you to quietly paddle to within casting distance of even the spookiest of fish. They are fast enough to cover any amount of distance you want, even to off-shore fishing in the ocean. They do not require a trailer, or a boat ramp to launch from, no motor to be fooling with all the time, and do not pollute the water or air. A Kayak can take you places inaccessible by any other method. Kayaks rule.
There are several types of kayaks to choose from. Your choice will be easier if you check out a few Kayak fishing tips ahead of time:
- There are two types of kayaks; Sit On Tops (SOTs) and Sit Inside Kayaks (SIKs). A Sit On Top has no deck, and will usually have scuppers to allow water to drain out. These are popular with fishermen because they have built in buoyancy, and are more comfortable in warmer weather. Sit Inside Kayaks have an enclosed deck, and the paddler will usually use a spray skirt, which seals the boat completely with you in it. These are preferable in cold weather, because you are somewhat protected from the elements. They are a bit more cramped, but proper adjusting of the foot-pegs makes them quite cozy.
- Both types are made in inflatable versions, as well as molded polymer versions. Inflatables have a few advantages over molded kayaks. They are lighter, can be transported in the trunk of your car, on a bicycle, backpack, and carried on a bus or airliner. If you knock a hole in one, it is a simple matter to patch the hole, re-inflate the section (they all have several sections, so you can't sink one unless you poke several holes, all in different areas), and continue on your adventure. Polymer yaks are tough, but if you do manage to knock a hole in one, your trip is over, because they will require extensive repairs on shore, Polymer boats have the advantage of being amendable to numerous modifications, most of which are not possible with an inflatable.
Before hitting the water, there are a few things you should do:
- Paddling a kayak is a form of exercise, albeit an extremely fun and satisfying one. You should see your doctor before-hand to be sure you don't have any health problems that may show up on the water, maybe a long way from shore.
- Most places that sell kayaks are only too happy to let you try out a yak before you buy it. You should always try out a yak before you buy, or at least be sure you can bring it back if you don't like it. There are many styles of yaks, and you're not going to like them all.
- Keep in mind what you will be using the yak for. Most whitewater yaks are not going to work as well for fishing. Likewise, a long touring yak will be a handful on small rivers and streams.
- When adding rod holders, fish-finders, and other modifications (and you will...trust me), be sure you know how to do them correctly to avoid compromising the performance of your yak.
- Kayak paddling can quickly become an obsession. If you find yourself driving by a Water Park, looking at the tall Water Slide, and thinking to yourself, “That's do-able!” , it may be time to take a few weeks off from paddling....spend some time with the wife and kids.
Whatever type of yak you choose, you will enter a new world of fishing possibilities, especially if you keep in mind a few kayak fishing tips.