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Choosing The Right Fishing Kayak

Written by Lauren Nelson on November 11, 2019

Before you buy a fishing kayak (and if you plan to really focus on kayak angling, you'll want to buy an actual "fishing kayak" instead of a "recreational kayak") ask yourself these questions: Where will you probably kayak fish? Freshwater fish like bass, walleye or crappie or saltwater fish like striper, reds, mahi or tarpon ? Lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes, oceans or bays? If saltwater, will you be launching into surf? Or maybe you want to paddle and kayak fish on all of the above. 

Where you fish and what you'll fish for will determine how to choose what kayak fishing features you'll want to focus on: speed, stability (ocean versus freshwater, and standing versus seated fishing), maneuverability, comfortable seating, storage compartments, the ability to accessorize / DIY, and how much weight your fishing kayak will safely carry. 

Sit-on-top fishing kayaks like those from Vibe are generally the most stable and safer angling kayaks, and can often carry the most kayak fishing gear & accessories, so start with that. They're easier fishing kayaks to get in and out of (even if you fall out of the fishing kayak), they're "self bailing", which means any water that gets into the fishing kayak drains through small holes called scupper holes which go right through the bottom of the fishing kayak, and certain sit on top fishing kayaks will let you comfortably stand and cast.

Longer and narrower fishing kayaks (12-13 feet or longer) are usually faster, but can be less stable than shorter and wider angling kayaks (under 12 feet).  A width of 33 inches or higher is an optimal width for a fishing kayak that will be more stable on choppy water, such as big lakes or oceans, and allow you to fight and haul in larger game fish, as well as be able to stand and sight fish for bass and other species. A longer fishing kayak will also make it easier if you want to troll offshore. 

Keep in mind that as you move from beginner to advanced paddling and kayak fishing skills, a fishing kayak that once seemed more stable may likely seem way too slow over time. Choose a fishing kayak that you can "grow" with. 

It's always best to ask your local fishing kayak dealer what type of fishing kayak will be best for you and your needs, and for the local waters you'll be fishing on, and the fish you'll be casting for.   

Choosing the right fishing kayak for what’s best for your current kayak angling needs, and for what will best help you advance your kayak fishing skills, is important to how much success and fun you’ll have on the water. Vibe’s mission has always been about no drama, just adventure, so check out our other articles to help further dial in on how to pick the right fishing kayak for you.

The Vibe Shop is always available and happy to help with dialing in on choosing just the right kayak, accessories and gear to fit your needs, skill level and fun factor. Give them a call at 678-938-8234!

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