Buying Kayak 1

 My first kayak was a mistake

Like many kayak fisherman, my first kayak was a mistake and I only used it a few times.

There wasn’t a lot of information available. Things have changed. Kayak fishing is a major force in the kayaking world and there are lots of models to choose from.

There are dozens of websites with interactive forums to ask questions and read about models.

You'll learn a lot along the way

Since my first kayak I’ve personally fished from 50 different models in a variety of environments ranging from the flats of the Caribbean to the hike in ponds and rivers to vast expanses of Alaska’s Prince William Sound to name a few.

I’ve learned a lot along the way and I’d like to share some observations with you.

Written by Jon Shein for

The first thing you’re going to need to become a kayak fisherman is a kayak.

There are a lot of choices out there and it can get confusing.

One thing that’s nice is kayak fishing is now a large part of the kayaking world and because of this there’s a lot more information available.

Even so don’t just walk into a kayak shop and expect to get what you need for your purpose.

Don’t just walk into a kayak shop and expect to get what you need

While fishing is the second largest recreational outdoor pursuit in the world there are still many more people who don’t fish than those who do.

Also even if you go to a business that specializes in kayak fishing you’re still the person who is going to be using the kayak. So you’re the one who is responsible for what you’re going to end up with.

Fishing pedigree

If this is your first kayak keep in mind there’s a wide array of models and uses. Kayaks vary from long ocean going expedition or touring models to short little white water and surf kayaks.

They all have their purpose. Most models are not going to work well as a kayak fishing vessel. I highly recommend not being an experiment. By this I mean buy a model that has a fishing pedigree.

SIK ( Sit in Kayak) dominate the kayaking world
SOTs ( Sit On Top) dominate the fishing world

It’s a model that’s currently being used by a lot of fishermen. The reason being it works.

There are easily hundreds of models available but the sport is dominated by a couple dozen models.

By restricting your decision to one of these models you’ll simplify greatly your decision. Then it becomes a matter of choosing the attributes that best suit your needs.

Before I discuss attributes lets quickly cover kayak types. There are essentially two designs.

Sit on Tops (SOT)

The names are self explanatory.  SOTs are big hollow tubes that you sit on rather than in.

Any water that ends up on the kayak drains through holes that run from the top to below the water line. 

These holes are called scuppers and they eliminate the need to remove the water as the properties of the designs does this.

Sit in Kayaks (SIK) 

The traditional type of kayak that one thinks of when they envision a kayak. You sit inside the kayak. It is a lot like a canoe.

Any water that comes over the side must be physically removed.

To prevent water from entering the kayak an accessory is available called a skirt. It is basically a lid in the form of a membrane that goes over the opening of the kayak that has a hole for your torso.

It is a required accessory for white water kayaking.

There are many types of canoes and kayaks available, details of each style can be found below.

  • Sit On Top Kayaks. ...
  • Canadian Canoes. ...
  • Touring Kayaks. ...
  • Sea Kayaks are generally longer and faster than touring kayaks with extra performance for testing conditions. ...
  • White Water Kayaks. ...
  • Kayaks for Children. ...
  • Inflatable Kayaks.

Choosing a Fishing Kayak--Buy a model that has a fishing pedigree. It’s a model that’s currently being used by a lot of fishermen. Fishing kayaks are dominated by a couple of dozen models.

-- I headed out to Bunche Beach with the kayak. I threw a Rappala X-rap out one side of the kayak and a blue-backed Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow out the other side and commenced paddling around
Kayak Fishing Blog

--THE ULTIMATE INSHORE FISHING EXPERIENCE! Come try a fishing experience that is as unique and exciting as the wilds of Florida!
Kayak Fishing Charters

-- Websites of the greater Naples FloridaOffering many different types of Kayak Rentals as well as Kayak Tours, Kayak Fishing, Lessons and Fitness Classes for adults and children.
Kayak Eco Touring

Launch Maps The Launch Locator Map Section gives you the chance to find kayak launch locations all over the world. It also lets you share launches with others and even leave a fishing report for a particular location.

This map is here to help you find areas to launch your kayak and other kayak fishing resources.

Gear Guide Kayak Fishing Gear See the latest fishing kayaks that hit the market. Also see our buyers guide for complete list of all fishing kayaks.

Instructional Kayak Fishing Videos 

Videos that will help improve your skills on the water

Kayak Illusion.MOV  World Champion Kayaker Ken Whiting explains how to deal with rocks when paddling in rivers with current.

Top 5 Kayaking Tips and Skills for Beginners he top 5 kayaking tips to help make you a better paddler are explained by World Champion kayaker, Ken Whiting, in this episode of PaddleTV. Understanding these five tips will help you become a safer and more efficient paddler, allowing you to better enjoy your time on the water.

Proper Technique for Paddling a Kayak The proper technique for paddling a kayak is explained and demonstrated by World Champion kayaker, Ken Whiting, in this episode of Paddle TV. By developing good technique, you will not only paddle more efficiently, but be safer on the water.

Kayak Technique - The Wet Exit If you're going to paddle a sit-inside kayak, you should know proper wet exit technique. Anna Levesque shows how easy it is in this paddling TV episode.

Kayak Technique - Launching in a Surf Zone World Champion whitewater kayaker and obsessed kayak angler, Ken Whiting, explains how to make a successful kayak launch in a surf zone. For all your kayak fishing needs visit HOOK1 Kayak Fishing

Kayak Technique - Bracing Over 120 minutes of intense but fun instruction from EJ himself. An incredible cast of paddlers, starting with EJ's kids (Emily and Dane) give you all of the examples done in good form. Each skill has its own chapter on the DVD. So watch at your leisure. Check out the latest kayaks at

Tips on using Ocean Kayaks as a fishing machine Italo Labignan explains the features of the Ocean Kayak. Check out the latest kayaks at

Beginner's Tips for Kayak Fishing Eric Jackson explains what you need to know as a novice kayak fisherman. Subscribe for more great fishing content. Facebook -

Getting Started Kayak Fishing | Tips for Beginners Hope this helps some of you getting started in kayak fishing, And don't forget to wear your PFD! Any more questions be sure to ask by commenting or emailing.

Kayak Fishing Techniques - Boating - BCF We take our newly kitted-out Fishing Kayak for a spin and manage to catch a few Bass. Kayak fishing tips and techniques include use of a surface lure, shallow diving hardbody lure, curl tail soft plastics, metal blade lure, fish finders and tips to control the kayak hull.

Top 5 Offshore Kayak Fishing Tips Jeff Herman goes over the top 5 tips for a safe and successful offshore fishing trip in your kayak. Produced in partnership with the American Canoe Association: For more great videos, subscribe to Kayak Fishing Tales:

Good luck and see you on the water.


#6 Cooscroosn 2010-06-05 19:45 Lots of good info. Thanks.

#5 jssteve 2010-04-12 19:34 Jon - Complements...

You've done a nice job providing a factual and unbiased presentation of the benefits and tradeoffs.

Hats off. After reading a very similar article my 2 friends got Sit-ins, I got a SOT. Here's observations after 5 years:

1)open saltwater lends well to longer, stable SOT pedal drives if fishing is your primary interest

2)for streams, rivers, estuaries or beaches where you stop alot to fish-especially where the banks may be steep/deep or difficult to access easily, SOTs provide ease of exit/entry,especiall y in waders.

3) Sit Ins are often "cleaner" on deck with less to tangle up on, but you do sit lower which makes it more difficult to cast for a fly fisherman.

4) Sit Ins appear to be alittle faster than SOTs of the same lenght (hull designs).

5) For the "average" person who kayaks 10-20 days per year, when (not if) you dump, many find a SOT easier to walrus wallow back on to than righting a sit-in, especially in choppy or windy weather and certainly in a relative quick river or rip current.

6) If you "ferry" kids, beach stuff, coolers,etc, and then after you've performed your vacation duties you get to go fishing for a few hours, SOTs are great.

7) it all comes down to needs and tradeoffs - 650hp 2 seater or suburban, something in between...whatever floats YOUR boat...enjoy

#4 Bobby Reep 2010-02-25 19:13 Thanks for the info. This will make my decision a lot easier.

#3 Doug 2010-02-24 22:32 Thanks for a great article to help me select my first kayak..

I'm looking for a kayak to fish small lakes in MN, maybe with some portaging involved so weight will be important to me.

I also have a small car so I need to consider the overall length also. Can't wait for spring!

#2 eric.hyman 2010-02-20 01:01 Lot of good information for me. help me make my choice.

#1 2010-02-10 21:44 Lots of great info!

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