The first questions that are often raised when someone is asking about a new fishing kayak are “can I stand in it?” and “how stable is it?” These questions are brought on by the massive number of pictures and videos you see online of folks standing to fish in their kayaks. People see this and are often amazed by the idea, so when they hit the market to purchase a new boat it may be the first thing on their mind.
Stability in any boat is relative. For example, a person with enough practice can stand in a sit-inside rec. boat without ever losing their balance. The key to finding a boat that’s best for your level of balance is understanding boat designs. Some boats are created with the stability of the paddler in mind, and some boats require an additional stability point for the rider to feel solid. It’s also up to the individual as each boat has a unique shape and size that can complement your weight distribution differently. But there are a few things that can help even the most novice seafarer to feel more comfortable standing in a fishing kayak:
-Safety is always first, and when trying something new in the water you need to be prepared for any situation. You should be wearing your PFD, which will protect you if you lose your balance and topple into the water. In the worst-case scenario that you hit your head on the way down, your PFD will keep you afloat. The peace of mind that wearing a PFD can provide will also help you with standing confidently on your yak, which this is a big part of finding that balance that you are looking for.
-It is wise to leave all your expensive gear behind the first few times you try to stand on your boat. No one wants to lose their brand new $500 combo because they flipped their kayak. If you must bring your phone with you, make sure to keep it in a waterproof bag (ideally inside of your yak’s storage compartment).
-Remember to stand slowly- don’t jump up to your feet like your favorite baseball player just hit a home run. Instead, place your hands on the side rails of your boat leaning forward, place your feet near the seat and slowly use your hands to help keep you centered you as you stand up. Keep your feet wide and your weight in the center of the boat, straighten your back and your legs, and take care not to lock your knees or make any quick motions.
It’s important to remember that the boat is going to move under your feet– you are on water after all, and a kayak is not a bass boat. It’s best to have a slight bend in your knees, which will help you absorb the ebb and flow that will occur naturally with the water. Every movement that you make will transfer into the boat's movement and you may feel as though you are unstable. The trick here is to get used to the way the boat handles, put a little more weight on one side and feel the boat’s "secondary stability point” helping you. Some people even like to keep a little more weight on one side because they prefer the rock-solid feel of that secondary stability point. It’s a personal preference and is something you can play around with. Practicing this and understanding the way the boat reacts will help build that ever-important confidence that we previously discussed.
Now that you can stand, the obvious next step is managing to fish while standing. Grab that rod and take a few gentle casts, and you will feel the natural weight transfer. One of the biggest hurdles you will face is balancing out the jerky motion that everyone tends to make while casting. Try to limit yourself to smooth, deliberate movements and you will be sight fishing like a champ in no time.
The Vibe lineup has several great stable platforms for standing and fishing, including:
This is the obvious choice for fishing while standing up, as the Maverick is a stand-up-paddle board (it says stand up right in the description). It has a solid, flat, no-flex deck that lends itself very well to standing, moving around and fishing.
A tandem?! A solo boat?! At 35” wide with a large, open deck the tandem Yellowfin is the perfect solution to someone looking for more of a traditional kayak that they can stand in. Its extra room lends to it being an excellent, snag-free fly fishing platform.
These are the boats that people think of when you mention Vibe. At 33” wide they are both very stable standing fishing machines. The footwells are spaced evenly from the center and give you room for a nice wide stance. They come equipped with lots of fishing-related rigging, and you can purchase stand assist bars for the built-in tracks that will really help you feel at peace standing on the water.
No matter what boat you have, getting out there and trying new things is the key to finding the life changing adventures that we all seek. Be safe and have fun! We’ll cover handstands another day.